1. Exposition

How was Herod regarded?

Matthew 2:1 (ESV)

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,

Herod the Great had many adversaries. Among them were the people of Jerusalem and the Pharisees. They objected to his being an Idumean, a descendent of Esau, as well as to his friendship and relationship with the Romans, including the Roman emperor. He punished his adversaries and rewarded those who sided with him with favours and honours. The second group of adversaries belonged to the wealthiest people. He executed forty-five of them and confiscated their property. He built many theatres, fortresses, and temples in Gentile territories. He also built the temple of Jerusalem. The rebuilding of the temple was finished in AD 63, long after his death. He was a cruel emperor and the killing of the boys in Bethlehem after he had heard of the birth of Christ was no random incident.1