(Mat 14:1 NASB) At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus,
(Mat 14:2 NASB) and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead; and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Mat 14:2: Herod was called “Herod the tetrarch.” This means he was a Governor. Herod was Governor over a fourth part of the region. There were several Herod’s in history. The name “Herod” actually speaks of a family. They are descendants of Herod the Great.
Herod was paranoid concerning the death of John the Baptist. Herod thought that this Yeshua was John the Baptist back from the dead. Possibly he felt that John was coming back from the dead to get him.
We now have a historic interlude while Matthew catches us up on what exactly happened to John and why.
(Mat 14:3 NASB) For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
(Mat 14:4 NASB) For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
(Mat 14:5 NASB) And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they regarded him as a prophet.
Mat 14:5: This brings up a couple of issues. Is John saying that Torah applies to all of Rome? John said it was “not lawful” for Herod to have sex with his sister-in-law. This is a sin in Torah (Lev. 18:16, 20:21). However, if John is saying that Rome must follow all of Torah then that would have to include the Sabbath, dietary law, etc…
Certainly John was upset at Herod because this violates Torah and Herod was doing it in a very public and humiliating manner. John would not have cared if Herod had only violated certain traffic laws or not paid all of his taxes. In that day, Roman Law included laws against adultery:
“Laws on Adultery: Despite the fact that law frowned upon adultery, many men and women resorted to adultery out of dissatisfaction from their own marriages. In 18 B.C., Caesar Augustus turned his attention to social problems in Rome. Extravagance and adultery were widespread. Augustus, hoping to elevate the morals, increases the numbers of the upper classes in Rome and the population of native Italians in Italy, enacted new laws. Those laws encouraged marriage, procreation, and established adultery as a crime. The laws against adultery made the offense a crime punishable by exile and confiscation of property. Fathers were permitted to kill daughters and their partners in adultery. Husbands could kill the partners under certain circumstances and were required to divorce adulterous wives.” Roman Family Law and Traditions
By: Lisa S. Morin
John was holding Herod responsible for his own immorality and lawlessness. If Herod did not quiet John, Herod could have been exiled from Rome and lost all his possessions. John was aware of this fact and was probably trying to get Herod to repent from his public wickedness. An unrepentant Herod had no choice by to imprison John in order to silence his objections.
(Mat 14:6 NASB) But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod.
(Mat 14:7 NASB) Thereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
(Mat 14:8 NASB) And having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
Mat 14:8: I do remember one Lutheran preacher that read this passage to the congregation. His face went beet red when he mentioned that he had no idea what kind of dance Herodius’ daughter danced. I don’t know either. But it must have been a doozy.
He made an oath to give her whatever she wanted. That was a mistake on Herod’s part. He underestimated the insanity and immorality of this girl.
(Mat 14:9 NASB) And although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.
Mat 14:9: It says Herod was grieved, but it said in verse 5 that Herod wanted John put to death. The book of Mark tells us that Herod used to enjoy listening to John (Mark 6:19-20).
(Mat 14:10 NASB) And he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
(Mat 14:11 NASB) And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl; and she brought it to her mother.
Mat 14:11: Herod was grieved over this. He did not want to kill John the Baptist. But Herod made this oath in front of dinner guests and he could not back away without losing face.
Herod had John beheaded. John’s head was brought to this horrible girl on a platter.
(Mat 14:12 NASB) And his disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus.
(Mat 14:13 NASB) Now when Jesus heard it, He withdrew from there in a boat, to a lonely place by Himself; and when the multitudes heard of this, they followed Him on foot from the cities.
Mat 14:13: John’s disciples buried John’s body. They then reported to Yeshua what had happened. Yeshua went off by Himself at this time. But the multitudes heard that Yeshua was around and they followed Him from the cities.
(Mat 14:14 NASB) And when He went ashore, He saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick.
(Mat 14:15 NASB) And when it was evening, the disciples came to Him, saying, “The place is desolate, and the time is already past; so send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves.”
Mat 14:15: Yeshua saw the great multitude and He had compassion on them. Yeshua was displaying His divine attributes through His graciousness and compassion (Ex. 33:19, Psalm 25:6-12). Throughout Scripture the Father displays compassion and lovingkindness in very tangible ways to His people. Yeshua is merely displaying the character of the Father.
