Herod The Great: Another Snapshot Of His Treachery? -- By: Barry J. Beitzel
JETS 57:2 (June 2014) p. 309
Herod The Great:
Another Snapshot Of His Treachery?
* Barry J. Beitzel is Professor of OT and Semitic Languages, and Director of the Middle Eastern Studies Program, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School,
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the [Rome-appointed] king [of Judea], Magi from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and we have come to worship him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he became greatly distressed” (Matt 2:1-3a). This text invites two related questions and leads to a consideration.1
The first question is this: How did Rome get to Judea? In light of the negative and even adversarial manner in which the NT rather consistently portrays Roman influence upon Palestinian life in general, the answer to this question may seem ironic. But the short and simple answer is, “By invitation.” At the death of Alexander Janneus (
JETS 57:2 (June 2014) p. 310
The second question is this: How did Herod I (the Great) come to be a Rome-appointed king of Judea? According to a well-known and oft-cited maxim of unknown origin but erroneously ascribed to Josephus, “Herod stole along to the throne like a fox, he ruled like a tiger, and he died like a dog.”3 A quite accurate assessment indeed, inasmuch as Herod did come to his throne cunningly, did rule ferociously, and did die disreputably. The starting point for this second question is once again the Maccabean monarch Alexander Janneus. During Alexander’s ...
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