The first worm in Agrippa’s plan for being the “King to Come” was, of course, his grandfather Herod. He was in the same dilemma of all the grandchildren of the Queen…proving the priests with their genealogies and abhorrence of “strange women” right. Because not only was Agrippa Herodian on his grandfather’s side, but his own mother was also a strange woman. Bernice, widow of Aristobulus son of Mariamne the Queen was Idumaean on her mother Salome’s side and Arabian on her father’s side…which did not matter one bit to Rome.
But these were hard times for the royal blood. The multitude would take what they could get and Agrippa’s father was also a Hasmonean Prince of the Tower of the Queen. The multitude so desired to have a king in Judea again, one that had Providence on his side, that they would forgive Agrippa his Herodian blood. There is a tradition recorded in the Mishnaabout Agrippa at the Feast of Tabernacles in 41 A.D. (King 41-44 A.D.) Agrippa read the set reading for the occasion from the Book of Deuteronomy: “Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee that is not thy brother” (17:15) Agrippa burst into tears feeling that he was unworthy and the multitude cried out to him, “Be not grieved, Agrippa! Thou art our brother!”
(A clue, perhaps, that a Jesus with Herodian blood through his mother, also, might have been accepted by the people…and Rome…if not for his feud with the Annas House of priests.)
In the last post, I suggested that there was a tie between…or at least a major coincidence…between Matthew having Mary and her son be visited by “wise men” and Josephus story told in the same timeframe of two “wise men” who were early rabbi/teachers with Hasmonean names and a philosophy of martyrdom and rewards in Heaven. It is just possible that Matthew wanted us to know that Jewish wise men supported Mary and her son….the timing is 5-3 CE…AD.
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]
If “wise men” rabbis and teachers in the Temple backed Mariamne III and a son to inherit the kingdom, it would, indeed, have 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, as we saw in the last post. And, equally, 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, though, because as also saw, there was an Egyptian tie involving Mariamne II the High Priest’s daughter, “Simon son of Boethus a priest of note from Egypt.”. (See the post on “Out of 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. And issuing prophecies was a trademark of that “certain sect of Pharisees” who backed Pheroras’ wife with a prophecy. Matthew may not have understood the context of the Out of Egypt Prophecy, 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
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”→
Mariamne I’s two eldest sons were sent to Rome to be raised by Augustus as heirs to the Jewish throne. They also had two daughters, but it is the sons that will now dominate the royal record.
By 17 B.C. when Alexander and Aristobulus were sixteen to eighteen years old, Herod could put it off no longer and brought them back home. He was in a dilemma…he had to treat them as his heirs or the people will rebel…and…he still greatly feared that if they developed backers, he was in danger of being deposed in their favor. He now feared his own son’s Hasmonean blood.
The first thing Herod did was “marry them to wives.” He married Alexander, the eldest boy, to Glaphyra, a descendent of Darius the Great, daughter of Aristobulus king of Cappadocia…yet a strange woman. Herod married the second son, Aristobulus, to his sister Salome’s daughter, Bernice, who was a more or less converted Jew/Idumaean/Nabatean on her mother’s side and daughter of an Arabian priest on her father’s side. But even with the mixed blood, the sons of Mariamne I were the people’s hope for the restoration of anything close to a Hasmonean or even truly Jewish kingdom. Continue reading “The Sons of Mariamne”→
With Jeshua/Jesus son of Josedek and his new dynasty of High Priests in charge, we hear no more of strange women. But during the reign of Onias III, the fifteenth High Priest, it all came crashing down and for the same reason the House of David crashed: invasion. The Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes decided to conquer tiny Judah in the 160s B.C. The war is captured in The Books of the Maccabees in the Apocrypha and by Josephus using those books.
The book of I Maccabees tells the story from the point of view of Judas the Hammer who rose up against “Epiphanes”…a name that means “god”…making their resistance a Holy War. II Maccabees is written from the point of view of the priests in Jerusalem. Both sides tell the gruesome story of Antiochus’ plan to make Jerusalem “the common graveyard of the Jews.” Pigs and prostitutes were brought into the Temple and priests were forced to offer sacrifices to the Greek king. Mattathias son of Hasmon, a priest, killed another priest making the sacrifice and took off to the hills:
Let everybody who is zealous for the Law…come out after me.” I Maccabees 2