What does Mark 6:14 mean?Herod Antipas has heard of Jesus' ministry and the missions trip of His disciples. He and his court are confused because this message sounds very much like that of John the Baptist, whom Herod arrested shortly before Jesus started His ministry (Mark 1:14) and executed some time later.
Antipas is the son of Herod the Great and Malthace. Herod the Great was of Edomite descent, and Malthace was a Samaritan. At that time, the Jewish people disliked both nationalities. The fact that Herod's family was installed into their leadership by Rome doesn't help. After Herod the Great's death, Rome splits his kingdom into four "tetrarchs." Antipas rules over Galilee, north of Samaria and west of the Sea of Galilee, and Perea, east of Judea. His brother Archelaus rules Judea, and his half-brother Philip rules the area east of Galilee and north of Decapolis. Herod the Great's sister, Salome I, rules small sections around Judea.
"Herod" is both a term for "king" and somewhat of a family name. Although Antipas is identified as "Herod," he has assumed the kingship, and Emperor Augustus calls him "Antipas Tetrarch." It is unclear if Mark uses the title because of custom or out of sarcasm. Matthew splits the difference and uses "Herod the tetrarch" (Matthew 14:1).
John the Baptist preaches in Judea, across the Jordan River from Perea, and Antipas becomes familiar with his message of repentance. Antipas' followers conspire with the Pharisees from Jerusalem to destroy Jesus (Mark 3:6), although there is no indication Antipas knows. It is Antipas who meets with Jesus before the crucifixion. Luke 23:7 states Pilate learns Jesus belongs to "Herod's" jurisdiction and that "Herod" happens to be in Jerusalem at the time. Although silent during the interrogation (Luke 23:9), Jesus considers Antipas a "reed shaken by the wind" (Matthew 11:7) and a fox (Luke 13:32).