Matthew 2:16-18. “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 enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.”
Sin always takes you farther than you intended to go. It is like a whirlpool that is wide and slow-moving at the top, but it grows narrower and moves faster as it reached the bottom, and sucks into itself anything it traps on the surface. I grew up in Minnesota farm country, and watched more than one funnel-shaped tornado pull up whatever was in its path. That’s what sin does. It destroys everything in its path, and there is very little time for escape.
Herod fell into a violent rage when he realized he’d been snookered by the wise men. His anger at them was so great that he ordered the massacre of all the children (more accurately interpreted, all the male children) from two years old and under, in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas.
Imagine with me, if you will, this tiny little village about six miles from Jerusalem. It was a quiet place, where families knew each other and many of them were likely related. Going about their daily business, they are startled when someone comes running through the village yelling, “Soldiers! Hide the women and children! Roman soldiers are coming, and they’re in a hurry! Run! Hide!”
But there are no safe places, and the soldiers come thundering into the village scattering people in all directions, scooping up toddlers where they find them, and killing without mercy. Imagine the mothers who run screaming, carrying children, unable to move out of the way fast enough to protect their precious babies. Imagine a woman cowering inside her home, perhaps hiding behind a door or a curtain, heart pounding out of her chest as she hears the soldiers coming closer. A tall, blood-spattered Roman enters her house and ransacks the place, looking for the child he suspects is there. Finally, he discovers her hiding place, grabs the little boy from her arms, holds the baby by his feet and dashes the child’s head against the stones as the helpless mother screams in agony and hopelessness.
Too graphic? Was it really that bad?
It sure was. This was a massacre, and it came with very little warning and no defense available. We don’t know how many little boys were murdered to appease Herod’s wrath. We only know that in order to destroy one Child, he ordered them all to die. Horrible, evil man that he was, sacrificing many for one does not seem to have troubled him in the slightest.
This incident fulfills the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15, which reflects on the Old Testament Rachel weeping for her son as well as the prophecy of this attempt by Satan to destroy Jesus.
I think of other, more recent events in which children were slaughtered. The evil behind these deeds is unspeakable. And then I think of Jesus’ words, in Luke 17: 1-2. “Then said He unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.”
3 thoughts on “Rachel Weeping for Her Children”
I just read the Luke verses you quoted in the Matthew rendering yesterday. Herod left himself open to Satan’s attempt to kill Jesus as a young child. It is terrible. We should never think, however, that if any of us gives Satan even toe room, he will seek to ruin us too.
Right. And giving room to extreme anger is a really good way to open ourselves up to Satan’s manipulation. Proverbs 25:28. “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” In the day in which that verse was written, an unwalled city was easy to conquer. So are we, if we have no control over ourselves.
I agree, uncontrolled anger is a huge door for evil to work. I am so grateful to have God’s Holy Spirit to help me use anger constructively instead of hurtfully. Without Him I can do nothing. Thank you for these eye-opening words.