Wesley's Notes on the Bible
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
14:1 At that time - When our Lord had spent about a year in his public ministry. Tetrarch - King of a fourth part of his father's dominions. Mark 6:14.
And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
14:2 He is risen from the dead - Herod was a Sadducee: and the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead. But Sadduceeism staggers when conscience awakes.
For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
14:3 His brother Philip's wife - Who was still alive. Mark 6:17.
For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
14:4 It is not lawful for thee to have her - It was not lawful indeed for either of them to have her. For her father Aristobulus was their own brother. John's words were rough, like his raiment. He would not break the force of truth by using soft words, even to a king.
And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
14:5 He would have put him to death - ln his fit of passion; but he was then restrained by fear of the multitude; and afterward by the reverence he bore him.
But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
14:6 The daughter of Herodias - Afterward infamous for a life suitable to this beginning.
Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.
14:8 Being before instructed by her mother - Both as to the matter and manner of her petition: She said, Give me here - Fearing if he had time to consider, he would not do it: John the Baptist's head in a charger - A large dish or bowl.
And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.
14:9 And the king was sorry - Knowing that John was a good man. Yet for the oath's sake - So he murdered an innocent man from mere tenderness of conscience.
And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
14:10 And he sent and beheaded John in the prison, and his head was given to the damsel - How mysterious is the providence, which left the life of so holy a man in such infamous hands! which permitted it to be sacrificed to the malice of an abandoned harlot, the petulancy of a vain girl, and the rashness of a foolish, perhaps drunken prince, who made a prophet's head the reward of a dance! But we are sure the Almighty will repay his servants in another world for what ever they suffer in this.
And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
14:13 Jesus withdrew into a desert place - To avoid Herod: Because of the multitude pressing upon him, Mark 6:32: and To talk with his disciples, newly returned from their progress, Luke 9:10: apart - From all but his disciples. John 6:1.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.
14:15 The time is now past - The usual meal time. Mark 6:35; Luke 9:12.
But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.
And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.
He said, Bring them hither to me.
And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.
And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.
And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
14:22 He constrained his disciples - Who were unwilling to leave him. Mark 6:45; John 6:15.
And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
14:24 In the evening - Learned men say the Jews reckoned two evenings; the first beginning at three in the afternoon, the second, at sunset. If so, the latter is meant here.
And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
14:25 The fourth watch - The Jews (as well as the Romans) usually divided the night into four watches, of three hours each. The first watch began at six, the second at nine, the third at twelve, the fourth at three in the morning. If it be thou - It is the same as, Since it is thou. The particle if frequently bears this meaning, both in ours and in all languages. So it means, John 13:14,17. St. Peter was in no doubt, or he would not have quitted the ship.
And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
14:30 He was afraid - Though he had been used to the sea, and was a skilful swimmer. But so it frequently is. When grace begins to act, the natural courage and strength are withdrawn.
And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.
Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.
14:33 Thou art the Son of God - They mean, the Messiah.
And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;
14:35 Mark 6:45.
And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.