Herod Agrippa II Resists Conversion
ACCORDING to historians the last of the Herods was Herod Agrippa II, son of Herod Agrippa I. While not professing his father’s devotion to the law of Moses, it is apparent from his treatment of the apostle Paul that he had far more of its spirit as summed up in the “Golden Rule”: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.”—Matt. 7:12, NW.
Due to the fact that Agrippa II was only seventeen years old when his father died so suddenly, the Roman emperor was persuaded by his counselors not to give the youth his father’s rule over all Palestine. Instead, the emperor gave the youth only the rulership over the small principality of Chalcis on the western slope of the Anti-Lebanon range, together with the superintendence of the temple at Jerusalem and the right to appoint the high priest. However, as the years went by his territory was increased.
In the Bible he comes to our attention because of the witness the apostle Paul gave to him at the time Agrippa II and his sister Bernice paid a courtesy call on Governor Festus. Paul, who at the time was a prisoner of Festus (a charge Festus inherited from his predecessor Felix), expressed himself as happy to be able to make his defense before one so familiar with Jewish customs.
Resisting Paul’s eloquent testimony Agrippa said to Paul: “In a short time you would persuade me to become a Christian.” Paul, continuing his entreaty, replied: “I could wish to God that whether in a short time or in a long time not only you but also all those who hear me today would become men such as I also am, with the exception of these bonds.” His father would have handed him over to the Jews for punishment, but Agrippa II said: “This man could have been released if he had not appealed to Caesar.”—Acts 26:1-32, NW.
It was during the life of Agrippa II that the Jews’ rebellion against Rome finally led to their national suicide. Josephus records a well-reasoned and earnest appeal that Agrippa II made, endeavoring to turn the Jews from their rebellious course. He pleaded with them to consider how small they were and how great was the might of Rome. But his words fell on deaf ears. Failing to dissuade them, Agrippa II at last left the Jews and attached himself to the conquering armies of Rome and shared the fruits of their victories, while the Jews experienced the fulfillment of Jesus’ words regarding their national destruction.—Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-22, NW.
Thirty years after that destruction, or about the year 100, Herod Agrippa II died without any offspring, thus marking the end of the line of the Herods.