Ancient History, History

Herod and the Magi

Herod the Great It is important to understand that Herod was not just "a king." He had been declared the "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate, a title which had been confirmed by Octavius Caesar when he became the First Man of Rome. Herod was an Idumean convert to Judaism who had ruled over… Continue reading Herod and the Magi

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Ancient History, Solomon: The Tarnished Crown

Yahweh’s HESED to Abishag the Shunammite

Three weeks ago, I began a teaching series at Bedford Road on Solomon: The Tarnished Crown. Yesterday, I taught on Adonijah, the son of David who attempted to usurp the throne from Solomon. There is never enough time to talk about all the people who pass through the biblical narrative. I would never finish a… Continue reading Yahweh’s HESED to Abishag the Shunammite

Ancient History

Herod – the End of His Life

Herod negotiated the complex relationship of the various Jewish groups, his Roman masters and the nations surrounding him with cunning, if not with ease. Herod’s cities and Temple complex attempted to bridge the gaps among these various groups, but there were simply too many moving parts and fissures appeared, especially among the rural Jews of… Continue reading Herod – the End of His Life

Ancient History

Herod and the Jews

Herod had seen the greatness of Rome. His sons were educated in Caesar’s household. His kingdom had a substantial, urban Gentile population which formed a substantial power block. Early in his reign, Herod even minted coins with Roman helmets on them, showing his reliance on (or at the very least, admiration of) the Roman system.… Continue reading Herod and the Jews

Ancient History

Herod’s Architectural Ambitions

Thanks to his partnership with Augustus Caesar, Herod became enormously wealthy. If Josephus is to believed, Herod’s wealth was truly staggering, and he put it to good use. In the broader world, he sponsored numerous buildings and improvements, and in one year even sponsored (and hosted) the Olympic Games at one of his new cities.… Continue reading Herod’s Architectural Ambitions

Alternate History, Ancient History

Herod and Rome

Rome’s influence over the Levant began in 63 BCE when the general Pompey intervened in a feud between two factions of Hasmonean kingdom. Pompey took Jerusalem, installed one of the leaders, Hyrcanus as ethnarch and appointed one of his allies, Antipater of Idumea, as epitropos or “regent” to oversee affairs. Antipater saw the region through… Continue reading Herod and Rome

Ancient History

Herod the Great, Introduction

Herod the Great looms over the story of Jesus’ birth in the Gospel of Matthew. He is a character judged more by popular impressions than by Scriptural revelation. For generations, that brief glimpse fueled all sorts of false perceptions and fictionalized narratives about Herod and his reign. In the past half century or so, archaeological… Continue reading Herod the Great, Introduction