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Thursday, February 2 2012

A History Of Jerusalem: The Herodian Dynasty

The complete series of studies for A History Of Jerusalem:
1. In The Beginning
5. The Glory Of Solomon
9. Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids
13. The Herodian Dynasty
17. Constantine and Muhammad
2. Melchizedek's Salem
6. The Temple Of The LORD
10. Abomination Of Desolation
14. The Coming Of The Messiah
18. The British Mandate
3. Jebus Of Canaan
7. The Capital Of Judah
11. The Hasmonean Kingdom
15. Titus And The Zealots
19. Zionism
4. The City Of David
8. Ezra And Nehemiah
12. Pompey And The Caesars
16. Hadrian and Simon bar Kokhba
20. War And Peace

The time of the first coming of the Messiah (see The Rock Of The Church; also A History Of Jerusalem: Melchizedek's Salem) was one of change for Jerusalem - again. Over the previous centuries, after the city of "Jebus" (see A History Of Jerusalem: Jebus Of Canaan) was taken by the Israelites themselves (see A History Of Jerusalem: The City Of David), it was ruled by Babylonians (see Ancient Empires - Babylon and The Babylon Exodus And Exile), Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia and Iran's Greatest Leader Was Pro-Zionist), Greeks and Seleucid Greeks (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids) and then a restored kingdom of Judah by the people of Judah themselves (see A History Of Jerusalem: The Hasmonean Kingdom).

The Kingdom Of Herod But the time of the Jewish Hasmonean Kingdom was then over. Rome had risen from an ancient city state under a king (about 500 BC), to a republic (see The Politics Of Rome) and then to an increasingly aggressive military empire (see Pax Romana: The Birth Of The Roman Empire and A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars). Jerusalem was about to be ruled by foreigners again, but the transition from Hasmonean Jews to Romans would be accomplished through a foot-in-both-camps man from Idumea who had become a converted Jew by the Hasmoneans. He is known to history as Herod, or Herod the Great (although the only thing "great" about him was his evil and barbarity). The Hasmonean dynasty of Jerusalem was replaced by the Herodian dynasty.

Herod was the son of Antipater, an Idumean (Idumea was the Greek term for Edom, the territory south and east of the land of Israel that had been inhabited by the descendants of Jacob/Israel's brother Esau, who was also known as Edom; see also The First Meeting Of Israel And Esau). Herod's mother was Cypros, a Nabatean (at that time, the Nabateans were an Arab people who inhabited the area from Syria to what is today Saudi Arabia; see also Paul's Geography Lesson about what and where "Arabia" actually means). By genealogy, Herod would today be called an Arab, not a Roman.

In 47 BC, Julius Caesar appointed Antipater as procurator (from a Latin word meaning "a manager of another's affairs") of Judea. Antipater eventually divided it among his sons, with Galilee originally being given to Herod, however Herod's political fortunes continued to rise (like all political puppets, he was apparently the easiest to manipulate as he dangled from his Roman strings). Mark Antony appointed him as tetrarch of Judea in 40 BC and then the Roman Senate declared him to be "king of Judea" (which included Jerusalem). Although docile to his Roman masters, Herod was a sadistic tyrant to his subjects (as attested most notably with his "slaughter of the innocents" at the time of the birth of Christ, as we will read).

Perhaps thinking of King Solomon's splendor centuries before (considering Herod's renovations and expansion of the Second Temple, that had been constructed at the return in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah about four centuries earlier; see A History Of Jerusalem: Ezra And Nehemiah), Herod fancied himself as a great builder. He spent vast sums on reconstructing and beautifying cities of Judea. The city of Caesarea (named after Caesar) and the ancient city of Samaria (that Herod renamed as Sebaste, again after his Roman masters) reached their greatest eloquence during the time of Herod.

Herod's greatest architectural showpiece was the Temple in Jerusalem, which became known as "the Herodian Temple," or "Herod's Temple" - which was occupied by men who were as subservient to Rome as Herod was (e.g. see Annas And Caiaphas). Herod's motives may have been different in regard to the Temple than for other places in Judea; Herod was, nominally, a practicing Jew, by his supposed conversion by the Hasmoneans (who, ironically, Herod replaced as the ruler of Judea and Jerusalem). By that time however, the religion of the people of Judah had become very much more the "traditions" of the religious parties, such as the Pharisees and the Sadducees (see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees). The basis remained of what the LORD had given them long before, but over the centuries they had drifted away from the genuine meaning and purpose of that Truth and Law. It was for that reason that the Messiah rebuked them all, including Herod (while Herod the Great died when the Messiah was an infant, Herod's political and religious dynasty still very much existed at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ - see The Herods).

