The book of Matthew portrays the Jews as a terrible bloodthirsty people who killed Christ.  In my web page "Who Killed Jesus" I show some of the evidence that he creatively wrote false stories portraying the Jews as evil Christ Killers.  In addition to doing this it is likely that he made up the story about King Herod ordering the killing of babies.  He wrote:

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king, there came wise men from the East to Jerusalem, saying: Where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him. Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said: Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word. (Matthew 2:1-8)

The wise men found Jesus but didn't return to tell Herod, who became "exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts (Greek horios: districts) thereof, from two years old and under." (Matthew 2:16)

   There are many historians who don't buy this for the following reasons.   If ten-score children had been murdered by the Romans, there would have been unleashed a flood of contemporaneous lamenting poems, art, and journalistic accounts. But, extremely improbably, the story of the murderous Herod is found only in the gospel according to Matthew; nowhere else in the Bible is it mentioned, and no Jewish or Roman historians of that time says a word about this sensational event. The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus (110 AD), who went out of his way to record every misdeed of despots and tyrants, was completely silent. Silent also was Josephus (40 AD), the Jewish historian who provided a detailed account of all the lesser evil-doings of Herod up to the end of his life; not a word did he write about Herod's massacre of the innocent children.

   Matthew said that followers of Jesus who had renounced family ties were told by Jesus that they would be rewarded a hundred times over in the kingdom of God. (Matthew 19:29).  This is what one would expect a cult leader to tell his followers in order to prevent their families from convincing them to leave the cult.   It is possible that Jesus actually said this but it is also possible that this story was concocted by Matthew to keep his followers from being influenced by their families.  Most historians of the bible who do not agree with it still have a sympathetic view of Jesus which I share so I would guess that this story is another of Matthew's concoctions. 

 

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