23 Dec. Matthew 2:16-18

23 Dec.  King Herod kills the baby boys in Bethlehem

"When Herod saw that the wise men had tricked him, he was furious."

"So he gave an order to kill all the baby boys in Bethlehem and in the surrounding area who were two years old or younger. This was in keeping with the time [of the appearance of the star signalling the birth of the 'King of the Jews'] he learnt from the wise men."

"So what God had said through the prophet Jeremiah came true:
'A voice was heard in Ramah
of painful crying and deep sadness:
Rachel crying for her children.
She refused to be comforted,
because her children are dead.'" [Jeremiah 31:15]

          (Matthew 2:16-18)


Joseph had been warned by an angel in a dream to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt to escape King Herod’s wrath. They escaped by night, just before Herod ordered the murder of all baby boys born in and around Bethlehem during the last two years. This was to cover the birth of any male child since the star signifying the birth of a new "King of the Jews" had been seen by the 'magi' or 'wise men'.

The ‘massacre of the innocents’ was typical of Herod’s extreme behaviour recorded independently by the Jewish historian Josephus.

Herod was intensely jealous and chronically insecure. He had suffered a severe breakdown in 29BC after he murdered his wife Mariamne and his brother-in-law Joseph after falsely accusing them of having an affair.

As recently as 7BC, Herod had executed his own sons Aristobulus and Alexander (whom he accused of plotting to take the throne) and the following year, around the time of Jesus’s birth, he tortured each of his slave-girls in turn to reveal any further threats to his authority. In 4BC Herod executed his own son Antipater.

The photo shows a painting of the Massacre of the Innocents by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (painted in 1565-67).

You can read more about the persecution of the Holy family by Herod the Great @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/the-bible-journey/3-jesuss-childhood-journeys-b/the-holy-family-flee-to-egypt/

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