Luke 3:20
Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
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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. 20. Added yet, &c.—(Also see on [1560]Mt 3:12). See Poole on "Luke 3:19"

Added yet this above all,.... This sin to all other sins, and which was of a more flagitious nature; and attended with more aggravating circumstances, especially in the issue of it:

that he shut up John in prison; in the castle of Machaerus, by the instigation of Herodias; See Gill on Matthew 14:3.

Added yet this above all, that he shut up John in prison.
Luke 3:20. ἐπὶ πᾶσι, added this also to all his misdeeds, and above all the crowning iniquity, and yet Lk. forbears to mention the damning sin of Herod, the beheading of the Baptist, contenting himself with noting the imprisonment. He either assumes knowledge of the horrid tale, or shrinks from it as too gruesome.—κατέκλεισε: instead of the infinitive; the paratactic style savours of Hebrew, and suggests a Hebrew source (Godet).

20. added yet this above all] The Jews as well as St Luke regarded the treatment of the Baptist by Antipas as the worst of his crimes, and the cause of his subsequent defeat and disgrace (Jos. Antt. xviii. 5.1–4).

in prison] This prison, as we learn from Josephus (Antt. xviii. 5, § 2), was the stern and gloomy fortress of Makor or Machaerus, on the borders of Arabia to the north of the Dead Sea. It is situated among black basaltic rocks and was believed to be haunted by evil demons. Its ruins have been visited in recent years by Canon Tristram (Land of Moab, p. 259) and other travellers, and dungeons are still visible of which one may have witnessed the great Prophet’s tragic end.

Luke 3:20. Προσέθηκε, added) Persecution is an additional aggravation of sins. [By it in fact the full measure of one’s sins is filled up, when salutary warnings are despised or are repaid by absolutely evil deeds against the monitor.—V. g.]—κατέκλεισε, he shut up) This is mentioned here before the baptism of Christ; and therefore seems to have reproved Herod at the first possible opportunity. Afterwards follows immediately the uninterrupted history of Jesus Christ.

Verse 20. - He shut up John in prison. It did not enter into St. Luke's plan to write any detailed account of the circumstances which led to the death of the Baptist. The story (related at length by St. Matthew) was, no doubt, well known in all the Gentile Churches. He simply mentions the act which consigned the dauntless preacher to the dungeons of Herod's palace-fortress, close to the Dead Sea; it was termed Macha, or Machaerus. In closing his little sketch of the work of his Master's great pioneer, St. Luke wishes to show that the fearless Baptist was no respecter of persons. The despised collector of Roman tribute, the rough free lance or mercenary, the nameless legionary of Rome, was attacked for his evil life and his wanton excesses, with no greater hardihood than the prince who sat on the throne of the mighty Herods. True servant of his brave and patient Master, he paid the penalty of his splendid courage and, "like so many of earth's great ones, he passed through pain and agony to his rest." Luke 3:20
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