Antipas-Herod, or Herod-Antipas, was the son of Herod the Great, and Cleopatra of Jerusalem. Herod the Great, in his first will, declared him his successor in the kingdom; but he afterward named his son Archelaus king of Judea, and gave to Antipas only the title of tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. Archelaus going to Rome, to persuade the emperor to confirm his father's will, Antipas also went thither. The emperor bestowed on Archelaus one moiety of what had been assigned him by Herod, with the quality of ethnarch, and promised to grant him the title of king when he had shown himself deserving of it by his virtues. To Antipas, Augustus gave Galilee and Peraea; and to Philip, Herod's other son, the Batanaea, Trachonitis, and Auranitis, with some other places.
Antipas, returning to Judea, took great pains in adorning and fortifying the principal places of his dominions. He married the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia, whom he divorced about A.D. 33, that he might marry his sister- in-law, Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, who was still living. John the Baptist exclaiming against this incest, was seized by order of Antipas, and imprisoned in the castle of Machaerus. Josephus says, that Antipas caused John to be taken, because he drew too great a concourse after him; and Antipas was afraid he should use his influence over the people to induce them to revolt. But Josephus has reported the pretence for the true cause. The evangelists, who were better informed than Josephus, as being eye witnesses of what passed, and particularly acquainted with John and his disciples, assure us, that the true reason for imprisoning John was the aversion of Herod and Herodias against him, on account of his liberty in censuring their scandalous marriage, Matthew 14:3-4
; Mark 6:14
; Mark 6:17-18
; Luke 3:19-20
. When the king was celebrating his birth day, with the principal persons of his court, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased him so well that he swore to give her whatever she should ask. She consulted her mother, who advised her to ask the head of John the Baptist. Returning, therefore, to the hall, she addressed herself to the king, and said, "Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger." The king was afflicted at this request; but in consideration of his oath, and of the persons at table with him, he sent one of his guards, who beheaded John in prison. The head was brought in, and given to the young woman, who delivered it to her mother, Matthew 14:5-6
, &c. Aretas, king of Arabia, to revenge the affront which Herod had offered to his daughter, declared war against him, and vanquished him in a very obstinate contest. Josephus tells us, that the Jews attributed the defeat of Herod to the death of John the Baptist. In the year of the Christian aera 39, Herodias being jealous of the prosperity of her brother Agrippa, who from a private person had become king of Judea, persuaded her husband, Herod-Antipas, to visit Rome, and desire the same dignity of the emperor Caius. She resolved to accompany him; and hoped that her presents and appearance would contribute to procure the emperor's favour. However, Agrippa obtaining intelligence of this design, wrote to the emperor and accused Antipas. The messenger of Agrippa arrived at Baiae, where the emperor was, at the very time when Herod received his first audience. Caius, on the delivery of Agrippa's letters, read them with great earnestness, in these letters, Agrippa accused Antipas of having been a party in Sejanus's conspiracy against Tiberius, and said that he still carried on a correspondence with Artabanus, king of Parthia, against the Romans. As a proof of this, he affirmed that Antipas had in his arsenals arms for seventy thousand men. Caius being angry, demanded hastily of Antipas, if it were true that he had such a quantity of arms? The king not daring to deny it, was instantly banished to Lyons in Gaul. The emperor offered to forgive Herodias, in consideration of her brother Agrippa; but she chose rather to follow her husband, and to share his fortune in banishment. This is that Antipas, who, being at Jerusalem at the time of our Saviour's passion, ridiculed Jesus whom Pilate had sent to him, dressed him in worn-out royalty, and sent him back to Pilate as a mock king, whose ambition gave him no umbrage, Luke 23:7
; Luke 23:11
. The year of the death of Antipas is unknown; but it is certain that he, as well as Herodias, died in exile. Josephus says, that he died in Spain, whither Caius, on his coming into Gaul the first year of his banishment, might order him to be sent.
2. ANTIPAS, the faithful martyr or witness mentioned in the book of Revelation 2:13
. He is said to have been one of our Saviour's first disciples, and to have suffered martyrdom at Pergamus, of which he was bishop. His Acts relate that he was burnt in a brazen bull. Though ancient ecclesiastical history furnishes no account of this Antipas, yet it is certain that, according to all the rules of language, what is said concerning him by St. John must be understood literally, and not mystically, as some interpreters have done.