And think not to yourselves, you sons of darkness, that in the temple you shall be
made clean before the Lord at his coming; neither think you that God shall be pleased
with that house which Herod built, for God has rejected even all his offering for
In 22 BCE, Herod the Great began building the city of Caesarea in honor primarily
to himself, but also in honor of his patron and benefactor Caesar Augustus, the first
Emperor of Rome. The city boasted of its man-made harbor which protected sea vessels
from the high winds and waves which often lashed that part of the Mediterranean coast
The city was the Roman capital of Palestine, and it was the official residence of
Pontius Pilate. The city also boasted of its amphitheater, baths, aqueduct, and of
its temple for the worship of Caesar.
Azrael’s Commentary - John the Baptizer (excerpt)
[...] At the age of eighteen, John began preaching in the market places of Jerusalem
and throughout the countryside. He publicly denounced the sins of Herod the Great.
He condemned the religious leaders of his day for allowing Herod to finance the building
of the temple in Jerusalem, proclaiming publicly that Herod was no better than a
pig content to wallow in his own dung...
It should prove of interest to the reader that John’s teachings did not please Herod
the Great. For John claimed that God had rejected Herod, rejected Jerusalem, rejected
the temple, rejected the religious leaders of the day, rejected even Israel itself
because of pride and hypocrisy.
King Herod sent a message to John: “Stop your criticism of me, or I will kill your
father, Zacharias.” To this threat was added another from the rulers of the temple
which accused John of being a false prophet and that if he didn’t stop his criticisms
of them, they would likewise kill his father; for John’s father worked in the temple,
and the Sadducees had easy access to him. But John couldn’t stop. His devotion to
God and his love for Israel would not permit it. And so, Zacharias was murdered at
the temple as he was officiating at the altar. [...]
[And John spoke unto the scribes, Pharisees, and Herodians saying:]
25. And think not to yourselves, you sons of darkness, that in the temple you shall
be made clean before the Lord at his coming; neither think you that God shall be
pleased with that house which Herod built, for God has rejected even all his offering
for Rachel’s sake.
26. For I tell you truly that David desired with all his heart to build a house unto
the name of the Lord, but God forbid him, saying:
27. ‘Surely you shall not build a temple unto my name, for you are a man of war,
having shed much blood upon the land in the sight of the Lord. For this cause shall
I give unto you a son, and he shall be a man of peace, and I will give him rest from
all his enemies.
28. He it is that will build a house unto the Lord, and he shall be my son, and I
shall be unto him as a father. And I will establish the throne of his kingdom in
peace and plenty, and I shall send forth my glory that it might dwell upon that house
which he shall build unto me.’
29. If God, therefore, would not that David should build for him a temple, having
made red his hands by blood, how much more shall God reject that temple which Herod
built, seeing that in his madness he murdered his wife and sons for the sake of his
30. For which of you have not heard for yourselves this saying among the house of
Israel: It is better to be Herod’s hog than to be his son.
31. For Herod, in the midst of his power, did build a house made all beautiful on
the outside, having adorned it with great riches, yet inwardly is it filled with
hypocrisy and deceit; having spilled upon the altar the innocent blood of Zacharias.”