The House Of Herod

Q. When Jesus was born there was a king called Herod who wanted him dead but when Jesus was on trail Pilate sent him to Herod. I thought Herod died after Jesus was born.

A. It’s a complicated matter. Herod the Great was the King of the Jews when Jesus was born and was the one who wanted Jesus dead. He died shortly after the Holy Family fled to Egypt and his son Archelaus became the governor of Judea for a few years. When they returned from Egypt, Joseph took Mary and Jesus to Nazareth to avoid him (Matt. 2:22-23).

Another son, Herod Antipas, ruled over Galilee from 4 BC to 39AD. He is the one who put John the Baptist to death. (Salome, who danced for John’s head, was the daughter of his wife/niece/sister-in-law Herodias and his brother Herod Philip I. She later married her uncle Herod Philip II.) Pilate sent Jesus to Herod Antipas, since Jesus was considered to be a Galilean.

A grandson of Herod the Great, named Herod Agrippa I, had the Lord’s brother James killed, and put Peter in prison. Agrippa’s son and daughter, Herod Agrippa II and Bernice, who were also husband and wife, are the ones before whom Paul appeared (Acts 25:13-26:32). Their sister Drusilla was married to Felix, the governor of Judea who had earlier presided over Paul’s trial (Acts 24:24).

The Herod family would be called Jordanians today, but ruled over Judea and surrounding areas for 4 generations, having been granted the right to do so by the Romans. It was quite a family.

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