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Herod Part 1

Herod the Great and His Infamous Family
Part I – Herod and His Father, Antipater

The Herodian dynasty originated in Idumea (Edom), after it had been forced to adopt the Jewish religion by John Hyrcanus (a Maccabee) in 125 B.C. This family ruled Palestine for the Romans. The Herodian dynasty followed the Maccabean (Hasmonian) dynasty.  Herod the Great was the first ruler of this dynasty, then other Herods followed in the subsequent 3 generations.

Herod I (the Great)’s kingdom comprised Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumea, Batanea, and Perea.  It was about the same size as the kingdom of David.  The map below pictures most of his kingdom, which included Israel, Lebanon, and much of present day Syria.  It also shows the territory ruled by his sons who followed him.

herod info

The Jews hated Herod. His cruelty and dismissive attitude toward the Maccabean dynasty (to which he was related by marriage) angered the Jews. Herod ordered the execution of his brother-in-law and several of his wives and sons.  He also ordered the assassination of multiple members of the rich ruling class and essentially exterminated all potential ruling heirs of the Maccabean dynasty.

He enforced heavy taxation and brutally repressed Jewish rebellions. He embraced pagan culture throughout his kingdom, which inflamed the anger of the Jews.  Herod oversaw the construction of many magnificent projects.  Most of these catered to the affections of the Roman rulers.  He built a race-course, a theater, and an amphitheater in Jerusalem.  Herod financially supported Roman emperor worship, and construction of pagan temples in foreign cities.  The Jews never forgave him, even though he restored and expanded the Temple in Jerusalem.  Herod held power by using merciless military force.

Herod was an Edomite of Arab descent.  His mother, Cypros, was a Nabatean noblewoman.  His father, Antipater, was an Edomite.  Their marriage produced a close friendship between Antipater and the King of the Arabia, Aretas, to whom Cypros was related.[1] The Nabateans are known as the civilization which carved the city of Petra out of rock and inhabited it.  The ruins of Petra in present day Jordan are currently considered one of the marvels of the ancient world.  Old and New Testament prophets allude to this as the area where the Jews will flee when pursued by the antichrist in the last days (Dan 11: 41; Isa. 63: 1; Micah 2: 12; Mt. 26: 16; Rev. 12: 6,13-14).  The Edomites lived in the land of Edom in Old Testament time.  Edom was also located in present day Jordan, adjacent to Petra.  The Edomites descended from Esau, one of the two sons of Isaac.  Edomites were bitter enemies of Israel throughout its history.  They moved into Israel west of the Dead Sea in the 2nd Century BC.  The descendants of the Maccabees, the Hasmoneans, forced the Edomites to convert to Judaism.

Josephus recorded John Hycanus, a Sadduccee influenced Hasmonean leader, forced Antipater’s family to convert to Judaism in 125 B.C.[2] He threatened any Idumean who wished to maintain their land to submit to circumcision and enter into the traditions of the Jews.[3]  The Pharisees did not recognize forcible conversion to Judaism.  Antipater and Herod the Great may have considered themselves Jews, but they were not considered Jewish by the observant and nationalist Jews of Judea.[4]  Many Jews resented this influential family because of their Edomite ancestry, their pagan incursions upon Jewish traditions, and their cooperation with the Roman occupiers of Israel.

Antipater I the Idumaean (Edomite) founded the Herodian dynasty and fathered Herod the Great.

The marriage of Antipater and Cypros produced four sons: Phasael, Herod, Joseph, and Pheroras, and a daughter, Salome—one of several Salomes among the Herodians .[5] Herod was born around 74 B.C. in Idumea, south of Judea.  Idumea was the region west of the Dead Sea where the Edomites settled.[6]

It will help us understand the character of Herod the Great if we first explore the history of his father, Antipater.

Antipater became a powerful ruler under the later Hasmonean kings and subsequently partnered with General Pompey when he conquered Judea for the Roman Republic. When General Pompey besieged Julius Caesar in Alexandria, Egypt, Antipater rescued Caesar with three thousand men and numerous nearby friends.

