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February 19    Scripture

Bible Names H-M: Herod the Great
Herod I, the "Great" was the son of Antipater, an Idumaean, and Cypros, an Arabian of noble descent. When Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in 63 B.C. Herod came in and rebuilt Israel into a kingdom under his control. He served Rome while ruling the Jews. His main achievements were architectural, remodeling many monuments including the temple in Jerusalem. He was the king of the Jews when Jesus arrived and revealed himself as the true King.

Herod and Cleopatra The fourth powerful opponent of King Herod was Cleopatra. As we just saw in the situation with Alexandra and how she went to Cleopatra, who in turn, reported everything to Marc Antony, Herod had serious problems with Cleopatra. Because of her relationship with Marc Antony her territory was increasing greatly. After his expedition against Armenia in 34 B.C. she persuaded him to give her all of Phoenicia, the coast of Philistia south of the river, a portion of the Arabia, and the district of Jericho with its balsam plantations and many palm trees. The area of Jericho was Herod's most fertile portion of land in his whole kingdom. Is interesting that every time Cleopatra visited her territories King Herod received her with celebration, although he despised her. Whenever she made attempts to trap him he would never give in. When the famous civil war broke out between Marc Antony and Octavius (later Augustus) Herod desired to take the cause of Marc Antony and help him in any way that he could. Cleopatra persuaded Marc Antony to order King Herod to go and fight against Malchus, the Arabian king. Malchus was late on his tribute and Cleopatra wanted him punished. But it was obvious that her real intent was that they would weakened each other or hopefully kill each other. This way she could easily overcome either of them. Herod did as Marc Antony ordered him and fight against Malchus. When Herod had achieved the initial victory over the Arabs, Cleopatra came and gave help to the Arabians which resulted in Herod's defeat. In 31 B.C. to a great earthquake happened in Herod's territory which killed over 30,000 people. At this time Herod made attempts to negotiate with the Arabs and sent an envoy to Arabia to make peace. When they arrived the Arabs slew them. When Herod heard what had happened he immediately gathered his army and attacked the Arabs and defeated them, he then returned home.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod and His Wife Mariamne Herod enjoyed the so-called success of his kingdom, but things in Judea were far from peaceful. While he was at Rhodes, Mariamne had found out from one of Herod's friends named Soemus that Herod gave the order for her to be killed if he was executed. Therefore when Herod returned she was bitter toward him. Herod was very aware of all these things. His sister Salome and their mother Cyprus had always hated Mariamne and they began to spread slanderous stories about Mariamne in order to fill Herod with rage and jealousy. Herod did not listen to the stories. Salome bribed Herod's cup-bearer to say that Mariamne had prepared some sort of love-potion for the king. When King Herod heard this he desired to know what sort of potion this was. He tortured the cup-bearer and found out nothing about the potion, but he did find out that Mariamne despised him for wanting to put her to death if he was executed. Herod immediately realized that his friends had betrayed him and he ordered them to be executed immediately. Herod never really wanted to put Mariamne to death while he was alive, and Herod would not kill her but had her put in prison. Because of all this his emotions were so stirred that Salome took advantage of and somehow persuaded King Herod to have her finally executed. Josephus describes that Herod was never the same after Mariamne's death: "For he would frequently called for her, and frequently lament for her in a most indecent manner." Herod had gotten very sick to the point of death and Alexandra began to plot how that when he died she could secure the throne. When she had begun to make plans, they had been reported to King Herod and he immediately had her executed.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod and Octavius On September 2nd, 31 B.C. Marc Antony was defeated by Octavius at the Battle of Actium. This was devastating to Herod. He knew that he would answer ultimately to Octavius for everything. Herod then made a shrewd move, he murdered Hyrcanus II and accused him of plotting with the king of the Nabatean's. This would eliminate any possible rival who might rule in Judea, and his hopes were that somehow Octavius would allow him to remain as the ruler of Judea. In the spring of 30 B.C. Herod set out to meet with Octavius in Rhodes. But before he left he gave instructions to two of his friends that if he were to be executed they were to kill Alexandra and Mariamne, so that his sons and his brother Pheroras would rule in his place. What King Herod arrived in Rhodes to stand before Octavius he played his part well. He admitted right away that he was a loyal friend of Marc Antony and that he did not fight against Octavius because of his war against the Arabs. His argument to Octavius was that if he was loyal to Marc Antony then his loyalty would benefit Octavius. Octavius allowed Herod to remain as the ruler of Judea. Herod returned home. Later that year, in the summertime, Octavius came to the coast of Phoenicia on his way to Egypt. Herod met him and great him to Ptolemais with great celebration and a gift of 800 talents and supplies for the Roman soldiers during that hot season. Octavius was delighted. In August of 30 B.C. Octavius marched through Egypt and it was at this time that Marc Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. When Herod heard this he came to Egypt to congratulate Octavius. Octavius gave him the title of king and returned to him not only Jericho, but also Gadara, Hippos, Samaria, Gaza, Anthedon, Joppa, and Straton's Tower (later became Caesarea). Herod had definitely been given much.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod and The Hasmonean Family The Hasmonean Family The third group of his powerful opponents were the family of the Hasmoneans. His mother-in-law, Alexandra, was the main source of most of his problems. During this time Hyrcanus had returned from Parthian exile, yet he was mutilated and thus could not serve as high priest. Herod needed someone to replace Hyrcanus as high priest. Herod was a half Jew and therefore he could not serve as high priest. He desired to choose a nonthreatening member of the Zadokite family, who were thought to have descended from Aaron, so he chose Ananel (Hananiel), a priest of the Babylonian exile. Alexandra, Herod's mother-in-law, was insulted and considered it an intrusion on the Hasmonean line and only the rightful heir could serve as high priest, her sixteen-year-old son Aristobulus, the brother of Mariamne. She wrote to Cleopatra to persuade Marc Antony to force Herod to appoint her son Aristobulus as high priest. Herod immediately removed Ananel, which was unlawful because the high priest was to remain in office for his whole lifetime, and made Aristobulus high priest at 17 years old in 35 B.C. Alexandra was finally happy but her happiness would be short-lived. King Herod did not trust her and so he had her watched very closely. Alexandra, knowing that she was being watched, accepted an invitation by Cleopatra to escape with her son and flee to Egypt. King Herod heard that she was making and escape with her son and allowed them to carry it out so that he could catch them in the act. At this time he chose to overlook the offense. At the feast of Tabernacles people were showing great affection for Aristobulus, the officiating high priest. Herod considered this a threat and was determined to get rid of this potential rival. After the feast concluded, when Herod was invited by Alexandra to a feast at Jericho, Herod made a plan. He would act friendly to her and Aristobulus and invite them to go swimming since it was a hot day. He then bribed some men to play sports together in the water and drown Aristobulus by accident. King Herod rose up when this happened and made extreme lamentation. He then arranged the most magnificent funeral and he was not suspected in the least, by anyone except by his mother Alexandra, who decided to devote her life to revenge. She informed Cleopatra of the murder. Cleopatra persuaded Marc Antony to call Herod to give an account for his actions. King Herod had no choice but to go and stand before Marc Antony and face possible death. Herod asked his uncle Joseph to keep watch over Mariamne during the time that he would answer to Marc Antony. Herod told Joseph in private that if he should be executed, that he was to kill Mariamne, because he did not want her to become someone else's lover. when Herod appeared before Marc Antony he bribed him and gave an eloquent defense for his actions. When Herod returned, Joseph's wife Salome (Herod's sister) accused Joseph of having unlawful intercourse with Mariamne. When Herod questioned Mariamne she denied everything and he believed her. But somehow she learned about the secret command that Herod had given Joseph, and Herod found out and became outraged and executed Joseph without a trial in 34 B.C. He also had Alexandra bound in chains and put in prison, blaming her for all of his troubles.