One more time… First published on December 28, 2017.
In order to make people who oppose allowing certain individuals of the Islamic faith, with ties to terror into the country, and to legitimize the influx of Islamic refugees, some of whom have ties to terror, various groups are trying to tell the woefully uneducated people in this country that the Holy Family were refugees. The problem with this is that the modern-day concept of refugee did NOT exist during the era of Christ.
“...In the east, Augustus initially followed the republican tradition of allowing the rulers of conquered peoples, often called subject kings, to remain in power and to administer their own territories. This policy allowed Rome to send her legions elsewhere. Eventually, however, local squabbles over royal succession led the emperors to turn kingdoms like Judea, Armenia, and Galatia into Roman provinces. In those areas the former royal estates then became the emperor’s personal property, while the province as a whole was regarded as territory of the Roman state. The emperor governed the provinces that had a large military presence in (sic) western Asia, Africa, and Gaul through his deputies. Egypt became the most reliable source of food for Italy because it was so agriculturally productive. As a result, the Roman emperors kept Egypt as personal property, governed by a prefect, and the Egyptians worshipped (sic) the emperors as successors to their own great kings, the pharaohs…”
Judea and Egypt were part of the same ‘republic’ – Rome. They were conquered by Rome. They paid taxes to Rome. They were occupied by the Roman military. They were dominated by Rome. They were part of the same country, just provinces. In modern day terms, for those abjectly ignorant of history, Rome was divided up into provinces, which were like states. They were run by governors, appointed (allegedly) by the Senate. They were part of a whole ‘federal’ system, with Roman courts, Roman law, Roman business. Rome, the city, was the most important city of the world. As long as a person was NOT a salve (which the Holy Family were not, unless certain revisionists want to further change the narrative) nor in the military, they were FREE to move about the Roman world. In other words, Joseph, packing up the fam, and putting them on the family wagon, or truckster, was like anyone who lives in the United States moving from Florida to South Carolina, or New York to Tennessee, or Texas to New Mexico.
They were not refugees. They were fleeing from Herod, who had power, only within a certain geographic distance, rather like someone moving across a state line to get away from the highway patrol. A localized bureaucrat from Judea did NOT have authority in another province the same way governor of Texas has no authority in New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Louisiana.
People were free to travel throughout the land, when Augustus was emperor. Things began to change later, but at the time and even until the end of the Empire, if a person was not a slave, they could come and go where they wanted.
It was all the same dang country.
P. S. Joseph could afford a lousy donkey. They weren’t paupers folks. Quit applying modern sensibilities to a world 2000 years ago.