Josephus and the Jews: The Religion and History of the Jews as Explained by Flavius Josephus

By F. J. Foakes-Jackson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
THE DESCENDANTS OF HEROD

(Archelaus -- Antipas -- and Agrippa I)

The Herodian family. -- Thanks to Josephus, we have a more complete record of the family of Herod than of almost any other in antiquity. The pedigree is prefaced by these words:

'I desire therefore to speak at some length about Herod and what happened to his family both because an account of them is suitable in the history, and also because it affords an example of God's providence. In this we have proof that in human affairs there is no stability except in piety. For within a century although Herod had many descendants all but a few had entirely disappeared.1

Importance of the descendants of Mariamne. -- As we know, Herod rested his claim to rule over the Jews on his marriage with Mariamne, the last survivor of the old priest-kings; and, although she and her two sons had been the victims of the jealousy of the tyrant, her descendants were regarded both by the Jews and the Romans as belonging to a class distinctly different from the rest of his numerous family. Nearly every petty king and prince around Palestine sought to marry some one sprung from Mariamne.2 So great, moreover, was the partiality of the Romans for what may be called the legitimate stock of Herod that the failure of their Jewish policy is in part due to their determination to secure the peace of Palestine by furthering the interests of this house.

____________________
1
Antiq. xviii. 5 (127-128).
2
See map and table annexed.

-139-

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