Matthew 2:16
Parallel Verses
New International Version
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.

New Living Translation
Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men's report of the star's first appearance.

English Standard Version
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.

New American Standard Bible
Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.

King James Bible
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.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Herod, when he saw that he had been outwitted by the wise men, flew into a rage. He gave orders to massacre all the male children in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, in keeping with the time he had learned from the wise men.

International Standard Version
Herod flew into a rage when he learned that he had been tricked by the wise men, so he ordered the execution of all the male children in Bethlehem and all its neighboring regions, who were two years old and younger, according to the time that he had determined from the wise men.

NET Bible
When Herod saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, he became enraged. He sent men to kill all the children in Bethlehem and throughout the surrounding region from the age of two and under, according to the time he had learned from the wise men.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And Herodus, when he saw that he was mocked by The Magi, was greatly enraged, and he sent and killed all the boys of Bethlehem and of all of its borders, from two years old and under, according to the time he had searched out from the Magi.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When Herod saw that the wise men had tricked him, he became furious. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys two years old and younger in or near Bethlehem. This matched the exact time he had learned from the wise men.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then Herod, seeing that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth and sent forth and killed all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had understood of the wise men.

King James 2000 Bible
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the region thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

American King James Version
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.

American Standard Version
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the Wise-men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had exactly learned of the Wise-men.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Then Herod perceiving that he was deluded by the wise men, was exceeding angry; and sending killed all the men children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Darby Bible Translation
Then Herod, seeing that he had been mocked by the magi, was greatly enraged; and sent and slew all the boys which [were] in Bethlehem, and in all its borders, from two years and under, according to the time which he had accurately inquired from the magi.

English Revised Version
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had carefully learned of the wise men.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all its borders, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Weymouth New Testament
Then Herod, finding that the Magi had trifled with him, was furious, and sent and massacred all the boys under two years of age, in Bethlehem and all its neighbourhood, according to the date he had so carefully ascertained from the Magi.

World English Bible
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had learned from the wise men.

Young's Literal Translation
Then Herod, having seen that he was deceived by the mages, was very wroth, and having sent forth, he slew all the male children in Beth-Lehem, and in all its borders, from two years and under, according to the time that he inquired exactly from the mages.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

2:13-15 Egypt had been a house of bondage to Israel, and particularly cruel to the infants of Israel; yet it is to be a place of refuge to the holy Child Jesus. God, when he pleases, can make the worst of places serve the best of purposes. This was a trial of the faith of Joseph and Mary. But their faith, being tried, was found firm. If we and our infants are at any time in trouble, let us remember the straits in which Christ was when an infant. 16-18 Herod killed all the male children, not only in Bethlehem, but in all the villages of that city. Unbridled wrath, armed with an unlawful power, often carries men to absurd cruelties. It was no unrighteous thing with God to permit this; every life is forfeited to his justice as soon as it begins. The diseases and deaths of little children are proofs of original sin. But the murder of these infants was their martyrdom. How early did persecution against Christ and his kingdom begin! Herod now thought that he had baffled the Old Testament prophecies, and the efforts of the wise men in finding Christ; but whatever crafty, cruel devices are in men's hearts, the counsel of the Lord shall stand.

Pulpit Commentary

Verses 16-18. - The slaughter of the innocents. Verse 16. - Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked (ὅτι ἐνεπαίχθη). The verb which in the New Testament occurs only in the synoptists, and always in the strict sense of "mock" ( e.g. Matthew 20:19; Matthew 27:29, 31, 41), represents Herod's feelings, and perhaps his language, at his treatment by the Magi. It was more than deception; they had trifled with him. Of the Wise Men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children; Revised Version, male children ( τοὺς παῖδας, not τὰ τέκρα). That were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts (Revised Version, borders) thereof. Not merely the districts legally belonging to the city, but the neighbourhood generally. From two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired (ver. 7, note) of the Wise Men. Had he made further inquiries, he might have aroused suspicion, so he made sure of his prey by allowing a wide margin both in time and space. "'On Augustus being informed,' says Macrobius ['Saturn.,' 2:4], 'that among the boys under two years of age whom Herod ordered to be slain in Syria, his own son also lind been slain, "It is better," said he, "to be Herod's pig (ϋν) than his son (υἱὸν)." Although Macrobius is a late writer [circ. 400]. and made the mistake of supposing that Herod's son Antipater, who was put to death about the same time as the massacre of the innocents, had actually perished in that massacre, it is clear that the form in which he narrates the bon mot of Augustus points to some dim reminiscence of this cruel slaughter" (Farrar, 'Life,' etc., p. 34, illust. edit.; cf. also Ellicott, 'Lectures,' p. 78). Farrar (and Edersheim accepts his calculation) reckons that not more than twenty children were killed. Thus failed the first attempt to destroy Christ, Revelation 12:4 (Nosgen).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked,.... Herod, having waited a proper time for the return of the wise men, and they not coming, concluded he was tricked by them; though, no doubt, when they promised to return, and bring him word how things were, they seriously meant and designed a performance; but having met with a divine oracle, which ordered them another way, they thought it most advisable to obey God rather than man. Upon this,

