Luke 3:19
But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,
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(19-20) But Herod the tetrarch.—See Notes on Matthew 14:3-5. St. Luke’s anticipation of the close of the Baptist’s history supplies a curious instance of an arrangement which was obviously deliberate. It seemed to him better to complete the account of the Baptist’s ministry here than to bring in the account of the imprisonment as an episode later on. It coincides in part with St. John’s arrangement (John 3:24).

For all the evils which Herod had done.—The marriage with Herodias is conspicuous as the Tetrarch’s one great crime; but the sensual, crafty character of the man, with his fox-like nature (Luke 13:32), must have made any preaching of “righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” as much a personal rebuke to him as it was to Felix (Acts 24:25), and caused him also to tremble.

3:15-20 John the Baptist disowned being himself the Christ, but confirmed the people in their expectations of the long-promised Messiah. He could only exhort them to repent, and assure them of forgiveness upon repentance; but he could not work repentance in them, nor confer remission on them. Thus highly does it become us to speak of Christ, and thus humbly of ourselves. John can do no more than baptize with water, in token that they ought to purify and cleanse themselves; but Christ can, and will baptize with the Holy Ghost; he can give the Spirit, to cleanse and purify the heart, not only as water washes off the dirt on the outside, but as fire clears out the dross that is within, and melts down the metal, that it may be cast into a new mould. John was an affectionate preacher; he was beseeching; he pressed things home upon his hearers. He was a practical preacher; quickening them to their duty, and directing them in it. He was a popular preacher; he addressed the people, according to their capacity. He was an evangelical preacher. In all his exhortations, he directed people to Christ. When we press duty upon people, we must direct them to Christ, both for righteousness and strength. He was a copious preacher; he shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. But a full stop was put to John's preaching when he was in the midst of his usefulness. Herod being reproved by him for many evils, shut up John in prison. Those who injure the faithful servants of God, add still greater guilt to their other sins.See the notes at Matthew 14:1-13. "Added this above all." To all his former crimes he added this; not implying that this was the "worst" of his acts, but that this was "one" of his deeds, of like character as the others. The event here mentioned did not take place until some time after this, but it is mentioned here to show what was the end of John's preaching, or to "fill out" the account concerning him. 19, 20. But Herod, &c.—See on [1558]Mr 6:14, &c. (Also see on [1559]Mt 3:12.)

and for all the evils which Herod had done—important fact here only mentioned, showing how thoroughgoing was the fidelity of the Baptist to his royal hearer, and how strong must have been the workings of conscience in that slave of passion when, notwithstanding such plainness, he "did many things and heard John gladly" (Mr 6:20, 26).

Ver. 19,20. These two verses sufficiently confirm to us, that we are not to expect to find the several passages in the Gospel concerning John the Baptist set down according to the order of time in which they happened, for the evangelist sets down the imprisonment of John before the baptism of Christ, mentioned in the two next verses, which we know could not be as to the order of time, our Saviour being baptized by John. John was in so great repute, that Herod himself heard him, did many things, and heard him gladly, Mark 6:20. But John was a faithful preacher, and could not but reprove him for his wicked courses, particularly for his incestuous taking of his brother Philip’s wife; for he was alive when he took her, if it be true which historians tell us, that John was imprisoned in the sixteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, and Philip died not till the twentieth; however, his brother leaving issue, (for we read Herodias had a daughter, Matthew 14:1-36), it was unlawful for him to have married her, especially to turn away his own wife to take her. Matthew reports this history more fully, in Matthew 14:3,4, &c.: See Poole on "Matthew 14:3", See Poole on "Matthew 14:4". It is said, that Herod added yet this above all, that is, above all his former or other wickedness, that he shut up John in prison. This spake him incorrigible in his wicked courses, resisting the remedy, or means to reduce him. A hypocrite may hear the word, and do many things; but he hath always some particular lust, as to which he must be spared, being neither willing to part with it, nor able to bear any reproof for it.

But Herod the tetrarch being reproved by him,.... By John, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions add:

for Herodias his brother Philip's wife; for taking her to wife, whilst his brother Philip was living. The account, which the Jewish chronologer (x) gives, of this Herod, and of this fact of his, and John's reproving him for it, and the consequence of it, perfectly agrees with this of the evangelist.

"Herod Antipater, and there are some that call him, "the tetrarch", was a son of Herod the first, and brother of Archelaus'; and he was the third king of the family of Herod; and he was very wicked, and a destroying man: many of the wise men of Israel he slew with the sword; and he took the wife of his brother Philip, whilst he was alive, to himself for wife; and John, the high priest, because "he reproved him" for this, he slew him with the sword, with many of the wise men of Israel.''

And John reproved him not only for this sin, but others:

and for all the evils which Herod had done; his revellings, debaucheries, murders, &c. all which John, in great faithfulness, and with much freedom, told him and rebuked him for: for Herod had had a particular respect for him, and often had him with him, and heard him gladly, when John had an opportunity of speaking personally to him.

(x) Ganz. Tzemach David, par, 1. fol. 25. 2.

{4} But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him for Herodias his brother Philip's wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,

(4) John's preaching is confirmed with his death.

Luke 3:19. Ἡρώδης: the tetrarch named in Luke 3:1.—περὶ πάντων, implying that John’s rebuke was not confined to the sin with Herodias. Probably not, but it was what John said on that score that cost him his head.

19. But Herod the tetrarch] The incident which follows is here introduced by anticipation, that the subsequent narrative may not be disturbed. It should be compared with the fuller notice in Mark 6:17-20; Matthew 14:3-5. From these passages we learn that John had reproved Antipas for many crimes, and that Antipas was so convinced of his holiness and justice as habitually to listen to him with pleasure (ἡδέως αὐτοῦ ἤκουεν), and after paying earnest heed to him was greatly at a loss about him. We learn further that he resisted the constant urgency of Herodias to put him to death.

being reproved] The reproof was of course based on Leviticus 18:16; Leviticus 20:21, and was perfectly uncompromising (Matthew 14:4). In this respect the dauntless courage of John, under circumstances of far greater peril, contrasts most favourably with the timid and disgraceful concessions of the Reformers in the matter of the marriage of Philip of Hesse.

his brother Philip’s] The two first words are omitted by some of the best uncials, and “Philip’s” by nearly all of them. On this Herod Philip—who was not the tetrarch of that name—see on Luke 3:1.

Luke 3:19. [Ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ, being reproved by him) Although it was a considerable time after when Herod consigned John to prison: yet for convenience the fact is recorded here. In fact it is implied that John spake the truth to Herod no less, than to the people and to the publicans and soldiers.—Harm., p. 145].—καὶ περὶ πάντων, and concerning all) It is not a full discharge of a minister’s duty for him to reprove sinners, even though they be kings, for merely one fault.

Luke 3:19Being reproved (ἐλεγχόμενος)

See on James 2:9.

Evils (πονηρῶν)

Of several words in the New Testament denoting evil, this emphasizes evil in its activity. Hence Satan is ὁ πονηρός, the evil one. An evil eye (Mark 7:22) is a mischief-working eye. See on Mark 7:22.

Added (προσέθηκεν)

Used by Luke twice as often as in all the rest of the New Testament. A very common medical word, used of the application of remedies to the body, as our apply, administer. So Hippocrates, "apply wet sponges to the head;" and Galen, "apply a decoction of acorns," etc.

In prison

See on Matthew 14:3.

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