Venit in terram Israel


“Qui consurgens accepit puerum et matrem ejus et venit in terram Israel,” Rising he took the boy and his mother and came to the land of Israel (Matthew 2:21). The scene of Jesus as an infant in Mary’s arms depicts the flight into Egypt to escape King Herod. The inscription, however, is from a verse referring to the return from Egypt a few years later when Jesus would be a young child. Perhaps it recalls that the flight will be a providential circumstance for the fulfillment of the prophecy of Hosea 11:1, quoted in Matthew 2:15: “Out of Egypt I called my son.” The angel that appeared to Joseph in dreams leads the way. The palm he carries may refer to apocryphal writings regarding resting under palm trees during the journey; or to the Church’s liturgy referring to St. Joseph as the fulfillment of Psalm 92(91):13 “the just one shall flourish like the palm tree”; or to Palm Sunday and Jesus’ eventual victory through His passion.