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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Agrippa

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surnamed Herod, the son of Aristobulus and Mariamne, and grandson of Herod the Great, was born A.M. 3997, three years before the birth of our Saviour, and seven years before the vulgar aera. After the death of his father Aristobulus, Josephus informs us that Herod, his grandfather, took care of his education, and sent him to Rome to make his court to Tiberius. Agrippa, having a great inclination for Caius, the son of Germanicus, and grandson of Antonia, chose to attach himself to this prince, as if he had some prophetic views of the future elevation of Caius, who at that time was beloved by all the world. The great assiduity and agreeable behaviour of Agrippa so far won upon this prince, that he was unable to live without him. Agrippa, being one day in conversation with Caius, was overheard by one Eutychus, a slave whom Agrippa had emancipated, to say that he should be glad to see the old emperor take his departure for the other world and leave Caius master of this, without meeting with any obstacle from the emperor's grandson, Tiberius Nero. Eutychus, some time after this, thinking he had reason to be dissatisfied with Agrippa, communicated the conversation to the emperor; whereupon Agrippa was loaded with fetters, and committed to the custody of an officer. Soon after this, Tiberius dying, and Caius Caligula succeeding him, the new emperor heaped many favours and much wealth upon Agrippa, changed his iron fetters into a chain of gold, set a royal diadem on his head, and gave him the tetrarchy which Philip, the son of Herod the Great, had been possessed of, that is, Batanaea and Trachonitis. To this he added that of Lysanias; and Agrippa returned very soon into Judea, to take possession of his new kingdom. The emperor Caius, desiring to be adored as a god, commanded to have his statue set up in the temple of Jerusalem. But the Jews opposed this design with so much resolution, that Petronius was forced to suspend his proceedings in this affair, and to represent, in a letter to the emperor, the resistance he met with from the Jews. Agrippa, who was then at Rome, coming to the emperor at the very time he was reading the letter, Caius told him that the Jews were the only people of all mankind who refused to own him for a deity; and that they had taken arms to oppose his resolution. At these words Agrippa fainted away, and, being carried home to his house, continued in that state for a long time. As soon as he was somewhat recovered, he wrote a long letter to Caius, wherein he endeavoured to soften him; and his arguments made such an impression upon the emperor's mind, that he desisted, in appearance, from the design which he had formed of setting up his statue in the temple. Caius being killed in the beginning of the following year, A.D. 41, Agrippa, who was then at Rome, contributed much by his advice to maintain Claudius in possession of the imperial dignity, to which he had been advanced by the army. The emperor, as an acknowledgment for his kind offices, gave him all Judea, and the kingdom of Chalcis, which had been possessed by Herod his brother. Thus Agrippa became of a sudden one of the greatest princes of the east, and was possessed of as much, if not more territory, than had been held by Herod the Great, his grandfather. He returned to Judea, and governed it to the great satisfaction of the Jews. But the desire of pleasing them, and a mistaken zeal for their religion, induced him to put to death the Apostle James, and to cast Peter into prison with the same design; and, but for a miraculous interposition, which, however, produced no effect upon the mind of the tyrant, his hands would have been imbrued in the blood of two Apostles, the memory whereof is preserved in Scripture. At Caesarea, he had games performed in honour of Claudius. Here the inhabitants of Tyre and Sidon waited on him to sue for peace. Agrippa being come early in the morning into the theatre, with a design to give them audience, seated himself on his throne, dressed in a robe of silver tissue, worked in the most admirable manner. The rising sun darted his golden beams thereon, and gave it such a lustre as dazzled the eyes of the spectators; and when the king began his speech to the Tyrians and Sidonians, the parasites around him began to say, it was "the voice of a god and not of man." Instead of rejecting these impious flatteries, Agrippa received them with an air of complacency; and the angel of the Lord smote him because he did not give God the glory. Being therefore carried home to his palace, he died, at the end of five days, racked with tormenting pains in his bowels, and devoured with worms. Such was the death of Herod Agrippa, A.D. 44, after a reign of seven years. He left a son of the same name, and three daughters— Bernice, who was married to her uncle Herod, her father's brother; Mariamne, betrothed to Julius Archelaus; and Drusilla, promised to Epiphanius, the son of Archelaus, the son of Comagena.

AGRIPPA, son of the former Agrippa, was at Rome with the emperor Claudius when his father died. The emperor, we are told by Josephus, was inclined to give him all the dominions that had been possessed by his father, but was dissuaded from it, Agrippa being only seventeen years of age; and he kept him therefore at his court four years.

Three years after this, Herod, king of Chalcis, and uncle to young Agrippa, dying, the emperor gave his dominions to this prince, who, notwithstanding, did not go into Judea till four years after, A.D. 53; when, Claudius taking from him the kingdom of Chalcis, gave him the provinces of Gaulonitis, Trachonitis, Batanaea, Paneas, and Abylene, which formerly had been in the possession of Lysanias. After the death of Claudius, his successor, Nero, who had a great affection for Agrippa, to his other dominions added Julias in Persia, and that part of Galilee to which Tarichaea and Tiberias belonged. Festus, governor of Judea, coming to his government, A.D. 60, king Agrippa and Bernice, his sister, went as far as Caesarea to salute him; and as they continued there for some time, Festus talked with the king concerning the affair of St. Paul, who had been seized in the temple about two years before, and within a few days previous to his visit had appealed to the emperor. Agrippa wishing to hear Paul, that Apostle delivered that noble address in his presence which is recorded, Acts 26.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Agrippa'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/a/agrippa.html. 1831-2.

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