MISSION OF THE
Mt 10:1, 5-15;
RESURRECTION OF THE
Herod's View of Christ
14. And King Herod--that is, Herod Antipas, one of the three sons of
Herod the Great, and own brother of Archelaus
who ruled as ethnarch over Galilee and Perea.
heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad); and he said--"unto
his councillors or court ministers.
That John the Baptist was risen from the dead--The murdered prophet
haunted his guilty breast like a specter, and seemed to him alive again
and clothed with unearthly powers, in the person of Jesus.
15. Others said, That it is Elias. And others, That it is a prophet,
or as one of the prophets--(See on
16. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I
beheaded; he is risen from the dead--"Himself has risen"; as if the
innocence and sanctity of his faithful reprover had not suffered that
he should lie long dead.
Account of the Baptist's Imprisonment and Death
17. For Herod himself had sent forth, and laid hold upon John, and
bound him in prison--in the castle of Machærus, near the southern
extremity of Herod's dominions, and adjoining the Dead Sea
[JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 18.5,2].
for Herodias' sake--She was the granddaughter of Herod the Great.
his brother Philip's wife--and therefore the niece of both brothers.
This Philip, however, was not the tetrarch of that name mentioned in
but one whose distinctive name was "Herod Philip," another son of Herod
the Great--who was disinherited by his father. Herod Antipas' own wife
was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia; but he prevailed on
Herodias, his half-brother Philip's wife, to forsake her husband and
live with him, on condition, says JOSEPHUS
[Antiquities, 18.5,1], that he should put away his own wife.
This involved him afterwards in war with Aretas, who totally defeated
him and destroyed his army, from the effects of which he was never able
to recover himself.
18. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have
thy brother's wife--Noble fidelity! It was not lawful because
Herod's wife and Herodias' husband were both living; and further,
because the parties were within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity
Herodias being the daughter of Aristobulus, the brother of both Herod
and Philip [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities,
19. Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him--rather, as in the
Margin, "had a grudge against him." Probably she was too proud to
speak to him; still less would she quarrel with him.
and would have killed him; but she could not.
20. For Herod feared John--but, as
BENGEL notes, John feared not Herod.
knowing that he was a just man and an holy--Compare the case of
Elijah with Ahab, after the murder of Naboth
and observed him--rather, as in the Margin, "kept" or "saved him";
that is, from the wicked designs of Herodias, who had been watching for
some pretext to get Herod entangled and committed to despatch him.
and when he heard him, he did many things--many good things under the
influence of the Baptist on his conscience.
and heard him gladly--a striking statement this, for which we are
indebted to our graphic Evangelist alone, illustrating the working of
contrary principles in the slaves of passion. But this only shows how
far Herodias must have wrought upon him, as Jezebel upon Ahab, that he
should at length agree to what his awakened conscience kept him long
21. And when a convenient day--for the purposes of Herodias.
was come, that Herod--rather, "A convenient day being come, when
on his birthday, made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief
estates of Galilee--This graphic minuteness of detail adds much to
the interest of the tragic narrative.
22. And when the daughter of the said Herodias--that is, her
daughter by her proper husband, Herod Philip: Her name was Salome
[JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 18.5,4].
came in and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him,
the king said unto the damsel--"the girl" (See on
Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
23. And he--the king, so called, but only by courtesy (see on
sware unto her Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, unto the half of my
kingdom--Those in whom passion and luxury have destroyed self-command
will in a capricious moment say and do what in their cool moments they
24. And she said, The head of John the Baptist--Abandoned women are
more shameless and heartless than men. The Baptist's fidelity marred the
pleasures of Herodias, and this was too good an opportunity of getting
rid of him to let slip.
25. I will that thou give me by and by--rather, "at once."
in a charger--large, flat trencher.
the head of John the Baptist.
26. And the king was exceeding sorry--With his feelings regarding
John, and the truths which so told upon his conscience from that
preacher's lips, and after so often and carefully saving him from his
paramour's rage, it must have been very galling to find himself at
length entrapped by his own rash folly.
yet for his oath's sake--See how men of no principle, but troublesome
conscience, will stick at breaking a rash oath, while yielding to the
commission of the worst crimes!
and for their sakes which sat with him--under the influence of that
false shame, which could not brook being thought to be troubled with
religious or moral scruples. To how many has this proved a fatal snare!
he would not reject her.
