From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [1]

Several rulers bearing the name ‘Herod’ feature in the New Testament record. Chief of these was Herod the Great, from whom the other Herods took their name. The prominence of the Herods had its origins in the confusion and corruption associated with Rome’s rise to power just before the opening of the New Testament era.

Herod the Great

When Rome took control of Judea in 63 BC, it appointed as ruler a man who proved to be weak and easily used by others. He was very much under the influence of a part-Jewish Idumean friend, Antipater, who was carefully and cunningly planning to gain control himself. (Idumea was a region in the south of Judea. It was inhabited by a mixture of Arabs, Jews and the remains of the nation once known as Edom.)

In the end Antipater won Rome’s appointment as governor of Judea, with his two sons in the top positions beneath him. Throughout that period, the entire eastern Mediterranean region was troubled by power struggles and bitter conflicts, one of which resulted in Antipater being murdered and his two sons overthrown. One of these sons, who had developed even greater cunning than his father, escaped to Rome, where he persuaded the Romans to appoint him ‘king’ over the entire Palestine region. This was the person who became known as Herod the Great.

Through treachery and murder, Herod removed all possible rivals. Having made his position safe, he took firm control of Palestine and ruled it for the next thirty-three years (37-4 BC). He carried out impressive building programs, two of his most notable achievements being the rebuilding of the city of Samaria (which he renamed Sebaste) and the construction of Caesarea as a Mediterranean port. In Jerusalem he built a military fortress, government buildings, a palace for himself and a magnificent temple for the Jews ( Matthew 27:27;  Mark 13:1;  John 2:20;  John 19:13;  Acts 23:10;  Acts 23:35).

In spite of Herod’s attempts to win Jewish support, the Jews hated him. This was partly because of his mixed-Jewish nationality (though he had adopted the Jewish religion) and partly because of his ruthlessness in murdering any that he thought were a threat to his position. His massacre of the Bethlehem babies was one example of his butchery ( Matthew 2:1-5;  Matthew 2:13;  Matthew 2:16-18).

Other members of Herod’s family

Before he died (4 BC), Herod divided his kingdom among his three sons. Like their father, they could rule only within the authority Rome gave them.

The southern and central parts of Palestine (Judea and Samaria) were given to Archelaus, a man as cruel as his father but without his father’s ability ( Matthew 2:22). The northern part of Palestine (Galilee) and part of the area east of Jordan (Perea) were given to Herod Antipas, the man who later killed John the Baptist and who agreed to the killing of Jesus ( Mark 6:14-29;  Luke 3:1;  Luke 23:6-12). The regions to the north and east of Lake Galilee (Iturea and Trachonitis) were given to Philip, a man of more moderate nature than the rest of his family ( Luke 3:1). This man was half-brother to another Philip (mentioned in  Mark 6:17).

Archelaus was so cruel and unjust that in AD 6 the people of Judea and Samaria asked Rome to remove him and rule them directly. From that time on, Judea and Samaria were governed by Roman governors (or procurators) until the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The only exception to this was the brief ‘reign’ of Herod Agrippa I, a grandson of Herod the Great. In AD 37 he took control of the former territory of Philip, and in AD 39 took control of the former territory of Herod Antipas. In AD 41 he gained Judea and Samaria, and for the next three years ruled virtually the whole area that Herod the Great once ruled ( Acts 12:1-4;  Acts 12:20-23). Upon his death in AD 41, Judea and Samaria returned to the rule of Roman governors.

Herod Agrippa II, son of Herod Agrippa I, received territories in the far north of Palestine, where he served Rome loyally from AD 48 to the destruction of the Jewish state in AD 70. He was an expert on Jewish affairs and bore the ceremonial title of king, but he had no authority over the Jews of Judea ( Acts 25:13;  Acts 26:3;  Acts 26:27;  Acts 26:31). His sisters were Bernice and Drusilla ( Acts 24:24;  Acts 25:13).

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Of Idumean descent (Josephus, Ant. 14:1, section 3). The Idumeans were conquered and brought to Judaism by John Hyrcanus, 130 B.C. Thus the Herods, though aliens by birth, were Jews in faith. They made religion an engine of state policy. Eschewing Antiochus Epiphanes' design to Graecize Jerusalem by substituting the Greek worship and customs for the Jewish law, the Herod's, while professing to maintain the law, as effectively set at nought its spirit by making it a lever for elevating themselves and their secular kingdom. For this end Herod adorned gorgeously the temple with more than Solomonic splendor.

Thus a descendant of Esau tried still to get from Jacob the forfeited blessing ( Genesis 27:29;  Genesis 27:40), in vain setting up an earthly kingdom on a professed Jewish basis, to rival Messiah's spiritual kingdom, as it was then being fore-announced by John Baptist. The "Herodians" probably cherished hopes of Herod's kingdom becoming ultimately, though at first necessarily leaning on Rome, an independent Judaic eastern empire. The Jewish religion thus degraded into a tool of ambition lost its spiritual power, and the theocracy becoming a lifeless carcass was the ready prey for the Roman eagles to pounce upon and destroy ( Matthew 24:28). (See Herodians .)

1. Herod The Great''' (Matthew 2;  Luke 1:5), second son of Antipater (who was appointed by Julius Caesar procurator of Judaea, 47 B.C.) and Cypros, a noble Arabian. At the time of Antipater's elevation, though only 15 (or as other passages of Josephus make probable, 20), he received the government of Galilee and soon afterwards Coelo-Syria. He skillfully gained the favor of Antony, who made him and his elder brother Phasael joint tetrarchs of Judea. Forced to abandon Judaea by the Parthians, who supported Antigonus the representative of the Asmonaean dynasty, Herod fled to Rome (40 B.C.), where he was well received by Antony and Octavian, and made by the senate "king of Judea." With Roman help he took Jerusalem (37 B.C.), slew his leading adversaries there, including the whole Sanhedrin except two, and established his kingly authority.

Undertaking next for Antony an expedition to Arabia against Malchus, he thereby escaped taking share in the war between Antony his patron and Octavian. After the battle of Actium he gained, by a mixture of humility and boldness at Rhodes, the favor of Octavian the conqueror, who confirmed him in the kingdom, and added several cities along with the province of Trachonitis and district of Paneas. But external prosperity did not save him from internal troubles, the fruits of his own lust and insatiable cruelty. He put to death successively Hyrcanus, his wife Mariamne's grandfather, Mariamne herself to whom he had been passionately attached, his two sons by her, Alexander and Aristobulus, and just four days before his death signed the order for executing their bitter accuser, his oldest son Antipater.

At last, seized with a fatal disease in the stomach and bowels, he became more cruel than ever; he ordered that the nobles whom he had called to him should be slain immediately after his decease, that there might be no lack of mourners at his death. It was at this time that he ordered the slaughter of all males, from two years old and under, in and about Bethlehem, the foretold birthplace of the expected Messiah. Josephus does not notice this, probably both because of his studied reserve as to Jesus' claims, and also because the slaughter of a comparatively few infants in a village seemed unimportant as compared with his other abounding deeds of atrocity. Macrobius long subsequently (A.D. 410) says that "when Augustus heard that among the children whom Herod ordered to be killed Herod's own son (Antipater) was slain, he remarked, It would be better to be one of Herod's swine than Herod's sons," punning on the similar sounding Greek terms for "son" and "swine", Hus , Huios .

Herod being a professed Jew his swine as unclean were safe from death, his sons were not. Josephus records what illustrates the Scripture account of the massacre of the innocents; "Herod slew all those of his own family who sided with the Pharisees, looking forward to a change in the royal line" (Ant. 17:2, section 6). As Matthew says, "Herod privily called the wise men and inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared." So Josephus says: "an Essene, Menahem, foretold when Herod was a boy he should be king. Accordingly when he was in full power he sent for Menahem and inquired of him how long he should reign. Menahem did not define the time, but in answer to Herod's question whether ten years or not, replied, Yes 20, nay 30 years" (Ant. 15:10, section 5).

Herod's keenness to establish his dynasty, jealousy of any rival, craft, hypocrisy, cruelty, recklessness of any sacrifice to gain his object, appear as vividly in the Scripture narrative as in Josephus. The wise men's question, "Where is he that is born king of the Jews?" was precisely one to excite Herod's jealousy. For Herod was not a born Jew, much less born king of the Jews, but an Idumean alien, made king by the anti-Jewish world power, Rome. Unimportant as the event seemed to the world, the murder of the innocents was the consummation of his guilt before God, and places him among the foremost of Satan's and the world's foretold ( Jeremiah 31:15) representative adversaries of the Lord and His church, answering to the Pharaoh who oppressed Christ's type, Israel, murdering the male children in the nation's infancy in order to stifle the nation's first beginnings; but in vain, for God secured the nation's Exodus from Egypt by the tyrant's overthrow, just as subsequently He saved Jesus and destroyed Herod, and in due time "called His (antitypical) Son out of Egypt" ( Matthew 2:15; compare  Hosea 11:1).

Herod's death and Jesus' birth therefore must have been at least four years before the era known as A.D. Ambition was his ruling passion. For its sake he compromised the Jewish religion which he professed, in order to conciliate Rome, by offerings to the Capitoline Jupiter at his elevation to the throne. He rebuilt the temple of Apollo at Rhodes, which had been consumed by fire, "the greatest and most illustrious of all his works" according to Josephus. He built a theater and amphitheater, and introduced pagan games in honour of Caesar every fifth year at Jerusalem. He rebuilt Samaria and its temple, and called it Sebaste (Greek for Augusta) in honour of Augustus; also Caesarea on the site of Straton, and made provision at it for pagan worship. At Paneas he dedicated a temple of white marble to Augustus. The stricter Jews were so offended that ten men conspired to kill him in the theater at Jerusalem.

Being detected by a spy they were put to death, but the spy was torn to pieces afterward by the mob. Thereupon he erected the castle of Antonia, near the temple, to overawe the disaffected. However, he turned the tide of feeling in his favor by two acts. In the 13th year of his reign during a severe famine he spent all his resources and sold even valuable works of art to import grain from Egypt for the relief of the people. Still more did he win popularity by rebuilding the temple on a magnificent scale, to vie with that of Solomon; yet with such scrupulous care that it seemed a restoration rather than a new building. He inaugurated the work with a set speech. The building of the temple itself began in 20 B.C., and was finished in a year and a half. The surrounding buildings occupied eight years more. But still fresh additions continued to be made, so that at the beginning of Jesus' ministry the Jews said, "Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt Thou rear it up in three days?"

At that time He was 30 years old, which added to 16 years (for 20 B.C., when Herod began building, means only 16 before His real date of birth) makes 46. It has been thought that he used the opportunity of building the temple to destroy the authentic genealogies of the priesthood, and that the monument which he raised over the tombs of the kings was owing to superstitious fear after his sacrilegious attempt to rob them of treasures. His title "Herod the Great" was given him in admiration of splendid and successful, though often awfully impious and cruel, tyranny. How vastly different it is to be "great in the sight of the Lord" ( Luke 1:15).

