How could Herod, an Idumean, end up ruling Israel?


I found the article on the Internet concerning Edom quite informative. I am reading Josephus Flavious and have some interest in what the secular historians say in regard to biblical times and places.

Josephus states that Herod was an Idumean. My question is, since Ezekiel's time, when the land was uninhabited, how a personality arises from that area be appointed tetrarch? Josephus also states that his troops joined Anthony's in the battle of Samosata. Was his army Idumean, or Israeli?

These questions are purely for my interest, and not for the understanding of scripture.


Herod was an Edomite, or Idumean as the Greeks called them in Jesus' day. His family were supporters of Rome and also political manipulators. Through their connections to the Caesars in Rome and other leading Roman figures, they managed to secure appointments first to governorships in Palestine (what the Romans called Israel) and then later a kingship.

A good summary article on Herod the Great can be found on Wikipedia. But for more details, I suggest you read the article on Herod in the International Bible Encyclopeadia.

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