Our next prophecy in the Book of Matthew occurs at Matthew 2:16-18. › This is a “difficult” prophecy. It’s difficult because it is another typological prophecy. The original prophecy doesn’t sound anything like the way Matthew uses it. It’s difficult because this is one of the most heartbreaking episodes we read about in all of scripture.
Jeremiah 31:15. The Babylonian Captivity has occurred. › We remember Jeremiah as the “weeping prophet.” He wept over & over because of the destruction of Judah. The Book of Lamentations is a series of lamentations of the destruction of Judah. “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!” (Lam 1:1). Therefore, we know the people reacted to the Babylonian Captivity with great grief.
In Jeremiah 31:15, we see the great grief symbolically portrayed as a mother who has lost her children. However, the context is one of hope & expectation. › Jer 31:15-17. While the nation had a time of weeping & mourning, God is now restoring them to the land of their fathers. God has turned their mourning into joy.
The entire context of Jeremiah 31 is one of hope & expectation. › Jeremiah 31:7-14. › The context of the original prophecy, therefore, is: The people of Judah had weeping when they were taken away into Captivity. Now, they have rejoicing as they return to the land.
In this text, we see that God turns mourning into joy. › How does God turn our mourning into joy? Good also seems to have come from the Babylonian Captivity. › Before the people of Judah are taken to Babylon, the nation struggles mightily with idolatry. Yet, this captivity “did the trick.” The people never again, as a whole, struggled with idolatry. › Can God bring good out of struggles today?
Herod acts in rage after he discovers “that he was mocked of the wise men” (v 16). › The ESV uses the word “tricked.” › Was Herod really tricked/mocked by the wise men? Didn’t God tell them to go back to their home country a different direction? › Don’t we often have a very skewed few of the actions of other people? Herod wasn’t tricked, but he saw that he was. There is a great lesson here about jumping to conclusions about the motives of others. How often do we malign the motives of other people? How can we keep from doing so?
Herod then acts in a rage that is far out of proportion. › We learn much about the dangers of anger in Scripture. “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated” (Prov 14:17). “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Js 1:20). › What can happen if we are too angry? › How can we keep our anger in check?
We can’t neglect to think about these poor mothers. › Many biblical scholars think less than a dozen children were killed in these massacre. Not that many people lived in this area. Secular history doesn’t record this event—One explanation is that Herod had killed so many more people on other occasions that this episode is simply a “blip on the radar.” › Not so for these poor mothers! Herod’s brutality here shows us the evil that can be in the human heart.
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