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People: Herod the Great

Herod the Great

King over Judea at the time of Jesus' birth. 

Background

Herod the Great ruled Judea 37-4 B.C.E. He was a superb military leader who secured control of the region in cooperation with Rome. Known for his extensive building projects, Herod completely remodeled the Jerusalem temple; designed Caesarea and other cities; and built palaces at Jerusalem, Masada, and elsewhere. Herod ruled at the time of Jesus' birth. In the second chapter of Matthew's Gospel, Herod orders children massacred in and around Bethlehem, giving occasion for Joseph, Mary, and the infant Jesus to flee to Egypt until Herod's death.

AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus