Daughter of Herod Agrippa
28 – After 81 A.D.
The study of the career of this woman brings us into acquaintance with a number of important historic characters.
Berenice was the daughter of Herod Agrippa I. and the sister of Agrippa II., before whom Paul preached (Acts XXV: 13, 23 and XXVI:30). She first married her uncle, Herod, king of Chalis, and by him had two sons. After his death she went to live with her brother Agrippa, and was under suspicion of sustaining immortal relations with him. To hush up this scandal she proposed marriage to Polemon, king of Cilicia, on condition that he adopt the Jewish faith. This he did. But after after a few years she wearied of him and went back to her brother, and Polemon renounced Judaism, his adopted faith.
About 65 A.D., she went to Jerusalem and interceded with the Roman governor for the Jews, at the risk of her own life, for he was at his time carrying on a cruel persecution of the Jews. She, with her brother, sought to dissuade the Jews from rebellion. This helped to secure their own safety and the favor of the Romans.
After the destruction of Jerusalem, Berenice and Agrippa made a journey to Rome, where she further gained the good will of the emperor Vespasian by her gifts and won his son Titus by her beauty. Titus was about to marry her, but the protest of the Romans prevented him. She was accordingly sent away with the promise that he would call her back when the tumult had ceased.
Berenice was very scrupulous about religious observances, but to matters of morality she gave little heed.
At the time of Paul’s noted speech before Agrippa, which is given in Acts XXVI, Berenice was present. She and Agrippa had come with great pomp to pay a visit to Fetus, the governor at Cæsarea. It was Agrippa who said, sarcastically or otherwise, “Almost thou persuadest [sic] me to be a Christian.”
Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.