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Matthew 14:1-12

Context
The Death of John the Baptist

14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch 1  heard reports about Jesus, 14:2 and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead! And because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” 14:3 For Herod had arrested John, bound him, 2  and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 14:4 because John had repeatedly told 3  him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 4  14:5 Although 5  Herod 6  wanted to kill John, 7  he feared the crowd because they accepted John as a prophet. 14:6 But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, 14:7 so much that he promised with an oath 8  to give her whatever she asked. 14:8 Instructed by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” 14:9 Although it grieved the king, 9  because of his oath and the dinner guests he commanded it to be given. 14:10 So 10  he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. 14:11 His 11  head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 14:12 Then John’s 12  disciples came and took the body and buried it and went and told Jesus.

1 sn A tetrarch, a ruler with rank and authority lower than a king, ruled only with the approval of the Roman authorities. This was roughly equivalent to being governor of a region. Several times in the NT, Herod, tetrarch of Galilee, is called a king (Matt 14:9, Mark 6:14-29), reflecting popular usage rather than an official title.

2 tc ‡ Most witnesses (א2 C D L W Z Θ 0106 Ë1,13 33 Ï lat) read αὐτόν (auton, “him”) here as a way of clarifying the direct object; various important witnesses lack the word, however (א* B 700 pc ff1 h q). The original wording most likely lacked it, but it has been included here due to English style. NA27 includes the word in brackets, indicating reservations about its authenticity.

3 tn The imperfect tense verb is here rendered with an iterative force.

4 sn This marriage of Herod to his brother Philip’s wife was a violation of OT law (Lev 18:16; 20:21). In addition, both Herod Antipas and Herodias had each left marriages to enter into this union.

5 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.

6 tn Grk “he”; the referent (Herod) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Grk “him” (also in the following phrase, Grk “accepted him”); in both cases the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

8 tn The Greek text reads here ὁμολογέω (Jomologew); though normally translated “acknowledge, confess,” BDAG (708 s.v. 1) lists “assure, promise with an oath” for certain contexts such as here.

9 tn Grk “and being grieved, the king commanded.”

sn Herod was technically not a king, but this reflects popular usage. See the note on tetrarch in 14:1.

10 tn Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “so” to indicate the implied result of previous action(s) in the narrative.

11 tn Grk “And his”; the referent (John the Baptist) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

12 tn Grk “his”; the referent (John) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Here καί (kai) has been translated as “Then.”



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