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Jeremiah 31:15 and the massacre of Bethlehem's baby boys 1, 2  Next  
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Did Jeremiah 31:15 accurately predict the massacre of infants in Bethlehem?
Jeremiah nailed it!
14%
 14%  [ 1 ]
Well, maybe
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
It was just an odd coincidence
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Absolutely not!
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Just show the results
28%
 28%  [ 2 ]
Total Votes : 7

pandabear
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:46 pm    Post subject: Jeremiah 31:15 and the massacre of Bethlehem's baby boys Reply with quote

This is the now the fifth in our series of scintillating debates concerning alleged Old Testament prophecies that Jesus is purported to have fulfilled concerning the requirements in a Jewish Messiah.

It all started here: http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt152497.html

Maybe the National Enquirer will eventually pick up the story, and we'll be famous. So far, I don't think that we have converted any Jews or atheists. In fact, the Jews and atheists seem to be ahead, by a score of 4-0.

Our fifth prophecy concerns Jeremiah 31:15, which reads

Quote:

The Lord says,

"A sound is heard in Ramah,
the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children;
they are gone,
and she refuses to be comforted."


It is alleged that this passage accurately predicted the massacre of Bethlehem's baby boys, per Matthew 2: 16-18

Quote:

When Herod realized that the visitors from the East had tricked him, he was furious. He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its neighborhood who were two years old and younger. This was done in accordance with what he had learned from the visitors about the time when the star had appeared.

In this way what the prophet Jeremiah had said came true:

A sound is heard in Ramah,
the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children;
she refuses to be comforted,
for they are dead.


So, our question for today is: did Jeremiah accurately forecast the slaughter of all the boys who were two years old and younger in Bethlehem and its neighborhood?
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Tensu
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

R.T. France wrote:
“on the scale of atrocities known to have been perpetrated by Herod ... this would register very low ... The murder of a few infants in a small village [is] not on a scale to match the more spectacular assassinations recorded by Josephus”.


And for the record, you are not exactly an unbiased scorekeeper Razz
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MCalavera
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As always, another vague prophecy. Almost any person/event can fulfill such a "prophecy" with the right story tellers.
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ruveyn
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The next thing we will hear is the Nostramus predicted it.

ruveyn
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Philologos
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 8:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bamboo Breath and the Antipodean constitutes now a scintillating debate.

I can't wait for enlightenment.
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pandabear
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lest we fall into the habit of accepting Matthew's cherry-picked verses, without looking at the original context, here is the entire bushel of verses that fill Jeremiah 31

Quote:

The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will be the God of all the tribes of Israel, and they will be my people. In the desert I showed mercy to those people who had escaped death. When the people of Israel longed for rest, I appeared to them from far away. People of Israel, I have always loved you, so I continue to show you my constant love. Once again I will rebuild you. Once again you will take up your tambourines and dance joyfully. Once again you will plant vineyards on the hills of Samaria, and those who plant them will eat what the vineyards produce. Yes, the time is coming when sentries will call out on the hills of Ephraim, 'Let's go up to Zion, to the Lord our God.'"

The Lord says,

"Sing with joy for Israel,
the greatest of the nations.
Sing your song of praise,

The Lord has saved his people;
he has rescued all who are left.


I will bring them from the north
and gather them from the ends of the earth.
The blind and the lame will come with them,
pregnant women and those about to give birth.
They will come back a great nation.
My people will return weeping,
praying as I lead them back.
I will guide them to streams of water,
on a smooth road where they will not stumble.
I am like a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my oldest son."

The Lord says,

"Nations, listen to me
and proclaim my words on the far-off shores.
I scattered my people, but I will gather them
and guard them as a shepherd guards his flock.
I have set Israel's people free
and have saved them from a mighty nation.
They will come and sing for joy on Mount Zion
and be delighted with my gifts—
gifts of grain and wine and olive oil,
gifts of sheep and cattle.
They will be like a well-watered garden;
they will have everything they need.
Then the young women will dance and be happy,
and men, young and old, will rejoice.
I will comfort them and turn their mourning into joy,
their sorrow into gladness.
I will fill the priests with the richest food
and satisfy all the needs of my people.
I, the Lord, have spoken."

