From Israel Herod’s Hideaway -- By: Abraham Rabinovich

Journal: Bible and Spade (First Run)
Volume: BSP 09:1 (Winter 1980)
Article: From Israel Herod’s Hideaway
Author: Abraham Rabinovich

From Israel
Herod’s Hideaway

Abraham Rabinovich

Herod the Great was king of the Roman province of Judea from 37 B. C. until his death in 4 B. C. It was during his reign that Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1). When the Wise Men tricked Herod, he mercilessly killed all the male children in Bethlehem under two years of age (Matthew 2:2–12, 16–18, see Bible and Spade, Autumn 1977, pp. 97-103). Joseph was forewarned by an angel and he took Mary and the young Jesus to Egypt for safety. When Herod died, Joseph brought his family back into Palestine, settling in Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew 2:13–15, 19–23). We can therefore accurately date the holy family’s return from Egypt at 4 B.C., although we do not know how old our Lord was at that time. Herod was a great builder and he has left his mark all over Palestine. One of the more interesting of his projects was the Herodion, where he was eventually buried. The latest archaeological work at the site is here described by Abraham Rabinovich. — Ed.

It began with a wild pursuit on the fringe of the desert south of Jerusalem. A force of Parthians and Jews allied with them was closing in on a small party led by Herod, governor of Galilee, which had slipped out of the palace in Jerusalem. Herod’s brother, Phasael, who governed Judea under Roman patronage, had been lured to his death by the Parthians, who invited him to leave the stronghold in order to negotiate. But Herod, one of history’s great survivors, had refused the bait and managed to get away with a brief head-start.

It was the most traumatic day in the life of a man whose days were ceaseless thunder and turmoil. The carriage bearing his

mother overturned a dozen kilometers from Jerusalem. Herod and his party labored to extricate her as their pursuers converged on them, but her injuries were mortal. Overcome with grief and a sense of a collapsing world, Herod drew his sword and prepared to kill himself. His family and followers dissuaded him. With renewed courage, he turned on his pursuers and, in a fierce battle, drove them off. He then made good his escape to his desert fortress of Masada.

Leaving his family at Masada, Herod made his way to Alexandria, where he embarked for Rome. There the Senate, on the advice of Mark Antony and Octavian, proclaimed him King of Judea. With Roman help, he captured Jerusalem three years later and ruled Judea for 33. His vast building enterprises included expansion of t...

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