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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Archelaus

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son of Herod the Great, and Maltace, his fifth wife. Herod having put to death his sons Alexander, Aristobulus, and Antipater, and expunged out of his will Herod Antipas, whom he had declared king, he substituted Archelaus, and gave Antipas the title of tetrarch only. After the death of Herod, Archelaus ordered that king's will to be read, wherein he, Archelaus, was declared king, on condition that Augustus consented. Hereupon the assembly cried, "Long live king Archelaus!" and the soldiers promised the same fidelity to him as they had shown to his father.

Archelaus buried his father magnificently, came to Jerusalem, and there mourned seven days, according to custom. He then gave a splendid entertainment to the people, went to the temple, harangued the multitude, promised them good treatment, and declared he would not assume the title of king till the emperor had confirmed it, A.M. 4001; B.C. 3. The people, notwithstanding, tumultuously demanded the execution of those who advised Herod to slay certain zealots, who had pulled down a golden eagle from one of the temple gates. They also required Archelaus to divest Joazar of the high priesthood; and they vehemently reproached the memory of the late king. Archelaus sent troops to suppress the mutineers, and killed near three thousand of them about the temple. After this he embarked at Caesarea for Rome, to procure from Augustus the confirmation of Herod's will. Antipas, his brother, went to Rome likewise, to dispute his title, pretending that Herod's first will should be preferred to his last, which he alleged to have been made by him when his understanding was not sound.

The two brothers, Archelaus and Antipas, procured able orators to display their pretensions before the emperor; and when they had done speaking, Archelaus threw himself at Augustus's feet. Augustus gently raised him, said he would do nothing contrary to Herod's intention or his interest, but refused to decide the affair at that time. Some time afterward, the Jews sent a solemn embassy to Rome, to desire Augustus would permit them to live according to their own laws, and on the footing of a Roman province, without being subject to kings of Herod's family, but only to the governors of Syria. Augustus heard them, and likewise heard Archelaus in reply; then broke up the assembly without declaring himself. After some days, he sent for Archelaus, gave him the title, not of king, but of ethnarch, with one moiety of the territories which his father Herod had enjoyed; promising him the crown likewise, if his good conduct deserved it. Archelaus returned to Judea, and, under pretence that he had countenanced the seditions against him, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood, and gave that dignity to his brother Eleazar. He governed Judea with so much violence, that, after seven years, the chiefs of the Samaritans and Jews accused him before Augustus. The emperor immediately sent for his agent at Rome, and without condescending to write to Archelaus he commanded the agent to depart instantly for Judea, and order Archelaus to Rome, to give an account of his conduct. On his arrival at Rome, the emperor called for his accusers, and permitted him to defend himself; which he did so insufficiently, that Augustus banished him to Vienne, in Gaul, where he continued in exile to the end of his life. See ANTIPAS .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Archelaus'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/a/archelaus.html. 1831-2.

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