2. Herod The Tetrarch''' ( Matthew 14:1, etc.;  Mark 7:17, etc.;  Luke 3:1;  Luke 3:19;  Luke 9:7;  Acts 13:1). Called "King Herod" by courtesy, not right ( Mark 6:14). ANTIPAS contracted for Antipater; son of Herod the Great by a Samaritan, Malthake. Originally Herod the Great destined him to succeed to the throne, but in his last will made him tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, which yielded him a yearly revenue of 200 talents. He married the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia Petraea; but afterwards, meeting at Rome, he became enamoured of and took, his half-brother Herod Philip's wife, and his own niece, daughter of Aristobulus, Herodias. This sin against God became the retributive source of evil to him. Aretas in consequence invaded his land and defeated him severely. Herod stood to John Baptist in the same relation that Ahab did to Elijah.

Herod "feared" John at first (compare Ahab's fear of Elisha,  1 Kings 21:20), "knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him (preserved him from Herodias, or else respected, regarded him); and when he heard him he did many things and heard him gladly." But Herod when reproved for his sin by John preferred keeping his sin to gaining God's favor and the approval of God's minister. A slight breath of temptation, regard for the world's opinion, and dislike of reproof, were enough to dry up his shallow religion. His first downward step was, he cast John his faithful reprover into prison (compare Asa,  2 Chronicles 16:10). Herodias having gained this first step, like her prototype Jezebel, found the next step an easy one; at the first "convenient day" (his birthday, which he observed with the Herodian characteristic aping of Roman ways, in defiance of Jewish abhorrence of the pagan custom) when Herod made a supper to his lords, and Herodias' daughter by dancing so pleased him that he promised to give whatever she might ask, Herodias prompted her to ask for John's head.

(Josephus, Ant. 19:7, section 1, notices the Herods' magnificent celebration of their" birthdays," which became proverbial and were celebrated by the Herodians even at Rome, as noticed by the pagan Persius, 5:180). So "she came in straightway with haste" to give him no time to repent, and though "exceeding sorry, yet for his oath's sake and for their sakes which sat with him he would not reject her." So John was beheaded in fort Machaerus, facing the Dead Sea from the S. on the borders between Herod's and Aretas' dominions. How scrupulous men are as to the law of opinion among men, how reckless of the law of God! True conscientiousness would see his oath, which involved the sacrifice of an innocent life in violation of God's law, would be more honoured in its breach than in its observance. Not to let conscience have time to restrain him, he ordered the execution as "immediately" as she had demanded it.

When Christ appeared conscience reasserted her supremacy; he said unto his servants, "This is John the Baptist, therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him." In comparing  Mark 8:15 with  Matthew 16:6 we find "the leaven of Herod" is "the leaven of the Sadducees," i.e. disbelief of angel or spirit or resurrection. Luke ( Luke 9:7) says, "Herod was perplexed because it was said of some that John was risen from the dead." A Pharisee would have regarded John's reappearance in Jesus as an instance of the transmigration of the souls of good men, and would have felt no perplexity; Herod's "perplexity" is just what we might expect from a Sadducee, accused by a guilty conscience and trembling lest the world of spirits and the judgment should prove after all to be realities.

And that he was so comes out in the most incidental and undesigned way, a clear mark of the truth of the narrative: On his lending himself, fox-like, to the Pharisees' design to get Christ out of Galilee into Judea (see Fox) his superstitious fears were too great to admit of his repeating in Christ's case the execution which, to his own torment of conscience, he had perpetrated in John's case; but he was glad of any, means to relieve himself of Christ's presence which "perplexed" him ( Luke 13:32). Yet "he desired to see Him" ( Luke 9:9), for he had "heard of the fame of Jesus" ( Matthew 14:1); and so in Christ's last hours "when he saw Him he was exceeding glad, for he was desirous to see Him of a long season, because he had heard many things of Him (doubtless through Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and through Manaen his foster brother:  Luke 8:1-3;  Acts 13:1), and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by Him."

So "he questioned with Him in many words, but He answered him nothing." Christ would not gratify Herod's idle curiosity, but He did answer Pilate when the honour of His Messianic kingship was at stake, "Art Thou the King of the Jews?" ( Luke 23:3-12). Baffled in his idle wish, Herod in proud scorn "with his men of war set Him at nought, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him again to Pilate." The Roman governor in the first instance had sent Him to Herod as soon as he knew that He as a Galilean belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction. So "the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together," doubtless owing to Pilate's courtesy and recognition of Herod's jurisdiction, even as their estrangement was owing to the contrary conduct on Pilate's part toward Galileans ( Luke 13:1). At variance at other times and on other points, the world potentates agree in this, to insult and persecute Christ.

So Herod and Pilate are coupled together in their divinely foretold anti-Christianity ( Acts 4:25-27;  Psalms 2:1-2, etc.). Another incidental and therefore unstudied coincidence with truth is the implication that neither Pilate nor Herod resided at Jerusalem: "Herod who himself ALSO was at Jerusalem at that time." Josephus states that the Herod who slew James (Acts 12) was "not at all like that Herod who reigned before him, he took pleasure in constantly living in Jerusalem" (Ant. 19:7, section 3); this proves that Herod Antipas did not reside much at Jerusalem. So Pilate's usual residence was at Caesarea, the abode of the Roman governors of Judea (Ant. 18:4, section 1; 20:4, section 4; Bell. Judaeorum 2:9, section 2). The danger of popular outbreaks at the Passover was what brought Pilate to Jerusalem for a brief time.

Finally, Herodias, the source of Herod's sin, became his source of shame, for at her instigation he went to Rome, A.D. 38, to sue the emperor Caligula for the title of" king," just conferred on his nephew Herod Agrippa. Instead of this, through Agrippa's influence, H. lost his kingdom and was banished to Lyons, thence to Spain, where he died. The one faithful (humanly speaking) act of her life was her preferring to share Herod's exile rather than stay at home in her own country; surely sinners "eat of the fruit of their own ways, and are filled with their own devices" ( Proverbs 1:31;  Jeremiah 2:19).

Herod was wicked in other respects besides adultery, and was accordingly "reproved by John for all the evils which he had done" ( Luke 3:19). Cruel yet cunning, like his father ( Luke 13:32), he was the very type of an oriental despot, sensual, capricious, yet with a sense of honour and having a respect for piety in others; but like Ahab too weak to resist a bad woman's influence, under which false scrupulosity outweighed right conscientiousness, to be succeeded by superstitious terrors. Tiberias, which he founded and named after the emperor, was one of his greatest works.

3. Herod Philip I''' Son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, the high priest. Simon's daughter. Distinct from the tetrarch Herod Philip II. He married Herodias, sister of Agrippa I, by whom he had Salome, the daughter who by dancing pleased Herod ANTIPAS (see above), the paramour of her own mother and dishonourer of her father! Owing to his own mother Mariamne's treachery, Herod Philip I was excluded from all share in his father's dominions, and lived privately. His being without a kingdom was doubtless a cause of the ambitious Herodias deserting him for his brother the tetrarch. But "vaulting ambition o'erleaps itself and falls on the other side"; and seeking the name of "king" besides the reality which her paramour had, she and he ended their days in shame and exile.

4. Herod Philip Ii''' Son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra. Advocated Archelaus' claims before Augustus, on the death of his father. His own kingdom was Batanaea, Trachonitis, Auranitis, and some parts about Jamnia, with the title "tetrarch." He ruled justly, without taking part in the intrigues which rent his family asunder. He built Caesarea Philippi at the site of Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan ( Matthew 16:13). His wife was Salome, daughter of Herod Philip I and Herodias. He died at Julius, the city which he raised Bethsaida into, A.D. 34. As he died childless his dominions were added to the Roman province, Syria.

5. Herod Agrippa I''' Son of Aristobulus Herod the Great's son) and Berenice. Imprisoned by Tiberius for an unguarded speech. Caius Caligula, A.D. 37, on his accession set him free, and gave him the governments formerly held by the tetrarchs Philip and Lysanias, Abilene, etc., with the title of "king" ( Acts 12:1). Galilee and Peraea were added to his dominions on the exile of Herod ANTIPAS (see above), whom, notwithstanding the kindnesses he formerly when in difficulties received from him, Agrippa supplanted by intrigues at Rome. By services to Claudius, Caligula's successor, he secured in return the addition of Judaea and Samaria, so that now his kingdom equaled that of Herod the Great.

Unlike his predecessors he strictly kept the law. A legend states that once he burst into tears on reading in a public service  Deuteronomy 17:15, on which the Jews exclaimed, "Be not distressed, thou art our brother," namely, by half-descent from the Hasmonaeans. It was on his entreaty at the risk of his interest and life that Caligula desisted from his attempt to set up his statue in the temple, which so engrossed the Jews that for a time they let the Christians alone ( Acts 9:31). To "please the Jews" he slew James the brother of John, and imprisoned Peter with the intention of bringing him forth to the people for execution after the Passover ("Easter".) Love of popularity was his ruling principle, to which his ordinary humanity was made to give way. Self seeking vanity led him to design Peter's death, but the issue was his own death.

The church's "prayer without ceasing" ( Isaiah 62:6-7;  Luke 18:7) saved Peter, whereas the church's Lord avenged His own and her cause on the church's persecutor. In the fourth year of his reign over the whole kingdom (A.D. 44) he attended games at Caesarea "in behalf of the emperor's safety" (possibly on his return from Britain), according to Josephus (Ant. 19:8). When he appeared in the theater in a robe all of silver stuff which shone in the morning light, his flatterers saluted him as a god, and suddenly he was afflicted with a terrible pain in the bowels, of which he died in five days, in the 54th year of his age. The sacred writer unveils the unseen world in his account, which Josephus so remarkably confirms. The authorities of Tyre and Sidon offended him, "but came with one accord and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace because their country" was dependent on the king's country for grain, etc. ( 1 Kings 5:9;  1 Kings 5:11;  Ezekiel 27:17).

Then upon a set day" Herod arrayed in royal apparel sat upon his throne and made an oration. And the people gave a shout, saying It is the voice of a god and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten of worms and gave up the ghost. But the word of God (which he bad thought to stifle) grew and multiplied." So Belshazzar (Daniel 5); "pride teeth before destruction" ( Proverbs 16:18). Josephus states that Herod said in his pain, "I whom you call a god am ordered to depart this life immediately.

Providence thus instantly reproves the lying words you just now addressed to me, and I who was by you called immortal am immediately to be hurried away by death." Thus fell he whom the world called Agrippa the Great! a monument to warn proud men, "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth" ( Isaiah 45:9).

6. Herod Agrippa Ii''' Son of Herod Agrippa I and Cypros, grandniece of Herod the Great. Being but 17 at his father's death (A.D. 44), he was thought too young to succeed his father in the kingdom, but six years later (A.D. 50) the emperor Claudius conferred on him Chalcis which had been under his uncle, shortly before deceased (A.D. 48). Then (A.D. 52) he was transferred to the tetrarchies formerly held by Philip and Lysanias with the title "king." Accurately he is called so in  Acts 25:13;  Acts 26:2;  Acts 26:7. Nero added several cities of Galilee and Persea to his kingdom (A.D. 55). Five years later Paul pleaded before him, who naturally consulted him on a question of Jewish law). (See Festus .)

