Herod Kills Boys

In an attempt to knock off Jesus, Herod killed all the boys in the town of Bethlehem who were 2 years and younger. The age of the boys points to the book of Exodus where another king is found killing all the male Hebrew babies.

Matthew 2

1When Joshua was born in Beth Lehem of Judah in the days of Herod the king magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2They were saying, Where is the king of the Jews who has been born? We have seen his star in the east and we have come to bow to him. Matthew 2:1-23Herod the king heard it and trembled and all Jerusalem with him. 4He gathered together all the high priests and the scribes of the people and he kept asking them where the anointed would be born. 5They said, In Beth Lehem of Judah, for it is written in the prophet: 6Even you Beth Lehem of Judah are not insignificant in the eyes of the kings of Judah. From you will come out a king who will shepherd my people Israel. Q Micah 5:2 Matthew 2:3-67Then Herod called the magi secretly and learned from them at what time the star appeared to them. 8He sent them to Beth Lehem and said to them, Go and ask very carefully concerning the boy. When you have found him come back and let me know so that I also may go and bow to him. Matthew 2:7-89When they had heard from the king they went away. The same star that they had seen in the east was going before them until it came and stood just above the place where the boy was. 10When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly. 11They entered the house and they saw the boy with Mariam his mother. They threw themselves down and bowed to him and they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12They saw in a dream not to return to Herod and by another way they went to their country. Matthew 2:9-1213When they went the king of the Master appeared to Joseph in a dream K Genesis 37:2 and said to him, Arise, take the boy and his mother and escape to Mizraim. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is ready to demand the boy to destroy him. Matthew 2:1314Joseph rose up and took the boy and his mother in the night and escaped to Mizraim. 15He remained there until the death of Herod that the thing should be fulfilled that was said from the Master by the prophet, I have called my son from Mizraim. Q Hosea 11:1 Matthew 2:14-1516When Herod saw that he was insulted by the magi he was greatly enraged and he sent forth and had all the boys in Beth Lehem and in its suburbs killed from 2 years old and down according to the time that he had received from the magi. 17Then was fulfilled what was said by the hand of the prophet Jeremiah, who said: 18A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and wailing exceedingly, Rachel weeping for her sons, and she would not be comforted because they could not be brought back. Q Jeremiah 31:15 Matthew 2:16-1819When King Herod died the king of the Master appeared in a dream to Joseph in Mizraim. K Genesis 37:2 20He said to him, Arise, take the boy and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were seeking the life of the boy are dead. Matthew 2:19-2021Joseph rose up and took the boy and his mother and came to the land of Israel. 22When he heard that Archelaus had become king over Judah in the place of his father Herod he was afraid to go there. It was revealed to him in a dream to go to the land of Galilee. 23He came and lived in the city called Nazareth so the thing should be fulfilled that was said by the prophets, He will be called, A Nazarene. Matthew 2:21-23 (Matthew 2:1-23 BRB)


2 = Exodus


I think most people well versed in their Bibles recall the story of the pharaoh throwing the Hebrew babies into the river when they read the story about Herod killing the babies in Bethlehem. Matthew helps that association by relating that Joseph took his family to Egypt before Herod killed the babies and later, after Herod had died, returned to Israel from Egypt. Fortunately, though, Matthew further helps the association by pointing directly to the book of Exodus with the number 2.

The story from Exodus.

8There rose up a new king over Mizraim who did not know Joseph H Acts 7:18 9and he said to his people, The people of the children of Israel are more numerous and stronger than we. 10Come let us deal wisely with them before they multiply, lest when we chance to be at war they will be added to our enemies and fight against us and drive us out of the land. 11Therefore they appointed over them cruel taskmasters to oppress them. In their oppression they built cities, houses of storage to pharaoh, Pithom and Rameses. 12The more they oppressed them the more they multiplied and became strong and they were distressed from before the children of Israel. Exodus 1:11-1213The Mizraim oppressed the children of Israel in hardship. 14They made their lives bitter with hard service in mortar and in bricks and in all manner of work of the field. All their service in which they made them serve was in hardship. Exodus 1:13-1415The king of Mizraim spoke to the Hebrew midwives FE of whom the name of the one was Puah and the name of the other Shiphrah. 16He said to them, When you perform your duties as midwives to the Hebrew women, look out when they kneel to deliver. If it is a son then you must kill him, but if it is a daughter then let her live. Exodus 1:15-1617The midwives feared god and did not do as the king of Mizraim commanded them and let the children live. 18The king of Mizraim called for the midwives and said to them, Why have you done this thing and let the children live? Exodus 1:17-1819The midwives said to pharaoh, The Hebrew women are not like the Mizraim women, for they themselves are midwives and are delivered before a midwife comes to them. Exodus 1:1920Therefore god dealt well with the midwives and the people multiplied and grew exceedingly strong. 21It came to pass because the midwives feared god he blessed them with houses. Exodus 1:20-2122Pharaoh commanded all the people saying, Every son that is born you will cast into the river and every daughter you will let live. H Acts 7:19 Exodus 1:22 (Exodus 1:8-22 BRB)

In both stories the reigning king is concerned about staying in control. Because the Magi knew an ancient prophecy about a coming king was unfolding Herod had cause for alarm and acted ruthlessly out of self preservation. In the case of the pharaoh, he was watching the Hebrew population surpass the native Egyptian population and was worried about an eventual overthrow of Egypt by the Hebrews. But, what if the pharaoh knew something more? What if he too was informed by an ancient prophecy not mentioned in the account in Exodus?

The symmetry between the two stories suggests that the pharaoh, like Herod, may have been familiar with a prophecy about the eventual overthrow of Egypt. The pharaoh's actions seem logical without additional knowledge from a prophecy, but the similarities of the stories begs the question. A prophecy did exist, after all, that the pharaoh might have known.

12The sun was setting and a stillness fell on Abram and fear and a great darkness fell on him. 13He said to Abram, Know for sure that your seed will be strangers in a land that is not theirs and they will serve them and they will subject them 400 years. 14I will judge the people whom they serve and after this they will go out with great possessions. Q Acts 7:6 H Acts 7:17 FE 15You will be gathered to your fathers in peace and you will be buried at a good old age. 16After 4 generations they will return here, FE for the iniquities of the Amorites are not yet full. Genesis 15:12-16 (Genesis 15:12-16 BRB)

Abram's descendents likely knew this prophecy. Did the pharaoh know this prophecy? Whether he did or not the similarities between these stories and the simple math that connects them is obvious.