“Herod” is the name for multiple Biblical rulers. Herod the Great slaughtered the male children after the Magi’s visit in hopes of killing Jesus (Matthew 2:16). One of Herod the Great’s sons was Herod Antipas who, after Herod the Great’s death, ruled one-fourth of his father’s kingdom which gave him the descriptive title, Tetrarch (one who governs a kingdom’s fourth; this fourth included Galilee). His marriage to his brother’s wife, Herodias, ultimately resulted in John the Baptist’s beheading. Herod Archelaus, another son of Herod the Great, ruled Judea after his father’s death. Herod Archelaus ruled with such cruelty that Joseph and Mary feared returning to Judea from Egypt, and instead they settled in Galilee (Matthew 2:22). Since Herod Antipas ruled Galilee where Jesus had been most active, he was the Herod to whom Pilate sent Jesus during Jesus’ trial. Herod Agrippa I was the grandson of Herod the Great; he persecuted the Church in Jerusalem and killed James, the first martyred apostle. Herod Agrippa’s gruesome death is described in Acts 12:23. His son, Herod Agrippa II, saved Paul from possible death at the hands of the Jewish rulers (Acts 25:13 - 26:32).
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~Dr. Gil Haas, Saint Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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