Herod #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

The Magi or wise men have been mentioned in my posts for F and G. Matthew’s gospel tells us that the Magi did not rely on the star alone for guidance. They assumed that the new king would be born in a palace, so that is where they went looking for the young child.

King Herod, known as Herod the Great, was the ruler. The Magi went to him and asked “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (ESV)

This was disturbing news to Herod and his court. Any new king was a threat to their government. Herod called together the priests and teachers of the law and asked them where the Messiah was to be born. They replied that he would be born in Bethlehem.

Herod asked the Magi secretly when they had first seen the star. He directed them to Bethlehem and asked them to report to him when they had found the child so that he could also go and worship him.

The Magi continued their journey and were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, so they returned home by a different route.

When Herod realised that the Magi had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders that all the boys in Bethlehem and the surrounding area of two years old and less be killed.

The story may be read in Matthew 2:1-12 and Matthew 2:16-18

For a more academic article on the same subject see this post by a blogger, who has also done some A to Z challenges.

Herod was the name of more than one ruler. The Herod in the Easter story was not this Herod.

The Coventry Carol is a traditional carol, which includes this tragic episode.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4