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According to Matthew's narrative King Herod is said to have died whilst Christ was still a child in Egypt with his parents.It is said King Herod had been succeeded by his son Archelaus when Joseph returned to Israel.

Matthew 2:19 NIV

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

Years later when Christ had returned to Nazareth and had started his ministry it is said that King Herod killed John the baptist who so happened to be more or less the same age with Christ.

Matthew 14:6 NIV

6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

If Herod had died whilst Christ was still a child how then could he have killed John the baptist years later

Could this have been another Herod or there is a chronological issue here?

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  • 3
    How could Kennedy have been assassinated soon after King when Kennedy was already assassinated several years prior to King? Nov 20, 2020 at 18:11

4 Answers 4

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Here is an extract from Wikipedia about the Herodian family (source):

  • Herod the Great (born c. 74 BC, ruled 37–4 BC), client king of Judea who built the Second Temple (in Jerusalem) and in the New Testament orders the Massacre of the Innocents
  • Herod Archelaus (born 23 BC, ruled 4 BC–AD 6), ethnarch of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea
  • Herod Antipas (born 21 BC, ruled 4 BC–AD 39), tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea and in the New Testament orders the death of John the Baptist and mocks Jesus
  • Philip the Tetrarch or Herod Philip II, (born c. 20 BC, ruled 4 BC–AD 34), tetrarch of Iturea, Trachonitis, and Batanaea
  • Herod II or Herod Philip I (c. 27 BC–33 AD), father of the Salome in Mark 6:21-29, did not rule over any territory
  • Herod Agrippa (born c. 11 BC, ruled AD 41–44), client king of Judaea, called "King Herod" or "Herod" in Acts 12 of the New Testament
  • Herod of Chalcis (died AD 48), also known as Herod II or Herod V, king of Chalcis (r. AD 41–48)
  • Herod Agrippa II (born AD 27, ruled 48–c. 92), ruled Chalcis and described in Acts of the Apostles as "King Agrippa" before whom Paul the Apostle defended himself

Thus, there were many "Herod"s as can be seen by their regular appearance in the NT.

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There are three Herods in scripture.

  • 1 The one that killed the infants at the time of Jesus' birth - 'Herod the Great'.

  • 2 The one that killed John the Baptist - 'Herod Antipas'. (Also 'the Tetrarch'.)

  • 3 The one that killed James, the brother of John - 'Herod Agrippa'.

(See Young's Analytical Concordance under 'Herod'.)


Wikipedia - Herod Antipas agrees with Robert Young that Herod Antipas is 'Herod the Tetrarch' the brother of the other Tetrarch, Philip.

Josephus is quoted in regard to this - Flavius Josephus

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  • which is Herod the Tetrarch?
    – Joshua
    Nov 21, 2020 at 19:52
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    @Joshua Herod the Tetrarch is the Herod who imprisoned John the Baptist, John having reproved him regarding his brother, Philip's, wife (Luke 3:19) ; Philip also being a tetrarch. Robert Young lists Herod the Tetrarch as Herod Antipas. See Wikipedia - Herod Antipas.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 21, 2020 at 20:38
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Matthew 2:1 refers to Herod the Great, son of Antipater who ruled from 37-4 BC.

Luke 3:1 refers to Herod Antipas, Son of Herod the Great, who ruled from 4 BC to 39 AD. He was the one refered in Matthew 14 responsible for the death of John the Baptist and also the one in Jesus' interrogation (Luke 23:6–12).

So they're definitely not the same person: Matthew 2 speaks of the father, Luke 3/Matthew 14 speaks of the son.


Note: There is another Herod mentioned in the Bible, Herod Agrippa, which was the king of Judea from AD 41 to 44. He was a grandson of Herod the Great and nephew of Herod Antipas.

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  • +1 Achelaus is also mentioned (Mt 2:22), but not called "Herod" even though he was one. Same with Philip [Mt. 14:3] May 6 at 17:18
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Original: Ἡρώδης

Transliteration: Hērōdēs

Phonetic: hay-ro'-dace

Thayer Definition: Herod = "heroic"

HEROD: Is the name of a royal family that flourished among the Jews in the times of Christ and the Apostles.

  • Herod the Great was the son of Antipater of Idumaea. Appointed king of Judaea B.C. 40 by the Roman Senate at the suggestion of Antony and with the consent of Octavian, he at length overcame the great opposition which the country made to him and took possession of the kingdom B.C. 37; and after the battle of Actium, he was confirmed by Octavian, whose favour he ever enjoyed. He was brave and skilled in war, learned and sagacious; but also extremely suspicious and cruel. Hence he destroyed the entire royal family of Hasmonaeans, put to death many of the Jews that opposed his government, and proceeded to kill even his dearly beloved wife Mariamne of the Hasmonaean line and his two sons she had borne him. By these acts of bloodshed, and especially by his love and imitation of Roman customs and institutions and by the burdensome taxes imposed upon his subjects, he so alienated the Jews that he was unable to regain their favour by his splendid restoration of the temple and other acts of munificence. He died in the 70th year of his age, the 37th year of his reign, the 4th before the Dionysian era. In his closing years John the Baptist and Christ were born; Matthew narrates that he commanded all the male children under two years old in Bethlehem to be slain.
  • Herod surnamed "Antipas" , was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman. After the death of his father he was appointed by the Romans tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. His first wife was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia; but he subsequently repudiated her and took to himself Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip; and in consequence Aretas, his father-in-law, made war against him and conquered him. He cast John the Baptist into prison because John had rebuked him for this unlawful connection; and afterwards, at the instigation of Herodias, he ordered him to be beheaded. Induced by her, too, he went to Rome to obtain from the emperor the title of king. But in consequence of the accusations brought against him by Herod Agrippa I, Caligula banished him (A.D. 39) to Lugdunum in Gaul, where he seems to have died. He was light minded, sensual and vicious.
  • Herod Agrippa I was the son of Aristobulus and Berenice, and grandson of Herod the Great. After various changes in fortune, he gained the favour of Caligula and Claudius to such a degree that he gradually obtained the government of all of Palestine, with the title of king. He died at Caesarea, A.D. 44, at the age of 54, in the seventh [or the 4th, reckoning from the extension of his dominions by Claudius] year of his reign, just after having ordered James the apostle, son of Zebedee, to be slain, and Peter to be cast into prison: Act 12:21
  • (Herod) Agrippa II, son of Herod Agrippa I. When his father died he was a youth of seventeen. In A.D. 48 he received from Claudius Caesar the government of Chalcis, with the right of appointing the Jewish high priests, together with the care and oversight of the temple at Jerusalem. Four years later Claudius took from him Chalcis and gave him instead a larger domain, of Batanaea, Trachonitis, and Gaulanitis, with the title of king. To those reigns Nero, in A.D. 53, added Tiberias and Taricheae and Peraean Julias, with fourteen neighbouring villages. He is mentioned in Acts 25 and 26. In the Jewish war, although he strove in vain to restrain the fury of the seditious and bellicose populace, he did not desert to the Roman side. After the fall of Jerusalem, he was vested with praetorian rank and kept the kingdom entire until his death, which took place in the third year of the emperor Trajan [the 73rd year of his life, and the 52nd of his reign]. He was the last representative of the Herodian dynasty.
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