Herod Agrippa I Whose Death is Recorded in Acts 12
Herod Agrippa I was a Jewish king who ruled 37-44. Herod Agrippa I was the son of Aristobulus who was murdered by his father Herod the Great who is known for the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem.
Herod executed Aristobulus in 7 BCE, after two trials before the Roman emperor Augustus. Aristobulus' son Agrippa was not killed. He was named after Augustus' friend Marcus Agrippa.
He was born in 11 AD and was sent to Rome at age 3. He was brought up and educated with Caligula and Claudius the princes who were later emperors.
King Herod the Great died about 4 BC and his realm was divided between his other three sons, Agrippa's uncles: Herod Antipas (Tetrarch) ruled Galilee and the east bank of the Jordan as a tetrarch; Jesus called Herod the Tetrarch "that fox" Luke 13:32. Jesus was sent to him by Pilate to be judged. (Luke 23:7) He would later be exiled at Lugdunum Convenarum, now Saint Bertrand de Comminges of France; and Agrippa I would rule in his stead. Philip was tetrarch ruled in Gilead east of the Sea of Galilee; and Archelaus became the ruler of Samaria and Judah and ruled at Jerusalem. Matt. 2:22
More on Antipas
In 39, Agrippa'Is uncle Herod Antipas tried to usurp Agrippa's royal title given by Caligula. Herod Amtipas also called Herod the Tetrarch who Jesus called a fox, was the son of Herod the Great. At the death of Herod the Great Augustus Caesar divided his realm among his three sons, Herod Antipas. Philip and Archelaus. Upon the death of Tiberius, Gaius Caligula Ceasar gave Herod Antipas' realm, (Galilee and Peraea), to Agrippa I, then Herod Antipas was exiled to Gaul. See Josephus WarsII: 9:5,6
Agrippa I lived in Rome for most of his life. There he met Cypros his wife, a distant relative. His five children were born there: Drusus (who died young), Agrippa, Berenice, Mariamme and Drusilla. See Jos. Antiq. 9.2 Drusilla would have a sad life given in polirical marriages until Felix saw her and took her to himself. Josephus Antiq. XX.7.2 Paul preached to Felix and Drusilla. Acts 24:24,25. Drucilla and her son died at Pompey in the eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79AD
In 33, Agrippa was in Idumea. Later, he was official in Tiberias, the capital of Galilee founded by his uncle Herod Antipas. However he decided to return to Rome, where his friend Caligula was. Agrippa encouraged Caligula to seize power, but the emperor Tiberius knew of it and had Agrippa imprisoned in 36.
But he left prison as a king. In 34, Agrippa I's uncle Philip had died without sons. Caligula became emperor and almost immediately restored Agrippa to king Phillip's realm.
It was on a mission to Alexandria Herod Agrippa I married his daughter Berenice to Marcus, the son of the Tiberius Julius Alexander who had given him financial help. She would divorse and later be mentioned in Acts 25:13 visiting with her brother Agrippa II son of this Agrippa I. Josephus XX.7.3 records that the public considered their relationship incestous. The Apostle Paul preached to them and it was this Agrippa II son of Herod Agrippa I who said "Paul, you almost persuade me to be a Christian." Acts 26:28 Bernice would later become the mistress of Titus who led the Roman armies in 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed. Titus abandoned her when he became emperor.
In January 41, Caligula was murdered, and Agrippa I played a role in crowning Claudius. Claudius was grateful to Agrippa I. Judah and Samaria were added to Herod Agrippa I's realm. He was then king of all that had once been ruled by Herod the Great. Agrippa I entered Jerusalem in a Roman Triumphal Parade.
Like Herod the Great Agrippa I was a builder; he built a theater, an amphitheater, baths and porticoes. He also built in the temple in Jerusalem, and finished an aqueduct started by Herod the Great and continued by Pontius Pilate.
In 44 King Herod Agrippa I went down from Jerusalem to Caesarea and recorded in Acts 12: "upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne and delivered an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, 'It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!' And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory; and he was eaten up of worms."