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Herod Archelaus

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Herod Archelaus (23 BC – c. 18 AD) was the ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Edom from 4 BC to 6 AD. He was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, the brother of Herod Antipas, and the half-brother of Herod Philip I.

Archelaus received the kingdom of Judea by the last will of his father, though a previous will had bequeathed it to his brother Antipas. He was proclaimed king by the army, but declined to assume the title until he had submitted his claims to Caesar Augustus in Rome. Before setting out, he quelled with the utmost cruelty a sedition of the Pharisees, slaying nearly three thousand of them. In Rome he was opposed by Antipas and by many of the Jews, who feared his cruelty; but in 4 BC Augustus allotted to him the greater part of the kingdom (Samaria, Judea, and Idumea) with the title of ethnarch until 6 AD when Judaea was brought under direct Roman rule (see Census of Quirinius).

The first wife of Archelaus is given by Josephus simply as Mariamne,[1] perhaps Mariamne III (Mariamne bint Aristobulus), whom he divorced to marry Glaphyra. She was the widow of Archelaus' brother Alexander, though her second husband, Juba, king of Mauretania, was alive. This violation of the Mosaic law along with Archelaus' continued cruelty roused the ire of the Jews, who complained to Augustus. Archelaus was deposed in the year 6 and banished to Vienne in Gaul; Samaria, Judea, and Idumea became the Roman province of Iudaea.

In the Bible, Archelaus is mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew. According to Matthew 2:13-23, Joseph, Mary and Jesus fled to Egypt to avoid the Massacre of the Innocents. When Herod the Great died, Joseph was told by an angel in a dream to return to Israel (presumably to Bethlehem). However, upon hearing that Archelaus had succeeded his father as ruler of Judaea he "was afraid to go thither" (Matthew 2:22), and was again notified in a dream to go to Galilee. This is Matthew's explanation of why Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea but grew up in Nazareth.

The beginning and conclusion of Christ's Parable of the minas in the Gospel of Luke may refer to Archelaus's journey to Rome, in that Jesus' parables and preaching often made use of events familiar to the people as examples for bringing his spiritual lessons to life:

"A nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and then return…But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.'… 'But as for these enemies of mine,' [said the nobleman] 'who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.'" (Luke 19:12, 19:14, 19:27)

References


This article incorporates text from the public domain 1907 edition of The Nuttall Encyclopædia.

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Herod Archelaus
Died: 18 CE
Preceded by
Herod I
Ethnarch of Judaea
4 BC–6 CE
Vacant
Direct Roman
control
Title next held by
Agrippa I


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