Luke 13:31
The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.
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(31) Herod will kill thee.—This is the only intimation of such a purpose, and it is, of course, a question whether the Pharisees reported what they actually knew, out of feelings more or less friendly to our Lord, or invented a false tale in order that they might get rid of His presence among them, or were sent by Herod to announce his purpose as a threat that he might be rid of it. Our Lord’s answer, “Go tell that fox . . .,” points to the last of these views as the most probable. It is true that in Luke 23:8, we are told that Herod “had desired to see Him of a long season;” but oscillations of vague curiosity and vague fears were quite in keeping with the Tetrarch’s character. Accepting the conclusion suggested in the Note on Luke 13:22, that we have here a record of our Lord’s Peræan ministry, we may probably connect the message with the fact that His journeys had brought Him near Machærus, where John had been imprisoned, and in which was one of Herod’s most stately palaces (Jos. Wars, vii. 6). Thence the Pharisees may have come with a threat, in which we may possibly trace the hand of Herodias, and which, at least, reminds us of the message sent by Jezebel to Elijah (1Kings 19:2). St. Luke’s knowledge of the incident may have been derived from Manaen; or, as Machærus was famous for hot medicinal springs, and for herbs that had a widespread fame for special virtues (Josephus, as above), it may have been one of the places to which he was attracted by his pursuits as a physician. (See Introduction.)

Luke 13:31-32. The same day there came certain of the Pharisees — Who pretended friendship, and a great concern for his safety; saying, Get thee out and depart hence — Withdraw from this country into the territories of some other prince; for Herod — In whose dominions thou now art; will kill thee — Greek, θελει σε αποκτειναι, intends, or rather, is determined to kill thee. The term will, in our translation of this clause, is a mere sign of the future time, and declares no more than that the event spoken of would take place. But this is not what is declared by the evangelist. His expression denotes that, at that very time, it was Herod’s purpose to kill him. It is much to be doubted whether these Pharisees had any ground at all for making this declaration respecting Herod’s resolution. From the known disposition of the Pharisees, who were always Christ’s enemies, it seems not improbable that their concern for his safety was reigned, and that their real design was to intimidate him, and make him flee into Judea, not doubting that the haughty priests at Jerusalem would fall upon some method of putting him to death. Herod, too, might possibly be in the plot, for it seems he now began to take umbrage at Christ’s fame and authority, fearing that they might occasion him some embarrassment, either with his people or with the Romans. But he dreaded to make an attempt on his life, remembering the agonies of mind he had suffered on account of the Baptist’s murder. He therefore, probably, sent the Pharisees to him with the message above mentioned. In this view there was a peculiar propriety in our Lord’s calling him a fox, rather than a lion, wolf, or bear; to which savage beasts the prophets had sometimes, with a plainness becoming their character, compared wicked princes. And he said, Go ye, and tell that fox, &c. — That crafty, wicked, and murderous prince; behold, I cast out devils and do cures — In thy dominions. With what majesty does he speak to his enemies! With what tenderness to his friends! to-day and to-morrow — And carry on my work a little while longer; and the third day I shall be perfected — For the appointed time will quickly come when I shall have finished my course, and have done all that I intend to do here. It is probable our Lord is not to be understood here as speaking exactly of three days, but of a short period of time: for in many places of the Old Testament similar expressions, such as yesterday, and the third day, signify lately, or a little while ago; and, on this interpretation, the word τελειουμαι, I shall be perfected, may refer to his finishing the work of redemption, and being by death consecrated to his office, as the great High-Priest and Captain of our salvation, as the same word is used Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 7:28. It is proper to observe here, with regard to our Lord’s terming Herod a fox, that we must carefully distinguish between those things wherein Christ is our pattern, and those which were peculiar to his office. His extraordinary office justified him in using that severity of language, when speaking of wicked princes and corrupt teachers, to which we have no call: and by which we should only bring scandal on religion, and ruin on ourselves, while we irritated, rather than convinced or reformed, those whom we so indecently rebuked.

