Easton's Bible Dictionary
Herod Agrippa I.
Son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod
the Great. He was made tetrarch of the provinces formerly held by Lysanias II.,
and ultimately possessed the entire kingdom of his grandfather, Herod the Great,
with the title of king. He put the apostle James the elder to death, and cast
Peter into prison ( Luke 3:1 ; Acts 12:1 - 19 ). On the second day of a festival
held in honour of the emperor Claudius, he appeared in the great theatre of Caesarea.
"The king came in clothed in magnificent robes, of which silver was the costly
brilliant material. It was early in the day, and the sun's rays fell on the king,
so that the eyes of the beholders were dazzled with the brightness which surrounded
him. Voices here and there from the crowd exclaimed that it was the apparition
of something divine. And when he spoke and made an oration to them, they gave
a shout, saying, 'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man.' But in the midst
of this idolatrous ostentation an angel of God suddenly smote him. He was carried
out of the theatre a dying man." He died (A.D. 44) of the same loathsome malady
which slew his grandfather ( Acts 12:21 - 23 ), in the fifty-fourth year of his
age, having reigned four years as tetrarch and three as king over the whole of
Palestine. After his death his kingdom came under the control of the prefect of
Syria, and Palestine was now fully incorporated with the empire.
Herod's son by Malthace ( Matthew 14:1 ; Luke 3:1 , 3:19 ; 9:7 ; Acts 13:1 ).
( Matthew 2:22 ) The brother of Antipas (q.v.).
Herod Arippa II.
The son of Herod Agrippa I. and Cypros. The emperor Claudius made him tetrarch
of the provinces of Philip and Lysanias, with the title of king ( Acts 25:13 ;
26:2 , 26:7 ). He enlarged the city of Caesarea Philippi, and called it Neronias,
in honour of Nero. It was before him and his sister that Paul made his defence
at Caesarea ( Acts 25:12 - 27 ). He died at Rome A.D. 100, in the third year of
the emperor Trajan.
Herod Philip I.
( Mark 6:17 ) The son of Herod the Great by Mariamne, the daughter of Simon, the
high priest. He is distinguished from another Philip called "the tetrarch." He
lived at Rome as a private person with his wife Herodias and his daughter Salome.
Herod Philip II.
The son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem. He was "tetrarch" of Batanea,
Iturea, Trachonitis, and Auranitis. He rebuilt the city of Caesarea Philippi,
calling it by his own name to distinguish it from the Caesarea on the sea-coast
which was the seat of the Roman government. He married Salome, the daughter of
Herodias ( Matthew 16:13 ; Mark 8:27 ; Luke 3:1 ).
Herod the Great
( Matthew 2:1-22 ; Luke 1:5 ; Acts 23:35 ) The son of Antipater, an Idumaean,
and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent. In the year B.C. 47 Julius Caesar made
Antipater, a "wily Idumaean," procurator of Judea, who divided his territories
between his four sons, Galilee falling to the lot of Herod, who was afterwards
appointed tetrarch of Judea by Mark Antony (B.C. 40), and also king of Judea by
the Roman senate.
He was of a stern and cruel disposition. "He was brutish and a stranger to all
humanity." Alarmed by the tidings of one "born King of the Jews," he sent forth
and "slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof,
from two years old and under" ( Matthew 2:16 ). He was fond of splendour, and
lavished great sums in rebuilding and adorning the cities of his empire. He rebuilt
the city of Caesarea (q.v.) on the coast, and also the city of Samaria (q.v.),
which he called Sebaste, in honour of Augustus. He restored the ruined temple
of Jerusalem, a work which was begun B.C. 20, but was not finished till after
Herod's death, probably not till about A.D. 50 ( John 2:20 ). After a troubled
reign of thirty-seven years, he died at Jericho amid great agonies both of body
and mind, B.C. 4, i.e., according to the common chronology, in the year in which
Jesus was born.
After his death his kingdom was divided among three of his sons. Of these, Philip
had the land east of Jordan, between Caesarea Philippi and Bethabara, Antipas
had Galilee and Peraea, while Archelaus had Judea and Samaria.
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
son of a hero
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(hero-like). This family though of Idumean origin and
thus alien by race, was Jewish in faith.
I. HEROD THE GREAT
was the second son of Antipater, an Idumean, who was appointed procurator of Judea
by Julius Caesar, B.C. 47. Immediately after his fathers elevation when only fifteen
years old, he received the government of Galilee and shortly afterward that of
Coele-Syria. Though Josephus says he was 15 years old at this time, it is generally
conceded that there must be some mistake, as he lived to be 69 or 70 years old,
and died B.C. 4; hence he must have been 25 years old at this time.--ED.) In B.C.
41 he was appointed by Antony tetrarch of Judea. Forced to abandon Judea the following
year, he fled to Rome, and received the appointment of king of Judea. In the course
of a few years, by the help of the Romans he took Jerusalem (B.C. 37), and completely
established his authority throughout his dominions. The terrible acts of bloodshed
which Herod perpetrated in his own family were accompanied by others among his
subjects equally terrible, from the number who fell victims to them. According
to the well-known story) he ordered the nobles whom he had called to him in his
last moment to be executed immediately after his decease, that so at least his
death might be attended by universal mourning. It was at the time of his fatal
illness that he must have caused the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem. (
Matthew 2:16 - 18 ) He adorned Jerusalem with many splendid monuments of his taste
and magnificence. The temple, which he built with scrupulous care, was the greatest
of these works. The restoration was begun B.C. 20, and the temple itself was completed
in a year and a half. But fresh additions were constantly made in succeeding years,
so that it was said that the temple was "built in forty and six years," ( John
2:20 ) the work continued long after Herods death. (Herod died of a terrible disease
at Jericho, in April, B.C. 4, at the age of 69, after a long reign of 37 years.--ED.)
II. HEROD ANTIPAS
was the son of Herod the Great by Malthake, a Samaritan. He first married a daughter
of Aretas, "king of Arabia Petraea," but afterward Herodias, the wife of his half-brother,
Herod Philip. Aretas, indignant at the insult offered to his daughter, found a
pretext for invading the territory of Herod, and defeated him with great loss.
This defeat, according to the famous passage in Josephus, was attributed by many
to the murder of John the Baptist, which had been committed by Antipas shortly
before, under the influence of Herodias. ( Matthew 14:4 ) ff.; Mark 6:17 ff.;
Luke 3:19 At a later time the ambition of Herodias proved the cause of her husbands
ruin. She urged him to go to Rome to gain the title of king, cf. ( Mark 6:14 )
but he was opposed at the court of Caligula by the emissaries of Agrippa, and
condemned to perpetual banishment at Lugdunum, A.D. 39. Herodias voluntarily shared
his punishment, and he died in exile. Pilate took occasion from our Lords residence
in Galilee to bend him for examination, ( Luke 23:6 ) ff., to Herod Antipas, who
came up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. The city of Tiberias, which Antipas
founded and named in honor of the emperor, was the most conspicuous monument of
his long reign.
III. HEROD PHILIP I. (Philip)
( Mark 6:17 ) was the son of Herod the Great and Mariamne. He married Herodias
the sister of Agrippa I by whom he had a daughter, Salome. He was excluded from
all share in his fathers possessions in consequence of his mothers treachery,
and lived afterward in a private station.
IV. HEROD PHILIP II.
was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra. He received as his own government
Batanea Trachonitis, Auramtis (Gaulanitis), and some parts about Jamnia, with
the title of tetrarch. Luke 3:1. He built a new city on the site of Paneas, near
the sources of the Jordan, which be called Caesarea Philippi, ( Matthew 16:13
; Mark 8:27 ) and raised Bethsaida to the rank of a city under the title of Julias
and died there A.D. 34. He married Salome, the daughter of Herod Philip I. and
V. HEROD AGRIPPA I.
was the son of Aristobulus and Berenice, and grandson of Herod the Great. He was
brought up at Rome, and was thrown into prison by Tiberius, where he remained
till the accession of Caligula, who made him king, first of the tetrarchy of Philip
and Lysanias; afterward the dominions of Antipas were added, and finally Judea
and Samaria. Unlike his predessors, Agrippa was a strict observer of the law,
and he sought with success the favor of the Jews. It is probable that it was with
this view he put to death James the son of Zebedee, and further imprisoned Peter.
( Acts 12:1 ) ff. But his sudden death interrupted his ambitious projects. ( Acts
12:21 , 12:23 )
VI. HEROD AGRIPPA II
--was the son of Herod Agrippa I. In A.D. 62 the emperor gave him the tetrarches
formerly held by Philip and Lysanias, with the title of king. ( Acts 25:13 ) The
relation in which he stood to his sister Berenice, ( Acts 25:13 ) was the cause
of grave suspicion. It was before him that Paul was tried. ( Acts 26:28 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The name Herod (Herodes) is a familiar one in the history of the Jews and of the
early Christian church. The name itself signifies "heroic," a name not wholly
applicable to the family, which was characterized by craft and knavery rather
than by heroism. The fortunes of the Herodiam family are inseparably connected
with the last flickerings of the flame of Judaism, as a national power, before
it was forever extinguished in the great Jewish war of rebellion, 70 AD. The history
of the Herodian family is not lacking in elements of greatness, but whatever these
elements were and in whomsoever found, they were in every ease dimmed by the insufferable
egotism which disfigured the family, root and branch. Some of the Herodian princes
were undeniably talented; but these talents, wrongly used, left no marks for the
good of the people of Israel. Of nearly all the kings of the house of Herod it
may truly be said that at their death "they went without being desired," unmissed,
unmourned. The entire family history is one of incessant brawls, suspicion, intrigue
arid shocking immorality. In the baleful and waning light of the rule of the Herodians,
Christ lived and died, and under it the foundations of the Christian church were
laid.1 Corinthians 11:19 m; Galatians 5:20 margin, where it is shown to interfere
with that unity of faith and community of interests that belong to Christians.
