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1. Brief Account of the Asmonaan Princes.-II. Herod the Great.St. Matthew's narrative of his murder of the infants at Bethlehem confirmed.-III. Archelaus.-IV. Herod Antipas.-V. Philip.VI. Herod Agrippa.-VII. Agrippa junior.

I. ON the subversion of the Babylonian empire by Cyrus the founder of the Persian monarchy (B. c. 543), he authorised the Jews by an edict to return into their own country, with full permission to enjoy their laws and religion, and caused the city and temple of Jerusalem to be rebuilt. In the following year, part of the Jews returned under Zerubbabel, and renewed their sacrifices: the theocratic government, which had been in abeyance during the captivity, was resumed; but the re-erection of the city and temple being interrupted for several years by the treachery and hostility of the Samaritans or Cutheans, the avowed enemies of the Jews, the completion and dedication of the temple did not take place until the year 511 B. C., six years after the accession of Cyrus. The rebuilding of Jerusalem was accomplished, and the reformation of their ecclesiastical and civil polity was effected by the two divinely inspired and pious governors Ezra and Nehemiah. After their death the Jews were governed by their high priests, in subjection however to the Persian kings, to whom they paid tribute (Ezra iv. 13. vii. 24.), but with the full enjoyment of their other magistrates, as well as their liberties, civil and religious. Nearly three centuries of uninterrupted prosperity ensued, until the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes king of Syria, when they were most cruelly oppressed, and compelled to take up arms in their own defence.

Under the able conduct of Judas surnamed Maccabeus,1 and his valiant brothers, the Jews maintained a religious war for twenty-six

1 He is generally supposed to have derived this name from a cabalistical word, formed M. B. C. I. the initial letters of the Hebrew Text, Mi Chamoka Baelim Jehovah, i. e. who among the Gods is like unto thee, O Jehovah (Exod. xv. 11.), which letters might have been displayed on his sacred standard, as the letters S. P. Q. R. (Senatus Populus Que Romanus,) were on the Roman ensigns. Dr. Hale's Analysis of Chronology, vol. i. p. 599.


years with five successive kings of Assyria; and after destroying upwards of 200,000 of their best troops, the Maccabees finally estab lished the independence of their own country and the aggrandisement. of their family. This illustrious house, whose princes united the regal and pontifical dignity in their own persons, administered the affairs of the Jews during a period of one hundred and twenty-six years; until, disputes arising between Hyrcanus II, and his brother Aristobulus, the latter was defeated by the Romans under Pompey, who captured Jerusalem, and reduced Judæa to a tributary province of the republic (B. C. 59).

II. Julius Cæsar, having defeated Pompey, continued Hyrcanus in the high priesthood, but bestowed the government of Judæa upon Antipater, an Idumæan by birth, who was a Jewish proselyte, and the father of Herod surnamed the Great who was subsequently king of the Jews. Antipater divided Judæa between his two sons Phasael and Herod, giving to the former the government of Jerusalem, and to the latter the province of Galilee; which being at that time greatly infested with robbers, Herod signalised his courage by dispersing them, and shortly after attacked Antigonus the competitor of Hyrcanus in the priesthood, who was supported by the Tyrians. In the mean time, the Parthians having invaded Judæa, and carried into captivity Hyrcanus the high priest and Phasael the brother of Herod; the latter fled to Rome, where Mark Antony, with the consent of the senate, conferred on him the title of king of Judæa. By the aid of the Roman arms Herod kept possession of his dignity; and after three years of sanguinary and intestine war with the partisans of Antigonus, he was confirmed in his kingdom by Augustus.

This prince is characterised by Josephus as a person of singular courage and resolution, liberal and even extravagant in his expenditure, magnificent in his buildings, especially in the temple of Jerusalem, and apparently disposed to promote the happiness of every one. But under this specious exterior he concealed the most consummate duplicity; studious only how to attain and to secure his own dignity, he regarded no means, however unjustifiable, which might promote that object of his ambition; and in order to supply his lavish expenditure, he imposed oppressive burdens on his subjects. Inexorably cruel, and a slave to the most furious passions, he imbrued his hands in the blood of his wife, his children, and the greater part of his family; such indeed was the restlessness and jealousy of his temper,

