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 TEMPLE,) and by founding or enlarging many cities and towns; but the prejudices of the nation against a foreign yoke were only heightened when he introduced quinquennial games in honor of Caesar, and erected theatres and gymnasia at Jerusalem. The cruelty of his disposition also was such as ever to render him odious. He put to death his own wife Mariamne, with her two sons Alexander and Aristobulus; and when he himself was at the point of death, he caused a number of the most illustrious of his subjects to be thrown into prison at Jericho, and exacted from his sister a promise that they should be murdered the moment he expired, in order, as he said, that tears should be shed at the death of Herod. This promise, however, was not fulfilled. His son Antipater was executed for conspiring to poison his father; and five days after, Herod died, A. D. 2, aged sixty-eight, having reigned as king about thirty-seven years. It was during his reign that Jesus was born at Bethlehem; and Herod, in consequence of his suspicious temper, and in order to destroy Jesus, gave orders for the destruction of all the children of two years old and under in the place, 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 ABILENE.) He was afterwards confirmed in the possession of these by Claudius, who also annexed to is kingdom all those parts of Judea and Samaria which had formerly belonged to his grandfather Herod, A. D. 43. In order to ingratiate himself with the Jews, he commenced a persecution against the Christians; but seems to have proceeded no further than to put to death James, and to imprison Peter, since he soon after died suddenly and miserably at Cesarea, A. D. 44, 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.