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Verse 1. Now in the fifteenth year. This was the thirteenth year of his being sole emperor. He was two years joint emperor with Augustus, and Luke reckons from the time when he was admitted to share the empire with Augustus Caesar. See Lardner's Credibility, vol. i.

Tiberius Caesar. Tiberius succeeded Augustus in the empire, and began his sole reign Aug. 19, A.D. 14. He was a most infamous character — a scourge to the Roman people. He reigned twenty-three years, and was succeeded by Caius Caligula, whom he appointed his successor on account of his notorious wickedness, and that he might be, as he expressed it, a serpent to the Romans.

Pontius Pilate. Herod the Great left his kingdom to three sons. See Barnes "Mt 2:22".

To Archelaus he left Judea. Archelaus reigned nine years, when, on account of his crimes, he was banished into Vienne, and Judea was made a Roman province, and placed entirely under Roman governors or procurators, and became completely tributary to Rome. Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor that had been sent, and of course had been in Judea but a short time. See the chronological table at the end of the volume.

Herod being tetrarch of Galilee. This was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, to whom Galilee had been left as his part of his father's kingdom. The word tetrarch properly denotes one who presides over a fourth part of a country or province; but it also came to be a general title, denoting one who reigned over any part—a, third, a half, &c. In this case Herod had a third of the dominions of his father, but he was called tetrarch. It was this Herod who imprisoned John the Baptist, and to whom our Saviour, when arraigned, was sent by Pilate.

And his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea. Iturea was so called from Jetur, one of the sons of Ishmael, Ge 25:15; 1 Ch 1:31. It was situated on the east side of the Jordan, and was taken from the descendants of Jetur by the tribes of Reuben and Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh, 1 Ch 5:19.

Region of Trachonitis. This region was also on the east of the Jordan, and extended northward to the district of Damascus and eastward to the deserts of Arabia. It was bounded on the west by Gaulonitis and south by the city of Bostra. Philip had obtained this region from the Romans on condition that he would extirpate the robbers.

Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene. Abilene was so called from Abila, its chief city. It was situated in Syria, north-west of Damascus and south-east of Mount Lebanon, and was adjacent to Galilee.

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