Caesar ultimately defeated Pompey and made Antipater the chief minister of Judea, with the right to collect taxes.[7] Antipater eventually appointed his oldest son Phasaelus the Governor of Jerusalem and his second son, Herod, the ruler of Galilee.[8] Antipater was later poisoned by one of his subordinates and died in 43 BC.

herod 2

Antipater’s diplomacy, as well as his placement in the Hasmonean leadership, paved the road for the rise of his son Herod the Great.  Herod used his position to marry the Hasmonean princess Mariamne.  This cemented his position in the Hasmonean leadership.  Herod endeared himself to the Romans.  He eventually became king of Judea under Roman influence.

Later Aristobulus’ son, Antigonus (a Hasmonean), returned from Roman prison and contested for power. Antipater made a great scene of the scars he acquired fighting for Caesar’s life in Egypt. He defended himself reciting a history of unfailing loyalty to the Romans.[9] This appeal persuaded Caesar who then appointed Antipater the first Roman Procurator of Judea.[10]

herod 3

 King Herod I (The Great)
Governor of Galilee (47-37 B.C.)

At around 25 years old Herod became governor of Galilee. Early in this period Herod married his first of ten wives, Doris. They had a son named Antipater, after Herod’s father. Herod shortly thereafter betrothed Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus II and the daughter of Aristobulus’ son, Alexander (all Hasmonean). She was also niece of Antigonus—Herod’s archrival.  By marrying Mariamne, Herod would be marrying into the royal house of the Hasmoneans.  He anticipated this would win acceptance in Judean circles and confirm him as natural heir to the throne.

The Parthians joined forces with Antigonus to seize the throne of Hyrcanus.  Civil war erupted and fighting occurred daily in Jerusalem.

When the feast of Pentecost approached, and thousands of Jews entered Jerusalem, a Parthian cup-bearer, Pacorus arrived bringing word from the Parthian king of a peace settlement. The proposal seemed hopeful, but Herod was suspicious and did not meet the king in Galilee.  His brother, Phasael, and Hyrcanus arrived, however, and they were captured and shackled. Herod fled to Masada with troops, relatives, and Mariamne.  Subsequently, he moved to Petra, the Nabatean capital.

The Parthians continued their rampage through Jerusalem and Judea. They crowned Antigonus king.  Antigonus ordered Hyrcanus mutilated to prevent any possibility of his restoration as high priest. Phasael (Herod’s brother) either died in battle, was poisoned, or committed suicide.

Herod expected protection from the Arabian king Malchus, but he was asked to leave. Herod departed and journeyed to Rome where he was welcomed by Marc Antony and Octavius. Herod related the entire chain of events. Thereafter, the Roman Senate appointed Herod as King of the Jews.[11]

In 39 B.C. Herod returned to Israel and marched into Galilee. He then captured Joppa on the Mediterranean coast, and worked his way back to his fortress, Masada, where his relatives were under attack by the Parthians. Herod proclaimed himself the rightful king and promised to forgive all past offenses made against him. Antigonus declared Herod an Idumean, and not a legitimate heir to the throne.

In 38 B.C. Herod overcame opposing armies in Galilee, then requested the help of Marc Antony and the Roman military. In the spring of 37 B.C. Herod marched his troops to Jerusalem and set up a siege around that city. He left the army in charge and proceeded to Samaria to marry the teenage niece of Antigonus, Mariamne, after five years of engagement. This marriage strengthened his claim to the throne and attempted to gain Jewish favor, even though it was a dastardly move against Antigonus. Herod banished his previous wife, Doris, and their three-year-old son, Antipater, from his kingdom.

Herod then returned to Jerusalem. Antigonus had been defending Jerusalem against the Roman legions, but the city finally fell in the summer of 37 B.C.  According to Josephus, Herod paid a large bribe to persuade Marc Antony to execute Antigonus.  Josephus recorded that Antigonus was beheaded. This terminated the Hasmonean rule of 129 years. Herod thereafter was the undisputed king of Judea.

Herod the King of Judea 37-25 B.C.

During this period we will study the time from Herod’s succession as king in 37 B.C. to the execution of his favorite wife, Mariamne, and ultimately to Herod’s assassination of the remaining Hasmonean heirs in 25 B.C.