There being but one standard of truth, and one goal for all Christian life, any
arbitrary choice varying from what was common to all believers, becomes an inconsistency
and a sin to be warned against. Ellicott, on Galatians 5:20, correctly defines
"heresies" (King James Version, the English Revised Version) as "a more aggravated
form of dichostasia" (the American Standard Revised Version "parties") "when the
divisions have developed into distinct and organized parties"; so also 1 Corinthians
11:19, translated by the Revised Version (British and American) "factions." In
2 Peter 2:1, the transition toward the subsequent ecclesiastical sense can be
traced. The "destructive heresies" (Revised Version margin, the English Revised
Version margin "sects of perdition") are those guilty of errors both of doctrine
and of life very fully described throughout the entire chapter, and who, in such
course, separated themselves from the fellowship of the church.
1. The Family Descent:
The Herodians were not of Jewish stock. Herod the Great encouraged the circulation
of the legend of the family descent from an illustrious Babylonian Jew (Ant.,
XIV, i, 3), but it has no historic basis. It is true the Idumeans were at that
time nominal Jews, since they were subdued by John Hyrcanus in 125 BC, and embodied
in the Asmonean kingdom through an enforced circumcision, but the old national
antagonism remained (Genesis 27:41). The Herodian family sprang from Antipas (died
78 BC), who was appointed governor of Idumaea by Alexander Janneus. His son Antipater,
who succeeded him, possessed al the cunning, resourcefulness and unbridled ambition
of his son Herod the Great. He had an open eye for two things--the unconquerable
strength of the Roman power and the pitiable weakness of the decadent Asmonean
house, and on these two factors he built the house of his hopes. He craftily chose
the side of Hyrcanus II in his internecine war with Aristobulus his brother (69
BC), and induced him to seek the aid of the Romans. Together they supported the
claims of Pompey and, after the latter's defeat, they availed themselves of the
magnanimity of Caesar to submit to him, after the crushing defeat of Pompey at
Pharsalus (48 BC). As a reward, Antipater received the procuratorship of Judea
(47 BC), while his innocent dupe Hyrcanus had to satisfy himself with the high-priesthood.
Antipater died by the hand of an assassin (43 BC) and left four sons, Phasael,
Herod the Great, Joseph, Pheroras, and a daughter Salome. The second of these
sons raised the family to its highest pinnacle of power and glory. Pheroras was
nominally his co-regent ann, possessed of his father's cunning, maintained himself
to the end, surviving his cruel brother, but he cuts a small figure in the family
history. He, as well as his sister Salome, proved an endless source of trouble
to Herod by the endless family brawls which they occasioned.
2. Herod the Great:
With a different environment and with a different character, Herod the
Great might have been worthy of the surname which he now bears only as a tribute
of inane flattery. What we know of him, we owe, in the main, to the exhaustive
treatment of the subject by Josephus in his Antiquities and Jewish War, and from
Strabo and Dio Cassius among the classics. We may subsume our little sketch of
Herod's life under the heads of (1) political activity, (2) evidences of talent,
and (3) character and domestic life.
|(1) Political Activity.
Antipater had great ambitions for his son. Herod was only a young man when he
began his career as governor of Galilee. Josephus' statement, however, that he
was only "fifteen years old" (Ant., XIV, ix, 2) is evidently the mistake of some
transcriber, because we are told (XVII, viii, 1) that "he continued his life till
a very old age." That was 42 years later, so that Herod at this time must have
been at least 25 years old. His activity and success in ridding his dominion of
dangerous bands of freebooters, and his still greater success in raising the always
welcome tribute-money for the Roman government, gained for him additional power
at court. His advance became rapid. Antony appointed him "tetrarch" of Judea in
41 BC, and although he was forced by circumstances temporarily to leave his domain
in the hands of the Parthians and of Antigonus, this, in the end, proved a blessing
in disguise. In this final spasm of the dying Asmonean house, Antigonus took Jerusalem
by storm, and Phasael, Herod's oldest brother, fell into his hands. The latter
was governor of the city, and foreseeing his fate, he committed suicide by dashing
out his brains against the walls of his prison. Antigonus incapacitated his brother
Hyrcanus, who was captured at the same time, from ever holding the holy office
again by cropping off his ears (Ant., XIV, xiii, 10). Meanwhile, Herod was at
Rome, and through the favor of Antony and Augustus he obtained the crown of Judea
in 37 BC. The fond ambition of his heart was now attained, although he had literally
to carve out his own empire with the sword. He made quick work of the task, cut
his way back into Judea and took Jerusalem by storm in 37 BC.
