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sorry; nevertheless, for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him 10 at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent and beheaded
er to the king, but the bloody re dor does Matthew relate this most quest she made with apparent heart
atrocious action! No exclamation! iness would indicate that she was No exaggeration ! No invective! older in years and in wickedness. There is no allowance which even
9. The king was sorry. Tetrarchs the friend of Herod would have were sometimes called by this title. urged in extenuation of his guilt, According to Mark, he was that bis historian is not ready to ceeding sorry.” This might have make. “He was sorry; nevertheless, been occasioned by his respect for from a regard to his oath, and his John, Mark vi. 20, or the reproof of guests.'” a not wholly deadened conscience, 10. Sent and beheaded John. or his fear of a popular commotion. What a picture of the violence and His sorrow, however, was of no very cruelty of the age! A prophet of salutary kind, for it did not result in God, without accusation, or trial, repentance, or arrest the sinful deed. or sentence, or previous potice, is Few are so bad as not to be more slain in the prison to which the or less sorry for the commission of pique of a licentious woman and a wicked act, but yet they go on the injustice of her paramour had and consummate it.- Oath's sake. consigned him. No wonder the This was the first cause of the sub unquiet conscience of Herod sugsequent crime. Herod had been gested that the Great Wonderensnared into a rash promise which worker was the prisoner whom he he had sealed with an oath. The had beheaded, and who was now true way then open before him was risen from the dead, to do mighty to avoid doing wrong, even at the works.- Josephus, though not facost of breaking his promise. As vorable to Christianity, has inciit was wrong to make the promise, dentally given powerful confirmamuch more was it wrong to keep tions to the truth of its history. I it. No promise or oath could jus- will adduce two instances; one retify murder. But probably Herod lating to the character of Herodias, feared lest his hönor might be and the other to that of John. Jowounded, rather than that the sa- sephus says of Herodias, “She credness of an oath would be vio was a woman full of ambition and lated. Honor, falsely so called, has envy, having a mighty influence on led to many monstrous deeds. Herod, and able to persuade bim Thein which sat with him at meat. to things he was not at all inclined This was the second cause of the to do." And respecting John, that crime. His guests around rein o some of the Jews thought that the forced the request of Salome, or destruction of Herod's army [in the we may suppose that he felt a re war with Aretas] came from God, luctance to break his word in their and that very justly, as a punishpresence. It is probable that John ment of what he did against John was obnoxious to them, as well as that was called the Baptist ; for to Herod and Herodias, for he had Herod slew him, who was a good not spared sinners in high places. man, and commanded the Jews to “In how dispassionate a manner exercise virtue, both as to righteand with what uncommon can ousness towards one another and
John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and giv- 11 en to the damsel ; and she brought it to her mother. And his disci- 12 ples came and took up the body, and buried it; and went and told Jesus. -When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a 13 desert place apart; and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.
And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude; and was moved 14 piety towards God, and so come 13—21. Parallel to Mark vi. 31 to baptism."
–44. Luke ix. 10-17. John vi. 11. His head was brought, fc. 1–13. The narrative dropped at Mark informs us that Herod sent verse 3 is here resumed, after the an executioner immediately, who digression to relate the history of went and beheaded John in prison. John's death. If Herod was at this time at Tibe 13. Heard of it, i. e. not of the rias, the city in which his court was death of Johy, for that took place usually held, an interval of more long before, but that Herod had had than a day must have occurred be- report of him, verse 3.-Departfore the head was brought from ed thence by ship into a desert place Machærus, where John was im- apart, i. e. into a country comparaprisoned.-Brought it to her mother. tively uncultivated and uninhabited. What a gift from a daughter to From Luke we learn, that it was a mother! The head of one of near the city of Bethsaida, and God's greatest prophets! Herodias from John, that it was on the other had now an opportunity of gratify- side of the Sea of Galilee and being her resentment, and being as- yond the jurisdiction of Herod, sured that her enemy was dead. in the dominion of Philip. SeveBut this awful crime did not go ral reasons may be assigned for unpunished. As already mention- Jesus' withdrawal. He would not ed by Josephus, the army of Herod trust himself in the power of the was defeated by Aretas, whose fox-like Herod, who desired to see daughter he had divorced to take him. He had not yet completed Herodias. Both Herod and his his ministry, and he would not wife were afterwards deprived of rashly expose himself to danger, or their kingdom and banished into give the people an opportunity to Gaul, and afterwards to Spain, raise a tumult in his name and enwhere he died; while Salome, if we deavor to make him king.–Folmay credit Nicephorus, an early lowed him on foot. Or, as Mark writer, was killed during their exile has it,“ ran afoot.” This word is in attempting to cross a river on not used in contrast with riding, as the ice.
