THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW
Matt. 14:1-13 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.6 But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod.7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.”9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her.10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. 13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
14:1-13 YAH CHANAN THE BAPTIZER BEHEADED And at that time Heraudes the tetrarch hears a rumor of Yah Shua and words to his servants, This is Yah Chanan the Baptizer: he has risen from the house of the dead: because of this, powers are done in him. And Heraudes had been taking Yah Chanan and binding him, and placing him in a guardhouse because of Heraudiya the woman of Philipaus his brother: for Yah Chanan had been wording to him, You are not allowed to be having this woman! — and he wills to be slaughtering him: and has been frightened by the people so as to be holding him a prophet. And when there becomes a birth in the house of Heraudes the daughter of Heraudiya dances in front of those reposing and she is pleasing Heraudes: because of this he oaths an oath to give her all that she asks. And she, because of being doctrinated by her mother, she words, Give me here on a platter the head of Yah Chanan the Baptizer. And the sovereign sorrows: and because of the oath and those reposing, he misvahs to give it to her: and he apostalizes and cuts the head of Yah Chanan in the guardhouse: and they bring his head on a platter and give it to the lass— and she brings it to her mother. And his disciples approach and take the corpse and entomb it and come and show Yah Shua. And when Yah Shua hears he departs from there in a sailer to a place of desolation alone: and when the congregation hears they go after him by dry land from the cities: Aramaic NC
A. Herod and John the Baptist.
1. (1-2) Herod fears that Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead.
a. At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus: The fame and report of Jesus spread around the region. This Herod was known as Herod Antipas and was one of the sons of Herod the Great who reigned when Jesus was born.
b. Tetrarch literally means the ruler of a fourth part; but it came to be used quite generally, as here, of any subordinate ruler of a section of a country. A tetrarch was lower than a king. Herod Antipas wanted to be recognized as a king, and later asked the Emperor Caligula for this title, but Caligula refused. This humiliation was part of what later sent Herod to exile in Gaul.
1). This Herod the tetrarch – also known as Herod Antipas – ruled over Galilee and therefore heard much about Jesus. His brother Archelaus ruled to the south, and his brother Philip ruled to the north.
c. This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead: Though this may seem unreasonable in retrospect, Herod’s guilt and superstition led him to this fear.
1). He imagined still that he saw and heard that holy head shouting and crying out against him, staring him also in the face at every turn.
2). Barclay cites the ancient Christian writer Origen, who said that Jesus and John the Baptist closely resembled each other in appearance. If this were true, it would give more reason for Herod Antipas to believe that Jesus was John come back from the dead.
2. (3-12) Herod’s cruel treatment of John the Baptist.
a. Because John had said to him, It is not lawful for you to have her: Having told us of the death of John the Baptist, Matthew will now explain to us how he died. It began when Herod imprisoned John for the bold rebuke of the king’s sin. Yet he did not immediately kill him because he feared the multitude.
1). John spoke out against Herod’s marriage because he had illegally divorced his previous wife and then seduced and married his brother Philip’s wife named Herodias. The father of Herod’s first wife was the King of Petra, and he later made successful war against Herod Antipas because of how he had disgraced the King of Petra’s daughter.
b. Yet one must say that Herod seemed to fear his wife Herodias more than he feared the multitude, because he imprisoned John for the sake of Herodias. She ruled him at her pleasure, as Jezebel did Ahab.
c. The daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod: Herodias’ daughter shamelessly danced before Herod and friends, winning favor and a special request.
1). This daughter Herodias is described as a girl. This means that she was not a cute little girl; Girl is a term which can be used of those of marriageable age; she was at least a teenager.
2). The dancing of a mere girl would have been no entertainment to the sensual revelers.
3). The dances which these girls danced were suggestive and immoral. For a royal princess to dance in public at all was an amazing thing.
d. Having been prompted by her mother, said, give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter: The request of Herodias shows that the mother had this planned for some time. She knew her husband and she knew the situation and knew she could get what she wanted this way.
1). She was shrewd enough to demand that it be done immediately, while the guests were still at the party. That was an essential part of the request. No time must be left for repentance. If not done at once under the influence of wine and the momentary gratification given by the voluptuous dance, it might never be done at all.
2). It would have been bad enough if she herself had sought ways of taking vengeance on the man of God who confronted her with her shame. It was infinitely worse that she used her daughter for her purposes.
e. And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her: Because Herod was afraid to go against his wife or to lose face before his friends, he did something that he knew was wrong.
1). Rash promises, and even oaths, are no excuse for doing wrong. The promise was in itself null and void, because no man has a right to promise to do wrong.
2). All points to immediate production of the head on a platter in the banqueting hall before the guests; gruesome sight!
3). Herod had a terrible end. In order to take his brother’s wife Herodias, he put away his first wife, a princess from a neighboring kingdom to the east. Her father was offended and came against Herod with an army, defeating him in battle. Then his brother Agrippa accused him of treason against Rome, and he was banished into the distant Roman province of Gaul. In Gaul, Herod and Herodias committed suicide.
f. Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it: The disciples of John the Baptist honored his life and memory the best they could. He had lived and died as a great and righteous man.
i. It is not said by the Evangelist that they buried John, but they took up his body, and buried it, not him. The real John no man could bury, and Herod soon found that, being dead, he yet spoke.
3. (13) Jesus departs, not wishing to run afoul of Herod.
When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
a. When Jesus heard it, He departed from there: Again, this was not from cowardice but from an understanding of the Father’s timing, and also of prophetic timing.
b. When the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot: Jesus could escape the potential violence of Herod, but He could not escape the attention of the multitudes. Though both the religious and now the political leaders opposed Jesus, He was still popular with the multitudes.
GRIEF OF JESUS OVER JOHN THE BAPTIST. Related Scripture:
Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.