Matthew 2 v 13. When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream: “Get up” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
So Joseph is warned by an angel that an attempt is to be made on the baby’s life by King Herod. He is told to escape to Egypt until it was safe to return. How ironic is that! It was from Egypt that God’s people were dramatically rescued centuries earlier. It was there they were made slaves until God’s servant Moses arrived and led them out as the book of Exodus tells us. But now this same Egypt is sheltering the Son of God and offering Him safety from the persecution of the one who was supposed to be the King of his own Jewish race. But, as Matthew reminds us, this turns out to be a fulfilment of a prophecy made in Hosea 11 v 1, centuries before this event.
Herod himself eventually died a terrible death in Jericho around 4 BC. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us Herod died after a lunar eclipse. A partial eclipse did indeed take place on March 13, 4 BC about 29 days before the Passover.
Most modern scholars agree that Herod suffered from depression and paranoia throughout his lifetime. Based on the description in the works of Josephus, at least one medical expert suggested that Herod died as a result of chronic kidney failure complicated by Fournier’s Gangrene. Whether accurate or not his final illness was excruciating and was called “Herod’s Evil”.
And so it will always go with the enemies of the Lord. They all eventually die, as we all do. Herod feared no one would mourn for him after he died and arranged that several notable people should be killed on the day he died so that there would be mourning at his death. Fortunately his plan was not carried out, but how sad to die without being missed by anyone.
Make your life count by being a true Christian and a true servant of Jesus. Get involved in the lives of needy people. Love them, encourage them and above all share the good news about Jesus with them. You too will eventually die but how different it will be for you as you enter into the joy of the Lord.
Do you think there are people who will not miss you when you are gone? Is it because of a broken relationship? Can you do anything about it? If you can, will you do it today?