would at first appear, but in con12. Buried it. Or, as Mark says, trast with going by sea or ship. “ laid it in a tomb.” — Went and told Jesus sailed across the lake, whilst Jesus. As Jesus had been a friend the people went round by land to of their master, and they had pre- the place where he went ashore. viously been sent with messages to 14. Jesus went forth, &c. From him, they are naturally drawn to John's account we learn that Jehim by friendship and spiritual ties. sus had gone up into a mountain Probably some of them became his apart with his disciples, probably disciples.
for rest- and seclusion, and when
with compassion toward them, and he bealed their sick. And when it was evening, bis disciples came to him, saying: This is a
desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that 6 they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals. But Je7 sus said unto them: They need not depart; give ye them to eat. And 18 they say unto him: We have here but five loaves and two fishes. He 19 said: Bring them hither to me. And he commanded the multitude
to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves and the two fishes, and, looking up to heaven, he blessed ; and brake, and gave the loaves
he saw the people was sheep not ye them to eat;" though they had having a shepherd,” Mark vi. 34, but five loaves and two fishes. that he was immediately prompted 17. John vi. 8, 9. A lad in atto go forth, forgetful of his own fa- tendance had all the food in their tigue, to heal their sick, and preach possession ; and what was that the Gospel. For their teachers among so many? What were five were “blivd leaders of the blind," loaves and two fishes, to five thouand they needed some one to en- sand men, besides women and chillighten their ignorance, and guide dren? The loaves were made of them into ways of peace and pleas- barley, and the fishes were probably antness, into green pastures and by from the neighboring lake, which the side of still waters. The Good supplied the surrounding populaShepherd looked with pity upon tion. The bread used among the those thus wandering and lost. Jews was not baked in the form of
15. When it was evening. The our loaves, but rather in that of Jews had two evenings, one corres
cakes orbiscuits. Hence they ponding in some measure to our af- were never cut with a knife, but ternoon, beginning at three o'clock broken; see verse 19, and Mat. and ending at six ; the other an- xxvi. 26. swered to our evening or night, and
19. To sit down on the grass, began at six o'clock. This kind of i. e. to recline, after the eastern cusevening was spoken of in verse 23.- tom when about to partake of food. The time is now past, i. e. the hour The mention of the grass, and, by is late. It was near night; and the Mark, of “the green grass," and, by multitude, hungry and weary, re- John, that there was much grass in quired refreshinent, which the dis- the place,” is one of those natural ciples said they could procure in the particularities that mark an eyeneighboring villages.
witness of the scene, or one that 16. They need not depart, &c. received his account from an eyeJohn relates the conversation be- witness. The grass spoken of tween Jesus and Philip, in which shows that this was not a barren the Master put his disciple's faith to desert, but only an uncultivated rethe proof by asking him, “Whence gion, probably devoted to pasturage. shall we buy bread, that these may The other Evangelists state that eat ?" knowing himself that he they were seated in companies, by should work a miracle to satisfy fifties and hundreds, which enabled their wants. He would cultivate them to be easily counted.—Lookan implicit faith in his followers, ing up to heaven, he blessed. He and therefore says to them, “Give made a prayer of thanksgiving over
to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. And they did all 20 eat, and were filled; and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full. And they that had eaten were about five thou- 21 sand men, beside women and children.
the food about to be distributed ; a in number. Although there was a manifestation of the piety of Je- profusion of food miraculously cresus and his sense of dependence ated, yet the fragments were gathon God. He blessed God for the ered up with as much care as from food. The custom of grace before an ordinary meal, and a lesson of and after eating was universal frugality indirectly taught by him among the Jews. The form was whose most common acts were in these words : “ Blessed be thou, pregnant with meaning and truth. O Lord our God, the King of the Nothing could more strongly imworld, who hast produced this food press them with the sense of the from the earth, (or this drink from astonishing miracle than finding the vine).” The fact that Jesus that far more remained, after so often prayed is an evidence that many thousands had eaten, than he is not God, but the Son of there was at first. God.
