The Berean Expositor
Volume 45 - Page 33 of 251
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After the destruction of Jerusalem, the Sadducees as such seem to have disappeared,
but the Pharisees long remained to influence the teachings of the early Christian.
The Herodians.
pp. 127 - 131
The Gospel writers have very little to say about this party. In fact, there are only three
references in the N.T. to the word "Herodian" (Matt. 22: 16; Mark 3: 6; 12: 13). It is
quite evident from their name that they were either attached to, or the champions of, the
family of Herod. In either case, they would be concerned with promoting the interests of
Herod, and be disturbed by the suggestion that this "Jesus of Nazareth" was none other
than the King of the Jews. Hence, their opposition to the Lord was largely on political
In the first reference to them in Matt. 22:, they are seen acting together with the
Pharisees, in order that they might entangle the Lord in His talk (verse 15). After a
flattering overture, calculated to ensnare the Lord by putting Him off His guard, the
question is asked, "What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"
(verse 17).
Had the Lord been but an ordinary man, He would now have found Himself on the
horns of a dilemma. Before Him stood the representatives of two parties; the Pharisees,
who, being champions of the religion of Israel, did not take kindly to paying tribute to
Caesar, and the Herodians, who would take the contrary view. If the Lord had said that
tribute was not to be given to Caesar, then He would be in trouble with the authorities,
and the Herodians stood before Him as witnesses. If on the other hand, He had maintain
that tribute was to be given to Caesar, then the Pharisees could claim that this One was
not the people's Messiah, for He bade them submit to the ruling power. The answer of
the Lord was a masterpiece:
"And He saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto
Him, Caesar's. Then saith He unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which
are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's" (verses 20, 21).
In the second reference (Mark 3: 6), the Pharisees again take counsel with the
Herodians, this time to consider "how they might destroy Him".  This action is
particularly significant in the light of John 18: 31:
"Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye Him, and judge Him according to your law. The
Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death."
It would appear that at the time of the earthly ministry of Christ, the Jews were unable
to exact death penalty, except through the medium of the Roman power. Hence the
Pharisees in  Mark 3:  seek the favour of the Herodian party who, having strong