At this point in the story of what happened around the time of Jesus’ birth and right after the birth, Matthew has done a great job proving that Jesus is the Messiah, the one that God promised from the Old Testament who would save the people from their sins and reign forever. He has given scripture after scripture from the Old Testament and linked them to events around Christ. He got downright specific. The prophets from the Old Testament knew that Mary would be a virgin, that there would be men coming from India to worship Jesus with gifts, that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem, that Joseph would take Jesus and Mary to Egypt to escape the wrath of Herod, and that Herod will kill a lot of Jewish baby boys. What Matthew has pointed out is astounding! Aristotle says we only need three reasons to prove that our point is true, but Matthew, so far, has found five reasons that Jesus is the one the prophets were pointing to. If you want to know the scripture references and when they were written, they are all in my proceeding Romanian grammar blogs. At the point in the story where we are, Joseph is bringing Jesus and Mary back from Egypt. The come into Judea, but they don’t stay in Judea. That is what this verse is about.
Matei 2:22: Dar cand a auzit ca in Iudea imparateste Arhelau, in locul tatalui sau Irod, s-a temut sa se duca acolo; si fiind institat de Dumnezeu in vis a plecat in partile Galileii.
Dar cand a auzit = “But, when he heard.” “Dar” means “but.” “Cand” should have an inverted “v” over the “a,” so that “a” is the letter that is not in English that is said down in your throat like a grunt. “Cand” means “when.” “A auzit” comes from “a auzi” which means “to hear.” “A auzit” is in present perfect compus tense. This tense is often used as simple past tense in English. The “a” tells you that it is third person singular, and we know that this story is telling about what Joseph was doing to protect Jesus, so the pronoun imbedded here is “he” (el). The “a” before “a auzit” and the “t” on the end both tell you that it is past tense. “Cand a auzit” is a “when clause.” Remember, a clause needs both a subject and a verb, and “a auzit” has both the subject and the verb in it.
ca in Iudea imparteste Arhelau = “that Archelaus ruled in Judea.” “Ca” is “that,” a relative pronoun. Relative pronouns begin relative clauses, and this is a relative clause that is used like reported speech. It is telling what Joseph heard. “In” means the same thing it does in English, but it needs an inverted “v” over the “i.” It is actually the same letter as the “a” in “cand,” and it is pronounced the same way. They are written as “a” and “i,” and not as the same letter because this sound is written as an “a” inside a word and as an “i” at the beginning of a word. “In” is pronounced “uhn,” down in the throat where we don’t say any sounds in English, but it is a preposition just as “in” is a preposition in English. The object noun of this preposition, “in,” is “Iudea.” “In Iudea” is a prepositional phrase.
“Imparateste” is a verb meaning, “he rules.” It is simple present tense, third person singular. This means he was ruling everyday, all the time. “Imparateste” begins with that “i” with the inverted “v” over it like “in” does. Both of the “a’s” in “imparaseste” should have a mark over them that looks like the smile on a happy face, or a sideways parenthesis “).” Those “a’s” are pronounced “uh.” The first “t” in “imparateste” should have a comma attached to the bottom of it, and it is pronounced “ts.” The “s” in “imparateste” should also have a comma attached to the bottom of it, and it is pronounced “sh.” This makes the whole word pronounced something like this in Englsih: “uhmpuhruhtsehshtay.”
“Arhelau” is a name, “Archelaus” in English. This is a subject, and it comes after the verb here instead of before like in English. In Romanian, the word order is not quite as written in stone as the English word order. The speaker puts whatever word he feels is more important first. The translator thought it was more important that someone was ruling than who was actually doing the ruling, so he put the verb before the subject.
In locul tatalui sau Irod = “In his father, Herod’s, place.” This is a prepositional phrase. “In” is the same “in” we saw before that means the same thing as the English “in,” but has an inverted “v” over the “i,” and is pronounced down in the throat like a grunt. “Locul” means “the place.” “Loc” in a noun that means “place,” and “ul” is a masculine definite article that means “the.” This means that “loc” is also a masculine noun because the have to match. “In locul” is a prepositional phrase with “in” as the preposition and “loc” as the object of the preposition. This object noun of the preposition has a lot of modifiers.
