I listened to the voice of my wife…

They call me Antipatros. Herod Antipatros. But you can call me Antipas.

I used to be somebody important. Great, even. Not great enough to have the word ‘great’ in my name, like my father did, but I was a somebody! And now I’m a nobody. This is my story.

You see, dad was not only a great king, but he was also a great architect. He built water supplies for Jerusalem. He built Masada, an impenetrable fortress (and luxurious palace!) off the Dead Sea. He built a fortress in Herodium. He built Caesarea Maritima, a gorgeous sea city, up from nothing. And his most significant political achievement: he rebuilt the Jewish temple into a grand place of worship. Our bosses in Rome might not have cared for the temple, but the Jews here loved it! Talk about brownie points! But those Jews are a nutty crowd. They still feared dad. Some say they feared him because he was crazy. Hey!! There’s nothing crazy about killing people who rise up against you, even if they’re your own sons or wife! You wouldn’t understand that unless you were a king. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do! The real reason the Jews don’t trust us is that we’re not Jews. We’re Idumaeans, descendants of Esau. But we’re their rightful kings, put in place by Rome – which is really a smart thing because if the Romans were here to rule over the Jews, these Jews would have a fight on their hands for sure.

When dad figured out that my older brothers were unfit to take over his rein, he either killed them off or wrote them out of his will and left me the lion-share of his inheritance. Yahoo!! Too bad he changed his will on his deathbead! When dad died, Archelaus and I, along with our 1/2 brother Philip, went to Rome, the glorious city of our childhood education, to settle the dispute of who would inherit what. I insisted that I should get it all, and the rest of my family (well – not my brothers) backed me up on it, but Caesar Agustus stuck with the final version of dad’s will and rather than me being a king over it all, we got to split it up and I had to settle for being a tetrarch!

While vacationing in Rome with my 1/2 brother Philip (the guy who inherited rulership of the northeast part of Israel), I met this fascinating young lady. Her name was Herodias. Well, ok – I already knew her because she was my niece. I mean, sister-in-law. Whatever! It goes like this: my niece (who’s dad was killed by her grandad – my dad!) married my 1/2 brother Philip. And let me tell you, she’s quite the hottie! Well.. what’s that line they always say? “When in Rome…” We agreed to divorce our spouses and marry each other once we got back home to Israel. This would definitely be a step up for me! Or so I thought! Those pesky Jews didn’t care for it one whit. One of them, who kept preaching and baptizing people on the western side of my province of Perea, flat-out accused me of adultery! (At least he didn’t accuse me of incest. You rednecks got it tough. In our day, it was ok to marry nieces and cousins – and marry them we did, thankyouverymuch!). I couldn’t have this blabbermouth stirring up people against me – a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. So I put him in prison in Machaerus. Hey! At least I didn’t kill him. Besides, he was kinda cute the way he kept preaching all that repentance stuff. Listening to him was so .. what’s the word?.. ‘diverting’! But he kept talking about all this stuff I had to do. Do. Do. Do. Yo, John..! Who has time for doing all that repentance stuff? I’m busy building up Tiberias (which is a pretty nifty town on the sea of Galilee if I do say so myself. Not as spiffy as dad’s palace in Caeserea on the Mediterranean, but hey; emperor Tiberius (who replaced Augustus) was pleased and that’s all that matters!). And besides, I had a war brewing on my southeastern border. Yeah, yeah, yeah… My ex-wife’s dad. He’s the king of Nabatea and for some reason he didn’t like me divorcing his daughter. Sheesh! Cut a guy some slack, already! It’s almost the 30s! Get with the times! (Those Nabateans gave my dad grief too! Ugh!)

One evening while the boys and I were celebrating my birthday, my step-daughter Salome did a little dance for us. Tell you what!! That little 13 year old can move like nobody’s business! The guys ate up her little dance of the 7 veils number! So I promised her any wish she could make – and she, on her mother’s behalf, asked for John the Baptist’s head! Talk about backfire!! I liked that John guy! I really did! But I couldn’t look like a weenie in front of my peers and bosses. A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do…

So I listened to my wife.

My life took a turn for the worse!
If you think the Jews don’t like to see their guy John in prison, you should see what they do when you lop off the head of their guy. Trust me – you don’t want to go to a funeral when the corpse has no head. I had nightmares for weeks!

If that weren’t bad enough, the next thing I know, here’s this guy walking around preaching about repentance *again*! Didn’t we just chop off his head!!???? Come to find out, he was the cousin of John. Gave me the willies!! The Jews eventually got tired of him and wanted to execute him. I happened to be in Jerusalem at the time (staying at dad’s palace), and Pontius Pilate (staying in Antonia’s Fortress – yes, my dad built that place too) was governor. Lemme tell you about those Romans – you gotta be careful around them. They don’t understand the Jews quite like we do.

So Pilate sends me this Jesus guy (John’s cousin) to see if he was guilty of anything. I guess Pilate figured that Jesus was preaching in my territory of Galilee so I had jurisdiction. Who cares about guilt? I didn’t even care that he called me a *female* fox! A couple of my stewards, Joanna and Manaen, were his followers. What stories!! I was dying to see a miracle or two. But he was hardly as diverting as his cousin. So much for all the rumors; all this guy did was stand there! No fun at all! He didn’t even even answer direct questions! So I sent him back to Pilate. Let Pilate get razzed by this crazy mob. Besides – I’ve already got my hands full. That conflict with my ex-father-in-law is really starting to brew up.

I wrote to Emperor Tiberius to help me out with this war with my ex-FIL. He told Lucius Vitellius, governor of Syria, to send troops to help me out. And wouldn’t you know it: right in the middle of all that, Tiberius died and Caligula became emperor. Lucius figured he didn’t have imperial backing, so he withdrew. Augh!

To make matters worse, my nephew, Agrippa (my wife’s brother), was in pretty tight with Caligula and got Philip’s kingdom – along with the title of KING, not just tetrarch! My beloved Herodias wasn’t about to settle for having her brother trump my title, so she encouraged me to go to Rome and get a promotion.

So I listened to my wife.

Instead of a promotion, I got a demotion. Thank you Herodias! Turns out that her sweet brother set me up and told lies about me to Emperor Caligula saying I was plotting against him! And to add insult to injury, Caligula had my money and territory turned over to Agrippa!!

Now I’m sitting here in exile in Gaul, pondering my fate.

Caligula gave Herodias the option of going back to Israel. She chose to stay with me. Maybe she thinks I need to listen to her some more. Somewhere in the back of my head I’m thinking of my ancestor Abraham and how he listened to his wife. And then there’s Adam, and how he listened to his wife. I wonder if Agrippa or Pilate listened to their wives. I wonder what Agrippa would do if he had someone preaching this repentance stuff to him.

-Herod Antipas and his wife/niece Herodias died in exile c 39AD.
-His nephew, Agrippa, went on to kill James the Apostle (son of Zebedee) and tried to kill Peter. He died of worms in AD44 while receiving the applause of adoring subjects in the amphitheater of Caesarea (built by his grandfather).
-Marcus Julius Agrippa II (son of Agrippa) was the 7th and last king of the family of Herod the Great. He almost converted to Christianity when listening to Paul.

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