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod and the Last of the Relatives of Hyrcanus The Death of the Last of the Hasmoneans. After a long period of depression over Mariamne, Herod began his bloodshed once again and executed the last of the male relatives of Hyrcanus, anyone who could dispute his occupancy of the throne.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod and the Parthians It wasn't long before the new tetrarchs of Judea had to deal with the Parthians who had appeared in Syria in 40 B.C. Pacorus, the prince of Parthia, joined forces with Antigonus in order to seize the throne of Hyrcanus and give it to Antigonus. With the invading of Jerusalem by the Parthians a civil war broke out and fighting went on every day in the city. When the feast of Pentecost was approaching, and thousands of Jews entering Jerusalem, a Parthian cup bearer named Pacorus arrived bringing word, supposedly, from the Parthian king regarding settlement. The proposal seemed good but Herod became suspicious and did not agree to go meet the king in Galilee, although Phasael and Hyrcanus showed up and they were captured and put in chains. Herod fled to Masada with his troops, relatives, and Mariamne. Later he moved to Petra, the capital of the Nabatean kingdom. At this time the Parthians were sacking all of Jerusalem and parts of Judea. They made Antigonus king. Antigonus had Hyrcanus mutilated and sent to Parthia so that there would be no possibility of him ever being restored as high priest. Phasael either died in battle, was poisoned, or he committed suicide. Herod had expected help and protection from the Arabian king Malchus, but he was asked to leave. Herod departed for Egypt and finally made his way to Rome where he was welcomed by Marc Antony and Octavius. Herod told them the whole story and after hearing it they established him as the king of Judea. In 39 B.C. he sailed from Italy back to Ptolemais and marched into Galilee. He captured Joppa and then made his way back to Masada where his relatives were. He found them under attack but with the help of the Roman armies he was able to quietly camp on the west side of Jerusalem. Herod proclaimed that he was the rightful king and made a promise to forgive all past offenses that were made against him. Antigonus countered by proclaiming that Herod was and Idumaean, and a half Jew, and not a legitimate heir to the throne. In 38 B.C. Herod overcame any armies in Galilee, and because the progress was slow he requested the help of Marc Antony and the Romans. He divided his army and left part of it with his brother Joseph with orders not to fight until reinforcements came, and with the rest of his army he went to Samosata where Antony was besieging Antiochus, king of Commagene, who had sided with the Parthians. Antony was pleased with Herod's help and his loyalty, and after they defeated and Samosata, Marc Antony ordered Sossius, one of his legates, to use the Roman army in support of King Herod. King Herod returned to Antioch with two legions and crushed the opposition in Galilee. Unfortunately he also received the bad news that his brother Joseph had been killed at Jericho. In the spring of 37 B.C. Herod moved his troops to Jerusalem and set up for siege. At that time he left the armies in charge and set off for Samaria to marry Mariamne after about five years of betrothal. By marrying Mariamne he would no doubt strengthen his claim to the throne, even though it was a despicable move against Antigonus. Once he was married he immediately returned to Jerusalem. Antigonus had been in Jerusalem defending the city against the Roman legions of Sossius, but the city finally fell in the summer of 37 B.C. When Herod showed up he realized that he needed to stop the Roman armies, who were his allies, from defiling the Temple and plundering the city's great wealth. He went to Sossius and pleaded with him to reward each soldier with a sizable gift. Sossius agreed and called his troops in to reward them and they marched away taking Antigonus to Marc Antony in chains. According to Josephus Herod had paid a large bribe to persuade the Romans to put Antigonus out of the way. He also records that Antigonus fell beneath the axe. This brought an end to the Hasmonean rule of 129 years. Herod was now the undisputed king of Judea.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_and_the_Parthians.htm


Herod and The Pharisees The Pharisees never liked the fact that Herod was the king of Judea, mainly because he was an Idumaean, a half Jew, and a friend of the Romans. One of the problems that Herod always faced when dealing with the Pharisees was there tremendous popularity with the people. They were well-respected and considered very holy. But King Herod had his ways of dealing with the population. Whoever opposed him he quickly punished, and those who were his friends he rewarded with favors and great honors.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod and the Ruling Class The second group of powerful opponents to King Herod were the aristocratic followers of Antigonus. King Herod dealt with them harshly and one time he executed forty five of the most wealthy and most prominent members of this class. He seized their possessions and replenished his treasury which had been depleted because of all of his bribes.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHerod_the_King_3725_BC.htm


Herod King of the Jews We can easily conclude from the writing of Josephus that during this period Herodís biggest problems were domestic. Herod had married ten wives. His first wife was Doris by whom he had one son, Antipater. Herod renounced Doris and Antipater when he married Mariamne but they were allowed to visit Jerusalem only during the festivals. In 37 B.C. Herod married Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus, who bore him five children. The two daughters were Salampsio and Cypros. The youngest son died during the course of his education in Rome. The older sons were Alexander and Aristobulus, who played an important part during this period of Herod's life. Herod married his third wife Mariamne II in late 24 B.C. by whom he had Herod (Philip). His fourth wife was a Samaritan, Malthace, by whom he had Archelaus and 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 are of significance. Herod's favorite sons were the sons of Mariamne I, Alexander and Aristobulus. After they had returned from Rome and had married Glaphyra and Berenice, troubles domestically began to come to the forefront. Salome, Herod's sister and mother of Berenice, hated these two sons and tried desperately to establish her own son. It may well be that to a certain degree the arrogance of the two sons of Mariamne I was because of being a part of the Hasmonean dynasty. Salome aggravated them by speaking ill of their mother whom Herod had killed, which caused them to defend her. Salome and Pheroras (brother of Herod and Salome) reported to Herod that his life was in danger because the two sons were not going to leave the murder of their mother unavenged and that Archelaus, king of Cappadocia (father of Glaphyra), would help them to reach the emperor and bring charges against their father. In order to somehow correct things and to show them that there might be another who could be heir to the throne, he recalled his exiled son Antipater. In the spring of 13 B.C. Herod sent Antipater to Rome in the company of Agrippa (friend of Augustus), who left the east to go to Rome, so that he might present Antipater to the emperor. But instead of helping correct things, Antipater used every conceivable means to acquire the throne. He used slander against his two half brothers. The