Skip to comments.Herod and the Bethlehem Massacre
Posted on 02/02/2014 7:38:17 PM PST by ZULU
King Herod is remembered as the evil King who brutally massacred the children of Bethlehem, trying to kill the newborn Jesus and his name has been reviled ever since. But is the story true?
To call this series defective and illogical is not correct. Satanic and anti-Judaeo-Christian is better.
Nevermind the inconsistency of the approach to David and Herod. There are numerous sources in history which indicate that Herod was every bit ruthless enough to commit such an act. Josephus failure to mention this means nothing. And the veracity of Josephus himself has been questioned many times by many people.
I thin this channel and this series are just another example of recent efforts by certain academics to destroy the Judaeo-Christian bedrock of America and demean western civilization and culture.
Josephus was a Roman sycophant when he did much of his writing, IIRC.
Remember, the wise men took a different route home to avoid Herod.
It was prophesied in the OT
Bingo. He sold out. And his views on Herod, a ruler who lived BEFORE him are not reliable - not only because of his personal opinions, but also due to lack of publicly available information at that time. We may know about what went on at any given time in the Roman Empire than any individual citizen did - at least on an imperial policy basis.
I don’t watch the History Channel anymore. They’ve always presented those ‘Mysteries of the Bible’ shows as a way to debunk the Bible. Also, every documentary is done in the same format these days. They show some re-enactment footage. Then various talking heads are shown putting in their 2 cents worth. No new facts are really presented. I am a history buff and read lots of history, and I think most of the History Channel documentaries have about as much info as the dust jacket flaps of the books I read.
Right and they were from the east - Magi from Babylon. The idea of one them being black or even the number is absurd and without Biblical support. Yet that is presented in the video.
Its amazing that the same people who told us David, Moses, Solomon and Christ never even existed a few decades ago are now re-interpreting what we believe about them.
David was in many ways a brutal king. All ancient kings were. They did not have either the technology or management theory to administrate their kingdoms in any other way. What we call brutality they would call a legal system. Imposing 21 century morality on government 2900 years ago is duplicitous.
Events such as Herod killing the children of a village would also not raise Roman eyebrows. The Roman army would at times use little boys in conquered areas as target practice for their javelins(Pilum). The Romans sort of invented the Police State
Yes. Herod the 'Great' was a pretty brutal SOB by the time of his death. It is said that, knowing that he was hated by one and all, he had over one hundred members of the leading families (I believe this was in Hebron) imprisoned when he was nearing his death with the instructions that they should be killed when he died so that there would be mourning (and not just celebrations) when he died. Fortunately his minions did not follow his instructions. I presume they just had a 'ding-dong the witch is dead' hoe-down.
Slaughtering innocent infants certainly would've fit Herod's M.O.
“David was in many ways a brutal king. All ancient kings were. “
The Bible presents David as a flawed human as we all are, but still a man who worshiped the one true God. He did not act like a Pagan King.
Besides, as I point out, the same people who told us a short time ago these personalities were figments of Biblical fantasy are now explaining them for us.
I agree with what you say about using contemporary standards to judge people of another age.
The Romans, while brutal enough, lived in a brutal world and they did create a society in which people were bound by laws, judges and courts and not the personal whims of a king - at least as long as you didn’t cross Caesar personally.
Herod’s father, Herod Agrippa, was a friend of Augustus and so Judea and the Herodian Dynasty were given special treatment by Rome. Jews did not have to worship Caesar, graven images including the legionary standards,were covered in Jerusalem, Jews were not conscripted into the Roman army, and the taxes imposed by Rome on Judea were less onerous than those imposed by the Temple hierarchy. Rome also kept away those troubling Parthians and other invaders. But no one likes a foreign overlord and that included Judeans, regardless of how mild the Romans were.
I never heard any stories about Romans using captured boys for target practice with Pila. Aside from Judea, the Romans made an effort to incorporate conquered people into their government and military, and eventually citizenship was expanded to all residents of the Empire. As an aside, Jews composed a large percentage of the population of the Empire with large numbers of residents in all Roman cities. Despite the revolts that occurred in Judea, there were no acts of persecution against resident Jews at the time throughout the Empire, many of whom, like Paul, were Roman Citizens.
Totally agree. Look at the Spartan Krypteia.
Good analysis. I totally agree. Such an act would have been unlikely by David.
We have to remember that Bethlehem had perhaps 300-400 residents at that time. As Herod had all boys under two years of age killed, the ‘masacre of the innocents’ may have only involved 20 little boys. In Roman (and much of ancient) history, that was a number of dead that was not even worthy of note, especially as they were children, not people of note.
Josephus was the David Gergen of his time.
How do you positively know this to tell us to "remember" the occasion?
The “King Herod” of our day is killing not only male babies but females also. And it is before they are even born!
