Where Is The Weeping?
“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.” — Matthew 2:16
Matthew is the only one in the Gospels who mentions this heinous crime committed by Herod—the merciless slaughter of baby boys in Bethlehem and beyond. As the single biblical source of this account, many scholars discount or question whether or not these children were indeed killed. Even the famed historian Josephus was silent about these murders.
Sort of sounds like the abortion argument of today, doesn’t it? Conservatives report the facts—millions of babies are murdered each year under the legislative power of immoral leaders (and the people who vote them into position), but the church, by and large, remains silent. So the biblical source on when life begins and whether or not it should be allowed to continue is discounted and questioned.
There are more comparisons to be made. Let’s start with Herod.
“When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him” (Matt. 2:3).
At the time of Christ’s birth, Herod was in the last years of his reign. As a foreigner who had taken Jerusalem by force, Herod was constantly jealous and paranoid of losing his kingdom to a younger, stronger rival. No one under his rule was above suspicion; he even considered his own family members a threat to his throne.
Bible scholar Charles Ellicott explains: “The old king (the title had been given by the Roman Senate in BC 40) was drawing to the close of his long and blood-stained reign. Two years before, he had put to death, on a charge of treason, his two sons by Mariamne, his best-loved wife, through sheer jealousy of the favor with which the people looked on them. At the time when this history opens, his eldest son, Antipater, was under condemnation.”
Shocked that a king would kill off his own heirs, it was rumored that Caesar Augustus joked, “It is better to be Herod’s pig than son”—an implication that Herod, being a Jew, would not kill a pig to eat, but he had no problem executing his sons.
The people of Jerusalem knew Herod’s history, how ruthless and unstable he was, which is why, when the wise men wanted to know the location of the King of the Jews, they too were troubled. “The news would excite Herod to fresh crimes,” Pulpit says.
Still, why would an aged king fear the birth of a baby boy? Matthew Henry offers this reason: “Though Herod was very old, and never had shown affection for his family, and was not himself likely to live till a newborn infant had grown up to manhood, he began to be troubled with the dread of a rival.”
“And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born” (Matt. 2:4).
Those chief priests and scribes knew very well how dangerous Herod could be, so you can bet they told him what he wanted to know right quick: “In Bethlehem of Judaea.” They qualified their answer with prophecy:
“And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel” (Matt. 2:5-6).
Herod didn’t ask the location of a certain child; he demanded to know where Christ should be born. My husband notes, “The use of the title ‘Christ’ indicates that the priests informed him that the one he was speaking of was, in fact, the Messiah—‘the Anointed.’ They knew the location of where He was to be, but they had absolutely no knowledge of His arrival. That which the prophets had spoken of so grandly—the greatest event to date in the annals of history had recently taken place—and the religious leaders of Israel knew absolutely nothing about it. They had a head knowledge, so to speak, of the Word of God, but they did not know its Author.”
Likewise, I believe that the most learned (and wealthiest) advocates of abortion know full well the biblical truth: life begins at conception. They have head knowledge of how babies form in the wombs of their mothers, but they have no idea of God’s involvement. If only they believed Psalm 139:16, which says,
“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”
Herod’s heart was wicked, but even he understood that the Messiah had been born. Unfortunately the king’s faith remained in his own authority and power. In his deranged mind, he believed that his commands to the wise men—“Go and search” and “Bring me word”—mixed with one subtle lie—“that I may come and worship Him also”—would result in the destruction of Jesus Christ. O foolish king!
“And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him” (Matt. 2:13).
Herod didn’t want to just kill Christ, he wanted to destroy Him, and had he found Him, He would have done just that.
The evil in Herod’s heart is the same evil advocating for abortion. Abortion doesn’t just kill babies, it destroys them. Dr. Anthony Levatino, who performed more than 1,200 abortions earlier in his career, describes the “procedure” on a second trimester baby this way:
“You introduce an instrument called a Sopher clamp … This is a grasping instrument; when it gets ahold of something it does not let go. A D&E procedure is a blind abortion, so picture yourself introducing this and grabbing anything you can, blindly, and pull—and I do mean hard—and out pops a leg about that big [spreads his fingers about three inches apart], which you put down on the table next to you. Reach in again, pull again, and pull out an arm about the same length, which you put down on the table next to you. And use this instrument again and again to tear out the spine, the intestines, the heart and lungs. Head on a baby that size is about the size of a large plum. You can’t see it, but pretty good idea you’ve got it if you’ve got your instrument around something and your fingers are spread about as far as they go. You know you did it right if you crush down on the instrument and white material runs out of the cervix—that was the baby’s brains. Then you can pull out the skull pieces. And if you have a day like I had a lot of times, sometimes a little face comes back and stares back at you.”1
Herod’s evil plan surpassed his desire to destroy the physical body of the Christ Child. Bible scholars indicate that he wanted to dismember the Jewish nation and religion. I believe the abortion agenda has the same goal for America and Christianity.