The first act of his reign was the extermination of the Asmonean house, to which
Herod himself was related through his marriage with Mariamne, the grandchild of
Hyrcanus. Antigonus was slain and with him 45 of his chief adherents. Hyrcanus
was recalled from Babylon, to which he had been banished by Antigonus, but the
high-priesthood was bestowed on Aristobulus, Herod's brother-in-law, who, however,
soon fell a victim to the suspicion and fear of the king (Ant., XV, iii, 3). These
outrages against the purest blood in Judea turned the love of Mariamne, once cherished
for Herod, into a bitter hatred. The Jews, loyal to the dynasty of the Maccabees,
accused Herod before the Roman court, but he was summarily acquitted by Antony.
Hyrcanus, mutilated and helpless as he was, soon followed Aristobulus in the way
of death, 31 BC (Ant., XV, vi, 1). When Antony, who had ever befriended Herod,
was conquered by Augustus at Actium (31 BC), Herod quickly turned to the powers
that were, and, by subtle flattery and timely support, won the imperial favor.
The boundaries of his kingdom were now extended by Rome. And Herod proved equal
to the greater task. By a decisive victory over the Arabians, he showed, as he
had done in his earlier Galilean government, what manner of man he was, when aroused
to action. The Arabians were wholly crushed, and submitted themselves unconditionally
under the power of Herod (Ant., XV, v, 5). Afraid to leave a remnant of the Asmonean
power alive, he sacrificed Mariamne his wife, the only human being he ever seems
to have loved (28 BC), his mother-in-law Alexandra (Ant., XV, vii, 8), and ultimately,
shortly before his death, even his own sons by Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobulus
7 BC (Ant., XVI, xi, 7). In his emulation of the habits and views of life of the
Romans, he continually offended and defied his Jewish subjects, by the introduction
of Roman sports and heathen temples in his dominion. His influence on the younger
Jews in this regard was baneful, and slowly a distinct partly arose, partly political,
partly religious, which called itself the Herodian party, Jews in outward religious
forms but Gentiles in their dress and in their whole view of life. They were a
bitter offense to the rest of the nation, but were associated with the Pharisees
and Sadducees in their opposition to Christ (Matthew 22:16; Mark 3:6; 12:13).
In vain Herod tried to win over the Jews, by royal charity in time of famine,
and by yielding, wherever possible, to their bitter prejudices. They saw in him
only a usurper of the throne of David, maintained by the strong arm of the hated
Roman oppressor. Innumerable plots were made against his life, but, with almost
superhuman cunning, Herod defeated them all (Ant., XV, viii). He robbed his own
people that he might give munificent gifts to the Romans; he did not even spare
the grave of King David, which was held in almost idolatrous reverence by the
people, but robbed it of its treasures (Ant., XVI, vii, 1). The last days of Herod
were embittered by endless court intrigues and conspiracies, by an almost insane
suspicion on the part of the aged king, and by increasing indications of the restlessness
of the nation. Like Augustus himself, Herod was the victim of an incurable and
loathsome disease. His temper became more irritable, as the malady made progress,
and he made both himself and his court unutterably miserable. The picture drawn
by Josephus (Ant., XVII) is lifelike and tragic in its vividness. In his last
will and testament, he remained true to his life-long fawning upon the Roman power
(Ant., XVII, vi, 1). So great became his suffering toward the last that he made
a fruitless attempt at suicide. But, true to his character, one of the last acts
of his life was an order to execute his son Antipater, who had instigated the
murder of his halfbrothers, Alexander and Aristobulus, and another order to slay,
after his death, a number of nobles, who were guilty of a small outbreak at Jerusalem
and who were confined in the hippodrome (Ant., XVI, vi, 5). He died in the 37th
year of his reign, 34 years after he had captured Jerusalem and slain Antigonus.
Josephus writes this epitaph: "A man he was of great barbarity toward all men
equally, and a slave to his passions, but above the consideration of what was
right. Yet was he favored by fortune as much as any man ever was, for from a private
man he became a king, and though he were encompassed by ten thousand dangers,
he got clear of them all and continued his life to a very old age" (Ant., XVII,
(2) Evidences of Talent.
The life of Herod the Great was not a fortuitous chain of favorable accidents.
He was unquestionably a man of talent. In a family like that of Antipus and Antipater,
talent must necessarily be hereditary, and Herod inherited it more largely than
any of his brothers. His whole life exhibits in no small degree statecraft, power
of organization, shrewdness. He knew men and he knew how to use them. He won the
warmest friendship of Roman emperors, and had a faculty of convincing the Romans
of the righteousness of his cause, in every contingency. In his own dominions
he was like Ishmael, his hand against all, and the hands of all against him, and
yet he maintained himself in the government for a whole generation. His Galilean
governorship showed what manner of man he was, a man with iron determination and
great generalship. His Judean conquest proved the same thing, as did his Arabian
war. Herod was a born leader of men. Under a different environment he might have
developed into a truly great man, and had his character been coordinate with his
gifts, he might have done great things for the Jewish people. But by far the greatest
talent of Herod was his singular architectural taste and ability. Here he reminds
one of the old Egyptian Pharaohs. Against the laws of Judaism, which he pretended
to obey, he built at Jerusalem a magnificent theater and an amphitheater, of which
the ruins remain. The one was within the city, the other outside the walls. Thus
he introduced into the ascetic sphere of the Jewish life the frivolous spirit
of the Greeks and the Romans. To offset this cruel infraction of all the maxims
of orthodox Judaism, he tried to placate the nation by rebuilding the temple of
Zerubbabel and making it more magnificent than even Solomon's temple had been.
