Partisans of Herod Antipas, Mt 22:16; Mr 3:6. Herod was dependent on the Roman power, and his adherents on the Roman power, and his adherents therefore maintained the propriety of paying tribute to Caesar, which the Pharisees denied. This explains Mt 22:16.
a Jewish political party who sympathized with (Mr 3:6; 12:13) the Herodian rulers in their general policy of government, and in the social customs which they introduced from Rome. They were at one with the Sadducees in holding the duty of submission to Rome, and of supporting the Herods on the throne. (Comp. Mr 8:15; Mt 16:6.)
Mt 22:15, etc.; Mr 12:13, etc. Upholders of the Herodian dynasty, regarding it as the safeguard against direct pagan rule which the Jews loathed, and also as the best compromise between the ancient faith and pagan civilization. Hence they were said to look upon Herod the Great, Antipus, and Agrippa successively as Messiah. Thus, the Herod's were forerunners of the coming antichrist, and like the Old Testament antichrist, Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 8,11), they paved the way to apostasy by an introduction of Greek refinements, theaters, etc., and a blending of honours to pagan gods along with the recognition of Jehovah and the law. (See HEROD above, and 1Ma 1:10-16). A falsely presumed political necessity was their plea for supporting the Herod's, however unfaithful to God, and even for supporting the Roman government, in so far as the Herodian dynasty leant on it.
Thus on the side of maintaining the Jewish polity they coincided with the Pharisees; on the side of their lax and scarcely orthodox views and means for maintaining it, they had common ground with the Sadducees. Hence what is termed "the leaven of Herod" (Mr 8:15) is "the leaven of the Sadducees" (Mt 16:6). After Christ's miracle on the sabbath "the Pharisees went forth and straightway took counsel with the H. against Him how they might destroy Him" (Mr 3:6). The legal zealots joined with the Jewish politicians, adherents of the ruling dynasty, in getting rid of One who thwarted the views of both alike by setting up a spiritual kingdom adverse both to legalism and to the temporal kingdom of Herodianism.
The same coalition appears at the close of Christ's ministry: "the Pharisees sent unto Him their disciples with the Herod" as "spies, feigning themselves just men, that they might take hold of His words, that so they might deliver Him unto the power and authority of the governor" (Mt 22:15-16; Mr 12:13; Lu 20:20). With flattering words to Him as "not accepting the person of any" (by which compliment they "tempted" Him to pronounce against Caesar) they asked "Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar?" designing if He said "no" to give Him up to the Roman governor, if "yes" to stir up the people against Him as violating the law (De 17:15). "He perceived their craftiness, and said, Why tempt ye Me? show Me a penny."
Their acceptance of Caesar's currency showed they accepted as a fact Caesar's rule: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Man as made in the image of God owes himself to God (Ge 1:27; 9:6; Ac 17:29; Jas 3:9; Lu 15:8-9). Because Judah had not given herself to (God, she was now under Caesar. "Their question therefore was as if an adulterer were to ask, was it lawful for him to pay the penalty of his adultery" (Claudius).
2Ch 12:8; Jer 27:4-18; Ro 13:1; 1Pe 2:13-14; Joh 19:11. Obedience to Caesar is an application of the higher principle of obedience to God, from whom all power is; Christ's reply unites rather than separates the Christian's political and religious duties. Yet, such is man's perversity, they had the impudence soon after at Jesus' trial before Pilate to say, "We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a king" (Lu 23:2).
The name of a political party among the Jews, which derived its name from the support it gave to the dynasty of Herod. Perhaps they hoped for the restoration of the national kingdom under one of the sons of Herod. The Herodians appear in the Gospels on two occasions (Mr 3:6; Mt 22:16; Mr 12:13) as making common cause with the Pharisees against Jesus.
