The second chapter of Matthew relates a story found in no other gospel, known as the Massacre of the Innocents. In this story, King Herod (the king of Judea and client of Rome) orders the killing of all boys less than two years of age in Bethlehem. Herod takes this “scorched earth” approach in a desperate attempt to find and kill the recently-born Jesus, who he believes will grow to become a threat to his throne.
Critics have long alleged that this story never happened, saying that the gospel author just made it up to create a fulfillment of prophecy. Continue reading