Y O U N G P E O P L E ' S D I C T I O N A R Y O F S C R I P T U R A L • & • R E L I G I O U S T E R M S
The word Herodians is found only 3 times in the Bible—all in the book of Matthew.
Herodians were Jews who formed one of the three major classes of Jewish leaders
during the time when our Lord Jesus walked on this earth.
The Pharisees were the most strict, religiously correct, and most zealous in keeping
the Mosaic law and traditions they had learned from the ‘fathers’. We might say that
they were the ‘legal’ element of Judaism. Outwardly, they appeared to be very holy,
but inwardly God saw their hearts as being dead through unbelief in Him.
The Sadducees were also a religious sect, but one which we might term ‘agnostic’
in their beliefs. They believed and taught a very wicked, very false, doctrine—that
heterodox (false) doctrine was that there is no resurrection from the dead. We might
say that they were the morally ‘loose’ element of Judaism.
The Herodians were not really a ‘religious sect’ of Jews. Though Jews, they
supported and followed the Roman rulers over Jerusalem, the Herod’s. Herod was a
title given to a class of Roman rulers that ruled specially over the lands where Jews
lived. The name is similar to the Egyptian name Pharaoh. We might say that they
were the ‘atheistic’ element among the Jews.
These Jews were not ‘religious’ leaders or followers of any religious sect. Their group
was motivated by ‘political correctness’ and the belief that things were better for
Jews, if the Roman Empire controlled their land.
These three classes of Jews made up the group of Jews referred to as ‘leaders’, and
were all held specially responsible before God for they took the place of teaching all
Jews, their wrong doctrines and practices. All of these three classes hated the Lord
Jesus, refusing to believe He was their Messiah. All of these three classes were
specially responsible for stirring up the multitude of common Jews, against our
Lord when He was condemned to the death of the cross.