Before King Herod seeks Jesus’ life, right after his birth, and the wise men don’t return, an angel warns the holy family to flee to Egypt. Careful readers have heard this story before, yet the ruler was Solomon and the one who fleed to Egypt was Jereboam (1 Kings 11:29-40).
Herod acts here as the replay of a disobedient Solomon. Just Solomon drove away Jereboam in the midst of his disobedience–a fault which eventually cracks the kingdom after his death. Jereboam eventually ruled over the ten tribes, while Jesus moves to Nazareth (part of Jereboam’s administrative territory) upon his return to Israel.
Both these are patterned upon Jacob and Joseph’s flee to Egypt. Jesus too will ‘split the kingdom’ of the Jews, turning brother against brother. Jesus is the divisive king, who intervened in world history, making people decide whom they will follow–Jereboam or Solomon? Will they follow Jesus or Herod? Christ or Caesar?