Herods Tomb Found
The probable tomb of Herod the Great has been found, reported Haaretz a day before a scheduled press conference. This is the King Herod who slaughtered the innocents of Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth after being visited by the wise men. Scholars knew he was supposed to be buried at his fortress of Herodium. Despite years of excavation, the sarcophagus had not been found till now. Since no inscriptions have yet been found, full confirmation is pending.
For more details, see Arutz Sheva, Science Daily, BBC News, Science Now, National Geographic and EurekAlert, based on a press release from Hebrew University. Todd Bolen has provided historical background on the Bible Places blog with additional links. The AP story on Yahoo has a slide show of Herod’s hilltop fortress and palace.
Any time something about a Bible character is discovered, it’s big news, and King Herod was a big character. The paranoid megalomaniac was responsible for both monumental buildings and horrendous crimes. Seeing the remains of his monuments at Caesarea Maritima, Herodium, Masada, Jericho and the Temple Mount underscores his genius for pulling off large and elaborate construction projects.
The Herodium, where his sarcophagus was found, is a crumbling ruin. Yet a few miles north, in Bethlehem, on a silent night, another King was born. Gentle as a Lamb, He changed the world forever. Despite Herod’s cruel yet futile attempt to wipe out any competition, that King is alive in the hearts of millions today. He didn’t take titles and make monuments to Himself. He taught, He who would be greatest among you, let him be your servant (Matthew 23). Seek first the kingdom of God, He said, and all these things will be added to you (Sermon on the Mount). By humbling Himself unto death, He has become King of Kings, and Lord of Lords (Philippians 2, Revelation 19).
Within a couple of hours, you can tour Bethlehem, where a humble King was born and placed in a manger, then the Herodium, where about two years later a proud king was buried in a monument to himself. Before Herod died he ordered leading men to be slaughtered so that there would be some mourning on the day of his death (fortunately, his sister prevented the order from being carried out). Jesus died outside the gate of Jerusalem but gave life to His followers. Herod’s monuments, impressive as they were, lie in ruins. But 2000 years after Christ, the most elaborate buildings in the world ring with praises to Christ, the King. What a contrast. Which path are you on? the way of Herod, or the way of the cross? Jesus said, He who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted (Luke 14:11).