Is there a record of the numbers of babies killed bu Herod. I read somewhere the number 14000 which is very hard for me to believe since Bethlehem was a very small city.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
The Greek Liturgy asserts that Herod killed 14,000 boys (ton alion id chiliadon Nepion), the Syrians speak of 64,000, many medieval authors of 144,000, according to Apoc., xiv, 3. Modern writers reduce the number considerably, since Bethlehem was a rather small town. Knabenbauer brings it down to fifteen or twenty (Evang. S. Matt., I, 104), Bisping to ten or twelve (Evang. S. Matt.), Kellner to about six (Christus und seine Apostel, Freiburg, 1908); cf. “Anzeiger kath. Geistlichk. Deutschl.”, 15 Febr., 1909, p. 32. This cruel deed of Herod is not mentioned by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, although he relates quite a number of atrocities committed by the king during the last years of his reign. The number of these children was so small that this crime appeared insignificant amongst the other misdeeds of Herod.
There is no reliable way to ascertain the number of children killed by Herod in his attempt to kill the Christ child. All someone can do is estimate the population of Bethlehem at the time and extrapolate how many children 2 and under would likely have been present. Given that most historians don’t believe the population of Bethlehem to have been more than 1,000 the number holy innocents most likely was not in the hundreds let alone thousands.