hloly land tours

The Long Sought after Tomb of Herod the Great May Have Been Uncovered

josephus

Josephus

 

Herod the great

Herod the great

 

 

 

Herod died shortly after the birth of Jesus. About 75 years later  the Jewish/Roman historian Josephus, based on his research, recorded the details concerning the impressive funeral procession that carried  the body of King Herod the Great from his tropical Jericho estate to the huge Herodium retreat he had constructed south of Jerusalem.

Feared but not loved by his unwilling subjects Herod,( the same one who shortly before had tried to kill the infant Jesus along with the other male kids in Bethlehem) feared that his death would be welcomed by celebration rather than mourning.

There was just cause for his apprehension as his rule had been marked by acts of severe cruelty. His own family felt that cruelty as a beloved wife and other close family members were murdered on his command.

The supreme sociopath that he was, Herod devised a scheme that was sure to result in the shedding of tears at the moment of his demise. He gave instructions to close allies to lock up members of all of the prominent Jerusalemite families with the order that, when he breathed his last, they were to be slain. This for sure would produce the tears he craved but those tears would not be for him.

The appearance of national grief meant more to him than the actuality of grief at his passing from the scene.

Herod was a complex sociopath and one of the greatest builders of the ancient world.

 

For over 100 years archaeologists have searched this vast archaeological dig called the Herodium, for the place of Herod’s entombment, only to be disappointed repeatedly.
The Herodium was built by Herod to be a vast country club like complex. Herod built it between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. When completed and due to the intentional  heaping up of stone and dirt against its sides it came to resembles a volcano. He created this look by having tons of sand carried by laborers and heaped against the side of the complex thus creating the curved sloping volcano shaped  sides we see today.
As we drive between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on our holy land tours we can see its distinctive shape on the horizon to the East.
The Smithsonian Magazine (8/09) reported the “Finding of King Herod’s Tomb” by archaeologist Ehud Netzer of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem after a 35 year long search.
As the Herodium has been systematically uncovered, hints of its opulence can be seen in the remains of a theater fit to seat 450, gardens, a bath house, and the palace.
From Josephus we know that the tomb site in which the body was placed was originally  about 80’ tall and 30’ by 30’. It was similar to the traditionally identified tomb of Absalom that is seen prominently in the Kidron Valley to the South East of Jerusalem.
Netzer suggests that the ornate sarcophagus of Herod was smashed probably about 100 years after his death during the 2nd Jewish revolt against Rome and Netzer claims to have  found fragments there of what he thought were from an ornate sarcophagus fit for a king. He has stated that these fragments have confirmed his conclusion that this was indeed the location of the missing tomb of Herod the Great.
Not to be outdone, a couple of his own students have disputed that claim because they feel that the site identified by their professor was not large enough for a royal tomb.
Such counterclaims are common in archaeology where reputations are made by staking out such claims and then working to prove them. So it appears that this long endured mystery of the missing tomb of Herod the Great remains unsolved.
Dr Robert Grant has been going to the Holy land for over 46 years and traveled there 125 + times conducting holy land tours for his friends. This has resulted, much to his amusement,  in him being called the holy land guru.