Eyewitness to Christmas: King Herod Dies

King Herod was a cruel and mean man, slaughtering many, included all the male children under the age of two.

After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”  {Matthew 2:19-20}

Herod the Great bust

“This event was the signal for the return to Judea. He died in the spring of the year 750 after the building of Rome, just before the passover. This would place his death nearly four years before the Christian era, the date from which we reckon our time. That was not fixed upon until five hundred years after the birth of Christ, and was fixed erroneously.”  {Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament}

Herod has died.

“He died in the thirty-seventh year of his reign and the seventieth of his life. A frightful inward burning consumed him, and the stench of his sickness was such that his attendants could not stay near him. So horrible was his condition that he even endeavored to end it by suicide.”  {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels}

An angel appears to Joseph in Egypt and tells him Herod has died. It is now safe for the young Jesus to return to the land of Israel.

“Notice that Joseph is not required to return to Bethlehem or to Judea, but simply to the land of Israel.”   {Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament}

He returned to the land of Israel to discover that Herod had indeed died and been succeeded by his son Herod the Archaelaus. After Herod the Great’s death, his kingdom was divided into thirds, each ruled by one of his sons.

“After a reign of nine years, Archelaus was banished to Vienne, in Gaul, where he died in a.d. 6. After him Judæa had no more native kings, and the scepter was clean departed from Judah. The land became a Roman province, and its governors.” {The Fourfold Gospel: or A Harmony of the Four Gospels}

Now that King Herod the Great is dead is the reign of terror over?

The narrative of the Herod’s has not ended yet. Next time we will look at how Herod Antipas has an impact on the life of Jesus and his cousin, John the Baptist.

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