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HEROD: Why King Herod the Great wanted to kill baby Jesus?


Why King Herod the Great wanted to kill baby Jesus?

The Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar had appointed Herod as king of Judaea (40/37 BC – 4 BC). However, the Jews questioned his legitimacy because he was not of King David’s lineage but of a mixed blood. Herod’s father Antipater was an Idumean, a non-Jew. The Jews could accept only a true Davidic descendant as their king.

Based on their scriptures, the Jews insisted that their rightful king should always be of the lineage of David. So, Herod was anxious about the rejective mentality of the Jews towards him, and he was vigilant in safeguarding his kingship. His fanaticism for power made him kill even his wife Mariamne, her mother Alexandra, his sons Antipater, Alexander, and Aristobulus. Such an insane and power-obsessed king would eliminate an infant born as the legitimate king of the Jews to replace him. The Jews in the whole of Jerusalem were troubled because they knew how Herod would get rid of any king born as their liberator.

Herod was afraid when he heard from the Magi that a licit king had been born for the Jews. Since he could not identify the infant king, he gave orders to have all children below two years of age in and around Bethlehem killed, even as the Holy Family was prompted by an angel to flee to Egypt and live there for some time as refugees.

 


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