problems between Herod and Mariamne's two sons became so great that Herod decided to accuse his two sons before the emperor. In 12 B.C. the two sons went with Herod and they were tried before Augustus in Aquileia. After the case was heard Augustus was able to reconcile Herod and his sons, and having restored domestic peace, the father, the two sons, and Antipater returned home. When they arrived home Herod named Antipater as his first successor and next after him were to be Alexander and Aristobulus. Not long after they had arrived home Antipater, being helped by Herod's sister Salome and Herod's brother Pheroras, began to slander the two sons of Mariamne. Alexander and Aristobulus became more hostile in their attitude. Herod became suspicious and became more and more fearful about the situation. Antipater played on Herod's fears. He even caused the friends of Alexander to be tortured so that they might confess any attempt to take Herod's life and one friend made the admission that Alexander, with the help of Aristobulus, had planned to kill him and then flee to Rome to lay claim on his kingdom. For this Alexander was committed to prison. When the Cappadocian king Archelaus, Alexander's father-in-law, heard of this state of affairs, he began to fear for his daughter and son-in-law and thus made a journey to Jerusalem to see if there could be reconciliation. He appeared before Herod very angry over his good-for-nothing son-in-law and threatened to take his daughter back with him. This was actually a very sly maneuver on the part of Archelaus because, in doing this, Herod defended his son against Archelaus and Archelaus accomplished the reconciliation he desired and then returned to his home. This probably happened in 10 B.C. Thus there was peace once again in Herod's household. During this same period Herod had troubles with some foreign enemies and with the emperor. Syllaeus, who ruled in the place of the Arabian king Obodas and who was very hostile to Herod, gave shelter to forty rebels of Trachonitis and tried to relieve his country from paying a debt contracted with Herod. Herod demanded that he hand over the rebels and pay the debt. With the consent of the governor of Syria, Saturninus, Herod invaded Arabia and enforced his rights (around 9 B.C.). This was only to be a disciplinary measure with no intentions of territorial gain, but Syllaeus had meanwhile gone to Rome and distorted the picture with the result that Augustus became suspicious and indicated to Herod that their friendship was at an end and that he would no longer treat him as a friend but as a subject. In order to justify himself Herod sent an embassy to Rome and when this failed he sent a second under the leadership of Nicolas of Damascus (Jos. Antiq. xvi. 9. 1-4 ; 271-299). Meanwhile the domestic conflicts again came to the forefront. A certain Eurycles from Lacedemon, a man of bad character, inflamed the father against the sons and the sons against the father. As other mischief-makers became involved, Herod's patience was exhausted and he put Alexander and Aristobulus into prison, and laid a complaint against them before the emperor of their being involved in treasonable plots. Meanwhile Nicolas of Damascus had accomplished his mission and had again won over the emperor to Herod. When the messengers who were bringing the accusations of Herod reached Rome, they found Augustus in a favorable mood and he gave Herod absolute power to proceed in the matter of his sons as he wished but advised him that the trial should take place outside of Herod's territory at Berytus (Beirut), before a court of which Roman officials would form part and to have the charges against his sons investigated. Herod accepted the advice of the emperor. Although the governor of Syria, Saturninus, and his three sons thought that the sons were guilty but should not be put to death, the court almost unanimously pronounced the death sentence upon the sons. Tiro, an old soldier, publicly proclaimed that the trial had been unjust and the truth suppressed. But he and 300 others were not considered to be friends of Alexander and Aristobulus and thus they were executed. Therefore, at Sebaste (Samaria), where Herod had married Mariamne thirty years before, her two sons were executed by strangling, prob. in 7 B.C. Antipater, now remaining the sole heir and enjoying the full confidence of his father, was still not satisfied, for he wished to have the government wholly in his own hands. He held secret conferences with Herod's brother Pheroras, tetrarch of Perea, which Salome reported to her brother Herod, stating that they were contriving to kill him. Thus the relationship of Antipater and his father became tense. Antipater knew this and wrote to his friends in Rome to ask if Augustus would instruct Herod to send Antipater to Rome. Herod sent him to Rome and designated in his will that Antipater was his successor to the throne and in the event that Antipater's death might occur before his own, Herod (Philip), son of Mariamne II, the high priest's daughter, was named as his successor. While Antipater was in Rome, Pheroras died which proved to be the seal of Antipater's fate. Freedmen of Pheroras went to Herod to relate to him that Pheroras had been poisoned and that Herod should investigate the matter more closely. It was found out that the poison was sent by Antipater with the intention not to kill Pheroras but rather that Pheroras might give it to Herod. Herod also learned from the female slaves of Pheroras' household of the complaints that Antipater had made at those secret meetings regarding the king's long life and about the uncertainties of his prospects. Herod immediately recalled Antipater, disguising his real intentions, and Antipater returned with no suspicion. When he arrived he was committed to prison in the king's palace and was tried the very next day before Varus, the governor of Syria. With all of the accusations and proofs against him, Antipater could make no defense. Herod put him in chains and made a report of the matter to the emperor. This occurred in 5 B.C. Another plot of Antipater against Herod was unveiled and Herod desired to kill him. Herod became very ill with a disease from which he would not recover. Therefore, he drew up a new will in which he by-passed his eldest sons, Archelaus and Philip, because Antipater had poisoned his mind against them. Instead he chose the youngest son, Antipas, as his sole successor. Shortly before his death the Magi had come to Judea to worship the newborn king of the Jews. Herod summoned these Magi, asking them to report to him the location of the Christ child when they found Him in Bethlehem. Being warned in a dream, the Magi did not return to Herod but departed to the east by another route. The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt because of Herod's intention to kill Jesus. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt and Herod killed all the male children of Bethlehem who were two years and under. Herod was now nearly seventy years old and his sickness grew worse. As news spread that he had an incurable disease, two rabbis, Judas, son of Sepphoraeus, and Matthias, son of Margalus, stirred up the people to tear down the Roman eagle from the Temple gate that had been such an offence to the Jews. These rabbis stated that this action would be pleasing to God. Herod, having heard this, seized the offenders and passed sentences of death upon them and had all the chief leaders publicly burned alive. As Herod's disease grew worse the baths at Callirrhoe no longer benefited him. When he returned to Jericho he commanded all notable Jews from all parts of the nation to come to him and when they arrived he shut them up in the hippodrome, summoned his sister Salome and her husband Alexas, and ordered that all these leaders should be executed at the moment he died so that there would be a national mourning rather than a festival when he died. At the time he was giving these instructions, he received a letter from Rome in which the emperor gave him permission to execute his son, Antipater, and thus he did so immediately. Herod again changed his mind and nominated Archelaus, the older son of Malthace, as king and his brothers Antipas as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea and Philip as tetrarch of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanea, and Paneas. Finally, five days after the execution of Antipater, Herod died at Jericho in the spring of 4 B.C. Salome and Alexas released the Jewish nobles who were imprisoned to the hippodrome. 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. A pompous funeral procession accompanied the body from Jericho, a distance of one mile in the direction of the Herodian, where it was finally laid. Herod's reign lasted around thirty-three years. It was for the most part one of violence. The middle of his reign was by far the most peaceful. It is important to realize that though his reign was characterized by violence, the rulers of that day were not much different than he was. Throughout his reign he was never liked by the Jews because of his lifestyle and his unconcern for their law. Although he was the king of the Jews, many of his subjects would never treat him as truly a Jewish king.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODKing_of_the_Jews.htm


