Thoughts Story 9
According to Josephus when Herod was almost 70, there were rumors of his death because of his ill health. Two teachers and their students were arrested for pulling down a golden eagle that had been put over the temple. During a fast day, Joseph was high priest for a day. At the same time Herod prevented Mathias from becoming the High Priest. Herod made a speech and then had the two teachers, and the 40 students, killed.
Herod had a relapse. He was taken down to Jericho, and then to Calirrhoe for treatment. He was given a hot oil bath that nearly killed him but he felt better afterward and went back to Jericho. He was near death and wanted to be mourned, though he knew that the people hated him. So that they would mourn something, Herod had important men collected into the hippodrome in Jericho with instructions that they were to be slaughtered when he died.
He got a letter from Rome allowing him to kill Antipater. During a moment of depression Herod almost committed suicide. Antipater heard that Herod was dead and tried to take power. Herod had him killed.
Five days later Herod was dead. His successor Archelaus arranged for a fancy funeral and was in mourning for 7 days. Archelaus followed with a feast. Then he went to the temple, made a speech, made a sacrifice, but in the evening stones were thrown at him. Rather than see a riot, he sent an emissary to them in hopes of a settlement. They killed the emissary and sent the others back wounded.
The festival of Passover had already begun when Archelaus sent his army into the temple and they killed at least 3000 persons. He then had everyone sent home.
There are some that believe there was a conjunction in 2 BC that was the star of Bethlehem. However, if that signified the death of Herod the Great instead, then Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would have left Kadesh following the assumption of the throne by Archelaus in 2 BC, having spent three years in Egypt.