Mark 6:20
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New International Version
because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

New Living Translation
for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.

English Standard Version
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.

Berean Study Bible
because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When he heard John's words, he was greatly perplexed; yet he listened to him gladly.

Berean Literal Bible
For Herod was afraid of John, knowing him a righteous and holy man; and he kept him safe. And having heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and heard him gladly.

New American Standard Bible
for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him.

King James Bible
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
because Herod was in awe of John and was protecting him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very disturbed, yet would hear him gladly.

International Standard Version
because Herod was afraid of John. He knew that John was a righteous and holy man, and so he protected him. Whenever he listened to John, he did much of what he said. In fact, he liked listening to him.

NET Bible
because Herod stood in awe of John and protected him, since he knew that John was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, and yet he liked to listen to John.

New Heart English Bible
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed, but he heard him gladly.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Herodus had been afraid of Yohannan because he had known that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him and he heard many things that he had said and did services for him, and he heard him with pleasure.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
because Herod was afraid of John. Herod knew that John was a fair and holy man, so he protected him. When he listened to John, he would become very disturbed, and yet he liked to listen to him.

New American Standard 1977
for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him.

Jubilee Bible 2000
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and respected him; and when he heard him, he did many things and heard him gladly.

King James 2000 Bible
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and holy, and protected him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

American King James Version
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

American Standard Version
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly.

Darby Bible Translation
for Herod feared John knowing that he was a just and holy man, and kept him safe; and having heard him, did many things, and heard him gladly.

English Revised Version
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous man and a holy, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly.

Webster's Bible Translation
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and observed him: and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Weymouth New Testament
for Herod stood in awe of John, knowing him to be an upright and holy man, and he protected him. After listening to him he was in great perplexity, and yet he found a pleasure in listening.

World English Bible
for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly.

Young's Literal Translation
for Herod was fearing John, knowing him a man righteous and holy, and was keeping watch over him, and having heard him, was doing many things, and hearing him gladly.
Study Bible
The Beheading of John
19So Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she had been unable, 20because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When he heard John’s words, he was greatly perplexed; yet he listened to him gladly. 21On Herod’s birthday, her opportunity arose. Herod held a banquet for his nobles and military commanders, as well as the leading men of Galilee.…
Cross References
Ezekiel 33:32
"Behold, you are to them like a sensual song by one who has a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument; for they hear your words but they do not practice them.

Matthew 21:26
But if we say, 'From men,' we are afraid of the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet."

Acts 2:12
Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"

Acts 5:24
When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard this account, they were perplexed as to what was happening.
Treasury of Scripture

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

feared.

Mark 11:18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might …

Exodus 11:3 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. …

1 Kings 21:20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Have you found me, O my enemy? And he answered, …

2 Kings 3:12,13 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the LORD is with him. So the king …

2 Kings 6:21 And the king of Israel said to Elisha, when he saw them, My father, …

2 Kings 13:14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash …

2 Chronicles 24:2,15-22 And Joash did that which was right in the sight of the LORD all the …

2 Chronicles 26:5 And he sought God in the days of Zechariah, who had understanding …

Ezekiel 2:5-7 And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear…

Daniel 4:18,27 This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now you, O Belteshazzar, …

Daniel 5:17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Let your gifts be …

Matthew 14:5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, …

Matthew 21:26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

observed him. or, kept him, or saved him. and heard.

Mark 4:16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, …

Psalm 106:12,13 Then believed they his words; they sang his praise…

Ezekiel 33:32 And, see, you are to them as a very lovely song of one that has a …

John 5:35 He was a burning and a shining light: and you were willing for a …

(20) For Herod feared John.--The full description of Herod's feelings towards the Baptist is peculiar to St. Mark.

A just man and an holy.--The two words indicate--the first, righteousness as seen in relation to man; the second, the same element of character in relation to God.

Observed him.--The word has been differently interpreted, but Luke 2:19, where it is translated "kept," seems decisive as to its meaning that Herod had a certain reverence for his prisoner. In English, however, to "keep" a man is ambiguous, and the "observed" of our version seems on the whole preferable to any other.

He did many things.--The better MSS. give, "he was much perplexed."

Verse 20. - The words in the Authorized Version are, When he heard him, he did many things (πολλὰ ἐποίει), and heard him gladly. But according to the best authorities the reading should be (πολλὰ ἠπόρει), he was much perplexed. In St. Luke, as stated above, we have (διηπόρει), "he was much perplexed." Nor is there any inconsistency in the next clause in St. Mark, if we accept this reading. Herod was not utterly depraved. There was to him a charm, not only in the character, but in the discourses of John the Baptist. But he was an inconsistent man, and was continually the victim of a conflict between the good and the evil within him, in which evil, alas! triumphed. Herodias, on the other hand, had always wished to get rid of John, as the stern and uncompromising reprover of her adultery and incest; and so at length she persuaded Herod to give way. "For," says Bede, "she feared lest Herod should at length repent, and yield to the exhortations of John, and dissolve this unreal marriage, and restore Herodias to her lawful husband." For Herod feared John,.... Had him in great respect; he had a great veneration for him; which was the reason that Herodias could not as yet accomplish her design against him, and vent her rage upon him. Though some understand this not of his reverence, but of his dread of him: he knew as follows, that he was a man exemplary for justice and holiness, which gained him great esteem among the people; wherefore, though Herod, as well as Herodias, could very willingly have put him to death, yet, as Matthew says, "he feared the multitude", Matthew 14:5, who, in general, had an high opinion of John as a prophet, and a holy good man: he feared therefore to take away his life, lest they should rise and rebel against him; nor would he suffer Herodias to do it, for the same reason.

