ARETAS (Arab. Haritha), the Greek form of a name borne by kings of the Nabataeans resident at Petra in Arabia, (i) A king in the time of Antiochus IV. Epiphanes (2 Mace. v. 8). (2) The father-in-law of Herod Antipas (Jos. Ant. xviii. 5. 1, 3), In 2 Cor. xi. 32 he is described as ruler of Damascus (q.v.) at the time of Paul's conversion. Herod Antipas had married a daughter of Aretas, but afterwards discarded her in favour of Herodias. This led to a war with Aretas in which Antipas was defeated.
An Aretas is mentioned in 1 Macc. xv. 22, but the true reading is probably Ariarathes (king of Cappadocia). See Nabataeans.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)