Herod the Great and the Herodian Family Tree

From Lawrence Mykytiuk's BAR article identifying real New Testament political figures

In “New Testament Political Figures Confirmed” in the September/October 2017 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk examines the political figures in the New Testament who can be identified in the archaeological record and by extra-Biblical writings. Below, see a visualization of the Herodian family tree and key events in the New Testament related to members of the Herodian family.—Ed.

BAS Library Members: Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s article “New Testament Political Figures Confirmed” in the September/October 2017 issue of BAR.

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The Herodian family tree and key events in the New Testament related to members of the Herodian family. Click to enlarge. Credit: Biblical Archaeology Society.

Selected Members of the Herodian Family and Roman Governors Who Are Significant in New Testament Events

The family tree above includes only the Herodian family members in the New Testament plus most of the Roman governors it mentions. It is not a complete family tree. Boldface in the narrative statements below signifies the person is referred to in the New Testament.

Earlier Outcomes: Attempt to kill the infant Jesus, execution of John the Baptist, and the trial of Jesus

1. Herod the Great, founder of the dynasty, tried to kill the infant Jesus by the “slaughter of the innocents” at Bethlehem.

2. Herod Philip, uncle and first husband of Herodias, was not a ruler.

3. Herodias left Herod Philip to marry his half-brother Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee & Perea.

4. John the Baptist rebuked Antipas for marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife, while his brother was still alive—against the law of Moses.

5. Salome danced for Herod Antipas and, at Herodias’s direction, requested the beheading of John the Baptist. Later she married her great-uncle Philip the Tetrarch.

6. Herod Antipas, Tetrarch of Galilee &: Perea (r. 4 B.C.E.–39 C.E.), was Herodias’s uncle and second husband. After Salome’s dance and his rash promise, he executed John the Baptist. Much later he held part of Jesus’ trial.

7. Herod Archelaus, Ethnarch of Judea, Samaria and Idumea (r. 4 B.C.E.–6 C.E.), was replaced by a series of Roman governors, including Pontius Pilate (r. 26–36 C.E.).

8. Philip the Tetrarch of northern territories (r. 4 B.C.E.–34 C.E.) later married Herodias’s daughter Salome, his grandniece.

Later Outcomes: Execution of James the son of Zebedee, imprisonment of Peter to execute him, and the trial of Paul

9. King Herod Agrippa I (r. 37–44 C.E.) executed James the son of Zebedee and imprisoned Peter before his miraculous escape.

10. Berenice, twice widowed, left her third husband to be with brother Agrippa II (rumored lover) and was with him at Festus’s trial of Paul.

11. King Herod Agrippa II (r. 50–c. 93 C.E.) was appointed by Festus to hear Paul’s defense.

12. Antonius Felix, Roman procurator of Judea (r. 52–c. 59 C.E.), Paul’s first judge, left him in prison for two years until new procurator Porcius Festus (r. c. 60–62 C.E.) became the second judge, and Paul appealed to Caesar.

13. Drusilla left her first husband to marry Roman governor Felix.

Our free eBook Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries brings together the exciting worlds of archaeology and the Bible! Learn the fascinating insights gained from artifacts and ruins, like the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where the Gospel of John says Jesus miraculously restored the sight of the blind man, and the Tel Dan inscription—the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible.


Related reading in Bible History Daily

New Testament Political Figures: The Evidence by Lawrence Mykytiuk

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible by Lawrence Mykytiuk

53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically by Lawrence Mykytiuk

Herod the Great: Friend of the Romans and Parthians? by Jason M. Schlude

Machaerus: Beyond the Beheading of John the Baptist

Herod Antipas in the Bible and Beyond

Jesus Before Pilate

Paul’s First Missionary Journey through Perga and Pisidian Antioch

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on September 25, 2017.


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  • DENNIS says

    For a chart showing both Hasmonian & Herodian dynasties see this YouTube video:

  • RALPH WM says

    Is not this Festes mentioned above – the same whose absence perhaps his death allowed the arrest under Ananus, the High Priest -( before Albinus arrived to replace Festus) – of James the Righteous – Brother of Our Lord. James was asked to disagree that Jesus was Messiah from the Pinacle of the Temple Wall to those gathered for Passover in 62 AD. Whereupon he loudly proclaimed that his brother was indeed Messiah. James was thrown from the wall and beaten to death with fuller clubs and buried near by – which grave can be seen to this day.. [Eusebius/ Hegissibus]
    This execution was therefore cited as the reason for the later sack of JERUSALEM
    This James not to be confused with James the Apostle or James the Less, Apostle..

  • Daniel says

    1. Herod the Great: not only sought to kill the infant Jesus but also his harbinger, John: Malachi 3: ‘Behold I will send my messenger before me …’ — on learning this, Herod ordered infants aged up to two years old to be killed in Bethlehem and surrounds.

    9. King Herod Agrippa I: did not kill James son of Zebedee, but James the Less — Acts 12:2 records his death ordered by Herod Agrippa I: ‘Herod killed by sword James brother of John’ (A.D. 44) — for wayward theologians, an unknown known. [‘That is to say, things that you think you know, that it turns out you did not.’ – Donald Rumsfeld.]
    James is the son of John’s mother, they’re milk kin according to Hebrew lore.
    Hence superscriptions on the earliest extant copies of the Epistle of James [Codex Corbeinsis; Widmanstadt; Tremellius etc] document James son of Zebedee as Author and ‘Bishop of Jerusalem’ (Arabic editions) — who died shortly before the sacking of Jerusalem in A.D.70. [Hegisippus]

  • Martha says

    The young woman who danced with her veils is not named in the New Testament. Matthew describes her only as “the daughter of Herodias.” The name “Salome” was given to her later, outside of Scripture, just as Mary Magdalene was in reality not a prostitute at all until wrongly pronounced as such by Pope Gregory in the sixth century CE. However, this may be a case of Herod the Great’s sister Salome, who might have still be alive at the time the girl danced, and who actually may have been the one who concocted or at least supported the scheme to have John the Baptist permanently removed from the scene– an interesting theory anyway. Though Herod the Great killed many of his relatives including three sons, his sister Salome remained unscathed; she was probably quite powerful at court. Another problem with the Herodians was that many of them carried the same names, so for early historians to mix them up is understandable.

  • Peter says

    Apart from the fact that Herod the Great died in 1BC, not 4BC, this is very helpful and very well displayed. I have been thinking that such a table is needed.
    This makes it easier to notice certain things. Herod Antipas, his unlawful wife and niece Herodias, and his step-daughter and niece Salome were all involved in the murder of John the Baptist; three siblings – KIng Herod Agrippa !! and his sisters Berenice and Drusilla – were all involved in the interrogation of the Apostle Paul at Caesarea, yet remained unrepentant.
    There is one note missing – Herod Agrippa I suffered an agonising death after accepting blasphemous praise (Acts 12.20-23) – an event confirmed by the Jewish historian Josephus.

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