King David’s Early Years

c. 4 BC–AD 30 Matthew; Mark; Luke; John

Jesus was born towards the end of Herod’s reign as king of the Jews.

Matthew and Luke, the two gospel-writers who give an account of his birth, agree that he was born in Bethlehem. Matthew tells how his parents took him to Egypt to e the danger threatened by Herod, who was disturbed by rumours that a new king of the Jews had been born.

The Flight of Jesus into Egypt and His Return.
Image source: © Carta, Jerusalem

When, after Herod’s death, they returned from Egypt, they did not settle in Bethlehem, which lay in the territory now controlled by Herod’s son Archelaus. Instead, they moved north to Galilee and settled in Nazareth. There Jesus grew up from childhood to manhood. Indeed, it was in Galilee that Jesus spent most of his life.

When he was a boy of nine or ten years old, everybody around must have been talking of the revolt which Judas the Galilean had raised against the Romans in Judea.

The Galileans were not directly affected by the revolt, nor by the census which sparked it off, for they paid their taxes to the tetrarch Herod Antipas, not to Caesar. But the news must have caused much excitement in Nazareth and other places in Galilee.