Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Biblical Accounts of Jesus' (a.s.) Childhood with Commentary

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following are some points about the birth of Jesus (a.s.), from a Biblical perspective, with some commentary by me.

Firstly, the four gospels do not all record the same events as each other.  This is the same for every point of Jesus’ (a.s.) life.  One pertinent point is that there is way too much information to fit into a single book about Jesus (a.s.).  Even the author of the Gospel according to John acknowledged as such, and he said:

John 21:25
25 There is much else besides that Jesus did; if all of it were put in writing, I do not think the world itself would contain the books which would have to be written.

Another point of note is that the gospels, whether canonical or apocryphal, were not all written at the same time, did not take from exactly the same sources, and were written to address specific audiences.  A prevalent mistake of Muslims is that they tend to compare the books of the New Testament to the Qur’an, and look to find issues with the narrative.  It is more accurate to compare them to ahadits, with an inferior methodology.  The methodology of ahadits as we understand them, was perfected a thousand years later.  And even then, there are a lot of nonsensical narrations many Muslims still believe.

Secondly, the accounts of Jesus’ (a.s.) childhood, from the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke, are known as “infancy narratives.”  While both have parts in common, such as the consensus on the Virgin Birth, the birth in Bethlehem and flight to Egypt, there ae clear divergences because the authors of both Gospels emphasised different aspects of his childhood, for different audiences.

The author of the Gospel according to Matthew has a brief infancy account.  There is greater focus on Joseph, the supposed husband of the Virgin Mary (a.s.).  The genealogy of the Gospel according to Matthew emphasises the tenuous connection between Jesus (a.s.) and the line of David (a.s.), creating the narrative that Jesus (a.s.) was a literal thread to the legitimacy of the kingship of Herod the Great.  In contrast, the Gospel according to Luke focuses on Mary (a.s.), and does not mention the notion of Jesus (a.s.) as an earthly king.  It has a rather spiritual take, and focuses on Jesus’ (a.s.) identity as the future Messiah.

Thirdly, whilst there are many omissions, it is possible to come up with a rough timeline of the major events in Jesus’ (a.s.) life from the Gospels according to Matthew and Luke.

We know that the archangel, Gabriel (a.s.), appeared to the prophet, Zechariah (a.s.), in Jerusalem, to announce the birth of John the Baptist (a.s.):

Luke 1:5-22
5 In the days when Herod was king of Judaea, there was a priest called Zachary, of Abia’s turn of office, who had married a wife of Aaron’s family, by name Elizabeth; 6 they were both well approved in God’s Sight, following all the Commandments and Observances of the Lord without reproach.  7 They had no child; Elizabeth was barren, and both were now well advanced in years.  8 He, then, as it happened, was doing a priest’s duty before God in the order of his turn of office; 9 and had been chosen by lot, as was the custom among the priests, to go into the sanctuary of the Lord and burn incense there, 10 while the whole multitude of the people stood praying without, at the hour of sacrifice.  11 Suddenly he saw an angel of the Lord, standing at the right of the altar where incense was burnt.  12 Zachary was bewildered at the sight, and overcome with fear; 13 but the angel said, “Zachary, do not be afraid; thy prayer has been Heard, and thy wife, Elizabeth, is to bear thee a son, to whom thou shalt give the name of ‘John’.  14 Joy and gladness shall be thine, and many hearts shall rejoice over his birth, 15 for he is to be high in the Lord’s Favour; he is to drink neither wine nor strong drink; and from the time when he is yet a child in his mother’s womb he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost.  16 He shall bring back many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 ushering in his advent in the spirit and power of an Elias.  He shall unite the hearts of all, the fathers with the children, and teach the disobedient the wisdom that makes men just, preparing for the Lord a people fit to receive him.”  18 And Zachary said to the angel, “By what sign am I to be assured of this?  I am an old man now, and my wife is far advanced in age.”  19 The angel answered, “My name is Gabriel, and my place is in God’s Presence; I have been Sent to speak with thee, and to bring thee this good news.  20 Behold, thou shalt be dumb, and have no power of speech, until the day when this is accomplished; and that, because thou hast not believed my promise, which shall in due time be fulfilled.”  21 And now all the people were waiting for Zachary, and wondering that he delayed in the temple so long; 22 but he, when he came out, could speak no word to them; whereupon they made sure that he had seen some vision in the sanctuary.  He could but stand there making signs to them, for he remained dumb.

