Reconciliation of the birth of Christ with the reign of Herod

When it comes to wars and historic events, it is generally agreed click here and click here that Jerusalem was captured by the Roman general Pompey in 63 BC.

According to the Jewish historian Josephus, King Herod, Rome's appointed king, subsequently recaptured it exactly 27 years later — see Josephus Book 14 Chapter 16 Paragraph 4 — after Antigonus had usurped control. This apparently occurred in the summer i.e. in the middle of 36 BC. Note, his appointment had occurred in Rome prior to his return to Jerusalem. And, after defeating the usurper king, Antigonus, Herod sent him to Antioch, where he was subsequently executed by Mark Antony.

Now, on September 2nd, 31 BC, Antony and Octavian engaged in a sea battle at Actium near northern Greece where Antony was defeated. According to Josephus, this occurred in the seventh year of Herod's reign — see Josephus Book 15 Chapter 5 Paragraph 2. Accordingly, his appointment would have occurred sometime between September 3rd in 38 BC and September 2nd in 37 BC.

In Josephus Book 17 Chapter 8 Paragraph 1, Herod's death occurred 37 years from his appointment by Rome, and 34 years after the execution of Antigonus. This almost certainly places it in the years 1 BC or 1 AD, after Christ's birth.

Click here for further background on King Herod.   End of article