12 Myths of Christmas: Herod Kills Babies
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. (Matthew 2:16)
Myth #2: Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents
The story in Matthew goes that a group of Magi arrive in Jerusalem and ask Herod where the new King of the Jews is. They saw a star in the sky and they believed it to be a sign of the coming of the Jewish Messiah. After talking with the Jewish Scripture Brainiacs, Herod learns that the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem. Herod tells the Magi to go visit the newborn king and then come back and tell him where he is so he can also go worship him.
Of course Herod doesn’t want to worship the baby, he wants to kill him. Unfortunately for Herod, the Magi experienced a voice in a dream that told them not go back and tell Herod but instead to just head home. So they did. When Herod hears about this he is furious. Since he can’t kill the baby king he does the next best thing–kill all the babies. And this is where you get the bible quote above from.
This is like the Terminator on a much larger scale. The Terminator would be programmed to kill all babies under 2 that were named John Connor. Of course Jesus and his family escape Herod’s wrath by retreating to Egypt and hiding out until Herod’s death in 4 BCE. I find it odd that Joseph and Mary would run and hide out, just like Sarah Connor.
Sarah Connor did not have God on her side. Joseph and Mary did. Why couldn’t God protect this child better? Couldn’t God just make Herod have a heart attack before he decreed the death of all these innocents? I mean, are you trying to tell me that God did not see this coming?
Think about this for a second. If these orders were followed through, which if we go by Matthew’s Gospel, we are saying that they did, than hundreds, perhaps thousands of little baby boys, 2 and under were murdered. Their mothers watched their own babies slaughtered right before their eyes. The screams and cries of tiny babies filled the ears of all that lived in and around Bethlehem. This is absolutely horrific. Many readers of the story take from it that Jesus was saved and that Herod is a bad guy. But I see that God either allowed so many babies to be murdered or he wasn’t able to prevent it. Either way, he can’t be much of a god and deserves no worship whatsoever.
Thankfully this event never happened. Outside of the Bible, there is no account of Herod’s slaughter of the innocent. Josephus, who is like the super historian of all that went down during the 1st Century in Judea, never mentions this. He would have most certainly mentioned an event as diabolical as this, especially because he wrote about Herod. And if you are someone who believes the tiny mention of Jesus by Josephus is real, which I do not, it makes it even more strange that he wouldn’t mention the slaughter that was caused by the birth of Jesus.
There is nothing at all in any documents about this event. Surely, such a heinous act would warrant someone writing it down. So why wasn’t it? Because it never happened. It is a made up story.
So you have to ask yourself, why would the author of Matthew write this down if it didn’t happen? The answer is in the next few verses of the Gospel.
17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
Ah-Ha! A prophecy, and not the cool monster movie kind. You notice prophecy fulfillment quite often in Matthew. He has events happened and then he rips something out of Jewish scripture to prove that Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. Matthew is not creating a new religion with his Gospel. He is actually creating a new Jewish sect. Matthew’s Christianity tells us that we are to follow Jewish Law. How many Christians do you know that are Kosher?
Matthew knows that the Jewish Messiah must be born in Bethlehem. So when writing his Gospel he makes sure to choose Bethlehem as the location of the birth. He also wants to fulfill Jeremiah’s prophecy so he invents Herod’s Slaughter of the Innocents. It’s that simple.
When Christians try to point to Old Testament scripture and show me how Jesus was predicted, I just have to laugh. The writers of the New Testament were well versed in Jewish Scripture. It’s no miracle or fulfillment of a prophecy if I invent a character who did something that I knew was supposed to happen. It isn’t a prophecy if a real person knows what is going to happen and then does it.
If I read a modern day prophecy which read the Messiah will go to the top of the Empire State Building wearing red pajamas and then I go do that exact thing, that isn’t miraculous and I am not anyone special because of it. It only means I read something, knew about it and did it. Another example could be if someone predicted that a god was going to be born in Wildwood, NJ. So I drive there with my pregnant wife and she has the baby there. That doesn’t mean anything because I knew about this prophecy. Now if I didn’t know, that is a different story, it still doesn’t prove anything except coincidence. However, we know the author of Matthew knew these things. We also know that Jesus and Mary would have known these things–if it was true that they went to Bethlehem, which it is not.
When you break it down, this is a lie. Writing or saying something that isn’t true is a lie. The author of Matthew is just one of many authors in the bible who lie. Why trust this book, I ask?