New Testament Significance
Herod the Great has been described as being the most powerful ruler of Israel since the time of Solomon, albeit as a ‘puppet king’ who was given his kingship by the Roman Senate in 37 BCE. He enlarged the Baris Fortress in Jerusalem, but he also built a palace on the west hill. This one became his official residence for the next twelve years. Like the palace in Jerusalem this one was named in honour of his Roman comrades. It was situated on the west hill (also known as the upper city), near to where the Tower of David now stands. The following is from Josephus:
“The number of the rooms was also very great, and the variety of the figures that were about them was prodigious; their furniture was complete, and the greatest part of the vessels that were put in them was of silver and gold. There were besides many porticoes, one beyond another, round about, and in each of those porticoes curious pillars; yet were all the courts that were exposed to the air every where green. There were, moreover, several groves of trees, and long walks through them, with deep canals, and cisterns, that in several parts were filled with brazen statues, through which the water ran out. There were withal many dovecourts.”
The Jerusalem Palace then, is significant in the New Testament as it not only served as a powerful symbol of Herod’s power, but also as a possible location of the two of the gospels’ most well known narratives about Jesus, namely the assassination attempt on his life as a child (Matt 2:16) and the trial that ultimately led to his death as an adult (Luke 23:126).
Cerny, Edward A.1942. "Archaeological corner: Jerusalem: Palace of Herod the Great." The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 4, no. 3: 258261. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed March 10, 2016).
Dalman, Sacred Sites and Ways, p. 336; VincentAbel, Jérusalem, II, p. 565.
Eglash, R. (2015, Jan 06). Possible trial site of Christ uncovered; theory says Pilate likely a guest in Herod's palace, where Jesus judged. Edmonton Journal Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1642473623?accountid=10673