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.
The horrific subject matter of the Massacre of the Innocents also provided a comparison of ancient brutalities with early modern ones during the period of religious wars that followed the Reformation – Bruegel's versions show the soldiers carrying banners with the Habsburg double-headed eagle (often used at the time for Ancient Roman soldiers).
Another, his grand Massacre of the Innocents is now at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, Ontario.
Stephen Harris and Raymond Brown similarly contend that Matthew's purpose is to present Jesus as the Messiah, and the Massacre of the Innocents as the fulfillment of passages in Hosea (referring to the exodus), and in Jeremiah (referring to the Babylonian exile). Everett Ferguson also considers the story historically plausible in the larger context of Herod's reign of terror, writing that "The slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem (Matt.
2) finds no independent confirmation in sources outside the New Testament, but the incident fits well the reign of terror of Herod's last years.
And immediately the mountain was cleft, and received her.
And a light shone about them, for an angel of the Lord was with them, watching over them." "When he [emperor Augustus] heard that among the boys in Syria under two years old whom Herod, king of the Jews, had ordered killed, his own son was also killed, he said: it is better to be Herod's pig, than his son." The story assumed an important place in later Christian tradition; Byzantine liturgy estimated 14,000 Holy Innocents while an early Syrian list of saints stated the number at 64,000.
with theological reflection on the theme of [Old Testament] fulfillment". France, addressing the story's absence in Antiquities of the Jews, argues that "the murder of a few infants in a small village [is] not on a scale to match the more spectacular assassinations recorded by Josephus".
A man who killed a large part of his own family and arrested large numbers of the most prominent citizens with orders for their execution when he died so there would be mourning at his death (Josephus, Ant.
17.6.5 [173-75], but not carried out - 8.2 ) would not have caused much of a stir by liquidating a score of children in an obscure village." The story's first appearance in any source other than the Gospel of Matthew is in the apocryphal Protoevangelium of James of c.150 AD, which excludes the Flight into Egypt and switches the attention of the story to the infant John the Baptist: "And when Herod knew that he had been mocked by the Magi, in a rage he sent murderers, saying to them: Slay the children from two years old and under.
And Mary, having heard that the children were being killed, was afraid, and took the infant and swaddled Him, and put Him into an ox-stall.
And Elizabeth, having heard that they were searching for John, took him and went up into the hill-country, and kept looking where to conceal him. And Elizabeth, groaning with a loud voice, says: O mountain of God, receive mother and child.