When the King was born, Magi came from the east, following a miraculous light and bearing priceless gifts. Arriving in Jerusalem, they inquired of Herod concerning His birth. Startled by the news of an opposition leader’s birth, Herold demanded that they return to him with information uncovered in their investigation.
Like a lighthouse by the stormy sea, the star led the wise men safely to the King’s palace, a humble carpenter’s dwelling. There they worshipfully unloaded their gold, frankincense, and myrrh, gift’s befitting the Ruler of the World. Soon, they departed the region, not returning to Herod with the identification of the Royal Infant.
“Then Herod, when he realized that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16).
What evil! Such wickedness! Multitudes of baby boys, all innocent victims of governmentally dictated infanticide!
Sadly, something similar had happened hundreds of years earlier when the Egyptian Pharaoh had orchestrated the murder of countless Hebrew boys. Here’s a bit of that sad tale.
The Israelites had lived in Egypt for almost four-hundred-years. “A new king, who did not know about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. He said to his people, ‘Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and powerful than we are. Come, let’s deal shrewdly with them; otherwise they will multiply further, and when war breaks out, they will join our enemies, fight against us, and leave the country’’ ” (Exodus 1:8-10).
Jacob’s family numbered a mere seventy when they moved from Canaan to the land of Goshen during the great famine. Their families had thrived, blessed by their Lord, and blossomed to become tens of thousands... even hundreds of thousands. “But the more (the Egyptians) oppressed them, the more they multiplied and spread so that the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites. They worked the Israelites ruthlessly and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them” (Exodus 1:12-14).
The cold-blooded and immoral Pharoah determined to reduce the Hebrew’s birthrate by convincing their midwifes to smother the baby boys at birth. When that plan failed, “Pharaoh then commanded all his people, ‘You must throw every son born to the Hebrews into the Nile’ ” (Exodus 1:22). Murder the babies! Execute them! Toss them to their death. Untold numbers of families wept, grieving the loss of their perfectly healthy bundles of love. Mommas screamed and cried as their lovely children were ripped from their arms and tossed away like garbage.
And that is when Amram and Jochebed’s (Exodus 6:20; Numbers 26:59) third child was born. Miriam was just a young girl. Aaron was three. And the infant was marked for immediate death!
But God... Only God... intervened to save the life of the “beautiful” (Exodus 2:2) child just as He did centuries later when He protected the life of the infant King, Jesus!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.