King Herod and the Cock is a traditional English folk carol.

In the New Testament, the Magi, the wise men from the East skilled in the interpretation of heavenly signs, come to Jerusalem seeking the one born to be the Messiah, the king of the Jews.

King Herod, the ruler of Judea at the time, is deeply disturbed by their prophecy. He seeks the advice of his priests and scribes, who inform him that according to the prophets, the Messiah will be born in Bethlehem, about five miles away. Herod sends the Magi there, telling them to come at once and inform him when they find the child so that he may go and pay homage.

The Magi discover Jesus, but return home by another way after an angel warns them not to alert Herod because he intends to kill the baby. When Herod realizes he's been tricked by the Magi he becomes furious, and he has all the boys in and around Bethlehem under two years old killed. The massacre fails to kill the baby Jesus, because Joseph, his father was warned by an angel and escapes with him and his mother to Egypt.

This song is about King Herod trying to determine the accuracy of the prophecy.

King Herod and the Cock - English Children's Songs - England - Mama Lisa's World: Children's Songs and Rhymes from Around the World  - Intro Image


Sung by "Alanmapstone".

Thanks and Acknowledgements

Image: The Journey of the Magi by Sassetta ca. 1433-5.