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Matthew 2:16-18 – Slaughter of the Innocents

MT2:16 Now Herod, realizing he had been out-smarted[1] by the magi was greatly enraged. He sent off [soldiers] into Bethlehem, and in the surrounding districts, and had all the boys from two years and under – by reason of the time carefully ascertained from the magi – slaughtered.[2] MT2:17 And so was fulfilled the thing spoken by the prophet Jeremiah,[3] saying: MT2:18 “A voice was heard in Ramah – much weeping and wailing – Rachel weeping for her children and she was unwilling to be comforted because her children were no more.” [Jeremiah 31:15]

21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] or Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

[1] Out-smarted: Or, KJV: mocked; TCT: trifled with; LAM: tricked.

[2] Slaughtered: Or, WEY: massacred; BER: murder all the boy babies.

[3] Jeremiah: At Jeremiah 31:15. The prophetic context is the restoration of Israel after the Babylonian captivity. The Nazarene is later to quote Isaiah 61:1-3 which has a similar application giving it a second or spiritual application to his ministry.

File:Duccio di Buoninsegna - Slaughter of the Innocents (detail) - WGA06764.jpg

Slaughter of the Innocents (detail) – between 1308 and 1311, Duccio (1260–1318) , tempera on wood, Museo dell’Opera metropolitana del Duomo

 

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Preceding articles:

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Matthew 2:7-12 – Pawns of Herod, the Magi Find the ‘Child’

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:8-14 – Angels and Shepherds in the Night

Nazarene Commentary Luke 2:15-20 – Shepherds Find the Infant Christ

Matthew 2:13-15 – Escaping the Slaughter by a Flight to Egypt

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  • Murder of the Innocents (Repost – 2014) (unsettledchristianity.com)
    Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (Mat 2:16-18 NLT
  • Matthew 02:01-23, “Responses to the Newborn King” (ezracommentary.wordpress.com)
    The Bible calls Him King of kings and Lord of lords. He is not nominated or appointed. He is not elected and he cannot be voted out of office. His kingship does not depend on your vote. He does not become king by some parliamentary procedure, and he cannot be removed from office by a motion of no-confidence. Jesus was born King. It is his nature to rule. Look at the prophecy of Micah again in v. 5-6,
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    Herod was a man who, because of jealousy, had killed his favorite wife. He had killed two of his own sons. Herod would accept no rivals. He would attempt to kill the newborn King.

    History has had its fill of men like Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein. This past few years we have seen rulers in North Africa and the Middle East and North Korea kill thousands of innocent people to maintain their position as ruler.

    King Herod would not hesitate to do away with a child who was born King of the Jews. So when Herod was troubled, everyone was troubled. Someone has aptly said that Herod was more interested in saving his throne than in saving his soul!

  • Period plausibility and the gospel narratives (timescolumns.typepad.com)
    One of Matthew’s abiding messages is that Christ is the new Moses. Among much else, this accounts for the parallels between the infant Jesus and the Old Testament law-giver, who also evaded a slaughter of male Jewish babies when he was hidden in the bulrushes.
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    Jesus “is acting like the God who chose Israel in the first place. In the Old Testament God had chosen his cluster of slaves to be a people; and Jesus, in choosing his fishermen, tax collectors and prostitutes, repeats and re-embodies this moment of choice: he claims a creative liberty for himself that belongs strictly to God”. So here, on a Christian understanding, is a human life so shot through with the purposes of God that early believers could speak of it as God’s nature projected onto the screen of history. As the author of the Letter to the Colossians put it within a few decades of the crucifixion, in Christ, “all the fullness of God was embodied”.
  • The Christmas Story (lestark1.wordpress.com)
    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.
  • Prophecy Fulfilled: Flight Into Egypt (born2bfree.wordpress.com)
    Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.  The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.
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    Judges 13:5 is many times referenced in relation to Matthew 2:23.  The similarity can be recognized when we see how, at the time referenced in Judges 13, because of their sins against Him, God had allowed the children of Israel to be brought into bondage to the Philistines.  Then, He raised up a deliverer in the man Samson, to deliver Israel from the Philistines.
  • Hosea Say What? (christianreformedink.wordpress.com)
    Hosea (speaking for the Lord) is harkening back to the Exodus. He is remembering when Israel was just a little toddler of a nation, and God delivered them out of bondage in Egypt. “Many years ago, by Moses and the plagues and all that, I called my son Israel out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery”–that’s what Hosea 11 is about.

    But look again at Matthew. “Out of Egypt I called my son” here refers to God hiding Jesus away in Egypt to avoid Herod’s decree and then calling him back from Egypt when Herod is dead. This seems to be unrelated to anything Hosea was talking about. How can Matthew say this flight to Egypt fulfilled the words of the prophet Hosea when the two events seem connected by no more than the word Egypt? How can this possibly be a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy? Hosea say what?

  • Remember the Dragon: Christmas is an Invasion (gospelbondservant.com)
    For those of us raised in middle America, this genocide was completely left out of our Christmas understanding. Our visions of the nativity were shaped by the lovely crèche displays in parks, church lawns, and on many coffee tables. And while I still love those tableaus very much, I am convinced they are an almost total re-write of the story.

    On the night before the military “massacre of the innocents,” as it has come to be called, another urgent moment took place:
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    I think if this had informed our understanding of the birth of Christ, it would have better prepared us for our own lives, and the events unfolding in the world today. I think far fewer of us would be so… puzzled by the way things are going. I think we would better understand the words of the grown-up Jesus when He said,

  • Grief knows no color: Preaching peace on earth and goodwill toward men during a race war. (mariomurilloministries.wordpress.com)
    As surely as Herod ordered the death of baby boys in Bethlehem Satan has ordered the deaths of young black men and police officers in America.  After he has done his dirty work the devil sits back and laughs at how we choose sides and ignore him altogether.

    The best way, the fastest way and the only way to destroy America is set herself against herself in ravenous hate…hate that will eat us up alive, hate that will blind us to the one thing we should be doing right now.

    Why is all of this happening near Christmas?  To discredit its power and to seal our doom by cutting us off from the only hope we have.

  • Sermon: “Covenants” (robertsmusings.com)
    From among a series of oracles of restoration of Israel from Babylonian captivity pledging the restoration of the city of Jerusalem and its inhabitants.
  • Conversion (youngcalvinists.org)
    Shia Labeouf, a popular Hollywood actor, recently claimed to have converted to Christianity. ” I found God but not in a flaky sort of way” is a sanitized version of what he said. It’s not very often that a celebrity claims to convert to Christianity, especially in the day and age we live in, where the Bible is often regarded as a folktale at best. What are we to make of Shia Labeouf’s conversion? Is it authentic? Is it sincere? God is ultimately the judge of such things, but I personally tend to doubt its sincerity.
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