Herod was exceeding wroth; partly at the usage he met with from the wise men, who according to his apprehension had put a trick upon him; and chiefly because his scheme was broke, which was by them to come at the knowledge and sight of the young child, and privately dispatch him: and now he might fear, which increased his wrath, that the child would escape his hands, and in time be set up for king, to the prejudice of him and his family; wherefore, to prevent this, if possible, he

sent forth his officers and soldiers, of his own will, without any show of law or justice, acting herein as an absolute and tyrannical prince,

and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under. A most cruel and barbarous action, and agrees with the character given of him, that he was in the beginning of his reign, and it seems too in the latter end of it, , "a bloody and deceitful man" (n): he slew, or ordered to be slain, "children", infants who had done him no injury, nor were capable of doing any, and whose parents also had not disobliged him; he slew the infants at Bethlehem, because this was the place of the Messiah's birth, the knowledge of which he had got from the chief priests and scribes; he slew all of them, that there might be no possibility of the young child's escaping: and lest it should by any means escape to a neighbouring town or village, he slew all the children

in all the coasts thereof, in all the territories of Bethlehem, in all the towns and villages around it, as many as were

from two years old and under: for of such an age he supposed the newborn king to be; he knew he must be near that age, but could not exceed it,

according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men; of the appearing of the star to them, and when they concluded this great and famous prince was born. This cruel murder of the infants seems to be hinted at by Josephus (o), where he says, that "many slaughters followed the prediction of a new king"; and is more manifestly referred to by Macrobins, a Heathen author, though the story is mixed and confounded with other things; who reports (p), that

"when Augustus heard, that among the children under two years of age, whom Herod king of the Jews ordered to be slain in Syria, that his son was also killed, said, it was better to be Herod's hog than his son.''

Killing of infants as soon as born, or while in their cradles, is by the Jews ascribed to one Lilith, which, R. Elias (q) says, is the name of a devil, which kills children; and indeed such an action is truly a diabolical one.

(n) Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 1.((o) Antiq. l. 17. c. 3.((p) Saturnal. l. 2. c. 4. (q) Methurgemau in voce Vid. Buxtorf. Lexicon Rab. in cadem voce & Synagog. Jud. c. 4. p. 80.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

16. Then Herod, &c.—As Deborah sang of the mother of Sisera: "She looked out at a window, and cried through the lattice, Why is his chariot so long in coming? why tarry the wheels of his chariots? Have they not sped?" so Herod wonders that his messengers, with pious zeal, are not hastening with the news that all is ready to receive him as a worshipper. What can be keeping them? Have they missed their way? Has any disaster befallen them? At length his patience is exhausted. He makes his inquiries and finds they are already far beyond his reach on their way home.

when he saw that he was mocked—was trifled with.

of the wise men—No, Herod, thou art not mocked of the wise men, but of a Higher than they. He that sitteth in the heavens doth laugh at thee; the Lord hath thee in derision. He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong (Ps 2:4; Job 5:12, 13). That blessed Babe shall die indeed, but not by thy hand. As He afterwards told that son of thine—as cunning and as unscrupulous as thyself—when the Pharisees warned Him to depart, for Herod would seek to kill Him—"Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Nevertheless I must walk to-day, and to-morrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" (Lu 13:32, 33). Bitter satire!

was exceeding wroth—To be made a fool of is what none like, and proud kings cannot stand. Herod burns with rage and is like a wild bull in a net. So he

sent forth—a band of hired murderers.

and slew all the children—male children.

that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof—environs.

from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently—carefully.

inquired of the wise men—In this ferocious step Herod was like himself—as crafty as cruel. He takes a large sweep, not to miss his mark. He thinks this will surely embrace his victim. And so it had, if He had been there. But He is gone. Heaven and earth shall sooner pass away than thou shalt have that Babe into thy hands. Therefore, Herod, thou must be content to want Him: to fill up the cup of thy bitter mortifications, already full enough—until thou die not less of a broken heart than of a loathsome and excruciating disease. Why, ask skeptics and skeptical critics, is not this massacre, if it really occurred, recorded by Josephus, who is minute enough in detailing the cruelties of Herod? To this the answer is not difficult. If we consider how small a town Bethlehem was, it is not likely there would be many male children in it from two years old and under; and when we think of the number of fouler atrocities which Josephus has recorded of him, it is unreasonable to make anything of his silence on this.

Matthew 2:16 Additional Commentaries
Context
Herod Slaughters Infants
16Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:…
Cross References
Proverbs 28:15
Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.

Isaiah 59:7
Their feet rush into sin; they are swift to shed innocent blood. They pursue evil schemes; acts of violence mark their ways.

Matthew 2:1
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem

Matthew 2:7
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.

Matthew 2:17
Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

Revelation 12:4
Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.
Treasury of Scripture

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.

when.

Genesis 39:14,17 That she called to the men of her house, and spoke to them, saying, …

Numbers 22:29 And Balaam said to the donkey, Because you have mocked me: I would …

Numbers 24:10 And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands …

Judges 16:10 And Delilah said to Samson, Behold, you have mocked me, and told …

Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbor, who calls on God, and he answers …

was exceeding.

Proverbs 27:3,4 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier …

Daniel 3:13,19,20 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, …

and slew.

Genesis 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it …

2 Kings 8:12 And Hazael said, Why weeps my lord? And he answered, Because I know …

Proverbs 28:15,17 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over …

Isaiah 26:21 For, behold, the LORD comes out of his place to punish the inhabitants …

Isaiah 59:7 Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: …

Hosea 10:14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among your people, and all your fortresses …

Revelation 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with …

according.

Matthew 2:7 Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of …

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