The great pomp with which he and his sister Berenice (whose connection with him caused grave suspicion) "entered into the place of hearing with the chief captains and principal men of the city" accorded with his character, fond of show. In the last Roman war he took part with the Romans in the destruction of his nation in the same spirit of cold cynicism with which he met the impassioned appeal of the apostle. After the fall of Jerusalem he retired with Berenice to Rome, where he died in the third year of Trajan (A.D. 100).

He was the last of the race of Herod commemorated in history.  Acts 25:13 represents his losing no time in going to Caesarea to salute the new Roman governor. In exact consonance with this Josephus (Bell. Judg., 2:15, section 1; Life, section 11) records his anxiety to stand well with the Roman governors, Alexander in Egypt, and Gessius Florus in Judaea, in the latter case Berenice accompanying him.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

surnamed the Great, king of the Jews, second son of Antipater the Idumean, born B.C. 17. At the age of twenty-five he was made by his father governor of Galilee, and distinguished himself by the suppression of a band of robbers, with the execution of their leader, Hezekiah, and several of his comrades. As he had performed this act of heroism by his own authority, and had executed the culprits without the form of trial, he was summoned before the sanhedrim, but, through the strength of his party and zeal of his friends, he escaped any censure. In the civil war between the republican and Caesarian parties, Herod joined Cassius, and was made governor of Coelo-Syria; and when Mark Antony arrived victorious in Syria, Herod and his brother found means to ingratiate themselves with him, and were appointed as tetrarchs in Judea; but in a short time an invasion of Antigonus, who was aided by the Jews, obliged Herod to make his escape from Jerusalem, and retire first to Idumea, and then to Egypt.

He at length arrived at Rome, and obtained the crown of Judea upon occasion of a difference between the two branches of the Asmodean family. Hyrcanus had been for a considerable time prince and high priest of the Jewish nation; but while the Roman empire was in an unsettled state, after the death of Julius Caesar, Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, brother of Hyrcanus, made himself master of the city and all Judea. In this state Herod found things when he came to Rome, and the most that he then aimed at was to obtain the kingdom for Aristobulus, his wife's brother; but the senate of Rome, moved by the recommendations of Mark Antony, conferred the kingdom of Judea upon Herod himself. Having met with this unexpected success at Rome, he returned without delay to Judea, and in about three years got possession of the whole country. He had, however, to fight his way to the throne, which, as we have seen, was in the possession of Antigonus. Though aided by the Roman army, he was obliged to lay siege to Jerusalem, which held out for six months, when it was carried by assault, and a vast slaughter was made of the inhabitants, till the intercession and bribes of Herod put an end to it. Antigonus was taken prisoner and put to death, which opened the way to Herod's quiet possession of the kingdom. His first cares were to replenish his coffers, and to repress the faction still attached to the Asmodean race, and which regarded him as a usurper. He was guilty of many extortions and cruelties in the pursuit of these objects. Shortly after this, an accusation was lodged against Herod before Mark Antony by Cleopatra, who had been influenced to the deed by his mother-in-law, Alexandra. He was summoned to answer to the charges exhibited against him before the triumvir; and on this occasion he gave a most remarkable display of the conflict of opposite passions in a ferocious heart. Doatingly fond of his wife, Mariamne, and not being able to bear the thought of her falling into the hands of another, he exacted a solemn promise from Joseph, whom he appointed to govern in his absence, that should the accusation prove fatal to him he would put the queen to death. Joseph disclosed the secret to Mariamne, who, abhorring such a savage proof of his love, from that moment conceived the deepest and most settled aversion to her husband. Herod, by great pecuniary sacrifices, made his peace with Antony, and returned in high credit. Some hints were thrown out respecting Joseph's familiarity with Mariamne during his absence; he communicated his suspicions to his wife, who, recriminating, upbraided him with his cruel order concerning her. His rage was unbounded; he put Joseph to death for communicating the secret entrusted to him alone, and he threw his mother-in-law, Alexandra, into prison.

2. In the war between Antony and Octavius, Herod raised an army for the purpose of joining the former; but he was obliged first to engage Malchus, king of Arabia, whom he defeated and obliged to sue for peace. After the battle of Actium, his great object was to make terms with the conqueror; and, as a preliminary step, he put to death Hyrcanus, the only surviving male of the Asmodeans; and having secured his family, he embarked for Rhodes, where Augustus at that time was. He appeared before the master of the Roman world in all the regal ornaments excepting his diadem, and with a noble confidence related the faithful services he had performed for his benefactor, Antony, concluding that he was ready to transfer the same gratitude to a new patron, from whom he should hold his crown and kingdom. Augustus was struck with the magnanimity of the defence, and replaced the diadem on the head of Herod, who remained the most favoured of the tributary sovereigns. When the emperor afterward travelled through Syria, in his way to and from Egypt, he was entertained, with the utmost magnificence by Herod; in recompense for which he restored to him all his revenues and dominions, and even considerably augmented them.

His good fortune as a prince, was poisoned by domestic broils, and especially by the insuperable aversion of Mariamne, whom at length he brought to trial, convicted, and executed. She submitted to her fate with all the intrepidity of innocence, and was sufficiently avenged by the remorse of her husband, who seems never after to have enjoyed a tranquil hour.

3. His rage being quenched, Herod endeavoured to banish the memory of his evil acts from his mind by scenes of dissipation; but the charms of his once loved Mariamne haunted him wherever he went: he would frequently call aloud upon her name, and insist upon his attendants bringing her into his presence, as if willing to forget that she was no longer among the living. At times he would fly from the sight of men, and on his return from solitude, which was ill suited to a mind conscious of the most ferocious deeds, he became more brutal than ever, and in fits of fury spared neither foes nor friends. Alexandra, whose malignity toward her daughter has been noticed, was an unpitied victim to his rage. At length. he recovered some portion of self-possession, and employed himself in projects of regal magnificence. He built at Jerusalem a stately theatre and amphitheatre, in which he celebrated games in honour of Augustus, to the great displeasure of the zealous Jews, who discovered an idolatrous profanation in the theatrical ornaments and spectacles. Nothing, it is said, gave them so much offence as some trophies which he had set round his theatre in honour of Augustus, and in commemoration of his victories, but which the Jews regarded as images devoted to the purposes of idol worship. For this and other acts of the king a most serious conspiracy was formed against him, which he, fortunately for himself, discovered; and he exercised the most brutal revenge on all the parties concerned in it. He next built Samaria, which he named Sebaste, and adorned it with the most sumptuous edifices; and for his security he built several fortresses throughout the whole of Judea, of which the principal was called Caesarea, in honour of the emperor. In his own palace, near the temple of Jerusalem, he lavished the most costly materials and curious workmanship; and his palace Herodion, at some miles' distance from the capital, by the beauty of its situation, and other appropriate advantages, drew round it the population of a considerable city.

4. To supply the place of his lost Mariamne, he married a new wife of the same name, the beautiful daughter of a priest, whom he raised to the high rank of the supreme pontificate. He sent his two sons, by the first Mariamne, to be educated at Rome, and so ingratiated himself with Augustus and his ministers, that he was appointed imperial procurator for Syria. To acquire popularity among the Jews, and to exhibit an attachment to their religion, he undertook the vast enterprise of rebuilding the temple of Jerusalem, which he finished in a noble style of magnificence in about a year and a half. During the progress of this work he visited Rome, and brought back his sons, who had attained to man's estate. These at length conspired against their father's person and government, and were tried, convicted, and executed. Another act deserving of notice, performed by Herod, was the dedication of his new city of Caesarea, at which time he displayed such profuse magnificence, that Augustus said his soul was too great for his kingdom. Notwithstanding the execution of his sons, he was still a slave to conspiracies from his other near relations. In the thirty-third year of his reign, OUR Saviour was born. This event was followed, according to the Gospel of St. Matthew, by the massacre of the children of Bethlehem. About this time, Antipater, returning from Rome, was arrested by his father's orders, charged with treasonable practices, and was found guilty of conspiring against the life of the king. This and other calamities, joined to a guilty conscience, preying upon a broken constitution, threw the wretched monarch into a mortal disease, which was doubtless a just judgment of heaven on the many foul enormities and impieties of which he had been guilty. His disorder was attended with the most loathsome circumstances that can be imagined. A premature report of his death caused a tumult in Jerusalem, excited by the zealots, who were impatient to demolish a golden eagle which he had placed over the gate of the temple. The perpetrators of this rash act were seized, and by order of the dying king, put to death. He also caused his son Antipater to be slain in prison, and his remains to be treated with every species of ignominy. He bequeathed his kingdom to his son Archelaus, with tetrarchies to his two other sons. Herod, on his dying bed, had planned a scheme of horrible cruelty which was to take place at the instant of his own death. He had summoned the chief persons among the Jews to Jericho, and caused them to be shut up in the hippodrome, or circus, and gave strict orders to his sister Salome to have them all massacred as soon as he should have drawn his last breath: "for this," said he, "will provide mourners for my funeral all over the land, and make the Jews and every family lament my death, who would otherwise exhibit not signs of concern." Salome and her husband, Alexas, chose rather to break their oath extorted by the tyrant, than be implicated in so cruel a deed; and accordingly, as soon as Herod was dead, they opened the doors of the circus, and permitted every one to return to his own home. Herod died in the sixty-eighth year of his age. His memory has been consigned to merited detestation, while his great talents, and the active enterprise of his reign, have placed him high in the rank of sovereigns.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [5]

1. Antipas , son of Herod the Great by the Samaritan Malthace. Made tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea after the death of his father in 4 b.c., he ruled over these regions till a.d. 39, when, through the intrigues of Herod Agrippa and his own ambition, he incurred the disfavour of Caligula, and was banished to Lugdunum in Gaul. Capable and successful as an administrator, he is held up to reproach in the Gospels for the scandal of his private life, and his treatment of John the Baptist and Jesus ( Matthew 14:1-12,  Luke 13:31 f.;  Luke 23:7-12.). Elsewhere in the NT there are only two references to him. The first ( Acts 4:27) occurs in the thanksgiving of the early disciples over the release of Peter and John from imprisonment, and indicates their view of Herod’s relation to the tragedy of Calvary. The basis of the thanksgiving is a Messianic interpretation of the 2nd Psalm and a belief in its fulfilment in Jesus. Herod and Pontius Pilate are represented as the kings and rulers of the earth who conspired ( Luke 23:12) against the Lord’s Anointed, and wreaked their will on Him, while all the time they were being used by God to further His purpose of redemption. The fact, however, that God over-ruled their evil intentions for good, and caused their wrath to praise Him, though it redounds to His own glory and augments the wonder of His working, is not regarded as any alleviation of their guilt. The sin of Herod, as of Pilate, in relation to Jesus, is clearly implied, and evidently seemed as heinous to the early believers as did his crime against John to the Baptist’s followers, who saw in the disasters of his Arabian war (a.d. 36) a Divine retribution for his murder of their master (Jos. Ant. xviii. v.). The other reference to Herod Antipas ( Acts 13:1) is unimportant, though of some interest for the sidelight it casts upon the age of Manaen ( q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ), one of the leaders in the Church at Antioch, who is said to have been his foster-brother or early companion.

