Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
A Nabataean king. Aretas II succeeded Rabel as king around 120 bc and ruled until 96 bc. The expansionist agenda of the Hasmonaean ruler Alexander Jannaeus threatened the kingdom of Aretas II. Aretas was succeeded by the Nabataean king Obodas I.
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ARETAS. Dynastic name of at least four kings of the royal house of Nabatea located at Petra. The earliest Nabatean Aramaic inscription from Elusa on the Petra-Gaza road in the Negev mentions an “Aretas, King of the Nabateans.” Proposals for a date of the inscription vary from the beginning to the end
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Aretas (Gk. Harétas)1. Aretas I, the first Nabatean ruler named in ancient literature. According to 2 Macc. 5:8 the Jewish high priest Jason somehow ran afoul of Aretas when he fled from Jerusalem to Nabatea in 168 b.c.e. Here, Aretas is called týrannos, which may indicate that the Nabatean rulers
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, Volumes I–III
All the People in the Bible: An A–Z Guide to the Saints, Scoundrels, and Other Characters in Scripture
The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Volumes 1–5
ARETAS air´uh-tuhs [Ἀρέτας Aretas]. Dynastic name of a number of Nabatean (Arabian) kings.1. Aretas I (ca. 170–160 bce) was the first of the Nabatean dynasts mentioned in the historical record, where an inscription styles him as king (Aram. mlk). According to 2 Macc 5:8, the high priest Jason was