Herod’s reign marked a new beginning in the history of Judea. Judea had been ruled by the Hasmonean dynasty from 140 B.C. until 63 B.C. Herod overthrew the Hasmonean Antigonus and started the Herodian Dynasty.  He ruled until his death in 4 B.C.

Herod has been described as “a madman who murdered his own family and many rabbis,”[12] “the evil genius of the Judean nation,” “prepared to commit any crime in order to gratify his unbounded ambition,”[13] and “the greatest builder in Jewish history.” [14]

Herod is known for his magnificent building projects throughout Judea, including his expansion of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, engineering and constructing the great seaport at Caesarea Maritime and the aqueduct from Mount Herman that supplied water to that city.  He also built several fortresses, which included the Masada and Herodium.

Herod’s support from the Roman Empire allowed him to maintain authority over Judea.  Josephus described Herod’s rule favorably in The Jewish War, and gave Herod the benefit of the doubt for the infamous events that occurred during his reign. However, in Josephus’ later work, Jewish Antiquities, he reported the ruthless authority that many historians have associated with Herod.  This man demonstrated his tyrannical authority by the security measures he used to suppress the Jewish people.  Herod utilized secret police to monitor and report the Jewish sentiment against him. He quashed protests, and ordered opponents taken away by force.[15] He employed a bodyguard of 2,000 soldiers.[16]

Many Jews questioned his Jewish identity due to his Idumean background and the infamous murders he committed against members of his family. The taxes Herod exacted earned the bitter feelings of his subjects as well.  Herod often donated expensive gifts because he constantly worried about his reputation. His leadership upset the Jews because they were forced to pay for his lavish spending.[17]

Herod had many powerful opponents, which included the Pharisees, the ruling class, the Hasmonean family, and Cleopatra.


The Pharisees never liked Herod as king of Judea, mainly because he was an Idumean and a friend of the Romans. The people liked the Pharisees, who freely expressed their discontent with Herod. He angered the Pharisees by disregarding their demands in the construction of the Temple.

Ruling Class

The aristocratic followers of Antigonus bitterly resisted the policies of King Herod. King Herod punished them severely.  On one occasion he executed forty-five wealthy and prominent members of this class. He seized their possessions to replenish his own treasury.

Hasmonean Family—Sadducees

The Sadducees originated from the previous Hasmonean dynasty.  Many Sadducees filled priestly roles in the Temple.  They opposed Herod because he replaced the high priests with priests from Babylonia and Alexandria—attempting to gain support from Jews in the diaspora.[18]

The Hasmoneans hated Herod. His mother-in-law, Alexandra, was the main source of this bitterness. During this time Hyrcanus had returned from Parthian exile mutilated and unable to serve as high priest. Herod needed to appoint a replacement for this position. He chose a member of the Zadokite family, who descended from Aaron, Ananel (Hananiel).  He was a priest of the Babylonian exile.

Alexandra, Herod’s mother-in-law, was furious.  She insisted only the rightful Hasmonean heir could serve as high priest.  Prior to the Maccabees, only Levite descendants of Aaron could legitimately serve as high priest.  Alexandra considered her sixteen-year-old son Aristobulus, the brother of Mariamne, as the rightful heir. She begged Cleopatra to persuade Marc Antony to force Herod to appoint her son Aristobulus as high priest. Herod capitulated and unlawfully removed Ananel, and made Aristobulus high priest at 17 years old in 35 B.C.

Alexandra was finally happy but her happiness was short-lived. King Herod did not trust her and he ordered her monitored closely.

At the feast of Tabernacles people showed their approval of Aristobulus, the officiating high priest. Herod considered this a threat and he determined to eliminate this potential rival. Alexandra invited Herod to a feast at Jericho after the Feast of Tabernacles. Herod subsequently asked them to swim in his pool on that hot day. He bribed several strong men to play water sports with Aristobulus and drown him. King Herod lamented this unfortunate “accident,” and arranged the most magnificent funeral for the boy.  Herod was not suspected by anyone except the boy’s mother, Alexandra, who devoted her life to revenge thereafter.

