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Verses 17-26

Mark 6:17-26. For Herod had laid hold on John, &c. See the note on Matthew 14:3-7. Herodias had a quarrel against him This princess was the granddaughter of Herod the Great, by his son Aristobulus, and had formerly been married to her uncle Philip, the son of her grandfather, by Mariamne, and brother to Herod the tetrarch. Some time after that marriage this Herod, happening in his way to Rome to lodge at his brother’s house, fell passionately in love with Herodias, and on his return made offers to her; which she accepted, deserting her husband, who was only a private person, that she might share with the tetrarch in the honours of a crown. On the other hand, he, to make way for her, divorced his wife, the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia. Wherefore both parties being guilty of incest as well as adultery, they were reproved by the Baptist, with a courage highly becoming the messenger of God. For though he had experienced the advantage of the tetrarch’s friendship, he was not afraid to displease him when his duty required it. This freedom Herod resented to such a degree, that he laid his monitor in irons. But if Herod’s resentment of the liberty which John took with him was great, that of Herodias was much greater. The crime she was guilty of being odious, she could not bear to have it named, and far less reproved. She was, therefore, enraged to the highest pitch, and nothing less than the Baptist’s head would satisfy her: and ever since he had offended her, she had been plotting against his life, but had not yet been able to get her purpose accomplished. For Herod feared John Great and powerful as the king was, he stood in awe of John, though in low life, and for a while durst not attempt any thing against him; knowing that he was a just man and holy Such force has virtue sometimes upon the minds of the highest offenders! And observed him Or rather, preserved, or protected him, (as συνετηρει , it seems, should rather be rendered) namely, against all the malice and contrivances of Herodias. And when he heard him Probably sending for him occasionally; he did many things Recommended by him; and heard him gladly Delusive pleasure, while he continued in the practice of known sin! Thus it often happens that they who do not truly fear God and turn to him, will go certain lengths in obedience to his commandments, provided something be remitted to them by way of indulgence. But when they are more straitly pressed, throwing off the yoke, they not only become obstinate but furious, which shows us, that no man has any reason to be satisfied with his conduct because he obeys many of the divine laws, unless he has learned to subject himself to God in every respect, and without exception. When a convenient day was come Convenient for her purpose; that Herod made a supper for his lords, high captains, and chief estates Greek, τοις χιλιαρχοις και τοις πρωτοις , the tribunes (or commanders of one thousand men each) and principal men of Galilee: that is, to the great men of the court, the army, and the province. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced See notes on Matthew 14:6-12. For his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her Herod’s honour was like the conscience of the chief priests, Matthew 27:6. To shed innocent blood wounded neither the one nor the other!

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