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ARCHELA'US (ar-ki-la'us; "ruler of the people").
Son of Herod the Great by a Samaritan woman, Malthace (Josephus Wars 1.28.4), and brought up, with his brother
Antipas, at Rome (Josephus Wars 1.31.1).
Upon his father's death, Caesar divided his kingdom, giving to Archelaus (4 B.C.) Edom, Judea, and Samaria, with the important cities Caesarea, Sebaste, Joppa, and Jerusalem. His share of the kingdom brought him a yearly income of six hundred talents. He was made ethnarch, with promise of becoming king if he ruled virtuously
(Josephus Ant. 17.11.4).
After Herod's death, and previous to going to Rome to receive the government,
Archelaus ordered his soldiers to attack the Jews, who were becoming
tumultuous, at the Temple. The attack resulted in the death of about three thousand Jews. On his going to Rome the Jews sent a deputation of the
principal citizens protesting against his cruelty and asking to be permitted to
live according to their own laws, under a Roman governor.
Archelaus returned to Judea, and, under pretense that he had countenanced the
seditions against him, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood and gave that
dignity to his brother Eleazar. He governed Judea with so much violence that
in the tenth year of his reign he was dethroned, deprived of his property, and
banished to Vienna, in Gaul (Josephus Ant. 17.13.2).
His cruelty was manifested toward Samaritans as well as Jews. Joseph and Mary turned aside, from fear of him, on their way back from Egypt and went to Nazareth in Galilee, under the domain of his more gentle brother Antipas (Matt. 2:22).