Matthew 2:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 2:18, NIV: A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.'

Matthew 2:18, ESV: “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.”

Matthew 2:18, KJV: In Rama 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.

Matthew 2:18, NASB: 'A VOICE WAS HEARD IN RAMAH, WEEPING AND GREAT MOURNING, RACHEL WEEPING FOR HER CHILDREN; AND SHE REFUSED TO BE COMFORTED, BECAUSE THEY WERE NO MORE.'

Matthew 2:18, NLT: 'A cry was heard in Ramah--weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.'

Matthew 2:18, CSB: A voice was heard in Ramah,weeping, and great mourning,Rachel weeping for her children;and she refused to be consoled,because they are no more.

What does Matthew 2:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Herod's act of killing all the baby boys, age two and under, in and around Bethlehem was monstrous for two reasons. First, of course, Herod's act was a vicious and cold-blooded massacre. He stole from Bethlehem as many as 30 baby boys, according to scholars. The grieving of those people was intense, and Matthew quotes from Jeremiah 31:15 to connect their tears to another moment of weeping in Israel's history.

Rachel is often cited as a representation of the mothers of Israel. Jeremiah described the nation's weeping and loud crying for the death and departure of Israel's children at the time of the Babylonian Captivity in 586 BC. Some hope is found in the quote from Jeremiah: despite the grieving of that moment, Israel survived. In the same way, Jesus survived the attempt to end His life, amid the weeping in Bethlehem for the babies killed by Herod.

Beyond the atrocity itself, Herod was blatantly attempting to destroy God's chosen Messiah. He seemed to have believed the wise men, on some level, when they said the long-promised "king of the Jews" was born. Herod saw God's provision of a savior as a threat to his own power instead of the answer to Israel's prayer. He attempted to kill the Messiah before the Messiah could take his throne.