He looked at his big, strong, masculine hands. These were surely the hands of a king. With the large gold signet ring worn on his left hand, he made laws that changed people’s lives and he ended those lives as needed. Even the lives of several of his wives – loves of his life they were – but not respecting of his supreme power.
He was proud of his hands. They showed his heritage as being among the people he now ruled. Surely he was a king to unite the Jews with their atofore fractious relationship with Caesar. He was a bridgebuilder – he made paths straight to Rome and wore semi-religious hats amongst his people.
His mother had raised him to understand these people, she was one of them. His father raised him to be their lord. It was his hands that signed the decree to rebuild the temple and it was called after his own name — Herod’s temple.
These hands had clenched the scepter that ruled Judea and these Jews. They had also clenched the throats of his most popular children who sought to win the love of these people who didn’t love him. How dare they say ‘better to be Herod’s sow than Herod’s son!” Ingrates! Simpletons!
Yes, in these hands he held power – the power of Rome – Caesar – the god man as far as he was concerned. He worshiped Caesar as he paid tribute of his monies and best treasures with these hands.
He was king of the Jews — he was not born king of the Jews but he had become their king nonetheless. He would use these hands to remain their king and ascend the throne as their very god. Such was the power he held in these hands.
His hands threw back the purple curtain separating his private chamber from the throne room. Visitors were here from distant lands and they were asking for him — the King of the Jews. Come from far away — with gifts, no less!
He checked his rings and nails – taking time to clean the fleck of dust from under the ring finger they may want to kiss. He was lord of this land and his hands were ready to receive his right rewards. His hands grasped his crown and thrust it upon his head as trumpets began to blare.
He folded his hands — prancing forward with his stately head held high – crown gleaming. He did not look at his sychophants – he gazed directly at these three strange scholars — calling themselves Magi. Such a long way to worship such a great king! Well, he would make it worth their while. His chest puffed out and his hand toyed with the ring that attested to his kingship.
If any one of these impertinents would ever again question his right to rule – he would point to the validation shown by these three great men – surely some of the wisest, most sage scholars in the world today. Surely in their wisdom they could see the greatness of the king of the Jews, King Herod.
Amidst courtiers and scribes, King Herod sat – gripping the armrests of his throne. Knuckles turning white in trembling anticipation. Get on with the worship!
“King Herod – king of the Jews invites you to approach his throne,” boomed his loudest orator.
The wise men approached without fear and relayed a story as Herod’s scribes wrote –casting incredulous looks at one another when the conversation lapsed. King Herod’s hands moved from the anticipatory clench to that of pinkened, ravenous jealousy.
Did these men not know he, Herod, was king? A baby! Did they not know that Herod had killed most heirs and few remained, least of all a baby! He despised babies. They were so…so…helpless… and weak. Ah… weak! It would take God himself, if there be a god, to protect this condemned infant.
An eighteen month old brat somewhere in his kingdom lay plotting to usurp the throne of Herod the Great.
After consulting with the religiouso — those who knew prophecy if indeed this was the fulfillment of such, Herod’s hands trembled as he signed orders to find and kill this dangerous Bethlehemite charlatan. He would flick this child out of his life like he flicked the lint from under his nail just hours a go. He had killed his own sons and he would not stop at killing the very son of God if he had to. All in the name of preserving his precious throne.
Life and death would lie in no one’s hands but in those of the true King of the Jews. He would nail this child to the doorpost of the temple for all to see where their salvation would lie! This child’s name would become a byword among these people! This child would become a stumblingstone for all those who chose to rebel against the living God. This child and his family would know sorrow and grief and would bear all of the wrath of the the king of this world. His hands would not rest until the world knew the true identity of the King of the Jews. He would sacrifice this child until His tiny hands curled in rigor mortis. Then the world could know peace.
“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), ”