Herod The Builder According to the Greek standards of that day, a good king encouraged games and theaters and was active in building. King Herod was considered one of the greatest builders of the ancient world. He constructed pagan temples and amphitheaters in various Greek cities within and outside his domain. Athens, Sparta and Rhodes benefited from his liberality and he made large contributions of money to the Olympic games. Rome was very interested in King Herod's ability to bring peace to the territories on his northeastern frontier and I guess this granted these territories to Herod's kingdom: Trachonitis, Batanea, and Auranitis in 23 B.C. and the territory of Ituraea in 20 B.C. To make Augustus even more grateful and to further the emperor's cultural policy, Herod invested in vast building enterprises. Many old cities were refounded and new cities were built. Temples, hippodromes and amphitheaters were constructed, not only in Judea but in foreign cities such as Athens. Within his own kingdom he rebuilt Samaria and renamed it Sebaste, after the emperor (Sebastos is the Greek equivalent of the Latin Augustus). King Herod also rebuilt Strato's Tower on the beautiful coast of the Mediterranean and built a large artificial harbor. He called the new city Caesarea, also in honor of the emperor. This project lasted some twelve years, from 22 to 10 B.C. There are many more projects that can be mentioned in these areas and throughout the land, settlements and strongholds, many of which bore names honoring the emperor or members of Herod's own family, such as Antipatris (on the road from Jerusalem to Caesarea), Cypros (at Jericho), and Phasaelis (west of the Jordan). At Jerusalem he built a royal palace for himself connecting the Western Wall. He rebuilt the Hasmonean fortress of Baris and renamed it Antonia (after Marc Antony). But the greatest of all of King Herod's building enterprises was his reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. This massive project was begun early in 19 B.C. If thousand Levites were trained as builders, and they fulfilled their work in such a way that the sacred rituals of the holy place would never interrupted while the work was happening. The tremendous outer court was enclosed, surrounded by colonnades, and the whole area was splendid and beautiful was awesome gateways and other architectural marvel's. The Temple became world renowned for its magnificence: "Far off appearing like a Mount of alabaster, topped with golden spires." Although the majority of the work of reconstruction was completed while Herod was still alive, the final details were not completed until 63 A.D., only seven years before its destruction. The Jews appreciated much of Herod's buildings and achievements but would never forgive him for his destruction of the Hasmonean family, they would not forget his Edomite ancestry. No matter how much money he spent on the Temple and other projects he could never win the favor of his subjects. Augustus Caesar and Herod's friend Agrippa said: "Herod's realm was far too small for his liberality." Herod's Gentile subjects were happy that he liked to please them. To them Herod was "Herod the Great." Other achievements are worth mentioning, especially in the area of culture. History was being recorded: King Herod's court chronicler, Nicolas of Damascus, wrote a Universal History in 144 books. This work included a detailed record of Herod's reign, which Josephus used as a principal source for this part of Herod's history in his writings.
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Herod the Governor of Galilee Governor of Galilee (47-37 B.C.). At around 25 years old Herod became governor of Galilee. It wasn't long before the Galilean Jews and the Roman officials in Syria began to admire this young man. Herod was quick to capture and execute the outlaw Ezekias and most of his followers. At one point many people came to Hyrcanus and tried to convince him that Herod was getting too powerful and that he had violated Jewish laws when he executed Ezekias and his followers. They recommended that Herod stand trial before the Sanhedrin. Around 47 B.C. Hyrcanus was persuaded and ordered Herod to be brought to trial. Herod got the message and came to the trial but when he showed up he appeared as a king dressed in purple and attended by his bodyguard. Sextus Caesar, the governor of Syria, gave the orders to Hyrcanus that Herod should be acquitted or their would be great consequences. When Herod was released he came to Damascus to join up with Sextus Caesar. Sextus saw Herod as a remarkable man with much popularity and appointed him as governor of Coele-Syria, and Herod became more and more familiar with Roman laws and Customs, especially when dealing with affairs in Syria. Herod was very angry that Hyrcanus had called him to trial and to avenge himself he marched against Jerusalem, but his father and his brother both persuaded him to refrain from violence. Caecilius Bassus, an enemy of Julius Caesar and friend of Pompey, murdered Sextus Caesar and became the new leader of Syria. Antipater, who was a friend of Julius Caesar, sent his troops against Bassus with his two sons leading them. This small War lasted for about three years and after Caesar was assassinated by Cassius, Brutus, and their followers in March of 44 B.C., Cassius came to Syria and defeated Bassus and he became the new leader of Syria. Because Cassius required heavy taxes Antipater chose Herod, Phasael, and Malichus to do the collecting. It wasn't long before Herod became renowned for his collecting of taxes. Cassius was very pleased with Herod and not only appointed him as governor of Coele-Syria (just as he had been under Sextus) but also swore to make him king of Judea after the war that he and Brutus were fighting against Caesar and Antony. The Herodians were becoming noticeably powerful because of the Romans and Malichus, a man whose life Antipater had once saved, bribed a servant to poison Antipater (43 B.C.). Herod sought revenge and killed Malichus with the sword. Once Cassius had left Syria and joined up with Brutus in their campaign against Octavius and Antony, Judea was in turmoil again because of Hyrcanus. With some difficulty Herod stopped the revolt and before long another one broke out. Ptolemy, the ruler of the Itureans, gave protection to Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus. In 42 B.C. Herod defeated them and was congratulated by Hyrcanus and the people. During this period Herod had a wife whose name was Doris. They had a son together whom they named Antipater, after his grandfather. Herod also became betrothed to Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus II and the daughter of Aristobulus' son, Alexander. This would mean that she was a niece of Antigonus, who was the arch-rival of Herod. By marrying Mariamne Herod would be marrying into the royal house of the Hasmoneans and would become the natural Hasmonean heir, and would cause him to win acceptance in Judean circles. By 42 B.C. Marc Antony had defeated Cassius at Philippi and then advanced to Bithynia of Asia minor. When he arrived he was met by several Jewish leaders who brought accusations against Herod and Phasael (the governor of Jerusalem), saying that they were usurping their power and undermining Hyrcanus. When Herod was questioned the gave a good defense against the accusations and the charges were dropped. In the autumn of 41 B.C., when Marc Antony had gone to Antioch, the Jewish leaders came and spoke the same accusations against Herod and Phasael. But this time Hyrcanus was there and Marc Antony came to him personally and asked him who would be the best qualified ruler. Hyrcanus stated that he was in favor of Herod and Phasael. Marc Antony therefore confirmed their authority and appointed them as tetrarchs of Judea.
