There once was a mad king who lived in Judea in the first century BCE who was one of the greatest builders in the holy land. His second coming may be here.
U.S. President Donald Trump has never been shy about taking claim for accomplishments. In his remarks about the trade war with China, he referred to himself as “the chosen one,” which many people thought was akin to anointing himself as the Messiah, as the Jews are commonly known as “the chosen people.” A more apt comparison might be to a particular king in Judea from 2,000 years ago.
Like King Herod (73 – 4 BCE), Trump is an accomplished builder. Herod built the expanded Temple Mount to enable better flow of thousands of Jews to the Second Temple in Jerusalem, aqueducts in Caesarea, the large edifice atop the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron and many other buildings across the holy land. For his part, Trump has built numerous buildings in New York City and around the world. In addition to those buildings which he financed, there are many others which bear his name.
In addition to their real estate bona fides and reaching political stardom, both Herod and Trump have been characterized as paranoid madmen. Herod had many people close to him killed, including his wife and her sons; Trump has preferred to off people on Twitter who do not show complete loyalty.
But more than anything else, Donald Trump may earn the title of President Herod for continuing to fortify Jewish permanence in their holy land.
Just as Herod was able to secure more lands for Judea from his patrons in Rome, Trump has recognized Israel’s capital in Jerusalem, its rule in the Golan Heights, and on November 18, 2019, the natural and acceptable existence of Jewish homes throughout Judea and Samaria, in contrast to the United Nations which labeled them as illegal (with the tacit nod from former President Obama).
For those people excited about the various efforts of Trump on behalf of the Jewish State, history shows that celebrations can be short-lived. The Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, only seven years after the Temple Mount complex was completed. Just sixty-five years later after the failed Bar Kochba revolt, the Romans expelled the Jews and renamed Judea as Syria Palestina, thoroughly weakening the Jewish people and their presence in their homeland. Herod’s glorious buildings remained, but were assumed by pagan and Arab interlopers over the following centuries.
Donald Trump knows that to make an enduring mark in history, he can forge a peace agreement in Israel when so many others have failed, and/or he can further help build the Jewish State. While he hopes to achieve both, he is not waiting on the latter and is actively supporting America’s ally.
Trump may have picked the “chosen one” moniker for himself, but others may begin to refer to him as President Donald Herod.
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