King Herod the Great was a controversial figure in his time. He was known for his military skill and cruel treatment of his enemies. In recent years, he has been the subject of a new study that seeks to determine the cause of his death. The study’s findings suggest that Herod died from a rare infection that causes gangrene of the genitals and chronic kidney disease. If it’s true, this would be the first time that historical records have confirmed Herod’s cause of death.  

Who was Herod the Great in the Bible?

Herod the Great, also known as Herod, the Elder, was a king of Judea who ruled during the time of the Roman Empire. He was born around 74 BCE and died in 4 BCE. He was not actually from Judea, as he was born in Idumea, located in the south of Judea. However, he eventually inherited the throne of Judea from his father, whom the Romans had appointed. He also became a client king of Rome, which means that while he technically ruled Judea independently, he was greatly influenced by Rome. 

In addition, Herod is best known for his brutal and authoritarian rule and his role in the events surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. In an attempt to eliminate the infant Jesus, he ordered the killing of all male children ages two years old and younger in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). However, Christ’s mother, Mary, and father, Joseph, were warned by an angel in a dream about Herod’s plan, so they were able to escape to Egypt before Herod’s men could reach them (Matthew 2:13-14). 

Despite his cruelty, Herod was considered an effective ruler by his contemporaries and later historians. He undertook numerous building projects during his reign, including expanding the Temple in Jerusalem. He also built several fortresses, roads, and aqueducts. These accomplishments increased his popularity among the people of Judea. However, his authoritarian rule ultimately led to his downfall. He lost the support of the people and the Roman authorities after ordering the massacre of some prominent citizens in Jerusalem. A few years later, in 4 BCE, Herod passed away.

What was Herod the Great known for?

Herod the Great was known for uniting Rome’s influence over Judaea and encouraging the Hellenization of the region. Many construction projects marked Herod’s reign. These projects included expanding the port city of Caesarea, constructing Sebaste on top of ancient Samaria, and rebuilding Jerusalem’s temple. Herod was also a great patron of the arts, and his court was famous for its luxury and decadence. However, Herod’s reign was widely criticized for his willingness to use violence to achieve his goals. Despite this, Herod remains one of the most significant figures in Jewish history.

What did Herod the Great do to Jesus?

Herod the Great was a controversial figure in his time and history. He is best known in the Bible for his role leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. The Bible says that Herod killed all of Bethlehem’s infants in an attempt to kill Jesus, who was born there. This tragic event is called the “Massacre of the Innocents.” Historians and theologians have different interpretations of what this event means. Some see it as an inhumane act of a despotic ruler. In contrast, others see it as an example of Herod’s fear and insecurity. Regardless of how it is interpreted, the Massacre of the Innocents is a vital part of Herod’s legacy.

How did Herod become “king of the Jews”?

In 40 BCE, the Roman senate named Herod “King of the Jews,” but there was already a Jewish king, Antigonus of the Hasmonean family. Herod was only “part-Jewish,” his father converted to Judaism, and his mother was a Nabatean Arab princess. Antigonus, backed by the Parthians, seized Jerusalem just before Herod’s coronation in Rome, forcing him to flee. With all of his army, friends, family, and good fortune gone, Herod looked to the Romans for help, and the Romans were looking for a strong leader to reconquer Israel and match the threat of the Parthians. Thus, Herod became the king of the Jews because of the support of both the Roman empire and the Jewish people. Herod’s first act as a king was to go to Rome and pledge allegiance to Jupiter. This nourished his loyalty to Rome and gained them favor.

Was Herod a good or a bad “king of the Jews”?

Both his contemporaries and later historians considered Herod, a good king. He undertook numerous building projects during his reign, including expanding the Temple in Jerusalem. He also built several fortresses, roads, and aqueducts. These accomplishments increased his popularity among the people of Judea. However, his authoritarian rule ultimately led to his downfall; after ordering the massacre of some prominent citizens in Jerusalem, he lost the support of both the people and the Roman authorities.

How Jewish Was Herod?

Herod was born into an Idumaean family, meaning his ancestors were not originally from Judea. However, his family had converted to Judaism, and he saw himself as a loyal Jew. He strictly observed Jewish law and even built a temple in Jerusalem. Herod also married Jewish women and named his sons after famous Jews from the Bible.

Despite all this, some people still question how Jewish Herod was. One reason for this is that he did not always follow the letter of the law. For example, Herod once ordered the execution of a prominent rabbi even though it was against Jewish law. And while he built a temple in Jerusalem, some believe he did it more for political reasons than religious ones. Nonetheless, he was deeply connected to the Jewish religion and culture.

How many Herods are there in the Bible?

There are a total of six Herods mentioned in the Bible, although not all of them are given equal attention. Herod the Great receives the most mentions, possibly because of his role in the Nativity story. He is also responsible for killing several babies to prevent the fulfillment of a prophecy. On the other hand, Herod Archelaus is notable for being the ruler who forced Joseph and Mary to move from Nazareth to Bethlehem. And Herod Antipas is infamous for his role in the death of John the Baptist. The other three Herods, Philip, Agrippa I, and Agrippa II, are mentioned less often. However, they still play essential roles in biblical narratives. Taken together, these six men provide a glimpse into the violent world in the first century of Judea.

Is Herod a Hebrew name?

Herod is a Greek name with the elements “heros” (heroes) and “oides” (ode, song), which originated from two ancient Greek words that mean “welcoming song.” Herod the Great is most remembered for his massive building projects. He expanded the Second Temple in Jerusalem and built cities, roads, and fortresses throughout his kingdom. Even though Herod was not ethnically Hebrew, he was deeply respected by the Jewish people for his commitment to their religion and culture. Indeed, Herod is known for his connections to both the Greeks and the Jews.

Why did King Herod execute his wife?

King Herod was a paranoid and jealous man. He ultimately killed his wife, Mariamne, because he feared she would betray him. Herod was also suspicious that Mariamne had been unfaithful. His paranoia led him to believe she was plotting against him. While there is no direct evidence to support these claims, Herod’s actions suggest that he was deeply insecure in his relationship with Mariamne. Thus, Herod decided to have Mariamne executed to remove any perceived threat to his power.


Herod the Great is widely regarded as one of the most influential figures in the entirety of Jewish history. His reign was marked by major political and religious changes that had a lasting impact on the Jews. Herod was a skilled politician, a great military leader, and a dictator. He ruthlessly crushed any opposition to his rule, and his reign was characterized by violence and repression. Nevertheless, Herod was also responsible for some of the most impressive building projects in Jewish history, including constructing the Temple in Jerusalem. Herod’s reign left a lasting mark on the Jews, and the lessons from his life are still relevant today.


Sarah Goodwin

A passionate Christian and Bible enthusiast, I find joy in delving deep into Scripture and sharing its timeless wisdom with my readers. Through words, I aspire to illuminate the profound lessons the Bible offers, hoping to inspire faith and purpose in every heart. Join me on a journey of biblical exploration and spiritual growth.Enter your text here...

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