Herod Agrippa - the Bible story
Herod Agrippa: selfish, conniving, clever
People in the story:
Herod the spoiled Prince
Agrippa, the brother of Herodias, was a spendthrift and a scoundrel, but he ended up with everything.
He was the grandson of the beautiful Mariamme and through her he inherited the prized Hasmonean blood. He had been sent to Rome as a small boy to escape the bloodbath that engulfed his family as Herod the Great lapsed into insanity, and also to receive a Roman education.
There he grew up in company with the emperor Tiberius' son Drusus (see right).
After his mother's death he quickly ran through his inheritance, keeping up with the lifestyle of the young blades of the imperial family. Then he went into serious debt, which meant that when his patron Drusus died, he was forced to leave Rome and go back to Judea. Herod Antipas, now his brother-in-law, gave him a small income and a minor official post, both of which Agrippa despised.
Judea could not compete with the sophistication and splendor of Roman society
Agrippa's friendship with Caligula
Desperately unhappy in the back blocks of Judea, Agrippa secured a sizeable loan and returned to Rome, where he secured a post as tutor to Tiberius' grandson.
He also became a friend of Caligula, Tiberius' heir (see the portrait bust of Caligula at right). Agrippa was foolish enough to make a rash remark about how good it would be when Tiberius died, and his words were reported to the Emperor by a servant.
Agrippa landed in gaol.
But Tiberius was ailing, and one year later Agrippa, now close friends with the new emperor Caligula, came into his own. Caligula made him king of the former realm of his uncle Philip, and when Antipas was banished to Gaul Agrippa got his territories as well. When Caligula was assassinated Agrippa supported Claudius, who in gratitude granted him the entire kingdom of Judea.
Agrippa and the early Christians
In Judea, Agrippa carefully supported conservative Jewish policies and repressed the Jewish Christians.
He imprisoned Peter the Apostle and executed James, son of Zebedee.
Luke, writing in the Acts of the Apostles, believed that Agrippa's early death in 44AD was the result of his pride.
Bible Stories: People of the New Testament: Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, Herod Agrippa: Bible Study Resource