The name comes from Herod, and refers to those who took part with him and his successors in leavening the Jews with Grecian and Roman manners and licentiousness. In scepticism they sided with the Sadducees, but were strongly opposed to the Pharisees. This makes it the more striking that they should have united with the latter in endeavouring to entrap the Lord in His speech. Mt 22:16; Mr 3:6; 12:13. Their evil principles may well come under the term 'the leaven of Herod.' Mr 8:15.
ff.; Mark 12:13 ff. Canon Cook describes these persons as "that party among the Jews who were supporters of the Herodian family as the last hope of retaining for the Jews a fragment of national government, as distinguished from absolute dependence upon Rome as a province of the empire. Supporters of the family of Herod, who held their dominions by the grant of the Roman emperor, would be in favor of paying tribute to the supreme power.
HERODIANS, a sect among the Jews at the time of Jesus Christ, mentioned Mt 22:16; Mr 3:6; 8:15; 12:13; but passed over in silence both by Josephus and Philo. The critics and commentators on the New Testament are very much divided with regard to the Herodians; some making them to be a political party, and others a religious sect. The former opinion is favoured by the author of the Syriac version, who calls them the domestics of Herod; and also by Josephus's having passed them over in silence, though he professes to give an account of the several religious sects of the Jews. The latter opinion is countenanced by our Lord's caution against "the leaven of Herod," which implies that the Herodians were distinguished from the other Jews by some doctrinal tenets. M. Basnage supposes, that one thing meant by the leaven of the Herodians might be a conformity to Roman customs in some points which were forbidden the Jews: if this was the case, it is not strange that they are not mentioned by Josephus among the Jewish sects. St. Jerom, in his dialogue against the Luciferians, takes the name to have been given to such as owned Herod for the Messiah; and Tertullian, Epiphanius, Chrysostom, and Theophylact, among the ancients; and Grotius, and other moderns, are of the same sentiment. But the same St. Jerom, in his Comment on St. Matthew, treats this opinion as ridiculous; and indeed it must be highly improbable. He maintains that the Pharisees gave this appellation, by way of derision, to Herod's soldiers, who paid tribute to the Romans; agreeably to which the Syriac interpreters render the word by the domestics of Herod, that is, his courtiers. M. Simon, in his notes on the twenty-second chapter of St. Matthew, advances a more probable opinion. The name Herodian, he imagines to have been given to such as adhered to Herod's party and interest, and were for preserving the government in his family, about which there were, at that time, great divisions among the Jews. F. Hardouin will have the Herodians and Sadducees to have been the same; nor is it at all improbable that the Herodians were chiefly of the sect of the Sadducees; since that which is called by St. Mark "the leaven of Herod," is by St. Matthew styled "the leaven of the Sadducees."
2. Dr. Prideaux is of opinion that they derived their name from Herod the Great, and that they were distinguished from the other Jews by their concurrence with Herod's scheme of subjecting himself and his dominions to the Romans, and likewise by complying with many of their Heathen usages and customs. In their zeal for the Roman authority they were diametrically opposite to the Pharisees, who esteemed it unlawful to submit or pay taxes to the Roman emperor; an opinion which they grounded on their being forbidden by the law to set a stranger over them, who was not one of their own nation, as their king. The conjunction of the Herodians, therefore, with the Pharisees, against Christ, is a memorable proof of the keenness of their resentment and malice against him; especially when we consider that they united together in proposing to him an ensnaring question, on a subject which was the ground of their mutual dissension; namely, whether it was lawful to pay tribute to Caesar. And provided he answered in the negative, the Herodians would accuse him of treason against the state; and should he reply in the affirmative, the Pharisees were as ready to excite the people against him, as an enemy of their civil liberties and privileges. Herod had introduced several Heathen idolatrous usages; for, as Josephus says, he built a temple to Caesar, near the head of the river Jordan; he erected a magnificent theatre at Jerusalem, instituted Pagan games, and placed a golden eagle over the gate of the temple of Jehovah;
and he furnished the temples, which he reared in several places out of Judea, with images for idolatrous worship, in order to ingratiate himself with the emperor and the people of Rome; though to the Jews he pretended that he did it against his will, and in obedience to the imperial command. The Herodians probably complied with, acquiesced in, or approved these idolatrous usages. This symbolizing with idolatry upon views of interest and worldly policy, was probably that leaven of Herod, against which our Saviour cautioned his disciples.