July 4, 2024

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July 4, 2024

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Will Graham: Herod’s Violent Plot To Eliminate The King Of The Jews

Will Graham

While the birth of Jesus brought joy and peace to Mary and the shepherds, it was a worst case scenario for King Herod. Through extensive alliances, gamesmanship, and innovation, Herod had a generally successful reign as king, but he was near the end of his life and had grown paranoid, jealous, angry, and unhinged.

He was so desperate to maintain his throne that he murdered anyone he deemed a threat, especially his own family. He is said to have killed his beloved wife Mariamne and her two sons, as well as her brother, mother, and grandfather, before finally murdering his own firstborn son Antipater.

Given this, it’s no wonder that Herod became terrified when wise men from the East arrived in Jerusalem asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”

I can imagine Herod forcing a strained smile onto his face as he spoke with the magi. “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also,” he lied, trying to cover the hatred and dread boiling up within him.

He probably waved a friendly goodbye to the wise men before excusing himself to a back room where his temper exploded. I picture him throwing priceless vases and tearing his clothes, ripping tapestries off the wall and turning over tables. Eventually, he collapsed onto his throne, breathing heavily, staring at nothing in particular. “How can this be? I’m the king! No one—no one—will take my throne! He will die first!”

All he had to do was wait on the foreigners to find the baby and report back to him. Then, he would take care of this issue before the boy was even old enough to crawl.

We know the emotions that Herod was feeling, but we’re also told in this passage that all of Jerusalem was troubled as well. They knew enough about Herod to understand that he would spill innocent blood trying to protect his throne.

That’s exactly what happened, of course. After the wise men were warned about Herod and slipped out of Jerusalem without returning to him, the king devised an evil, murderous plot. In a last attempt to stave off this potential insurrection, he massacred all boys 2 years old and under in and around Bethlehem. Many innocent children died, many families were left broken and devastated, because of the actions of King Herod.

Christ’s arrival troubled Herod greatly, to the point of violence, because it meant a shift of power. He was used to having all authority and things a certain way. He was aggressively protective of his rule and kingdom. But the birth of Jesus—the King of the Jews—meant that he might lose those things he held dear.

In Herod’s mind, there was only room for one king on the throne, and he was not about to share it. The truth is, Herod was absolutely right! There is only room for one King on the throne, but Herod was not that king. Jesus is the King!

This year, what is sitting on the throne of your heart? What things are you elevating above Jesus in your life? Perhaps it’s your job, your relationships, your hobbies, or your vices. Maybe you’re living in a way that you know is not pleasing to Him. Don’t make the same mistake as Herod. Recognize that Christ is King and surrender all control of your life over to Him today.


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 Your donations are vital to help this ministry continue its efforts to reach the lost and boldly equip the church with the truth of God's Word.

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Will Graham

While the birth of Jesus brought joy and peace to Mary and the shepherds, it was a worst case scenario for King Herod. Through extensive alliances, gamesmanship, and innovation, Herod had a generally successful reign as king, but he was near the end of his life and had grown paranoid, jealous, angry, and unhinged.

He was so desperate to maintain his throne that he murdered anyone he deemed a threat, especially his own family. He is said to have killed his beloved wife Mariamne and her two sons, as well as her brother, mother, and grandfather, before finally murdering his own firstborn son Antipater.

Given this, it’s no wonder that Herod became terrified when wise men from the East arrived in Jerusalem asking, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?”

I can imagine Herod forcing a strained smile onto his face as he spoke with the magi. “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also,” he lied, trying to cover the hatred and dread boiling up within him.

He probably waved a friendly goodbye to the wise men before excusing himself to a back room where his temper exploded. I picture him throwing priceless vases and tearing his clothes, ripping tapestries off the wall and turning over tables. Eventually, he collapsed onto his throne, breathing heavily, staring at nothing in particular. “How can this be? I’m the king! No one—no one—will take my throne! He will die first!”

All he had to do was wait on the foreigners to find the baby and report back to him. Then, he would take care of this issue before the boy was even old enough to crawl.

We know the emotions that Herod was feeling, but we’re also told in this passage that all of Jerusalem was troubled as well. They knew enough about Herod to understand that he would spill innocent blood trying to protect his throne.

That’s exactly what happened, of course. After the wise men were warned about Herod and slipped out of Jerusalem without returning to him, the king devised an evil, murderous plot. In a last attempt to stave off this potential insurrection, he massacred all boys 2 years old and under in and around Bethlehem. Many innocent children died, many families were left broken and devastated, because of the actions of King Herod.

Christ’s arrival troubled Herod greatly, to the point of violence, because it meant a shift of power. He was used to having all authority and things a certain way. He was aggressively protective of his rule and kingdom. But the birth of Jesus—the King of the Jews—meant that he might lose those things he held dear.

In Herod’s mind, there was only room for one king on the throne, and he was not about to share it. The truth is, Herod was absolutely right! There is only room for one King on the throne, but Herod was not that king. Jesus is the King!

This year, what is sitting on the throne of your heart? What things are you elevating above Jesus in your life? Perhaps it’s your job, your relationships, your hobbies, or your vices. Maybe you’re living in a way that you know is not pleasing to Him. Don’t make the same mistake as Herod. Recognize that Christ is King and surrender all control of your life over to Him today.


Harbinger's Daily is funded by Christians like you who long for people to hear Biblical Truth.

 Your donations are vital to help this ministry continue its efforts to reach the lost and boldly equip the church with the truth of God's Word.