Herod - the character who lost the plot
It is difficult sometimes to have sympathy for someone who beomes a victim of a problem of their own making. This is certainly true of Herod the Great.
As a political wheeler and dealer he had schemed and connived himself into a position he had no right to possess, and that ws where his troubles started.
Essentially he was squeezed in he middle - with an occupying army that could remove him on a general's whim on one side, and a rebellious nation who did not recognise his claim to rulership on the other. He had to appear to be strong - but not too strong. He had to be co-operative, but not appear weak enough to be a target for the same manoevering that put him on the throne in the first place.
Then, into the mix for a paranoid king of a people whose culture and aspiraions he neither shares nor respects, there arrives a party of wise men bringing news of a royal birth. In this context, his genocidal outburst seems natural.
But what he doesn't realise is that unwittingly, his madness fulfills prophecies laid down centuries beforehand. His behaviour had been predicted. Not the first Biblical despot to find that his fate was sealed before he acted. Not the last either.Question
Despotic rulers can be found in many parts of the world today; as well as foolish leaders. There are plenty of prophecies concerning the return of Jesus. Discuss how God's purposes are unwittingly advanced by those who do not realise they are actually fulfilling God's word, but act to protect their own selfish ends.