2. Agrippa I ., son of Aristobulus, Herod the Great’s son by the Hasmonaean Mariamne. After his father’s execution in 7 b.c. he was sent to Rome with his mother Bernice, and lived on terms of intimacy with the Imperial family. In a.d. 23 his intrigues and extravagances had brought him to such straits that he was forced to retire to the Idumaean stronghold of Malatha till be found an asylum with Antipas in Galilee. Evading his creditors, he returned to Rome in a.d. 36, and shortly afterwards was committed to prison for an incautious remark that had reached the ears of Tiberius. There he lay till the following year, when the death of the old Emperor and the accession of his friend Caius (Caligula) restored him to freedom and fortune. The new Emperor bestowed on him the eastern tetrarchy of his half-uncle Philip, which had been vacant for three years, with the title of king, and added to it Abilene, the former tetrarchy of Lysanias in north-eastern Palestine ( Luke 3:1); at the same time he commanded the Senate to decree him praetorian honours, and gave him a golden chain of the same weight and pattern as that which he had worn in his captivity. A few years later the tetrarchy of the exiled Antipas was also conferred on him; and in a.d. 41 Claudius, on his succession to the throne, still further enlarged his possessions with the gift of Samaria and Judaea , and raised him to consular rank. In the splendour of his good fortune Agrippa did not forget his Jewish countrymen, but fitfully at least, and probably from motives of policy, exerted his influence at the Roman court to mitigate the wrongs and restrictions entailed on them by their religion. On assuming the government of his new dominions-greater than Jewish king ever possessed-he set himself to observe the laws of his country and the Practices of the Jewish faith (Jos. Ant. xix. vii.). During his three years of rule, he showed himself sagacious, liberal, and humane; though, in his desire to propitiate the Pharisaic element among his subjects, he raised his hand against the followers of Christ, killed James with the sword, and would have sacrificed Peter also, had he not miraculously escaped ( Acts 12:1-19). ‘He saw it pleased the Jews’ is the explanation given of this severity in Acts (acts 12:3), and there is no reason to doubt its substantial accuracy. The end came to Agrippa with tragic suddenness in a.d. 44, when his glory was at its height. Between the account of his death given in Acts (acts 12:20-23) and that of Josephus ( Ant. xix. viii.) there is no more inconsistency than might have been expected from the different circles in which they originated. The latter is more detailed, and yet omits to mention the deputation from Tyre and Sidon who sought reconciliation with King Agrippa through the good offices of his chamberlain. According to Josephus, the occasion of Agrippa’s display at Caesarea was a series of games in honour of Claudius; no angel of the Lord smote him, but an owl appeared as a portent before the fatal seizure; he was carried to his palace, and lingered in agony for five days. There is nothing about his having been ‘eaten of worms,’ which may have been only a descriptive phrase commonly used of the death of tyrants ( 2 Maccabees 9:9). Both accounts, however, suggest the interposition of a higher, avenging hand in the sudden death of the king.

3. Agrippa II ., son of Agrippa I. and Cypros, the daughter of Phasael, a son-in-law of Herod the Great. At the time of his father’s death, he was resident in Rome, and only seventeen years of age. Disposed at first to grant him the succession to the Jewish kingdom, Claudius allowed himself to the dissuaded by his ministers, and re-transformed it into a Roman province. Detaining Agrippa in Rome, the Emperor compensated him six years afterwards for the loss of his paternal inheritance by giving him his uncle Herod’s kingdom of Chalcis, as well as the rights, which Herod had possessed, of supervising the Temple and choosing the high priest. A year before his death, Claudius allowed Agrippa to exchange the meagre principality of Chalcis for those parts of his father’s dominions, east and north-east of the Sea of Galilee, which had formerly been the tetrarchies of Philip and Lysanias (Batanaea, Gaulonitis, Trachonitis, and Abila). In a.d. 56 Nero, who had meanwhile succeeded to the throne and expected his aid against the Parthians, added to his kingdom the regions of Tiberias and Taricheae, with Julias, a city of Peraea, and fourteen villages in its vicinity. Agrippa showed his gratitude by changing the name of his capital from Caesarea Philippi to Neronias, in honour of the Emperor, on whose birthday also he had Greek plays annually performed in a theatre which he erected at Berytus. Precluded by his position from independent political action, he contented himself with adorning his cities and conserving his possessions. A Roman at heart, and devoted by education and circumstances to the Roman influence, he endeavoured to bring the customs of his people into conformity with those of the Gentiles. At the same time, he evinced an occasional interest in the Jewish religion, and sought to win over the Pharisees to his projects. In the final struggle between the Jews and Rome, which he did his utmost to avert, he maintained his loyalty to the Imperial power, and at the close of the war was rewarded with an enlargement of his territories. We hear of him in Rome in a.d. 75, when he was raised to praetorian rank. Later on, he corresponded with Josephus about his History of the Jewish War . He died, without issue, about the end of the century. It was this king, Agrippa II., who was associated with Porcius Festus, the Roman procurator of Palestine (a.d. 60-62), in the trial of St. Paul recorded in  Acts 25:13-27;  Acts 26:1-32. The remark imputed to him on that occasion (‘almost then persuadest me to be a Christian,’ 26:28) is interesting for the evidence it affords of the early currency of the name ‘Christian.’ The character of Agrippa has caused doubt to be thrown on its ordinary interpretation as an admission of the profound impression made on him by St. Paul’s appeal. It has been taken to mean either ‘you are persuading me somewhat to act the part of a Christian,’ or ‘on slight grounds would make me a believer in your assertion that the Messiah has come’ ( Encyclopaedia Biblica i. 754 n.[Note: . note.], ii. 2037).

Literature.-The great authority for the lives of the Herods is Josephus. E. Schürer, GJV [Note: JV Geschichte des jüdischen Volkes (Schürer).]4, Leipzig, 1901-11 (Eng. translationof 2nd ed. History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).] , Edinburgh, 1885-90); A. Hausrath, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte (Holtzmann and others). (Eng. translationof 2nd ed., London, 1895); and other Histories of NT Times , give more or less full accounts of the family. See also articles s.v. in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) and Encyclopaedia Biblica .

D. Frew.

Holman Bible Dictionary [6]

The most prominent family member and ruler was Herod, son of Antipater who had been appointed governor of Idumea by Alexandra Salome, the Maccabean queen who ruled Palestine 78-69 B.C. With the permission of the Romans, Antipater left his son Phasael as Prefect of Jerusalem and his second son, Herod, governor of Galilee. See Intertestamental History.

Herod the Great. Herod the Great was born about the year 73 B.C. and was a son of the desert, well adapted to the political intrigues of ambition, lust for power, and efficiency at warfare. He made a trip to Rome and was confirmed by the Senate as “king of Judea” in the year 40 B.C. He routed some persistently threatening robber bands in Galilee and gained the esteem of the Romans and even the support of some of the Jews by his decisive action. He finally brought Jerusalem under his control in the year 37 B.C.

His rule of Judea is usually divided into three periods: (a) The Period of Consolidation (37-25 B.C.), (b) The Period of Prosperity (25-13 B.C.), and (c) The Period of Domestic Troubles (13-4 B.C.).

During the period of consolidation, he had many adversaries, coming from at least four fronts. Jewish people refused to support him because he was not a full-blooded Jew, but a descendant of Esau. Herod also had difficulties with the Hasmonean family. See Hasmoneans. Chief among them was Alexandra, the evil and vicious daughter of Hyrcanus II. She interceded with Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, who brought pressure on Mark Antony in an effort to put Herod under her control. This constant intrigue multiplied as time progressed.

Charges were brought against various members of the family. Within a short time Herod had executed Hyrcanus II, the son of Alexandra Salome who had returned from exile, Hyrcanus' daughter Alexandra, and her daughter Mariamne I, who was also Herod's favorite wife, the one whom he deeply and passionately loved. Mariamne had Maccabean blood flowing through her veins, was most beautiful, and Herod's hopes for establishing a dynasty rested with her and their two sons, Alexander and Aristobulus. Suspicious that Miriamne committed adultery and that her sons would use their Maccabean lineage for political advantage, Herod had them put to death. Herod also had executed Aristobulus III, son of Alexandra and brother of Mariamne soon after he was appointed by Herod to be high priest. Herod had him drowned at a celebration in Jericho soon after his inauguration.

Herod also faced an adversary in the person of Cleopatra, the famous queen of Egypt, but his craftiness enabled him to maintain his independence from her. Herod was successful in ingratiating himself to the Romans. By sheer force of personality and lack of hesitancy in executing even the close members of his own family, he strengthened his position as undisputed ruler of Palestine under the permission of Roman authority.

The second period of Herod's life involved the prosperity of his vast building programs. With the aid of the Romans the territory was extended to what had been unparalleled since the reign of Solomon (died 931 B.C.). His taxation of the people to support his building activity was extensive, but he virtually rebuilt every city in the land, even constructing entire cities from the ground up. He also built many palaces for himself.

Soon the now nearly four hundred-year-old Temple of Zerubbabel was pale in contrast to the magnificence of his new palaces and structures in Jerusalem. In the year 19 B.C. he embarked on an extensive remodeling of the Temple, which captured the imagination of the world of that day. It was frequently said that if one had not seen Herod's Temple, he had never seen a truly beautiful building (compare  John 2:19-20 ).

The periods of Herod's life overlapped to some degree, but it was from the years 13-4 B.C. that his domestic troubles intensified and preoccupied him. Antipater, his firstborn son, and Salome, his sister, continually agitated the household and brought accusations against Alexander and Aristobulus, the sons of Herod and Mariamne. Finally, the charges of sedition could not be ignored. Herod brought charges against them before the Emperor in the year 12 B.C. Herod finally gave the order, and in 7 B.C. they were carried to Sebaste (Samaria) and strangled. Antipater continued to be an ambitious thorn in Herod's side. On his deathbed Herod gave the orders to execute Antipater, fearing that he would take the throne even before Herod himself died. Antipater was executed immediately. Herod himself died five days later (4 B.C.). He was seventy years old, a man racked with ill health and mental deterioration, now thought by some to be a form of progressive arteriosclerosis. He had reigned for 37 years since his confirmation by the Senate and 34 years since his capture of Jerusalem.

Herod, of course, was king of Judea under the Roman authority when Jesus was born in Bethlehem ( Matthew 2:1 ). He received the Wise Men and sent them on to the Christ child with orders to return to him and let him know where he could find the newly born “King of the Jews” ( Matthew 2:2-8 ). He gave the orders to kill the babies of Bethlehem two years old and under, in hopes of getting this One whom he saw as a successor to his throne ( Matthew 2:16 ).

Herod had several wills. His final one designated Archelaus to succeed him as king of Judea ( Matthew 2:22 ), another son Antipas to be tetrarch (governor) of Galilee and Perea, and another son Philip as tetrarch of the Northeastern Districts. The Romans banished Archelaus after a ten-year rule, and the kingdom was then transformed into an Imperial Province of the Roman Empire with Coponius as the first procurator (governor). Antipas continued to rule Galilee and Perea and was the one who had John the Baptist put to death ( Matthew 14:1-12;  Mark 6:16-29;  Luke 9:9 ). Also, Jesus appeared before him during his trial, as Pilate the procurator sent Jesus to him for a possible decision ( Luke 23:6-12 ).