27. And immediately the king sent an executioner--one of the guards
in attendance. The word is Roman, denoting one of the Imperial Guard.
and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in
the prison--after, it would seem, more than twelve months'
imprisonment. Blessed martyr! Dark and cheerless was the end reserved
for thee: but now thou hast thy Master's benediction, "Blessed is he
whosoever shall not be offended in Me"
and hast found the life thou gavest away
But where are they in whose skirts is found thy blood?
28. And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and
the damsel gave it to her mother--Herodias did not shed the blood of
the stern reprover; she only got it done, and then gloated over it, as
it streamed from the trunkless head.
29. And when his disciples heard of it--that is, the Baptist's own
they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb--"and went
and told Jesus"
If these disciples had, up to this time, stood apart from Him, as
adherents of John
perhaps they now came to Jesus, not without some secret reflection on
Him for His seeming neglect of their master; but perhaps, too, as
orphans, to cast in their lot henceforth with the Lord's disciples. How
Jesus felt, or what He said, on receiving this intelligence, is not
recorded; but He of whom it was said, as He stood by the grave of His
friend Lazarus, "Jesus wept," was not likely to receive such
intelligence without deep emotion. And one reason why He might not be
unwilling that a small body of John's disciples should cling to him to
the last, might be to provide some attached friends who should do for
his precious body, on a small scale, what was afterwards to be done for
THEM TO THE
AGAIN TO THE
WALKING ON THE
Here, for the first time, all the four streams of sacred text run
parallel. The occasion and all the circumstances of this grand section
are thus brought before us with a vividness quite remarkable.
Five Thousand Miraculously Fed
30. And the apostles gathered themselves together--probably at
Capernaum, on returning from their mission
and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had
taught--Observe the various reasons He had for crossing to the other
side. First, Matthew
says, that "when Jesus heard" of the murder of His faithful
forerunner--from those attached disciples of his who had taken up his
body and laid it in a sepulchre (see on
--"He departed by ship into a desert place apart"; either to avoid some
apprehended consequences to Himself, arising from the Baptist's death
or more probably to be able to indulge in those feelings which that
affecting event had doubtless awakened, and to which the bustle of the
multitude around Him was very unfavorable. Next, since He must have
heard the report of the Twelve with the deepest interest, and probably
with something of the emotion which He experienced on the return of the
Seventy (see on
He sought privacy for undisturbed reflection on this begun preaching
and progress of His kingdom. Once more, He was wearied with the
multitude of "comers and goers"--depriving Him even of leisure enough
to take His food--and wanted rest: "Come ye yourselves apart
into a desert place, and rest a while," &c. Under the combined
influence of all these considerations, our Lord sought this change.
32. And they departed into a desert place by ship privately--"over
the Sea of Galilee, which is the Sea of Tiberias," says John
the only one of the Evangelists who so fully describes it; the others
having written when their readers were supposed to know something of
it, while the last wrote for those at a greater distance of time and
place. This "desert place" is more definitely described by Luke
as "belonging to the city called Bethsaida." This must not be
confounded with the town so called on the western side of the lake (see
This town lay on its northeastern side, near where the Jordan empties
itself into it: in Gaulonitis, out of the dominions of Herod Antipas,
and within the dominions of Philip the Tetrarch
who raised it from a village to a city, and called it Julias, in
honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus [JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 18.2,1].
33. And the people--the multitudes.
saw them departing, and many knew him--The true reading would seem to
be: "And many saw them departing, and knew or recognized [them]."
and ran afoot--Here, perhaps, it should be rendered "by land"--running
round by the head of the lake, and taking one of the fords of the river,
so as to meet Jesus, who was crossing with the Twelve by ship.
thither out of all cities, and outwent them--got before them.
and came together unto him--How exceedingly graphic is this! every
touch of it betokening the presence of an eye-witness. John
says, that "Jesus went up into a mountain"--somewhere in that hilly
range, the green tableland which skirts the eastern side of the
34. And Jesus, when he came out of the ship--having gone on shore.
saw much people--a great multitude.
and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep
not having a shepherd--At the sight of the multitudes who had followed
Him by land and even got before Him, He was so moved, as was His wont in