THE BACKGROUND OF JESUS' CHILDHOOD AND YOUNG MANHOOD
The Short Reign of Archelaus . At his death Herod the Great left his kingly title to his son, Archelaus. Archelaus, however, showed himself so tyrannical and tactless in dealing with the Jews that Augustus did not confirm his title to the kingship, but instead made him ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea. During his tumultuous reign of ten years he developed the fertile plains about Jericho by means of aqueducts, which brought water for irrigation from the western hills, and also built the city of Archelais on the western side of the Jordan valley, not far from the Maccabean castle of Alexandrium. His rule in the end proved so hateful to the Jews that they sent a deputation of their leading men to Rome to present charges against him. As a result, Archelaus was banished.
The Roman Province of Judea. Inasmuch as Judea was one of the border provinces and had repeatedly proved itself turbulent and rebellious, it was placed under the immediate direction of the emperor and was ruled by a procurator of equestrian rank. The duties of the procurator were primarily to maintain order, to direct the collection of taxes, and decide the more important legal questions. He alone could inflict capital punishment, and to him or his representatives were naturally referred all cases in which Roman citizens were involved. Otherwise, in Judea the administration of the civil as well as of the ceremonial laws was in charge of the Jewish courts, at the head of which stood the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem.