The Berean Expositor
Volume 29 - Page 137 of 208
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At this time Mark Anthony sent for Aristobolus, and Herod, fearing the result of the
presence of this handsome youth at court, deposed Hananell and made Aristobolus High
Priest. He then became jealous of the popularity of Aristobolus, and had him drowned
while entertaining him at his balsam gardens at Jericho. Cleopatra now induced Anthony
to summon Herod to appear before him at Laodicea. Herod left instructions that, in the
event of his death at the hands of Anthony, Mariamne should not be permitted to survive
him. This instruction leaked out, and on his return from Laodicea, Mariamne charged
him with it. In a paroxysm of fury Herod ran at her with his sword, ordered his slave to
be executed, and Alexandra his mother-in-law to be flung into prison.
Anthony, in his mad infatuation, had given to Cleopatra the revenues of Greece,
Cyprus, Phoenicia, Crete, Syria, Iturea and parts of Cilicia. Lysanius, the tetrarch of
Abylene, was put to death, and the lease of his territory was given to Cleopatra. But still
this "all-rapacious harlot" was unsatisfied. She wanted also the crown of JudŠa, and had
already secured the balsam gardens close to Herod's capital, Jericho. She now visited
Herod in prison, being confident that the glamour and fascination that had captivated
Mark Anthony, would prove too strong for Herod.  However, he resisted all her
blandishments--which only made her the more relentless and furious. Fearing, therefore,
that he would lose his Kingdom, he selected the fortress of Masada on the Dead Sea,
stored it with provisions, and made it capable of receiving 10,000 men. Very soon,
however, Octavian had beaten Mark Anthony, and Herod transferred his friendship to the
victorious side. "The ever restless Alexandra, still nursing her plans of ambition and
revenge, persuaded the poor, aged, deposed High Priest Hyrcanus to further her efforts".
The plot was discovered and Hyrcanus, sole survivor of the Princely AsmonŠans, laid his
head on the block at the age of eighty.
"The axe fell on the wrong neck. It would have been better for Herod, it would have
saved him an iliad of future woes, if he had ordered the execution of the vile Alexandra
instead of that of her blameless father, whom she had inveigled into her plans."
Herod so impressed Octavian with his vigour and magnificent endowments that he
bade him resume his crown, and returned to him the balsam gardens that had been given
to Cleopatra, as well as many cities, including the fortress known as Strato's Tower,
which he turned into the splendid capital city of CŠsarea.
Further machinations by Alexandra led to the execution of her daughter Mariamne,
Herod's wife. No sooner, however, was Mariamne dead than remorse and regret preyed
upon the king until he fell a victim to the pestilence that was raging at the time. On
hearing of a further plot of Alexandra's, however, he seemed to shake off his sickness,
and ordered her execution. His day of peace, however, had passed. Another baneful
woman was at work to accomplish further misery for Herod the Great.
Salome was already a grandmother, and growing tired of her second husband. She
revealed to Herod the fact that Baba had concealed two youths of MaccabŠan origin,
with the result that further executions followed. "And so, through rivers of blood, Herod
waded to his doom."