Matthew 2:18

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A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she would not be comforted, because they are not. (ASV)

Contents

Pro

Here, the author has hijacked Jeremiah 31:15, which actually refers to the Babylonian captivity and has nothing to do with Herod's alleged massacre. --Robert Stevens 09:38, 24 Oct 2005 (CDT)

It should also be noted that the historicity of the "Massacre of the Innocents" is widely disputed. See the Wikipedia article Massacre of the Innocents for more information.

--JustinEiler 20:10, 26 Oct 2005 (CDT)

Response to Con

"This kind of exegesis was typical in the period, for the rabbis too. While it may be said that the events aren't a "real" fulfillment of the Jeremiah prophecy, using the type from the OT was perfectly acceptable during the period and thus not dishonest."

While this type of interpretation (which would be eisegetic, not exegetic) may be common, it still makes for a grave difficulty for the argument of inerrancy. Even the location renders it a highly difficult reading, as Ramah was north of Jerusalem, while Bethlehem in Judah was south of Jerusalem. Unless it should be understood that the supposed massacre occurred over a wide enough area to include Jerusalem itself, the application of the Ramah lamentation to the Massacre of the Innocents is questionable at best, and ludicrous at worst.

But the important point here is the historicity of the event: this is the only mention of the event in any historical account whatsoever (save for those accounts that clearly use Matthew as a source). We have an event that was notorious enough to deserve at least some mention ... but nowhere else in the world is it discussed, or even hinted to. History clearly indicates that Herod was a rapacious monster who was certainly capable of such--but even his worst detractors make no mention of such an event.

It is easy to dismiss such an argument as "argument from silence," but in cases like this, the silence speaks louder than words.

--JustinEiler 12:31, 12 Nov 2005 (CST)


JW:

Any attempted Defense here has the following problems:

1) What's referred to in Jeremiah is itself Figurative.

2) Jeremiah's Context for the reference is contemporary to Jeremiah and not a Prophecy.

3) In context Rachel is mourning for the Northern tribes and not the Southern tribes where Bethlehem supposedly would have been.

--JoeWallack 20:19, 9 Feb 2007 (CST)

Con

Neutral

Edit this section to note miscellaneous facts.


"As to the historicity of the incident, the very article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massacre_of_the_innocents) in Wikipedia reads:

"If the event is historical, given the small size of "Bethlehem and its vicinity," it did not involve a large number of boys age two and under. Albright estimates the area had about 300 people at the time. Brown estimates that the population was no more than a thousand. Given the birth rate and high infant mortality rate of the time, either of these figures would mean at most only a few dozen children killed.[2] This would not have been a particularly large atrocity for the period in general and Herod in particular and thus might have escaped mention by Josephus and others."

This is utterly plausible to me. Ordering a killing of a few dozen kids in Hicksville, Palestine wasn't exactly in the Top 10 Horrible Things Herod Did and probably would not have gained him much media attention. --jjmarkka 09:33, 11 Nov 2005 (CST)"


JW: As to Albright's estimate, oh, excuse me, a flock of owls just flew in the window, "who, who, who". Get out you stupid owls. As to Brown, the Wikipedia article is wrong (don't believe everything you read in a Wiki group, nes faux pah?). This refers to page 204 of The Birth Of The Messiah and Brown indicates no such thing. The numbers you attribute to Brown above are Brown's summary of Apologist arguments and not Brown's argument. Brown indicates that based on what "Matthew" wrote the numbers would be much larger and therefore less plausible.

If you want to try and defend against error you first have to deal with the proper translation of "Bethlehem and its vicinity" which most Christian translations have mistranslated thereby underestimating the area referred to. Once you have done this then you can properly estimate the number of innocents "Matthew" intended and you have a default position that this would be the worst thing Herod ever supposedly did. Then you need to identify what was the worst thing Josephus identifed that Herod did and compare it to the slaughter of the Innocents.


Joseph

Bethlehem was not founded until 200 AD. Hmmmmm... Guess we have some historians writing "books" of the bible after the fact.


Movement Of Con Argument To Neutral

"This kind of exegesis was typical in the period, for the rabbis too. While it may be said that the events aren't a "real" fulfillment of the Jeremiah prophecy, using the type from the OT was perfectly acceptable during the period and thus not dishonest. It is unclear which of these is the problem here.

As to the historicity of the incident, the very article in Wikipedia reads:

"If the event is historical, given the small size of "Bethlehem and its vicinity," it did not involve a large number of boys age two and under. Albright estimates the area had about 300 people at the time. Brown estimates that the population was no more than a thousand. Given the birth rate and high infant mortality rate of the time, either of these figures would mean at most only a few dozen children killed.[2] This would not have been a particularly large atrocity for the period in general and Herod in particular and thus might have escaped mention by Josephus and others."

This is utterly plausible to me. Ordering a killing of a few dozen kids in Hicksville, Palestine wasn't exactly in the Top 10 Horrible Things Herod Did and probably would not have gained him much media attention. --jjmarkka 09:33, 11 Nov 2005 (CST)"

--JoeWallack 19:56, 9 Feb 2007 (CST)

Reason For Move

JW:

The attempted Defense here is that the type of Figurative prophecy fulfillment "Matthew" makes here was an accepted literary convention for the time and place. Not considering for the moment whether this general of a statement is even true, specifically here Jeremiah himself makes a Figurative statement and it is this Figurative statement that"Matthew" claims is subsequently a fulfilled prophecy. I believe that the attempted Defense here that specifically "The Rabbis" did this is simply a False statement and therefore does not meet ErrancyWiki minimum reasonableness requirements. In order for the Defense to move back to Con status they must give at least one example of "The Rabbis" taking a clearly Figurative statement from Scripture that was clearly shown as applying to the Scripture author's time and claimed by the Rabbis to fulfill prophecy subsequently.

--JoeWallack 19:56, 9 Feb 2007 (CST)

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