This work was accomplished somewhere between 19 BC and 11 or 9 BC, although the
entire work was not finished till the procuratorship of Albinus, 62-64 AD (Ant.,
XV, xi, 5, 6; XX, ix, 7; John 2:20). It was so transcendently beautiful that it
ranked among the world's wonders, and Josephus does not tire of describing its
glories (BJ, V, v). Even Titus sought to spare the building in the final attack
on the city (BJ, VI, iv, 3). Besides this, Herod rebuilt and beautified Struto's
Tower, which he called after the emperor, Caesarea. He spent 12 years in this
gigantic work, building a theater and amphitheater, and above all in achieving
the apparently impossible by creating a harbor where there was none before. This
was accomplished by constructing a gigantic mole far out into the sea, and so
enduring was the work that the remains of it are seen today. The Romans were so
appreciative of the work done by Herod that they made Caesarea the capital of
the new regime, after the passing away of the Herodian power. Besides this, Herod
rebuilt Samaria, to the utter disgust of the Jews, calling it Sebaste. In Jerusalem
itself he built the three great towers, Antonia, Phasaelus and Mariamne, which
survived even the catastrophe of the year 70 AD. All over Herod's dominion were
found the evidences of this constructive passion. Antipatris was built by him,
on the site of the ancient Kapharsaba, as well as the stronghold Phasaelus near
Jericho, where he was destined to see so much suffering and ultimately to die.
He even reached beyond his own domain to satisfy this building mania at Ascalon,
Damascus, Tyre and Sidon, Tripoli, Ptolemais, nay even at Athens and Lacedaemon.
But the universal character of these operations itself occasioned the bitterest
hatred against him on the part of the narrowminded Jews.
(3) Characteristics and Domestic Life.
The personality of Herod was impressive, and he was possessed of great physical
strength. His intellectual powers were far beyond the ordinary; his will was indomitable;
he was possessed of great tact, when he saw fit to employ it; in the great crises
of his life he was never at a loss what to do; and no one has ever accused Herod
the Great of cowardice. There were in him two distinct individualities, as was
the case with Nero. Two powers struggled in him for the mastery, and the lower
one at last gained complete control. During the first part of his reign there
were evidences of large-heartedness, of great possibilities in the man. But the
bitter experiences of his life, the endless whisperings and warnings of his court,
the irreconcilable spirit of the Jews, as well as the consciousness of his own
wrongdoing, changed him into a Jewish Nero: a tyrant, who bathed his own house
and his own people in blood. The demons of Herod's life were jealousy of power,
and suspicion, its necessary companion.
He was the incarnation of brute lust, which in turn became the burden of the lives
of his children. History tells of few more immoral families than the house of
Herod, which by intermarriage of its members so entangled the genealogical tree
as to make it a veritable puzzle. As these marriages were nearly all within the
line of forbidden consanguinity, under the Jewish law, they still further embittered
the people of Israel against the Herodian family. When Herod came to the throne
of Judea, Phasael was dead. Joseph his younger brother had fallen in battle (Ant.,
XIV, xv, 10), and only Pheroras and Salome survived. The first, as we have seen,
nominally shared the government with Herod, but was of little consequence and
only proved a thorn in the king's flesh by his endless interference and plotting.
To him were allotted the revenues of the East Jordanic territory. Salome, his
sister, was ever neck-deep in the intrigues of the Herodian family, but had the
cunning of a fox and succeeded in making Herod believe in her unchangeable loyalty,
although the king had killed her own son-in-law and her nephew, Aristobulus, his
own son. The will of Herod, made shortly before his death, is a convincing proof
of his regard for his sister (Ant., XVII, viii, 1).
His domestic relations were very unhappy. Of his marriage with Doris and of her
son, Antipater, he reaped only misery, the son, as stated above, ultimately falling
a victim to his father's wrath, when the crown, for which he plotted, was practically
within his grasp. Herod appears to have been deeply in love with Mariamne, the
grandchild of Hyrcanus, in so far as he was capable of such a feeling, but his
attitude toward the entire Asmonean family and his fixed determination to make
an end of it changed whatever love Mariamne had for him into hatred. Ultimately
she, as well as her two sons, fell victims to Herod's insane jealousy of power.
