Jesus became Antipas’ governor (prime minister) for Galilee and Perea in 6 AD; Matt. 4:1-11; 1 Kings 13. The narratives of Jesus’ temptations describe Jesus’ participation in worldly power
at Antipas’ side. After Jesus quarrelled with Antipas the latter was seen as the devil, and after Christianity turned into a pure religion without political ambitions, Jesus’ participation in secular power was no longer politically correct. The Christians now stated that Jesus rejected a position of power, making him the model for Christian behaviour in this context as well.
There is an Old Testament parallel to the story of the temptations in 1 Kings 13, where the Man of God (= Jesus) also rejects a share in the power offered by Jeroboam I (= Antipas). In the stories about the prophet Elisha (= Jesus) however, his cooperation with King Ahab (= Antipas) is described quite openly.
Antipas’ reign was a time of conflicts, of disputes
between Jewish groups. Under Agrippa I this period was followed by a time of consolidation, agreement, and reconciliation.
In the story of Moses, Antipas was the Moses of Exodus to Numbers, followed by Agrippa, the Moses of Deuteronomy, the more social legislation in the Pentateuch.
In the history of the kings, King Ahab (= Antipas) who was continually in conflict with the prophet Elijah (= John the Baptist), was succeeded by the revolutionary Jehu (= Agrippa) who was anointed king by the prophet Elisha (= Jesus).
In the subsequent kings’ history, the Jewish King Hezekiah (= Agrippa) proved to be a diplomat capable of averting external threats without violence. The account of Sennacherib’s representative Rabshakeh and Lachish in 2 Kings 18 is modelled on the report about Petronius, the Roman legate in Syria as a representative of the Emperor Caligula in Ant. 18, 8, 2.
In the Elijah stories, John the Baptist is depicted as the older and greater prophet in comparison to Jesus (Elisha).
Elijah is Elisha’s predecessor; he appoints Elisha to the office of prophet (1 Kings 19:19); Elisha only receives two parts of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9). The competitive situation between the prophets Elijah (John) and Elisha (Jesus) is clearly shown; perhaps some of the accounts of miracles were transferred from one prophet to the other, as occurred in other cases.
In the story of Naboth in 2 Kings 21, Elijah appears as Naboth’s (= Jesus) advocate. This is based on the Christian relationship between Jesus as the founder of Christianity and the church of John, that worshipped Jesus.
Jesus, Antipas’ governor and opponent, is given a great deal of space in the Old Testament history books. The historical figure of Jesu
is behind the following literary figures in the Old Testament: Moses’ brother Aaron with the golden calf; Moses’ successor Joshua (the same name as Jesus); the prophet Elisha whose many miracles recall those of Jesus; the Man of God in 1 Kings 13, where the account features analogies with the story of Jesus’ temptations (Satan = Jeroboam I = Antipas).
The story of Naboth’s vineyard is a literary version of the governor Jesus’ dismissal; in 2 Kings 8 Elisha mourns the future destruction of the holy places, as Jesus does in Mark 13:1-2; the Absalom story is an early version of the Passion narrative (David = Antipas; Joab = Pilate), as is the first part of Joseph‘s story up to Genesis 37:20 where Joseph is thrown into a pit, i.e. a grave.