Here, the angel Gabriel (a.s.) referenced the prophecy of Malachi (a.s.):

Malachi 4:5-6
5 “And before ever that day comes, great day and terrible, I will Send Elias to be your prophet; 6 he it is shall reconcile heart of father to son, heart of son to father; else the whole of earth should be forfeit to My Vengeance.”

We know that at the end of his term of service in the Temple, Zechariah (a.s.) returned to his home in the hill country of Judea and his wife, Elizabeth (r.a.), became pregnant:

Luke 1:23-25
23 And so, when the days of his ministry were at an end, he went back to his house.  24 It was after those days that his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months, she dwelt retired; she said, 25 “It is the Lord Who has Done this for me, Visiting me at His Own Time, to Take Away my reproach among men.”

We know that in the sixth month of Elizabeth’s (r.a.) pregnancy, Gabriel (a.s.) appeared to her cousin, Mary (a.s.), in Nazareth to announce the birth of Jesus (a.s.).

Luke 1:26-38
26 When the sixth month came, God Sent the angel, Gabriel, to a city of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 where a virgin dwelt, betrothed to a man of David’s lineage; his name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name was Mary.  28 Into her presence, the angel came, and said, “Hail, thou who art full of grace; the Lord is with thee; Blessed art thou among women.”  29 She was much perplexed at hearing him speak so, and cast about in her mind, what she was to make of such a greeting.  30 Then the angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid; thou hast found Favour in the Sight of God.  31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call him ‘Jesus.’  32 He shall be great, and men will know him for the Son of the Most High; the Lord God will Give him the throne of his father David, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob eternally; 33 his kingdom shall never have an end.”  34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can that be, since I have no knowledge of man?”  35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon thee, and the Power of the Most High will Overshadow thee.  Thus, this holy offspring of thine shall be known for the Son of God.  36 See, moreover, how it fares with thy cousin Elizabeth; she is old, yet she too has conceived a son; she who was reproached with barrenness is now in her sixth month, 37 to prove that nothing can be impossible with God.”  38 And Mary said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.”  And with that, the angel left her.

We know that Mary (a.s.) went to visit Elizabeth (r.a.) and stayed for three months before returning to Nazareth:

Luke 1:39-40
39 In the days that followed, Mary rose up and went with all haste to a town of Judah, in the hill country 40 where Zachary dwelt; and there entering in she gave Elizabeth greeting.

And further down:

Luke 1:56-57
56 Mary returned home when she had been with her about three months; 57 meanwhile, Elizabeth’s time had come for her child-bearing, and she bore a son.

Elizabeth (r.a.) gave birth to John the Baptist (a.s.) well into her ninth month.  He was circumcised eight days later and given his name, as per Jewish tradition.  It is important to note that there is no error in the pregnancy lasting ten months, unlike what some may say.  The ancient Israelites considered pregnancy as lasting ten months, not nine.  In reality, a normal pregnancy lasts 9.6 months on the Jewish, lunar-based calendar and 9.3 months on a modern, solar-based calendar.  Also, the Israelites rounded the fraction up to make ten months, while we round this fraction down to make nine months,

Luke 1:56-63
56 Mary returned home when she had been with her about three months; 57 meanwhile, Elizabeth’s time had come for her child-bearing, and she bore a son.  58 Her neighbours and her kinsfolk, hearing how wonderfully God had Shewed His Mercy to her, came to rejoice with her; 59 and now, when they assembled on the eighth day for the circumcision of the child, they were for calling him “Zachary”, because it was his father’s name; 60 but his mother answered, “No, he is to be called ‘John.’” 61 And they said, “There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name,” 62 and began asking his father by signs, what name he would have him called by.  63 So he asked for a tablet, and wrote on it the words, “His name is ‘John’”; and they were all astonished.

