Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Block 90 Herod Agrippa II
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“...become what I am..” Acts 26:29
Herod Agrippa II was only 17 years old when his father, King Herod Agrippa I died. The Roman Emperor Claudius felt Agrippa was far too young to become King, so he kept him in Rome to continue his studies. Like his father, Agrippa II was enjoying living the high life in Rome, so he did not mind waiting for his chance to rule. When he turned 20, one of his uncles passed away and Agrippa was given leadership of a small territory in Chalcis, northeast of Judea. At the same time, Claudius also gave Agrippa the responsibility of ruling the Jewish temple there, allowing him to select high priests. This gave Agrippa a chance to “try on” Jewish leadership. A couple of years later, two of his other Herodian uncles passed away, and Agrippa was given more land to rule along with the title of “king”. King Herod Marcus Julius Agrippa II was the fifth and last king in the Herodian dynasty.
When he lived in Rome, Agrippa had been supportive of the Jews and their plight, but when he was safely ensconced in Caesarea, King Agrippa did little to improve the welfare of the Jews. He focused on building cities and statues to honor the Roman Emperor, and allowed Roman taxes to break the backs of the Jewish inhabitants of his kingdom. He lived in an incestuous relationship with his younger sister, and made her his queen. Once when he and his sister were in Caesarea visiting the Roman governor, Festus, Agrippa had the opportunity to meet the Apostle Paul. Paul had been captured, and the Jews had appealed to the Roman governor to have Paul crucified. Paul’s greatest crime was that he ministered to Jews and Gentiles alike. Festus was anxious to get the King and Queen’s opinion, so Paul was given an audience as he presented his own defense. King Agrippa was not moved by Paul’s Christian conversion, and he challenged Paul, "Do you want to convince me that in such a short time you have made me a Christian?" Acts 26:28. Paul responded that he prayed to God that all who had listened to his speech, Jews and Gentiles alike, would “become what I am..” Acts 26:29. (Read Paul’s entire speech Acts 26:1-29) While Paul’s speech did not move King Agrippa to become a Christian, Paul did convince the King that he had done nothing to warrant crucifixion, and rather than turn Paul over to the Jews, Agrippa ordered Paul (a Roman citizen) to be sent to Rome (which is another amazing story). Jewish unrest was at an all-time high, and small revolts turned into war. Agrippa supported the Romans, and was run out of Jerusalem. Agrippa had had the opportunity accept Paul’s claims, bow to God and accept Christ as his savior, but he denied Christ. Agrippa died childless at age 70, and the legacy of Herodian kings ended.
I chose Sister’s Choice to represent King Herod Agrippa II because of his incestuous relationship with his sister, Queen Berenice.