21. Five thousand men, &c. Their 20. And they did all eat, and were arrangement in companies of fifties filled, i. e. they had a sufficiency, an and hundreds made it easy to count important consideration to substan- them. A miraculous increase of tiate the miracle.-Twelve baskets food is also related in 1 Kings xvii. full. The word in the original, co- 16, 2 Kings iv. 42—44, though in phini, is found in classic writers, much smaller quantity. It is interwhere it appears to signify a ham- esting to notice that Jesus adapted per or pannier, such as the Jews his miracles, as he did bis instrucwere accustome to carry about tions, to different classes of persons; with them in their wanderings in some to his disciples, and some, as Gentile countries, where they re- in this case, to a vast multitude. ceived but little hospitality and Few miracles could be less exposed were obliged to furnish their own to cavil than this, wbich addressed bedding and food, fearing also, per- not only the eye, but satisfied the haps, that they should be polluted appetite of thousands. What could by that of the Gentiles. Jesus had have been more morally sublime, or directed them to gather up the frag- a higher proof of divine authority, ments that remained, that nothing than the creation so suddenly of an might be lost, John vi. 12, 13; where immense quantity of food, to rethe fragments are spoken of as what lieve the famishing crowd? What remained of the five barley loaves, then shall we say of that Provibut in Mark, as resulting from the dence which supplies the wants of fishes also. The capacity of the a dependent universe, and every baskets is not known, probably moment diffuses life and happiness they were such as the disciples car- throughout millions of beings and ried with them in their journeys. worlds ? The effect of the miracle And it has been suggested that is described in John vi. 14, 15. each Apostle filled his basket with 22-36. Mark vi. 45–56. John the fragments, thus making twelve yi. 14-21.
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship,
and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes 23 away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a
mountain apart to pray. And when the evening was come, he was 24 there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed
22. Constrained his disciples, &c. God; the Holiest on earth adoring Perhaps the disciples favored the the Holiest in heaven. multitude in their desire to take Jesus and make him king, and Jesus
“ Cold mountains and the midnight air
Witnessed the fervor of his prayer." was obliged therefore to be peremptory in sending them away, as he What a beautiful example of trust could more easily dismiss the people and love towards God, of the obliwithout their presence. The other gations and pleasures of prayer and side, i.e. the west side of the lake, ac secret communion, is here offered to cording to Mark,“ unto Bethsaida,” our imitation! If, too, it was neceswhilst John says, they “ went over sary and delightful to Jesus to rethe sea, toward Capernaum.” Both fresh his spiritual being with these are correct, as another Bethsaida communings with Heaven, how was on the western side of the lake, much more is it needful for us, enwhilst they were near one on the veloped in the smoke and din of the eastern side. Capernaum was also earth! “ It is extraordinary, that on the north-west side.-Sent the these frequent accounts of Jesus' multitudes away. It would seem praying to God should not have that he had acquired such complete prevented any idea of his being ascendancy over the people, that he himself God. For, if he had been could dismiss them without difficul- God, he could not have had any octy when freed from the perhaps em casion to pray. That bis human barrassing presence of his ambitious nature prayed to his divine nature, disciples.
or that one part of himself prayed 23. Went up into a mountain apart to the other part, is too absurd to be to pray. An eminence that probably replied to.”—The evening was come. overlooked the lake. He had just This is the second evening, as that given a manifestation of his benev- mentioned in verse 15 was the first, olence by feeding the fainting mul- according to the Jewish method of titude; he now exbibits his piety computing time. He there by communing with God; so inti- alone, yet not alone, for the Father mate is the union between love to was with him. man and love to his Maker. It is noticeable, that he retires apart to
“He was there alone'- when even
Had round earth its mantle thrown; pray, agreeably to his direction of
Holding intercourse with Heaven. seclusion in performing this act, Mat. vi. 6. He retires to a moun
" There his inmost heart's emotion tain, 66 where inviolate stillness
Made he to his Father known ; dwelt,” and where the spirit of In the spirit of devotion, the solitude fell solemnly”.
Musing there' alone.' the
upon breast. He had just passed through 6 So let us, from earth retiring, a critical passage of his life, and he
Seek our God and Father's throne ;
And to other scenes aspiring, turns to offer his thanksgivings to
. He was there alone.'
Train our hearts' alone.'»