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ze173

  Each of these events probably took at least a week:

     1. Herod's sickness increased; part of his body putrefied and bred worms.

     2. He was taken at least ten miles to warm baths and returned when treatment failed.

     3. He ordered important men to come form every village in the nation (up to 70-80 miles); they arrived.

     4. Herod's son Antipater was executed and Herod died five days later (on or after the first day of his 34th regnal year, probably March 29, if in 4 B.C.)

     5. A magnificent funeral was planned and held for Herod, whose body was carried about 23 miles and then buried.(see note A)

     6. A 7-day mourning began, followed by a funeral feast.

     7. Another public mourning was planned and held for the patriots who had been executed during the day preceding the night of the eclipse. (see note B)

 

Note A: Carrying the body on a bier by hand for long distances was not uncommon in royal funerals; the body of Augustus was carried 120 miles by dignitaries (A.D. 14), and Tiberius walked all the way from Germany to Rome with the body of his brother (9 B.C.). See Suetonius, Augustus C.2; Tiberius VII.3.

 

Note B: Public mournings of national figures were often 30 days (Wars III.ix.5), but the 7-day alternative may have been chosen for both because of the approaching passover. Mourning was prohibited during Passover (Mishnah Moed Katan 3:5), so if there had not been seven days left before Passover, it would probably have been postponed until afterward, lest the period be shorter than that for Herod, who was hated.