Amidst all this, Joseph was informed that Mary (a.s.) was pregnant and planned to break off the betrothal her quietly.  An angel appeared to him in a dream and commanded him to continue the marriage plans:

Matthew 1:18-25
18 And this was the manner of Christ’s birth.  His mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, but they had not yet come together, when she was found to be with child, by the Power of the Holy Ghost.  19 Whereupon, her husband Joseph (for he was a right-minded man, and would not have her put to open shame) was for sending her away in secret.  20 But hardly had this thought come to his mind, when an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take thy wife Mary to thyself, for it is by the Power of the Holy Ghost that she has conceived this child; 21 and she will bear a son, whom thou shalt call ‘Jesus’, for he is to save his people from their sins.  22 All this was so ordained to fulfil the word which the Lord spoke by his prophet: 23 ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a son, and they shall call him ‘Emmanuel’ (which means, God with us).’”  24 And Joseph awoke from sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, taking his wife to himself; 25 and he had not known her when she bore a son, her first-born, to whom he gave the name ‘Jesus’.

This event probably occurred after Mary (a.s.) had returned from her visit to Elizabeth (r.a.), since Joseph had to be certain and wait until Mary’s (a.s.) pregnancy was confirmed.  In the ancient world, there were no pregnancy tests; they used, as proof, that a woman was pregnant, the point of quickening, when the unborn child was large and strong enough for the mother to feel it kicking in the womb.  Considering the timeline, this would coincide to the period when Mary (a.s.) left Elizabeth (r.a.) to return home, and it would have been the most probable reason why she returned.  Mary (a.s.) was betrothed, jot married.  There was no rational way to explain her pregnancy and that was why she had to go into seclusion.

When the Roman emperor announced a census, they had to travel to Bethlehem.  This would have been because Joseph owned property there.  And here onwards is the narrative of Jesus’ (a.s.) birth.

Luke 2:1-20
1 It happened that a decree went out at this time from the emperor Augustus, enjoining that the whole world should be registered; 2 this register was the first one made during the time when Cyrinus was governor of Syria.  3 All must go and give in their names, each in his own city; 4 and Joseph, being of David’s clan and family, came up from the town of Nazareth, in Galilee, to David’s city in Judaea, the city called Bethlehem, 5 to give in his name there.  With him was his espoused wife Mary, who was then in her pregnancy; 6 and it was while they were still there that the time came for her delivery.  7 She brought forth a son, her first-born, whom she wrapped in his swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  8 In the same country there were shepherds awake in the fields, keeping night-watches over their flocks.  9 And all at once, an angel of the Lord came and stood by them, and the Glory of the Lord Shone about them, so that they were overcome with fear.  10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; behold, I bring you good news of a great rejoicing for the whole people.  11 This day, in the city of David, a Saviour has been born for you, the Lord Christ himself.  12 This is the sign by which you are to know him; you will find a child still in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger.”  13 Then, on a sudden, a multitude of the heavenly army appeared to them at the angel’s side, giving praise to God, and saying, 14 “Glory to God in High Heaven, and peace on earth to men that are God’s friends.”  15 When the angels had left them, and gone back into Heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Come, let us make our way to Bethlehem, and see for ourselves this happening which God has Made known to us.”  16 And so they went with all haste, and found Mary and Joseph there, with the child lying in the manger.  17 On seeing him, they discovered the truth of what had been told them about this child.  18 All those who heard it were full of amazement at the story which the shepherds told them; 19 but Mary treasured up all these sayings, and reflected on them in her heart.  20 And the shepherds went home giving praise and glory to God, at seeing and hearing that all was as it had been told them.

