In Luke 23 we are told that over the course of Jesus' trial, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod [Antipas], and after questioning & mocking Jesus, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate.

Then we are given this interesting historical aside:

12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.

vs. 15 further suggests Pilate considered Herod's judgement reliable. The text explains why Pilate sent Jesus to Herod (He was from Galilee which was ruled by Herod), but it is not so clear why these two leaders were at odds and then placated and what, if anything, that had to do with the trial.

Why was there enmity between Pilate and Herod in the first place?


In addition to the events of Luke 13:1-2 noted by Tony below, I also read this interesting article by Maier, who suggests (see pp. 11-12) that the "golden shields" incident (Pilate brought golden shields dedicated to Tiberius into Herod's palace in Jerusalem) may be a/the cause of strife between Pilate and Antipas.

Antipas joined the protest against the shields which ultimately led to Pilate being reprimanded by Emperor Tiberius. Maier dates this event to the Spring of 32; others have dated it somewhat earlier.

Pilate certainly had earned Antipas' antipathy.

1 Answer 1


Why were Pilate and Herod Antipas upset with each other?

We don't really know.

Barnes' Notes on the Bible

What had been the cause of their quarrel is unknown. It is commonly supposed that it was Pilate's slaying the Galileans in Jerusalem, as related in Luke 13:1-2. The occasion of their reconciliation seems to have been the civility and respect which Pilate showed to Herod in this case.

Ellicott expresses a similar sentiment:

Before they were at enmity between themselves.—The special cause of enmity is not known. Possibly the massacre of the Galileans, mentioned in Luke 13:1, may have had somewhat to do with it.

Their conspiring to work together was well known to the early church.

Act 4:23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“ ‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.

27Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.

  • Thank you for the insightful historical context! Feb 14, 2021 at 19:23
  • 1
    Happy to do it :)
    – user35953
    Feb 14, 2021 at 19:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.