Knowing that he was a just man, and an holy; by what he had heard of him, by his own conversation with him, and the observation he had made upon his tenets and conduct. He was a "just", or "righteous" man, in a civil, legal, and evangelical sense: he did that which was just, between man and man; he did to others, as he would be done by himself; he was outwardly righteous before men, he lived soberly and righteously; nor was he chargeable with any notorious breach of the law; his conversation was strictly moral: and he was just or righteous before God, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to him; in whom he believed, and to whom he looked as the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world: but it was in the former sense, that he was known by Herod to be a just man; who only could pass such a judgment upon him, by his outward conduct and manner of life: and so as he had true principles of internal holiness wrought in him by the Spirit of God, with which he was filled from his mother's womb; he was externally holy in his walk and conversation, which was visible to others, and was taken notice of by this wicked prince: the former of these characters may regard his justice, uprightness, and integrity among men; the latter, his piety and devotion unto God: and the whole agrees with the account the Jewish historian (z) gives of him, that he was

"an excellent good man, who stirred up the Jews to the study of virtue, and especially piety and justice.''

These were epithets, which used to be given to men, famous for religion and piety; so we read of Simeon, "the just" (a), and of R. Simeon, "the Holy One" (b):

and observed him: or "kept him" in custody, in prison, as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic render it; and did not put him to death, but preserved him from the designs of Herodias against him. Or he observed and took notice of what he had heard him say in his ministry; he laid it up, and kept it in his mind, and memory; the remembrance of which kept him in awe, and he durst not, and could not for the present, give heed to the solicitations of Herodias, or suffer her to take away his life: and he also observed his exemplary life and conversation, which was so just and upright, that his conscience would not admit him to give him up to her will and pleasure.

And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly: when he heard John explain the law and the prophets, open the writings of the Old Testament, preach the doctrine of repentance towards God, and faith in the Messiah to come; set forth the evil, danger, and punishment of sin, and exhorted to a holy life and conversation; taught the doctrine of baptism for the remission of sin by Christ, and spoke of the glories and happiness of a future state, and of the nature of the Gospel dispensation, just now ushering in; Herod, like one of the stony ground hearers, received the word with joy, was pleased with it, and in some things outwardly reformed: but the word did not take root in his heart, and therefore what external effects it produced, came to nothing; nor was he able to withstand the lusts and corruptions of his heart. The sense seems to be, that while he was hearing John, his natural affections were moved, and he had a kind of pleasure in the things he delivered; just as the Jews for a season rejoiced in his light, John 5:35, his natural conscience dictating to him, that the things which were spoken, were right, and just, and good; and they were delivered in such a solemn and striking manner, as commanded attention and awe; and were things of such a nature and importance, that from a principle of self-love, he could not but wish himself an interest in: and so far they had such an influence upon him, as to engage him to do many things in an external way, which had the appearance of good, at least of moral good: so that it is manifest from hence, that persons may have a natural affection for the ministry of the word, and seem delighted with it for a while; yea, may do a great many good actions, which seem to be such; and yet the word come in word only, and not in power: there may be all this, and yet true grace may not be wrought, and the word not be the engrafted word, which is able to save. In one of Beza's copies, and so in one of Stephens's, and in the Coptic version, instead of "he did many things", it is read, "he hesitated much": he was perplexed and distressed, he did not know what to do with himself; his conscience was uneasy, some things were pleasing to him, and others greatly afflicted him; his mind was distracted, he could not tell what to think, say, or do: however, it had such an effect upon him, that he had some respect for John; a veneration of him; at least, some fear and dread of him, which kept him from taking away his life, or suffering any others to do it.

(z) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 18. c. 7. (a) Pirke Abot, c. 1. sect. 9. (b) T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 2.20. 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 (1Ki 21:20).

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 from executing.6:14-29 Herod feared John while he lived, and feared him still more when he was dead. Herod did many of those things which John in his preaching taught him; but it is not enough to do many things, we must have respect to all the commandments. Herod respected John, till he touched him in his Herodias. Thus many love good preaching, if it keep far away from their beloved sin. But it is better that sinners persecute ministers now for faithfulness, than curse them eternally for unfaithfulness. The ways of God are unsearchable; but we may be sure he never can be at a loss to repay his servants for what they endure or lose for his sake. Death could not come so as to surprise this holy man; and the triumph of the wicked was short.
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