According to Matthew chapter 2, in the days of Herod the Great, astrological portents brought Magi from the east naively inquiring about a newborn King. Ironically, this triggered a reaction from Herod that closely resembled the events surrounding Augustus Caesar’s own birth.
Most liberals will say that the so-called “Massacre of the Innocents” is a myth. However, they are using the “argument from silence” fallacy. There is only one account of this isolated event in a small country that isn’t recorded elsewhere. But that doesn’t disprove Matthew’s account by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the massacring of infants was a common practice in Roman days.
According to Julius Marathus, a personal confidant of Augustus Caesar, the Roman Senate ordered all the baby boys killed who were born in 63 B.C. because prophetic dreams and astrological signs suggested that a “King of the Romans” was to be born.
Ironically, Augustus was born on Sept. 23 of that year! Since we only have one account of this event, do we discount this massacre as well? No, historians accept Suetonius as generally reliable.
So all things being equal, Herod’s “Massacre of the Innocents” recorded in Matthew 2 is not a myth.
The following is from Suetonius, The Divine Augustus, 94:
“Since we are upon this subject, it may not be improper to give an account of the omens, before and at his birth, as well as afterwards, which gave hopes of his future greatness, and the good fortune that constantly attended him. A part of the wall of Velletri having in former times been struck with thunder, the response of the soothsayers was, that a native of that town would some time or other arrive at supreme power; relying on which prediction, the Velletrians both then, and several times afterwards, made war upon the Roman people, to their own ruin. At last it appeared by the event, that the omen had portended the elevation of Augustus.
“Julius Marathus informs us, that a few months before his birth, there happened at Rome a prodigy, by which was signified that Nature was in travail with a king for the Roman people; and that the senate, in alarm, came to the resolution that no child born that year should be brought up; but that those amongst them, whose wives were pregnant, to secure to themselves a chance of that dignity, took care that the decree of the senate should not be registered in the treasury.”
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