Herod the tetrarch (Lk 9:7-9:7)

“Now Herod,

The tetrarch ruler,

Heard about all

That had taken place.

He was perplexed,

Because it was said

By some people

That John had been raised

From the dead.”

 

Ἤκουσεν δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης τὰ γινόμενα πάντα, καὶ διηπόρει διὰ τὸ λέγεσθαι ὑπό τινων ὅτι Ἰωάνης ἠγέρθη ἐκ νεκρῶν,

 

Luke said that Herod (δὲ Ἡρῴδης) Antipas, the tetrarch (ὁ τετραάρχης) ruler of Galilee, heard (Ἤκουσεν) about all that had taken place (τὰ γινόμενα πάντα).  He was perplexed (καὶ διηπόρει), because it was said by some people (διὰ τὸ λέγεσθαι ὑπό τινων) that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead (ὅτι Ἰωάνης ἠγέρθη ἐκ νεκρῶν).  This mention of Herod can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 14:1-3, Mark, chapter 6:14, and here.  The Roman educated Herod, the son of Herod the Great, was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE, as a client ruler, part of the Roman Empire.  He had built and named the capital city of Galilee, Tiberias, since the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE) was his favorite emperor.  Mark called him a king.  King Herod had heard reports about Jesus, because his name had become well known or famous.  Jesus was a celebrity in Galilee.  Here we have the intersection of the Galilean official of the Roman Empire, Herod, and the famous Galilean preacher and faith healer, Jesus.  Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee, or those around him, said that Jesus might be the resurrected John the Baptist, since some people believed that righteous people rose from the dead.  Thus, Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead.  How ironic, since Jesus was to rise from the dead.  Herod thought the miraculous powers of John the Baptist were at work in Jesus.  He and his people thought that John might have reincarnated himself in Jesus.  Matthew said that Herod the tetrarch heard reports, news or rumors about Jesus.  Herod had already seized John the Baptist.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Herod Boethus or Philip, after he had divorced his first wife, who went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  Thus, Herod Antipas said to his children or servants that he thought that Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead.  Herod knew that he had seized, bound, and, put John in jail.  In fact, he had him killed because of his new wife Herodias, who had been the wife of his brother Philip or Herod Boethus.  Have religious leaders always gotten along with civil political leaders?

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John and Herod (Lk 3:19-3:20)

“John had rebuked

Herod,

The tetrarch ruler,

Because of Herodias,

His brother’s wife.

John also rebuked

Herod

For all the other evil things

That he had done.

Herod added

To all these evil things,

When he locked up

John in prison.”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,

προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ

 

Both Mark, chapter 6:14-17, and Matthew, chapter 14:1-5, have the imprisonment of John much later in their works, while Luke has it right here at the beginning of his gospel story.  Luke said that John had rebuked Herod Antipas, the tetrarch (ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ) of Galilee because of Herodias (περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος), his brother’s wife (τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ) and all the other evil things that Herod had done (καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης,).  Herod added to all these evil things (προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν), when he locked up John in prison (κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάνην ἐν φυλακῇ).  The Roman educated Herod, was the ruler or tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE-39 CE, as a client region, in the Roman Empire.  This Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great.  He had built the capital city of Galilee Tiberias, since he was a favorite of the Roman Emperor Tiberius (14-37 CE).  Herod, the Roman ruler in Galilee seized John the Baptist and put him in jail.  John had been complaining that Herod Antipas had married the wife of his half-brother Philip, after he had divorced his first wife.  His first wife went back to her father and started a war with Herod Antipas.  Herod’s new wife was called Herodias.  John had called him out for this marriage with Herodias, his brother’s recently divorced wife.  John had told Herod that it was not lawful for him to have her as his wife.  Thus, Herod had John arrested and sent to prison.