BBC News reports that an Israeli archaeological claims that he has found the tomb of King Herod.
King Herod was the leader of Judea under Roman administration in the first century BC.
The King is a major Biblical figure in the New Testament. King Herod is the personality who ordered that all baby boys in Bethlehem under the age of two be killed, according to the Gospel of Matthew. King Herod, acting in fear, is best remembered for the massive slaughter of innocent children. the slaughter is called the “Massacre of Innocents”, which was committed in order to protect his throne.
According to the New Testament, Joseph, the father of Jesus received warning of Herod’s threat in a dream. Joseph fled with his wife and child to Egypt. Herod massacred thousands of babies in his quest to kill the King of the Jews, but failed.
Jesus lived, became an adult and taught followers a new faith, Christianity.
The archaeologist who believes that he has found the tomb of Herod is Professor Ehud Netzer, of the Hebrew University. The tomb was located at Herodium, which is south of Jerusalem. Professor Netzer has been working at the dig site for since 1972.
Professor Netzer’s team was led to the burial site by an ancient staircase. First Century historian Josephus Flavius, had described the staircase used for Herold’s funeral procession in detail. BBC reported that Professor said, “The monumental stairs were built specifically for the funeral.
Once at the site, the team of archaeologists found a smashed limestone sarcophagus. Ornate rosette decorations on fragments alerted the team to the significance of the coffin. There were no bones found at the site. Professor Netzger Sadie that had likely been removed by Jewish rebels.
“If the find is confirmed, this will rank as a major archaeological discovery”. according to BBC Jerusalem correspondent Tim Franks.
King Herod was king of the small Jewish state in the the last decades before the common era. He had started out as a general, but was recognized by Mark Anthony as the King. Herod was a pro-Roman King whose reign was started and ended in bloodshed.
King Herod lived in the day of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.
When Jesus was born, King Herod was threatened by the challenge to his earthly throne, little understanding that Jesus was to be King of another realm. King Herod reacted to what he saw as a threat to his kingdom and power by attempting to have the baby executed. There were many babies killed for this cause, but not the one he wanted.
Herod was appointed by Rome as the King of Judea from around 37 BC to 4 BC . He is called Herod the Great because of the building of the second Temple that took place during his reign of power.
Archaeological digs in The Holy Land are a sensitive, political topic. The land is central to many Jewish beliefs. Religious Jews fear stepping on some Holy place.
Although there are no remains for King Herod, Doctors have studied texts that described his symptoms in his final days. Their opinion, according to research co-coordinator Dr. Jan Hirschmann, who is quoted by BBC, are “Herod the Great expired from chronic kidney disease probably complicated by Founier’s gangrene. The texts we depend upon a close description of Herod’s last days list several major features of the disease that caused his death – among them, intense itching, painful intestinal problems, breathlessness, convulsions in every limb,and gangrene of the genitalia.”
The research findings were presented at the Clinical Pathologic Conference in Baltimore in January , 2007. The National Kidney Research Fund is skeptical of the conclusion reached by the scientists and the diagnosis of kidney disease.