Matthew 2:16

Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceedingly angry, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the region thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
And while he thus persecutes Christ, he furnished an army (or martyrs) clothed in white robes of the same age as the Lord. Serm. 220. App.: Behold how this unrighteous enemy never could have so much profited these infants by his love, as he did by his hate; for as much as iniquity abounded against them, so much did the grace of blessing abound on them. Serm. 373, 3: O blessed infants! He only will doubt of your crown in this your passion for Christ, who doubts that the baptism of Christ has a benefit for infants. He who at His birth had Angels to proclaim Him, the heavens to testify, and Magi to worship Him, could surely have prevented that these should not have died for Him, had He not known that they died not in that death, but rather lived in higher bliss. Far be the thought, that Christ who came to setmen free, did nothing to reward those who died in His behalf, when hanging on the cross He prayed for those who put Him to death. Serm. 132, App.: The Magi had seen this unknown star ...


AD 735
Hom. in Nat. Innocent: In this death of the children the precious death of all Christ's martyrs is figured; that they were infants signifies, that by the merit of humility alone can we come to the glory of martyrdom; that they were slain in Bethlehem and the coasts thereof, that the persecution shall be both in Jerusalem whence the Church originated, and throughout the world; in those of two years old are figured the perfect in doctrine and works; those under that age the neophytes; that they were slain while Christ escaped, signifies that the bodies of the martyrs may be destroyed by the wicked, but that Christ cannot be taken from them.

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
By this example, we learn how great credit we owe to the Church in canonizing saints, and celebrating their holydays: by whose only warrant, without any word of Scripture, these holy Innocents have been honoured as martyrs, and their holyday kept ever since the apostles' time, although they died not voluntarily, nor all, perhaps, circumcised, and some even children of pagans. (St. Augustine, ep. 28. Origen, hom. iii. in diversos.) (Bristow)

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Yet surely it was a case not for anger, but for fear and awe: he ought to have perceived that he was attempting impossible things. But he is not refrained. For when a soul is insensible and incurable, it yields to none of the medicines given by God. See for example this man following up his former efforts, and adding many murders to one, and hurried down the steep any whither. For driven wild by this anger, and envy, as by some demon, he takes account of nothing, but rages even against nature herself, and his anger against the wise men who had mocked him he vents upon the children that had done no wrong: venturing then in Palestine upon a deed akin to the things that had been done in Egypt. For he sent forth, it is said, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Here attend to me carefully. Because many things are uttered by many very idly touc...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
He is not satisfied with the massacre at Bethlehem, but extends it to the adjacent villages; sparing no age from the child of one night old, to that of two years.

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
As God used Moses to trick Pharaoh, so, too, He used the Magi to trick Herod. For both Herod and Pharaoh were child slayers: Pharaoh slew the male children of the Hebrews in Egypt, and Herod slew the male children of the Hebrews in Bethlehem. Herod vents his wrath against the Magi upon those who had wronged him in nothing. Why were the children allowed to be slaughtered? So that Herod’s wickedness might be revealed. But perhaps you will ask me, "Why did the children suffer wrong to show Herod’s wickedness?" Listen then. They were not wronged but were made worthy of crowns. For anyone who suffers some evil here, suffers either so that his sins might be absolved, or so that his crowns might be multiplied. So it is with these children; for their suffering they will receive a greater crown in heaven. .

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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