Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


Search for…
Prev Entry
Next Entry
Archelaus (2)
Resource Toolbox
Additional Links


(Ἀρχέλαος , ruler of the people, Talmud ארקילוס ), son of Herod the Great by Malthace, a Samaritan woman (Josephus, Ant. 17, 1:3; War, 1:28, 4), and brought up, with his brother Antipas, at Rome (Joseph. War, 1:31, 1). He inherited of his father's dominions (B.C. 4) Idummea, Judaea, and Samaria, with the important cities Caesarea, Sebaste, Joppa, and Jerusalem, and a yearly income of 600 talents, as ethnarch (Joseph. Ant. 17:11, 4; called king, βασιλεύς, in Matthew 2:22, in the sense of "prince," "regent;" comp. the commentators in loc.). His reign had commenced inauspiciously; for, after the death of Herod, and before Archelaus could go to Rome to obtain the confirmation of his father's will, the Jews having become very tumultuous at the Temple in consequence of his refusing some demands, Archelaus ordered his soldiers to attack them, on which occasion upward of three thousand were slain (Josephus, Ant. 17, 9, 3; War, 2, 1, 3). On Archelaus going to Rome to solicit the royal dignity (agreeably to the practice of the tributary kings of that age, who received their crowns from the Roman emperor), the Jews sent an embassy, consisting of fifty of their principal men, with a petition to Augustus that they might be permitted to live according to their own laws, under a Roman governor, and also complaining of his cruelty (Josephus, War, 2, 2-7). To this circumstance our Lord perhaps alludes in the parable related by Luke (Luke 19:12-27): "A certain nobleman (εὐγενής, a man of birth or rank, the son of Herod) went into a far country (Italy), to receive for himself a kingdom (Judaea), and to return. But his citizens (the Jews) hated him, and sent a message (or embassy) after him (to Augustus Caesar), saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.' "The Jews, however, failed in this remonstrance (Josephus, Ant. 17:11, 4). Archelaus returned to Judaea, and under pretense that he had countenanced the seditious against him, he deprived Joazar of the highpriesthood, and gave that dignity to his brother Eleazar. He governed Judaea with so much violence that, in the tenth (Joseph. Ant. 17, 13, 2; comp. Life, 1) or ninth (Joseph. War, 2:7, 3) year of his reign (according to Dio Cass. 60, 27, under the consulate of M. AEm. Lepidus and L. Aruntius, corresponding to A. D. 6), on account of his tyranny, especially toward the Samaritans, he was dethroned, deprived of his property, and banished to Vienna in Gaul (Joseph. Ant. 17, 13, 2), where he died (the year is unknown; Jerome, Onomast. s.v. Bethlehem, asserts that his grave was shown in this latter place, in which case he must have returned to Palestine as a private person). The parents of our Lord turned aside from fear of him on their way back from Egypt, and went to Nazareth in Galilee, in the domain of his gentler brother Antipas (Matthew 2:22). He seems to have been guilty of great inhumanity and oppression. This cruelty was exercised not only toward Jews, but toward Samaritans also (Josephus, War, 2, 7, 3). He had illegally married Glaphyra, the wife of his brother Alexander, during the lifetime of the latter, who left several children by her (Joseph. Ant. 17, 13, 1). Noldii Hist. Idum. p. 219 sq.; Smith's Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v. (See HEROD).


is also the name of several other persons mentioned by Josephus.

1. The last of the kings of Cappadocia by that name, who received the throne (B.C. 34) from Marc Antony, and was afterward held in great esteem by Augustus and the succeeding emperors, but at length fell under the displeasure of Tiberius, and died at Rome, A.D. 17. (See Smith's Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v.) He was on intimate terms with Herod the Great (Josephus, Ant. 16, 10, 6, 7), whose son Alexander married his daughter Glaphyra (ib. 8, 6), and his intervention was of service in reconciling Herod with his sons and brother (ib. 4, 6; War, 1, 25). (See ALEXANDER).

2. Julius Archelaus Epiphanes, son of Antiochus and grandson of Chelcias; he espoused Mariamne, the young daughter of Herod Agrippa I, while yet a girl of ten years; b

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Archelaus'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature.​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​a/archelaus.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.