2. A contemporary of Alexander Jannaeus, king of Judaea. This Aretas is probably the same who reigned in Coele-Syria after Antiochus XII., surnamed Dionysus.
He was invited to the kingdom by those who had possession of Damascus. (J. AJ 13.13.3
.) Subsequently he seems to have been compelled to relinquish Syria; and we next hear of his taking part in the contest between Aristobulus and Hyrcanus for the Jewish crown, though whether this Aretas is the same as the one who ruled over Syria may be doubted.
At the advice of Antipater, Hyrcanus fled to Aretas, who invaded Judaea in B. C. 65, in order to place him on the throne, and laid siege to Jerusalem. Aristobulus, however, purchased the intervention of Scaurus and Gabinius, Pompey's legates, who compelled Aretas to raise the siege. (Joseph. Ant.
xiv. 1.4, 100.2, Bell. Jud.
1.6.2.) [ARISTOBULUS, No. 2.] After Pompey had reduced Syria to the form of a Roman province, he turned his arms against Aretas, B. C. 64, who submitted to him for a time.
This expedition against Aretas preceded the war against Aristobulus in Judaea, which Plutarch erroneously represents as the first. (D. C. 37.15
; Appian, App. Mith. 106
; Plut. Pomp. 39
The war against Aretas was renewed after Pompey's departure from Asia; and Scaurus, Pompey's legate, who remained behind in Syria, invaded Arabia Petraea, but was unable to reach Petra.
He laid waste, however, the surrounding country, and withdrew his army on Aretas' paying 300 talents. (J. AJ 14.5.1
This expedition of Scaurus is commemorated on a coin, which is given under SCAURUS. The successors of Scaurus in Syria also prosecuted the war with the Arabs. (Appian, App. Syr. 50