My Origins & Background
I, Herod Antipater the great king of Judea, was born on 73 BCE as the second son of Antipater the Idumean and Cyprus.
As you’ve noticed, I have non-Jewish origins; my father was an Edomite who then converted to Judaism & my mother was the daughter of an Arabian sheik; hence, I was known as the first non-Jewish king who ruled over Jewish people!!
My father was a man of great wealth & influence; he supported the Roman general “Pompey” when he invaded Jerusalem, and his cooperation with the Romans extended when there was a civil war between “Pompey” & “Julius Caesar“, showing complete loyalty to the latter who won the war. As a reward, Julius Caesar appointed my father as
a procurator of Judaea and conferred on him Roman citizenship.
On the Same year my father appointed my brother as a governor of Jerusalem. At the age of 25, I was appointed me as the governor of Galilee. Years later; Caesar was murdered and the new leaders in Rome were Caesar’s nephew, Octavian, and Caesar’s powerful second-in-command, Mark Antony. Shortly after these changes my father was killed,
but I managed – with Roman help – to catch and kill my father’s murderer.
My Path Towards Authority
My thirst for power & authority was so unquenched that I could do anything … anything to overcome whatever obstacles that would come to my way, never forgetting the lesson my father has taught me: to always show my loyalty to the Romans as they’re my gate to the throne. As I was not satisfied by just being the governor of Galilee, my first attempt was to convince Mark Antony to grant me the title of tetrarch of Galilee, and I managed to persuade him to do so.
Later on, a civil war in Rome broke out and the Parthians (enemies of Rome) took the advantage of this political unrest & invaded Jerusalem as an opposition to the Roman authorities. I, then, had to flee to Rome, and it was an opportunity to get closer to Octavian, who became the great emperor of Rome, known later as: ” Augustus Caesar; who was also smart enough to affirm that I’m the only man who could rule Jerusalem as he wanted it to be ruled in order to regain the power over this region; therefore,
he nominated me as the next king of Judea.
I had to accomplish many achievements as a king in order to solidify my power & reign over my subjects: the Jews…I was called Herod the Great due to my remarkable constructional and Architectural achievements. My building program included theaters, amphitheaters, port, markets, temples, housing, palaces, walls around Jerusalem, aqueducts and the largest artificial harbor in the Mediterranean area
My Dark Side & Brutality
I have to confess that I saw that my value and importance could only be found in authority and ruling over people. This gave me the sense of power and security for which I’ve always been seeking but was never found! I was never at rest as I always had to bluff people in order to attain my goals; even my marriages, I had 10 wives, most were chosen for political purposes, and all were unhappy. By the time I became the king of Judea, I had to protect my throne and my power with a clinched fist. My skepticism against plotters and envious people, including my wives and sons, has increased to the extent that it has turned me into a brutal and vicious person.
Once I became the king, I divorced my first wife, Doris, and casted away our son with her in order to marry my second wife, Mariamne, whom I’ve truly loved. But this love didn’t last as I’ve always smelled treachery in the air of my Kingdom. Insecurity, anxiety and suspicious has acutely increased in my mind to an extent that I’ve executed my beloved second wife with many members in her family along with our 2 sons, and shortly before my death, I executed my firstborn son from my first wife.
My cruelty & ruthlessness, even over my family, caused the emperor Augustus to mock me saying that: “It is better to be Herod’s pig (hus) than his son (huios)”.
This bloodshed has reached its peak when I heard that there was a newly born baby named “Jesus” whom those astrologers from the east have called Him the “new born King”!!. This word “a king” had made me so furious and frightened: my earthly throne was threatened by the divine & heavenly throne. Who is king other than me? No one has the right to be a king other than myself. I’ve achieved a lot and had to kill so many in order to preserve my monarchy, and I’m even willing to kill more and more.. I’ll not let anyone stand before my throne; I’ll tread over whoever comes in my way.
I’ve ordered the slaughter of all the boys who were two years old and under in Bethlehem right away, hoping that this new baby Jesus would be killed. And what a great massacre it was. They’ve called it: “The massacre of the innocents”. The mourning and weeping of their mothers would not stop the swords of the soldiers who were ordered to kill in
a ruthlessly; otherwise they’d be killed.
My Bleak Days & Bitter End
Shortly after this bloody incident, I suffered from many diseases – psychologically
& physiologically. I was in great pain and in mental and physical disorder. I was diagnosed to be suffering from the following diseases:
” Fever, though not a raging fever, an intolerable itching of the whole skin, continuous pains in the intestines, tumors of the feet as in dropsy, inflammation of the abdomen, asthma, limb convulsions, difficulty & foul breathing, and gangrene of genitalia that engendered worms”.
I was so concerned that no one would mourn my death. I commanded that a large group of distinguished men to be caught and killed after my death so that people would grieve instead of relieving after my death. Fortunately for them, my son Archelaus and sister Salome did not carry out my wish!!
The pain of my illness made me attempt to stab myself, but I as seen and prevented by my cousin, but later on I was able to committ suicide.
I reigned for 37 years. My kingdom was divided by the Romans among my three sons.
As you’ve noticed, I’ve lost everything due to my uncontrolled passion towards power and authority: lost my family; my beloved ones; my peace of mind and heart; I even lost my health and my life at the end; all for the sake of a throne that I could not take along with me upon my death.
If I were to live again, I would have tried to find my value and security in God’s love for me; I’d have tried to be satisfied with everything He has given me; I’d have thanked Him for my wife and my son; I’d have stopped scheming and bluffing others to get what I want; I’d have only asked His will for my life and would have put all my passion and ambition in His hands to help me do everything only for His glory.
I’ve literally destroyed everything I’ve built and tried to accomplish with my arrogance, lofty and unruly behavior. My pride has blinded me: I should have noticed how God –
The Almighty – has come to our world as a poor and humble man in order to save us from our poisonous pride and self-centeredness. I wish I had the opportunity you’re having now. But I’ve lost it all.
Now, will you accept the love of Jesus to fill your cold heart, the peace of Jesus to control your anxious mind, and the humility of Jesus to dominate over your destroyed self ?
The decision is all yours!
But remember, you still have the opportunity. Seize it … Earn it… Never lose it as long as you’re still breathing!