Tomb of Herod the Great Discovered

According to this Fox News story, Israeli archaeologist Ehud Netzer has discovered the tomb of King Herod (aka “Herod the Great”). The tomb was discovered at a site known as Herodium, a site where Herod built two palaces in the southern Judean desert. (For various pictures from parts of the Herodium previously excavated, click here).

Herod ruled over Judea from 37-4 B.C. (not from 74 B.C. as the Fox News story wrongly indicates). He was a “surrogate king” who answered to Rome. He is best known in the NT for two things. First, he began renovating the temple, a project that started in 20/19 B.C. and continued in some fashion until shortly before the start of the Jewish Revolt in 66 A.D. (cf. John 2:19-20). Second, Herod was the king when Jesus was born and before whom the magi appeared (Matt 2:1-8). He was also the king who ordered the slaughter of all the male children under the age of 2 in Bethlehem in order to try to destroy Jesus (Matt 2:16-18).

Herod’s significance for the NT period is also seen in that several of the rulers mentioned are descendants of Herod the Great: Archelaus (Matt 2:22), Philip the Tetrarch (Luke 3:1), Herod Antipas (beheaded John the Baptist; Mark 6:14-29), Herod Agrippa I (executed James brother of John & imprisoned Peter; Acts 12), Agrippa II (Paul appeared before him in Caesarea, Acts 25:13-26:32).

UPDATE: More details are available in this story from the Israeli newspaper HAARETZ.

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