Antipater (fl. c.65 B.C.) was founder of the family fortune. He was an Idumaean and gave refuge to Hyrcanus II (see Maccabees), thus gaining a stronghold in Palestine. His son Antipater (d. 43 B.C.) was favored by Julius Caesar, who made him (c.55 B.C.) virtual ruler of all of Palestine.
The son of the second Antipater was Herod the Great (d. 4 B.C.), who gave the family its name. He was friendly with Marc Antony, who secured him (37-4 B.C.) the title of king of Judaea; after the battle of Actium he made peace with Octavian (later Augustus), who thereafter showed him great favor. He made great efforts to mollify the Jews by publicly observing the Law, by building a temple, and by reestablishing the Sanhedrin. He promoted Hellenization and adorned most of his cities, especially Jerusalem.
Herod married ten times, and the various families in the palace intrigued against each other continually. In his last years Herod was subject to some sort of insanity, and he became bloodthirsty. He executed (6 B.C.) Aristobulus and Alexander, his sons by Mariamne, granddaughter of Hyrcanus II. He executed (4 B.C.) Antipater, son of his first wife, when he found out that Antipater had instigated the intrigues that led to the execution of Aristobulus and Alexander. This was the Herod who was ruling at the time of Jesus' birth and who ordered the massacre of the Innocents (see Mat. 2).
Herod the Great divided his kingdom among his sons Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Philip. Archelaus (d. after A.D. 6) ruled Palestine south of the Vale of Jezreel from 4 B.C. to A.D. 6; he was removed by Augustus after complaints by the Jews. Herod Antipas (d. after A.D. 39), tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, was the Herod who executed John the Baptist and who was ruling at the time of Jesus' death.
Herod Antipas repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half brother Herod Philip, whom she divorced to marry Herod Antipas. This affair gained Herod Antipas many enemies, and the vaulting ambitions of Herodias eventually ruined him. She drove him to seek a royal title, and he was banished by Caligula in A.D. 39. Philip (d. A.D. 34) was tetrarch of the region east of Galilee; his kingdom was non-Jewish, and he pursued a successful Romanizing and Hellenizing policy. He was probably the best of his family; his wife was Salome 1. He built Caesarea Philippi.
The eldest son of the executed Aristobulus, Herod Agrippa I (d. A.D. 44), was a man of some ability. Out of friendship Caligula made him king (A.D. 39) of Philip's tetrarchy; later he was made (A.D. 41) ruler of S Syria and of Palestine east and west of the Jordan. Herod Agrippa I was strongly pro-Jewish, and he built extensively at Berytus (modern Beirut). His son, Herod Agrippa II (d. c.100), received only the northern part of his father's kingdom, and that not until c.52. He was a poor ruler and alienated his subjects. His sister was Berenice (d. c.A.D. 28). After the fall of Jerusalem he went to Rome. He was the last important member of his family.
The prime source of information about the dynasty is the historical writing of Josephus. See also modern studies by A. H. Jones (1938, repr. 1967), S. Sandmel (1967), M. Grant (1971), and H. W. Hoehner (1972).
(born 21 BC—died AD 39) Son of Herod the Great and tetrarch of Galilee (4 BC–AD 39) throughout Jesus' ministry. He was responsible for the death of John the Baptist (demanded by his wife, Herodias, and stepdaughter, Salome) but later refused to cooperate when Pontius Pilate pressed him to conduct the trial of Jesus. He was caught up in the intrigue between the Syrians and Nabataeans. After denouncing Herod Agrippa I, he was banished by Caligula to Gaul. He built the city of Tiberias.
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(born 73 BC—died March/April, 4 BC, Jericho, Judaea) Roman-appointed king of Judaea (37–4 BC). A practicing Jew, he was of Arab origin. He was critical to imperial control of Judaea, despite his earlier support of Mark Antony, and the Roman emperor increased his territory. Judaea prospered under his early reign, during which he increased trade and built fortresses, aqueducts, and theatres, but he could not give full rein to his desire to build and thrive because he feared the Pharisees, Judaism's controlling faction, who viewed him as a foreigner. He lost favour through increasing cruelty, manifest in the murder of his wife, her sons, and other relatives. His grip on his kingdom weakened as he became increasingly mentally unstable and physically debilitated. He killed his eldest son, and he slew the infants of Bethlehem (see Jesus). He died shortly after a bungled suicide attempt.
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