22 "But we can try," the Roman answered, returning her smile. As he passed Joseph he put his hand on his shoulder. "Be watchful," he warned, "there is danger."
23 Joseph understood and nodded.
THE VISIT OF THE MAGI AND THE FLIGHT TO EGYPT
According to tradition on the eighth day they took The Child, had Him circumcised, and He was named Jesus, as the angel had commanded.
2 Now, while these things were happening there came, to the court of Herod, from the east, three men of great wisdom, saying "Where is He that is born King Of The Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and come to worship Him that is sent of God."
3 When Herod heard these things he was troubled, for he knew the prophecies and feared their fulfillment. He gathered all His priests, scribes, and demanded of them "Where is it that The Christ should be born?"
4 They answered him, saying, "In Bethlehem of Judaea for this is what the Prophets have written; 'You bethlehem, in the land of Juda is not the last among your brethren, for out of you shall come Him that shall rule all the people of Israel."
5 Then Herod called the wise men to him and inquired of them when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem saying "Go and search dilligently for the Child. When you have found Him bring me word, that I, too, may come and worship Him."
6 The wise men departed, following the star until it stood over Behlehem. When the wise men had departed Herod called his chief captain. "Follow these men," he ordered. "If they return not to me with news of The Child, enter into Bethlehem and slay all male children two years old and under. If any escape, your life is forfeit."
7 So it was, in his ignorance Herod would fulfill the sad prophecy of Jeremy The Prophet. The wise men found The Child in the house where the family was staying. They came in unto Mary and worshipped The Child upon her lap, laying before Him precious treasures of gold, incense and myrrh.
8 As they were entering into the yard the Roman officer approached them. "Return not to Herod," he warned. "He fears the knowledge you possess and seeks The Child not to worship Him, but to slay Him, as he wants none to sit on the throne of Israel but his own blood. Depart to the north, and men will see you safely home."
9 He entered into the house, warning Joseph, saying "Arise, take The Child and his mother. Flee into Egypt. Stay you there, until I send you word. For Herod seeks The Child to destroy Him. Take these riches and go quickly!"
10 By night Joseph led Mary's burro from the city, but the soldiers of Herod came upon them. "Was this child born in Bethlehem?" their leader asked.
11 "No," Joseph answered. "We are pilgrims from the south going to Jerusalem. Why have you stopped us? We have done no wrong."
12 The soldier stared at him for a moment then turned to his men. "We can take no chance. Kill the child!"
13 One of his men drew sword and approached Mary, raising it to strike. But before the blow could fall, a shadow stepped from the darkness. There was the sound of metal striking metal. Herod's man backed off from the menacing blade of the Roman officer. "What happens here?" the officer demanded.
14 "Nothing that concerns you," Herod's captain answered. "It has come to our king's ear that people are claiming that there has been born in this city a usurper to his throne. King Herod has ordered the killing of all the male children two years and under to end such talk."
15 "And has Herod ordered you to shed Roman blood?" the Roman asked. "This woman is my concubine. This man is her servant. This Child is mine. This Child is a citzen of Rome."
16 Four of the officer's men appeared from the darkness, their shields high, their lances ready. "There are but five of you," Herod's man cried, "and twenty of us. You could not stand against us."
17 "Will you fight Rome?" came his challenge.
18 Herod's man knew better than even think it. He waved his men back "This Child is Roman!" he snapped. "He could not sit on Herod's throne. Let them pass!"
19 With the Roman soldiers on each side of them and the officer in the lead Mary and Joseph made good their escape. When they were gone a ways the officer halted and came to Joseph, giving him a letter. "These two men," he explained, "will take you to a caravan. It's leader is a friend. I have just learned that I am called back to Rome. This letter is from my commanding officer. It will get you shelter and protection with a garrison in Egypt. If there is any problem he will come to your aid."
20 Mary looked back to the city, weeping, for she could hear the wailing of grieving mothers. The Roman came and touched her hand. "Grieve not," he comforted. "My soldiers are in the city and they like nothing better than making fools of Herod's men. The life lost will be little, and Herod will soon pay the full price for his evil."
21 Mary returned his smile. It was not until some days later that she spoke to Joseph saying, "That kind Roman saved the life of our Child, but we do not even know his name."
22 Joseph smiled, answering her. "Do we need to know the name of God's angels to receive their blessings?"
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