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Updated: Sep 30, 2021

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INTRODUCTION. Herod the Great was appointed King of Judea by the Romans and ruled from 37 B. C. to 4 B. C. He was an Idumean (an Edomite, a descendant of Esau). It was Herod the Great who ordered the slaughter of the innocent children of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth. He is mentioned in the New Testament only in Matthew 2 and Luke 1. He married ten times and had many children–the names of seven of the children are known in history.

Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman and one of his ten legal wives. At the death of his father, Herod Antipas was given

territory of Galilee and Perea to govern by the Romans and ruled from 4 B. C. to A. D. 39. Thus he was ruling at the time of Jesus' ministry and death. Herod Antipas divorced his first wife and married Herodias who was his niece as she was the daughter of one of his half-brothers. In addition Herodias had been married previously to another half-brother of Herod Antipas. John the Baptist condemned this unlawful and immoral marriage.

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