Herod Agrippa I
Josephus Account of Agrippa's Death
The account of King Agrippa’s death is told by Flavius Josephus:
"Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city
Caesarea [...] There he exhibited shows in honor of the emperor [...] On the
second day of the festival, Herod put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of
a truly wonderful contexture, and came into the theater early in the morning;
at which time the silver of his garment was illuminated by the fresh reflection
of the sun's rays upon it. It shone out after a surprising manner, and was so
resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him. At
that moment, his flatterers cried out [...] that he was a god; and they added,
'Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a
man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.'
Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery.
But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a certain
rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger
of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and he
fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began
in a most violent manner. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, 'I,
whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while
Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you
called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to
accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means
lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.'
After he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried
into the palace, and the rumor went abroad that he would certainly die in a
little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and
children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king's recovery.
All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in
a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he
could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain
in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth
year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign." (Flavius Josephus, Jewish