Other Herods named in the New Testament include the following:

Agrippa I, the son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod. He ruled with the title of king from A.D. 41-44. Agrippa I ordered James the son of Zebedee killed with the sword and imprisoned Peter ( Acts 12:1-23 ).

Agrippa II, the son of Agrippa I, heard Paul's defense ( Acts 25:13-27; compare  Acts 26:32 ). With his death the Herodian dynasty came to an end, in title as well as in fact.

Drusilla ( Acts 24:24 ) was the third and youngest daughter of Agrippa I. She had been married briefly at age 14 to Azizus, king of Emessa, probably in the year 52. In 53 or 54 she was married to Felix, the Roman procurator.

Bernice was the sister of Drusilla and Agrippa II, and also his wife. Paul appeared before them in  Acts 25:1 .

Herod Philip was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem ( Luke 3:1 ). He built Caesarea Philippi and was governor of the Northeastern districts of Iturea, Gaulinitis, Trachonitis, and Decapolis. He was married to Salome, the daughter of Herodias.

A Herod Philip is mentioned in  Mark 6:17 as the first husband of Herodias. In some places he is mentioned simply as Herod, or Herod II. Most scholars do not believe that he was the same person as the governor of the northeastern districts.

Herodias ( Matthew 14:3 ) was the daughter of Aristobulus (son of Herod and Mariamne I) and Bernice, the daughter of Herod's sister, Salome. She was the second wife of Herod Antipas and called for the head of John the Baptist ( Matthew 14:3-12;  Mark 6:17-29; compare  Luke 3:19-20 ).

Salome was the daughter of Herodias. She was married to Philip. After his death in 34, she married a relative Aristobulus, prince of Chalcis and had three children ( Matthew 14:6-12;  Mark 6:22-29 ).

Herod was a paradox. He was one of the most cruel rulers of all history. His reputation has been largely one of infamy. He seemed fiercely loyal to that which he did believe in. He did not hesitate to murder members of his own family when he deemed that they posed a threat to him. Yet marital unfaithfulness and drunkenness did not seem to be among his vices. Because of his effective administration, he virtually made Palestine what it was in the first Christian century. He has gone down in history as “the Great,” yet that epithet can only be applied to him as his personality and accomplishments are compared to others of his family.

Robert W. Stagg

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Her'od. (Hero-Like). This family, though of Idumean origin and thus alien by race, was Jewish in faith.

I. Herod the Great was the second son of Antipater, an Idumean, who was appointed procurator of Judea by Julius Caesar, B.C. 47. Immediately after his father's elevation, when only fifteen years old, he received the government of Galilee, and shortly afterward, that of Coele-Syria. (Though Josephus says he was 15 years old at this time, it is generally conceded that there must be some mistake, as he lived to be 69 or 70 years old, and died B.C. 4; hence, he must have been 25 years old at this time. - Editor).

In B.C. 41, he was appointed by Antony, tetrarch of Judea. Forced to abandon Judea, the following year, he fled to Rome, and received the appointment of king of Judea. In the course of a few years, by the help of the Romans, he took Jerusalem (B.C. 37), and completely established his authority throughout his dominions. The terrible acts of bloodshed which Herod perpetrated in his own family were accompanied by others, among his subjects, equally terrible, from the number who fell victims to them.

According to the well-known story, he ordered the nobles whom he had called to him in his last moment, to be executed immediately after his decease, so that, at least, his death might be attended by universal mourning. It was at the time of his fatal illness, that he must have caused the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem.  Matthew 2:16-18. He adorned Jerusalem with many splendid monuments of his taste and magnificence. The Temple, which he built with scrupulous care, was the greatest of these works. The restoration was begun B.C. 20, and the Temple itself was completed in a year and a half. But fresh additions were constantly made in succeeding years, so that it was said that the Temple was "built in forty and six years,"  John 2:20, the work continued long after Herod's death. (Herod died of a terrible disease at Jericho, in April, B.C. 4, at the age of 69, after a long reign of 37 years. - Editor).

II. Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great by Malthake, a Samaritan. He first married a daughter of Aretas, "king of Arabia Petraea," but afterward, Herodias, the wife of his half-brother, Herod Philip. Aretas, indignant at the insult offered to his daughter, found a pretext for invading the territory of Herod, and defeated him with great loss. This defeat, according to the famous passage in Josephus, was attributed by many to the murder of John the Baptist, which had been committed by Antipas shortly before, under the influence of Herodias.  Matthew 14:4 ff.;  Mark 6:17 ff.;  Luke 3:19.

At a later time, the ambition of Herodias proved the cause of her husband's ruin. She urged him to go to Rome to gain the title of king, compare  Mark 6:14, but he was opposed at the court of Caligula by the emissaries of Agrippa, and condemned to perpetual banishment at Lugdunum, A.D. 39. Herodias voluntarily shared his punishment, and he died in exile. Pilate took occasion from our Lord's residence in Galilee to send him for examination,  Luke 23:6 ff., to Herod Antipas, who came up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover . The city of Tiberias, which Antipas founded and named in honor of the emperor, was the most conspicuous monument of his long reign.

III. Herod Philip I,  Mark 6:17, was the son of Herod the Great and Mariamne. He married Herodias the sister of Agrippa I by whom he had a daughter, Salome. He was excluded from all share in his father's possessions in consequence of his mother's treachery, and lived afterward in a private station.

IV. Herod Philip II. was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra. He received, as his own government, Batanea Trachonitis, Auramtis (Gaulanitis), and some parts about Jamnia, with the title of tetrarch.  Luke 3:1. He built a new city on the site of Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, which was called Caesarea Philippi,  Matthew 16:13;  Mark 8:27, and raised Bethsaida to the rank of a city under the title of Julias and died there A.D. 34. He married Salome, the daughter of Herod Philip I and Herodias.

V. Herod Agrippa I was the son of Aristobulus and Berenice, and grandson of Herod the Great. He was brought up at Rome, and was thrown into prison by Tiberius, where he remained till the accession of Caligula, who made him king, first of the tetrarchy of Philip and Lysanias; afterward the dominions of Antipas were added, and finally Judea and Samaria. Unlike his predessors, Agrippa was a strict observer of the law, and he sought, with success, the favor of the Jews. It is probable that it was with this view, he put to death James the son of Zebedee, and further imprisoned Peter.  Acts 12:1 ff. But his sudden death interrupted his ambitious projects.  Acts 12:21;  Acts 12:23.

VI. Herod Agrippa II was the son of Herod Agrippa I. In A.D. 62, the emperor gave him the tetrarches formerly held by Philip and Lysanias, with the title of king.  Acts 25:13. The relation in which he stood to his sister Berenice,  Acts 25:13, was the cause of grave suspicion. It was before him that Paul was tried.  Acts 26:28.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

The name of four princes, Idumaeans by descent, who governed either the whole or a part of Judea, under the Romans, and are mentioned in the New Testament.

1. Herod The Great  Matthew 2:1-23   Luke 1:5 . He was the son of Antipater, an Idumaean, who was in high favor with Julius Caesar. At the age of fifteen years, Herod was constituted by his father procurator of Galilee under Hyrcanus II, who was then at the head of the Jewish nation; while his brother Phasael was intrusted with the same authority over Judea. In these stations they were afterwards confirmed by Antony, with the title of tetrarch, about the year 41 B. C. The power of Hyrcanus had always been opposed by his brother Aristobulus; and now Antigonus, the son of the latter, continued in hostility to Herod, and was assisted by the Jews. At first he was unsuccessful, and was driven by Herod out of the country; but having obtained the aid of the Parthians, he at length succeeded in defeating Herod, and acquired possession of the whole of Judea, about the year 40 B. C. Herod meanwhile fled to Rome; and being there declared king of Judea through the exertions of Antony, he collected an army, vanquished Antigonus, recovered Jerusalem, and extirpated all the family of the Maccabees, B. C. 37. After the battle of Actium, in which his patron Antony was defeated, Herod joined the party of Octavius, and was confirmed by him in all his possessions. He endeavored to conciliate the affections of the Jews, by rebuilding and decorating the temple, (see  Matthew 2:1-23 . This is also mentioned by Macrobius. After the death of Herod, half of his kingdom, including Judea, Ideumaea, and Samaria, was given to his son Archelaus, with the title of Ethnarch; while the remaining half was divided between two of his other sons, Herod Antipas and Philip, with the title of Tetrarchs; the former having the regions of Galilee and Perea, and the latter Batanea, Trachonitis, and Auranitis.

2. Herod Philip See PHILP.

3. Herod Antipas  Luke 3:1 , was the son of Herod the Great by Malthace his Samaritan wife, and own brother to Archelaus, along with whom he was educated at Rome. After the death of his father, he was appointed by Augustus to be tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, that is, the southern part of the country east of the Jordan,  Luke 3:1 , whence also the general appellation of king is sometimes given to him,  Mark 6:14 . The Savior, as a Galilean, was under his jurisdiction,  Luke 23:6-12 . He first married a daughter of Aretas, and Arabian king; but afterwards becoming enamoured of Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip, and his own niece, he dismissed his former wife, and induced Herodias to leave her husband and connect herself with him. At her instigation he afterwards went to Rome to ask for the dignity and title of the king; but being there accused before Caligula, at the instance of Herod Agrippa, his nephew and the brother of Herodias, he was banished to Lugdunum (now Lyons) in Gaul, about A. D. 41, and the provinces which he governed were given to Herod Agrippa. It was Herod Antipas who caused John the Baptist to be beheaded,  Matthew 14:1-12   Mark 6:14-29 . He also appears to have been a follower, or at least a favorer, of the sect of the Sadducees,  Mark 8:15 . Compare  Matthew 16:6 . See Herodians .

4. Herod Agrippa Major or I,  Acts 12.1-25;  23.35 , was the grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne, the son of the Aristobulus who was put to death with his mother, by the orders of his father. (See above, Herod I ) On the accession of Caligula to the imperial throne, Agrippa was taken from prison, where he had been confined by Tiberius, and received from the emperor, A. D. 38, the title of king, together with the provinces which had belonged to his uncle Philip the tetrarch Lysanias. (See  Acts 12:1-25 . He is mentioned by Josephus only under the name of Agrippa.

5. Herod Agrippa Minor or II,  Acts 25:1-26:32 , was the son of Herod Agrippa I, and was educated at Rome, under the care of the emperor Claudius. On the death of his father, when he was seventeen years old, instead of causing him to succeed to his father's kingdom of Chalcis, which had belonged to his Uncle Herod. He was afterwards transferred (A. D. 53) from Chalcis, with the title of king, to the government of those provinces which his father at first possessed, namely, Batanea, Trachonitis, Auranitis, and Abilene, to which several other cities were afterwards added. He is mentioned in the New Testament and by Josephus only by the name of Agrippa. It was before him that St. Paul was brought by Festus,  Acts 25:13   26:32 . He died on the third year of Trajan's reign, at the age of seventy years.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Herod ( Hĕr'Od ), Hero-Like. A family of Idumean origin. Not less than six Herods exclusive of Archelaus are noted in Scripture:

1. Herod The Great was the second son of Antipater and appointed procurator of Judæa by Julius Cæsar, b.c. 47. In b.c. 41 he was appointed by Antony tetrarch of Judæa. Forced to abandon Judæa the following year, he fled to Rome, and received the appointment of king of Judæa. It was some time before his fatal illness that he must have caused the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem.  Matthew 2:16-18. He adorned Jerusalem with many splendid monuments of his taste and magnificence. The temple, which he built with scrupulous care, was the greatest of these works. The restoration was begun b.c. 20, and the temple itself was completed in a year and a half. But fresh additions were constantly made in succeeding years, so that it was said that the temple was building forty and six years,  John 2:20, the work continuing long after Herod's death. Herod died at Jericho, b.c. 4.

2. Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, first married a daughter of Aretas, "king of Arabia Petræa," but afterward Herodias, the wife of his half brother, Herod Philip. Aretas, indignant at the insult to his daughter, invaded the territory of Herod, and defeated him with great loss. This defeat, according to the famous passage in Josephus, was attributed by many to the murder of John the Baptist, which had been committed by Antipas shortly before, under the influence of Herodias.  Matthew 14:4;  Mark 6:17 ff.;  Luke 3:19. At a later time Herodias urged him to go to florae to gain the title of king, cf.  Mark 6:14; but he was opposed at the court of Caligula by the emissaries of Agrippa, and condemned to perpetual banishment at Lugdunum, a.d. 39. Herodias voluntarily shared his "punishment, and he died in exile. Pilate took occasion from our Lord's residence in Galilee to send Jesus to Herod Antipas,  Luke 23:6 ff. The city of Tiberias, which Antipas founded and named in honor of the emperor, was the most conspicuous monument of his long reign.

3. Herod Philip I. , Philip,  Mark 6:17, was the son of Herod the Great and Mariamne. He married Herodias, the sister of Agrippa I., by whom he had a daughter, Salome. He was excluded from all share in his father's possessions in consequence of his mother's treachery, and lived afterward in a private station.

4. Herod Philip Ii. was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra. He received as his own government Batanea, Trachonitis, Auranitis (Gaulanitis), and some parts about Jamnia, with the title of tetrarch.  Luke 3:1. He built a new city on the site of Paneas, near the sources of the Jordan, which he called Cæsarea Philippi,  Matthew 16:13;  Mark 8:27, and raised Bethsaida to the rank of a city under the title of Julias, and died there a.d. 34. He married Salome, the daughter of Herod Philip I. and Herodias.

5. Herod Agrippa I. was the son of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grandson of Herod the Great. Caligula made him king, first of the tetrarchy of Philip and Lysanias; afterward the dominions of Antipas were added, and finally Judea and Samaria. Agrippa was a strict observer of the law, and he sought with success the favor of the Jews. It is probable that it was with this view he put to death James the son of Zebedee, and further imprisoned Peter.  Acts 12:1 ff. But his sudden death interrupted his ambitious projects.  Acts 12:21;  Acts 12:23.

6. Herod Agrippa Ii. was the son of Herod Agrippa I. In a.d. 52 the emperor gave him the tetrarchies formerly held by Philip and Lysanias, with the title of king.  Acts 25:13. The relation in which he stood to his sister Bernice,  Acts 25:13, was the cause of grave suspicion. It was before him that Paul was tried.  Acts 26:28.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [10]

It may be proper, for the better apprehension of the name of Herod to state some short account of the several we meet with in the New Testament. There are several mentioned, but they are different men. Indeed, but for their history being incorporated with the history of our Lord and his apostle, their names would not be worth recording, but their memory might have perished with them.

The first Herod made mention of in holy Scripture, was called Herod the Great. He reigned in Judea at the time of our Lord's birth. ( Matthew 2:1) His name, according to the Greek language, signified the glory of the skin. But it became a very unsuitable name for the miserable end he made, according to the historians of his time, for he died of an universal rottenness. He reigned more than thirty years, and by his death, as we read  Matthew 2:19, gave opportunity for the return of the Lord Jesus, to depart from Egypt about the third year before we begin the date of Anno Domino. I mention this the more particularly, to guard the reader against the mistake into which some have fallen, in confounding this Herod with the Herod mentioned  Acts 12which was his grandson.

The second Herod we meet with in the Bible, is Herod called Philip. (See  Mark 6:17 and  Luke 3:1) This Herod, as history informs us, was son to the former. And the third Herod went by the name of Antipas. This man was also son of Herod the Great, and brother to Philip. And this was he who, during the life of his brother, had married Herodias, his brother's wife; and John the Baptist faithfully reproving him for the shameful deed, Herod, at the instance of her daughter, whom she had by Philip her first husband, caused John to be beheaded. (See  Matthew 14:1-12;  Mark 6:14-29)

The fourth Herod we meet with in Scripture, is the one mentioned with such everlasting infamy in the twelfth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. His name was Agrippa, but surnamed Herod; the son of Aristobulus and Mariamne, and grandson to Herod, the Great. So much for the Herods! An awful though short account of such awful characters; while living, a terror to all around them, and when dead, lamented by none!

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

her´ud  : The name Herod ( Ἡρώδης , Hērō̇dēs ) is a familiar one in the history of the Jews and of the early Christian church. The name itself signifies "heroic," a name not wholly applicable to the family, which was characterized by craft and knavery rather than by heroism. The fortunes of the Herodian family are inseparably connected with the last flickerings of the flame of Judaism, as a national power, before it was forever extinguished in the great Jewish war of rebellion, 70 ad. The history of the Herodian family is not lacking in elements of greatness, but whatever these elements were and in whomsoever found, they were in every case dimmed by the insufferable egotism which disfigured the family, root and branch. Some of the Herodian princes were undeniably talented; but these talents, wrongly used, left no marks for the good of the people of Israel. Of nearly all the kings of the house of Herod it may truly be said that at their death "they went without being desired," unmissed, unmourned. The entire family history is one of incessant brawls, suspicion, intrigue arid shocking immorality. in the baleful and waning light of the rule of the Herodians, Christ lived and died, and under it the foundations of the Christian church were laid.

1. The Family Descent

The Herodians were not of Jewish stock. Herod the Great encouraged the circulation of the legend of the family descent from an illustrious Babylonian Jew ( Ant ., Xiv , i, 3), but it has no historic basis. It is true the Idumeans were at that time nominal Jews, since they were subdued by John Hyrcanus in 125 bc, and embodied in the Asmonean kingdom through an enforced circumcision, but the old national antagonism remained ( Genesis 27:41 ). The Herodian family sprang from Antipas (died 78 bc), who was appointed governor of Idumaea by Alexander Janneus. His son Antipater, who succeeded him, possessed all the cunning, resourcefulness and unbridled ambition of his son Herod the Great. He had an open eye for two things - the unconquerable strength of the Roman power and the pitiable weakness of the decadent Asmonean house, and on these two factors he built the house of his hopes. He craftily chose the side of Hyrcanus Ii in his internecine war with Aristobulus his brother (69 bc), and induced him to seek the aid of the Romans. Together they supported the claims of Pompey and, after the latter's defeat, they availed themselves of the magnanimity of Caesar to submit to him, after the crushing defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus (48 bc). As a reward, Antipater received the procuratorship of Judea (47 bc), while his innocent dupe Hyrcanus had to satisfy himself with the high-priesthood. Antipater died by the hand of an assassin (43 bc) and left four sons, Phasael, Herod the Great, Joseph, Pheroras, and a daughter Salome. The second of these sons raised the family to its highest pinnacle of power and glory. Pheroras was nominally his co-regent and, possessed of his father's cunning, maintained himself to the end, surviving his cruel brother, but he cuts a small figure in the family history. He, as well as his sister Salome, proved an endless source of trouble to Herod by the endless family brawls which they occasioned.

2. Herod the Great

With a different environment and with a different character, Herod the Great might have been worthy of the surname which he now bears only as a tribute of inane flattery. What we know of him, we owe, in the main, to the exhaustive treatment of the subject by Josephus in his Antiquities and Jewish War , and from Strabo and Dio Cassius among the classics. We may subsume our little sketch of Herod's life under the heads of (1) political activity, (2) evidences of talent, and (3) character and domestic life.

(1) Political Activity

Antipater had great ambitions for his son. Herod was only a young man when he began his career as governor of Galilee. Josephus' statement, however, that he was only "fifteen years old" ( Ant ., Xiv , ix, 2) is evidently the mistake of some transcriber, because we are told (XVII, viii, 1) that "he continued his life till a very old age." That was 42 years later, so that Herod at this time must have been at least 25 years old. His activity and success in ridding his dominion of dangerous bands of freebooters, and his still greater success in raising the always welcome tribute-money for the Roman government, gained for him additional power at court. His advance became rapid. Antony appointed him "tetrarch" of Judea in 41 bc, and although he was forced by circumstances temporarily to leave his domain in the hands of the Parthians and of Antigonus, this, in the end, proved a blessing in disguise. In this final spasm of the dying Asmonean house, Antigonus took Jerusalem by storm, and Phasael, Herod's oldest brother, fell into his hands. The latter was governor of the city, and foreseeing his fate, he committed suicide by dashing out his brains against the walls of his prison. Antigonus incapacitated his brother Hyrcanus, who was captured at the same time, from ever holding the holy office again by cropping off his ears ( Ant ., Xiv , xiii, 10). Meanwhile, Herod was at Rome, and through the favor of Antony and Augustus he obtained the crown of Judea in 37 bc. The fond ambition of his heart was now attained, although he had literally to carve out his own empire with the sword. He made quick work of the task, cut his way back into Judea and took Jerusalem by storm in 37 bc.