She informed Cleopatra of the murder. Cleopatra persuaded Marc Antony to summon Herod to account for his actions. King Herod had to appear before Marc Antony and face possible execution. Herod commanded his brother-in-law, Joseph to watch Mariamne during his absence and murder her if he should be executed.

Herod gave an eloquent defense for his actions and bribed Marc Antony, escaping punishment.  When Herod returned, Joseph’s wife Salome (Herod’s sister) accused Joseph of having sexual relations with Mariamne.  Herod questioned Mariamne and she denied everything.  He believed her, but she subsequently learned of the secret command Herod had previously given Joseph.  Herod discovered this information leak and executed Joseph without a trial in 34 B.C. He bound Alexandra in prison, blaming her for all of this.

Herod and Octavius Caesar

On September 2nd, 31 B.C. Octavius (Augustus) Caesar defeated Marc Antony at the Battle of Actium. Herod knew he would have to give account for his friendship with Marc Antony.  Herod then murdered Hyrcanus II, accusing him of plotting with the king of the Nabateans. This eliminated any possible Hasmonian rival who might challenge his rule in Judea. He hoped Octavius would allow him to remain ruler of Judea.

In the spring of 30 B.C. Herod met Octavius in Rhodes. Prior to that meeting he instructed two friends to kill Mariamne and her mother, Alexandra, if he were executed—so his sons and brother Pheroras would rule his kingdom.

Herod confessed to Octavius he was a loyal friend of Marc Antony. He argued he would loyally serve Octavius as he had previously served Marc Antony. Octavius allowed Herod to remain as ruler of Judea. Octavius later expanded Herod’s reign to include Judea, Gadara, Hippos, Samaria, Gaza, Anthedon, Joppa, and Straton’s Tower (later renamed Caesarea Maritime).

The Death of Mariamne

Mariamne later discovered from Herod friend, Soemus, that Herod had once again ordered her to be killed if he were executed. She bitterly complained to Herod when he returned. Herod realized his friends had again betrayed him and ordered them executed immediately.  His sister Salome hated Mariamne and slandered her incessantly, which filled Herod with rage and jealousy.

Herod imprisoned Miriamne, but did not want her executed. But Salome somehow persuaded the King to kill her. Herod sank into severe depression thereafter.  Alexandra began to plot how she could secure the throne. When her plans were revealed to King Herod he immediately had her executed.  After a long period grieving Mariamne’s death, Herod began his bloodshed once again and executed the last of the male relatives of Hyrcanus.  No Hasmonean would ever contest for the throne again. 

Herod the King 25-14 B.C.

Josephus wrote that Herod began this period by violating the Jewish law.  He introduced the quinquennial games to honor Augustus Caesar, building great theaters, amphitheaters, and race-courses for men and horses.  This greatly disturbed the Jews.

Herod built a royal palace for himself in 24 B.C., and the Herodium fortress in Judea (23 B.C.).  He also constructed other fortresses and Gentile temples during this period, including Straton’s Tower—renamed Caesarea Maritima.[19]  He began engineering the spectacular deep-sea port of Caesarea Maritima in 22 B.C.  Thereafter, Augustus Caesar expanded Herod’s kingdom to include Trachonitis, Batanaea, and Auranitis to the northeast.[20] Augustus considered Herod important for he kept that section of the Roman Empire stable. Herod asked Augustus for territory his brother Pheroras could rule. Augustus granted the request and gave the region of Perea to Herod’s brother. Perea was west of the Dead Sea in present day Jordan.

Herod’s greatest work of architecture was the Temple in Jerusalem which he began in 20 B.C. Josephus considered it the most noble of all Herod’s achievements.[21] He completely rebuilt and dramatically expanded the Second Temple of Jerusalem.

Herod married his third wife, Mariamne II, the daughter of the priest Simon Boethus in 23 B.C.  He immediately rewarded her father, Simon the high priesthood, and deprived the rightful heir, Jesus – son of Phabet, of that privilege.[22]

Herod sent his two sons of Mariamne I, Alexander and Aristobulus, to Rome for their education.  He then journeyed to Rome to meet Augustus and bring his sons home, after they completed their education (in 17 or 16 B.C.). After returning to Judea, Aristobulus married Berenice, Herod’s sister’s (Salome) daughter.  Alexander married Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus—King of Cappadocia (in present day Turkey).

