|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-9 Christ sent his twelve disciples abroad, who by this time were able to teach others what they had received from the Lord. They must not be anxious to commend themselves to people's esteem by outward appearance. They must go as they were. The Lord Jesus is the fountain of power and authority, to whom all creatures must, in one way or another, be subject; and if he goes with the word of his ministers in power, to deliver sinners from Satan's bondage, they may be sure that he will care for their wants. When truth and love thus go together, and yet the message of God is rejected and despised, it leaves men without excuse, and turns to a testimony against them. Herod's guilty conscience was ready to conclude that John was risen from the dead. He desired to see Jesus; and why did he not go and see him? Probably, because he thought it below him, or because he wished not to have any more reprovers of sin. Delaying it now, his heart was hardened, and when he did see Jesus, he was as much prejudiced against him as others, Lu 23:11.
Verses 7-9. - Herod's terror. Verse 7. - Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him. This was Herod Antipas; he was a son of Herod the Great; his mother's name was Malthace. After his father's death he became tetrareh or prince-ruler of Galilee, Peraea, and of a fourth part of the Roman province of Syria. His first wife was daughter of Aretas, a famous Arabian sheik spoken of by St. Paul as "king of the Damascenes" (2 Corinthians 11:32). This princess he divorced, and contracted a marriage at once incestuous and adulterous with his niece Herodias, the beautiful wife of his half-brother Philip. Philip was not a sovereign prince, and it was probably from motives of ambition that she deserted Philip for the powerful tetrarch Herod Antipas. It was owing to his fearless remonstrances against this wicked marriage that John the Baptist incurred the enmity of Herodias, who was only satisfied with the head of the daring preacher who presumed to attack her brilliant wicked life. What Herod now heard was the report of the widespread interest suddenly aroused by the mission of the twelve - a mission, we know, supported by miraculous powers, following close upon the Galilaean ministry of the Lord, which, as far as regarded the numbers who thronged his meetings, and the outward interest his words and works excited, had been so successful. Rumours of all this at last reached the court circle, wrapped up in its own selfish and often wanton pleasures and false excitement. Because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead. Herod Antipas was probably inclined to the Sadducee creed, which believed in neither angel nor spirit. But Sadduceeism and the easy doctrines of Epicurus, which no doubt found favour in the luxurious palace of Herod, are but a flimsy protection at best against the ghastly reminiscences and the weird forebodings of a guilty conscience. The murder of John had been, Herod knew, strongly condemned by the public voice. He would not believe it was his old monitor risen, but vet the prince was anxious and perturbed in his mind. The murmur that the great prophet was Elias (Elijah) disquieted him, too. Herod could not help recalling to his mind the lifelong combat of that great and austere servant of God against another wicked sovereign and his queen, Ahab and Jezebel, whose great crime was that they, too, had slain the Lord's prophets. That history, Herod felt, had to some extent been reproduced by himself and Herodias. There was a rooted expectation among the Jews that Elijah would reappear again on earth, and that his appearance would herald the advent of the Messiah. There are numberless references in the Talmud to this looked-for return of the famous Elijah.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now Herod the tetrarch,.... Of Galilee, and who is called a king in Mark 6:14 as he is here in the Ethiopic version:
heard of all that was done by him; of all the miracles that were wrought by Christ, and his apostles; the fame of which were the more spread through the mission of the apostles, and the journey they took through all the towns and cities of Galilee, which were in Herod's jurisdiction; by which means he, and his court, came to the knowledge of them, the whole country, ringing with the account of the same:
and he was perplexed; anxious, and distressed, not knowing well what to think of Christ, and the different sentiments of men about him: be was afraid lest he should be John the Baptist risen from the dead, whom he had beheaded: he hesitated about it at first, though he afterwards was fully persuaded, in his own mind, that it was he, as some affirmed; and this gave him great uneasiness, and filled him with distress and horror:
because that it was said of some that John was risen from the dead; and he began to fear it was true, though willing to disbelieve it, at least to make a question of it, especially in public; though in private, to his own family and servants, he was free to tell his mind.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Lu 9:7-9. Herod Troubled at What He Hears of Christ Desires to See Him.
(See on Mr 6:14-30).
7. perplexed—at a loss, embarrassed.
said of some, that John was risen—Among many opinions, this was the one which Herod himself adopted, for the reason, no doubt, mentioned on Mr 6:14.
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