The Gospel of Matthew Series | Matthew 2:16-18 - "Massacre of the Innocents"
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MATTHEW 2:16-18 | "Massacre of the Innocents"
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
The actions of Herod the Great against the young boys of Bethlehem was known as “the Massacre of the innocents”. Bethlehem itself was a small village estimated to have had 20-30 males under the age of 2 at the time of Herod’s commands. Nevertheless, Herod’s actions here in the Gospel give adequate evidence to support the claims made by Josephus of Herod as an insane madman. Herod’s actions align with much of what is known about his reign towards the end of his life. Herod even went to such outrageous extents that he ordered the killing of his own sons for fear of their desire for his crown; as well as the imprisonment with the intent of execution of many high-ranking Jewish leaders in order to create mourning in the case of his death.
Written by Jeremy Stein, Content Development Coordinator for the Center for Holy Lands Studies.
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