|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-12 The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God's people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.
Verses 1-36. - CHRIST'S POWER TO SUPPLY AND PROTECT AND HEAL, PREFACED BY A STATEMENT OF HEROD'S RELATION TO HIM. Verses 1-12. - Herod's opinion of Jesus, and a parenthetical account of his murder of John the Baptist. Parallel passages: Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9; Luke 3:19, 20. Verse 1. - At that time; season (Revised Version); Matthew 11:25, note. Herod the tetrarch; i.e. Antipas, youngest son of Herod the Great, and by one of his father's wills named his successor on the throne, but by the last will appointed only tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea. Though not legally king, he sometimes received the title by courtesy (ver. 9; Mark 6:14; cf. Matthew 2:1, note). "In point of character, Antipas was a genuine son of old Herod - sly, ambitious, and luxurious, only not so able as his father." He was deposed by Caligula, A.D. 39, when, at the instance of Herodias, he had gone to Rome to try to obtain the same title of king that had been granted to her brother Agrippa I. (Schurer, I. 2:18, 36). Heard of the fame - heard the report (Revised Version); Matthew 4:24, note - of Jesus.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
At that time Herod the tetrarch,.... Not Herod the Great, in whose reign Christ was born, and who slew the infants of Bethlehem, but his son; this was, as the Jewish chronologer (c) rightly observes,
"Herod Antipater, whom they call "the tetrarch"; the son of Herod the First, and brother of Archelaus, and the third king of the family of Herod.''
And though he is here called a "tetrarch", he is in Mark 6:14 called a king: the reason of his being styled a "tetrarch" was this; his father Herod divided his large kingdom into four parts, and bequeathed them to his sons, which was confirmed by the Roman senate: Archelaus reigned in Judea in his stead; upon whose decease, that part was put under the care of a Roman governor; who, when John the Baptist began to preach, was Pontius Pilate; this same Herod here spoken of, being "tetrarch" of Galilee, which was the part assigned him; and his brother Philip "tetrarch" of Ituraea, and of the region of Trachonitis; and Lysanias, "tetrarch" of Abilene, Luke 3:1 the word "tetrarch": signifying one that has the "fourth" part of government: and in Munster's Hebrew Gospel, he is called "one of the four princes"; and in the Arabic version, "a prince of the fourth part"; and in the Persic, a "governor of the fourth part of the kingdom". The "time" referred to, was after the death of John the Baptist; and when Christ had been for a good while, and in many places, preaching and working miracles; the particular instant which respect is had unto, is the sending forth of the twelve disciples to preach and work miracles; and which might serve the more to spread the fame of Christ, and which reached the court of Herod; who, it is said here,
heard of the fame of Jesus: what a wonderful preacher he was, and what mighty things were done by him.
(c) David Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 2. and so in Juchasin, fol. 142. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Mt 14:1-12. Herod Thinks Jesus a Resurrection of the Murdered Baptist—Account of His Imprisonment and Death. ( = Mr 6:14-29; Lu 9:7-9).
The time of this alarm of Herod Antipas appears to have been during the mission of the Twelve, and shortly after the Baptist—who had been in prison for probably more than a year—had been cruelly put to death.
Herod's Theory of the Works of Christ (Mt 14:1, 2).
1. At that time Herod the tetrarch—Herod Antipas, one of the three sons of Herod the Great, and own brother of Archelaus (Mt 2:22), who ruled as ethnarch over Galilee and Perea.
heard of the fame of Jesus—"for His name was spread abroad" (Mr 6:14).
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