Matthew 14:12
And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
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(12) His disciples came.—Among those who thus transferred their allegiance to their true Lord were, we must believe, the two whom John had sent to Him from his prison. From this time they probably ceased in Judæa to be a distinct community, though, as the instances of Apollos (Acts 18:25) and the disciples at Ephesus (Acts 19:3) show, they still maintained a separate existence in the more distant regions to which the influence of the Baptist had indirectly penetrated.

Matthew 14:12. And his disciples came and took up the body — Which it seems had been thrown over the prison walls, without burial, probably by order of Herodias. And buried it — Laid it, says Mark, doubtless with great reverence and due lamentation, in a tomb, belonging to some of them who were willing to pay this last act of duty to their master’s memory. And went and told Jesus — What had happened; and, remembering the repeated testimony which John had borne to him, probably continued their attendance upon him.

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.And his disciples ... - The head was with Herodias.

The body, with pious care, they buried.

And went and told Jesus - This was done, probably, for the following reasons:

1. It was an important event, and one particularly connected with the work of Jesus. John was his forerunner, and it was important that he should be made acquainted with his death.

2. It is not unreasonable to suppose that in their affliction they came to him for consolation; nor is it improper in our affliction to follow their example, and go and tell Jesus.

3. Their master had been slain by a cruel king. Jesus was engaged in the same cause, and they probably supposed that he was in danger. They therefore came to warn him of it, and he Matthew 14:13 sought a place of safety.

Mt 14:12-21. Hearing of the Baptist's Death, Jesus Crosses the Lake with Twelve, and Miraculously Feeds Five Thousand. ( = Mr 6:30-44; Lu 9:10-17; Joh 6:1-14).

For the exposition of this section—one of the very few where all the four Evangelists run parallel—see on [1302]Mr 6:30-44.

The disciples of John, in testimony of their respect to their master, and of their owning of his doctrine, and grateful remembrance of him, hearing what Herod had done, came and took up John’s body, and buried it in a tomb, and they soon after went and acquainted our Saviour with what had happened; which was the cause of our Saviour’s withdrawing to a place where he might be less taken notice of, as we shall hear.

And his disciples came,.... To the prison where his body was left, and to which they had liberty of recourse before; see Matthew 11:2 and very probably, upon hearing what was done, might apply to Herod, as Joseph of Arimathea did to Pilate, for the body of Jesus; who might, as he did, give them leave to take it: and

took up the body and buried it. Theophylact says, his body was buried in Baste Caesarea, and that his head was first reposited in Emesesa. This was the last office of love to their master, and was done in respect and gratitude to him, and to show that they still abode by his doctrine; and was what decency and the belief of the resurrection of the dead, as well as the will of God, require should be done:

and went and told Jesus; that their master was dead, what kind of death he suffered, and by what means it was brought about; and how that they had interred him; and what Herod also had said of Jesus, that he was John risen from the dead. Their coming to Christ, and informing him of all this, show, that they were taught by their master to respect him as the Messiah, and believe in him, and adhere to him; and it is very likely that they continued with him.

And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
Matthew 14:12. πτῶμα: carcase, used absolutely in this sense only in late writers. Earlier writers would say πτῶμα νεκροῦ. Lobeck, Phryn., 375.

12. his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it] There is in this some proof of forbearance, if not of kindness, on Herod’s part. He did not persecute John’s disciples, or prevent them paying the last offices to their master.

Matthew 14:12. Τὸ σῶμα, his body) without the head.—ἐλθόντες, κ.τ.λ., coming, etc.) From that circumstance the death of John was advantageous to his disciples.[667]—ἀπήγγειλαν, announced) It is not said with what manifestation of feeling Jesus received this announcement; doubtless He received it as it befitted the Lord.

[667] That is, the death of their master was the means of leading them to Jesus—the greatest of all blessings.—ED.

Verse 12. - And his disciples came. "And when his disciples heard thereof, they came" (Mark). Perhaps they were not permitted to be so much with him as at an earlier period in his imprisonment (Matthew 11:2). But if the murder was in the evening, as would appear probable from the circumstances of it, they would naturally not be in the castle at the time. And took up the body; the corpse (Revised Version, τὸ πτῶμα). And buried it; him, (Revised Version, αὐτόν). It is right in Mark, but St. Matthew has preserved the more popular form of expression. And (Revised Version adds they) went and told Jesus. Matthew only. In Mark (Mark 6:30; cf. also Luke 9:10) this expression dearly belongs to the next paragraph, and is predicated of the twelve apostles on their return from their mission (Mark 6:7-12; our Matthew 10:5). It looks as though some confusion had arisen in the source before St. Matthew used it. As the words stand here they show the kindly feelings which both John and his disciples felt towards our Lord Matthew 14:12
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