As per Jewish tradition, and just like John the Baptist (a.s.), Jesus (a.s.) was circumcised and named eight days after his birth:

Luke 2:21
21 When eight days had passed, and the boy must be circumcised, he was called ‘Jesus’, the name which the angel had given him before ever he was conceived in the womb.

Matthew 1:24-25
24 And Joseph awoke from sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord had Bidden him, taking his wife to himself; 25 and he had not known her when she bore a son, her first-born, to whom he gave the name ‘Jesus’.

As per Jewish tradition, Jesus (a.s.) was presented at the Temple in Jerusalem, forty days after the birth.

Luke 2:22-24:
22 And when the time had come for purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem, to present him before the Lord there.  23 It is Written in God’s Law, that whatever male offspring opens the womb is to be reckoned sacred to the Lord; 24 and so they must offer in sacrifice for him, as God’s Law Commanded, a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.

The basis of this Mosaic practice may be found here:

Exodus 13:2
2 Dedicate to me every first-born thing that Israel yields, whether it be man or beast, the first-fruits of every womb; all these are forfeit to me.

Leviticus 12:1-8:
1 And the Lord Spoke to Moses, 2 giving him this Message for the Israelites: “If a woman conceives, and gives birth to a boy, she will be unclean for seven days, as she is unclean at her monthly times.  3 On the eighth day, the child must be circumcised, 4 and after that she must wait for thirty-three days more to be purified after her loss of blood, touching nothing that is hallowed, never entering the sanctuary, until the time is up.  5 If she gives birth to a girl, she will be unclean as at her monthly times, for fourteen days, and she will wait for sixty-six days more to be purified after her loss of blood.  6 When the days needed for her purification, after the birth of boy or girl, have run out, she must bring a lamb of one year old as a burnt-sacrifice, and a young pigeon or a turtledove by way of amends, to the tabernacle door.  These, she will hand over to the priest, 7 who will offer them to the Lord and intercede for her, to win purification for her after the blood-losing.  Such is the rule governing the birth of boy or girl.  8 If she cannot lay her hand on a lamb fit to be offered, she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one as a burnt-sacrifice and one by way of amends; these will suffice, and at the priest’s intercession she will be purified.”

It should be noted that to turtledoves were offered instead of a lamb is a clue that they were a family of modest means.  At the Temple, they met Simeon and Anna, who prophesised the destiny of Jesus (a.s.):

Luke 2:25-38
25 At this time there was a man named Simeon living in Jerusalem, an upright man of careful observance, who waited patiently for comfort to be brought to Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him; 26 and by the Holy Spirit, it had been revealed to him that he was not to meet death, until he had seen that Christ whom the Lord had Anointed.  27 He now came, led by the Spirit, into the temple; and when the child Jesus was brought in by his parents, to perform the custom which the law enjoined concerning him, 28 Simeon too was able to take him in his arms.  And he said, blessing God, 29 “Ruler of all, now dost thou let thy servant go in peace, according to thy word; 30 for my own eyes have seen that saving power of thine 31 which thou hast prepared in the sight of all nations.  32 This is the light which shall give Revelation to the Gentiles, this is the glory of thy people Israel.”  33 The father and mother of the child were still wondering over all that was said of him, 34 when Simeon blessed them, and said to his mother, Mary, “Behold, this child is destined to bring about the fall of many and the rise of many in Israel; to be a sign which men will refuse to acknowledge; 35 and so the thoughts of many hearts shall be made manifest; as for thy own soul, it shall have a sword to pierce it.”  36 There was, besides, a prophetess named Anna, daughter to one Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser (a woman greatly advanced in age, since she had lived with a husband for seven years after her maidenhood, 37 and had now been eighty-four years a widow) who abode continually in the temple night and day, serving God with fasting and prayer.  38 She too, at that very hour, came near to give God thanks, and spoke of the child to all that patiently waited for the deliverance of Israel.

