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Death of John the Baptist. Herod desires to see Christ®.
MATT. xiv. 1-12. MARK Vi. 14-29. LUKE ix. 7, 8, 9.

And at that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame On a pro

Matt, xiv. 1.

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Luke ix. 7.

gress, pro

bably in Galilee.


Mark vi. 15.


and he was perplexed, because that it was said by some,
that John the Baptist was risen from the dead:

And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others,

that one of the old prophets was risen again.

Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, This is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.

But when Herod heard thereof, he said,

Matt.xiv.2. unto his servants,

Luke ix. 9.

John have I beheaded: but who is this of whom I hear
such things?

Matt. xiv. 2. This is the Baptist :


Mark vi. 16. It is John, whom I beheaded; he is risen from the dead. he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

Luke ix. 9.

Mark vi. 17.


And he desired to see him.

For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon
John, and bound him




Mark vi. 17. in prison, for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife:




for he had married her.

For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.

Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but could not.

For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man, and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

6 The death of John the Baptist is placed about this time, by the most eminent chronologers. It cannot fail to strike the most unobservant, that at the moment in which the last prophet of the former dispensation was doomed to perish, the Messiah, the common God of the two dispensations, gave to the new description of prophets, whom he now appointed and sent forth for the first time, the authority and powers of the teachers of the Jewish Church. Christ is the golden chain that binds the one universal Church. The Baptist preaches till Christ was manifested. The Baptist was preserved in life till the kingdom of the Messiah was in some degree established. The time had now arrived, when a new dispensation, with a new priesthood, should commence; and the last instructor of the people, under the old dispensation, was now permitted to suffer, in order that undivided attention might be given to the long expected king of the house of David.


Mat. xiv. 5.


And when he would have put him to death, he feared On a prothe multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But

Mark vi.21. when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birth-day made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee:


And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced

Matt. xiv. 6. before them,

Mark vi. 22. and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.



And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me Matt.xiv. 8. here,



Mark vi.25. by and by in a charger, the head of John the Baptist. And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat

Matt.xiv.9. at meat,

Mark vi. 26. with him, he would not reject her.

27. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and
commanded his head to be brought: and he went and be-
headed him in the prison.


And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel

Mat.xiv.11. brought it

Mark vi. 28. and gave it to her mother.



And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took
his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

Mat.xiv.12, and went and told Jesus.

MATT. xiv. part of ver. 2, 3. ver. 4. part of ver. 6. ver. 7. part of
ver. 8, 9. ver. 10. and part of ver. 11, 12.

2 And said-John-he is risen from the dead; and therefore
mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.

3 For Herod bad laid hold on John, and bound him-in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.

4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have


6 when Herod's birth-day was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced-and pleased Herod.

7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.

8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me-John Baptist's head in a charger.

9 And the king was torry: nevertheless, for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him-he commanded it to be given her. 10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.

11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she-to her mother.

gress, probably in Galilee.

12 And his disciples came and took up the body, and buried On a proit

LUKE ix. part of ver. 7. 9.

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard

gress, probably in Galilee.

9 and Herod said


The Twelve return, and Jesus retires with them to the

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Desert of

When Jesus heard of it,

Mark vi. 30. the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus,
Luke ix. 10. when they were returned,

Mark vi.30. and told him all things, both what they had done, and
what they had taught.



John vi. 1.

And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while for there were many coming and going; and they had no leisure so much as

to eat.


After these things

Luke ix. 10. he took them and went aside privately

Mark vi. 32.

John vi. 1.

And they departed-by ship privately.

Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of

Mark vi. 32. into a desert place,

Luke ix. 10. belonging to the city called Bethsaida.

Mark vi. 33.

And the people saw them departing, and many knew him,

Mat.xiv.13. and when the people had heard thereof, they

Mark vi. 33. ran afoot thither out of all cities, and came together unto him.


And Jesus when he came out saw much people, and was moved with compassion towards them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd:

Luke ix. 11. and he received them, and spake unto them of the king

dom of God,

Mark vi. 34. and he began to teach them many things,
Luke ix. 11. and healed them that had need of healing.

John vi. 2.

And a great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles which he did on them that were diseased.

MATT. XIV. part of ver. 13. and ver. 14.

13 he departed thence by ship into a desert place apartfollowed him on foot out of the cities.

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14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their-sick. LUKE ix. part of ver. 10, 11.

10 And the apostles-told him all that they had done. Andinto a desert place

11 And the people, when they knew it, followed him

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time of the Passover. John vi. 3.

And Jesus went up into a mountain, and there he sat on the way with his disciples.

7 Many of the circumstances in this miracle demonstrate the peculiar wisdom with which, as I have so often shewn, our Lord uniformly acted, and are worthy of our attention.

Christ here first shewed that his power was superior to that of Elisha, who fed a hundred men with bread of the first fruits, twenty small barley loaves, and some ears of corn in the husk thereof, 2 Kings iv. 42, 43. The Rabbis make these loaves twenty-two; the loaf of the first fruits being one, and the ears of corn being equivalent to another loaf, and they suppose that two thousand two hundred men were fed by them; each hundred having their single loaf set before them,

Our Lord therefore proved his power כל הר וחך קמי מאה איש.

to be superior to that of Elisha; for he fed one thousand men
with one loaf: and, that there might be no appearance of de-
ception nor collusion, he made the whole number sit down in
companies, (w in ranks, or in divisions, as trees in a
vineyard,) by fifties, and by hundreds, that the whole number
might be accurately and universally ascertained. The accounts
of this miracle were published by St. Matthew and St. Mark,
while the greater portion of the persons who had been par-
takers of the miracle were living. ́None contradicted, or de-
nied, or explained away, the account.

It is scarcely possible to imagine a more wonderful proof of
the creative power of Christ, than was displayed in this mi-
racle. The loaves were of the small kind, common in the
country. The fishes were, in all probability, also of that sort
which were called by the Jews, which is interpreted by
the gloss small fishes (a). Nonnus (b) calls them two fishes from
the adjacent lake broiled, or roasted, (or dried in the sun.)

—καὶ ἀγγιπόρου διδυμάονος ἰχθύας άλμης,
Ιχθύας ὀπταλεους διδυμάονας, &C.

This small supply of provision was perceived to multiply and
grow, either in the hands of the Apostles as they were minis-
tering then to the people, or in the hands of the people them-
selves, who, in all probability, saw the small fragments of
bread or fish with which they had been presented visibly, in-
crease while they held them in their hands; till the hunger of
each was fully satisfied; and sufficient was still left for others
who might come after them. It was this immediate and actual
proof of the presence of a Creator, which compelled the excla-
mation of the multitude, that their expeeted Messiah was come.
Witsius has a curious remark on the gradation of Christ's
miracles. His first miracle provided for a family the customary
provision for a festival, not indeed absolutely necessary, yet
much to be desired, when the mode of prolonging and cele-
brating the marriage ceremonies among the Jews, is taken into
consideration. He then satisfied the hunger of thousands, by
multiplying their bread and a few small fishes. He proceeded
to the curing of the sick. He healed one who had been diseased
twelve years, Mark v. 25. another eighteen, Luke xiii. 11. an-
other thirty-eight years, John v. 5. another from childhood,

to Jerusalem.

John vi. 4.

And the Passover, a feast of the Jews was nigh.


On the way

5. When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great to Jerusacompany come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence lem. shall we buy bread, that these may eat?



Mark vi. 35.

And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do.

Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little.

And when the day was now far Luke ix. 12. twelve

spent, his

Mark vi. 35. disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desart place, and now the time is far passed:


Send them

Luke ix. 12. the multitude


Mark vi. 36. that they may go into the

Luke ix. 12. towns and

Mark vi. 36. country round about, and into the villages,

Luke ix. 12. and lodge,

Mark vi. 36. and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.
Mark vi. 37. He answered, and said unto them,

Mat. xiv. 16. They need not depart:

Mark vi. 37. Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go, and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread", and give them to eat?


John vi. 8.



John vi. 10.

He saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go
and see.
And when they knew, they say, five and two


One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother,
saith unto him,

There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and
two small fishes: but what are they among so many?
And he said, Bring them hither to me.

And Jesus said,

Lukeix. 14. to his disciples,

John vi. 10. Make the men sit down,

Luke ix. 14. by fifties in a company,

Matt. ix. 21. another from his birth, John ix. 1. The pro-
gressive order which our Lord observed when he demonstrated
his power of raising the dead, in their various stages of cor-
ruption and decay, I have considered in another part of these
notes (c).

(a) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 60. 2. and Sanhedrim, fol. 49. 1. ap Gill in
John vi. 9. (b) 8vo. edit. p. 65. (c) Meletem. Leidens. Dissert. de
Miraculis Jesu, sect. vii. p. 242.

8 Two hundred pence was the sum fixed upon for a virgin's dowry; for the portion to be paid by a husband to a woman who was divorced; for the fine of the lesser modes of assault, and of various offences. The expression therefore was used proverbially, to denote a large sum of money. See the references in Gill on Mark vi. in loc.

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