The Herods were a ruling dynasty back in the first century AD in Judea when Jesus was teaching. They were granted absolute power by the Roman Empire over all of Judea, so what they said was law. In all, we meet six of them in the Bible. For great reads, go HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE
Herod the Great ruled when Jesus was born. He’s the one we read about in Matthew 2 when Jesus is born. He’s one who tries to find Jesus’s location from the Magi and orders all baby boys slaughtered in an effort to kill Jesus. He murdered his own sons when he thought they wanted his throne. So one evil guy. It is believed that he had a disease his final years that affected his brain and led to some of these heinous acts.
Herod the tetrarch or Herod Antipas was a son of Herod the Great. He took over the rule of Judea when his father died. Herod imprisoned John the Baptist because he dared to speak against him. He later had him beheaded as we read in Matthew 14.
Herod knew who Jesus was, but let Pilate deal with him.
Herod Agrippa I was Herod the tetrarch’s son. He ruled after his father when the early church was growing. He executed James and arrested Peter. When Peter escaped, he killed the guards (Acts 12). He died because he did not give praise to God (Acts 12:23).
The Herods, through political acumen and savvy, help the peace of Jerusalem during Jesus’s time there and during the days of the early church before Rome and the Jews clashed. This was,indeed, God’s plan.
The Zondervan Illustrated Bible Dictionary has many pages on this family that is fascinating to read. Order if interested today!
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