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Commentary » Matthew 14:1-Matthew 14:12 »

Herod Antipas’ False Assumption

The great attorney, orator, and statesman Daniel Webster was such an imposing figure in court that he once stared a witness out of  the courtroom. Apparently Webster knew the man was there to deliver false testimony, so he fixed his “dark, beetle-bowed” eyes on the … More


It seems likely that this event took place after the mission of the disciples (Mk. 6:7). The multiplication of Jesus influence through His disciples caused Herod to get upset. When Herod heard about Jesus and His miraculous powers, he was sure that John the Baptist had risen from the dead (vv. 1-2). This was Herod Antipas who ruled  over a fourth of Palestine. His father, Herod the great was the one who had ordered the Bethlehem babies killed (Matt. 2:16).

Herod Antipas was living with Herodias, his sister-in-law, the wife of his half brother Philip so this was an immoral relationship (v. 3). Boldly John the Baptist warned Herod and called him to repent (v. 4). Instead of listening to God’s servant and obeying God’s Word, Herod arrested John and imprisoned him in the fortress of Makers (now called Massada) on a mountain about four miles east of the Dead Sea which was where one of Herod’s palaces was located (v. 5). He would have executed John, but he was afraid a riot would break out because of John’s popularity.

When Herod’s birthday was celebrated, Herodias, one of the most wicked and perverse women mentioned in Scripture plotted to have her teen-age daughter perform a lewd dance before her stepfather (vv. 6-11). The king, who was thought to be in a drunken stupor, promised with an oath to give her whatever she wanted. Following her mother’s request, John the Baptist’s head was brought to her on a platter. The followers of John took his body and buried it but did not tell Jesus until later (v. 12). Later, hearing about the marvelous work of Jesus, Herod was sure John had been raised from the dead.


Can I think of a time in my life when I have given in to peer pressure and did something I knew I should not do? If found in the same situation again what would I do?

Matthew 14:1-12 (English Standard Version)

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus, and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him." For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because John had been saying to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her." And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people, because they held him to be a prophet. But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod, so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter." And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came and took the body and buried it, and they went and told Jesus.

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