Aristobu'lus (Α᾿ριστόβουλος, best counselor, a frequent Grecian name), the name of several men in sacred history.
1. A Jewish priest (2 Maccabees 1:10), who resided in Egypt in the reign of Ptolemy (VI) Philometor (comp. Grimm, 2 Maccabees 1:9). In a letter of Judas Maccabseus he is addressed (B.C. 165) as the representative of the Egyptian Jews (Α᾿ριστοβούλῳ . . . καὶ τοῖς ἐν Αἰγ. Ι᾿ουδ. 2 Maccabees 1. c.), and is further styled "the teacher" (διδάσκαλος, i.e. counsellor?) of the king. Josephus makes no mention of him; and the genuineness of the letter itself is doubtful (De Wette, Einlcdt. 1:413); yet there may have lived at this time an eminent Jew of this name at the Egyptian court. Some have thought him' identical with the peripatetic philosopher of the name (Clem. Alex. Str. 5, 98; Euseb. Praep. Ev. 8, 9), who dedicated to Ptol. Philometor his allegorical exposition of the Pentateuch (Βίβλους ἐξηγητικὰς τοῦ Μουσέως νόμου, Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 7, 32). Considerable fragments of this work have been preserved by Clement and Eusebius (Euseb. Prep. Evang. 7, 13, 14; 8:(8), 9, 10; 13:12; in which the Clementine fragments recur); but the authenticity of the quotations has been vigorously contested. It was denied by R. Simon and especially by Hody (De bibl. text. orig. p. 50 sq. Oxon. 1705), who was answered by Valckenaer (Diatribe de Aristobulo Judaeo, Lugd. Bat. 1806); and Valckenaer's arguments are now generally considered conclusive (Gfrorer, Philo, 2:71 sq.; Dahne, Jud. Alex. Relig. Philos. 2:73 sq.; Ewald, Gesch. des Volkes Isr. 4:294 n.) The object of Aristobulus was to prove that the peripatetic doctrines were based (ἠρτῆσθαι) on the Law and the Prophets; and his work has an additional interest as showing that the Jewish doctrines were first brought into contact with the Aristotelian and not with the Platonic philosophy (comp. Matter, Hist. de liecole d'Alex. 3, 153 sq.). The fragments which remain are discussed at length in the works quoted above, which contain also a satisfactory explanation of the chronological difficulties of the different accounts of Aristobulus. (See Eichhorn, Biblioth. d. bibl. Lit. v. 253 sq.)
2. The eldest son of John Hyrcanus, prince of Judaea. In B.C. 110, he, together with his brother Antigonus, successfully prosecuted for his father the siege of Samaria, which was destroyed the following year (Josephus, Ant. 13, 10, 2 and 3; War, 1, 2, 7). 'Hyrcanus dying in B.C. 107, Aristobulus took the title of king, this being the first instance of the assumption of that name since the Babylonian captivity (but see Strabo, 16:762), and secured his power by the imprisonment of all his brothers except his favorite one Antigonus, and by the murder of his mother, to whom Hyrcanus had left the government by will. The life of Antironus was soon sacrificed to his brother's suspicions through the intrigues of the queen and her party, and the remorse felt by Aristobulus for his execution increased the illness under which he was at the time suffering, and thus hastened his own death, B.C. 106. During his reign the Iturmans were subdued and compelled to adopt the Jewish law. He also received the name of Φιλέλλην from the favor which he showed the Greeks (Joseph. Ant. 13, 11; War, 1, 3).
3. The younger son of Alexander Jannaeus by Alexandra (Josephus, Ant. 13, 16, 1; War, 1, 5, 1). During the nine years of his mother's reign he set himself against the party of the Pharisees, whose influence she had sought; and after her death, B.C. 70, he made war against his eldest brother Hyrcanus, and obtained from him the resignation of the crown and the high-priesthood, chiefly through the aid of his father's friends whom Alexandra had placed in the several fortresses of the country to save them from the vengeance of the Pharisees (Joseph. Ant. 13, 16; 14:1, 2; War, 1, 5; 6, 1). In B.C. 65 Judaea was invaded by Aretas, king of Arabia Petrsea, with whom, at the instigation of Antipater the Idumaean, Hyrcanus had taken refuge. By him Aristobulus was defeated in a battle and besieged in Jerusalem; but Aretas was obliged to raise the siege by Scaurus and Gabinius, Pompey's lieutenants, whose intervention Aristobulus had purchased (Joseph. Ant. 14, 2; 3, 2; War, 1, 6, 2 and 3). In B.C. 63 he pleaded his cause before Pompey at Damascus, but finding him disposed to favor Hyrcanus, he returned to Judaea and prepared for war. On Pompey's approach, Aristobulus, who had fled to the fortress of Alexandrium, was persuaded to obey his summons and appear before him; and, being compelled to sign an order for the surrender of the garrison, he withdrew in impotent discontent to Jerusalem. Pompey still advanced, and Aristobulus again met him and made submission; but, his friends in the city refusing to perform the terms, Pompey besieged and took Jerusalem, and carried away Aristobulus and his children as prisoners (Joseph. Ant. 14, 3, 4; War, 1, 6, 7; Plut. Pomp. 39, 45; Strabo, 16:762; Dion Cass. 37, 15,16). Appian (Bell. Mith. 1117) erroneously represents him as having been put to death immediately after Pompey's triumph. In B.C. 57 he escaped from confinement at Rome with his son Antigonus, and, returning to Judaea, was joined by large numbers of his countrymen, and renewed the war; but he was besieged and taken at Machaerus, the fortifications of which he was attempting to restore, and was sent back to Rome by Gabinius.(Joseph. Ant. 14, 6, 1; War, 1, 8, 6; Plut. Ant. 3; Dion Case. 39:56). In B.C. 49 he was again released by Julius Caesar, who sent him into Judaea to forward his interests there, but he was poisoned on the way by some of Pompey's party (Joseph. Ant. 14, 7, 4; War, 1, 9, 1; Dion Cass. 41, 18).