Joseph and his family returned to Nazareth after this:

Luke 2:39:
39 And now, when all had been done that the law of the Lord required, they returned to Galilee, and to their own town of Nazareth.

However, it is also very likely that they returned to Bethlehem on several occasions.  According to the Law of Moses, there were three annual pilgrimage feasts that Jews were required to make each year:

Luke 2:41:
41 Every year, his parents used to go up to Jerusalem at the paschal feast.

Exodus 23:14-17
14 “Thrice a year keep holiday in My Honour.  15 There is the feast of unleavened bread to be observed; for seven days, in the first month of spring, the month of thy rescue from Egypt, thou shalt eat unleavened bread in obedience to My Command.  Then, thou shalt present thyself before Me with gifts.  16 And there is the feast of harvest, when the fields thou hast sown reward thy labour with first-fruits; and another feast at the end of the year, when the last of thy crops has been gathered in.  17 Thrice, then, in the year all thy men folk must present themselves before the Lord thy God.

However, it is also possible that they did not return to Nazareth at this time but stayed in Bethlehem for a period of up to two years.  There is a minor discrepancy between the two Gospels.

Matthew 2:16
16 Meanwhile, when he found that the wise men had played him false, Herod was angry beyond measure; he sent and made away with all the male children in Bethlehem and in all its neighbourhood, of two years old and less, reckoning the time by the careful enquiry which he had made of the wise men.

The magi appeared in Jerusalem between one and two years after the birth of Christ (a.s.), and ask Herod the Great of the newborn “King of the Jews”.  They were directed to Bethlehem, and travelled there by night, following the star in the southern sky; Bethlehem is south of Jerusalem.

Matthew 2:1-16
1 Jesus was born at Bethlehem, in Juda, in the days of king Herod.  And thereupon, certain wise men came out of the east to Jerusalem, 2 who asked, “Where is he that has been born, the king of the Jews?  We have seen his star out in the east, and we have come to worship him.”  3 King Herod was troubled when he heard it, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 so that he assembled all the chief priests and learned men among the people, and enquired of them where it was that Christ would be born.  5 And they told him, “At Bethlehem, in Judah; so, it has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘And thou, Bethlehem, of the land of Judah, art far from the least among the princes of Judah, for out of thee will arise a leader who is to be the shepherd of my people Israel.’”

This is in reference to the prophecy by the prophet Micah (a.s.):

Micah 5:2
2 Bethlehem-Ephrata!  Least do they reckon thee among all the clans of Judah?  Nay, it is from thee I look to find a prince that shall rule over Israel.  Whence comes he?  From the first beginning, from ages untold!

Understandably, Herod was not pleased, and this lead to the Slaughter of the Innocents:

7 Then, summoning the wise men in secret, Herod questioned them closely upon the time of the star’s appearing.  8 And he sent them on their way to Bethlehem, saying to them, “Go and enquire carefully for the child, and when you have found him, bring me back word, so that I too may come and worship him.”  9 They obeyed the king, and went on their journey; and all at once the star which they had seen in the east was there going before them, until, at last, it stood still over the place where the child was.  10 They, when they saw the star, were glad beyond measure; 11 and so, going into the dwelling, they found the child there, with his mother, Mary, and fell down to worship him; and, opening their store of treasures, they offered him gifts, of gold and frankincense and myrrh.  12 Afterwards, because they had received a warning in a dream forbidding them to go back to Herod, they returned to their own country by a different way.  13 As soon as they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, and said, “Rise up, take with thee, the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt; there remain, until I give thee word.  For Herod will soon be making search for the child, to destroy him.”  14 He rose up, therefore, while it was still night, and took the child and his mother with him, and withdrew into Egypt, where he remained until the death of Herod, 15 in fulfilment of the word which the Lord Spoke by his prophet, “I called my son out of Egypt.”

