King Herod’s Fury

Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. Matthew 2:16 (ESV)

Consider: Do you get furious? Do you have an anger issue? God’s Word tells us that “human anger does not accomplish God's righteousness” (James 1:20 NET). Who are you angry at? Is your anger solving the problem? Why are you angry?

Herod was angry because of his deep idolatrous love for himself. He was a puppet of Rome, appointed to maintain peace and order in Jerusalem on behalf of the Roman Empire, and was terrified at the thought of losing his power or position. Herod had a long history of fear and fury. Herod killed his children and his wife in years past on the slightest suspicion of sedition. Herod had long ago made a promise that he would protect his Kingdom at all costs.

Matthew’s gospel records that the wise men lied to Herod about the birth location of the baby Jesus, who was said to be King of the Jews. Herod became furious, reacting to his fear of being deposed. Herod ordered his guards to go to Bethlehem and kill all male children, infants and toddlers under two. By doing so, he would surely send a message that he was a powerful king who would not tolerate a rebellion today, tomorrow, or ever! The soldiers would carry daggers, swords, and clubs. The attack would come swift and sudden. Some scholars estimate that as many as 2,000 little boys were murdered that night. Prophets had foretold that weeping and wailing would be heard throughout the entire city. It was a night Bethlehem would never forget, and this pleased Herod. His Kingdom was secure in his mind, the threat was eliminated. So he thought.

Apply: Anger is rarely healthy for you or those around you. The best thing you can do is let it go and forgive others. Today, try forgiving three different times. Jesus told Peter to forgive seventy-seven times, meaning as many times as forgiveness was needed. I don’t think you will have trouble finding situations that call for forgiveness. But I am sure of this: if you don’t forgive, you will have a problem letting go of your anger. Get in line with God’s design. Live like Jesus.

Pray: Lord, make me like you. I want to be slow to anger, abounding in love, and forgiving others as you have forgiven me. Help me, Lord, to do this today. In Jesus’ name, amen.