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When King Herod realised that the wise men were not coming back, and that he would not be able to identify the child who was a threat to his throne, he sent his soldiers to kill all the boys in Bethlehem who were two years old or less.
There is no record of this atrocity outside Matthew's Gospel. But it fits completely with what we know about King Herod from other sources:
Herod the Great was a vicious tyrant, paranoid and completely ruthless about defending his throne. He executed huge numbers of people. He killed his own wife Mariamne, and several of his sons, who he saw as threats to his throne. The Jewish historian Josephus calls Herod a 'pitiless monster.'
Although we do not know about the killing of the toddlers in Bethlehem from anywhere other than Matthew's Gospel, it is completely in character with what we do know about Herod from other sources.
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