The prophecy referenced here is from the prophet Hosea (a.s.):

Hosea 11:1
1 Soon fades the dawn; soon passes king of Israel.  Israel in his boyhood, what love I bore him!  Away from Egypt I beckoned him, henceforth my son.

The Slaughter of the Innocents is found only in the Gospel according to Matthew.  All other sources are derived from here.  There are no contemporary accounts of this event.  Even Josephus does not mention it in his “Antiquities”.  This does not necessarily mean the Slaughter of the Innocents never occurred.  The population of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus (a.s.) was barely over a thousand.  There could not have been more than 20 children within that age category in Bethlehem and surrounding villages.  In a time where Herod was killing off members of his own family, including three sons and a wife, and with all the events throughout the ancient world, 20 children being murdered would not even merit a footnote.

Matthew 2:16-18
16 Meanwhile, when he found that the wise men had played him false, Herod was angry beyond measure; he sent and made away with all the male children in Bethlehem and in all its neighbourhood, of two years old and less, reckoning the time by the careful enquiry which he had made of the wise men.  17 It was then that the word spoken by the prophet Jeremy was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and great mourning; it was Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because none is left.”

This is the passage from the Book of Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 31:15
15 Now, the Lord Says, “A voice is heard in Rama, of lamentation and bitter mourning; it is Rachel weeping for her children, and she will not be comforted, because none is left.”

In the later part of his reign, Herod the Great seemed consumed by paranoia in his bid to retain power.  He had several of his own sons, his second wife and his mother-in-law killed as perceived threats.  All this is recorded in “Antiquities” and elsewhere.  It was to the extent that Caesar Augustus reportedly said that it would be better to be Herod’s pig than Herod’s son; as a Jew, Herod could not eat pork.

When Herod the Great finally died, his son, Herod Archelaus was left in control of Judea.  In Egypt, Joseph was informed of these events in a dream:

Matthew 2:19-21
19 But as soon as Herod was dead, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in Egypt in a dream, 20 and said, “Rise up, take with thee the child and his mother, and return to the land of Israel; for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”  21 So he arose, and took the child and his mother with him, and came into the land of Israel.

When Joseph was informed that Herod Archelaus ruled Judea, he relocated his family to Nazareth, outside Herod Archelaus’ area of rule.

Matthew 2:22-23
22 But, when he heard that Archelaus was king in Judaea, in the place of his father, Herod, he was afraid to return there; and so, receiving a warning in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee; 23 where he came to live in a town called Nazareth, in fulfilment of what was said by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

This passage is problematic.  There is no such prophecy as far as we can find.  Perhaps the closest is this passages:

Genesis 49:26
26 This blessing which thy father gives thee draws strength from all the blessings which his own fathers bequeathed; they shall not cease until he comes, whom the everlasting hills await.  May they all rest on Joseph’s head, rest on his brow, who is separated, like a Nazirite, from his brethren.

Perhaps the word should be “Nazirite”, not “Nazarene”.  A “Nazirite” is defined in the Book of Numbers thus:

