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The Illustrious Theatre of Herod the Great
Herod the Great built a marvelous theater in Jerusalem's Upper City. It was a large auditorium with no roof and semicircular rows of seats ascending from the center stage.
Wealthy Jews came there to watch the best of Greek and Roman drama. Most traditional Jews, however, scorned this and other outgrowths of Greco-Roman culture as immoral.
Archaeological remains of Herod's Theater are scarce. We know about Herod and his buildings through the writings of Josephus, Strabo, Dio Cassius, Jewish Literature, archaeology and the Bible.
The Roman Legions of Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD. They spared only Herod's powerful tower fortress as a symbol of the strength of the Romans who were able to overpower it.
"Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet."
- Matthew 2:1-5
"Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
- Matthew 2:7,8
"Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way. Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him."
- Matthew 2:12-13
"Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men."
- Matthew 2:16
Matthew 2:7 - Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.