The Lord says,

"A sound is heard in Ramah,
the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children;
they are gone,
and she refuses to be comforted.

Stop your crying
and wipe away your tears.
All that you have done for your children
will not go unrewarded;
they will return from the enemy's land.
There is hope for your future;
your children will come back home.
I, the Lord, have spoken."

I hear the people of Israel say in grief,

"Lord, we were like an untamed animal,
but you taught us to obey.
Bring us back;
we are ready to return to you,
the Lord our God.
We turned away from you,
but soon we wanted to return.
After you had punished us,
we hung our heads in grief.
We were ashamed and disgraced
because we sinned when we were young."

"Israel, you are my dearest child,
the one I love best.
Whenever I mention your name,
I think of you with love.
My heart goes out to you;
I will be merciful.
Set up signs and mark the road;
find again the way by which you left.
Come back, people of Israel,
come home to the towns you left.
How long will you hesitate, faithless people?
I have created something new and different,
as different as a woman protecting a man."

The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says,
"When I restore the people to their land, they will once again say in the land of Judah and in its towns."

May the Lord bless the sacred hill of Jerusalem,
the holy place where he lives.

People will live in Judah and in all its towns, and there will be farmers, and shepherds with their flocks. I will refresh those who are weary and will satisfy with food everyone who is weak from hunger. So then, people will say, "I went to sleep and woke up refreshed."

"I, the Lord, say that the time is coming when I will fill the land of Israel and Judah with people and animals. And just as I took care to uproot, to pull down, to overthrow, to destroy, and to demolish them, so I will take care to plant them and to build them up.. When that time comes, people will no longer say,

'The parents ate the sour grapes,
But the children got the sour taste.'

Instead, those who eat sour grapes will have their own teeth set on edge; and everyone will die because of their own sin."

The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant. The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the Lord, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the Lord, have spoken."

The Lord provides the sun for light by day,
the moon and the stars to shine at night.
He stirs up the sea and makes it roar;
his name is the Lord Almighty.
He promises that as long as the natural order lasts,
so long will Israel be a nation.
If one day the sky could be measured
and the foundations of the earth explored,
only then would he reject the people of Israel
because of all they have done.
The Lord has spoken.

"The time is coming", says the Lord, "when all of Jerusalem will be rebuilt as my city, from Hananel Tower west to the Corner Gate. And the boundary line will continue from there on the west to the hill of Gareb and then around to Goah. The entire valley, where the dead are buried and garbage is dumped, and all the fields above Kidron Brook as far as the Horse Gate to the east, will be sacred to me. The city will never again be torn down or destroyed."

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Natty_Boh
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 01, 2011 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Matthew, along with the other Gospel writers, is saying that this time-

Quote:
The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah. It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. Although I was like a husband to them, they did not keep that covenant. The new covenant that I will make with the people of Israel will be this: I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. None of them will have to teach a neighbor to know the Lord, because all will know me, from the least to the greatest. I will forgive their sins and I will no longer remember their wrongs. I, the Lord, have spoken."


-has come, and is now. Now there's something to discuss, rather than studying the frame for flaws and missing the Mona Lisa.
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For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done."
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Daedelus1138
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natty_Boh wrote:
Matthew, along with the other Gospel writers, is saying that this time- -has come, and is now. Now there's something to discuss, rather than studying the frame for flaws and missing the Mona Lisa.


Agreed. To understand why Christians claim Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecies, it's necessary to understand the entire context and the limitations of prophetic texts.
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Philologos
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other is easier and far more fun.

One whom I met in my student days had been working with and EXTREMELY messy language. Against all odds - though the fact that he at the time had not been trained and planed into a degreeable pigeonhole, he figured out how it worked.

He was right, too, though it took me a few years to get to a point of develomemt where could look at the problem and understand it.

So he wrote it up and presented A paper at big international conferemce.

They rose up and spat on him. What you are doing, they said, is morphophonemics. But you have not completed a phonemic analysis. BAD procedure - all you have done is invalid - Nyaah.

So sorry I fixed the car before washing it.

MUCH safer - I should know - to quibble about the documentation than to look Jesus in the eye - or if you have eye contact problems like mine, to sit beside him and talk.
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Natty_Boh
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Daedelus1138 wrote:
Natty_Boh wrote:
Matthew, along with the other Gospel writers, is saying that this time- -has come, and is now. Now there's something to discuss, rather than studying the frame for flaws and missing the Mona Lisa.