4. The grandson of No. 3, and the son of Alexander, and brother of Herod's wife Mariamne. His mother Alexandra, indignant at Herod's having bestowed the high-priesthood on the obscure Ananelus, endeavored to obtain that office for her son from Antony through the influence of Cleopatra. Herod, fearing the consequences of this application, and urged by Mariamne's entreaties, deposed Ananelus, and made Aristobulus high- priest, the latter being only 17 years old at the time. The king, however, still suspecting Alexandra, and keeping a strict and annoying watch upon her movements, she renewed her complaints and designs against him with Cleopatra, and at length made an attempt to escape into Egypt with her son. Herod discovered this, and affected to pardon it; but soon after he caused Aristohulus to be treacherously drowned at Jericho, B.C. 35 (Joseph. Ant. 15, 3; War, 1, 22, 2).
5. One of the sons of Herod the Great by Mariamne, and sent with his brother Alexander to Rome, where they were educated in the house of Pollio (Josephus, Ant. 15, 10, 1). On their return to Judaea, the suspicions of Herod were excited against them by their brother Antipater (q.v.), aided by Pheroras and their aunt Salome, though Berenice, the daughter of the latter, was married to Aristobulus; the young men themselves supplying their enemies with a handle against them by the indiscreet expression of their indignation at their mother's death. In B.C. 11 they were accused by Herod at Aquilea before Augustus, through whose mediation, however, he was reconciled to them. Three years after Aristobulus was again involved with his brother in a charge of plotting against their father, but a second reconciliation was effected by Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, the father- in-law of Alexander. A third accusation, through the arts of Eurvales, a Lacedsemonian adventurer, proved fatal. By permission of Augustus, the two young men were arraigned by Herod before a council convened at Berytus (at which they were not even allowed to be present to defend themselves), and, being condemned, were soon after strangled at Sebaste, B.C. 6 (Joseph. Ant. 16, 1-4; 8; 10; 11; War, 1, 23-27; comp. Strabo, 16:765). — SEE ALEXANDER.
6. Surnamed "the younger" (ὁ νεώτερος, Josephus, Ant. 21, 2), was the son of the preceding Aristobulus and Berenice, and the grandson of Herod the Great. Himself and his two brothers (Agrippa I and Herod, the future king of Chalcis) were educated at Rome, together with Claudius, who was afterward emperor, and who appears to have regarded Aristobulus with great favor (Josephus, Ant. 18, 5, 4; 6, 3; 20:1, 2). He lived at enmity with his brother Agrippa, and drove him from the protection of Flaccus, proconsul of Syria, on the charge of having been bribed by the Damascenes to support their cause with the proconsul against the Sidonians (Josephus, Ant. 18, 6, 3). When Caligula sent Petronius to Jerusalem to set up the statues in the Temple, Aristobulus joined in the remonstrance against the procedure (Josephus, Ant. 18, 8; War, 2, 10; Tacit. Hist. 5, 9). He died as he had lived, in a private station (Josephus, War, 2, 11, 6), having, as appears from the letter of Claudius to the Jews in Josephus (Ant. 20, 1, 2), survived his brother Agrippa, who died in A.D. 44. He was married to Jotapa, a princess of Emessa, by whom he left a daughter of the same name (Josephus, Ant. 18, 5, 4; War, 2, 11, 6).
7. Son of Herod, king of Chalcis, grandson of the Aristobulus who was strangled at Sebaste, and great-grandson of Herod the Great. In A.D. 55 Nero made him: king of Armenia Minor, in order to secure that province from the Parthians; and in A.D. 61, the emperor added to his dominions some portion of the Greater Armenia, which had been given to Tigranes (Josephus, Ant. 20, 8, 4; Tacit. Ann. 13, 7; 14, 26). Aristobulus appears (from Josephus, War, 7, 7, 1) to have also obtained from the Romans his father's kingdom of Chalcis, which had been taken from his cousin, Agrippa II, in A.D. 52; and he is mentioned as joining Casennius Paetus, proconsul of Syria, in the war against Antiochus, king of Commagene, in the fourth year of Vespasian, or A.D. 73 (Joseph. ib.). He was married to Salome, daughter of the infamous Herodias, by whom he had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus; of these, nothing further is recorded (Josephus, Ant. 18, 5, 4).
8. A person, perhaps a Roman, named by Paul in Ro 16:10, where he sends salutations to his household. A.D. 55. He is not himself saluted; hence he may not have been a believer, or he may have been absent or dead. Tradition represents him as brother of Barnabas, and one of the seventy disciples, and alleges that he was ordained a bishop by Barnabas, or by Paul, whom he followed in his travels, and that he was eventually sent into Britain, where he labored with much success, and where he at length died (Menolog. Graec. 3, 17 sq.).