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Who were the Herodians?

The Herodians were a sect and a political party of Hellenistic Jews that supported the house of Herod Antipas from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39. They submitted to Herod, and also to Rome, for political convenience.

The Herodians are mentioned in the New Testament on two occasions — first in Galilee and later in Jerusalem — exhibiting opposition towards Jesus Christ (Mark 3:6, 12:13; and Matthew 22:16 also Mark 8:15; Luke 13:31-32; Acts 4:27). In each of these cases their name is coupled with that of the Pharisees. Herod wanted to kill Jesus (Luke 13:31), and the Pharisees planned and plotted to destroy Him also (John 11:53). Let’s look at the two main references closely:

In Matthew 22:16, we read, “And they sent to Him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men.” Here, we learn that the Pharisees were ardent nationalists, who opposed Herod as well as Caesar, whereas the Herodian partisans were collaborationists. Although the two groups were bitter enemies in the realm of politics, they were united against Jesus, as they had been against John the Baptist (Mark 6:14). On this occasion the Herodians were to be witnesses to Jesus’ answer, ready to accuse Him if He gave the slightest hint of disloyalty to the government.

And in Mark 3:6, we read, “Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.” Here, the Pharisees hated Herod and all that he stood for. The fact that they now sought the aid of their avowed enemies is evidence that they were beside themselves to find a means of silencing Jesus (Matt. 22:16). Perhaps the Pharisees hoped that Herod would be willing to imprison Jesus as he had John the Baptist a few months earlier (Matt. 4:12; Luke 3:20).

Jesus warned His disciples against the Pharisees and the Herodians saying, “‘Be careful,’ Jesus warned them. ‘Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod’” (Mark 8:15). The Lord cautioned His followers against their worldliness and vacillating character (Matt. 13:33; 16:6).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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