Ancient coin with
the likeness of Herod


HEROD was not a personal name, but the family surname. It belonged to all the generations of the Herodian house. Much confusion has arisen because this simple fact has not been understood.

HEROD THE GREAT was born in 72 BC and died in 1 BC. He bore the titles of "Herod the King" and "King of Judea". Herod the Great was greatly stirred when the Magi announced the birth of some great king in his kingdom.

The slaughter of all the children in Bethlehem was not out of character for him, as he had murdered many in his own household in order to make his position secure. Before his death he had all the prominent Jews in his territory arrested and put into the hippodrone at Jericho, with instructions to kill them upon his own death.

Herod ruled from around 37 BC until his death in 1 BC. This is the HEROD who was on the scene at the time of the birth of Jesus.

ARCHELAUS was the eldest son of Herod the Great. This Herod ruled after his father died and is only mentioned once in the biblical account. In the gospel of Matthew it is recorded that after Joseph had been told that Herod was dead and that he could return home he learned that Archelaus was now ruling over Judea and was afraid. Joseph was warned in a dream not to return to Judea, and so he settled his family in Galilee. So Jesus was born in Bethlehem but grew up in Galilee.

HEROD ANTIPAS was married to the daughter of King Aretas of Arabia: then took Herodias, his half brothers wife, as his own. John the Baptist called upon Herod Antipas to repent of this sinful act. This resulted in the arrest of John the Baptist, and finally his beheading. Herod Antipas was the one that Pontius Pilot sent Jesus to see when he learned that Jesus was from Nazareth, which was in the region that Herod Antipas ruled. Herod Antipas ruled until around 40 AD.

Philip, the half brother of Herod (Antipas), was ruler of the region of Ituraea. He was the only decent ruler from the line of Herod. He was known for his moderation and his justice. This was the ruler whose wife was stolen by Herod Antipas.

HEROD AGRIPPA or AGRIPPA 1 dethroned Herod Antipas and ruled for about 3 years from 41 AD to 44 AD. Herod Agrippa was the king that killed James the apostle and brother of John. When he saw how this pleased the Jews he had Peter arrested also. An angel delivered Peter from the prison of Herod Agrippa and certain death. You can read about this in the book of the Acts 12: 1-3.

HEROD AGRIPPA or AGRIPPA 2 was the son of Agrippa 1 and was put in charge of a region north of Judea. This is the Herod that was present during one of the trials of the Apostle Paul. You can read about this in Acts chapter 25 and 26. This is the Herod who told the Apostle Paul," You have almost persuaded me to become a Christian."

Summary of the Herods

Herod the Great - Met with the Wise men from the east. Killed all the babies under 2 years old in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill Jesus.

Archelaus - Ruled after Herod the Great. This caused Joseph to relocate to Galilee instead of Bethlehem.

Herod Antipas - Beheaded John the Baptist.

Herod Agrippa 1 - Killed the Apostle James and arrested Peter.

Herod Agrippa 2 - Present during one of the trials of the Apostle Paul