It was the last attempt to revive the glory of the Maccabees despite the realities of oppressive Roman domination of Judea. Marcus Julius Agrippa represented the great hope that direct Roman control over the Land of Israel would end and a semblance of Jewish sovereignty would be restored. Agrippa was the grandson of despised Herod the Great and his wife Mariamme, a princess from the line of the Maccabees. That Agrippa was alive was a miracle in itself: Herod murdered Mariamme and most of her family. These Maccabees posed a threat to the Idumean descendant of proselytes Herod and, in his paranoia, led to their murder. Caesar Augustus once quipped, “I would rather be Herod’s pig than his son.” But Agrippa managed to survive despite the cruelty of his tyrant grandfather.The Herod mentioned in Acts chapter 12 appears to be Agrippa I.
As Joseph Lauer notes in his e-mail, Tiberius Julius Alexander, mentioned later in the article, was the nephew of Philo of Alexandria. Somehow I missed Eli Kavon's Jerusalem Post profile of him last year: Tiberius Julius Alexander: The Jew Who Destroyed Jerusalem.