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Herod the Great on Bible History Online Herod the Great , Index of Topics, Introduction , Overview , The Family of the Herods, Herod the Governor, Herod and the Parthians, Herod the King 37-25 B.C. , Herod the King 25-14 B.C. , Herod the King 14-4 B.C. , Herod and Octavian , King of the Jews, His Buildings, Herod's Temple, His Cruelty, His Death, Herods Will, Herod in History, Scriptures, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, Family Charts, Timeline, Coins , Heart Message
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Herod the King 14-4 B.C. We can easily conclude from the writing of Josephus that during this period Herodís biggest problems were domestic. Herod had married ten wives. His first wife was Doris by whom he had one son, Antipater. Herod renounced Doris and Antipater when he married Mariamne but they were allowed to visit Jerusalem only during the festivals. In 37 B.C. Herod married Mariamne, the granddaughter of Hyrcanus, who bore him five children. The two daughters were Salampsio and Cypros. The youngest son died during the course of his education in Rome. The older sons were Alexander and Aristobulus, who played an important part during this period of Herod's life. Herod married his third wife Mariamne II in late 24 B.C. by whom he had Herod (Philip). His fourth wife was a Samaritan, Malthace, by whom he had Archelaus and 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 are of significance. Herod's favorite sons were the sons of Mariamne I, Alexander and Aristobulus. After they had returned from Rome and had married Glaphyra and Berenice, troubles domestically began to come to the forefront. Salome, Herod's sister and mother of Berenice, hated these two sons and tried desperately to establish her own son. It may well be that to a certain degree the arrogance of the two sons of Mariamne I was because of being a part of the Hasmonean dynasty. Salome aggravated them by speaking ill of their mother whom Herod had killed, which caused them to defend her. Salome and Pheroras (brother of Herod and Salome) reported to Herod that his life was in danger because the two sons were not going to leave the murder of their mother unavenged and that Archelaus, king of Cappadocia (father of Glaphyra), would help them to reach the emperor and bring charges against their father. In order to somehow correct things and to show them that there might be another who could be heir to the throne, he recalled his exiled son Antipater. In the spring of 13 B.C. Herod sent Antipater to Rome in the company of Agrippa (friend of Augustus), who left the east to go to Rome, so that he might present Antipater to the emperor. But instead of helping correct things, Antipater used every conceivable means to acquire the throne. He used slander against his two half brothers. The problems between Herod and Mariamne's two sons became so great that Herod decided to accuse his two sons before the emperor. In 12 B.C. the two sons went with Herod and they were tried before Augustus in Aquileia. After the case was heard Augustus was able to reconcile Herod and his sons, and having restored domestic peace, the father, the two sons, and Antipater returned home. When they arrived home Herod named Antipater as his first successor and next after him were to be Alexander and Aristobulus. Not long after they had arrived home Antipater, being helped by Herod's sister Salome and Herod's brother Pheroras, began to slander the two sons of Mariamne. Alexander and Aristobulus became more hostile in their attitude. Herod became suspicious and became more and more fearful about the situation. Antipater played on Herod's fears. He even caused the friends of Alexander to be tortured so that they might confess any attempt to take Herod's life and one friend made the admission that Alexander, with the help of Aristobulus, had planned to kill him and then flee to Rome to lay claim on his kingdom. For this Alexander was committed to prison. When the Cappadocian king Archelaus, Alexander's father-in-law, heard of this state of affairs, he began to fear for his daughter and son-in-law and thus made a journey to Jerusalem to see if there could be reconciliation. He appeared before Herod very angry over his good-for-nothing son-in-law and threatened to take his daughter back with him. This was actually a very sly maneuver on the part of Archelaus because, in doing this, Herod defended his son against Archelaus and Archelaus accomplished the reconciliation he desired and then returned to his home. This probably happened in 10 B.C. Thus there was peace once again in Herod's household. During this same period Herod had troubles with some foreign enemies and with the emperor. Syllaeus, who ruled in the place of the Arabian king Obodas and who was very hostile to Herod, gave shelter to forty rebels of Trachonitis and tried to relieve his country from paying a debt contracted with Herod. Herod demanded that he hand over the rebels and pay the debt. With the consent of the governor of Syria, Saturninus, Herod invaded Arabia and enforced his rights (around 9 B.C.). This was only to be a disciplinary measure with no intentions of territorial gain, but Syllaeus had meanwhile gone to Rome and distorted the picture with the result that Augustus became suspicious and indicated to Herod that their friendship was at an end and that he would no longer treat him as a friend but as a subject. In order to justify himself Herod sent an embassy to Rome and when this failed he sent a second under the leadership of Nicolas of Damascus (Jos. Antiq. xvi. 9. 