by Clarence E. Macartney

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Mortal Error, Immortal Truth - Herod the Great (3 of 12)
Series: Great Characters of the Bible
Clarence E. Macartney
Matthew 2:19

When Herod was dead!'' Literally, ''When Herod was ended.'' That is the only good thing about bad men- finally, they die; they are ended.

The Bible is a book of powerful contrasts. Its characters stand up against one another in overwhelming comparison: Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Pharaoh and Moses, Elijah and Jezebel, John the Baptist and Herod Antipas, Judas and John, Paul and Nero; and here, the two kings of the Jews-Herod the Great and Jesus.

Whatever else Herod was great at, he was certainly great at murder. Few have surpassed him in that art. He murdered three of his sons, Alexander, Aristobulus and Antipater, giving the order for the murder of the third son when he himself lay groaning on his deathbed. He drowned Aristobulus, the high priest, and brother of his queen. He strangled that queen, the beautiful Mariamne, the crime for which he suffered such tortures of remorse. These are only a few of the crimes and bloody deeds of this wicked man who was king of the Jews when Jesus was born.

Smitten with incurable suspicion and jealousy, Herod at length developed an incurable disease. When death was drawing nigh, Herod, lying in misery in his ivory palace at Jericho, realized that the people would rejoice when they heard the king was dead. He gave orders, therefore, for the representatives of the chief families of the land to be shut up in the Hippodrome. And the moment the breath left his body, they were to be put to death so that there might be mourning in the land when he expired.

Such a person was Herod the Great, he who had heard with anxiety the message of the wise men from the East, that they had come to worship the newborn king of the Jews. Their inquiry made Herod a student of the Old Testament and he inquired of his own wise men where Christ was to be born. When he learned that He was to be born in Bethl ...

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