| || |The Berean Expositor
Volume 28 - Page 138 of 217 Index | Zoom | |
been vastly different from that which Paul had to endure on his second imprisonment at
Rome, under the Prefect Tigellinus. Burrhus had been removed by poison, and Tigellinus
was the evil genius of Nero, and the instigator of the Christian persecutions.
We must give our attention next to the family of the Herods, and then go on to a
consideration of the bearing of Roman law upon the teaching of the New Testament.
The Herods of the New Testament.
pp. 215 - 217
We have so far considered very briefly the story of the Cęsars connected with the
Scriptural narrative, and we must now begin the history of another line of kings, subject it
is true to the imperial sway, but important actors nevertheless in the drama of the ages.
"The years of the Son of God on earth were spent under the sway of three Herodian
princes. His infancy narrowly escaped the massacre dictated by the ruthless jealousy of
the first Idumęan King; the place chosen for the predestined home of His childhood was
decided by the dread inspired by the cruel tyranny of the second (Archelaus); the third
(Herod Antipas) was the murderer of His kinsman and forerunner, and, after the
frustration of attempts to seize His person, took part in His cruel mockery and
precipitated His earthly doom. The fourth (Agrippa I) imprisoned and beheaded His
chief apostle, and scattered His disciples from Jerusalem to preach the Gospel to all the
world. The fifth (Agrippa II) listened to the defence of the greatest early convert to His
faith, and jestingly professed to be half ready to assume that designation of its votaries,
which in those days had already become the synonym of `evil-doer'." (Farrar).
To get some idea of the Herods one must go back a little to the Maccabean period in
Jewish history. The first Maccabee to assume the title of King was John Hyrcanus. He
ruled for twenty-six years in Palestine, and then sent his sons, Aristobolus and Antigonus,
to attack Syria. He also subdued the Idumeans and compelled them to adopt Judaism.
From these forcibly converted Idumeans sprang Antipater and the family of the Herods.
Antipater was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau.
In B.C.64, troubles at Jerusalem, including a siege of the Temple, caused the Roman
power to intervene, and Pompey the Great came to Damascus. Jerusalem was stormed
and 12,000 Jews massacred. On the Day of Atonement (Tisri 10th or Sept. 22nd, B.C.63)
Rome and Judęa first came face to face, and the King, Aristobolus, together with
Alexander and Antigonus, were carried away as captives to Rome, to grace Pompey's
triumph. Alexander, however, escaped, and in B.C.54 attacked Judęa. He was defeated
by Mark Anthony.
The Jews then expressed a wish that their country should become a Pentapolis, that is,
governed by five aristocratic sections of the Sanhedrin, at Jerusalem, Jericho, Gadara,
Amathus and Sephoris. This state of affairs continued until Julius Cęsar restored
Hyrcanus as Ethnarch (see Volume XXVII, page 163).