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

herod_kills_innocentgThe 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.”

prophecyAh-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?



15 responses to “12 Myths of Christmas: Herod Kills Babies

  1. In the time of Herod, the town of Bethlehem had roughly 1,000 people. That means there probably would have been between 15-30 kids under 2. Not the thousands you imply. Killing a few kids in a remote village is not really big news for anyone who didn’t recognize Jesus as Messiah. (I personally believe Josephus did make some reference to Jesus but it was embellished by later copyists and nothing like what we have today but that’s a rabbit trail)
    Your argument from silence doesn’t convince me for two reasons: 1) Herod certainly had the character and motive to pull off such an act. He murdered his own kids and pretty much any one he could get away with who stepped between him and his ambition. Some one showing up and asking “where is the newborn king?” would definitely set him off. 2) There are other, far more important events left out by Josephus as well. His history, although the best we have for this time and region, was far from exhaustive.
    Your far more valid argument, imho, is why God would allow the act in the first place. It is a narrowly focused use of the question, “if God is all powerful and all good, why does evil exist?” My answer, which you have probably heard many times before, is free will. If God allows free will but prevents or negates any negative consequences of that will, then how free is our free will? Greater minds than yours and mine have gone round and round on this issue and will continue to do so until the end of time. Perhaps when we both get to heaven we will know the answer there. If not, we’ll continue the debate there. 😉

    • I’m sorry that you lied and said when you both go to heaven. No one will be going o heaven without receiving Jesus as their savior.Its really quite simple. People who “think” they are smart make it complex. complexcomplicated

      • I think you are going to go to hell because you don’t believe in the right god. There are so many other gods, how do you know you should be betting on Jesus? He’s just as believable as Muhammad or Buddha or Zeus. You better believe in all gods just in case. You won’t be going to heaven either because you are judgmental, ignorant, person. Jesus doesn’t like you.

    • There is an afterlife. It’s the most beautiful place you’ll ever be in. I’ve seen it. However, there is no hell. Everyone is welcome in there so I couldn’t call it heaven. Because if there is heaven, then there has to be hell.

      • My vision. I was reading something about a crying child and I cringed. According to my parents, I didn’t cry a lot as a baby that they thought that something was wrong with me. I try to remember what I was thinking as a baby. Mind you, I remember glimpses of what it was like in the womb. This time, I felt something touch the back of my neck and I saw the whitest place I’ve ever been in. It’s so peaceful over there. Everyone was literally siblings. Then, I looked down on earth. A more experienced soul said that it’s a place full of suffering. I remember choosing to come down to help. I choose a task (which I am failing miserably) to remind people where they come from. I also choose to come here to make people happy. Then, I came down, spend transition time in what I realized now was the womb, and came out of it. Of course, when I was born, it’s a little bit disorienting so I prefer to sleep. Everything was rough and nothing was remotely soft.

        Basically, that vision changed my view about life, death, and afterlife. From that vision, I realized that death was something to look forward to. Life had become more colorful. I used to be an agnostic for a while but now I’m a New Age follower after that. I mean, it’s a loving and happy vision. So, I gladly accepted it.

  2. Pingback: 12 Myths of Christmas: 3 Wise Guys | Reason With Me·

  3. I feel sorry for you ! You think you are smart and have a answer for everything and that is a joke in itself. You don’t even know all the intricacies of your own body much less of God. Jesus loves you !
    your choice

  4. Mr. Newman. I do not think I am super smart. I have flaws just like anyone. However, I do think I am rational and not a complete moron who would buy the bullshit you are selling with your Jesus crap. No need to feel sorry for me. Science knows more about my body than your idiot, evil, dictator god. Jesus is a myth. Get over yourself.

    • I wouldn’t go calling Jesus as a myth directly though the circumstances around him is a myth. He did exist–it’s just that I don’t believe he’s the son of God anymore than all of us. His teachings are full of love. That’s what matters more than anything. Jesus told me that he loves me and is waiting for me until I’m ready but that also applies to everyone. He won’t force everyone to change. He’s waiting patiently and opens his heart and arms to everyone. Jesus isn’t just for Christians–he’s for the entire humanity.

      • I was standing inside the Catholic church in silence when I heard the most loving voice I ever experienced. It felt like a male energy. He just said in the tiniest of whispers, “I love you, and I’ll wait for you to come back when you’re ready”. The hair in my arms literally stood up when that happened. Again, if you don’t believe me it’s fine. I’m just sharing you my experience. God is with you no matter your faith. You just have to be quiet enough to listen.

  5. You have to think of it as a mythology. I love Greek Myths–their tales endure through time. It’s like Pandora’s box (in the biblical case, it’s the forbidden fruit) or the children during Moses’ time being killed. It is the celebration of human spirit and how they are transformed with every challenge they face to reveal their true nature–being divine (all of us are). It’s no accident that Terminator seems similar to the Bible (I didn’t realize it until you point it out). It’s based on the mythical structure that is the truth of what we are.

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