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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

ma-ke'-rus (Machairous): Not mentioned in Scripture, canonical or apocryphal, but its importance in Jewish history justifies its inclusion here. Pliny (NH, v.16, 72) speaks of it as, after Jerusalem, the strongest of Jewish fortresses. It was fortified by Alexander Janneus (BJ, VII, vi, 2). It was taken and destroyed by Gabinius (ibid., I, viii, 5; Ant, XIV, v, 4). Herod the Great restored it and, building a city here, made it one of his residences (BJ, VII, vi, 1, 2). It lay within the tetrarchy assigned to Antipas at the death of Herod. The wife of Antipas, daughter of Aretas, privately aware of his infidelity, asked to be sent hither (Ant., XVIII, v, 1). Here Josephus has fallen into confusion if he meant by the phrase "a place in the borders of the dominions of Aretas and Herod" that it was still in Herod's hands, since immediately he tells us that it was "subject to her father." It was natural enough, however, that a border fortress should be held now by one and now by the other. It may have passed to Aretas by some agreement of which we have no record; and Herod, unaware that his wife knew of his guilt, would have no suspicion of her design in wishing to visit her father. If this is true, then the Baptist could not have been imprisoned and beheaded at Macherus (ibid., 2). The feast given to the lords of Galilee would most probably be held at Tiberias; and there is nothing in the Gospel story to hint that the prisoner was some days' journey distant (Mark 6:14). The citadel was held by a Roman garrison until 66 A.D., which then evacuated it to escape a siege (BJ, II, xviii, 6). Later by means of a stratagem it was recovered for the Romans by Bassus, circa 72 A.D. (BJ, VII, vi, 4).

The place is identified with the modern Mkaur, a position of great strength on a prominent height between Wady Zerqa Ma`in and Wady el-Mojib, overlooking the Dead Sea. There are extensive ruins.

W. Ewing


The King's Courts
... his disciples being off their guard and the people absent, a handful of soldiers
arrested him, bound him, and led him off to the strong castle of Machaerus. ...
// the baptist/x the kings courts.htm

The Note of Accusation.
... It is dangerous to play the accuser at the foot of the throne, and for this, in
the lone dungeon of Machaerus, the Baptist dies, but not until He whom he ...
/.../jackson/the message and the man/chapter i the note of.htm

Set at Liberty.
... city of Tiberias, the ruins of which are still washed by the blue waters of the
lake, was a considerable distance from the Castle of Machaerus, which, as we ...
// the baptist/xiv set at liberty.htm

John the Baptist
... Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, in consequence of Herod's suspicious temper,
to Machaerus, the fortress before mentioned, and was there put to death. ...
/.../rhees/the life of jesus of nazareth/vi john the baptist.htm

John's Doubts of Jesus, and Jesus' Praise of John
... John was 'in prison,' in that gloomy fortress of Machaerus which Herod had rebuilt
at once for 'a sinful pleasure-house' and for an impregnable refuge, among ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture b/johns doubts of jesus and.htm

John's Doubts and Christ's Praise
... he would be tempted to think that, if Jesus were indeed the Bridegroom, he might
have spared a thought for the friend of the Bridegroom languishing in Machaerus ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture e/johns doubts and christs praise.htm

Jealousy of John's Disciples. --Final Testimony of the Baptist. ...
... holy law of God was concerned, had offended the tetrarch; [291] and, by order of
the latter, he was conveyed as a prisoner to the border fortress of Machaerus. ...
/.../section 120 jealousy of johns.htm

The Interest of his Biography.
... When the axe of Herod's executioner had done its deadly work in the dungeons of
Machaerus, the bond which knit the disciples of John was severed also, and they ...
// the baptist/i the interest of his.htm

True Greatness
... This man was great; first, because he had such dauntless courage and firmness that,
over his headless corpse in the dungeon at Machaerus, might have been ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture e/true greatness.htm

The Great Confession - the Great Commission - the Great ...
... The eastern and higher part formed, as in Machaerus, a citadel within the
castle. In some parts the rock rises higher than the walls. ...
/.../the life and times of jesus the messiah/chapter xxxvii the great confession.htm

Easton's Bible Dictionary
The Black Fortress, was built by Herod the Great in the gorge of Callirhoe, one of the wadies 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, as a frontier rampart against Arab marauders. John the Baptist was probably cast into the prison connected with this castle by Herod Antipas, whom he had reproved for his adulterous marriage with Herodias. Here Herod "made a supper" on his birthday. He was at this time marching against Aretas, king of Perea, to whose daughter he had been married. During the revelry of the banquet held in the border fortress, to please Salome, who danced before him, he sent an executioner, who beheaded John, and "brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel" (Mark 6:14-29). This castle stood "starkly bold and clear" 3,860 feet above the Dead Sea, and 2,546 above the Mediterranean. Its ruins, now called M'khaur, are still visible on the northern end of Jebel Attarus.
...MACHAERUS. ma-ke'-rus (Machairous): Not mentioned in Scripture, canonical or apocryphal,
but its importance in Jewish history justifies its inclusion here. ...
/m/machaerus.htm - 9k

Macedo'nians (2 Occurrences)
Macedo'nians. Macedonians, Macedo'nians. Machaerus . Multi-Version Concordance ...
(See RSV). Macedonians, Macedo'nians. Machaerus . Reference Bible.
/m/macedo'nians.htm - 7k

Machbanai (1 Occurrence)

/m/machbanai.htm - 6k

Salome (2 Occurrences)
... On the occasion of the birthday festival held by Herod Antipas, who had married
her mother Herodias, in the fortress of Machaerus, she "came in and danced, and ...
/s/salome.htm - 10k

Herodias (7 Occurrences)
... For this he was "cast into prison," in the castle probably of Machaerus (qv), and
was there subsequently beheaded. Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. HERODIAS. ...
/h/herodias.htm - 12k

John (154 Occurrences)
... He was shut up in the castle of Machaerus (qv), a fortress on the southern extremity
of Peraea, 9 miles east of the Dead Sea, and here he was beheaded. ...
/j/john.htm - 101k



Related Terms

Macedo'nians (2 Occurrences)

Machbanai (1 Occurrence)

Salome (2 Occurrences)

Herodias (7 Occurrences)

John (154 Occurrences)

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