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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. (Mk 6:14).
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.
3: His brother Philip's wife - Who was still alive.(Mk 6:17).
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.
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.
6: The daughter of Herodias - Afterward infamous for a life
suitable to this beginning.
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.
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.
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.
13: Jesus withdrew into a desert place -
- To avoid Herod:
- Because of the multitude pressing upon him, (Mk 6:32): and
- To talk with his disciples, newly returned from their progress,(Lu 9:10):
apart - From all but his disciples.(Joh 6:1).
15: The time is now past - The usual meal time.(Mk 6:35,Lu 9:12).
22: He constrained his disciples - Who were unwilling to leave him.(Mk 6:45,Joh 6:15).
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.
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, (Joh 13:14,17). St. Peter was in no doubt, or he would
not have quitted the ship.
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.
33: Thou art the Son of God - They mean, the Messiah.
35: (Mk 6:45).