13:31-35 Christ, in calling Herod a fox, gave him his true character. The greatest of men were accountable to God, therefore it became him to call this proud king by his own name; but it is not an example for us. I know, said our Lord, that I must die very shortly; when I die, I shall be perfected, I shall have completed my undertaking. It is good for us to look upon the time we have before us as but little, that we may thereby be quickened to do the work of the day in its day. The wickedness of persons and places which more than others profess religion and relation to God, especially displeases and grieves the Lord Jesus. The judgment of the great day will convince unbelievers; but let us learn thankfully to welcome, and to profit by all who come in the name of the Lord, to call us to partake of his great salvation.Came certain of thee Pharisees - Their coming to him in this manner would have the appearance of friendship, as if they had conjectured or secretly learned that it was Herod's intention to kill him. Their suggestion had much appearance of probability. Herod had killed John. He knew that Jesus made many disciples, and was drawing away many of the people. He was a wicked man, and he might be supposed to fear the presence of one who had so strong a resemblance to John, whom he had slain. It might seem probable, therefore, that he intended to take the life of Jesus, and this might appear as a friendly hint to escape him. Yet it is more than possible that Herod might have sent these Pharisees to Jesus. Jesus was eminently popular, and Herod might not dare openly to put him to death; yet he desired his removal, and for this purpose he sent these people, as if in a friendly way, to advise him to retire. This was probably the reason why Jesus called him a fox.

Herod - Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great. He ruled over Galilee and Perea, and wished Jesus to retire beyond these regions. See the notes at Luke 3:1.

Lu 13:31-35. Message to Herod.

31. and depart hence—and "go forward," push on. He was on His way out of Perea, east of Jordan, and in Herod's dominions, "journeying towards Jerusalem" (Lu 13:22). Haunted by guilty fears, probably, Herod wanted to get rid of Him (see on [1664]Mr 6:14), and seems, from our Lord's answer, to have sent these Pharisees, under pretense of a friendly hint, to persuade Him that the sooner He got beyond Herod's jurisdiction the better it would be for His own safety. Our Lord saw through both of them, and sends the cunning ruler a message couched in dignified and befitting irony.

Ver. 31-33. It is plain from this text, that our Saviour was at this time in Galilee, for that was the tetrarchy or province of Herod Antipas, who is the Herod here mentioned. Whether these Pharisees came of their own heads, or as sent by Herod, is not so plain, nor so well agreed by interpreters. If they came of their own heads, it is certain they came not out of kindness, for the whole history of the gospel lets us know, that the Pharisees had no kindness for Christ, but were his most implacable enemies, and continually consulting how to destroy him; but they either came to scare him out of Galilee, whose repute was so great, and who did them so much mischief there, or to drive him into the trap which they had laid for him in Judea. But it is most probable that they came as secretly sent by Herod, who though of himself he be reported to be of no bloody disposition, yet upon the Pharisees’ continual solicitations might be persuaded to send them on this errand, choosing rather cunningly to scare him out of his province, than by violence to fall upon him. This opinion looks more probable, because, Luke 13:32, our Saviour sends them back with a message to Herod, Go ye, and tell that fox. Herod had gained himself no reputation amongst the Jews, by his murdering John the Baptist, whom the Jews generally valued as a prophet; and probably seeing our Saviour exceeding him in popular applause, he was not willing to augment the odium which already lay upon him for that fact; yet, to gratify the Pharisees, (many of which were in his province), he was willing, if he could effect it cleverly, and without noise, to he quit of Christ, especially considering (as we before heard) he had an opinion that he was John the Baptist risen from the dead, or the soul of John the Baptist in another body; and possibly: he could not tell what might be the effect of his ghost so haunting his province. It is certain, that either he, or the Pharisees, or both, had a mind to have him gone some where else, to which purpose this message is brought to him. Our Saviour, either discerning Herod’s craft in this thing, or having observed the craft he used in the whole management of his government, that he might keep favour both with the Roman emperor and with the Jews, bids them, Go and tell that fox. I do not much value their critical observation, who observe that it is not alwpeki eceinh, but, tauth, that is, this fox; from whence they would observe that our Saviour might mean the Pharisees, not Herod; nor is there any need of it to excuse our Saviour from the violation of that law of God, Exodus 22:28, Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people; which law Paul reflected on, Acts 23:5, and pleads ignorance for his calling Ananias a whited wall. For we shall observe that the prophets all along (being immediately sent from God) took a further liberty than any others, in severely reproving kings and princes. Elijah tells Ahab it was he that troubled Israel; the prophets call the rulers of the Jews, rulers of Sodom, and princes of Gomorrah, &c. But Christ may be allowed a liberty neither lawful nor decent for other persons, not though they were prophets. But what is the message which Christ sends by these Pharisees?

Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. Tell him, saith he, what I am doing; I am freeing his subjects from molestations by evil spirits, and the encumbrances of many diseases. What do I do worthy of death? I have but a little time to trouble him, for in a little time I must die, which is that which he means by being perfected: it is plain that those words today, and tomorrow, and the third day, must not be taken strictly, for Christ lived more than three days after this. If this will not satisfy him, tell him, saith our Saviour, that

I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following. I know that, as to this thing, I am not under his command or power, I must walk, & c.; my days are not in his hands, and I know that he cannot kill me,

for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the place where I must die, not Galilee; the sanhedrim sits at Jerusalem, who alone can take cognizance of the case of false prophets, and Jerusalem is the place where the people must fill up the measure of their iniquities by spilling my blood. Upon this our Saviour breaketh out into a sad lamentation of the case of that once holy city, the praise of the whole earth.

The same day there came certain of the Pharisees,.... Who dwelt in Galilee, for they were in all parts of the country: these being nettled and filled with indignation at Christ, because of the parables he had that day delivered, the miracles he had wrought, and the several awful and striking things which dropped from him, and which they knew respected them; contrived to get rid of him, by frightening him with a design of Herod's, to take away his life, should he continue there: for this seems to be rather a stratagem of theirs, than of Herod's; though it may he, that Herod might take this method, and make use of these men in this way, to terrify him; fearing to lay hold on him, and put him to death; partly because of the people, and partly because of the remaining uneasiness and terror of his mind, for taking off the head of John the Baptist:

saying, get thee out and depart hence; in all haste, as soon as possible:

for Herod will kill thee: he is resolved upon it, he has formed a design, and will quickly take methods to execute it. This was Herod the tetrarch, of Galilee; from whence we learn, that Christ was as yet in Galilee, though he was journeying towards Jerusalem, Luke 13:22 for Herod's jurisdiction reached no further than Galilee: this was either a device of Herod's, or of the Pharisees, or of both, to get rid of Christ in the easiest manner.

{9} The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee.

(9) We must go forward in regards to our calling, through the midst of terrors, whether they be real or imagined.


Luke 13:31 ff. as far as Luke 13:33 peculiar to Luke from the source of his narrative of the journey.

According to Luke 17:11, the incident occurred in Galilee, with which Luke 9:51 ff. (see on the passage) is not inconsistent.

That the Pharisees did not merely give out on pretence their statement in reference to Antipas (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Maldonatus, and others, including Olshausen and Ebrard), but actually had instructions from him, because he himself wished to be rid of the dreaded miracle-worker (Luke 9:7; Luke 9:9) out of his dominions, is plain from τῇ ἀλώπεκι ταύτῃ, Luke 13:32, whereby is declared His penetration of the subtle cunning[167] of Herod (not of the Pharisees); in the contrary case, Jesus would have had no ground for characterizing him just as He did, and that too in the consciousness of His higher prophetic and regal dignity. But that Herod used even the enemies of Jesus for this purpose was not unwisely calculated, because he could rely upon them, since they also, on their part, must be glad to see Him removed out of their district, and because the cunning of the Pharisees for the execution of such like purposes was at all events better known to him than were the frequent exposures which they had experienced at the hands of Jesus. On the proverbial ἀλώπηξ, comp. Pind. Pyth. ii. 141; Plat. Pol. ii. p. 365 C; and thereupon, Stallbaum; Plut. Sol. 30. Comp. ἀλωπεκίζειν in Aristoph. Vesp. 1241; also κίναδος, Dem. 281. 22, 307. 23; Soph. Aj. 103.

[167] As a type of cunning and knavery, the epithet fox is so generally frequent, and this figure is here so appropriate, that it appears quite groundless for Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 315, to suppose that by the fox is meant the destroyer of the vineyard (comp. Song of Solomon 2:15). References to the Song of Songs are not in general to be discerned anywhere in the New Testament, comp. on John 3:29.

Luke 13:31-33. Warning against Herod by Pharisees, peculiar to Lk., but Mk. (Mark 3:6, Mark 8:15) has prepared us for combined action of court and religious coteries against Jesus similar to that against Amos (Luke 7:10-13), both alike eager to be rid of Him as endangering their power.

31-35. A Message to Herod Antipas.

. The same day] Or, In that very hour (א, A, D, L, &c.).

