An astute and generous ruler, a brilliant general, and one of the most imaginative
and energetic builders of the ancient world, …
Now who could the National Geographic be talking about? Why of course it is King
Herod the Great!
Herod guided his kingdom to new prosperity and power.
He was all about hope and change.
Yet today he is best known as the sly and murderous monarch of Matthew’s Gospel,
who slaughtered every male infant in Bethlehem in an unsuccessful attempt to
kill the newborn Jesus, the prophesied King of the Jews. During the Middle
Ages he became an image of the Antichrist: Illuminated manuscripts and Gothic
gargoyles show him tearing his beard in mad fury and brandishing his sword
at the luckless infants, with Satan whispering in his ear. Herod is almost
certainly innocent of this crime, of which there is no report apart from Matthew’s
Wow I guess I can forget about the Holy Innocents. Thanks National Geographic!
But children he certainly slew, including three of his own sons, along with his
wife, his mother-in-law, and numerous other members of his court. Throughout
his life, he blended creativity and cruelty, harmony and chaos, in ways that
challenge the modern imagination. [article]
Now I am confused. We know about how Herod murdered his relatives based on only
one account by Josephus written around 93 or 94. Yet the account by Matthew
written earlier and passed on by people living within living memory of King
Herod is not credible. National Geographic also calls Josephus a "hostile biographer " So I guess the one source rule can be used selectively
depending on the outcome you want. Besides somebody who murdered many family
members out of a paranoid feat of being usurped could not possibly react
like the Herod in Matthew’s account – oh wait.
Just in time for Christmas National Geographic has the television show and a
game called "Herod’s Lost Tomb" available for multiple platforms and even the iPhone/iPod Touch. Too bad according to them the slaughter of the innocents
isn’t true or they could have released a First Person Stabber where you hack at under two year old’s in Bethlehem. Surely next on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel we will soon get titles like "The Real Herod."