May 2013: Herod: Profile of a Tyrant

King Herod (74 bce - 4 bce) was a Jewish king, but a tyrant. He wanted to ingratiate himself with his Jewish subjects who were resenting him. He thought he could do this by rebuilding a disintegrating Holy Temple in Jerusalem. He did in fact rebuild a superb and beautiful temple. In the end he ruined his effort by violating a Jewish law. Samuel Sandmel says it beautifully in his book HEROD, Profile of a Tyrant

The most prominent of these violations was a visible one, the erection over the great gate of the Temple of a huge golden eagle, this a clear trespass of the Jewish aversion to the representation in the arts of a living being, for such a representation was kindred to idolatry, and especially so in view of the prominence of the eagle in Roman temples and on the standards of Roman troops. Since the report was widespread that Herod was dying, the occasion was ripe for an uprising. The eagle, representing both the power of Herod and also, remotely, the god Zeus, the chief of the Greek pantheon, served as the focus for an insurrection. Two sages, Judas the son of Sepphoraeus (also spelled Sariphaeus), and Matthias son of Margalus, used the occasion of their lectures on Scripture to young men to denounce the presence of the eagle on the Temple, and to stir the students to remove and destroy it.

Some young followers of the two sages chose midday for their purpose. First they climbed to the roof of the Temple and then, letting themselves down by cords, they began to chop away at the eagle. An army official, possibly one of those assigned to the Temple, heard what was going on; he brought a group of soldiers with him, and these arrested some forty young men and brought them before Herod. The king asked, "Who ordered you to do this?" The answer came, "The Law of our fathers." He reminded them that they stood on the 
verge of death, and that they were mistaken to he defiant and even exultant. "We shall enjoy even greater happiness after death." 

From the book “HEROD” by Samuel Sandmel


READ ALL ABOUT KING HEROD, HIS JEWISH
BACKGROUND, HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH
ROME, HIS RISE TO BECOME KING OF THE
JEWS IN THE HOLY LAND.  ALSO LEARN HOW
AND WHY HE KILLS HIS WIFE, HIS FATHER IN
LAW AND HIS CHILDREN.

CALL JERRY MEDOWAR 623-6739 FOR A
COPY OF THIS VERY INTERESTING BOOK.
VISIT OUR LIBRARY AND SEE A LEGO MODEL
KING HEROD'S REBUILT HOLY TEMPLE
(INCLUDING THE OFFENDING ROMAN EAGLE).