1-4 ; 271-299). Meanwhile the domestic conflicts again came to the forefront. A certain Eurycles from Lacedemon, a man of bad character, inflamed the father against the sons and the sons against the father. As other mischief-makers became involved, Herod's patience was exhausted and he put Alexander and Aristobulus into prison, and laid a complaint against them before the emperor of their being involved in treasonable plots. Meanwhile Nicolas of Damascus had accomplished his mission and had again won over the emperor to Herod. When the messengers who were bringing the accusations of Herod reached Rome, they found Augustus in a favorable mood and he gave Herod absolute power to proceed in the matter of his sons as he wished but advised him that the trial should take place outside of Herod's territory at Berytus (Beirut), before a court of which Roman officials would form part and to have the charges against his sons investigated. Herod accepted the advice of the emperor. Although the governor of Syria, Saturninus, and his three sons thought that the sons were guilty but should not be put to death, the court almost unanimously pronounced the death sentence upon the sons. Tiro, an old soldier, publicly proclaimed that the trial had been unjust and the truth suppressed. But he and 300 others were not considered to be friends of Alexander and Aristobulus and thus they were executed. Therefore, at Sebaste (Samaria), where Herod had married Mariamne thirty years before, her two sons were executed by strangling, prob. in 7 B.C. Antipater, now remaining the sole heir and enjoying the full confidence of his father, was still not satisfied, for he wished to have the government wholly in his own hands. He held secret conferences with Herod's brother Pheroras, tetrarch of Perea, which Salome reported to her brother Herod, stating that they were contriving to kill him. Thus the relationship of Antipater and his father became tense. Antipater knew this and wrote to his friends in Rome to ask if Augustus would instruct Herod to send Antipater to Rome. Herod sent him to Rome and designated in his will that Antipater was his successor to the throne and in the event that Antipater's death might occur before his own, Herod (Philip), son of Mariamne II, the high priest's daughter, was named as his successor. While Antipater was in Rome, Pheroras died which proved to be the seal of Antipater's fate. Freedmen of Pheroras went to Herod to relate to him that Pheroras had been poisoned and that Herod should investigate the matter more closely. It was found out that the poison was sent by Antipater with the intention not to kill Pheroras but rather that Pheroras might give it to Herod. Herod also learned from the female slaves of Pheroras' household of the complaints that Antipater had made at those secret meetings regarding the king's long life and about the uncertainties of his prospects. Herod immediately recalled Antipater, disguising his real intentions, and Antipater returned with no suspicion. When he arrived he was committed to prison in the king's palace and was tried the very next day before Varus, the governor of Syria. With all of the accusations and proofs against him, Antipater could make no defense. Herod put him in chains and made a report of the matter to the emperor. This occurred in 5 B.C. Another plot of Antipater against Herod was unveiled and Herod desired to kill him. Herod became very ill with a disease from which he would not recover. Therefore, he drew up a new will in which he by-passed his eldest sons, Archelaus and Philip, because Antipater had poisoned his mind against them. Instead he chose the youngest son, Antipas, as his sole successor. Shortly before his death the Magi had come to Judea to worship the newborn king of the Jews. Herod summoned these Magi, asking them to report to him the location of the Christ child when they found Him in Bethlehem. Being warned in a dream, the Magi did not return to Herod but departed to the east by another route. The Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to flee to Egypt because of Herod's intention to kill Jesus. Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt and Herod killed all the male children of Bethlehem who were two years and under. Herod was now nearly seventy years old and his sickness grew worse. As news spread that he had an incurable disease, two rabbis, Judas, son of Sepphoraeus, and Matthias, son of Margalus, stirred up the people to tear down the Roman eagle from the Temple gate that had been such an offence to the Jews. These rabbis stated that this action would be pleasing to God. Herod, having heard this, seized the offenders and passed sentences of death upon them and had all the chief leaders publicly burned alive. As Herod's disease grew worse the baths at Callirrhoe no longer benefited him. When he returned to Jericho he commanded all notable Jews from all parts of the nation to come to him and when they arrived he shut them up in the hippodrome, summoned his sister Salome and her husband Alexas, and ordered that all these leaders should be executed at the moment he died so that there would be a national mourning rather than a festival when he died. At the time he was giving these instructions, he received a letter from Rome in which the emperor gave him permission to execute his son, Antipater, and thus he did so immediately. Herod again changed his mind and nominated Archelaus, the older son of Malthace, as king and his brothers Antipas as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea and Philip as tetrarch of Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanea, and Paneas. Finally, five days after the execution of Antipater, Herod died at Jericho in the spring of 4 B.C. Salome and Alexas released the Jewish nobles who were imprisoned to the hippodrome. 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. A pompous funeral procession accompanied the body from Jericho, a distance of one mile in the direction of the Herodian, where it was finally laid. Herod's reign lasted around thirty-three years. It was for the most part one of violence. The middle of his reign was by far the most peaceful. It is important to realize that though his reign was characterized by violence, the rulers of that day were not much different than he was. Throughout his reign he was never liked by the Jews because of his lifestyle and his unconcern for their law. Although he was the king of the Jews, many of his subjects would never treat him as truly a Jewish king.
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODDomestic_Problems.htm


Herod the King 37-25 B.C. During this period we will be looking at the time from Herod's accession as king in 37 B.C. to the execution of his favorite wife Mariamne, and finally the death of the sons of Babas, in 25 B.C., when the last heir of the Hasmonean family was executed. While Herod was king he had many powerful opponents, namely the Pharisees, the ruling class, the Hasmonean family, and Cleopatra.
