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Reference: Archelaus


ruler of the people, son of Herod the Great, by Malthace, a Samaritan woman. He was educated along with his brother Antipas at Rome. He inherited from his father a third part of his kingdom viz., Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, and hence is called "king" (Mt 2:22). It was for fear of him that Joseph and Mary turned aside on their way back from Egypt. Till a few days before his death Herod had named Antipas as his successor, but in his last moments he named Archelaus.

Illustration: Coin of Herod Archelaus

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Son of Herod the Great by Malthake, a Samaritan. Brought up at Rome with his brother Antipas. Originally Herod excluded him from any share in his dominions, because of his elder brother Antipater's accusations. But at Herod's death the kingdom, by a change in the will, was divided between his three sons, Antipus, Archelaus, and Philip. Archelaus received Idumea, Judaea, Samaria, and the cities Caesarea, Sebaste, Joppa, and Jerusalem, which yielded 600 talents income. Augustus refused him the title "king," and only allowed him the title "ethuarch"; but he had the reality of kingship (Mt 2:22), "did reign." For the short time only between his father's death and his going to Rome, to seek confirmation of the kingship from Augustus, had he the title. Josephus (Ant. 17:9, sec. 2) at this period calls him "king." How seemingly near to error, yet how accurately Matthew expresses himself.

In the tenth year of his reign (A.D. 6) his brothers and his subjects complained of his tyranny. So he was dethroned, and exiled to Vienne in Gaul, where he died; but Jerome says his sepulchre was near Bethlehem. When Joseph, at Herod's death, was about to return with the child Jesus from Egypt to the Holy Land, "he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea;" and "he was afraid to go thither" (Mt 2:22). Archelaus must therefore have given at the outset of his reign some notorious specimen of his cruelty. Josephus undesignedly supplies this confirmation of Scripture. One of Herod's last deeds was the putting Judas and Matthias to death for instigating young men to pull down a golden eagle set up contrary to Moses' law over the temple gate by Herod; at the Passover which succeeded Herod's death, before Archelaus had as yet the emperor's ratification of his accession, Archelaus, finding several commiserating the martyrs, caused his cavalry to inclose at the temple and slay 3,000 men.

The rest fled to the mountains; and all by Archelaus's command "left the feast, fearing lest something worse should ensue." A deputation of Jews in consequence went to Rome to beg Augustus not to ratify his appointment; but the emperor confirmed Herod's will (Ant. 17:9, sec. 3). That this cruel act was what made Joseph afraid of him is the more likely, as before his accession he had no public post whereby men might have known his character. Joseph turned to Galilee, where the less cruel brother Antipas reigned. The kingdom was originally designed for Antipas; its unexpected transference to Archelaus made Joseph change his direction. The fact of Joseph's fear is stated, the cause is not; but Archelaus's character otherwise known accounts for it. He wedded illegally his brother Alexander's former wife, Glaphyra, who had children by Alexander, thereby giving much offense to the Jews.

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Mt 2:22. See Herod, No. 2.

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Son of Herod the Great by Malthace, a Samaritan. He succeeded his father as Ethnarch of Idumea, Judaea, Samaria, and the maritime cities of Palestine. From his known oppressive character Joseph feared to bring back the infant Jesus into his territory, and turned aside to Galilee, which was under the jurisdiction of his brother Antipas. Mt 2:22. He reigned 10 years. Josephus relates that soon after his accession he put to death 3,000 Jews: eventually, for his tyranny to the Jews and the Samaritans he was deposed and banished to Vienne in Gaul.

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(prince of the people), son of Herod the Great by a Samaritan woman, Malthake, and, with his brother Antipas brought up at Rome. At the death of Herod (B.C. 4) his kingdom was divided between his three sons, Herod Antipas, Archelaus and Philip. Archelaus never properly bore the title of king,

Mt 2:22

but only that of ethnarch. In the tenth year of his reign, or the ninth according to Dion Cassius, i.e. A.D. 6, a complaint was preferred against him by his brothers and his subjects on the ground of his tyranny, in consequence of which he was banished to Vienne in Gaul, where he is generally said to have died.

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ARCHELAUS, son of Herod the Great, and Maltace, his fifth wife. Herod having put to death his sons Alexander, Aristobulus, and Antipater, and expunged out of his will Herod Antipas, whom he had declared king, he substituted Archelaus, and gave Antipas the title of tetrarch only. After the death of Herod, Archelaus ordered that king's will to be read, wherein he, Archelaus, was declared king, on condition that Augustus consented. Hereupon the assembly cried, "Long live king Archelaus!" and the soldiers promised the same fidelity to him as they had shown to his father. Archelaus buried his father magnificently, came to Jerusalem, and there mourned seven days, according to custom. He then gave a splendid entertainment to the people, went to the temple, harangued the multitude, promised them good treatment, and declared he would not assume the title of king till the emperor had confirmed it, A.M. 4001; B.C. 3. The people, notwithstanding, tumultuously demanded the execution of those who advised Herod to slay certain zealots, who had pulled down a golden eagle from one of the temple gates. They also required Archelaus to divest Joazar of the high priesthood; and they vehemently reproached the memory of the late king. Archelaus sent troops to suppress the mutineers, and killed near three thousand of them about the temple. After this he embarked at Caesarea for Rome, to procure from Augustus the confirmation of Herod's will. Antipas, his brother, went to Rome likewise, to dispute his title, pretending that Herod's first will should be preferred to his last, which he alleged to have been made by him when his understanding was not sound.

The two brothers, Archelaus and Antipas, procured able orators to display their pretensions before the emperor; and when they had done speaking, Archelaus threw himself at Augustus's feet. Augustus gently raised him, said he would do nothing contrary to Herod's intention or his interest, but refused to decide the affair at that time. Some time afterward, the Jews sent a solemn embassy to Rome, to desire Augustus would permit them to live according to their own laws, and on the footing of a Roman province, without being subject to kings of Herod's family, but only to the governors of Syria. Augustus heard them, and likewise heard Archelaus in reply; then broke up the assembly without declaring himself. After some days, he sent for Archelaus, gave him the title, not of king, but of ethnarch, with one moiety of the territories which his father Herod had enjoyed; promising him the crown likewise, if his good conduct deserved it. Archelaus returned to Judea, and, under pretence that he had countenanced the seditions against him, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood, and gave that dignity to his brother Eleazar. He governed Judea with so much violence, that, after seven years, the chiefs of the Samaritans and Jews accused him before Augustus. The emperor immediately sent for his agent at Rome, and without condescending to write to Archelaus he commanded the agent to depart instantly for Judea, and order Archelaus to Rome, to give an account of his conduct. On his arrival at Rome, the emperor called for his accusers, and permitted him to defend himself; which he did so insufficiently, that Augustus banished him to Vienne, in Gaul, where he continued in exile to the end of his life. See ANTIPAS.