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Herod,dynasty reigning in Palestine at the time of Jesus. 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 MaccabeesMaccabees
, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon.
..... Click the link for more information. ), 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 AntonyAntony
or Marc Antony,
Lat. Marcus Antonius, c.83 B.C.–30 B.C., Roman politican and soldier. He was of a distinguished family; his mother was a relative of Julius Caesar.
..... Click the link for more information. , who secured him (37–4 B.C.) the title of king of Judaea; after the battle of Actium he made peace with Octavian (later AugustusAugustus
, 63 B.C.–A.D. 14, first Roman emperor, a grandson of the sister of Julius Caesar. Named at first Caius Octavius, he became on adoption by the Julian gens (44 B.C.) Caius Julius Caesar Octavianus (Octavian); Augustus was a title of honor granted (27 B.C.
..... Click the link for more information. ), 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 SanhedrinSanhedrin
, ancient Jewish legal and religious institution in Jerusalem that appears to have exercised the functions of a court between c.63 B.C. and c.A.D. 68. The accounts of it in the Mishna do not correspond to those in Josephus or in the New Testament.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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 (Mat. 2; see Holy InnocentsHoly Innocents,
in the New Testament, children of Bethlehem "from two years old and under," killed by the order of Herod the Great in the attempt to destroy the infant Jesus. The Innocents have been venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times.
..... Click the link for more information. ).
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 AretasAretas
, dynastic name of the Nabataean kings of Petra. The best-known Aretas was Aretas IV, 9 B.C.–A.D. 49, ruler of S Palestine, most of Jordan, N Arabia, and Damascus. His daughter was married to Herod Antipas, who put her away in favor of Herodias.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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 SalomeSalome
, in the New Testament. 1 Daughter of Herod Philip and Herodias. She is generally supposed to be the daughter who danced to obtain the head of John the Baptist.
..... Click the link for more information. (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 BereniceBerenice,
b. c.A.D. 28, Jewish princess; daughter of Herod Agrippa I (see under Herod). A very beautiful woman, she was often involved in intrigue. After her first husband died, she was married to her uncle Herod of Chalcis. After his death (A.D.
..... Click the link for more information. (d. c.A.D. 28). After the fall of Jerusalem he went to Rome. He was the last important member of his family.
The prime source of information about the dynasty is the historical writing of JosephusJosephus, Flavius
, A.D. 37–c.A.D. 100, Jewish historian and soldier, b. Jerusalem. Josephus' historical works are among the most valuable sources for the study of early Judaism and early Christianity.
..... Click the link for more information. . See also modern studies by A. H. Jones (1938, repr. 1967), S. Sandmel (1967), M. Grant (1971), and H. W. Hoehner (1972).