Mark 6:26
And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
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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.For Herod feared John - That is, he stood in awe of him on account of his sanctity, and his boldness and fearlessness in reproving sin.

Knowing that he was a just man and an Holy - A holy, pious, upright, honest man - a man who would not be afraid of him, or afraid to speak his real sentiments.

And observed him - Margin, "kept him, or saved him." This does not mean that he "observed" or obeyed his teachings, but that he kept him in safe custody in order to preserve him from the machinations of Herodias. He was willing to show his respect for John, and to secure him from danger, and even to do "many things" which might indicate respect for him - at least, to do so much as to guard him from his enemies.

And did many things - But he did not do the thing which was demanded of him - to break off from his sins. He attempted to make a compromise with his conscience. He still loved his sins, and did "other" things which he supposed might be accepted in the place of putting away, as he ought, the wife of his brother - the polluted and adulterous woman with whom he lived. Perhaps he treated John kindly, or spoke well of him, or aided him in his wants, and attempted in this way to silence his rebukes and destroy his faithfulness. This was probably before John was imprisoned. So sinners often treat ministers kindly, and do much to make them comfortable, and hear them gladly, while they are still unwilling to do the thing which is demanded of them - to repent and believe the gospel. They expect that their kind attentions will be accepted in the place of what God demands - repentance and the forsaking of their sins.

26. And the king was exceeding sorry—With his feelings regarding John, and the truths which so told upon his conscience from that preacher's lips, and after so often and carefully saving him from his paramour's rage, it must have been very galling to find himself at length entrapped by his own rash folly.

yet for his oath's sake—See how men of no principle, but troublesome conscience, will stick at breaking a rash oath, while yielding to the commission of the worst crimes!

and for their sakes which sat with him—under the influence of that false shame, which could not brook being thought to be troubled with religious or moral scruples. To how many has this proved a fatal snare!

he would not reject her.

See Poole on "Mark 6:14" And the king was exceeding sorry,.... See Gill on Matthew 14:9.

yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him; as Matthew adds, "at meat", Matthew 14:9; for it seems as if supper was not over, when all this was transacting.

He would not reject her; deny her her request, or send her away without granting it which could not be without grieving her, and treating her with contempt, and defrauding her of the promise; all which ideas are expressed by some versions.

And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
Mark 6:26. περίλυπος γενόμενος: a concessive clause, καίπερ understood = and the king, though exceedingly sorry, yet, etc.—ὅρκους: there might be more oaths than one (vide on Matthew), but the plural was sometimes used for a single oath. Schanz cites instances from Aeschylus and Xenophon.—ἀθετῆσαι α., to slight her, by treating the oath and promise as a joke; a late word, used, in reference to persons, in the sense of breaking faith with (here only). Kypke renders the word here: “noluit fidem illi datam fallere,” citing instances from Diod., Polyb., and Sept[53] [53]Septuagint.26. exceeding sorry] The Greek word thus translated is very strong, and denotes very great grief and sorrow. It is used of (1) the rich young ruler, “when he heard this, he was very sorrowful,” Luke 18:23; (2) of our Lord Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death,” Matthew 26:38; Mark 14:34.Verse 26. - And the king was exceeding sorry. We cannot suppose that this was a pretended grief. The true reason is doubtless to be found in the relentless animosity of Herodias. Herod must have known well that he could not be bound by his oath in reference to a petition so unreasonable and so iniquitous. Nevertheless he thought that "the words of a king were law." St. Augustine says, "The girl dances; the mother rages. A rash oath is made amidst the excitement and the voluptuous indulgence of the feast; and the savage desires of Herodias are fulfilled." For the sake of his oaths (διὰ τοὺς ὅρκους); the plural shows that he repeated the rash promise once and again. Exceeding sorry

Where Matthew has sorry.

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