New Testament

Gospels and Acts of the Apostles

What did Herod do when he found out that the wise men did not obey him?

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.” (KJV, Matthew 2:16) This verse provides a key to understanding the chronology of events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Because King Herod commanded that all male children two and under be killed, the wise men might have seen the star rise two years prior to actually meeting King Herod and then Jesus. When the wise men met Jesus, he might have been a toddler. Accordingly, despite all of the artistic depictions of the wise men and shepherds being present right after Jesus’ birth, most scholars believe the wise men did not meet Jesus until later. The book of Matthew does not describe the role of the shepherds at all.


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