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King Herod was a descendant of the Edomite, who was commonly called Edomeans during Jesus’ days. Herod had ruled as governor of Galilee from 47 to 37 B.C. he was then promoted to rule as king over all Palestine from 37 to 4 B.C. he became famous for building cities, fortresses, and temples throughout the land but generally opposed by the people because of his Edomite ancestry.

In 40 B.C. Jewish rebels and Persians had joined together to push the Romans and Herod their puppet king out of Palestine. But in 37 B.C. Herod came back with the Romans and again took control of Jerusalem. Ever since the Jews had shown a continual desire to overthrow Herod.

There was a dark and cruel streak in Herod’s character that showed itself increasingly as he grew older. His mental instability, moreover, was fed by the intrigue and deception that went on within his own family. Despite his affection for Mariamne, he was prone to violent attacks of jealousy; his sister Salome (not to be confused with her great-niece, Herodias’ daughter Salome) made good use of his natural suspicions and poisoned his mind against his wife in order to wreck the union. In the end Herod murdered Mariamne, her two sons, her brother, her grandfather, and her mother, a woman of the vilest stamp who had often aided his sister Salome’s schemes. Besides Doris and Mariamne, Herod had eight other wives and had children by six of them. He had 14 children.

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