The eleven years from 25-14 B.C. were the most productive in Herod’s entire reign. His building program was brilliant, and his domestic affairs were rather peaceful.  However the end of this period brought great turmoil.

Wives and Children of Herod

Josephus writes that Herod’s biggest problems were domestic. Herod had ten wives. His first wife was Doris by whom he had one son, Antipater. Herod banished Doris and Antipater when he married Mariamne, but he allowed them to visit Jerusalem during the festivals.

In 37 B.C. Herod married Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus II. She bore Herod five children. The two daughters were Salampsio and Cypros. Their youngest son died during the course of his education in Rome. The older sons, Alexander and Aristobulus, played a tumultuous role during this later period of Herod’s life. He imprisoned and executed Mariamne, as noted above.  Herod married his third wife Mariamne II in late 24 B.C. They had a son, Herod (Philip). His fourth wife was a Samaritan, Malthace. She bore Herod’s sons Archelaus and Herod Antipas. His fifth wife, Cleopatra of Jerusalem, was the mother of Philip. Of the other five wives only Pallas, Phaedra, and Elpsis are known by name, and none of these gave birth to children extending the Herodian dynasty.

Herod’s 10 wives and children

Wife Children
Doris  son Antipater II, executed 4 BCE
Mariamne I, daughter of Hasmonean Alexandros,executed 29 BCE •   son Alexander, executed 7 BCE•   son Aristobulus IV, executed 7 BCE•   daughter Salampsio•   daughter Cypros
Mariamne II, daughter of High-Priest Simon •   son Herod II
Malthace •   son Herod Archelaus – ethnarch•   son Herod Antipas – tetrarch•   daughter Olympias
Cleopatra of Jerusalem •   son Philip the Tetrarch•   son Herod
Pallas •   son Phasael
Phaidra •   daughter Roxanne
Elpis •   daughter Salome
a cousin (name unknown) •   no known children
a niece (name unknown) •   no known children

It is probable Herod had more children, especially with the last wives. He likely had more daughters, as female births were often not recorded in that time.[23]

 Herod the King 14-4 B.C.

Herod’s favorite sons were Alexander and Aristobulus of Miramne I. After they had returned from Rome and married Glaphyra and Berenice, troubles began to brew. Salome, Herod’s sister and mother of Berenice, hated these boys and desperately tried to establish her own son, Antipater (not to be confused with Herod’s father and his own son with Doris, Antipater).  Salome aggravated these boys by speaking ill of their mother whom Herod had killed. Salome and Pheroras (brother of Herod and Salome) reported to Herod that his life was in danger because the boys were not going to leave the murder of their mother unavenged, and that Archelaus, king of Cappadocia (father of Glaphyra), would help them reach the emperor of Rome and bring charges against their father.

Herod, under this emotional pressure, recalled his exiled son Antipater.  Herod sent Antipater to Rome with Agrippa (friend of Augustus Caesar) in 13 B.C., to introduce Antipater to the emperor.

Antipater used every conceivable means to acquire the throne. He slandered his half brothers. Friction between Herod and Mariamne’s two sons became so intense it drove Herod to accuse Aristobulus and Alexander before Caesar. In 12 B.C. they were tried before Augustus in Aquileia.

Augustus was able to reconcile Herod and his sons, and temporarily restore peace between them.  They and Antipater returned home. When they arrived Herod named Antipater his first successor and Alexander and Aristobulus followed in authority.  Antipater, assisted by Herod’s sister, Salome, and Herod’s brother, Pheroras, continued to slander the two sons of Mariamne.  Alexander and Aristobulus grew more hostile and Herod’s paranoia festered. Antipater fueled Herod’s fears. He ordered the torture of friends of Alexander so they might confess any attempt to take Herod’s life. One friend confessed knowledge that Alexander and Aristobulus had planned to kill Herod and then claim rule over his kingdom. Herod committed Alexander to prison following that confession.

