strictly the ruler over the fourth part of a province; but the word denotes a ruler of a province generally ( Matthew 14:1 ; Luke 3:1 Luke 3:19 ; 9:7 ; Acts 13:1 ). Herod and Phasael, the sons of Antipater, were the first tetrarchs in Palestine. Herod the tetrarch had the title of king ( Matthew 14:9 ).
governor of a fourth part
properly the sovereign or governor of the fourth part of a country. ( Matthew 14:1 ; Luke 3:1 ; 9:7 ; Acts 13:1 ) The title was, however, often applied to any one who governed a Roman province, of whatever size. The title of king was sometimes assigned to a tetrarch. ( Matthew 14:9 ; Mark 6:14 Mark 6:22 )
te'-trark, tet'-rark tetrarches):
As the name indicates it signifies a prince, who governs one-fourth of a domain or kingdom. The Greeks first used the word. Thus Philip of Macedon divided Thessaly into four "tetrarchies." Later on the Romans adopted the term and applied it to any ruler of a small principality. It is not synonymous with "ethnarch" at least the Romans made a distinction between Herod "tetrarch" of Galilee, Philip "tetrarch" of Trachonitis, Lysanias "tetrarch" of Abilene, and Archelaius "ethnarch" of Judea (BJ, II, vi, 3; Ant, XVII, xi, 4). The title was often conferred on Herodian princes by the Romans, and sometimes it was used courteously as a synonym for king (Matthew 14:9; Mark 6:14). In the same way a "tetrarchy" was sometimes called a kingdom.
Henry E. Dosker
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