Herodias

HERODIAS (hĕ-rō'dĭ-ăs, Gr. Hērōdias). A wicked granddaughter of Herod the Great who married her uncle Philip; but his brother Antipas saw her at Rome, desired her, and married her. John the Baptist reproved Herod Antipas for his immoral action (Luke.3.19-Luke.3.20) and was put in prison for his temerity (Matt.14.3-Matt.14.12; Mark.6.14-Mark.6.29). This did not satisfy Herodias, so by a sordid scheme she secured his death. Later Antipas was banished to Spain. Herodias accompanied him and died there.


View from the colonnaded pool to the Herodium.

HERODIAS hĭ rō’ dĭ əs (̔Ηρῳδιάς, G2478). The woman who as the wife of Herod Antipas contrived the death of nodetitle (Matt 14:3-12; Mark 6:17-29; Luke 3:19, 20). Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, son of Herod the Great (see Herod), the full sister of Herod, king of Chalcis, and of Agrippa I.

Herodias’ first husband was her uncle, called Philip (Matt 14:3, Mark 6:17), to be distinguished from the tetrarch Philip (Luke 3:1; cf, Gr. of Matt 16:13; Mark 8:27). Since Josephus (Antiq. XVIII. v. 1) called him “Herod,” Luke gives no name, and some old MSS (Matt 14:3, D, Lat. VSS) lack the name Philip, some scholars hold this name is an error, a probable confusion with that of the tetrarch. But the name Philip is clearly original in Mark and most prob. also in Matthew. The argument that two sons of Herod would not both be called Philip is weakened by the fact that Josephus calls two of his sons “Herod” (Antiq. XVIII. i. 3; XVIII. v. 4). His name apparently was Herod Philip, as that of his half-brother was Herod Antipas.

Herodias and her husband, by whom she had a daughter named Salome, lived in Rome; while a guest in their home, Antipas persuaded Herodias to marry him. Antipas divorced his first wife, a Nabatean princess, to marry Herodias. Because John the Baptist publicly denounced this marriage, he was imprisoned at Machaerus. John’s bold rebuke aroused the bitter hatred of the unscrupulous Herodias. She finally managed to secure John’s death by instructing her daughter, the dancing girl, to demand of Antipas the head of John on a platter.

The ambitious Herodias proved the downfall of her second husband. When her brother Agrippa I was given the tetrarchy of Philip with the title of “king,” Herodias persuaded the tetrarch to solicit the title for himself. The emperor instead banished Antipas to Gaul. The proud Herodias followed her husband into exile.

Bibliography

Josephus Antiquities XVIII. v. 1; vii. 1-2; War II. ix. 6; A. Fahling, Life of Christ (1936), 333-341; E. Schürer, History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus (ed. N. N. Glatzer) (1961), 167-176, 355-357.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


Herodias was daughter of Aristobulus, son of Herod the Great, by Mariamne, daughter of Hyrcanus. Her second husband (compare above) was Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (circa 4-39 AD), son of Herod the Great by Malthace. Herod Antipus was thus the step-brother of Aristobulus, father of Herodias. Regarding the first husband of Herodias, to whom she bore Salome, some hold that the Gospel accounts are at variance with that of Josephus. In Mt 14:3; Mr 6:17; Lu 3:19, he is called Philip the brother of Herod (Antipus). But in Mt 14:3 and Lu 3:19 the name Philip is omitted by certain important manuscripts. According to Josephus, he was Herod, son of Herod the Great by Mariamne daughter of Simon the high priest, and was thus a step-brother of Herod Antipas (compare Josephus, Ant, XVIII, v, 4). It is suggested in explanation of the discrepancy

(1) that Herod, son of Mariamne, bore a second name Philip, or

(2) that there is confusion in the Gospels with Heroal-Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis, who was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra, and who was in reality the husband of Salome, daughter of Herodias (compare also A. B. Bruce, The Expositor Greek Testament., I, 381; A. C. Headlam, article "Herod" in HDB, II, 359, 360).

According to Josephus (Ant., VIII, vii, 2; XVIII, vii, 1) the ambition of Herodias proved the ruin of Herod Antipas. Being jealous of the power of Agrippa her brother, she induced Herod to demand of Caligula the title of king. This was refused through the machinations of Agrippa, and Herod was banished. But the pride of Herodias kept her still faithful to her husband in his misfortune.