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Herod's Father - Antipater of Idumaea The Family of the Herod's. Antipater of Idumaea (67-47 B.C.) With all of the turmoil that caused the decay of the Hasmonean dynasty, the civil wars and the conversion of Syria and Palestine into a territory ruled by the Romans, the nation of Palestine was undergoing major factions. It was during this time that the dynasty of the Herods became prominent and Rome appointed a man named Antipas as the governor of Idumea (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 1. 3 ; 10). Antipater had a son who Josephus spoke about as being very wealthy and an Idumean by race. (Jos. War i. 6. 2. ; 123; also see Antiq. xiv. 1. 3 ; 9; Justin Martyr Dialogue with Trypho Iii. 3; Euseb. Hist. i. 6. 2; 7. 11; BT: Baba Bathra 3b-4a; Kiddushin 70b). This son was also named Antipater and it was he who was the father of Herod the Great. Antipater had great influence in Palestine and Judea during the period of Aristobulus, Hyrcanus and Pompey the Great. He acquired great influence because of his father's position. He also became an advisor to the Maccabean Queen Alexandra Salome. In 67 B.C., Queen Alexandra died, leaving the Kingdom to her oldest son Hyrcanus, and her younger was son, Aristobulus, was eager to have the power. Aristobulus was very strong-willed and self-seeking while Hyrcanus was peaceful and mild. After ruling for about three months he backed out. He never really desired to rule and so he passed all authority on to his younger brother Aristobulus who made himself king and high priest. The two brothers tried to remain peaceful with each other but it turned into a major struggle (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 1. 2 ; 4-7; xv. 6. 4 ; 180; War i. 5. 4 ; 117-119). Antipater saw a great opportunity and decided to become the primary influence on the life of Hyrcanus. When tension had between the two sons had reached its climax Antipater sided with Hyrcanus, even though Aristobulus was a greater military commander. Antipater encouraged Hyrcanus to flee to Petra and seek help from the Arabian king (King Aretas III), and in 65 B.C. the Arabian army marched on Jerusalem to capture Aristobulus. It wasn't long before the Roman legions arrived on the scene to put an end to the problems and, the soldiers of Rome marched into Jerusalem under the command of Pompey's lieutenant, M. Scaurus. The Arabians retreated and later Antipater had, realizing that Rome was closely involved with this whole situation, encouraged Hyrcanus to make an appeal to Pompey in Damascus. Aristobulus decided to do the same. Pompey decided to side with Hyrcanus because there was evidence of Aristobulus revolting against Rome (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 3. 3 ; 46, 47). In 63 B.C. Pompey made war against Aristobulus, besieging the Jerusalem temple for three months. When Pompey won the war he went into the holy of holies but did not plunder it of its valuables (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 4. 4 ; 69-72; War i. 6. 5-7. 6 ; 133-153; Tac. Hist. v. 9; Appian Mithridatic Wars 106, 114; Florus i. 40. 30; Livy 102; Plutarch Pompey xxxix; cf. Dio Cassius xxxvii. 15-17) Because of Hyrcanus' loyalty, Pompey gave him authority to rule in Judea, not as a king but as "ethnarch", he remained the high priest and Antipater remained in power as the chief minister of state. (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 4. 4 ; 73; War i. 7. 6 ; 153). Jerusalem was made a tributary of Rome and it was placed under Scaurus whom Pompey made legate of the province of Syria. Antipater proved himself useful to the Romans both in government and in their operations against the Hasmoneans. In 57 B.C. the governor of Syria, Aulus Gabinius, broke Judea apart and Idumaea was given to Antipater. Antipater later joined this governor on an expedition to restore Ptolemy XII of Egypt to his throne. Antipater married a woman named Cypros, of an illustrious Arabian, by whom he had four sons: Phasael, Herod, Joseph, Pheroras, and a daughter, Salome (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 7. 3 ; 121; War i. 8. 9 ; 181). It was not long before the Roman civil wars erupted and Hyrcanus, because of Antipater, supported Pompey. Julius Caesar had rescued Aristobulus, who had been exiled, and sent him with two Roman legions to begin a revolt in Judea. Not long after Aristobulus was poisoned and could not follow-through the plan, that's Antipater was spared. After Pompey was defeated by Julius Caesar in 48 B.C. in Egypt (at Pharsalus), Antipater acted shrewdly. He came to Caesar to aid him when the Roman commander was having serious trouble in Alexandria, and Caesar was so thankful that he rewarded Antipater with the title of chief minister of Judea. Caesar also granted him Roman citizenship, and the right to collect taxes for Rome. Antipater himself was also made exempt for any personal taxes. Immediately after, Antipater went around the country to put an end to the problems and convince the Judean population to be loyal to Hyrcanus. Deep inside though, he felt that Hyrcanus was an unsuitable leader of Judea so he took the country in his own hands and appointed his son Phasael as governor of Jerusalem and his second son Herod as governor of Galilee (Jos. Antiq. xiv. 9. 1-2 ; 156-158; War i. 10. 4 ; 201-203). In 44 B.C., Julius Caesar was assassinated, and Cassius, one of the murderers, came to Syria demanding support. Antipater and Hyrcanus had no choice but to assist him and Herod collected many taxes to help Cassius in his war against Marc Antony. The Jews, however, were extremely angry and bitter of Antipater's pro-Roman policies, a group of anti-Romans, led by a man named Malichus, revolted against Antipater and he was poisoned in 43 B.C.
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Herod's Slaughter of the Infants in Bethlehem Herodís Cruelty. Herod's slaughter of the infant boys as accounted in the New Testament vividly reflects the pathological character of the king. He murdered members of his own family- yet scrupulously observed Mosaic dietary laws and would eat no pork. This provoked his Roman master Augustus into jesting: "I would rather be Herod's pig than Herod's son."
http://www.bible-history.com/herod_the_great/HERODHis_Cruelty.htm


Herodís Buildings and the Jews Herod had high hopes for Hellenization among his Jewish subjects. Of course, Herod considered himself a Jew. Herod knew better than to force Hellenization upon his Jewish subjects. Gradually he tried introducing them to those Greek habits of life which he himself admired. Jerusalem also benefited from his building activity. He erected a theater and a hippodrome within the city. Foreign visitors to his capital would feel more at home and would not look down upon him as an insignificant king of a "barbarian" people.
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Herodís Death The historian, Josephus, describes the death of Herod at great length. When Herod's health began to fail him rapidly, he was moved to his winter capital in Jericho. From there he was carried by stretcher to the hot springs on the shores of the Dead Sea. The springs did no good; Herod returned home. Racked by hopelessness, Herod attempted suicide. Rumors of the attempt caused loud wailing throughout the palace. Herod's son, imprisoned by his paranoid father, mistook the cries to mean his father was dead. Immediately, he tried to bribe his jailers, who reported the bribery attempt to Herod. The sick king ordered his son executed on the spot. Now Herod plunged deeper into depression. He was only days away from his own death- and he knew it. What pained him most was the knowledge that his death would be met with joy in Judea. To forestall this, he devised an incredible plan. Having assembled the most distinguished men from every village from one end of Judea to the other, he ordered them to be locked in the hippodrome at Jericho. Josephus- Jewish Wars Herod then gave the order to execute them at the very moment he, himself, died. His sick mind reasoned that their death would dispel any joy in Judea over his own death. The order was never carried out. After Herod's death, his body was carried in procession from Jericho to the Herodium outside Bethlehem for burial. Herod's body was adorned in purple, a crown of gold rested on his head, and a scepter of gold was placed in his hand. The bier bearing his body was made of gold and studded with jewels that sparkled as it was carried along under the desert sun. Following the bier was Herod's household and hundreds of slaves, swinging censers. Slowly, the procession inched its way up the mountainside to the Herodium, where it was laid to rest. Today, the excavated ruins of the Herodium stand out grandly against the clear blue sky- reminding Bethlehem-bound tourists of the king who sought to kill the child whom they have come so far to honor. When Herod died, the pagans among them mourned while the Jews rejoiced.