The first act of his reign was the extermination of the Asmonean house, to which Herod himself was related through his marriage with Mariamne, the grandchild of Hyrcanus. Antigonus was slain and with him 45 of his chief adherents. Hyrcanus was recalled from Babylon, to which he had been banished by Antigonus, but the high-priesthood was bestowed on Aristobulus, Herod's brother-in-law, who, however, soon fell a victim to the suspicion and fear of the king ( Ant ., XV, iii, 3). These outrages against the purest blood in Judea turned the love of Mariamne, once cherished for Herod, into a bitter hatred. The Jews, loyal to the dynasty of the Maccabees, accused Herod before the Roman court, but he was summarily acquitted by Antony. Hyrcanus, mutilated and helpless as he was, soon followed Aristobulus in the way of death, 31 bc ( Ant ., XV, vi, 1). When Antony, who had ever befriended Herod, was conquered by Augustus at Actium (31 bc), Herod quickly turned to the powers that were, and, by subtle flattery and timely support, won the imperial favor. The boundaries of his kingdom were now extended by Rome. And Herod proved equal to the greater task. By a decisive victory over the Arabians, he showed, as he had done in his earlier Galilean government, what manner of man he was, when aroused to action. The Arabians were wholly crushed, and submitted themselves unconditionally under the power of Herod ( Ant ., XV, v, 5). Afraid to leave a remnant of the Asmonean power alive, he sacrificed Mariamne his wife, the only human being he ever seems to have loved (28 bc), his mother-in-law Alexandra ( Ant ., XV, vii, 8), and ultimately, shortly before his death, even his own sons by Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobulus 7 bc ( Ant ., Xvi , xi, 7). in his emulation of the habits and views of life of the Romans, he continually offended and defied his Jewish subjects, by the introduction of Roman sports and heathen temples in his dominion. His influence on the younger Jews in this regard was baneful, and slowly a distinct partly arose, partly political, partly religious, which called itself the Herodian party, Jews in outward religious forms but Gentiles in their dress and in their whole view of life. They were a bitter offense to the rest of the nation, but were associated with the Pharisees and Sadducees in their opposition to Christ ( Matthew 22:16;  Mark 3:6;  Mark 12:13 ). In vain Herod tried to win over the Jews, by royal charity in time of famine, and by yielding, wherever possible, to their bitter prejudices. They saw in him only a usurper of the throne of David, maintained by the strong arm of the hated Roman oppressor. innumerable plots were made against his life, but, with almost superhuman cunning, Herod defeated them all ( Ant ., XV, viii). He robbed his own people that he might give munificent gifts to the Romans; he did not even spare the grave of King David, which was held in almost idolatrous reverence by the people, but robbed it of its treasures ( Ant ., Xvi , vii, 1). The last days of Herod were embittered by endless court intrigues and conspiracies, by an almost insane suspicion on the part of the aged king, and by increasing indications of the restlessness of the nation. Like Augustus himself, Herod was the victim of an incurable and loathsome disease. His temper became more irritable, as the malady made progress, and he made both himself and his court unutterably miserable. The picture drawn by Josephus ( Ant ., Xvii ) is lifelike and tragic in its vividness. in his last will and testament, he remained true to his life-long fawning upon the Roman power ( Ant ., Xvii , vi, 1). So great became his suffering toward the last that he made a fruitless attempt at suicide. But, true to his character, one of the last acts of his life was an order to execute his son Antipater, who had instigated the murder of his halfbrothers, Alexander and Aristobulus, and another order to slay, after his death, a number of nobles, who were guilty of a small outbreak at Jerusalem and who were confined in the hippodrome ( Ant ., Xvi , vi, 5). He died in the 37th year of his reign, 34 years after he had captured Jerusalem and slain Antigonus. Josephus writes this epitaph: "A man he was of great barbarity toward all men equally, and a slave to his passions, but above the consideration of what was right. Yet was he favored by fortune as much as any man ever was, for from a private man he became a king, and though he were encompassed by ten thousand dangers, he got clear of them all and continued his life to a very old age" ( Ant ., Xvii , viii, 1).

(2) Evidences of Talent

The life of Herod the Great was not a fortuitous chain of favorable accidents. He was unquestionably a man of talent. in a family like that of Antipus and Antipater, talent must necessarily be hereditary, and Herod inherited it more largely than any of his brothers. His whole life exhibits in no small degree statecraft, power of organization, shrewdness. He knew men and he knew how to use them. He won the warmest friendship of Roman emperors, and had a faculty of convincing the Romans of the righteousness of his cause, in every contingency. In his own dominions he was like Ishmael, his hand against all, and the hands of all against him, and yet he maintained himself in the government for a whole generation. His Galilean governorship showed what manner of man he was, a man with iron determination and great generalship. His Judean conquest proved the same thing, as did his Arabian war. Herod was a born leader of men. Under a different environment he might have developed into a truly great man, and had his character been coördinate with his gifts, he might have done great things for the Jewish people. But by far the greatest talent of Herod was his singular architectural taste and ability. Here he reminds one of the old Egyptian Pharaohs. Against the laws of Judaism, which he pretended to obey, he built at Jerusalem a magnificent theater and an amphitheater, of which the ruins remain. The one was within the city, the other outside the walls. Thus he introduced into the ascetic sphere of the Jewish life the frivolous spirit of the Greeks and the Romans. To offset this cruel infraction of all the maxims of orthodox Judaism, he tried to placate the nation by rebuilding the temple of Zerubbabel and making it more magnificent than even Solomon's temple had been. This work was accomplished somewhere between 19 bc and 11 or 9 bc, although the entire work was not finished till the procuratorship of Albinus, 62-64 ad ( Ant ., XV, xi, 5,6; XX, ix, 7;   John 2:20 ). it was so transcendently beautiful that it ranked among the world's wonders, and Josephus does not tire of describing its glories ( BJ , V, v). Even Titus sought to spare the building in the final attack on the city ( BJ , VI, iv, 3). Besides this, Herod rebuilt and beautified Struto's Tower, which he called after the emperor, Caesarea. He spent 12 years in this gigantic work, building a theater and amphitheater, and above all in achieving the apparently impossible by creating a harbor where there was none before. This was accomplished by constructing a gigantic mole far out into the sea, and so enduring was the work that the remains of it are seen today. The Romans were so appreciative of the work done by Herod that they made Caesarea the capital of the new regime, after the passing away of the Herodian power. Besides this, Herod rebuilt Samaria, to the utter disgust of the Jews, calling it Sebaste. in Jerusalem itself he built the three great towers, Antonia, Phasaelus and Mariamne, which survived even the catastrophe of the year 70 ad. All over Herod's dominion were found the evidences of this constructive passion. Antipatris was built by him, on the site of the ancient Kapharsaba, as well as the stronghold Phasaelus near Jericho, where he was destined to see so much suffering and ultimately to die. He even reached beyond his own domain to satisfy this building mania at Ascalon, Damascus, Tyre and Sidon, Tripoli, Ptolemais, nay even at Athens and Lacedaemon. But the universal character of these operations itself occasioned the bitterest hatred against him on the part of the narrowminded Jews.

(3) Characteristics and Domestic Life

The personality of Herod was impressive, and he was possessed of great physical strength. His intellectual powers were far beyond the ordinary; his will was indomitable; he was possessed of great tact, when he saw fit to employ it; in the great crises of his life he was never at a loss what to do; and no one has ever accused Herod the Great of cowardice. There were in him two distinct individualities, as was the case with Nero. Two powers struggled in him for the mastery, and the lower one at last gained complete control. During the first part of his reign there were evidences of large-heartedness, of great possibilities in the man. But the bitter experiences of his life, the endless whisperings and warnings of his court, the irreconcilable spirit of the Jews, as well as the consciousness of his own wrongdoing, changed him into a Jewish Nero: a tyrant, who bathed his own house and his own people in blood. The demons of Herod's life were jealousy of power, and suspicion, its necessary companion.

He was the incarnation of brute lust, which in turn became the burden of the lives of his children. History tells of few more immoral families than the house of Herod, which by intermarriage of its members so entangled the genealogical tree as to make it a veritable puzzle. As these marriages were nearly all within the line of forbidden consanguinity, under the Jewish law, they still further embittered the people of Israel against the Herodian family. When Herod came to the throne of Judea, Phasael was dead. Joseph his younger brother had fallen in battle ( Ant ., Xiv , xv, 10), and only Pheroras and Salome survived. The first, as we have seen, nominally shared the government with Herod, but was of little consequence and only proved a thorn in the king's flesh by his endless interference and plotting. To him were allotted the revenues of the East Jordanic territory. Salome, his sister, was ever neck-deep in the intrigues of the Herodian family, but had the cunning of a fox and succeeded in making Herod believe in her unchangeable loyalty, although the king had killed her own son-in-law and her nephew, Aristobulus, his own son. The will of Herod, made shortly before his death, is a convincing proof of his regard for his sister ( Ant ., Xvii , viii, 1).

His domestic relations were very unhappy. Of his marriage with Doris and of her son, Antipater, he reaped only misery, the son, as stated above, ultimately falling a victim to his father's wrath, when the crown, for which he plotted, was practically within his grasp. Herod appears to have been deeply in love with Mariamne, the grandchild of Hyrcanus, in so far as he was capable of such a feeling, but his attitude toward the entire Asmonean family and his fixed determination to make an end of it changed whatever love Mariamne had for him into hatred. Ultimately she, as well as her two sons, fell victims to Herod's insane jealousy of power. Like Nero, however, in a similar situation, Herod felt the keenest remorse after her death. As his sons grew up, the family tragedy thickened, and the court of Herod became a veritable hotbed of mutual recriminations, intrigues and catastrophes. The trials and executions of his own conspiring sons were conducted with the acquiescence of the Roman power, for Herod was shrewd enough not to make a move without it. Yet so thoroughly was the condition of the Jewish court understood at Rome, that Augustus, after the death of Mariamne's sons (7 bc), is said to have exclaimed: "I would rather be Herod's hog than his son." At the time of his death, the remaining sons were these: Herod, son of Mariamne, Simon's daughter; Archelaus and Antipas, sons of Malthace, and Herod Philip, son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem. Alexander and Aristobulus were killed, through the persistent intrigues of Antipater, the oldest son and heir presumptive to the crown, and he himself fell into the grave he had dug for his brothers.

By the final testament of Herod, as ratified by Rome, the kingdom was divided as follows: Archelaus received one-half of the kingdom, with the title of king, really "ethnarch," governing Judea, Samaria and Idumaea; Antipas was appointed "tetrarch" of Galilee and Peraea; Philip, "tetrarch" of Trachonitis, Gaulonitis and Paneas. To Salome, his intriguing sister, he bequeathed Jamnia, Ashdod and Phasaelus, together with 500,000 drachmas of coined silver. All his kindred were liberally provided for in his will, "so as to leave them all in a wealthy condition" ( Ant. , Xvii , viii, 1). In his death he had been better to his family than in his life. He died unmourned and unbeloved by his own people, to pass into history as a name soiled by violence and blood. As the waters of Callirhoe were unable to cleanse his corrupting body, those of time were unable to wash away the stains of a tyrant's name. The only time he is mentioned in the New Testament is in  Matthew 2 and   Luke 1 . In Matthew he is associated with the wise men of the East, who came to investigate the birth of the "king of the Jews." Learning their secret, Herod found out from the "priests and scribes of the people" where the Christ was to be born and ordered the "massacre of the innocents," with which his name is perhaps more generally associated than with any other act of his life. As Herod died in 4 bc and some time elapsed between the massacre and his death ( Matthew 2:19 ), we have here a clue to the approximate fixing of the true date of Christ's birth. Another, in this same connection, is an eclipse of the moon, the only one mentioned by Josephus ( Ant. , Xvii , vi, 4; text and note), which was seen shortly before Herod's death. This eclipse occurred on March 13, in the year of the Julian Period, 4710, therefore 4 bc.

3. Herod Antipas

Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman. Half Idumean, half Samaritan, he had therefore not a drop of Jewish blood in his veins, and "Galilee of the Gentiles" seemed a fit dominion for such a prince. He ruled as "tetrarch" of Galilee and Peraea ( Luke 3:1 ) from 4 bc till 39 ad. The gospel picture we have of him is far from prepossessing. He is superstitious ( Matthew 14:1 f), foxlike in his cunning (  Luke 13:31 f) and wholly immoral. John the Baptist was brought into his life through an open rebuke of his gross immorality and defiance of the laws of Moses (  Leviticus 18:16 ), and paid for his courage with his life ( Matthew 14:10; Ant , Xviii , v, 2).