Agreed. To understand why Christians claim Jesus fulfills Old Testament prophecies, it's necessary to understand the entire context and the limitations of prophetic texts.


The "Psalm 22 effect" might well be in play here. Jesus only managed the first line or two on the Cross, but the entire Psalm is important to the context. Matthew only quoted a single verse, but both he and his Jewish Christian readers were steeped in the Old Testament - doubtful that any of them stopped, or were intended to stop, at reference's end.

From another angle, I was wrong. This isn't like inspecting the frame of the Mona Lisa for flaws. It's using the Mona Lisa for a dartboard. Great fun if you have no eye for art; but if you can appreciate the beauty of the piece, or even recognize that the beauty is there, it's a travesty.
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For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done."
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pandabear
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 10:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking up Herod the Great (who is otherwise known for a number of great architectural achievements)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_the_Great

Quote:

Herod the Great appears in the Gospel according to Matthew (Ch. 2), which describes an event known as the Massacre of the Innocents.

According to this account, shortly after the birth of Jesus, Magi from the East visited Herod to inquire the whereabouts of "the one having been born king of the Jews", because they had seen his star in the east and therefore wanted to pay him homage. Herod, as King of the Jews, was alarmed at the prospect of a usurper. Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the "Anointed One" (the Messiah, Greek: Ο Χριστός (ho christos)) was to be born. They answered, in Bethlehem, citing Micah 5:2. Herod therefore sent the Magi to Bethlehem, instructing them to search for the child and, after they had found him, to "report to me, so that I too may go and worship him". However, after they had found Jesus, the Magi were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod. Similarly, Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, so he and his family fled to Egypt. When Herod realized he had been outwitted by the Magi, he gave orders to kill all boys of the age of two and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until Herod's death, then moved to Nazareth in Galilee in order to avoid living under Herod's son Archelaus.

Regarding the Massacre of the Innocents, although Herod was certainly guilty of many brutal acts, including the killing of his wife and two of his sons, no other known source from the period makes any reference to such a massacre. Since Bethlehem was a small village, the number of male children under the age of 2, would probably not exceed 20. This may be the reason for the lack of other sources for this history, although Herod's order in Matthew 2:16 includes those children in Bethlehem's vicinity making the massacre larger numerically and geographically.


Although there aren't any independent reports, the killing of infants in Bethlehem does seem plausible. Back in those days, a principal form of entertainment was going to the ampitheatre to watch people murder each other. If you couldn't afford a ticket, then you could always go to the outskirts of town to watch a crucifixion.

Like Herod, Rome's first-century emperors often killed off family members.

Also, back in those days, the stars really did fill up the night sky. If a comet were to appear, people would be likely to take it as an omen of some sort. If there were any hint that the comet portended the birth of someone that was going to take over the king's throne, then killing all of the male children in a small town would be regarded as a prudent measure. Even our President Reagan relied upon astrologers for important decisions.

Since people took the Davidic line so seriously, I'm surprised that Herod (or some ruler of antiquity) didn't sniff out and snuff out all of the male-line descendents of David, including Joseph.

And, the Emperor Constantine and the members of the council of Nicea apparently didn't regard the massacre of male infants as implausible.
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pandabear
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There has been some speculation that the story may have been patterned on the Exodus story of the killing of male Hebrew babies by Pharaoh and the birth of Moses. Here is the story of Exodus 1:

Quote:

Then, a new king, who knew nothing about Joseph, came to power in Egypt. He said to his people, "These Israelites are so numerous and strong that they are a threat to us. In case of war they might join our enemies in order to fight against us, and might escape from the country. We must find some way to keep them from becoming even more numerous."

So the Egyptians put slave drivers over them to crush their spirits with hard labor. The Israelites built the cities of Pithom and Rameses to serve as supply centers for the king. But the more the Egyptians oppressed the Israelites, the more they increased in number and the farther they spread through the land. The Egyptians came to fear the Israelites and made their lives miserable by forcing them into cruel slavery. They made them work on their building projects and in their fields, and they had no pity on them.

