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Josephus and the psalms of Solomon on Herod’s messianic aspirations: An interpretation

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Chapter Summary

For various reasons Josephus was biased against Herod. Thus Josephus probably underplayed Herod's successful rule and popularity as King of Judea in the eyes of his Jewish subjects. Of all the successful rulers of Judah, as Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah, Herod chose as his paradigm the most magnificent one and of course the most well-known: King Solomon. The Psalms of Solomon expressed the wishful thinking of one of Herod's Jewish subjects. Written in Hebrew in Herodian Jerusalem, they make Solomon the paradigm for Herodian rule, and that behind the mask of the Messiah is the figure of Herod himself. It is interesting to compare the author's analysis of Herod's messianic ideology with E. P. Sanders' view of Jewish messianic ideals in the late Second Temple period.

Keywords: Herod's messianic ideals; Jewish subjects; Josephus; King Solomon; Psalms of Solomon; Second Temple period



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