How could Jesus hide in Egypt?
An argument often purported by the Hebrew Israelites to “prove” that the Messiah, Jesus, was a black man is the fact that he was taken to Egypt as a child by Joseph and Mary to escape persecution of King Herod
Matthew 2- 13And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. 14When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 15And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
It is asserted that Jesus would not have been able to hide in Egypt if he was not black as he would have stood out amongst the black Egyptians.
Often the Hebrew Israelite will accompany this claim with a meme (like the ones below)
There are a number of problems with this claim.
First of all it already takes as fact that the Egyptians were black. If the Egyptians were not indeed black then the argument simply fails at this stage. Therefore for the argument to have ANY validity at all the Egyptians simply MUST be Black. I am not going to argue against this in this writing, a full study into the colour of the Egyptians will be done in a separate writing. I merely bring to the attention that the Hebrew Israelites start with the presupposition that the Egyptians were black and then use this presupposition within their argument regarding Jesus hiding in Egypt and his inability to have done so had he been white.
I must also highlight that I myself do not believe that the Messiah,Jesus, was a ‘White’ Messiah.
However this does not actually affect my arguments against the Hebrew Israelite claims. Even if the Egyptians were black and Jesus was the whitest of white men, this in no way would affect the ability of Jesus to hide in Egypt. Although should we take the Egyptians as black and Jesus as white he would have stood out amongst the Egyptians, King Herod did NOT search for Jesus in Egypt. He did NOT kill the children of Egypt at all.
Matthew 2- 16Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
As we see Herod ONLY commanded that the Children of Bethlehem and the coasts thereof to be killed. There was no risk to the life of Jesus in Egypt and that was the whole purpose of Joseph taking Jesus to Egypt,away from King Herod’s persecution in the first place. Jesus would have been perfectly safe from King Herod in Egypt, seeing Herod’s persecution did not include Egypt, regardless of his colour or the colour of the Egyptians.
The claim of the Hebrew Israelites has no Biblical support.
Furthermore, Egypt at the time of Jesus would have had many ‘white’ people living there. Again the colour of Jesus and the Egyptians themselves would have no basis on the ability of Jesus to hide in Egypt.
At the time that Jesus was born, Egypt was under the control of the Roman Empire. The Romans were not black people. The Romans had taken control of Egypt in 30 BC around 25-30 years before Jesus was born having taken over from the Greeks who themselves had ruled in Egypt nearly 300 years prior to this in after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC. The Greeks also were not black people.
Non black people, The Greeks and Romans, had ruled Egypt for nearly 3 centuries before Jesus was born and taken to Egypt. Even if the Egyptians had been black a white Jesus would not have stood out amongst the white Greeks and Romans who were living in Egypt at the time.
What’s more, the fact is that there were also many Israelites living in Egypt at the time of the birth of Jesus as well. Israelite captives had been taken to Egypt as far back as the Assyrian captivity. We know that Jews were taken their during the Babylonian captivity and we also have historical evidence regarding the Grecian captivity where as many as 120,000 Jews were taken into captivity in Egypt under Ptolemy I. There is also evidence that many Jews went to Egypt, Alexandria in particular, during the Ptolemaic era through their own accord, attracted by the land and Ptolomy’s generosity and hospitality.
Jesus would have been the same colour as the other Israelites and so EVEN if we take extremes and say that EVERYONE else in Egypt was black at the time Jesus was taken there he still would not have stood out amongst the other Jewish families.
Again the colour of Jesus is simply irrelevant seeing one more Jewish family amongst those that were already living there would not have raised suspicion neither would they have drawn attention to themselves by being there. They simply would have just blended in with the rest.
Anyone making this argument either is ignorant of historical facts or through deliberate deception.