Get thee out
, and depart hence] These Pharisees were as eager as the Gadarenes to get rid of Jesus; but whether this was their sole motive or whether they further wished to separate Him from the multitudes who as yet protected His life, and to put Him in the power of the Sadducean hierarchy, is not clear. That any solicitude for His safety was purely hypocritical appears in the tone of our Lord’s answer, which is yet far more merciful than that in which the prophet Amos had answered a similar message from an analogous quarter. Amos 7:12-17.

for Herod will kill thee] Rather, wills to kill thee. The assertion was probably quite untrue. Herod had not even wished to kill John, but had done so with great reluctance, and had been deeply troubled in conscience ever since. He did indeed wish to see Christ, but it was with the very different desire of “seeing some miracle done by Him” (Luke 23:8).

Luke 13:31. Ἡρώδης, Herod) The Pharisees, in saying this, did not say what was decidedly untrue: for Herod did earn the appellation, fox; and Simonius suspects that he was so called by many. But Herod was wishing that this worker of miracles, whom he suspected to be John, should be removed as far as possible from him [For which reason he the more frequently drove Him from place to place: Matthew 4:12; Matthew 14:1, comparing Luke 13:13.—Harm., p. 407]: and the same object was the aim of the Pharisees: hence both conspired together against Jesus. Again, on the other hand, Herod does not seem in serious earnest to have wished to kill Jesus; for if he was struck with fear after having killed John, ch. Luke 9:7-8, he could not but have been struck with more violent fear had he killed Jesus; but he tried to agitate Jesus (by alarming Him, and to thrust Him out of his country, under the pretext of his territorial right (comp. Amos 7:12, [where Amaziah uses the same policy towards the prophet]), and by means of threats derived from that plea, which the Pharisees reported to Him, as if in the way of friendly admonition, not in Herod’s words, but in their own words, and perhaps with exaggerations of their own invention. Therefore Jesus replies to both in accordance with the real state of the case, not being terrified by anything (in any respect). He calls Herod a fox, employing an epithet accurately characterizing him, on account of his cunning and hypocritical cowardice (comp. ch. Luke 9:7), inasmuch as he was throwing out threats which were but a feint, and declaring that He is not to be deterred by those threats from the performing of miracles: but, at the same time, He upbraids the persons who announced the tidings of Herod’s threats, as also the whole of Jerusalem, with their ungrateful and blood-thirty spirit: Luke 13:33-34. Herod was a fox, a persecutor on a comparatively small scale, compared with Jerusalem, the great persecutor (‘persecutrix’).—θέλει σε ἀποκτεῖναι, wishes to kill Thee) being irritated perhaps with the act of Pilate, mentioned Luke 13:1.

Verses 31-35. - The message of Jesus to Herod Antipas, and the lament over the loved city of Jerusalem, the destined place of his own death. Verse 31. - The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying unto him, Get thee out, and depart hence: for Herod will kill thee. Very many of the older authorities read here, instead of "tile same day," "in that very hour." This incident connected with Herod Antipas, which is only related by St. Luke, not improbably was communicated to Luke and Paul by Manaen, who was intimately connected with that prince, and who was a prominent member of the primitive Church of Antioch in those days when Paul was beginning his work for the cause (see Acts 13:1). This curious message probably emanated from Herod and Herodias. The tetrarch was disturbed and uneasy at the Lord's continued presence in his dominions, and the crowds who thronged to hear the great Teacher occasioned the jealous and timorous prince grave disquietude. Herod shrank from laying hands on him, though, for the memory of the murdered friend of Jesus was a terrible one, we know, to the superstitious tetrarch, and he dreaded being forced into a repetition of the judicial murder of John the Baptist. It is likely enough that the enemies of the Lord were now anxious for him to go to Jerusalem and its neighbourhood, where he would be in the power of the Sadducean hierarchy, and away from the protection of the Galilaean multitudes, with whom his influence was still very great. The Pharisees, who as a party hated the Master, willingly entered into the design, and under the mask of a pretended friendship warned him of Herod's intentions. Luke 13:31Day

The best texts read hour.

Will kill (θέλει ἀποκτεῖναι)

As in so many cases the A. V. renders as the future of the verb to kill; whereas there are two distinct verbs; to will or determine, and to kill. The meaning is, Herod willeth or is determined to kill thee. Rev., would fain, seems rather feeble.

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