Numbers 6:1-21
1 This message, too, the Lord Gave to Moses 2 for the sons of Israel, man or woman that would be set apart for the Lord by taking the Nazirite vow must abstain from wine, and from all strong drink.  3 They must not drink vinegar made from wine or from any such liquor, nor any draught that is strained from the grape; they must not eat grapes, whether fresh or dried.  4 No fruit of the vine, grape or raisin, must pass their lips while the days of their consecration last.  5 The Nazirite, while he is set apart, must not pass any razor over his head until his consecration to the Lord has been completed; the growth of his hair is a sign of dedication.  6 Nor, during his time of consecration may he come near any dead body, 7 nor may he incur defilement when father or mother, brother or sister is buried; the hair is a sign of his dedication to his God, 8 and he is set apart for the Lord as long as the time of his consecration lasts.  9 If he is present when a death befalls unexpectedly, his consecrated head is defiled thereby; he must shave it there and then, on the very day when the need for purification arises, and again on the seventh day.  10 On the eighth day, he will offer to the priest two turtledoves or young pigeons at the tabernacle door, 11 and the priest will offer one by way of amends for the fault, and the other in burnt-sacrifice; then he will pray for pardon for the fault which the death occasioned.  On the same day, his head sanctified afresh by the priest, 12 he will dedicate to the Lord his new period of consecration, and offer a yearling lamb in amends.  His former days of consecration go for nothing, once they have been interrupted by defilement.  13 And this is the rite he must follow when the period of his vow is completed.  He will be brought to the tabernacle door, 14 and, there, he will make his offering to the Lord, a yearling he-lamb without blemish in burnt-sacrifice, a yearling ewe without blemish to make amends for fault, and a ram without blemish as a welcome offering; 15 a basket, too, of unleavened bread kneaded with oil, and cakes with oil poured over them, and the gifts proper to each.  16 All these, the priest will offer in the Lord’s Presence, performing there the sacrifice of amends and the burnt-sacrifice, 17 and immolating the ram before the Lord as a welcome-offering; at the same time, he will present the basket of unleavened things and the customary gifts.  18 Then, before the tabernacle door, the Nazirite will shave off the consecrated growth of hair, and throw it upon the fire that consumes his welcome offering.  19 And now the priest will take the ram’s shoulder, which has been cooking, and one of the loaves from the basket and one of the cakes, and put them into the hands of the newly shaved Nazirite, 20 who will give them back to him, so that he can offer them up in the Lord’s Presence.  These parts of the offering are set apart for the priest, like the breast that has been duly cut away, and the thigh.  After this, the Nazirite is free to drink wine again.  21 So must the time of his dedication be brought to an end, and so must his vow be fulfilled; apart from any special undertaking he may have made.  To achieve the purpose of such consecration, he must carry out the full intentions of his vow.

Archelaus was a terrible ruler.  He was eventually removed from power by the Romans, and replaced with a governor in 6 CE.  This is the reason Judea was ruled by a governor, Pontius Pilate, during Jesus’ (a.s.) adulthood.

The final event mentioned of Jesus’ (a.s.) childhood was the time when he was 12 and remained for three days in the Temple during one of their annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem.

Luke 2:41-52
41 Every year, his parents used to go up to Jerusalem at the paschal feast.  42 And when he was twelve years old, after going up to Jerusalem, as the custom was at the time of the feast, 43 and completing the days of its observance, they set about their return home.  But the boy Jesus, unknown to his parents, continued his stay in Jerusalem.  44 And they, thinking that he was among their travelling companions, had gone a whole day’s journey before they made enquiry for him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances.  45 When they could not find him, they made their way back to Jerusalem in search of him, 46 and it was only after three days that they found him.  He was sitting in the temple, in the midst of those who taught there, listening to them and asking them questions; 47 and all those who heard him were in amazement at his quick understanding and at the answers he gave.  48 Seeing him there, they were full of wonder, and his mother said to him, “My Son, why hast thou treated us so?  Think, what anguish of mind thy father and I have endured, searching for thee.”  49 But he asked them, “What reason had you to search for me?  Could you not tell that I must needs be in the place which belongs to my Father?”  50 These words which he spoke to them were beyond their understanding; 51 but he went down with them on their journey to Nazareth, and lived there in subjection to them, while his mother kept in her heart the memory of all this.  52 And so Jesus advanced in wisdom with the years, and in favour both with God and with men.

And thus, this is the story of our prophet, Jesus Christ (a.s.), as told by through the Bible.  There are things we accept, and there are things we do are skeptical about or outright reject, as pointed out.  For example, Muslims reject the existence of Joseph, and believe that Mary (a.s.) was a Perpetual Virgin, just like the Catholics.


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