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educated at Rome with great care, and were lodged in the palace of the Emperor.
Herod's latter days however were clouded by the intrigues of his court, by treason and conspiracies, in consequence of which his sons, favorites with the people on account of their accomplishments and their Asmonean blood, were executed by the suspicious and savage despot. Antipater, another son, by his first wife, whom he had chosen as his successor, conspired against his life, and the proof of his guilt was so clear that he also was summarily executed. In addition to these troubles Herod was tormented by remorse for the execution of the murdered Mariamne. He was the victim of jealousy, suspicion, and wrath. One of his last acts was the order to destroy the infants in the vicinity of Jerusalem in the vain hope of destroying the predicted Messiah, — hin who should be “born king of the Jews.” He died of a loathsome and excruciating disease, in his seventieth year, having reigned nearly forty years. His kingdom, by his will, was divided between the children of his later wife, a Samaritan woman, -- the eldest of whom, Archelaus, became monarch of Judita; and the second, Antipas, became tetrarch of Galilee. The former married the widow of his half-brother Alexander, who was executed; and the latter married Herodias, wife of Philip, also his half-brother.
Archelaus ruled Judæa with such injustice and cruelty, that, after nine years, he was summoned to Rome and exiled to Vienne in Gaul, and Judæa became a Roman province under the prefecture of Syria. The supreme judicial authority was exercised by the Jewish Sanhedrim, the great ecclesiastical and civil council, composed of seventy-one persons presided over by the high-priest. The Sanhedrim, under the name of chief priests, scribes, and elders of the people, now took the lead in all public transactions pertaining to the internal administration of the province, being inferior only to the tribunal of the governor, who resided in Cæsarea.
Meanwhile the long expectation of the Jews, especially during the reign of Herod, of a promised Deliverer, was fulfilled, and one claiming to be the Messiah appeared, — not a temporal prince and mighty hero of war, a greater Judas Maccabæus, as the Jews had supposed, but a helpless infant, born in a manger, and brought up as a peasant-carpenter. Yet he it was who should found a spiritual kingdom never to be destroyed, going on from conquering to conquer, until the whole world shall be subdued. With the advent of Jesus of Nazareth, in which we see the fulfilment of all the promises made to the chosen people from Abraham to Isaiah, Jewish history loses its chief interest. The mission of the Hebrew nation seems to stand accomplished; the conception of one, holy, spiritual God was
kept alive in the world until, in “ the fulness of time,” the mighty Romans subdued and united all lands under dne rule, drawing them nearer together by great highroads; the flexible Greek language gave all peoples a common tongue, in which already the Hebrew Scriptures had been familiarized among scholars; the life and teachings of Jesus entered with vital power into the heart and brain of those devoted followers who recognized him as the Christ, — the revelator of the universal fatherhood of the One true God; and thenceforward Christianity becomes the great spiritual power of the world.