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Historic Jesus
Herod Antipas

The Herod who imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist, and who participated in the trial of Jesus, was commonly known as Herod Antipas. He was a son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman. When his father died, Herod Antipas was given the title of "tetrarch," and he ruled under the Romans over the Galilean and Perean parts of his father's kingdom.

Herod Antipas was the ablest of his father's several sons and, like his father, was a builder. He constructed the city of Tiberias on Lake Galilee and named it in honor of the Emperor Tiberius. He married the daughter of the Nabatean king but later divorced her to marry Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip. John the Baptist denounced both Herod and Herodias for this unlawful marriage. The prophet eventually was decapitated as a consequence. A decade later in A. D. 36 the Nabatean king attacked and defeated Herod Antipas. Some people, including Josephus the Jewish historian, said that this defeat was God's punishment on Herod for killing John.

Jesus referred to Herod Antipas as "that fox." Foxes were known in those days for their destructiveness, not for their craftiness. Later Herod briefly met Jesus in Jerusalem during the events of the last hours of Jesus' life.

In A D. 39 Agrippa, the nephew of Herod Antipas, denounced him to Emperor Gaius as a plotter against Rome. Herod was deposed and exiled to Gaul, where he died shortly thereafter.