He stood once more before the emperor Tiberius. The latter straightened himself on his throne and coughed. "So you would that I were dead, eh?"
"Oh, believe me, sire, I didn't mean it. It was said in jest and in a half-drunken state."
“I fail to see the humor in it. No, drunk or sober, I think you knew what you were saying. I’ve had reports of your closeness with Gius Caligula both before you left and now after you've returned. And they say that even before that toast, you were praising his fitness to rule. No, I think you had a reason for what you said and I call it treason. And I had such high hopes for you as my grandson’s oral teacher." He turned to one of the guards who stood loyally by his side. "Guard, throw this man in the dungeon. Maybe then he'll learn some respect."
A year later he was still imprisoned in the dungeon when in came his old friend, Caligula, bearing the keys in his hand. "Well, Herod, my old friend, what you wished for has happened. Tiberius is dead and I am emperor. I, therefore, free you from this dungeon." He unlocked the prison door.
“I can hardly believe it. I was afraid I would die here in this rotten dungeon without ever seeing you become emperor."
"But it had to come sometime. And here it is. Come, let's go back to my throne room and discuss your future."
Caligula rang for a servant and ordered wine for two. Then he said with a smile, "Now, let's see--what territories I can give you. Of course, you shall be king--no one deserves the title more than you. Hmm. I think I’ll give you your Uncle Philip's territory--ah, yes, and also that of Lysias. That should keep you busy, eh, King Herod?"
"Why, Your Excellency, I don't know what to say."
"Well, 'thank you' would be nice."
"Yes, thank you, thank you indeed. Then I shall prepare to take my leave of you on the next ship back to Palestine."
Caligula sighed. "You don't have to leave so soon, you know. We haven't had a chance to socialize, and you could learn much from me that would help you in your rulership, you know."
Now Agrippa sighed. “I know. But I hadn't really planned to stay this long. That's why I left Blastus behind in Beersheba. I really think I should go and check on him and then check my new territories." He paused and sipped his wine and then put his finger to his mouth and added: "Ah, but there was one matter I had meant to discuss with you and hadn't got around to it before I was arrested."
"And, what might that be, my friend?"
"The matter of my dear Uncle, Antipas. He's really become quite inefficient in ruling, you know. Since he married his brother's wife, which is an affront in itself, he spends most of his time with her and neglects many of his kingly duties."
"Well, we shall have to see what can be done about that. I shall make note of it and be in contact with you. In the meantime, I shall miss you, friend."
"And, I you." He bowed and exited.
The next morning, he packed his bag and went to the docks to check. But there were no ships leaving for Palestine at the time. He was thus forced to wait, while another opportunity presented itself.
Later on a lovely Sunday afternoon in Tiberius, Herod and Herodias were still in bed when Herod's page knocked on the bedchamber door.
"Who is it?" Herod moaned half asleep.
"It's the page sire. You asked me to bring you any news from abroad."
Herod sat up and pulled the chord to order breakfast. "Oh, yes, well come in, come in."
The page entered and stood before the king as the servant, Linus also entered.
"Oh, Linus, breakfast for two please." He then turned to the page. "Well, out with it, what have you found out?"
"Well, Your Majesty, Caligula, the new emperor of Rome has favored your nephew, Agrippa with certain territories."
"Is that all?"
"Yes, sire. That's all I could find out."
"Well, be off with you then." And the page left. Herod scowled as Linus entered with the food.
They both ate in silence for a while. Then Herod resumed the conversation. "So Caligula favors my nephew? --Giving to him territories? I knew I could never trust Agrippa. Now I shall have to do something drastic." He rang for Linus again.
"What are you going to do, darling?" asked Herodias, but before he could answer the servant appeared again.
"Linus," Herod bellowed, "send the page to find my half-brother, Manaheem and tell him I wish to see him at once." He then turned to Herodias. “I shall hire Manaheem again, this time to foment an insurrection against Agrippa."
"Do you think that wise dear? Remember the last one failed."
"Yes, I think that was because it wasn't given enough time or careful planning. I shall tell Manaheem to supervise things more closely."
She sighed. "If you say so, dear."
"You can stay and make sure I cover everything with him when he comes."
"No, my dear. I’m getting a splitting headache." She pushed away her half-eaten meal. “I can’t eat anymore."
"Me either," he said, pushing his plate aside as well. "Well, you stay here and rest, my dear. I shall go to the throne room to await my visitor."
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish