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Herod the tetrarch ; this was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great who slew the children at Bethlehem. Chap Matthew 2:16 . Tetrarch means the ruler of a fourth part, and was applied to him because he governed a part of his father’s kingdom.
Not lawful ; Herodias was the wife of Philip, Herod’s brother, by whom she had a daughter named Salome. Herod had put away his own wife, the daughter of Aretas king of Arabia Petraea, and had taken Herodias, though her husband was still living.
Feared the multitude ; he was afraid, should he put John to death, that they would rebel, and make him trouble; he therefore did not kill him, but put him in prison. Men are often disposed to commit crimes, from which they are restrained only by the fear of man, and other selfish considerations. This shows that their hearts are worse than their lives, and that they fear man more than God.
Seasons of feasting and revelry are seasons of great danger; and when attended with dancing and profaneness, render persons peculiarly liable to be overcome by temptation, and to fall under the power of the destroyer.
Instructed ; her mother had told her what to ask.
Charger ; a large dish or platter. Continuance in known sin blunts, and finally obliterates the delicate perceptions, the tender sensibilities, and all the finer emotions of the human heart. It renders not only men, but women also, monsters of iniquity.
Sorry ; he knew it was wrong, and was afraid it would make him trouble.
Them which sat with him ; he was more afraid of them than of God. No oath can lay a man under obligations to do wrong. It is a sin to take such an oath, and it is an additional sin to fulfil it. The wicked, while they often lay claim to great courage, and sometimes show what in some respects resembles it, are at heart great cowards. They are afraid even of being called cowards by those whose praise would be a blot; and to avoid it, they will commit murder, and expose themselves to the endless wrath of God.
Indulgence in one sin opens the way for and strongly tempts to the commission of others; and when men begin a course of iniquity, none but God knows where they will stop.
Evening ; the Jews reckoned two evenings, one of which commenced about three o’clock in the afternoon, and is the one here referred to; the other commenced about six o’clock, and is referred to in verse Matthew 14:23 .
Blessed ; he praised the Lord for that provision, and asked him to bless them in the reception of it. Those who labor to save the souls of men should, as they have opportunity and ability, supply the wants of their bodies; and while they help men to the bread which perishes, it may prepare them to receive that which endureth unto everlasting life.
Did all eat-were filled ; besides the immediate act of mercy in feeding a vast multitude in the wilderness, this miracle was intended to have a deep symbolic meaning. By it Christ exhibited himself as "the bread of life." See the use which the Lord himself makes of it. John 6:27-58 .
Habitual communion with God, and daily retirement for this purpose, is essential to holiness of character, and to great usefulness among men. It is also a safeguard against temptation, and a good preparation for the best discharge of duty.
Fourth watch ; the Jews had four watches, or periods of the night. The first watch was from six to nine o’clock; the second, from nine to twelve; the third, from twelve to three; and the fourth, from three to six in the morning.
It is a spirit ; they thought it was a spirit or ghost, supposing that for a man with a real body to walk on the water was impossible.
We must not be impatient, or needlessly expose ourselves to danger, even to be with Christ. If we do, he will show us that we lack faith; and that, had he not done better for us than we did for ourselves, we should have perished.
He walked ; upheld by the divine power of Jesus Christ.
It is when our thoughts are turned away from Christ to the dangers around us, that we lose our courage.
Doubt ; why didst thou doubt my power to continue to support thee?
The ship with the disciples in it, tossed all night by the waves, and detained by contrary winds, is an apt emblem of the church of Christ in the dark days of reproach and persecution. But the Saviour has his eye ever upon her, and when he comes to her help in the morning, her course will be calm and prosperous.
Son of God ; this was a public acknowledgment of him as the Messiah.
Gennesaret ; on the north-west side of the sea of Galilee.
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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 14". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26