When the Cappadocian king Archelaus, Alexander’s father-in-law, heard this state of affairs, he travelled to Jerusalem to seek reconciliation. Archelaus appeared before Herod about 10 B.C. and was able to accomplished reconciliation between Herod and his son, Alexander. Peace prevailed once again in Herod’s household—but only temporarily.

Other individuals continued to inflame the strained relationship between Herod and his two sons by Miramne I. Herod finally imprisoned both Alexander and Aristobulus, and complained to Caesar they had committed high treason.  When the messengers bringing these accusations reached Rome, they found Augustus in a favorable mood.  He granted Herod absolute power to bring his sons to trial but advised him the trial should occur outside Herod’s territory at Berytus (Beirut)—before a court of Roman officials.

Herod accepted Augustus’ advice. The court tried Herod’s case and pronounced the death sentence upon his sons. Therefore, at Sebaste (Samaria), where Herod had married Mariamne thirty years earlier, her two sons were executed by strangling in 7 B.C.

Antipater was in prime position to inherit his father’s throne, but he desired authority immediately. He held secret conferences with Herod’s brother Pheroras, tetrarch of Perea.  Salome reported this to her brother Herod, stoking his paranoia once again. The relationship between Antipater and his father grew tense and vulnerable. Herod sent him to Rome.  While there, Herod’s brother, Pheroras died. An investigation of his death determined Pheroras was poisoned, and Antipater had sent the poison.  Antipater intended Pheroras give the poison to Herod.  Herod immediately recalled Antipater from Rome. When he arrived he was imprisoned in the king’s palace.  Varus, the governor of Syria tried him very next day. With all the accusations and proofs against him, Antipater had no defense. Herod shackled him in prison and reported the matter to the emperor in 5 B.C.

Herod soon became very ill with a terminal disease.  He redrew a new will in which he chose his youngest son, Antipas, as his sole successor. He by-passed his eldest sons, Archelaus and Philip, due to paranoid thoughts Antipater had aggravated.

Shortly before Herod’s death Magi from the east came to Judea to worship the newborn king of the Jews. Christians know Herod as the King who orchestrated the murder of the children in Bethlehem, as he tried to kill the Christ child.  This is Herod’s enduring legacy down through the generations of Christendom.

The Biblical account (Matt. 2: 1-23) relates the Magi (astrologers) traveled from the east (probably present day Iraq or Iran) following the birth of Jesus.  They visited Herod to inquire the whereabouts of “the one having been born king of the Jews,” because they had seen his star in the east and wanted to worship Him. Herod was alarmed at the prospect of one who might usurp his kingdom (even as he was dying of a terminal illness).  He was very paranoid and had fended off many attempts on his life.  Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes and asked them the birthplace of the “Anointed One.” They answered, “in Bethlehem,” and quoted the Scripture in Micah 5: 2.  Herod directed the Magi to Bethlehem, instructing them to search for the Christ child and, once they had found him, to report back to him, “so that I too may go and worship him.”  However, after they found Jesus, God warned them in a dream not to report to Herod. God’s angel also warned Joseph in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, so he and his family quickly fled to Egypt. When Herod realized he had been outwitted, he gave orders to kill all boys under two years old in Bethlehem and its vicinity. Herod neared the end of his reign and many wrote he was mentally deranged.  Indeed, he may well have been possessed by Satan, himself, to execute this dastardly deed.  Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until Herod died, then moved to Nazareth in Galilee to avoid Herod’s son Archelaus, who was equally ruthless.

Herod was nearly seventy years old and his illness worsened.

The baths at Callirrhoe no longer benefited him. When he returned to Jericho he summoned high-ranking Jews from all over his kingdom.  When they arrived he imprisoned them in the hippodrome.  He ordered his sister Salome and her husband to execute these leaders the moment he died so there would be a national day of mourning.  Herod knew the people would celebrate his death rather than mourn.[24]

Herod simultaneously received a letter from the emperor giving him permission to execute his son, Antipater.  He did so immediately. Herod again changed his will, appointing Archelaus, the older son of wife Malthace, as king.   He assigned her younger son Antipas as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea and Philip as tetrarch of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanea, and Paneas.

