Religious Figures: Herod Antipas II

With rule of one-fourth of a kingdom, Herod Antipas was a tetrarch that played a decisive role in the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. In this article, you will learn the actions that led to the crucifixion of Jesus, as well as the religious passages that mention this religious figure in the Bible.

Jesus was sent to Herod by Pontius Pilate, who wanted him to stand trial. Jesus was sent to Galilee because he was from this location. Herod became fearful of the chief priests and Sanhedrin. Rather than seek out the truth from Jesus, Herod wanted him to perform a miracle for his own entertainment. Jesus would not obey his wishes. This prompted Herod and his soldiers to mock Jesus. Instead of letting an innocent man go free, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, who had the power to have Jesus crucified.

While the deceit that Herod displayed improved the relationship he had with the chief priests and Sanhedrin, and established a friendship with Pilate, his betrayals and treachery did not keep him in favor forever. When Emperor Tiberius died and was replaced by Caligula, Herod was no longer a trusted ruler. He had accumulated debt over the years and was not in favor with some of the people that Caligula listened to. In time, he and his wife Herodias were sent to Gaul (France) for exile. Herod would die while in exile. Some historians will imply that Caligula had him killed, but this is a theory that is not widely accepted.

In the Bible, Herod Antipas is referenced in the following passages , Matthew 14:1-6; Mark 6:14-22, 8:14; Luke 3:1-20, 9:7-9, 13:31, 23:7-15; and Acts 4:27, 12:1-11. A couple of passages (from the New International Version) to note that mention Herod includes:

“On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.” [Matthew 14:8-12]

“Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him (Jesus). Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends-before this they had been enemies.” [Luke 23:11-12]

In the King James Version, he is mentioned in the following passage:

“And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.” [Luke 23:7]