The slaughter of the innocents really happened. I believe this King Herod (The Great, or The Butcher), who was an Idumean appointed puppet king of the Romans, not of the line of David, or even Judah, was aware of this coming king, via his religious advisors, to be a possible threat to his cozy position. The boys in Bethlehem were mere statistics in this paranoid creep’s rampage of killing those he felt were a threat to his kingship.
That, and the Bible says it happened, so it’s truth. Just like it says one day “every tongue will confess, and every knee shall bow...”
The 3 kings is a western construct -- Eastern Orthodox and the Assyrian Church have numerous people and don't call them kings
Also, you are 100% correct that "Magi" or Zoroastrian priests would have come from the Parthian empire. They were most likely Iranis..
on wikipeadia and i recall this from some other source:
Herod later executed several members of his own family, including his wife Mariamne I. a few babies is just another day in life of this guy.
Regarding the Massacre of the Innocents, although Herod was guilty of many brutal acts including the killing of his wife and two of his sons, no other source from the period refers to the massacre. Since Bethlehem was a small village, the number of male children under the age of two might not exceed 20, and this may be the reason for the lack of other sources for this history. Modern biographers of Herod tend to doubt the event took place.
except there was no room at inn because everybody had to go back and get counted so there may have been more babies under two. still killing 20 babies is not a small thing. Whatever the channel was it can’t be called history. Socialists always rewrite it.
Politically correct translations of the Bible (NRSV) have rewritten the story so all the children are killed (boys and girls). Of course, this would have made no sense in context of the culture at the time.
Nor would it have made sense in the context of killing a 'King' of the Jews. NRSV was probably trying to make sure girls weren't excluded from the narrative, they had to make sure Herod was viewed as inclusive, not like them Christians.
If we could just resurrect Uriah the Hittite, I am certain he would agree about David's brutality...
Nope. They were from what is now Turkey, most likely from around what is now SanliUrfa province, only a few miles from Haran, where Abraham sojourned with his father Terah and brother Nahor, until Terah died. Abram then left, but Nahor and his progeny stayed in this region, fro whence came Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel.
This region is called Anatolia to this day, not because it was east of Canaan/Israel, but because it was easterly of Macedonia, and therefore called in Koine Greek The Anatolia, and translated in our language "The East". Thus, what was called "The East" in the Hellenized Near East was actually direct north to northwest of Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Here are the phrases demonstrating what the Bible Greek says, from Matthew 2:1&2 --
ιδου μαγοι απο ανατολων
behold Magi from Antolias
(the two "Easts"--Anatolia proper between the Mediterranean Sea to the diagonal Taurus Mountains, and Southeastern Anatolia east of the Taurus range)
ειδομεν γαρ αυτου τον αστερα εν τη ανατολη
for we beheld the star of him in The Anatolia
The Magi did not come from Babylonia, IMHO. Think of the tableland of the Anatolias as the cradle of civilization proceeding from Noah and his sons. Think of the very, very ancient societies of Gobekli Tepe (click here), the observatory(?) of the astrologists in the area of Haran, from which Semitic/Aramaic religious tradition descend the Jews.
How about being the bearer of bad news (2 Sam. 1:1-16)? Or the husband of a woman of whom David took a particular fancy (Nabal/Abigail, 1 Sam. 25:1-42; Uriah/Bathsheba, 2 Sam. 11:1-24)
David repented when confronted by Nathan and God visited punishment on him for this act which he acknowledged as just.
Hardly the acts of a brutal, violent pagan king or a Herod.
I’ve always noted the small populations of the ancient world and intend to make a study of it when I retire (someday). Most of our “towns” today would qualify as cities in those times - we’re just missing the walls and other protective structures.
For example the population of Bethlehem you mention is only half the size of the small town of 800 I grew up in in the midwest... the type you miss if you blink when your driving through.
As for Abigail, God killed Nabal, David took haer as a wife after, not the same thing he did to Uriah.
He coveted Bathsheba, committed adultery and had Uriah hung out to dry in battle when he had been a faithful servant. Uriah wouldn't go home and sleep with his wife when his compatriots were engaged in a campaign. This meant David couldn't hide the sin from the people, so he had Uriah killed to get her.
Cruel, unjust, you bet. When confronted by Samuel, David repented and was forgiven. Not very pagan or brutal. Yet he was a king who waged war and warring without the use of stand-off weaponry is considerably more brutal than today even though the results may be similar.
I am well preserved for my age, but I must ask you, 'How do 'you positively know' that there weren't 300-400 people in Bethlehem?'
My figure comes from my Pastor's explanation as to why the massacre of the innocents only appears in the Bible. According to a Wiki article, a 16th century Ottoman census showed 287 adult male tax payers (ie: non-Muslims). Jerusalem was the capital and Bet Leḥem merely a small town. If you have a copy of Quirinius' census showing figures that are radically different, I'm sure historians would be interested in your presenting such information.
How fitting that the Promise came full circle—from Abraham’s departure at God’s behest and promise of a great nation, to the Magi traveling to visit Abraham’s progeny that was most certainly a fulfillment of a Promise. God writes and excellent story.
Matt 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. KJV