The word “tatal” means “father.” The second “a” in “tatal” should have a mark over it that looks like a smile on a happy face, and it is pronounced “uh.” The first “a” in “tatal” is pronounced like the “a” in “father.” The “lui” on the end of “tatalui” means “of.” In English, we would say “in the place of his father.” The word order is completely different in Romanian. As you can see “of” (lui) comes after “tatal” (father). Sometimes “lui” means “his,” but in a place like this, it means “of,” and the next word: “sau” means “his.” “Irod” is the name “Herod.” In English, “his” would come before “father,” but not in Romanian. “Sau” (his) comes after “tatallui.”
s-a temut sa se duca acolo = “He was afraid to go there” or “He was afraid to take himself there.” “S-a” is a contraction. If we pull the contraction apart, we get “se” and “a.” “Se” is a reflexive pronoun, and since it is talking about Joseph, we know that it is “himself.” Joseph had himself scared. “A” before “temut” and the “t” after “temut” makes “a temut” to be present perfect compus, what they use like we use our simple past tense. “A temut” is third person singular” which means the pronoun embedded in it is “he” (el) because we know that this is talking about Joseph.” “Sa” is the “to” that we use before an infinitive. “Se,” again, is “himself,” and “duca” is the other part of the infinitive and means “take,” so “sa se duca” means “to take himself,” or “to go.” “Acolo” means “there.”
si fiind instintat = “and being warned.” “Si” should have a comma below the “s,” and is pronounced like the English word “she,” but it means “and.” “Fiind” is a verbal that comes from “a fi” (to be). Whenever you have “ind” or “and” on the end of a Romanian verb, it is the “ing” that comes on the end of an English verb. A verbal looks like a verb, but it isn’t. It comes from a verb and is another part of speech. In this case “fiind” is used like an adverb describing “instintat” (warned) which is a past participle of the verb used as an adjective to describe Joseph. “Fiind” is pronounced “fee-eend.”
de Dumnezeu = “from God” or “of God.” This is a prepostional phrase with “de” as the preposition and “Dumnezeu” as the object proper noun of the preposition.
in vis = “in a dream.” Again, “in” should have an inverted “v” over it, and it is pronounced “uhn,” down in your throat. It means the same thing as the English preposition “in.” “Vis” means “dream.” Often, there is an indefinite article in Romanian, but they don’t actually announce it, and here they meant “a,” but didn’t say it. The indefinite article means not a particular one, so this is not saying a particular dream, but any dream.
a plecat = “he left.” “A plecat” is third person singular present perfect compus tense, the tense that they often use like our simple past tense. We know that “he” (el) is imbedded in “a” because the verse is talking about Joseph. The “a” and the “t” on the end of “plecat” together tell us this is past perfect compus tense.
in partile Galileii = “to parts of Galilee.” Again, “in” means the same thing as the English preposition, “in,” but in English, we would say “to” here instead of “in.” It is a difference in word choice between the languages. However, the Romanian “in” needs an inverted “v” over the “i,” and the word is pronounced “uhn,” down in your throat, very unlike any English sound. “Partile” means “‘parts.” There should be a mark over the “a” that looks like a smile on a happy face, and the “a” is pronounced “uh.” The “t” in “partile” should have a comma attached to the bottom of it and is pronounced “ts.” The “le” on the end of “partile” tell you this word is plural and has an “s” on it in English.
“Galileii” also has endings on it. The original word is “Galilei” meaning “Galilee.” The extra “i” on the end means “of,” so “Galilei” means “of Galilee.” The word itself is a prepositional phrase. The preposition is the “i,” and the object of the preposition is “Galilei.” If you are confused about how to pronounce something like this, it is “Gahleelay-ee.”
Let’s put this verse all together: “But when he heard that Archelaus ruled in Judea, in his father’s place, he was afraid to go there, and being warned by God in a dream, he left to part to Galilee.”
Again, we have Joseph going to sleep and waking up with the answer. Have you ever gone to sleep with something weighing on your mind and woke up with the answer the next day? He went to bed scared when he found out that the son of Herod, the man who had been trying to find Jesus to kill him, was on the throne. We have an expression in English. We day, “I’ll sleep on it.” That means that we are too tired to think about a problem, and we just can’t figure it out now, but the next day, when we wake up, somehow, our brains have worked the problem out in our sleep. Joseph seems to do this a lot. I have done it too. When I was in graduate school, I used to go to sleep not knowing what to write about for my assignment, but I would wake up in the middle of the night with the answer. I had to write it right then because if I didn’t, I would forget. I came up with great papers like that! I got almost a complete 4.00 in my graduate program which means almost perfect grades.
God was sending messages to Joseph, and he was using the natural means that the had already put in place, an ability we all have. The first chapter of Hebrews tells us that angels are messengers from God, and that angels come in the form of fire and winds. Fire and winds are natural occurring events to us. God uses natural occurring events to communicate with us. Dreams are natural occurring events, and God was leading Joseph through his dreams.
Joseph was a good father. He was doing his best to try to protect his family. God led him so that he could lead his family and take care of them. That is the function of a good father, to lead and take care of their family. Joseph was the kind of father everyone wants. I always knew when I was growing up and after I got older too that if I got in trouble, my dad would always be there to protect me. Joseph was there to protect his family too.