“Then Herod…killed all the male children in Bethlehem….”
A third prophecy in Matthew 2 is called “Application Fulfillment.” This one is different in that it similar to a description rather than a specific fulfillment like the other two. In the first, Jesus came out of Bethlehem. In the second, Israel AND Jesus both came out of Egypt. Let’s look at the scripture for the third. It concerned the murder of all the male children 2 years of age and younger, in and around the region of Bethlehem. If you recall, Herod was trying to kill the king of the Jews that the three wise men were seeking and that the priests and scribes revealed in scripture.
Matthew 2:17-18 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.
Jeremiah 31:15 Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”
This verse of Jeremiah is tucked inside chapters 30 and 31 which are chapters of great hope for the future of Judah as they were being taken captive to Babylon. It is in Chapter 31 that we see much detail of the New Covenant which is fulfilled in the person of Jesus. But God reminded his people that there was great sorrow before the joy to come.
What was that sorrow? It turns out we find in Jeremiah 40:1 that Ramah was the launching point for the forced march of what was left of Judah to Babylon. Ramah is believed to have been a few miles north of Jerusalem in what is now the city of A-Ram. The idea of 31:15 was that Rachel represented the mothers of Israel. Certainly, they wept as all their children were marched off in chains.
But that didn’t happen with Jesus. Yes, there was murder, but Jeremiah was speaking of the Babylonian captivity. Besides, Bethlehem is SOUTH of Jerusalem. However, these two events are similar in that mothers in Israel certainly wept for their children who were no more. Herod wasn’t the first to commit horrendous acts against Israel, and he won’t be the last.
There have been lots of reasons for Rachel to weep.
There is one more fulfilled prophecy from Matthew 2 to talk about. We’ll cover that Monday, God willing.
Father, how horrific are the enemies of your chosen people, yet how much greater is your hope! Amen.
Source: “The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy “ pages 109-112
Copyright © 2020 Scott Powers