Antipas rejected his wife in 31 AD and married his niece Herodias, a granddaughter of Herod. John the Baptist

Jerusalem, model of the temple
Jerusalem, model of the temple

objected to this and criticised Antipas sharply.

The conflict is recounted directly in the Gospels and described in the Old Testament in the Bathsheba narrative, where God instructs the prophet Nathan (= John) to criticise King David (= Antipas).

Josephus describes the events without criticising Antipas’ morals. Texts on the Herodias scandal: 2 Sam. 11f; Mark 6:14-29 par.; Mark 7:24-30 par.; Ant. 18.5.1-2.


The books of the Kings from 1 Kings 12 onwards describe and justify the origin of a separate northern state. Thereafter,

Gerizim, Samaritan mosque
Gerizim, Samaritan mosque

the history of the two states on Jewish soil are linked together in the narrative. There are clear depictions of Antipas as King Jeroboam I (artificial name, literary figure) and as King Ahab, who is known from archaeological sources.

As long as Antipas still ruled, he was described in glowing terms. After he was deposed and banished in 39 AD, the previously successful ruler’s problems (Bathsheba, Absalom) and finally his failure were openly described: 1 Kings 14; 22; 2 Kings 10.

The stories of Bathsheba (= Herodias) and Absalom (= Jesus) were appended to the early David narratives, reflecting the threats to Antipas’ rule.

And the promised dynasty of 2 Sam. 7 were placed in contrast with Antipas’ failure in 1 Kings 14 (Jeroboam I) and in 1 Kings 22; 2 Kings 10 (Ahab).