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Luke 3:18-20 – John’s Teaching and Imprisonment

|| Matthew 14:3-12;[1] Mark 6:17-29[2]

LK3:18 So with many words like these John continued to encourage the people as he preached the Good News. LK3:19 Now, Herod the tetrarch had been rebuked by John regarding Herodias who was his brother’s wife, and also about other evil things Herod did. LK3:20 On top of it all Herod also added the imprisonment of John.

 

[1] Matthew 14:3-12: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Matthew.

[2] Mark 6:17-29: For details see notes in Nazarene Commentary 2000 on Mark.

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Preceding:

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:1, 2 – Factual Data

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:3-6 – John Preaches Baptism of Repentance

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:7-9 – Vipers, Repent!

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:10-14 – “What Shall We Do?”

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

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The life of Jesus began in north and central Palestine, a region between the Dead Sea and the Jordan River in the east and the Eastern Mediterranean in the west.

The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15t...

The three Magi before Herod, France, early 15th century. Stained glass: colored glass, grisaille; lead. Restored by F. Pivet, 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This region was under Roman control since the 1st century BCE, initially as a tributary kingdom. The Roman campaigns, coupled with internal revolts and the incursion of the Parthians, made the region very unstable and chaotic up until 37 BCE, when Herod the Great (c.73 BCE – 4 BCE) became king king of Judea, and Malthace. The region gradually gained political stability and became prosperous. Although Jewish in religion, Herod was a vassal king who served the interests of the Roman Empire. When Herod the Great died his son Herod the tetrarch or Herod Antipater (Greek: Ἡρῴδης Ἀντίπατρος, Hērǭdēs Antipatros; born before 20 BC – died after 39 AD), known by the nickname Antipas, became as  tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”) the much spoken of 1st-century ruler of Galilee and Perea. He is best known today for accounts in the New Testament of his role in events that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.

Herod the Great made great efforts to mollify the Jews by publicly observing the Law, by building a temple, and by re-establishing the Sanhedrin. He promoted Hellenisation and adorned most of his cities, especially Jerusalem.

Having felt the difficulty facing Jewish tradition Aantipas also tried to take in account Jewish believes. Antipas tried to avoid conflicts with the Jews and therefore when Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea from 26 AD to 36 AD, caused offence by placing votive shields in the Antonia palace at Jerusalem, Antipas and his brothers successfully petitioned for their removal.

Early in his reign, Antipas had married the daughter of King Aretas IV of Nabatea. Herod Antipas repudiated his wife, daughter of Aretas, to marry his niece Herodias, wife of his half-brother Herod Philip. On a visit to Rome he stayed with his half-brother Herod Philip I and there fell in love with Philip’s wife, Herodias, (granddaughter of Herod the Great and Mariamne I), and the two agreed to marry each other, after Herod Antipas had divorced his wife. The affair gained Herod Antipas many enemies, and the vaulting ambitions of Herodias eventually ruined him

Jesus saw his cousin John the Baptist as an authority and possibly a source of inspiration. It seems that he performed baptisms parallel to John the Baptist (John 3.22). This baptiser and preacher reached a lot of people but was not afraid to call Antipas his relation as incestuous and a sin against God. John called the leader ‘That fox Herod’ (Luke 13.32) Herodias may have fancied the preacher and was jealous of his popularity. She was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist.

Herod Antipas was exiled by the Romans.

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