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Herodís Roman Eagle The Temple took many years to build. Begun in 19 BC, it was not finished till long after Herod's death. The Jews prided in Herod's accomplishment until Herod placed a huge Roman eagle over the most important gate of the new Temple. Before long there was a conspiracy to pull the eagle down. When rumor circulated that Herod was dying, a group of young men gathered before the gate on which the golden eagle was set and began to pull it down. The soldiers interfered and arrested about forty of them. Herod was so enraged at this sign of insubordination and insult to Rome, that he had the "rebels" burned alive.
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Herodís Temple From Augustus, Herod obtained the right to intervene on behalf of the Jews wherever in the Roman empire they might be annoyed. But, above all, he tried to prove that Greek temples were not his only concern by undertaking to rebuild and beautify the Temple in Jerusalem. Almost five hundred years had elapsed since the Second Temple had been built by those who returned from the Babylonian Exile. After that the Temple had no doubt been repaired and enlarged, but it remained essentially the old building, inferior in beauty and grandeur to some of the pagan temples which were around. Not only was it contrary to Herod's love of architecture to permit the Temple of his own God to remain so modest, but he thought to show his piety to the Jews by making their Temple grander than the rest. The leading scribes at first opposed his plan being very suspicious of the whole thing. They actually believed that once he pulled the old building down he would never replace it. Herod had to promise that he would not touch the old building until he had built the new one around it.
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Introduction to Herod the Great BKA 109 Ė Herod the Great. This Bible Knowledge Accelerator program contains a very brief overview of the life and history of the Herod I (The Great). 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 (37Ė4 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.
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Josephus on Herod Before Octavian In his long work, Wars of the Jews, the historian Josephus recounts how Herod, after providing support to Mark Antony in the latter's unsuccessful struggle against Octavius ("Caesar"), gained an audience with Octavius and persuaded him that he could be as good a friend to him as he had been to Antony. Herod is confirmed in his kingdom by caesar, and cultivates a friendship with the emperor by magnificent presents; while caesar returns his kindness by bestowing on him that part of his kingdom which had been taken away from it by cleopatra with the addition of zenodoruss country also.
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Overview of Herod the Great King Herod I (The Great). Herod was the name of a variety of members of the royal dynasty which originated in Edom or Idumea after it had been forced to adopt the Jewish religion by John Hyrcanus in 125 B.C. This family ruled in Palestine as vassals of the Romans. The history of this dynasty, which succeeded that of the Maccabees, largely relates to the political history of Palestine during this whole period. 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. After his death, the Emperor Augustus made three of Herodís sons the rulers of different parts of their father's kingdom. One son, Archelaus (Matt. 2), obtained Judea and Samaria. He was a tyrant like his father and lacked his fathers ambition and talent. He irritated the Jews and Samaritans so intensely that Augustus deposed him in 6 A.D. and placed a Roman procurator over his kingdom. Another son, Herod Antipas, became tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (4 B.C.- 39 A.D.) . He built the purely Hellenistic city of Tiberias. After renouncing his first wife he married Herodias, the former wife of his half brother Herod Philip, who brought her daughter Salome with her to Antipas' court. When John the Baptist accused Antipas of adultery, the king, after Salome's dance and at the instigation of Herodias, had him beheaded in prison. This Herod was Jesus' earthly ruler, and Pilate sent Jesus, in the course of his trial, to Herod who was in Jerusalem at the time for the Passover. Herod ordered his soldiers to mock Jesus and sent him back to the Roman procurator (Luke 23:6-16). He is the Herod of the Gospels and he died in exile in the year 39. Herod's third son, Philip, was put in charge of the provinces between the Jordan and Damascus. He is supposed to have been a humane ruler. His capital was Caesarea Philippi. In the year 30 he married Salome, whose father was his half brother and whose mother was his niece. He died in 34 A.D. Agrippa I, Herodias' brother, succeeded him. Agrippa acquired Antipas' tetrarchy in the year 40 and Samaria and Judea came under his rule in 41, so that he finally reigned over the entire kingdom of his grandfather. He was the only Herod who, though at heart a Hellenist, tried by his policies to win the support of the more orthodox Jews. But in spite of these policies he put James the Apostle to death and imprisoned Peter (Acts 12). His death, which took place in 44, is also mentioned in the New Testament. His son, Agrippa II (27-100 A.D.), never ruled in Jerusalem. By inheritance and the favor of the Romans he finally acquired a fairly large kingdom to the North of Palestine. The Jews only came in contact with him because he had supervision of the temple and appointed the high priests. In the New Testament he is mentioned as having paid a visit to Festus, the procurator, at Caesarea, where Paul delivered a speech before him (Acts 25). It also says that his sister, Bernice, during the Jewish War, became Titus' mistress. His sister Drusilla, married to the procurator Felix, heard Paul speak (Acts 24). With Agrippa II's death, the Herodian dynasty disappeared from the stage of history.
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The Construction of Herod's Temple Once things commenced, under no circumstances were the services to be interrupted. Herod hired workmen by the thousands. Among them were many priests to build those portions not accessible to ordinary Jews. The work was started by leveling larger portions of the Temple Mount, so that the new building might be erected on a broader base. It was also made much taller, so that the white stone gleamed in the bright Palestinian sun and could be seen from miles away. On the northern and southern sides of the building were the enclosed halls or rooms where the priests prepared for the service, and where the Sanhedrin met. The large open court on the east, facing the Temple proper, was divided into several parts. Closest to the Temple was the portion set aside for the altar and the officiating priests. Next to it was the court for the Israelites who came to watch the service. By the side of that was the gallery for the women, and behind it was the court of the Gentiles. The whole area was surrounded by a wall. This is the wall, part of which remains to this day, known as "The Wailing Wall," to which Jews have gone on pilgrimage during the recent centuries of exile.
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The Herodium Looking like a volcano, the Herodium is one of several fortress-palaces built by Herod the Great. It was artificially shaped, with everything placed inside its protected craterlike top. Josephus wrote of the Herodium: "Two hundred steps of purest white marble led up to it. Its top was crowned with circular towers; its courtyard contained splendid structures." In the 1960s archaeologists unearthed the courtyard, fortification towers, and palace. No trace of Herod's remains were found.
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