"7:1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 7:2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 7:3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 7:4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables.

7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written,

This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." (Mark 7:1-9 KJV)

Herod the Great is most infamous for his attempt to kill the newborn Christ after he was informed of the birth by the "Magi" (see Why Did The Magi Come?).


"2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2:2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 2:5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,

2:6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel [see Bethlehem In History And Prophecy].

2:7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 2:8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.

2:9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. 2:12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way." (Matthew 2:1-12 KJV)

The flight to Egypt to escape Herod, and Herod's slaughter of all male infants under the age of two followed. Both events fulfilled prophecies.

Flight To Egypt

"2:13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

2:14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: 2:15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. 2:17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,

2:18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not." (Matthew 2:13-18 KJV)

Herod died not long afterward (see Whatever Happened To Those Romans?), however his ruling family dynasty survived in Jerusalem and Judea. Another prophecy was therefore fulfilled when they "dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets."

"2:19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 2:20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.

2:21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 2:22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matthew 2:19-23 KJV)

The Messiah's famous "Olivet prophecy" (named after the Mount of Olives) was given in answer to a question about the Temple that had been built by Herod.

Herod's Temple

"24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 24:2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down [see What Did Jesus Christ Say About Those Stones?].

24:3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many [see Is Your Church A Cult?]. 24:6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 24:7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

24:9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 24:10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 24:23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.

24:26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 24:28 For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light [see The Blood Moon Prophecy], and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 24:31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet [see The Feast Of Trumpets Prophecy], and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:1-31 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) Why did the Messiah go to "Herod's Temple" as a place of worship? (b) What will the Messiah be doing from that location when He returns?
(a) See What Was Holy About Herod's Temple?; also The Temple Vessel Prophecies Today
(b) See Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

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This Day In History, February 2

962: Pope John XII crowned Otto I as the "Holy Roman Emperor" (see Emperors and Popes). When Otto succeeded his father Heinrich (Henry) as German king in 936, the people raised their right hand to show approval and shouted "Sieg und heil" ("victory and salvation") - words revived by Adolf Hitler almost 1,000 years later (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion). Later historians would view 962 as the beginning of what would later be officially called the Sacrum Romanum Imperium Nationis Germanica ("The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation"). The octagonal imperial crown of the "Holy Roman Empire," which was made especially for the coronation of Otto, was the symbol of European unity for centuries afterward. Otto von Habsburg (whose ancestors were some of the "Holy Roman" emperors) called attention to the potential present and future role of that very same crown, which now sits in the Schatzkammer (Royal Treasury) in Vienna, Austria (see also Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).

1461: The Lancastrians (founded by the son of Henry III, the Earl of Lancaster in 1267) defeated the Yorkists (founded by another son of Henry III, the duke of York) at the second Battle of St. Albans'.

1494: Christopher Columbus began using "Indians" as slaves i.e. native Americans were the first slaves of the "New" World.

1509: The Portuguese, led by Francisco de Almeida, destroyed the Muslim fleet in the Battle of Diu, establishing Portuguese control of Indian waters.

1536: Spanish explorer Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires.

1556: The world's worst earthquake on record, in China's Shaanxi, Shansi and Henan provinces, killed an estimated 830,000 people.

1626: Charles I, the son and successor of James I (after whom the King James Version of the Bible was named), was crowned king of England.

1653: The Dutch established New Amsterdam as a city. After the British took over the colonies that became known as New England, the city was renamed as New York.

1709: British sailor Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being marooned on a desert island for 5 years. His story was the inspiration of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

1808: French forces under Napoleon occupied Rome. Pope Pius VII was arrested and held in custody.

1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ended the war between the U.S. and Mexico.

1901: The Funeral of Queen Victoria.

1916: The U.S. Senate granted independence for the Philippines.

1945: During the Second World War, 1,200 British Royal Air Force planes bombed Wiesbaden and Karlsruhe in Germany.

1972: The British Embassy in Dublin was burned down after a day of anti-British demonstrations.

1983: The Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) resumed in Geneva.

1989: Soviet invasion forces completed their withdrawal from Kabul, Afghanistan.


Copyright © Wayne Blank