Like Nero, however, in a similar situation, Herod felt the keenest remorse after
her death. As his sons grew up, the family tragedy thickened, and the court of
Herod became a veritable hotbed of mutual recriminations, intrigues and catastrophes.
The trials and executions of his own conspiring sons were conducted with the acquiescence
of the Roman power, for Herod was shrewd enough not to make a move without it.
Yet so thoroughly was the condition of the Jewish court understood at Rome, that
Augustus, after the death of Mariamne's sons (7 BC), is said to have exclaimed:
"I would rather be Herod's hog hus than his son huios." At the time of his death,
the remaining sons were these: Herod, son of Mariamne, Simon's daughter; Archelaus
and Antipas, sons of Malthace, and Herod Philip, son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem.
Alexander and Aristobulus were killed, through the persistent intrigues of Antipater,
the oldest son and heir presumptive to the crown, and he himself fell into the
grave he had dug for his brothers.
By the final testament of Herod, as ratified by Rome, the kingdom was divided
as follows: Archelaus received one-half of the kingdom, with the title of king,
really "ethnarch," governing Judea, Samaria and Idumaea; Antipas was appointed
"tetrarch" of Galilee and Peraea; Philip, "tetrarch" of Trachonitis, Gaulonitis
and Paneas. To Salome, his intriguing sister, he bequeathed Jamnia, Ashdod and
Phasaelus, together with 500,000 drachmas of coined silver. All his kindred were
liberally provided for in his will, "so as to leave them all in a wealthy condition"
(Ant., XVII, viii, 1). In his death he had been better to his family than in his
life. He died unmourned and unbeloved by his own people, to pass into history
as a name soiled by violence and blood. As the waters of Callirhoe were unable
to cleanse his corrupting body, those of time were unable to wash away the stains
of a tyrant's name. The only time he is mentioned in the New Testament is in Matthew
2 and Luke 1. In Matthew he is associated with the wise men of the East, who came
to investigate the birth of the "king of the Jews." Learning their secret, Herod
found out from the "priests and scribes of the people" where the Christ was to
be born and ordered the "massacre of the innocents," with which his name is perhaps
more generally associated than with any other act of his life. As Herod died in
4 BC and some time elapsed between the massacre and his death (Matthew 2:19),
we have here a clue to the approximate fixing of the true date of Christ's birth.
Another, in this same connection, is an eclipse of the moon, the only one mentioned
by Josephus (Ant., XVII, vi, 4; text and note), which was seen shortly before
Herod's death. This eclipse occurred on March 13, in the year of the Julian Period,
4710, therefore 4 BC.
3. Herod Antipas:
Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman.
Half Idumean, half Samaritan, he had therefore not a drop of Jewish blood in his
veins, and "Galilee of the Gentiles" seemed a fit dominion for such a prince.
He ruled as "tetrarch" of Galilee and Peraea (Luke 3:1) from 4 BC till 39 AD.
The gospel picture we have of him is far from prepossessing. He is superstitious
(Matthew 14:1), foxlike in his cunning (Luke 13:31) and wholly immoral. John the
Baptist was brought into his life through an open rebuke of his gross immorality
and defiance of the laws of Moses (Leviticus 18:16), and paid for his courage
with his life (Matthew 14:10; Ant, XVIII, v, 2).
On the death of his father, although he was younger than his brother Archelaus
(Ant., XVII, ix, 4; BJ, II, ii, 3), he contested the will of Herod, who had given
to the other the major part of the dominion. Rome, however, sustained the will
and assigned to him the "tetrarchy" of Galilee and Peraea, as it had been set
apart for him by Herod (Ant., XVII, xi, 4). Educated at Rome with Archelaus and
Philip, his half-brother, son of Mariamne, daughter of Simon, he imbibed many
of the tastes and graces and far more of the vices of the Romans. His first wife
was a daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia. But he sent her back to her father at
Petra, for the sake of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had met
and seduced at Rome. Since the latter was the daughter of Aristobulus, his half-brother,
and therefore his niece, and at the same time the wife of another half-brother,
the union between her and Antipas was doubly sinful. Aretas repaid this insult
to his daughter by a destructive war (Ant., XVIII, v, 1). Herodias had a baneful
influence over him and wholly dominated his life (Matthew 14:3-10). He emulated
the example of his father in a mania for erecting buildings and beautifying cities.
Thus, he built the wall of Sepphoris and made the place his capital. He elevated
Bethsaida to the rank of a city and gave it the name "Julia," after the daughter
of Tiberius. Another example of this inherited or cultivated building-mania was
the work he did at Betharamphtha, which he called "Julias" (Ant., XVIII, ii, 1).
