***Another “Modern Day Reporter” account***
By Bill Byrnes
“For what shall it profit a man if he should gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what should a man give in exchange for his own soul?” Mark:8:36-37.
HEROD THE GREAT—DIES! BRUTAL MONARCH SUFFERS “EXCRUcIATING DEATH!”
Jericho, Judea, 3 A.D. (4 B.C.)
Reporter: Bill Byrnes
Despite, recent, last-minute attempts by King Herod the Great to find cures at the springs at Callirrhoe, at the North end of the Dead Sea, it was learned that he succumbed to his long standing illnesses, yesterday. He was sixty-nine.
Part of this attempt was moving him on a stretcher from his winter home in Jericho to this hot-springs area. His body will be returned to Jericho for final preparations. Sources close to Herod’s survivors say that from there, his funeral procession will proceed to the Herodium, outside, Nazareth, where he’ll be buried.
During his thirty-seven year reign, Herod’s tremendous military and civic achievements were surpassed only by his brutality. Whereas ruthlessness is a common trait of rulers in this era, Herod brought it to new levels. His many victims included his favorite wife, Mariamne and her mother! Anyone even rumored to have “designs” on the throne was “fair-game”. This included three of his own sons and his young brother-in-law, Aristobulous. In fact, Herod died only five days after ordering the death of another son, Antipater. It’s no wonder that Caesar Augustus once commented: “I would rather be Herod’s pig than one of his sons!”
Caesar Augustus:”I’d rather be Herod’s pig...”
These are but a few of a long list of Herod’s victims, however, he’ll certainly be immortalized for his “slaughter of the innocents” in Bethlehem. This occurred three years ago. At that time, Herod gave audience to three travelers– Magi– seeking the birthplace of the Messiah, the long awaited King of the Jews. After the Magi ignored his request that they return thru Jerusalem, to inform him of the whereabouts of the new king, he went “crazy” with rage. He ordered members of his army to proceed to the small village and kill every male child two years old and younger. There was never any official count taken–no one wanted that task! However based on the usual population of Bethlehem, this amounted to approximately 20 newborn males. Despite this extreme action, no reports have ever been heard of any “Messiah”, either escaping or perishing. In fact, nothing has been heard of since.
“Kill all the first-born”
Sources within the Temple say that despite the fact that Herod’s illness started just before the slaughter, its increasing intensity must be God’s punishment for the horrible slayings he perpetrated. These illnesses started with light fever, followed by inflammation wherever he was touched. Soon, came “heavy” itching requiring constant scratching. Herod developed extremely painful ulceration of his bowels and intestinal area. During the final stages of his illness, he developed dropsy, as the liver became enlarged and his abdominal area filled with fluid. His scrotum became enormously distended and his entire pubic-area developed gangrene with subsequent infestation by maggots. His physicians agreed that the last three to five years of Herod’s life were incredibly painful.
It is rumored that surviving sons Archelaus, Antipas and Phillip will each rule over parts of the kingdom to be designated by Roman authority. After their father’s funeral, they’ll proceed to Rome for dispensation of an agreement. This is despite the fact that Herod named Archelaus as sole surviving king just before his death.
Reporter’s note: See next article–”The Homecoming”
Reporter: Bill Byrnes
Death of King Herod ends Judean family exile!
Somewhere in Northeastern Eqypt–3A.D.–
It was more than overcast skies that made this day different from the others. The young father knew that because of the dreams he had over the last couple of days. These dreams were identical to ones he had a few years ago. Just after the birth of his young son an “angel” in the dream told him to quickly leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt. Now, the same angel told him it was safe to return to their “homeland”.
His wife finished getting their 3-yr old son ready while he finished packing their mule. After helping her onto her mount, Joseph held his young son. As he cuddled the boy, amidst the subsequent giggling, he said, “Son, today your journey begins–and as all of us know–it’s a journey that the entire world will watch. Let us return home–it’s safe there for you now!”
“It’s safe there now.”
Matthew: 2:21: “And he arose, took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.”