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The Blue Letter Bible
Study Resources :: Text Commentaries :: Don Stewart :: The World into Which Jesus Came

Don Stewart :: Who Were the Herodians?

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Who Were the Herodians?

The World into Which Jesus Came – Question 12

There is a political party known as the Herodians that receives slight mention in the New Testament. While they were not highlighted by the gospel writers, we should understand something about them.

The Herodians derived their name as followers of King Herod. They were a political party that wanted to restore a Herod to the throne in Judea as well as other areas ruled by Herod the Great. They were political foes of the Pharisees, who wished to restore the kingdom with a relative of King David rather than a Herod.

1. They Are Mentioned in Connection with the Pharisees

We only find them being mentioned three times in the gospels and always in conjunction with the Pharisees. Although they were politically opposed to the Pharisees the Herodians participated with them in the persecution of Jesus.

After Jesus broke their interpretation of the Sabbath, they, along with the Pharisees, plotted to kill Him:

Then the Pharisees went out and immediately plotted with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him. (Mark 3:6 NKJV)

Like the relationship between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, these enemies became united in their goal of destroying Jesus.

The Herodians also attempted to trap Jesus into saying something that could be used to arrest Him. Matthew wrote about this. He said,

They sent some of their followers and some of Herod’s followers to say to him, “Teacher, we know that you are honest. You teach the truth about what God wants people to do. And you treat everyone with the same respect, no matter who they are.” (Matthew 22:16 CEV)

Their hypocrisy was as obvious as that of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. They did not want to know the truth. Instead they wanted to get rid of Jesus.

2. Jesus Warned of the Leaven, or Yeast, of Herod

On one occasion, we find that Jesus spoke of the leaven, or yeast, of Herod. He said the following to His disciples:

Jesus warned them, “Be careful! Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod!” (Mark 8:15 God’s Word)

This may refer to Herod Antipas, the Herod who was ruling at that time, or it may be a reference to the party, the Herodians. In this context, it refers to something evil. The people were warned of both Herod and the Herodians. They were not doing God’s work.

3. The Herodians Soon Ceased to Exist

Like the Pharisees and Sadducees, the Herodians soon ceased to exist. The dynasty of Herod, with all its evil rulers, finally came to an end.

Thus, we again have the lesson. Those who oppose Jesus, such as the family of Herod, will never ultimately prosper. While they may prosper for a short time their rule is limited to the will of the God of the Bible; the God whom they rejected. Since these evil rulers rejected Him, He also rejected them.

Summary – Question 12
Who Were the Herodians?

We find a group opposed to Jesus Christ and His ministry known as the Herodians. While not prominent in the New Testament, we should know something about them as well as what they stood for.

Simply state, the Herodians were a political party who wanted to restore a Herod to the throne in Judea. They were opposed to the Pharisees who wanted a descendant of David on the throne. Thus, there was a difference of opinion as to who should rule the people.

While they were enemies of the Pharisees the New Testament tells us that they joined with them in attempting to silence Jesus. As so often happens, these enemies of God’s truth put aside their differences to fight what is right.

Jesus warned the people of their evil. This includes the evil of the political party as well as the evil of the Herod who was still ruling in Galilee.

As is true with all opponents of Jesus and His message, the Herodians quickly became a footnote in history. No descendant of Herod has ever ruled again in the Holy Land. On the other hand, the message of Jesus, which they attempted to destroy, continues to resound throughout the world.

Who Were the Sadducees? ← Prior Section
Who Were the Samaritans? Next Section →
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