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Sunday, December 11, 2005

For the Herodians who are reading this 

Do you have problems keeping all your Herods straight? I do. I master the relationships for a few brief minutes, then it all clouds over again. Enter sundayschoollessons.com:

Herod Antipater, the father of Herod the Great, is not mentioned in the New Testament, but ten of his descendants played major roles in the lives of Jesus and of the apostles....

Herod Antipater formally converted to the Jewish religious practice of the descendants of Jacob. His family would not allow their portraits (graven images) on the coins they issued, they did not eat pork as they followed the Jewish dietary laws, and the women of the family were not allowed to marry men who were uncircumcised.

But the family also followed Roman social practices. They traveled to Rome frequently and commissioned buildings in the Roman style of architecture. Herod the Great sent his sons to live in the household of Octavian (Caesar Augustus) in Rome while they received their formal educations.

Members of the family sponsored athletic games in the Greek style, which were offensive to the Jews. And they also arranged marriages between uncles and nieces in the Roman fashion....

After the death of Herod the Great, the Romans divided his kingdom between his sons, and none of them was called King of the Jews.

Herod Archelaus ruled Judea after the death of his father. In Matthew 2: 22, Joseph decided to take his family north to Galilee, because he was also afraid of Archelaus. Archelaus ruled badly, and the Romans removed him after ten years, replacing him with a Roman.

His brother, Herod Antipas, was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. In the New Testament, he is called Herod the Tetrarch. Another brother, Herod Philip, was tetrarch of Iturea, Gaulanitis, and Trachonitis....

Herod Agrippa I, King of Iturea, Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Galilee, and Perea, was the grandson of Herod the Great and the nephew of Philip and Antipas. He ordered the execution of James the Elder, and was so buoyed by the public response that he had Peter arrested and put in prison (Acts 12).

Herod Agrippa II was the son of Herod Agrippa I and the great-grandson of Herod the Great. His sister Bernice accompanied him at public functions, and Paul spoke before them in Acts 25 and 26, asking for his right to be tried as a Roman citizen.

I left out a lot, but suffice it to say that Herod Agrippa I was the one who was "eaten by worms." And Bernice apparently also accompanied Herod Agrippa II to private functions:

Bernice...was the eldest daughter of Agrippa I, the Herod Agrippa who was killed by an angel in Acts 12:21-23....After the early death of her first husband (according to the historian Flavius Josephus, his name was Marcus), she married her uncle, King Herod of Chalcis. After his death in approximately 40 AD, she began another incestuous relationship, this time with her brother, Agrippa II. It was before that brother/sister/husband/wife couple that the apostle Paul made his defense at Caesarea. Bernice was later briefly married to King Ptolemy of Sicily, before returning to her brother. She thereafter also became the mistress of the emperors Vespasian and Titus.

From the Ontario Empoblog (Latest OVVA news here)

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