History In The New Testament

Herod Slaughtered All The Babies In Bethlehem,
Why Didn't This Make The News?

THE HUMANIST'S CLAIM: Matthew chapter 2 avers that shortly after the birth of Jesus, King Herod ordered the massacre of all male children two years of age or under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. In the book of Luke, which contains the only other New Testament story of Jesus’ birth, there is no mention of this horribly cruel order. It’s also not recorded in any secular histories from the time – not even by writers who carefully described many far less wicked deeds of Herod. The lack of corroboration means Matthew’s account was fabricated.

The humanist accusation is that this "slaughter of the innocents" is not recorded in secular history, so it must not have happened. But, this is an argument from secular silence, and as such is not a valid argument. And history is not silent on this. It was recorded in a reliable historical document, the Bible.

Babies In Bethlehem Slaughtered!
Herod Orders All Babies Under Two Years Old Killed!

That might might be the headline in the Jerusalem Post today, if King Herod's slaughter of the babies in Bethlehem had happened today. But, Jerusalem 2,000 years ago was a different place... a much different place.

Why wasn't this atrocious event recorded in secular history? Because, it had no significance. Here's why:

How Many Babies Were Killed?

Bethlehem was a small village of, at most, 300 people. That means that there were, at most, six or seven babies two years old and under. King Herod ordering seven babies killed was no big deal. It was tragic for those families... but for Herod it was just part of another normal day.

What Type of Person Was Herod?

I'm going to quote from the Associates For Biblical Research web site.

Unfortunately archaeologists have yet to excavate the archives of the Jerusalem Post from the year 4 BC! Nor does the first century AD Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus record this event in any of his writings. Even though secular history is silent on this event it does not mean it did not occur. When the life of Herod the Great is examined, this event is very consistent with his character and actions.

Historians explained a recurring pattern in the life of Herod. He would hear a rumor that somebody was going to bump him off and take over his throne, but Herod would kill that person first. He would then go into depression. After awhile he would come out of his depression and would build, build, build. He would hear another rumor and would kill that person, then go into another depression. After awhile he would come out of this depression and would build, build, build. This cycle repeated itself a number of times in which numerous people were killed, including one of his ten wives as well as three of his sons!

Five days before he died, Herod executed his oldest son Antipater (Antiquities 17:187; LCL 8:457-459). During that time period he also executed, by burning alive, two leading rabbis and then executed their students for participating in the “eagle affair” in the Temple (Antiquities 17:149-167; LCL 8:439-449; Wars 1:655; LCL 2:311).

In other words, Herod had no problem with casually killing anyone who might threaten his throne. He had people killed, even his own family members, without a second thought.

Paul L. Maier has pointed out, “Josephus wrote for a Greco-Roman audience, which would have little concern for infant deaths. Greeks regularly practiced infanticide as a kind of birth control, particularly in Sparta, while the Roman father had the right not to lift his baby off the floor after birth, letting it die” (1998:179).

These are just a few quotes from a long article that thoroughly examines this question. Use the above link to read the entire article.

By the way I was wondering if you heard the news about the slaughter of women and babies that took place recently... over 160 people massacred as they ran from their homes in West Mosal this past June (2017). The news just came out today, December 23, 2017. You'd think that such a slaughter of innocent people would have made headlines around the world. That such an atrocity would result in a worldwide outcry for justice! But, my guess is that you've not heard about it. Why? Because it was just another day of slaughtering innocent people for ISIS... and so this news is not significant.

And let's not forget about abortion. Babies are being killed by the thousands every day... every day. Human babies slaughtered by the thousands EVERY DAY. Does it make the news? No. It's normal that babies are killed by the thousands every day, and the normal does not make the news... no matter how sad, tragic and horrifying abortion is.

Conclusion:

The report in Matthew concerning Herod having the babies in Bethlehem killed is true and accurate.

Next Accusation:

Matthew 27:45 alleges that while Jesus was on the cross, there fell over the whole land a darkness lasting from midday until three in the afternoon. Andrew White explains that although Romans such as Seneca and Pliny carefully described much less striking occurrences of the same sort in more remote regions, they failed to note any such darkness occurring even in Judea.

And yet another argument from silence. Just because we have not found a non-Biblical record of something that happened 2000 years ago, does not mean it did not happen. I'm continually stunned by the bias. If Josephus wrote about it, then it happened... even if it is not recorded anywhere else. And Josephus is a very biased recorder of history (he had to keep his patrons happy). But, if the Bible records an event as happening... it didn't happen unless that event is recorded in a secular source. Okay... let's deal with this unwarranted bias against the Bible. Click here for the truth...


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