(Mat 14:16 NASB) But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
(Mat 14:17 NASB) And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.”
(Mat 14:18 NASB) And He said, “Bring them here to Me.”
Mat 14:18: There are several things to look at here. First of all, there were seven items used to feed the people, which denote completeness. Also, the people were miraculously fed bread, along with fish, which is reminiscent of the people being miraculously fed with manna from heaven…
(Mat 14:19 NASB) And ordering the multitudes to recline on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes,
(Mat 14:20 NASB) and they all ate, and were satisfied. And they picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets.
Mat 14:20: He ordered the multitudes to recline. We are told that the people sat down according to Mark that they reclined according to groups of fifty and a hundred (Mark 6:38-40).
It says the people ate and were filled, or satisfied. This is once again a picture of the manna from heaven provided by Elohim. In that say, the people ate all that they needed.
(Mat 14:21 NASB) And there were about five thousand men who ate, aside from women and children.
Mat 14:21: It is difficult to say how many were fed, but it was probably at least 15,000 people.
(Mat 14:22 NASB) And immediately He made the disciples get into the boat, and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
(Mat 14:23 NASB) And after He had sent the multitudes away, He went up to the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.
Mat 14:23: He sent the disciples away in the boat. He then drove the multitudes away. He wanted to be alone to pray. Like Moses at Sinai, Yeshua went up onto the mountain to speak and pray to His Father.
(Mat 14:24 NASB) But the boat was already many stadia away from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary.
(Mat 14:25 NASB) And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.
Mat 14:25: A stadia is one-tenth of a nautical mile which is 6075 feet. The Sea of Galilee is known to have high waves when the winds kick up.
This was the fourth watch of the night. That means the time was between 3:00 AM and 6:00 AM. This would have been the darkest time of the night.
(Mat 14:26 NASB) And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were frightened, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.
Mat 14:26: There are several things to make note of here. With it being the darkest time of the night, how did they see Yeshua walking on the water? It is possible that the moon was full, but apparently a storm was brewing. They couldn’t have had much visibility at all.
Notice that when they saw Him, they were frightened. It is likely that when Yeshua came down from the mountain, He shined like Moses (Ex. 34:29-30).
(Mat 14:27 NASB) But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Mat 14:27: The message of Yeshua is the same one that comes from His Father as written in the Tanakh (Isa. 41:10-14).
(Mat 14:28 NASB) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.”
(Mat 14:29 NASB) And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
(Mat 14:30 NASB) But seeing the wind, he became afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”
Mat 14:30: Peter was a man of few words. Especially when he started drowning. This is probably the shortest prayer in Scripture.
(Mat 14:31 NASB) And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
(Mat 14:32 NASB) And when they got into the boat, the wind stopped.
(Mat 14:33 NASB) And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”
Mat 14:33: This whole incident is probably a fulfillment of prophecy (Psalm 107:22-32). This Psalm attributes the One who controls the wind and the waves with Elohim alone. Other passages in Scripture say this also (Psalm 65:5-7, 89:8-9).
The disciples knew Scripture. That is why they knew Yeshua was truly the Son of Elohim (v. 33)
(Mat 14:34 NASB) And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret.
Mat 14:34: They came to land at Gennesaret, which is just north of the Sea of Galilee.
(Mat 14:35 NASB) And when the men of that place recognized Him, they sent into all that surrounding district and brought to Him all who were sick;
(Mat 14:36 NASB) and they began to entreat Him that they might just touch the fringe of His cloak; and as many as touched it were cured.
Mat 14:36: Just like the woman with the issue of blood, as many as touched the fringe of His garment were healed. This is a testimony, once again, to Him being the Sun (light) of Righteousness spoken of by the prophet Malachi (Mal. 4:2). This passage speaks of the Sun (light) of Righteousness having healing on his wings (kanaph). The term “kanaph” refers to the place where tzitzit are to be worn on the edge of the garment of the Israelite (Numbers 15:37-38).
Patrick McGuireCopyright 2014 Patrick McGuire and Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly All rights reserved, no portion of this Lesson may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews. Beit Yeshua Torah Assembly Fort Smith, Arkansas