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Matthew 14:1-13 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: John Beheaded

|| Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9

MT14:1 At this time Herod[1] the Tetrarch[2] heard what people were saying about Jesus. MT14:2 Herod told his servant-boys, “This person is John the Baptist raised from the dead, and it is because of this he is able to perform dynamic works.” MT14:3 For Herod, because of his woman Herodias[3] (wife of his brother Philip[4]), had seized John and put him in prison. MT14:4 John had been telling Herod, “It is illegal for you to have her.”[5] MT14:5 So Herod wanted to kill John but he feared the crowd because they thought John was a prophet. MT14:6 Now when Herod’s birthday[6] was being celebrated the daughter of Herodias[7] danced among them and pleasured Herod so much MT14:7 that he made a sworn oath to give her whatever she requested. MT14:8 Having been coached by her mother, she said, “Here, upon a plate, the head of John the Baptist!” MT14:9 This grieved the king because of his oaths and [because] of those reclining with him. So he gave the command MT14:10 and sent for John to be beheaded in prison. MT14:11 John’s head was delivered on a plate and given to the maiden[8] and she took it to her mother. MT14:12 John’s disciples came forward, removed the corpse and buried him. Others arrived and reported back to Jesus. MT14:13 Having heard this Jesus departed from there in a boat into a solitary and secluded place.[9] When the crowds[10] heard this they set out on foot from the cities to follow him.

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[1] Herod: The name occurs 55 times in the Gospels. It is a family name of Edomites. Their history is recorded by Josephus. This is Herod Antipas. Search the word Herod and see dictionaries.

[2] Tetrarch: Meaning “ruler of one-fourth.” Or, TCNT: prince; GDSP: governor.

[3] Herodias: Compare Matthew 14:1-11; Mark 6:16-28; Luke 3:19, 20; 9:9. See Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, 240-256 (vii, 1, 2); The Jewish War, II, 181-183 (ix, 6).

[4] Philip: The father of Salome by Herodias, the “maiden” who danced for Herod Antipas.

[5] It is illegal for you to have her: Or, KJV: it is not lawful; RIEU: telling him he could not marry; NJB: it is against the Law. Compare Leviticus 18:16 and Leviticus 20:21 (Matthew 19:9).

[6] Birthday: The Greek is GENESIOIS. Only one other “birthday” is mentioned directly in the Bible (Genesis 40:20). Some feel birthdays are meant in Job 1:4, 5 and Hosea 7:5. Renowned historian Augustus Neander says: “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period.” (The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries, translated by H. J. Rose, 1848, p. 190) The Catholic Encyclopedia states: “Origen [a writer of the third century C.E.]… insists that ‘of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below.’” (1913, Vol. X, p. 709) M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopaedia (1882, Vol. I, p. 817) says, “(The Jews) regarded birthday celebrations as parts of idolatrous worship…, and this probably on account of the idolatrous rites with which they were observed in honor of those who were regarded as the patron gods of the day on which the party was born.” Whether Christians in modern periods should avoid birthday celebrations because Jews may have refused is a choice for each conscience. Some refrain others do not.

[7] Daughter of Herodias: She is known as Salome.

[8] The maiden: The Greek is KORASIO. Or, KJV: damsel; MON: young girl; NJB: girl. We can only speculate on the manner of her dance but we suppose it was intimate and erotic and perhaps directed at Herod.

[9] Into a solitary and secluded place: If the above was done to John because of his accusation against Herod’s relationship with Herodias, it can only be imagined what lays ahead for the Son of Humankind. Escaping into private and isolated spots was something Jesus did often. Or, KJV: desert place apart; TCNT: retired privately to a lonely spot; WEY: uninhabited and secluded; RIEU: a deserted place where he could be alone. Compare Mark 6:31; 9:10.

[10] The crowds: There is no rest for such a famous and renowned person. This “crowd” is later revealed to be at least 5,000 strong.

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Preceding

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Matthew 13:53-58 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Where Did He Get Such Wisdom?

Matthew 14 – Faith Small and Great – Key words: Dynamic Works

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Related

  1. Daily Mass: The death of John the Baptist
  2. The Story of Two Feasts
  3. Herod Antipas: The Would-Be King
  4. Why It Is Important to Overcome Resentment
  5. Drama 7-15-18
  6. Mark 6:14-29 – Serving a head on a platter
  7. A not so great showman
  8. Herod and John the Baptist
  9. Day 47: A Pyrrhic Victory, a Small Girl, and a Lot of Food
  10. Before Herod
  11. A tale of two banquets
  12. Cowardly Power
  13. Confronting a narcissistic ruler
  14. The Life of John the Baptist: The Death of John the Baptist

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