On the death of his father, although he was younger than his brother Archelaus ( Ant. , Xvii , ix, 4 f; Bj , II, ii, 3), he contested the will of Herod, who had given to the other the major part of the dominion. Rome, however, sustained the will and assigned to him the "tetrarchy" of Galilee and Peraea, as it had been set apart for him by Herod ( Ant. , Xvii , xi, 4). Educated at Rome with Archelaus and Philip, his half-brother, son of Mariamne, daughter of Simon, he imbibed many of the tastes and graces and far more of the vices of the Romans. His first wife was a daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia. But he sent her back to her father at Petra, for the sake of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had met and seduced at Rome. Since the latter was the daughter of Aristobulus, his half-brother, and therefore his niece, and at the same time the wife of another half-brother, the union between her and Antipas was doubly sinful. Aretas repaid this insult to his daughter by a destructive war ( Ant. , Xviii , v, 1). Herodias had a baneful influence over him and wholly dominated his life ( Matthew 14:3-10 ). He emulated the example of his father in a mania for erecting buildings and beautifying cities. Thus, he built the wall of Sepphoris and made the place his capital. He elevated Bethsaida to the rank of a city and gave it the name "Julia," after the daughter of Tiberius. Another example of this inherited or cultivated building-mania was the work he did at Betharamphtha, which he called "Julias" ( Ant. , Xviii , ii, 1). His influence on his subjects was morally bad ( Mark 8:15 ). If his life was less marked by enormities than his father's, it was only so by reason of its inevitable restrictions. The last glimpse the Gospels afford of him shows him to us in the final tragedy of the life of Christ. He is then at Jerusalem. Pilate in his perplexity had sent the Saviour bound to Herod, and the utter inefficiency and flippancy of the man is revealed in the account the Gospels give us of the incident ( Luke 23:7-12;  Acts 4:27 ). It served, however, to bridge the chasm of the enmity between Herod and Pilate ( Luke 23:12 ), both of whom were to be stripped of their power and to die in shameful exile. When Caius Caligula had become emperor and when his scheming favorite Herod Agrippa I, the bitter enemy of Antipas, had been made king in 37 ad, Herodias prevailed on Herod Antipas to accompany her to Rome to demand a similar favor. The machinations of Agrippa and the accusation of high treason preferred against him, however, proved his undoing, and he was banished to Lyons in Gaul, where he died in great misery ( Ant. , Xviii , vii, 2; BJ , II, ix, 6).

4. Herod Philip

Herod Philip was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem. At the death of his father he inherited Gaulonitis, Traehonitis and Paneas ( Ant. , Xvii , viii, 1). He was Philip apparently utterly unlike the rest of the Herodian family, retiring, dignified, moderate and just. He was also wholly free from the intriguing spirit of his brothers, and it is but fair to suppose that he inherited this totally un-Herodian character and disposition from his mother. He died in the year 34 ad, and his territory was given three years later to Agrippa I, his nephew and the son of Aristobulus, together with the tetrarchy of Lysanias ( Ant. , Xviii , iv, 6; Xix , v, 1).

5. Herod Archelaus

Herod Archelaus was the oldest son of Herod the Great by Malthace, the Samaritan. He was a man of violent temper, reminding one a great deal of his father. Educated like all Archelaus the Herodian princes at Rome, he was fully familiar with the life and arbitrariness of the Roman court. In the last days of his father's life, Antipater, who evidently aimed at the extermination of all the heirs to the throne, accused him and Philip, his half-brother, of treason. Both were acquitted ( Ant. , Xvi , iv, 4; Xvii , vii, 1). By the will of his father, the greater part of the Herodian kingdom fell to his share, with the title of "ethnarch." The will was contested by his brother Antipas before the Roman court. While the matter was in abeyance, Archelaus incurred the hatred of the Jews by the forcible repression of a rebellion, in which some 3,000 people were slain. They therefore opposed his claims at Rome, but Archelaus, in the face of all this opposition, received the Roman support ( Ant. , Xvii , xi, 4). It is very ingeniously suggested that this episode may be the foundation of the parable of Christ, found in  Luke 19:12-27 . Archelaus, once invested with the government of Judea, ruled with a hard hand, so that Judea and Samaria were both soon in a chronic state of unrest. The two nations, bitterly as they hated each other, became friends in this common crisis, and sent an embassy to Rome to complain of the conduct of Archelaus, and this time they were successful. Archelaus was warned by a dream of the coming disaster, whereupon he went at once to Rome to defend himself, but wholly in vain. His government was taken from him, his possessions were all confiscated by the Roman power and he himself was banished to Vienna in Gaul ( Ant. , Xvii , xiii, 2,3). He, too, displayed some of his father's taste for architecture, in the building of a royal palace at Jericho and of a village, named after himself, Archelais. He was married first to Mariamne, and after his divorce from her to Glaphyra, who had been the wife of his half-brother Alexander ( Ant. , Xvii , xiii). The only mention made of him in the Gospels is found in  Matthew 2:22 .

Of Herod, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne, Simon's daughter, we know nothing except that he married Herodias, the daughter of his dead halfbrother Aristobulus. He is called Philip in the New Testament ( Matthew 14:3 ), and it was from him that Antipas lured Herodias away. His later history is wholly unknown, as well as that of Herod, the brother of Philip the tetrarch, and the oldest son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem.

6. Herod Agrippa I

Two members of the Herodian family are named Agrippa. They are of the line of Aristobulus, who through Mariamne, grand-daughter of Hyrcanus, carried down the line of the Asmonean blood. And it is worthy of note that in this line, nearly extinguished by Herod through his mad jealousy and fear of the Maccabean power, the kingdom of Herod came to its greatest glory again.

Herod Agrippa I, called Agrippa by Josephus, was the son of Aristobulus and Bernice and the grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne. Educated at Rome with Claudius ( Ant. , Xviii , vi, 1,4), he was possessed of great shrewdness and tact. Returning to Judea for a little while, he came back to Rome in 37 ad. He hated his uncle Antipas and left no stone unturned to hurt his cause. His mind was far-seeing, and he cultivated, as his grandfather had done, every means that might lead to his own promotion. He, therefore, made fast friends with Caius Caligula, heir presumptive to the Roman throne, and his rather outspoken advocacy of the latter's claims led to his imprisonment by Tiberius. This proved the making of his fortune, for Caligula did not forget him, but immediately on his accession to the throne, liberated Agrippa and bestowed on him, who up to that time had been merely a private citizen, the "tetrarchies" of Philip, his uncle, and of Lysanias, with the title of king, although he did not come into the possession of the latter till two more years had gone by ( Ant. , Xviii , vi, 10). The foolish ambition of Herod Antipas led to his undoing, and the emperor, who had heeded the accusation of Agrippa against his uncle, bestowed on him the additional territory of Galilee and Peraea in 39 ad. Agrippa kept in close touch with the imperial government, and when, on the assassination of Caligula, the imperial crown was offered to the indifferent Claudius, it fell to the lot of Agrippa to lead the latter to accept the proffered honor. This led to further imperial favors and further extension of his territory, Judea and Samaria being added to his domain, 40 ad. The fondest dreams of Agrippa had now been realized, his father's fate was avenged and the old Herodian power had been restored to its original extent. He ruled with great munificence and was very tactful in his contact with the Jews. With this end in view, several years before, he had moved Caligula to recall the command of erecting an imperial statue in the city of Jerusalem; and when he was forced to take sides in the struggle between Judaism and the nascent Christian sect, he did not hesitate a moment, but assumed the role of its bitter persecutor, slaying James the apostle with the sword and harrying the church whenever possible ( Acts 12 .). He died, in the full flush of his power, of a death, which, in its harrowing details reminds us of the fate of his grandfather ( Acts 12:20-23; Ant , Xix , viii, 2). Of the four children he left ( BJ , II, xi, 6), three are known to history - H erod Agrippa II, king of Calchis, Bernice of immoral celebrity, who consorted with her own brother in defiance of human and Divine law, and became a byword even among the heathen (Juv. Sat . vi. 156-60), and Drusilla, the wife of the Roman governor Felix ( Acts 24:24 ). According to tradition the latter perished in the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 ad, together with her son Agrippa. With Herod Agrippa I, the Herodian power had virtually run its course.

7. Herod Agrippa 2

Herod Agrippa 2 was the son of Herod Agrippa I and Cypros. When his father died in 44 ad he was a youth of only 17 years and considered too young to assume the government of Judea. Claudius therefore placed the country under the care of a procurator. Agrippa had received a royal education in the palace of the emperor himself ( Ant. , Xix , ix, 2). But he had not wholly forgotten his people, as is proven by his intercession in behalf of the Jews, when they asked to be permitted to have the custody of the official highpriestly robes, till then in the hands of the Romans and to be used only on stated occasions ( Ant. , XX, i, 1). On the death of his uncle, Herod of Calchis, Claudius made Agrippa 2 "tetrarch" of the territory, 48 ad ( Bj , II, xii, 1; Xiv , iv; Ant , XX, v, 2). As Josephus tells us, he espoused the cause of the Jews whenever he could ( Ant. , XX, vi, 3). Four years later (52 ad), Claudius extended the dominion of Agrippa by giving him the old "tetrarchies" of Philip and Lysanias. Even at Calchis they had called him king; now it became his official title ( Ant. , XX, vii, 1). Still later (55 ad), Nero added some Galilean and Perean cities to his domain. His whole career indicates the predominating influence of the Asmonean blood, which had shown itself in his father's career also. If the Herodian taste for architecture reveals itself here and there ( Ant. , XX, viii, 11; IX, iv), there is a total absence of the cold disdain wherewith the Herods in general treated their subjects. The Agrippas are Jews.

Herod Agrippa 2 figures in the New Testament in  Acts 25:13;  Acts 26:32 . Paul there calls him "king" and appeals to him as to one knowing the Scriptures. As the brother-in-law of Felix he was a favored guest on this occasion. His relation to Bernice his sister was a scandal among Jews and Gentiles alike ( Ant. , XX, vii, 3). In the fall of the Jewish nation, Herod Agrippa's kingdom went down. Knowing the futility of resistance, Agrippa warned the Jews not to rebel against Rome, but in vain ( BJ , II, xvi, 2-5; Xvii , iv; Xviii , ix; Xix , iii). When the war began he boldly sided with Rome and fought under its banners, getting wounded by a sling-stone in the siege of Gamala ( BJ , IV, i, 3). The oration by which he sought to persuade the Jews against the rebellion is a masterpiece of its kind and became historical ( BJ , II, xvi). When the inevitable came and when with the Jewish nation also the kingdom of Herod Agrippa Ii had been destroyed, the Romans remembered his loyalty. With Bernice his sister he removed to Rome, where he became a praetor and died in the year 100 ad, at the age of 70 years, in the beginning of Trajan's reign.


Josephus, Josephus, Antiquities and Bj  ; Strabo; Dio Cassius. Among all modern works on the subject, Schürer, The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (5 vols) is perhaps still the best.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [12]

The name of a family of Idumæan origin but Jewish creed, who rose into power in Judea shortly prior to the dissolution of the Jewish nationality; the chief members of which were

ing of the Jews by favour of the Romans, who made away with all his rivals, caused his own children to be strangled on suspicion of their conspiring against him, and died a painful death; who massacred the Innocents about Bethlehem, and whose death took place 4 B.C., the true date of the Nativity of Christ: and

is son, tetrarch of Galilee, who beheaded John the Baptist, and to whom Christ was remitted by Pilate for examination, and who died in exile at Lyons.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Herod'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/herod.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.