Read His Words Before Ours!
“WISE men?” I laughed mirthlessly as I swirled the ruby liquid in my goblet. Without warning, I hurled the heavy object across the room as I roared in anger. Wine sprayed across the white marble floor as the goblet shattered with a crash. The dark color reminded me of blood. High priests and scholars who had been sharing whispered information with me only moments ago scurried from the throne room like frightened children, eager to escape my wrath. A servant hurried silently to clean the spill and restore order.
My thoughts churned, an equal mixture of fury and disgust. They couldn’t be THAT wise! How dare they show up in my kingdom, unannounced, to inquire about the newborn king of the Jews?! I am the King of the Jews. There is no other. I rule with the support of Rome and most of Jerusalem.
Did they truly think this course of action could possibly end well for them? If they had any sense or skill at all, their stars and signs would have forewarned them what a mistake it would be to come here! I’ll make sure it’s a mistake they won’t make again. They won’t be doing anything once I’m through with them.
Although… Perhaps there’s a way I can use their idiocy to my advantage. I stood and took a few steps toward the opposite wall before turning to pace back the other way. The whispers of an idea were beginning to take shape.
The prophecy plainly states the Messiah will come from Bethlehem. Of that, everyone seems certain. If it is true, and he is here, I know that’s the region where he’ll be. He is only an infant. He is weak and defenseless…for now.
I am the only king of the Jews. I will not allow him to become my successor. A darker thought took root and began to grow. He will never make it to adulthood; I won’t allow it.
“Simeon!” I barked, fists clenched, robes rustling behind me.
He appeared at once and bowed. “Yes, my king?”
“I want you to arrange a meeting with the men from the East. Tell no one. I want to meet with them at once!”
Simeon bowed again. “Yes, my king.” He left as silently as he had appeared.
Yes. This will work, I can feel it!
I will convince them that I, too, want to worship the newborn king.
I will convince them that my motives are pure.
Then, I will find him.
I will find him, and I will kill him.
I felt a cold smile curve my lips. The prophecy was good for something, after all. God may have intended it to inspire hope, but instead, it would serve to secure my reign against His “Messiah.”
I retrieved the new goblet a servant had placed on the table beside my throne and poured a generous helping. What kind of God sends His Messiah as a baby, anyway? Kings are powerful. They command armies, and respect. They deal with rulers, and other authorities. Nothing about this makes any sense.
Lost in my thoughts, I sat on my throne and studied the gems adorning one hand, swirling the wine with my other hand. The sound of someone clearing their throat brought me back, and I noticed Simeon had returned.
“It is done, my king. They will be here soon.” He bowed, never once making eye contact.
I chuckled with dark delight. “Well done, Simeon! Leave me, I need to be alone with my thoughts.”
He strode quietly from the room as I stood and began to pace once more.
“Thank you so much for coming to meet with me! Yes, I too, am thrilled that the prophecy is fulfilled and am eager to…” I snorted aloud as an unsolicited bout of laughter overtook me. “…worship the newborn king!”
Yes. This will work splendidly…if only I can keep from laughing outright!
No one will take my kingdom from me.
No one will take my power, my position, my status.
No one will bow to any other king of the Jews.
I ALONE determine my fate, and the fate of all I rule.
I will NEVER allow this infant Messiah to survive, to fulfill the prophecy.
And once I kill him, I will kill these foolish “wise” men, too. They will rue the day they dared set foot in my kingdom to seek to worship my successor.
I am the King. I am Herod. I have no room for another.
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