Herod in Columbia Encyclopedia

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Herod

Herod, dynasty reigning in Palestine at the time of Christ. As a dynasty the Herods depended largely on the power of Rome. They are usually blamed for the state of virtual anarchy in Palestine at the beginning of the Christian era.

Antipater,. fl. c. 65 B.C., was founder of the family fortune. He was an Idumaean and gave refuge to Hyrcanus II (see Maccabees), thus gaining a stronghold in Palestine. His son Antipater (d. 43 B.C.) was favored by Julius Caesar, who made him (c. 55 B.C.) virtual ruler of all of Palestine.

The son of the second Antipater was Herod the Great. (d. 4 B.C.), who gave the family its name. He was friendly with Marc Antony, who secured him (374 B.C.) the title of king of Judaea; after the battle of Actium he made peace with Octavian (later Augustus), who thereafter showed him great favor. He made great efforts to mollify the Jews by publicly observing the Law, by building a temple, and by reestablishing the Sanhedrin. He promoted Hellenization and adorned most of his cities, especially Jerusalem.

Herod married ten times, and the various families in the palace intrigued against each other continually. In his last years Herod was subject to some sort of insanity, and he became bloodthirsty. He executed (6 B.C.) Aristobulus and Alexander, his sons by Mariamne, granddaughter of Hyrcanus II. He executed (4 B.C.) Antipater, son of his first wife, when he found out that Antipater had instigated the intrigues that led to the execution of Aristobulus and Alexander. This was the Herod who was ruling at the time of Jesus' birth and who ordered the massacre of the Innocents (see Mat. 2).

Herod the Great divided his kingdom among his sons Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip. Archelaus. (d. after A.D. 6) ruled Palestine south of the Vale of Jezreel from 4 B.C. to A.D. 6; he was removed by Augustus after complaints by the Jews. Herod Antipas. (d. after A.D. 39), tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, was the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was ruling at the time of Jesus' death.

Herod Antipas repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half brother Herod Philip, whom she divorced to marry Herod Antipas. This affair gained Herod Antipas many enemies, and the vaulting ambitions of Herodias eventually ruined him. She drove him to seek a royal title, and he was banished by Caligula in A.D. 39. Philip. (d. A.D. 34) was tetrarch of the region east of Galilee; his kingdom was non-Jewish, and he pursued a successful Romanizing and Hellenizing policy. He was probably the best of his family; his wife was Salome 1. He built Caesarea Philippi.

The eldest son of the executed Aristobulus, Herod Agrippa I. (d. A.D. 44), was a man of some ability. Out of friendship Caligula made him king (A.D. 39) of Philip's tetrarchy; later he was made (A.D. 41) ruler of S Syria and of Palestine east and west of the Jordan. Herod Agrippa I was strongly pro-Jewish, and he built extensively at Berytus (modern Beirut). His son, Herod Agrippa II. (d. c. 100), received only the northern part of his father's kingdom, and that not until c. 52. He was a poor ruler and alienated his subjects. His sister was Berenice (d. c. A.D. 28). After the fall of Jerusalem he went to Rome. He was the last important member of his family.

Bibliography

The prime source of information about the dynasty is the historical writing of Josephus. See also modern studies by A. H. Jones (1938, repr. 1967), S. Sandmel (1967), M. Grant (1971), and H. W. Hoehner (1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright 1994, 2000, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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King Herod the Great

"in the days of Herod the king" - Matthew 2:1

Herod the Great - A Brief Overview

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Herod I (the Great) was son of Antipater and made king by the Romans in 40 B.C. He managed to keep hold of his throne in the face of the many changes in the government at Rome.

His kingdom comprised Judea, Samaria, Galilee, Idumea, Batanea, and Peraea, which was approximately the same size as the kingdom of David and Solomon.

Although Herod had exceptional leadership skills, he was extremely disliked by the Jews. His attitude toward the Maccabean dynasty, to which he was related by marriage, along with his insolence and cruelty, angered them all the more. He even had his brother-in-law and several of his wives and sons executed.

He forced heavy taxes and brutally repressed any rebellions. But it was by his policy of Hellenistic culture that he greatly wounded the Jews. The construction of a race-course, a theater, and an amphitheater in Jerusalem, his wide support of the emperor cult in the East, and the construction of pagan temples in foreign cities at his own expense could not be forgiven, even though he restored and reconstructed the Temple of Jerusalem and continually pleaded the cause of the Jews of the Diaspora to the emperor to his own gains.

There was no close tie between the king and his people; he remained an Edomite and a friend of Rome, only holding on to his power by the use of a merciless military force. This is the same Herod the Great who massacred the children of Bethlehem (Matt. 2).

Herod suddenly died in 4 B.C.

 

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Bibliography on Herod the Great

The Many Faces of Herod the Great by Marshak, 448 Pages, Pub. 2014

The True Herod by Vermes, 192 Pages, Pub. 2014

 

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