Herodias sister of Mariamne III

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Herodias, look her up on Google images…this is the first image that comes up. It is almost impossible to find a decent representation of her without the head of John the Baptist. Yet, Josephus gives us a different side to her beside the evil she and her daughter have come to represent for over 2000 years.

Herodias was Mariamne III’s sister, also a granddaughter of Mariamne I and Herod the King and was kin to all the other Mariamnes in Josephus. Her father had been executed by her grandfather. Her other grandmother was Salome sister of Herod. She was a veteran of the harem wars and the “abuse of the virgins” trial along with her sister. If she hadn’t been cleared of the charge of un-virginity, she could never have been betrothed to Herod son of Mariamne II, daughter of Simon the High Priest.

But then, suddenly, Herodias, perhaps even still below the age of puberty” was on the outside looking in. Her mother-in-law was divorced by Herod for plotting against him and was thrown out of court and Herodias and her young husband with her. Her husband’s prophecy made in the Temple by Simon the High Priest and his alliance/betrothal to a granddaughter of Mariamne the Hasmonean queen was not fulfilled. There was no re-betrothal for either of them. When next heard from in Josephus Herodias has a grown daughter—unfortunately not a son—and was living in a palace in Caesarea and was still the wife of the same by-passed Herod. Continue reading “Herodias sister of Mariamne III”

Archelaus son of Malthace

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Herod Archelaus from Guillaume Rouille’s Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum (en.wikipedia.org). Archelaus was hated from the first moment and was only seventeen when he took over the kingdom. He killed three thousand Jews in the Temple and Jerusalem before he could even go to Rome to be ratified as king. Augustus Caesar did not allow him to be a king but he still honored Herod’s will by naming Archelaus as ethnarch and split the kingdom into pieces.

Matthew has Mary and her son visited by  “wise men” . Josephus for the same time frame tells of wise men who were early rabbi/teachers with Hasmonean names and a philosophy of martyrdom and rewards in Heaven…and it is just possible that Matthew wanted us to know that they supported Mary and her son….

And when (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped…[i]

This would have totally sent Herod into a tailspin and may have contributed to his killing the teachers and their young students and his deposing of Matthias the High Priest. It would make sense that Joseph wanted to stay out of Herod’s reach… Arise and take the young child and his mother and flee into Egypt…though I’m not convinced that they actually fled to Egypt. As I’ve try to show, the High Priest at the time was “Simon son of Boethus a priest of note from Egypt.”

And they were there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Matthew 2:12-15

Matthew was invested in finding “prophecies” from the Old Testament that he could have Jesus fulfill…issuing prophecies  was a trademark of that “certain sect of Pharisees” who backed Pheroras’ wife with a prophecy. Nor did he understand the context of the Out of Egypt Prophecy as discussed in the last post.  But he did understand the danger imposed by Archelaus.

But when (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither…he turned aside into the parts of Galilee…Matthew 2:22

Continue reading “Archelaus son of Malthace”

The Virgin Prophecy

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Our Lady of the Cape, http://www.catholictradition There is quite a history to this statue of Mary including two miracles. The history of the church and shrine can be found on line, going back to the 1600s in Quebec. Here is one site… http://www.michaeljournal.org/ndcape.htm

Josephus, writing well after the Jewish war with Rome in 65-70 A.D., looking back with hindsight, blames the destruction of their nation on an “oracle” which seems to state that a world leader will be born in Israel.

“But now, what did elevate them (the rebels fighting Rome) in undertaking this war was an ambiguous oracle, that was also found in their sacred writings, how about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth.” The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular; and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination…Wars of the Jews VI. VI.4

I will go into this prophecy more in chronological order, but Josephus also relates many other prophecies during Herod’s reign and immediately after his death, including this one made by an Essen prophet for Herod himself when he was yet a schoolboy in Jerusalem… Continue reading “The Virgin Prophecy”

The Virgin Orphans on Trial

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A Russian Icon, The Virgin, by Trile Stvuyuschaya

Herod betrothed his grandchildren by his son Aristobulus son of Mariamne the Queen as he should, to those that would enhance their position with Rome. If he didn’t, Augustus would object…Rome will continue to honor Hasmonean royal blood until the end of the kingdom (65-70 A.D.). The two granddaughters of the Queen had enough power with the multitudes and Rome that Antipater insisted on being betrothed to one of them, Mariamne III. The other girl, Herodias was betrothed to the next heir in line, Herod II son of Mariamne II the High Priest’s daughter.

There were others at court, though, hoping to secure places in the kingdom to come…the kingdom after Herod died…as well. They wanted the court rid of the prodigy of Mariamne the Queen, also, because her heirs were half-Herodian. With the sons of Alexander son of Mariamne the Queen sent back to Cappadocia with their mother Glaphyra and the sons of Aristobulus son of Mariamne the Queen sent to Rome to be raised with Caesar and not old enough to inherit at this time anyway, interest fell to certain other sons at court with blood lines that could sway Rome and daughters who could bear sons that might be king. Continue reading “The Virgin Orphans on Trial”