A Mother’s Love Matthew 2:16-18
Our next prophecy in the Book of Matthew occurs at Matthew 2:16-18. • This is a “difficult” prophecy. • It’s difficult because it is another typological prophecy. • The original prophecy doesn’t sound anything like the way Matthew uses it. • It’s difficult because this is one of the most heartbreaking episodes we read about in all of scripture.
The Prophecy in Context
Jeremiah 31:15. • The Babylonian Captivity has occurred. • We remember Jeremiah as the “weeping prophet.” • He wept over & over because of the destruction of Judah. • The Book of Lamentations is a series of lamentations of the destruction of Judah. • “How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow! she that was great among the nations, and princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!” (Lam 1:1). • Therefore, we know the people reacted to the Babylonian Captivity with great grief.
In Jeremiah 31:15, we see the great grief symbolically portrayed as a mother who has lost her children. • However, the context is one of hope & expectation. • Jer 31:15-17. • While the nation had a time of weeping & mourning, God is now restoring them to the land of their fathers. • God has turned their mourning into joy.
The entire context of Jeremiah 31 is one of hope & expectation. • Jeremiah 31:7-14. • The context of the original prophecy, therefore, is: • The people of Judah had weeping when they were taken away into Captivity. • Now, they have rejoicing as they return to the land.
In this text, we see that God turns mourning into joy. • How does God turn our mourning into joy? • Good also seems to have come from the Babylonian Captivity. • Before the people of Judah are taken to Babylon, the nation struggles mightily with idolatry. • Yet, this captivity “did the trick.” • The people never again, as a whole, struggled with idolatry. • Can God bring good out of struggles today?
The Prophecy and Jesus
Herod acts in rage after he discovers “that he was mocked of the wise men” (v 16). • The ESV uses the word “tricked.” • Was Herod really tricked/mocked by the wise men? • Didn’t God tell them to go back to their home country a different direction? • Don’t we often have a very skewed few of the actions of other people? • Herod wasn’t tricked, but hesaw that he was. • There is a great lesson here about jumping to conclusions about the motives of others. • How often do we malign the motives of other people? • How can we keep from doing so?
Herod then acts in a rage that is far out of proportion. • We learn much about the dangers of anger in Scripture. • “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated” (Prov 14:17). • “The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Js 1:20). • What can happen if we are too angry? • How can we keep our anger in check?
We can’t neglect to think about these poor mothers. • Many biblical scholars think less than a dozen children were killed in these massacre. • Not that many people lived in this area. • Secular history doesn’t record this event—One explanation is that Herod had killed so many more people on other occasions that this episode is simply a “blip on the radar.” • Not so for these poor mothers! • Herod’s brutality here shows us the evil that can be in the human heart.