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King Aretas IV
2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the King kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me.
King Aretas IV
Coins of King Aretas IV
Coins of King Aretas
Coins of King Aretas IV. "King Aretas, King of the Nabataens"

King Aretas was a Nabathaen King who reigned from 9 B.C. to 40AD. His full title, as depicted on numersous inscriptions, was "Aretas, King of the Nabataens, Friend of his People." Being the most powerful neighbor of Judea, he frequently took part in the state affairs of that country, and was influential in shaping the destiny of its rulers.

His daughter Phasaelis married Herod Antipas (4 BC – AD 39), otherwise known as Herod the Tetrarch. When Herod divorced Phasaelis to take his brother's wife Herodias, mother of Salome, in 36, Phaesalis fled to her father. Relations between Herod and Aretas IV were already strained over border disputes, and with his family honour shamed, Aretas IV invaded Judea, and captured territories along the West Bank of the Jordan River, including the areas around Qumran.

The classical author Josephus connects this battle, which occurred during the winter of AD 36/37, with the beheading of John the Baptist, which occurred about the same time.

Historian Josephus Writes About King Aretas
"About this time Aretas, the king of Petra, and Herod the Tetrarch had a quarrel on account of the following. Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas and had lived with her a great while; but once when he was on his way to Rome he lodged with his half-brother, also named Herod but who had a different mother, the high priest Simon's daughter. There he fell in love with Herodias, this latter Herod's wife, who was the daughter of their brother Aristobulus and the sister of Agrippa the Great.

Aretas also had a quarrel with Herod about their boundaries in the area of Gabalis. So they raised armies on both sides and prepared for war, sending their generals to fight instead of themselves. - Josephus Antiquities of the Jews 18.5.1

The Apostle, Paul, writes that he had to sneak out of Damascus in a basket through a window in the wall to escape King Aretas because the Jews of Damascus were lying in wait for him.

Coins of King Aretas IV
Aretas IV minted large quantities of silver and bronze coins of various denominations. During his 10th and 11th years he suffered a temporary economic crisis that forced him to mint bronze coins as substitutes for silver ones. On the large bronze coins of these two years, the head of the king is
accompanied by the inscription “Aretas King of Nabatea, the lover of his people"

2 Corinthians 11:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the King kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me.