I often approach Scripture with an attitude of playfulness. Not here. Even as the joy of our Lord’s Nativity still rings in our ears, we remember the children slaughtered by a raving madman in the person of Herod the Great.
There is no record in history, other than in Matthew 2:13-18, which notes this horrific attempt to rid the world of the diapered King. Perhaps this is at it should be as it stands outside of history to speak to such acts in any age. We hear the cry of every innocent victim of every time, including the ones in today’s news reports. Today is any day. Genocidal abuse of power is not confined to any particular moment in history.
We do know by history, however, that it would be consistent with other historical records of Herod’s behavior. What drove his fear to such a pathological level? Why was he so threatened by the one reported to him by the Magi? We can only guess. At the very least, Herod was concerned only with the kingdom that he could see, the one that in his delusion he thought he could manipulate and control. Fear had destroyed his own heart.
Matthew’s Gospel quotes Jeremiah 31: 15, “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were no more.” I weep with Rachel. There is no deeper grief. We are to weep with every Rachel and we are to always hear the cries of God’s children victimized by abuse of any kind. In my ears, indelibly marked deep on my soul, are the words of a victim of abuse who came to me years ago and said over and over, “Thank you so much for believing me. Thank you for believing me.”