18 “A Voice in Ramah was heard, weeping and a lot of mourning; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be comforted, because they are no more.”
19 Now, Herod having died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt
Ramah = a hill
Rachel = ewe or sheep
Herod = heroic
Joseph = let him add
Egypt = double straits
Rachel weeping for her children recalls how Jacob wept for his son, Joseph, whom he was told had been killed. Later he had his son restored to him in Egypt, where he was second in position to Pharaoh.
This prophecy looks back both to that time and forward to the slaying of the innocent little boys. They had their young life ripped from them for the sake of Jesus. Their earthly future was exchanged for an eternity around the throne of the King of Kings. Their distraught mothers and fathers were engulfed in grief at the loss of their beloved children,; and this echoes the heart of the Father as He gives His One and only Son to be killed on a cross by the very men whom He died to save.
In the very act of salvation and restoration there is suffering and pain.
Yet into this grief the Good Shepherd comes, tends his sheep, and restores to us the joy of salvation, with the angelic accompaniment of joy in heaven.
The death of Herod brings a new beginning for Joseph, Mary and Jesus.
Herod died a death of excruciating pain, so the Jewish historian, Josephus, informs us. It is thought by some that he may have suffered chronic kidney failure and, therefore, died in horrendous circumstances. However, that is not comparable to the suffering that he inflicted on the innocent baby boys as he tried to snuff out the life of Jesus.
It heralded a new start for Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, which was to be announced by the angel of the Lord, again by a dream.
There are times when something has to die for us to move into the new things that God has in store for us. This is true when we first come to Jesus, we must die to our self in order to live for Jesus. This is a lifelong process.
Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20:
I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me – (NLT).
We must crucify whatever holds us back from doing the Father’s will, and then we will enter into a new phase in experiencing the blessing of being in His will.