1" When Herod," says the accurate Lardner, "had gained possession of Jerusalem by the assistance of the Romans, and his rival Antigonus was taken prisoner, and in the hands of the Roman general Sosius, and by him carried to mark Antony, Herod, by a large sum of money, persuaded Antony to put him to death. Herod's great fear was, that Antigonus might sometime revive his pretensions, as being of the Asmonæan family. Aristobulus, brother of his wife Mariamne, was murdered by his directions at eighteen years of age, because the people at Jerusalem had shown some affection for his person. In the seventh year of his reign from the death of Antigonus, he put to death Hyrcanus, grandfather of Mariamne, then eighty years of age, and who had saved Herod's life when he was prosecuted by the Sanhedrin; a man who in his youth and in t ur of his life, and in all the revolutions of his fortune, had shown a mil le disposition. His be



that he sparea neither his people, nor the richest and most powerful of his subjects, not even his very friends. It is not at all surprising that such a conduct should procure Herod the hatred of his subjects, especially of the Pharisees, who engaged in various plots against him and so suspicious did these conspiracies render him, that he put the innocent to the torture, lest the guilty should escape. These circumstances sufficiently account for Herod and all Jerusalem with him being troubled at the arrival of the Magi, to enquire where the Messiah was born. (Matt. ii. 1-3.) The Jews, who anxiously expected the Messiah "the Deliverer," were moved with an anxiety made up of hopes and fears, of uncertainty and expectation, blended with a dread of the sanguinary consequences of new tumults; and Herod, who was a foreigner and usurper, was apprehensive lest he should lose his crown by the birth of a rightful heir. Hence we are furnished with a satisfactory solution of the motive that led him to command all the male children to be put to death, who were under two years of age, in Bethlehem and its vicinity. (Matt. ii. 16.)

No very long time after the perpetration of this crime, Herod died, having suffered the most excruciating pains, in the thirty-seventh year of his being declared king of the Jews by the Romans. The tidings of his decease were received by his oppressed subjects with universal joy and satisfaction.

Herod had a numerous offspring by his different wives, although their number was greatly reduced by his unnatural cruelty in putting many of them to death: but, as few of his descendants are mentioned in the sacred volume, we shall notice only those persons of whom it is requisite that some account should be given for the better


loved wife, the beautiful and virtuous Mariamne, had a public execution, and her mother Alexandra followed soon after. Alexander and Aristobulus, his two sons by Mariamne, were strangled in prison by his order upon groundless suspicions, as it seems, when they were at man's estate, were married and had children. Í say nothing of the death of his eldest son Antipater. If Josephus's character of him be just, he was a miscreant, and deserved the worst death that could be inflicted; in his last sickness, a little before he died, he sent orders throughout Judæa, requiring the presence of all the chief men of the nation at Jericho. His orders were obeyed, for they were enforced with no less penalty than that of death. When these men were come to Jericho, he had them all shut up in the circus, and calling for his sister Salome, and her husband Alexas, he told them, My life is now but short: I know the dispositions of the Jewish people, and nothing will please them more than my death. You have these men in your custody; as soon as the breath is out of my body, and before my death can be known, do you let in the soldiers upon them and kill them. All Judæa and every family will then, though unwillingly, mourn at my death.' Nay, Josephus says, 'That with tears in his eyes he conjured them by their love to him, and their fidelity to God, not to fail of doing him this honour; and they promised they would not fail;' these orders indeed were not executed. But as a modern historian of very good sense observes, the history of this his most wicked design takes off all objection against the truth of murdering the innocents, which may be made from the incredibility of so barbarous and horrid an act. For this thoroughly shows, that there can nothing be imagined so cruel, barbarous and horrid, which this man was not capable of doing. It may also be proper to observe, that almost all the executions I have instanced, were sacrifices to his state jealousy, and love of empire." Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xiv. c. 23. 25, 26. 28, lib. xvi. c. 7, 8. 11, 12, lib. xvii. c. 6. Lardner's Credibility, part i. book ji. c. ii. §1


understanding of the New Testament. The annexed table will perhaps be found useful in distinguishing the particular persons of this family, whose names occur in the Evangelical histories.

ANTIPAS or ANTIPATER, an Idumæan, appointed prefect of Judæa and Syria by Julius Cæsar.


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HEROD, misnamed the Great, by his will divided his dominions among his three sons, Archelaus, Herod Antipas, and Herod Philip.

