Herod Agrippa I


Herod Agrippa I said the Great was a king of Judea. He was grandson of Herod the Great and in 39 was invested with the title of king. In the Acts of the Apostles he is mentioned with the name of King Herod.

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Gospel according to Matthew

Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea at the time of King Herod. Some Magi came from the east to Jerusalem and asked: "Where is the king of the Jews born? We have seen his star rise, and we have come to worship him. "When King Herod hears these words, I am troubled, and with him all Jerusalem. Gathered together the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he was informed by them about the place where the Messiah was to be born. They answered him; "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus is written the prophet.
(Mt 2, 1-5)

Herod, realizing that the Magi had made fun of him, was enraged and sent to kill all the children of Bethlehem and its territory from two years on, corresponding to the time on which he had been informed by the Magi.
(Mt 2,16)

God punished Herod

Divine justice, without any warning, punished him while he was still alive. He obscured the glory of God, committing all kinds of atrocities even against his family, killing his wife, children and all those who were very close and dear to him by lineage. Joseph extensively expounded these facts in his Histories. For having ordered the slaughter of the children, with the intention of also killing Jesus, the divine whip whipped him to death.

In the seventeenth book of the Antiquities of the Jews is described as the death of Herod: he was struck by a very serious illness, with which God did justice for the crimes he committed. It was like a light fire whose heat did not even give the idea of the suffering it caused the inner parts; it had a terrible desire to take something that could give it relief.

An ulcer consumed his intestines, and he had tremendous pains in his belly, the disease also affected his groin and genitals, which were purulent and full of worms. The breath was tiring and the breath was unbearable for the smell that emanated; it was suffering in every part of the body, as oppressed by an invincible power, the illness invaded all his body, bringing him to death among a thousand sufferings; had an unbearable itching throughout the body, frequent abdominal pain and a burning in the groin; the genitals, now rotting, had produced worms.

He also breathed with difficulty and only in an upright position, and all the limbs made convulsive movements. He struggled against such suffering, clinging desperately to life, still hoping for salvation and seeking remedies. Crossing the Jordan, he bathed, but in vain, in the thermal waters of Calliroe. The advice of the doctors was then to warm the whole body with hot oil. But, plunged into a tub full of oil, he fell and fell to the ground.

Then he returned to Jericho, very irritated, but not yet overcome before his death, conceived another monstrosity; he ordered all the illustrious men, gathered from every village of all Judea, to the place called Hippodrome, to be locked up; then called his sister Salome and her husband Alexander, said to them: "I know that the Jews will rejoice in my death, but I can be regretted for other reasons and have splendid funerals, if you will follow my orders.

When I am dead, immediately surround and kill these men I have taken captive by the soldiers, so that all Judea and every house may weep for me even against their will. And shortly after, always around the death of Herod, it is told that: Tormented again by the need for food and a spasmodic cough, overcome by pain, he decided to anticipate the fate.

Taking an apple, he asked for a knife, because he used to cut what he ate. And, looking around for no one to stop him, he raised his right hand and struck himself to death. The same historian also tells that, shortly before his death, another boy, his son, third after the two he had already had killed, was taken by his order and immediately lost his life amid great suffering.

In this way Herod died, paying the just penalty for having killed those children in Bethlehem and for the trap set against our Saviour. At his death an angel appeared in a dream to Joseph, who was still in Egypt, and ordered him to return with his son and his mother to Judea, saying that those who had attempted the child’s life were dead.

After this announcement the evangelist Mark adds: "When he learned that Archelaus reigned in place of his father Herod, [Joseph] was afraid to return there; but, warned in a dream, he returned to the land of Galilee".