Flight to Egypt (icon)

Following is a Coptic Orthodox icon of the Flight to Egypt from the 17th century (found in the Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus (Abu Serga) in Cairo, Egypt).

Orthodox Icons are not drawings or creations of imagination. They are in fact writings of things not of this world. Icons can represent our Lord Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the Saints. They can also represent the Holy Trinity, Angels, the Heavenly hosts, and even events. Orthodox icons, unlike Western pictures, change the perspective and form of the image so that it is not naturalistic. This is done so that we can look beyond appearances of the world, and instead look to the spiritual truth of the holy person or event. (Source )

Flight to Egypt (image)

Painting by Chen Yuandu 陳緣督 (1902-1967)
Housed in the Société des Auxiliaires des Missions Collection – Whitworth University

Image taken from Chinese Christian Posters . For more information on the “Ars Sacra Pekinensis” school of art, see this article , for other artworks of that school in TIPs, see here.

complete verse (Matthew 2:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of Matthew 2:14:

  • Uma: “Yusuf got up that night and went away carrying Maria and Yesus going to Mesir.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “So-then, Yusup got up, took the child and Mariyam and they left that night for the land of Misil.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And then Joseph got up and he took the child and Mary, and they left at night for Egypt.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “So now then, Jose got-right-up and set-right-off in the middle of the night, escorting the baby and his mother to go to Egipto.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Without anything further, Jose got up, and straight away woke up Maria because they set out that night, for he would take these two, child and mother, to Egipto.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “It was very early, but Joseph at once got up to take the baby and his mother. They went on their way to Egypt.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

Translation commentary on Matthew 2:14

As we have mentioned before, And will be omitted in some languages, but in others it will be translated by something such as “And so,” “So,” or “Therefore.”

In the Greek text he refers to Joseph. To avoid confusion because of the several persons mentioned in the narrative (the angel, Joseph, Herod, the child), Good News Translation makes the pronominal reference explicit.

Rose: TEV has “got up.” See also comment in verse 13.

His mother refers to Mary, the mother of Jesus, not to Joseph’s mother. This information is, of course, clear to the good reader, but the translation should leave no possibility of ambiguity. Some languages will have to say “the child and the mother” or “the child and the child’s mother.”

By night means “during the night” or “while it was still night.” Note that as in Good News Translation, “left during the night” is probably better than “took by night.”

Departed: they set out on the journey that same night. The translation should not intimate that they arrived there in the same night.

Took … departed is similar to “take … flee” in verse 13. It can be expressed by “He went with the child and his mother and they left,” or simply “He left with the child and his mother.”

There are languages where departed to Egypt will have to be expressed by two verbs, as in “They left during the night to go toward Egypt” or “They left during the night. They went toward Egypt.”

Quoted with permission from Newman, Barclay M. and Stine, Philip C. A Handbook on the Gospel of Matthew. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1988. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .