Herod the Great

Herod the Great

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

During his 41 years as sovereign of Judea, Herod the Great became known as a builder. His legacy included a fabulous palace, fortresses, theaters, and other public buildings, including the temple in Jerusalem. Born in 73 BC, Herod was not a Jew but an Idumean. He was a close friend of many leaders in Rome. These connections helped him gain power but made him hated by many Jews.

Herod also was feared. He could be ruthless and cunning. Often driven by jealousy, he arranged for the murder of one of his wives and several family members. Of Herod, Caesar Augustus said, “I’d rather be his pig than his son.”

This is the man whom the magi visited who directed them to go to Bethlehem to find the “king of the Jews” (v. 2). He lashed out when the magi did not tell him the location of this king and slaughtered all the male children near Bethlehem. Joseph fled with Mary and baby Jesus into Egypt to escape from him.

Today, the lands Herod governed (modern-day Israel and Palestine) are the center of frequent unrest. Some, like Herod, think that the solution is through power or military might. But the only real answer is the Baby who was born when Herod was king – Jesus, the Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace” (Isaiah 9:6-7).