III. To Archelaus he assigned Judæa, Samaria, and Idumæa, with the regal dignity, subject to the approbation of Augustus, who ratified his will as it respected the territorial division, but conferred on Archelaus the title of Ethnarch or chief of the nation, with a promise of the regal dignity, if he should prove himself worthy of it. Arche laus entered upon his new office amid the loud acclamations of his subjects, who considered him as a king; hence the evangelist says that he reigned. (Matt. ii. 22.) His reign, however, commenced inauspiciously for, after the death of Herod and before Archelaus could go to Rome to obtain the confirmation of his father's will, the Jews having become very tumultuous at the temple in consequence of his refusing them some demands, Archelaus ordered his soldiers to attack them; on which occasion upwards of three thousand were slain. On Archelaus going to Rome to solicit the regal dignity, (agreeably to the practice of the tributary kings of that age, who received their crowns from the Roman emperor,) the Jews sent an

1 This circumstance probably deterred the Holy Family from settling in Judæa on their return from Egypt; and induced them by the divine admonition to return to their former residence at Nazareth in Galilee. (Matt. ü. 22, 23.) Dr. Hales's Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. p. 717.

embassy, consisting of fifty of their principal men, with a petition to Augustus that they might be permitted to live according to their own laws, under a Roman governor. To this circumstance our Lord evidently alludes in the parable related by Saint Luke. (xix. 12— 27.) A certain nobleman (ɛvyɛvŋs, a man of birth or rank, the son of Herod) went into a far country (Italy), to receive for himself a kingdom (that of Judæa) and to return. But his citizens (the Jews) hated him, and sent a message (or embassy) after him (to Augustus Cæsar), saying, "We will not have this man to reign over us. "The Jews however failed in their request, and Archelaus, having received the kingdom (or ethnarchy), on his return inflicted a severe vengeance on those who would not that he should reign over them. The application of this parable is to Jesus Christ, who foretells that, on his ascension, he would go into a distant country, to receive the kingdom from his father; and that he would return, at the destruction of Jerusalem, to take vengeance on those who rejected him. The subsequent reign of Archelaus was turbulent, and disgraced by insurrections of the Jews against the Romans, and also by banditti and pretenders to the crown: at length, after repeated complaints against his tyranny and mal-administration, made to Augustus by the principal Jews and Samaritans who were joined by his own brothers, Archelaus was deposed and banished to Vienne in Gaul, in the tenth year of his reign; and his territories were annexed to the Roman province of Syria.3

IV. HEROD ANTIPAS (or Antipater), another of Herod's sons, received from his father the district of Galilee and Peræa, with the title of Tetrarch. He is described by Josephus as a crafty and incestuous prince, with which character the narratives of the evangelists coincide; for, having deserted his wife, the daughter of Aretas king of Arabia, he forcibly took away and married Herodias the wife of his brother Herod Philip, a proud and cruel woman, to gratify whom he caused John the Baptist to be beheaded (Matt. xiv. 3. Mark vi. 17. Luke iii. 19.), who had provoked her vengeance by his faithful reproof of their incestuous nuptials; though Josephus ascribes the Baptist's death to Herod's apprehension, lest the latter should by his influence raise an insurrection among the people. It was this Herod that laid snares for our Saviour; who detecting his

1 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. ix. § 3. c. xi.


2 There is an impressive application of this parable in Mr. Jones's Lectures on the figurative language of Scripture, lect. v. near the beginning. (Works, vol. iii. pp. 35, 36.)

3 Josephus, Ant. Jud. lib. xvii. c. xii. § 2.

4 Concerning the meaning of this term learned men are by no means agreed. In its primary and original signification it implies a governor of the fourth part of a country; and this seems to have been the first meaning affixed to it. But afterwards it was given to the governors of a province, whether their government was the fourth part of a country or not: for Herod divided his kingdom only into three parts. The tetrarchs, however, were regarded as princes, and sometimes were complimented with the title of king. (Matt. xiv. 9.) Beausobre's Introd. to the New Test. (Bp. Watson's Tracts, vol. iii. p. 123.) The Romans conferred this title on those princes whom they did not choose to elevate to the regal dignity; the tetrarch was lower in point of rank than a Roman governor of a province. Schulzii Archeol. Hebr. pp. 18, 19. Jahn, Archæol. Bibl. p. 338.

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