His influence on his subjects was morally bad (Mark 8:15). If his life was less
marked by enormities than his father's, it was only so by reason of its inevitable
restrictions. The last glimpse the Gospels afford of him shows him to us in the
final tragedy of the life of Christ. He is then at Jerusalem. Pilate in his perplexity
had sent the Saviour bound to Herod, and the utter inefficiency and flippancy
of the man is revealed in the account the Gospels give us of the incident (Luke
23:7-12; Acts 4:27). It served, however, to bridge the chasm of the enmity between
Herod and Pilate (Luke 23:12), both of whom were to be stripped of their power
and to die in shameful exile. When Caius Caligula had become emperor and when
his scheming favorite Herod Agrippa I, the bitter enemy of Antipas, had been made
king in 37 AD, Herodias prevailed on Herod Antipas to accompany her to Rome to
demand a similar favor. The machinations of Agrippa and the accusation of high
treason preferred against him, however, proved his undoing, and he was banished
to Lyons in Gaul, where he died in great misery (Ant., XVIII, vii, 2; BJ, II,
4. Herod Philip:
Herod Philip was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem. At the
death of his father he inherited Gaulonitis, Traehonitis and Paneas (Ant., XVII,
viii, 1). He was Philip apparently utterly unlike the rest of the Herodian family,
retiring, dignified, moderate and just. He was also wholly free from the intriguing
spirit of his brothers, and it is but fair to suppose that he inherited this totally
un-Herodian character and disposition from his mother. He died in the year 34
AD, and his territory was given three years later to Agrippa I, his nephew and
the son of Aristobulus, together with the tetrarchy of Lysanias (Ant., XVIII,
iv, 6; XIX, v, 1).
5. Herod Archelaus:
Herod Archelaus was the oldest son of Herod the Great by Malthace, the Samaritan.
He was a man of violent temper, reminding one a great deal of his father. Educated
like all Archelaus the Herodian princes at Rome, he was fully familiar with the
life and arbitrariness of the Roman court. In the last days of his father's life,
Antipater, who evidently aimed at the extermination of all the heirs to the throne,
accused him and Philip, his half-brother, of treason. Both were acquitted (Ant.,
XVI, iv, 4; XVII, vii, 1). By the will of his father, the greater part of the
Herodian kingdom fell to his share, with the title of "ethnarch." The will was
contested by his brother Antipas before the Roman court. While the matter was
in abeyance, Archelaus incurred the hatred of the Jews by the forcible repression
of a rebellion, in which some 3,000 people were slain. They therefore opposed
his claims at Rome, but Arche1aus, in the face of all this opposition, received
the Roman support (Ant., XVII, xi, 4). It is very ingeniously suggested that this
episode may be the foundation of the parable of Christ, found in Luke 19:12-27.
Archelaus, once invested with the government of Judea, ruled with a hard hand,
so that Judea and Samaria were both soon in a chronic state of unrest. The two
nations, bitterly as they hated each other, became friends in this common crisis,
and sent an embassy to Rome to complain of the conduct of Archelaus, and this
time they were successful. Archelaus was warned by a dream of the coming disaster,
whereupon he went at once to Rome to defend himself, but wholly in vain. His government
was taken from him, his possessions were all confiscated by the Roman power and
he himself was banished to Vienna in Gaul (Ant., XVII, xiii, 2, 3). He, too, displayed
some of his father's taste for architecture, in the building of a royal palace
at Jericho and of a village, named after himself, Archelais. He was married first
to Mariamne, and after his divorce from her to Glaphyra, who had been the wife
of his half-brother Alexander (Ant., XVII, xiii). The only mention made of him
in the Gospels is found in Matthew 2:22.
Of Herod, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, Simon's daughter, we know nothing
except that he married Herodias, the daughter of his dead halfbrother Aristobulus.
He is called Philip in the New Testament (Matthew 14:3), and it was from him that
Antipas lured Herodias away. His later history is wholly unknown, as well as that
of Herod, the brother of Philip the tetrarch, and the oldest son of Herod the
Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem.
6. Herod Agrippa I:
Two members of the Herodian family are named Agrippa. They are of the line of
Aristobulus, who through Mariamne, grand-daughter of Hyrcanus, carried down the
line of the Asmonean blood. And it is worthy of note that in this line, nearly
extinguished by Herod through his mad jealousy and fear of the Maccabean power,
the kingdom of Herod came to its greatest glory again.
