The Herod dynasty consisted of several Idumean (or Edomite) rulers appointed by the Roman Empire to oversee Israel just before, during, and after Jesus' time on earth.
Who are all the Herods in the Bible?
Herod the Great was the first and probably the most well-known of the Herods. When the wise men coming to worship Jesus stopped to see him, Herod was threatened by talk of a new king and ordered the killing of all male babies in the area (Matthew 2). Herod the Great, sometimes known as Herod the Ascalonite, got his command because his father Antipater was a friend of King Hyrcanus.
Herod divided his rule into fourths, and approved by the Roman senate, granted a part to each of his sons. One son, Herod Antipas, is referred in Matthew 14:1 and Luke 3:1 as Herod the tetrarch. He ruled the area of Galilee, had John the Baptist beheaded (Matthew 14:1–11) and was part of Jesus' pre-crucifixion trials (Luke 23:6–16).
Later, James, a son of Zebedee and the brother of John, became the first apostle martyred. It was Herod the Great's grandson, Herod Agrippa, who was responsible (Acts 12). Herod Agrippa persecuted the church. Two of his daughters, Bernice and Drusilla, are mentioned in Acts 24 and 25.
Herod Agrippa's son, Herod Agrippa II is also part of the biblical story. This king listened to Paul while Paul was imprisoned (Acts 26) and declared that Paul had done nothing wrong (Acts 26:31–32) and could be freed except that Paul had appealed to Caesar and must be sent to Rome.
Agrippa II is the last Herod to rule, as the family had fallen out of favor with Rome.
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