by americancatholic.org | Source: americancatholic.org
Herod “the Great,” king of Judea, was unpopular with his people because of his connections
with the Romans and his religious indifference. Hence he was insecure and fearful of any threat to
his throne. He was a master politician and a tyrant capable of extreme brutality. He killed his
wife, his brother and his sister’s two husbands, to name only a few.
Matthew 2:1-18 tells this
story: Herod was “greatly troubled” when astrologers from the east came asking the whereabouts of
“the newborn king of the Jews,” whose star they had seen. They were told that the Jewish Scriptures
named Bethlehem as the place where the Messiah would be born. Herod cunningly told them to report
back to him so that he could also “do him homage.” They found Jesus, offered him their gifts and,
warned by an angel, avoided Herod on their way home. Jesus escaped to Egypt.
Herod became furious and
“ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under.” The
horror of the massacre and the devastation of the mothers and fathers led Matthew to quote Jeremiah:
“A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children...”
(Matthew 2:18). Rachel was the wife of Jacob/Israel. She is pictured as weeping at the place where
the Israelites were herded together by the conquering Assyrians for their march into
Join the new media evangelization. Your tax-deductible gift allows Catholic.net to build a culture of life in our nation and throughout the world. Please help us promote the Church's new evangelization by donating to Catholic.net right now. God bless you for your generosity.