Herod Antipas

Herod Antipas was son of Herod the Great.  Herod Philip was the intended heir of Herod the Great, but Herod Antipas successfully challenged the will and convinced the Roman authorities to grant him the rule over the area.  He married Phasaelis, a Nabatean princess, but later divorced her so that he could marry Herodias.

Eventually, his divorce led to war with King Aretas IV, from which Herod suffered great defeat.  He eventually required Roman assistance, but the untimely death of Tiberius changed those plans suddenly.

Herod’s marriage to Herodias rubbed the Jewish leadership the wrong way as well.  Even by Roman standards, to have married one’s niece who also used to be his sister-in-law would have been quite uncommon.  John the Baptist was emboldened to speak out against this outrage, an act which could have led to his immediate execution.  Instead, the Bible records he imprisoned John but it was Herodias who wanted him killed.

 14And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

 15Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

 16But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.

 17For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her.

 18For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.

 19Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:

 20For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly. (Mark 6:14-20, King James Version)

We know the end of this particular story, though.  In spite of Herod “knowing that he was a just man and an holy” man, John still ended up beheaded.

This is reminscent of Nicodemus’ words to Jesus:

 1There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

 2The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. (John 3:1-2, King James Version)

They knew Jesus “come from God”, but they had Him killed anyhow.

Wikipedia says of “Hypocrisy”:

The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek ὑπόκρισις (hypokrisis), which means "Jealous" "play-acting", "acting out", "coward" or "dissembling". The word hypocrite is from the Greek word ὑποκρίτης (hypokrites), the agentive noun associated with υποκρίνομαι (hypokrinomai κρίση, "judgement" »κριτική (kritiki), "critics") presumably because the performance of a dramatic text by an actor was to involve a degree of interpretation, or assessment, of that text.

Originally, the word simply meant acting in a play.  Greek players would use masks representing their character.  Simply put, the actors would appear to be what they were not.  The Romans, though, looked down upon actors, and thus we have the negative connotations that developed into the way the term “hypocrite” is used today.

Both the Pharisees and Herod ignored reality and did what was wrong, all the while pretending it was right.

Herod fell out of favor with Caligula and his own half-nephew and brother to Herodias, Herod Agrippa (Agrippa I), conspired to take over his throne.  Herodias attempted to persuade the emperor that Herod Antipas should be king, but instead Herod and Herodias were exiled to Lyon and died at an unknown time.

In the Book of Acts, then, Herod Agrippa was the Herod in Ac 12 who was struck down by God.