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It was known long before the time of the biblical Herods. Among the rapidly changing scenes of Roman history he never failed to win the goodwill of fortune's favourites. Their only offence was that they were very popular (Jos., "Ant.", XV, vi, 1, iii, 3). When his end drew near, he gave orders to have the principal men of the country shut up in the hippodrome at Jericho and slaughtered as soon as he had passed away, that his grave might not be without the tribute of tears. Archelaus, whom he had made his heir on discovering the perfidy of Antipater, buried him with great pomp at Herodium -- now called Frank Mountain -- S. of Bethlehem, in the tomb the king had prepared for himself (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 2, 3; "Bel. The death of Herod is important in its relation to the birth of Christ. The death of Herod having delivered the Jews from his tyrannical rule, they petitioned Cæsar to put them under the jurisdiction of the presidents of Syria. says that he reigned ( Matthew ), and in Josephus (Ant., XVII, viii, 2, ix, 2) he is called king, by courtesy, for the Romans never so styled him. Antipas was a son of Herod the Great, after whose death he became ruler of Galilee. Antipater, the father of Herod, had helped the Romans in the Orient, and the favour of Rome brought the Herodian family into great prominence and power. Here the text says he was only fifteen years old, evidently an error for twenty-five, since about forty-four years later he died, "almost seventy years of age" (Jos., "Bel. His career was more wonderful than that of many heroes of fiction. the young Octavian and Antony obtained for him from the Roman senate the crown of Judea, and between these two powerful friends he went up to the temple of Jupiter to thank the gods of Rome. He put to death Hyrcanus, grandfather of Mariamne, and Aristobulus her brother, whom though but seventeen years old he had appointed high-priest. In the hot springs of Callirrhoe, east of the Dead Sea, the king sought relief from the sickness that was to bring him to the grave. After the death of his father he received the acclamations of the people, to whom he made a speech, in which he stated that his title and authority depended upon the good will of Cæsar (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 4). Having the reins of government well in hand, and having wreaked vengeance upon his enemies, he adorned his kingdom by building cities and temples in honour of the emperor and of the gods. In John, ii, 20, forty-six years are mentioned since the building was undertaken, but it requires some juggling with figures to make this number square with the history of either the second temple, or the one built by Herod (see Maldonatus, who thinks the text refers to the second temple, and Mac Rory, "The Gospel of St. The horrors of Herod's home were in strong contrast with the splendour of his reign. Jud.", I, xxviii, 4 -- note in Whiston) by whom he had many children, the demon of discord made domestic tragedies quite frequent. The slaughter of the Innocents squares perfectly with what history relates of him, and St. In the Greek text there is a bon mot and a relationship between the words used that etymologists may recognize even in English. Edersheim, "The Temple its Ministry and Services", i and ii), and the solidity of its architecture referred to in the New Testament ( Matthew 24:1 ; Mark 13:1 ). His ruling passions were jealousy and ambition, which urged him to sacrifice even those that were nearest and dearest to him: murder and munificence were equally good as means to an end. "Herod") justly blames those who, like Grätz (Gesch. Macrobius, who wrote in the beginning of the fifth century, narrates that Augustus, having heard that among the children whom Herod had ordered to be slain in Syria was the king's own son, remarked: "It is better to be Herod's swine than his son" (Saturn., II, 4). Yet Antigonus called Herod a half- Jew (Jos., "Ant.", XIV, xv, 2, and note in Whiston), while the Jews, when it furthered their interests, spoke of Herod their king as by birth a Jew (Jos., "Ant." XX, viii, 7). , and he is first mentioned as governor of Galilee (Jos., "Ant.", XIV, ix, 2). , and from this date Herod became king in fact as well as in name. During the first period he secured himself on the throne by removing rivals of the Hasmonean line. Jud.", I, xxxiii), who follows Nicholas of Damascus, Herod's friend and biographer, that only an eye-witness could have furnished the details. Christ was born before Herod's death ( Matthew 2:1 ), but how long before is uncertain: the possible dates lie between 746 and 750 A. Archelaus, son of Herod the Great, was, with Antipas his brother, educated at Rome (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, i, 3), and he became heir in his father's last will (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 1). 