Slaughter of the Innocents
rvining at log.on.ca
Thu Jan 18 11:28:28 EST 2001
The Slaughter of the Innocents
In recent weeks we have been reading and viewing accounts of the
horrific deaths of a number of small children, and are appalled. Even
more appalling is the idea of the en masse massacre of small children.
Rev. Shearman in a recent sermon noted the questionable historicity of
some of the beloved Christmas stories, including also the
not-so-beloved nor festive, rarely-read "Massacre of the Innocents"
story found only in Matthew 2:16-18. No other gospel writer, or
historian, such as Josephus mentions this eminently-reportable,
gruesome event in which Herod killed all boys two and under in Bethlehem
and environs. This was done not to catch Jesus in the net of death (for
He and His family had already escaped to Egypt) but, as punishment,
by a proud Herod because he had been tricked.
This account is one of the three biblical child massacre stories. Two of
the perpetrators are clearly villainous-the above mentioned Herod, and
the evil Pharoah, who decreed that every newborn Hebrew boy should be
thrown into the Nile river, Exodus 1:22. The third perpetrator is more
problematical, for Bible interpreters , and for sensitive human beings
who love children.. As the chilling story goes, it was god himself who
killed all the first-born sons in Egypt. There was a loud crying
throughout Egypt, because there was not one home in which there was not
a dead son, Exodus 12:29,30.
Since our concepts of God are important, it is wise to come to terms
with the nature of the literature on which they are based.
Robert Vining, Owen Sound , Ontario rvining at log.on.ca
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