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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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ARCHELAUS (Ἀρχέλαος) is named once in the NT (Matthew 2:22), and probably is referred to in the parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:12 ff.). He was the elder of the two sons of Herod the Great by Malthace, a Samaritan woman (Josephus BJ i. xxviii. 4, xxxiii. 7). Judaea, with the title of ‘king,’ was bequeathed to him by his father’s will; but he would not assume the royal dignity till he had obtained confirmation of that will from the emperor Augustus (Ant. xvii. viii. 2–4). Before his departure to Rome a rebellion broke out in Jerusalem; and in quelling it his soldiers put three thousand men to death, among whom were pilgrims visiting the Holy City for the passover (ib. xvii. ix. 3). Thus at the beginning of his reign an evil reputation was gained by Archelaus, and the alarm of Joseph may be understood (‘But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither’).

After the rebellion, Archelaus proceeded to Rome (Ant. xvii. ix. 3–7, cf. Luke 19:12). Augustus, dealing with Herod’s will, received a deputation from the people of Judaea, who begged that neither Archelaus nor any of his brothers should be appointed king (cf. Luke 19:14). The emperor finally decided that Archelaus should receive Judaea, Samaria, and Idumaea, with the title not of ‘king,’ but of ‘ethnarch’ (Ant. xvii. xi. 1–4; BJ ii. vi. 3). On his return from Rome the ethnarch sought vengeance against his enemies (cf. Luke 19:27) in Judaea and Samaria. In the ninth or tenth year of his reign, after many acts of tyranny and violence, he was banished by the emperor to Vienne in Gaul (Ant. xvii. xiii. 2). According to Jerome, the tomb of Archelaus was pointed out near Bethlehem (de Situ et Nomin. Loc. Hebraic. 101. 11).

Literature.—Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Wars of the Jews [BJ], as cited above; references s. ‘Archelaus’ in Index to Schürer’s Geschichte des Judischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi, 1898–1901 [English translation of 2nd ed. 1885–90]; and Hausrath’s Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, 1873–77 [English translation in 2 vols. 1878–80]. Of the last named work, vol. i. [German] was published in a 3rd ed. in 1879.

J. Herkless.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Archelaus'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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