After the death of Herod the Great, Judea was divided into four parts, each ruled by one of Herod's sons. Tetrarch means "ruler of one fourth" in Greek. Archelaus, who was granted the territories of Samaria, Judea, and Idumea, was removed and exiled to Rome. His territories were placed under the authority of the Roman governor (procurator). One of the other territories was Galilee, where the tetrarch was Herod Antipas from 4 BC - 39 AD.

Christ in the Bible was sent to Herod Antipas, according to Luke 23:6-16. (El'baum 66) Renan says that according to one tradition, Pilate sent Jesus to Antipas in an effort to buy time. Bulgakov has Pilate send only the case to him.

The Tetrarch Herod Antipas is also mentioned by Josephus in Antiquities 17.8.1.