Herod died shortly after the arrival of the Magi, and within seventy years of his death everything he had schemed, labored, and shiestered to acquire was gone.
The Hasmonean monarchy ended with Herod. The kingdom of Judea was divided into three parts among his sons. The Temple was destroyed in 70AD. And though Maritima was only subsumed by the Romans during the Jewish Revolt of 134AD, the Jewish presence had largely diminished after the Temple’s destruction thereby making it effectively Roman.
Herod spent his life hoarding and acquiring power. Then he died, and his power went with him.
Herod undoubtedly expected this, but was unable to accept it. He wanted his power to endure, and even made attempts to guarantee his will would persist beyond death.
For example, knowing his was ill-loved by his own people, Herod decreed that one hundred of the most popular Jewish elders be put to death when he breathed his last. That way, he reasoned, at least someone would be weeping at the death of the King.
Fortunately, no one followed through on Herod’s instruction. The old man was, after all, dead and had no power over his subjects any longer.
The moral of the story? Once you’re dead, you’re done. Live now in such a way as to capture men’s hearts, not control their behaviors.
You can make people appear to love you—they may even celebrate when you’re in the room—but you can’t control what they think and smiles are empty if they’re forced.
Dr. David McDonald is the teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, MI. The church, widely considered among the most innovative in America, has been featured on CNN.com and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Time Magazine. David weaves deep theological truths with sharp social analysis and peculiar observations on pop culture. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Carmel, and their two kids. Follow him on twitter (@fossores) or online at fossores.com