Matthew 2:16

Slew all the male children that were in Bethlehem (aneilen panta tou paida tou en Bhqleem). The flight of Joseph was justified, for Herod was violently enraged (equmwqh lian) that he had been mocked by the Magi, deluded in fact (enepaicqh). Vulgate illusus esset. Herod did not know, of course, how old the child was, but he took no chances and included all the little boys (tou paida, masculine article) in Bethlehem two years old and under, perhaps fifteen or twenty. It is no surprise that Josephus makes no note of this small item in Herod's chamber of horrors. It was another fulfilment of the prophecy in Jeremiah 31:15 . The quotation ( Jeremiah 2:18 ) seems to be from the Septuagint. It was originally written of the Babylonian captivity but it has a striking illustration in this case also. Macrobius (Sat. II. iv. II) notes that Augustus said that it was better to be Herod's sow (u) than his son (uio), for the sow had a better chance of life.