ber-ni'-se (Bernike "victorious"): One of the shameless women of the Bible, mentioned in Ac 25:13,23; 26:30. She was the eldest daughter of Herod Agrippa I (Ac 12:1,6,11,21) who ruled from 38-45 AD. Her whole life from the Jewish standpoint was incestuous. Its story is told by Josephus (Ant XIX, v, 1; XX, vii, 1-3), also by Juvenal (6, 156). Her first husband was her own uncle, Herod of Calchis. After his death she consorted with her own brother Agrippa II, with whom she listened to the impassioned defense of Paul at Caesarea before Felix. For a while she was married to King Ptolemy or Polemo of Sicily, who for her sake embraced Judaism, by the rite of circumcision. But she left him soon to return to Agrippa. Later on she figures shamefully in the lives of Vespasian and Titus, father and son. If heredity stands for anything, its lessons are forcibly taught in the history of the Herodian family.
Henry E. Dosker