The Great King

Joseph Holbrook, Jr.

READ : Daniel 11:36-45

Who is this king who is suddenly announced? I became convinced years ago that this is a picture of King Herod the Great.

He is described as one who would “do according to his will.” From a lowly, obscure origin he rose to despotic power and held onto it through all the military and political changes that were happening around him. He did “magnify himself above every god [authority],” even appointing his own choice as high priest in the temple. The reference to the “one beloved by women” could well be the Messiah, whom every Jewish girl hoped to bear some day. Herod is best remembered by his attempt to kill the baby Jesus, by killing all the babies in Bethlehem under two years of age.

The closing words of our reading foretell the piteous death that he experienced, insane from a social disease he had contracted.

Evil has the seeds of its own destruction in itself. God’s love lives through all history into eternity.


Thank you, Lord, for helping us to realize the reality of evil in our world. We stand in awe of the mighty power of the love of Jesus as he took on the powers of hell and defeated them at Calvary. In his name. Amen.