Who was Archelaus in the Bible?

Updated: May 5

Archelaus gets one mention in the Bible, in the book of Matthew. Who was he? Why was Joseph afraid of him? What was his rule like? Let's find out!

Archelaus in the Bible

We read about Archelaus in Matthew 2:22. Shortly after the visit from the Magi, Joseph is warned in a dream that Herod wants to kill Jesus. Joseph and Mary flee to Egypt to keep Jesus safe.

Sometime later, Joseph has another vision that Herod is dead and that it is safe to return. But when they get back, they discover Archelaus is reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, and so Joseph is afraid to go there. Joseph takes his family to Nazareth in Galilee, which is under the rule of Antipas* instead.

Archelaus in history

The ancient historian Josephus gi