“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,” (Matt. 2:16).
The number of babies Herod killed is unknown. The Greek Liturgy says 14,000 baby boys while modern scholars, basing the event on the population of Bethlehem at that time, cut the number down to 20. Such a small number of deaths, they rationalize, is one of possibly three reasons why Josephus didn’t write about it. The other two seem to be that Herod’s order was given in secret, so he didn’t know the massacre had happened; and that Josephus wouldn’t record anything that would confirm the truth of Christianity. These same reasons sound similar to the broadcasting approach of today’s mainstream media.
Notice how the Holy Spirit puts the blame squarely on Herod—Herod sent forth and slew. Although there is no description of this horrible massacre, we can imagine that the soldiers took out Herod’s excessive wrath on these baby boys, grabbing them from their mothers’ arms, and breaking bones and butchering bodies until the threat to his throne was dead.
In a sermon about the deaths of these innocents, fifth-century Bishop Saint Quodvultdeus addressed Herod: “You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself … The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs.”2
Only the Lord knows how many baby boys Herod killed, and that’s the point: He knows. God knows why and how each baby died, most likely clinging to and crying for its mother. Are we so callous to think that He ignores the silent screams of the unborn who try so desperately to cling to their mothers before they are pulled apart? God most certainly hears them, and unless America repents, He will judge us for this national sin.
“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.” (Matt. 2:18)
Mourning of this magnitude indicates a great loss of life—far more than 20 baby boys; most likely it was several hundred. The guttural wails and weeping from brokenhearted parents could be heard for miles, from “a high place”—the Hebrew meaning for Rama. What mother, what father would ever be the same after losing a precious son to this type of slaughter?
Rama was also the gravesite of Rachel, considered the mother of the tribes of Israel. She laments, weeps, and mourns—three stages of ongoing grief—for children lost due to Israel’s refusal to repent. Had Israel listened to the pleadings of the Holy Spirit through the prophet Jeremiah and repented, they would not have had an animal like Herod on the throne.
What will it take for America to repent and stop the sin of aborting its children and future citizens? Where is the weeping for these precious unborn souls—lamenting and mourning so loud that it should be heard in the highest places of our government?
“But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life” (Matt. 2:19-20).
Josephus did not record Herod’s murderous attempt on Christ, but he did write in graphic detail how the king died:
“Herod’s distemper greatly increased upon him after a severe manner, and this by God’s judgment upon him for his sins; for a fire glowed in him slowly, which ... augmented his pains inwardly…. His entrails were also exulcerated, and the chief violence of his pain lay on his colon; an aqueous and transparent liquor also had settled itself about his feet, and a like matter afflicted him at the bottom of his belly. Nay, further, his privy-member was putrefied, and produced worms; and when he sat upright, he had a difficulty of breathing, which was very loathsome, on account of the stench of his breath; he had also convulsions in all parts of his body.”3
Our nation, I believe, is beginning to show similar symptoms. There’s a fire glowing slowly in certain states—infanticide—and if we think that America will escape God’s judgment for murdering unborn (and now born) children, then we are just as deranged and foolish as Herod was. America has repeated Herod’s sin of killing babies; I pray that we turn, repent, and weep lest we suffer his same end: “for they are dead which sought the young child’s life.”
1 “Dr. Anthony Levatino Describes a 2nd-Trimester Abortion in Court,” C-SPAN, October 8, 2015; User-created clip February 23, 2019, https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4781826/dr-anthony-levatino-describes-2nd-trimester-abortion-court
2 “Saint Quodvultdeus“. CatholicSaints.Info. 28 January 2019. Web. 4 March 2019. https://catholicsaints.info/saint-quodvultdeus/
3 Antonio Piñero, “Herod I: The Controversial King Who Transformed the Holy Land,” National Geographic, December 2016.