Five days following Antipater’s execution Herod died at Jericho in the spring of 4 B.C. Salome and Alexas released the Jewish nobles who were imprisoned in the hippodrome. Josephus reported Herod died after a lunar eclipse.[25] An eclipse took place on March 13, 4 BCE, about 29 days before Passover, and this eclipse is usually taken to be the one referred to by Josephus.[26]

Josephus wrote Herod’s final illness  was excruciating.[27] Similar symptoms attended the death of his grandson Herod Agrippa I in 44 AD. Herod’s reign lasted approximately thirty-three years.

Ptolemy, who had been entrusted with the king’s seal, read Herod’s last will in public and the crowd acclaimed Archelaus as their king.

Most Christians understand Herod the Great was a very wicked man.  That is an undisputed fact.  Satan used him in a powerful way to oppose God’s program in this world.  The Jews hated this man.  Many in his own family both hated and feared him.  He maintained power by violence and brutality backed by the Roman Empire.

After his death, the Emperor Augustus made three of Herod’s sons rulers of different parts of their father’s kingdom, according to Herod’s will.  These sons were Archelaus (Matt. 2: 22-23), Herod Antipas, and Phillip. Perhaps another disconcerting fact about this man’s legacy is the negative influence he exerted on his descendants who ruled the kingdom thereafter.  His children and grandchildren who ruled after him were just as evil. The next article will discuss their reign.

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Works Cited and Bibliography: 

     [1] Josephus, Wars, 1.8.9.

     [2] Josephus, Antiquities, 13.9.1.

     [3] Josephus, Antiquities, 13.9.1.

     [4] Josephus, Antiquities, 14.15.2.

     [5] Josephus, Antiquities, 14.7.3.

     [6] Perowne, Stewart H. (2013). “Herod.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 May 2013.

     [7] Josephus, Wars, 1.9.3-5.

     [8] Jos. Antiq. xiv. 9. 1-2; 156-158; War i. 10. 4; 201-203

     [9] Josephus, Antiquities, 14.8.4.

     [10] Josephus, Antiquities, 14.8.5.

     [11] Steinmann, Andrew. “When Did Herod the Great Reign?”, Novum Testamentum, Volume  51, Number 1, 2009, pp. 1–29.


     [13] Herod I at Jewish Encyclopedia.

     [14] Spino, Ken (Rabbi) (2010). “History Crash Course #31: Herod the Great (online)”. Crash   Course in Jewish History. Targum Press. ISBN 978-1-5687-1532-2. Retrieved 7 May 2013.

     [15] Cohen, Shaye. “Roman Domination: The Jewish Revolt and the Destruction of the Second  Temple,” in Ancient Israel, ed. Hershel Shanks. (Biblical Archaeology Society, 1999), p. 271.

     [16] Rocca, Samuel (2009). The Army of Herod the Great. Osprey Publishing. pp. 15–16. ISBN 1-8460-3206-7. Retrieved 2 November 2013.

     [17] Cohen, Shaye. “Roman Domination: The Jewish Revolt and the Destruction of the Second      Temple,” in Ancient Israel, ed. Hershel Shanks. (Biblical Archaeology Society, 1999), p. 269-273.

     [18] Schiffman, Lawrence H. “The Jewish-Christian Schism,” in From Text to Tradition: A History of    Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism (Hoboken: Ktav Publishing House, 1991), p. 145.

     [19] Jos. Antiq. xv. 8. 5-9. 6; 292-341.

     [20] Jos. Antiq. xv. 10. 1-2 ; 342-349; War i. 20. 4 ; 398, 399.

     [21] Jos. Antiq. xv. 11. 1; 3 80.

     [22] Josephus, Antiquities, 15.9.3.

     [23] Josephus, Antiquities, 18.1.2–3.

     [24] Josephus, Antiquities, 17.6.174–175 & 17.8. 193.

     [25] Josephus, Antiquities, 17.6.4.

     [26] Bernegger, P. M. “Affirmation of Herod’s Death in 4 B.C.”, Journal of Theological Studies ns        34      (1983), 526–531. Lunar eclipse of March 13, 4 BC.

     [27] Josephus, Antiquities, 17.6.5.

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