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aretas Summary and Overview

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aretas in Easton's Bible Dictionary

the father-in-law of Herod Antipas, and king of Arabia Petraea. His daughter returned to him on the occasion of her husband's entering into an adulterous alliance with Herodias, the wife of Herod-Philip, his half-brother (Luke 3:19, 20; Mark 6:17; Matt. 14:3). This led to a war between Aretas and Herod Antipas. Herod's army was wholly destroyed (A.D. 36). Aretas, taking advantage of the complications of the times on account of the death of the Emperor Tiberius (A.D. 37), took possession of Damascus (2 Cor. 11:32; compare Acts 9:25). At this time Paul returned to Damascus from Arabia.

aretas in Smith's Bible Dictionary

(graver). 1. A contemporary of Antiochus Epiphanes, B.C. 170, and Jason. 2 Macc. 5:8. 2. The Aretas alluded to by St. Paul #2Co 11:32| was father-in-law of Herod Antipas.

aretas in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

AR'ETAS . 2 Cor 11:32. The king of Arabia Petraia at the time View of "Mars' Hill," or Aivopamis. {From Lewin's "Life of St, Paul.") the governor of Damascus attempted to apprehend Paul. Acts 9:24, Gal 4:25. His daughter married Herod Antipas, but was afterward divorced to make room for Herodias. In consequence of this insult, Aretas made war upon Antipas and routed him. The emperor Tiberius then despatched the governor of Syria to the assistance of Antipas, with orders to bring the Arabian to Rome alive, or if dead to send his head. While on the march against him Vitellius learned that Tiberius was dead, a.d. 37. He then dismissed his troops. Antipas was soon after banished and his- kingdom given to Agrippa. It is likely that Aretas was restored to the good graces of the Romans, and that Caligula granted him Damascus, which had already formed part of his predecessor's kingdom. In this way we can account for the fact in Paul's life stated above.

aretas in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

A common name of many Arabian kings. 2 Corinthians 11:32; "in Damascus the governor ethnarch) under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me; and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands." The ethnarch did it to please the Jews, who (Acts 9:24) "watched the gates day and night to kill Paul." His office was to exercise authority under the king, over the many Jews in large cities: compare Acts 9:25. Damascus had been a city of the Roman province, Syria; and we have Damascene coins of Augustus and Tiberius, and afterward of Nero, etc., but we have none of Caligula. This implies that some change in the government of Damascus took place under Caligula, Tiberius's successor. Moreover, Aretas, king of Arabia Nabataea dud its capital Petra, made war on Antipas for divorcing Aretas' daughter, and defeated him. But Tiberius, at Antipas' entreaty, commanded Vitellius, governor of Syria, to take Aretas dead or alive. Before the order was executed Tiberius himself was dead. Then all was reversed. Antipas was banished by Caligula to Lyons, and his kingdom given to Agrippa, his nephew and his foe. It seems therefore to harmonize with history, as well as with Scripture, to assume that in A.D. 38 or 39, when Caligula made several changes in the E., he also granted Damascus to Aretas. The incidental way in which Paul alludes to Aretas' kingship over Damascus at the time of his escape from the ethnarch under him, by being let down in a basket from a house on the city wall (compare Acts 9:23-25), is a strong presumption for the truth of the Acts and Second Epistle to Corinthians. This was three years after Paul's conversion; so that A. D. 36 will be the date of his conversion.