He Killed All The Male Children
Matthew 2:16 (ESV) – 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.
The Scriptures are not a book of fantasy stories detached from the real world. They do not present a pie-in-the-sky look at the world. No, they present the world as it truly is. We read stories that resonate with us because they mirror the troubles and struggles we also face. The Bible provides us a consistent story about faith and hope in a world of trouble and shows us examples of people who had to cling to that faith and hope in their own lives.
Our passage today is an example of this sort of thing. The text is often read at Christmas time as the events of Jesus’ birth are recounted. This story highlights Herod’s obsession with trying to locate and eliminate this rival king, born in Bethlehem. We read, “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.”
Herod was a paranoid king. He had many sons vying for his spot when he died. He constantly looked over his shoulder. The children and their mothers poisoned one another in an effort to jockey for position and to be the heir. In fact, Herod was so ruthless, that as he was dying, he ordered that many of the prominent Jewish leaders be gathered up and killed. Why? Because he knew the Jews would be happy he was dead, so in order to ensure weeping at the time of his death, he killed many prominent leaders so Israel would have something to cry about.
This is the Herod that heard from the Magi about a king being born in Bethlehem and sends orders to kill all baby boys two years old or under. Hundreds of young boys are murdered because this man hates Christ. How many times have you heard this story without stopping to consider the depths of sorrow of those families who lost sons? What reads as a detail of a story that quickly continues on would have been an event that changed the lives of those families forever. The fathers and mothers of those children would grieve the loss of those children until their dying day.
The Bible provides us a true picture of what life in a broken world looks like. Tragedies and calamities fill our social media feeds and evening news broadcasts. But we also have hope in the midst of these sorrows. The baby born in Bethlehem, sought by Herod, is the Savior of the world and He is coming again to put the world to rights forever. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Amid tragedies and calamities that fill our social media and news daily, there is hope. Our hope is in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, and He is coming again to put the world to rights forever!
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does Herod order the murder of all the sons of Israel two years old and younger?
- Why is it important that the Bible show stories like this of the world?
- How does today’s devotional encourage you to look to Christ for your hope?
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