416, note.) The Herods connected with the early history of Christianity are the following: Herod, surnamed the Great, called by Grätz "the evil genius of the Judean nation" (Hist., v. 77), was a son of Antipater, an Idumæan (Jos., "Bel. The Idumæans were brought under subjection by John Hyrcanus towards the end of the second century B. , and obliged to live as Jews, so that they were considered Jews (Jos., "Ant.", XIII, ix, 4). , and thereby strengthened his title to the throne by entering into matrimonial alliance with the Hasmoneans, who were always very popular among the Jews (Jos., "Bel. The reign of Herod is naturally divided into three periods: 37-25 B. , years of development; 25-13, royal splendour; 13-4, domestic troubles and tragedies. It was begun in his eighteenth year as king (Jos., "Ant." XV, xi, 1), i.e. The account of his death and of the circumstances accompanying it is so graphically given by Josephus ("Ant.", XVII, vi, vii, viii; "Bel. (see a summary of opinions and reasons in Gigot, "Outlines of N. It cannot,then, surprise us that history does not speak of it" [Maas, "Life of Christ" (1897), 38 (note); the author shows, as others have done, that the number of children slain may not have been very great]. Jud., I, xxi, 1) the text has the fifteenth year, but here the historian counts from the death of Antigonus, 37 B. The temple is described by Josephus ("Ant.", XV, xi; cf. Jud.", I, xxi, 13), yet "a man of great barbarity towards all men equally and a slave to his passions ; but above the consideration of what was right" (Jos., "Ant.", XVII, viii, 1). (Eng.), II, 116), for subjective reasons, call the evangelist's account a later legend. The speech of Herod on the occasion, though full of piety, may be interpreted by what he said to the wise men: "that I also may come and adore him" (Matt., ii, 8; Jos., "Ant.", XV, xi, 1). fortune was also very favourable to him" (Jos., "Bel.
Paul : "Follow peace with all men, and holiness [ sanctimoniam , hagiasmon ]: without which no man shall see God " ( Hebrews ).
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The enmities that existed between him and Pilate were caused by Pilate's having put to death some Galileans, who belonged to Herod's jurisdiction ( Luke 13:1 ); a reconciliation was effected as related in Luke, xxiii, 12. 41 Judea and Samaria were given to him by the Emperor Claudius, whom he had helped to the throne (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, iv, 1), so that the whole kingdom which he then governed was greater than that of Herod his grandfather (Jos., "Ant.", XIX, v, 1). When the Jews wished to free themselves from the dominion of Rome in the time of Florus, Agrippa showed them the folly of violent measures, and gave them a detailed account of the vast resources of the Roman empire (Jos., "Bel. The Apostle praises the king's knowledge of the "customs and questions that are among the Jews " (v. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
When Herodias saw how well her brother Agrippa had fared at Rome, whence he returned a king, she urged Antipas to go to Cæsar and obtain the royal title, for he was not king, but only tetrarch of Galilee -- the New Testament however sometimes calls him king ( Matthew 14:9 ; Mark ), and Josephus likewise so styles Archelaus (Ant., XVIII, iv, 3), though he was never king, but only ethnarch. Agrippa I, also called the Great, was a grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne, son of Aristobulus, and brother of Herodias. He was, like many other Herods, a builder, and, according to Josephus, he so strengthened the walls of Jerusalem that the emperor became alarmed and ordered him "to leave off the building of those walls presently" ("Ant.", XIX, vii, 2). Jud.", II, xii, 1), and afterwards ruler of a much larger territory including the lands formerly governed by Philip and Lysanias (Jos., "Bel. He was also titular king of Judea, and in twenty years appointed seven high-priests (Grätz, "Gesch. 3); Josephus likewise appeals to his judgment and calls him a most admirable man -- thaumasiotatos (Cont. It was, therefore, not out of mere compliment that Festus invited him to hear what St. His answer to the Apostle's appeal has been variously interpreted: it may mean that St. It is manifest, however, that there are degrees in this separation from the world and in this stability in God's service.