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Religious Figures: Herod Antipas I

When Jesus Christ was condemned and executed, there were those that conspired to put this plan into motion. One of the co-conspirators was Herod Antipas, whose father had tried to do the same thing when Jesus was younger. In this article, you will learn more about this significant figure in religious history who played a role in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Herod Antipas was born in Israel in a town that is not on record. When he was a youth, he was educated in Rome. Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace. His brothers were named Archaelaus and Philip. Herod went on to marry a woman named Herodias, who was not his first wife. Herod actually divorced his first wife Phasaelis, who was the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea , so that he could marry Herodias.

Herod Antipas also belonged to a family known for their political scheming. His father, Herod the Great attempted to murder Jesus when he was a youth by slaughtering all the boys under two years old in Bethlehem. Thankfully, Joseph, Mary and Jesus had already left for Egypt. This failed murder took place more than 30 years before Herod Antipas made his plans. He used Jesus to gain favor with the Romans and the powerful Jewish council, the Sanhedrin.

When Herod was older, he became a tetrarch (a title given to a ruler that was in charge of one-fourth of a kingdom) over the provinces of Galilee and Perea in Roman-occupied Israel. It was the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar that appointed Herod as the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. This is why in the New Testament; you will find that Herod is referred to as King Herod.

Herod is responsible for restoring the city of Sepphoris, which is only three miles away from Nazareth. On the west side of the Sea of Galilee, Herod built a new capital for Galilee that was named Tiberias. The naming of the city was to pay homage to his patron , the Roman emperor Tiberius Caesar. The city was equipped with an elaborate palace, stadium, and hot baths. However, the city was supposedly constructed on top of a Jewish cemetery, which caused many devout Jews to pledge never to enter Tiberias.

As a leader, the Roman Empire has records that note Herod’s ability to effectively be an administrator of the provinces of Galilee and Perea. As for morals, Herod was a weak. Some of the choices he made also placed him in unfavorable situations. When Herod took Herodias (the ex-wife of his half-brother Philip) as his own, he received the criticism of John the Baptist. He also sent John in prison for his comments. When Herodias and her daughter plotted against John, Herod had him beheaded. This placed Herod further away from his subjects because the Jewish people had love for John the Baptist and saw him as a prophet.