Then the king of Egypt spoke to Shiphrah and Puah, the two midwives who helped the Hebrew women. "When you help the Hebrew women give birth, he said to them, kill the baby if it is a boy; but if it is a girl, let it live. But the midwives were God-fearing and so did not obey the king; instead, they let the boys live.

So the king sent for the midwives and asked them, "Why are you doing this? Why are you letting the boys live?"

They answered, "The Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they give birth easily, and their babies are born before either of us gets there." Because the midwives were God-fearing, God was good to them and gave them families of their own. And the Israelites continued to increase and become strong.

Finally the king issued a command to all his people: "Take every newborn Hebrew boy and throw him into the Nile, but let all the girls live."


The issue for the king of Egypt seems to have been similar to that of Whites in the Southern States, who were often outnumbered by their slaves. I wonder why the Hebrews had only two midwives to help them, if they were really that numerous? Herod had a different issue in murdering the infant boys in Bethlehem. Still, I wonder why the king of Egypt thought that he could keep down the Hebrew population by killing only the male babies? One man could have any number of wives or concubines in those days, and the Hebrew population would thus still explode, only making the pickings juicier for any surviving Hebrew male.
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Natty_Boh
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have to admit, I love this line from Jeremiah 31: "I have created something new and different,
as different as a woman protecting a man." Very Happy
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For men are homesick in their homes,
And strangers under the sun,
And they lay their heads in a foreign land
Whenever the day is done."
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pandabear
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm rather disappointed that KXMode and other born-again Christians aren't participating in these discussions. KXMode was the one who presented us with his list of prophecies which he says foretold that Jesus would be the Messiah:

http://www.wrongplanet.net/postt151898.html

This list was presented as "A Message for Jews", and ended with "Yes, become reconciled to Jehovah God. He's begging you." Then, when we start actually reading and discussing their material, they disappear. Why is that?

Anyway, the verse from Jeremiah reads:

Quote:

A sound is heard in Ramah,
the sound of bitter weeping.
Rachel is crying for her children;
they are gone,
and she refuses to be comforted.


The verse does say "Ramah", and not "Bethlehem." How far away from Bethlehem is Ramah?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramah_in_Benjamin

Quote:

Ramah in Benjamin is a city of ancient Israel. It was located near Gibeon and Mizpah to the West, Gibeah to the South, and Geba to the East. It is identified with modern Er-Ram, about 8 km north of Jerusalem. The city is first mentioned in Joshua 18:25, near Gibeah of Benjamin. A Levite came traveling to Gibeah, with Ramah just ahead. (Jg 19:11-15) It was fortified by Baasha, king of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 15:17-22; 2 Chr. 16:1-6). Asa, king of the southern kingdom, employed Ben Hadad the Syrian king to attack Baasha at home and draw his forces away from this city (1 Kings 15:18, 20). When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians, those taken captive were assembled in Ramah before being moved to Babylon (Jeremiah 40:1). Jeremiah said: A voice was heard at Ramah, Rachel was weeping over her sons, because they were no more. (Jer. 31:15). Rachel had so desired children that she considered herself dead without them. (Gen. 30:1) Jeremiah said that she was figuratively weeping because of the loss of the people killed or taken in captivity. And since she was the mother of Benjamin, it would fit because those in Ramah were Benjaminites.

Ramah is mentioned in 1 Samual 8:4 in reference to a meeting place during Samuel's rule.

In the New Testament, Ramah is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew (2:1Cool with reference to Jeremiah prophecy about Rachel, that is said to be fulfilled with the gruesome slaughter of boy children when the Herod was king:

In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.


It looks like Ramah is/was a bit north of Jerusalem, while Bethlehem is well to the south of Jerusalem. Also, Bethlehem was in Judah, while Jerusalem and Ramah were in Benjamin. So, even if Matthew is right and Luke is wrong concerning details about Jesus' birth and infancy, I really don't see how that particular line from Jeremiah could reasonably be interpreted as forecasting the killing of male infants in Bethlehem several hundred years later.
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Philologos
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I'm rather disappointed that KXMode and other born-again Christians aren't participating in these discussions."

Watch your terminology, please, lest I rise up and smite. For one thing, a filibuster is not normally classed as a discussion.

You have already amply proven that you can paste in more text than kxmode in his heyday.

The other remains.
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