Herod Agrippa I, called Agrippa by Josephus, was the son of Aristobulus and Bernice
and the grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne. Educated at Rome with Claudius
(Ant., XVIII, vi, 1, 4), he was possessed of great shrewdness and tact. Returning
to Judea for a little while, he came back to Rome in 37 AD. He hated his uncle
Antipas and left no stone unturned to hurt his cause. His mind was far-seeing,
and he cultivated, as his grandfather had done, every means that might lead to
his own promotion. He, therefore, made fast friends with Caius Caligula, heir
presumptive to the Roman throne, and his rather outspoken advocacy of the latter's
claims led to his imprisonment by Tiberius. This proved the making of his fortune,
for Caligula did not forget him, but immediately on his accession to the throne,
liberated Agrippa and bestowed on him, who up to that time had been merely a private
citizen, the "tetrarchies" of Philip, his uncle, and of Lysanias, with the title
of king, although he did not come into the possession of the latter till two more
years had gone by (Ant., XVIII, vi, 10). The foolish ambition of Herod Antipas
led to his undoing, and the emperor, who had heeded the accusation of Agrippa
against his uncle, bestowed on him the additional territory of Galilee and Peraea
in 39 AD. Agrippa kept in close touch with the imperial government, and when,
on the assassination of Caligula, the imperial crown was offered to the indifferent
Claudius, it fell to the lot of Agrippa to lead the latter to accept the proffered
honor. This led to further imperial favors and further extension of his territory,
Judea and Samaria being added to his domain, 40 AD. The fondest dreams of Agrippa
had now been realized, his father's fate was avenged and the old Herodian power
had been restored to its original extent. He ruled with great munificence and
was very tactful in his contact with the Jews. With this end in view, several
years before, he had moved Caligula to recall the command of erecting an imperial
statue in the city of Jerusalem; and when he was forced to take sides in the struggle
between Judaism and the nascent Christian sect, he did not hesitate a moment,
but assumed the role of its bitter persecutor, slaying James the apostle with
the sword and harrying the church whenever possible (Acts 12.). He died, in the
full flush of his power, of a death, which, in its harrowing details reminds us
of the fate of his grandfather (Acts 12:20-23; Ant, XIX, viii, 2). Of the four
children he left (BJ, II, xi, 6), three are known to history--Herod Agrippa II,
king of Calchis, Bernice of immoral celebrity, who consorted with her own brother
in defiance of human and Divine law, and became a byword even among the heathen
(Juv. Sat. vi. 156-60), and Drusilla, the wife of the Roman governor Felix (Acts
24:24). According to tradition the latter perished in the eruption of Vesuvius
in 79 AD, together with her son Agrippa. With Herod Agrippa I, the Herodian power
had virtually run its course.
7. Herod Agrippa II:
Herod Agrippa II was the son of Herod Agrippa I and Cypros. When his father died
in 44 AD he was a youth of only 17 years and considered too young to assume the
government of Judea. Claudius therefore placed the country under the care of a
procurator. Agrippa had received a royal education in the palace of the emperor
himself (Ant., XIX, ix, 2). But he had not wholly forgotten his people, as is
proven by his intercession in behalf of the Jews, when they asked to be permitted
to have the custody of the official highpriestly robes, till then in the hands
of the Romans and to be used only on stated occasions (Ant., XX, i, 1). On the
death of his uncle, Herod of Calchis, Claudius made Agrippa II "tetrarch" of the
territory, 48 AD (BJ, II, xii, 1; XIV, iv; Ant, XX, v, 2). As Josephus tells us,
he espoused the cause of the Jews whenever he could (Ant., XX, vi, 3). Four years
later (52 AD), Claudius extended the dominion of Agrippa by giving him the old
"tetrarchies" of Philip and Lysanias. Even at Calchis they had called him king;
now it became his official title (Ant., XX, vii, 1). Still later (55 AD), Nero
added some Galilean and Perean cities to his domain. His whole career indicates
the predominating influence of the Asmonean blood, which had shown itself in his
father's career also. If the Herodian taste for architecture reveals itself here
and there (Ant., XX, viii, 11; IX, iv), there is a total absence of the cold disdain
wherewith the Herods in general treated their subjects. The Agrippas are Jews.
Herod Agrippa II figures in the New Testament in Acts 25:13; 26:32. Paul there
calls him "king" and appeals to him as to one knowing the Scriptures.
As the brother-in-law of Felix he was a favored guest on this occasion. His relation
to Bernice his sister was a scandal among Jews and Gentiles alike (Ant., XX, vii,
3). In the fall of the Jewish nation, Herod Agrippa's kingdom went down. Knowing
the futility of resistance, Agrippa warned the Jews not to rebel against Rome,
but in vain (BJ, II, xvi, 2-5; XVII, iv; XVIII, ix; XIX, iii). When the war began
he boldly sided with Rome and fought under its banners, getting wounded by a sling-stone
in the siege of Gamala (BJ, IV, i, 3). The oration by which he sought to persuade
the Jews against the rebellion is a masterpiece of its kind and became historical
(BJ, II, xvi). When the inevitable came and when with the Jewish nation also the
kingdom of Herod Agrippa II had been destroyed, the Romans remembered his loyalty.
With Bernice his sister he removed to Rome, where he became a praetor and died
in the year 100 AD, at the age of 70 years, in the beginning of Trajan's reign.
Josephus, Josephus, Antiquities and BJ; Strabo; Dio Cassius. Among all modern
works on the subject, Schurer, The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (5
vols) is perhaps still the best.
Henry E. Dosker
bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, dynasty, family, herod, herod agrippa, herod antipas, herod philip, herod the great, idumean