The name of several kings of northwestern Arabia. The only one mentioned in Scripture gave his daughter in marriage to Herod Antipas; but she being repudiated by Herod, Aretas made war upon him and destroyed his army. In consequence of this, the emperor Tiberius directed Vitellius, then proconsul of Syria, to make war upon or dead to Rome. But while Vitellius was in the midst of preparation for the war, he received intelligence of the death of Tiberius, A. D. 37; on which he immediately recalled his troops, dismissed them into winter quarters, and then left the province. Aretas, taking advantage of this supineness, seems to have made an incursion and got possession of Damascus, over which he appointed a governor or ethnarch, who, A. D. 39, at the instigation of the Jews, attempted to put Paul in prison, 2Co 11:32. Compare Ac 9:24-25.
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 (Lu 3:19-20; Mr 6:17; Mt 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 (2Co 11:32; comp. Ac 9:25). At this time Paul returned to Damascus from Arabia.
A common name of many Arabian kings. 2Co 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 (Ac 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 Ac 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 Ac 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.
This is the dynastic name (Aramaic Charethath) of several kings of the Nahat
The common appellation (like Pharaoh for Egyptian kings) of the Arabian kings of the northern part of Arabia. The deputy of Aretas in Damascus sought to arrest Paul. 2Co 11:32. This king, who was father-in-law to Herod Antipas, made war against him for divorcing his daughter, and defeated him. Vitellius, governor of Syria was ordered to take Aretas dead or alive; but Tiberius died before this was accomplished. Caligula, who succeeded to the empire, banished Antipas. He made certain changes in the East, and it is supposed that Damascus was detached from the province of Syria and given to Aretas.