Only recently have these scattered remains been identified as Herod’s palace. In the center was a freshwater pool now largely filled with silt and stones from the building itself. In the center is the podium believed to be the base for a large statue, probably of the emperor. The pool was 115 feet long, 60 feet wide, and eight feet deep. A freshwater pool out in the saltwater of the Mediterranean Sea was typical of Herod’s projects, many of which seemed like attempts to defy nature. Around the outside of the pool were the colonnaded buildings of the palace. Little remains of them except the marks on the seal rock seen to the right of the pool. The stone remains on the left date to a later period. In the distance, the curved western end of the palace is visible. Originally, it probably had a marble floor and a curved row of columns. People would have been on that marble “deck,” enjoying the waves of the sea breaking against the palace. In the foreground, the colored sandbags cover a mosaic floor that was probably in the large dining room of the palace. The remains give some identification of the glory of Herod’s construction. That the palace is in ruins highlights the fact that his work did not last because he built only for himself. Paul, who was imprisoned in this palace (Acts 23:35), spoke of a greater King for whom he was building. The kingdom of his King is still being built and will stand forever.
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