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this he hastened his return, and collecting an army in the country, marched towards Jerusalem to give battle to the army of Antigonus; it was not, however, till after three years, with the assistance of the Roman power, that he took the city by storm, putting multitudes to death, and making Antigonus himself a captive, whom he sent to Rome to grace the Triumph of Anthony, and was there beheaded. Thus it was that Herod was settled upon that Throne, which had never been filled by any other than a native Jew; and exercised that supreme power which had been invested in none, but the person of the High Priest of the God of Israel. A man whose life was marked by such a series of wicked actions, as never before stained the human character; the deliberate assassin of his wives and kindred; the slave of the most unlawful and ungoverned passions, the murderer of mankind, and the destroyer of the innocent.1 His death, which
1 He was the first persecutor of Christianity, for it was this monster who slew the male children at Bethlehem, from the age of "two years and under," in expectation of cutting off the infant Messiah; in what manner he failed has been left upon record by the Evangelist Matthew, to whom we are indebted for this piece of history, which Josephus seems purposely to have omitted: that Matthew however might not be left altogether without witness as to what he has advanced on this point, Macrobius in an extraordinary manner mentions the same, not with any view to record the deed, but to bring in a humourous remark of Cæsar; who understanding that Herod in this slaughter had put one of his own sons to death, observed that" it was better to be Herod's Hog than his son." Quum audivisset Augustus inter pueros, quos in Syria Herodes Rex Judæorum INTRA BIMATUM jussit interfici, filium quoque ejus occisum, ait, melius est "Herodis Porcum esse quam filium." (Saturnal l. ii. c. 4.) The supposition of Herod's son having thus been put to death is ill founded, because. his sons were much older than those upon whom the command was to be executed; the report probably arose from the circumstance of Herod having about this time put his eldest son Antipater to death upon some inter ference in his mode of government.
happened thirty-four years after that of Antigonus. has been left upon record with the accumulation o all its wretched circumstances tending to verify the observation of the Historian, that the hand of God was evident in that visitation. 1. Jerusalem, in its public buildings, was greatly improved by him, the Temple was in a great part re-built, and the City considerably beautified; these benefits he rendered from political motives to ingratiate himself in the good opinion of the nation.
"Under his administration, and by his means, the "Roman luxury was received in Palestine, accompanied with the worst vices of that licentious people. “In a word, Judea governed by Herod, groaned under "all that corruption which might be expected from "the authority and the example of a Prince, who "though a Jew in outward profession, was, in point of "morals and practice, a contemner of all laws, human " and divine." 2
By his will he bequeathed the greater part of his Kingdom, consisting of Idumæa, Judea, and Samaria, to Archelaus; Galilee and Perea to Herod-Antipas ;
1 Jos. Antiq. 17, vi. 5.
The miseries which befel this tyrant at the close of his existence are recorded by Josephus-“ his calamitous death and long and egregious suf "ferings before it; by a burning fever, a voracious appetite, a difficulty of breathing, swellings in his limbs, loathsome ulcers within and without "breeding lice and worms; violent torments and convulsions, so that he “ endeavoured to put an end to himself but was restrained by his attend+ 66 ants." "It was said also," says Josephus, " by those who pretended to "divine, and who were endued with wisdom to foretel such things, that God inflicted this punishment on the King on account of his great " impiety."
2 Mosheim Ecc. Hist. vol. i. ch. 2.
and Trachonitis and Ituræa to Philip. This partition was afterwards confirmed by Casar, who conferred the Title of Ethnarch on Archelaus, and that of Tetrarch on each of his brothers. Archelaus therefore entered into his Government at once, under very unfavourable auspices; so unpopular was he, that a Deputation of his subjects was sent to Rome to petition against his accession to the Throne; in this they failed, and their expectations were wholly disappointed, and for which they were afterwards made to suffer. 1 At this time (A. D. 4) Joseph and Mary returned from Egypt with the Infant Saviour, and hearing that Archelaus reigned, apprehended from his general character that it was unsafe to enter Judea, and turning aside they went into Galilee. 2 His tyranny and rapaciousness at length became insupportable, upon which a second embassy was sent to Rome, in consequence of which he was deposed by Augustus, and banished to Vienne, in Gaul, having reigned nearly ten years. Upon this, Idumæa, Judea, and Samaria, were added to the Province of Syria, of which Cyrenius, or rather Quirinius, was made Governor
1 This mode of Tributary Kings going to the countries of supreme government to receive their kingdoms is perfectly consonant with the customs of those times. Herod went to Rome when Anthony bestowed upon him the dominion of Judea; he went a second time to have the same confirmed when Augustus came to the throne. Our Saviour plainly alludes to this particular case of Archelaus, when he says, "A certain nobleman went into "a far country to take unto him a kingdom and to return, but his citizens "hated him, and sent messengers after him, saying, we will not have this man to reign over us; and it came to pass, that when he was returned having received the kingdom, that he commanded these servants to be ❝ called unto him, and said, those mine enemies who would not that I * should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me."-Luke xix. 12, 14, 15, 27.
2 Matthew ii. 3.
Governour. Judea was from this time governed by a Roman Procurator, whose power extended greatly beyond that commonly invested in those of that distinction, from the consideration of the rebellious spirit of the Jews, and their distance from the seat of Government. Judea being thus reduced to a Roman province, a tax was levied upon it, and Cyrenius deputed to see the execution of it; this caused a considerable ferment in the Kingdom, and laid the foundation of that animosity between the People and the Romans, which only terminated in the ruin of the former.
Pontius Pilate was the fifth Procurator of Judea; he was appointed A. D. 12, under Tiberius, and rendered his administration notorious by rapine and tyranny, but more for the condemnation and crucifixion of Christ. He was deprived by Caligula, A. D. 35; soon after which, his wickedness, and the consciousness of his accumulated sins, are supposed to have driven him to the excess of despair, in which he put a period to his existence. 1
Herod-Antipas continued in the Government of his Tetrarchy during the whole time of the ministry of Christ. It was to him that Pilate sent Christ, when
1 Philo says, "His whole Administration was one continued scene of "venal justice, rapine, tyranny, and every wicked action; of racking and "putting men to death untried and uncondemned; and of every kind of savage cruelty."
Legat. ad Caium.
"Nor ought it to be passed over in silence," says Eusebius, "Pilate himself, who condemned our Saviour to death, fell into fresh "calamities in the reign of Caius, that he became his own executioner, the " Divine vengeance overtaking him not long after his crime.”—Ecc. Hist. ii. 7.
"he expected to have seen some miracle done by him," in consequence of which a reconciliation took place, between these avowed enemies. 1 He married the infamous Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, while he was living; and being reproved by John the Baptist for the crime; at her instigation "added his death to all the evils which he had done." 2 He was defeated in battle by Aretas, King of Arabia, the father of Herodias, and afterwards had his dominions taken from him, and banished with her to Lyons, in Gaul, by the Emperour Caius, A. D. 38.
Herod-Philip, the last of the immediate family of Herod the Great, continued Tetrarch of Trachonitis for thirty-seven years, when he died about the time of Christ's crucifixion. He was, without exception, the best of all the posterity of Herod; a man of great moderation and simplicity, and an active administrator of public justice. As he died without issue, his dominions were annexed to Syria. At his death the numerous family of Herod became extinct. The hand of Providence was here visible, cutting off, in less than a century,
1 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. Luke xxiii. 12.
The cause of this enmity was owing to Pilate having intermeddled with Herod's jurisdiction and slain some of his subject (Luke xiii. 1.) "There"fore when Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a "Galilean; and as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's juris"diction, he sent him to Herod, who himself was at Jerusalem at that "time." Luke xxiii. 6, 7.
2 Luke iii. 19, 20.
For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife; for John said unto him, it is not lawful for thee to have her. Matt. xiv. 3 and 4. Vide also
verses 5, 11.