Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 14:11 - 14:11

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 14:11 - 14:11


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Ver. 9-11. Mark relates it more largely, in Mar_6:26-28, And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sake which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. The king was exceeding sorry; he could have wished she had asked something else: he was troubled; for we heard before, that although he feared not God, yet he feared the people. Yet for his oath’s sake; not out of any religion of his oath: Juramentum non petest esse vinculum iniquitatis. They must be sottishly ignorant, that think their calling God to witness that they will do a thing which God hath forbidden them to do, should oblige them in any measure to the doing of the thing. But for his oath’s sake, in point of honour, because his word was gone out, that he might not appear guilty of any temerity or levity; and for the sake of those that were with him, that he might not seem before them to vary from his word, or it may be, as well to gratify them as to gratify the damsel and her mother; he sends an executioner, who took off John the Baptist’s head, and gave it to the damsel in a charger, who carried it to her mother. What could be more unjust, and inhuman, and bloody? John was not tried, nor condemned. It was a great festival, and should not have been profaned or defiled with blood. These things were nothing, when an unsatiable malice was to be gratified. Herodias will have her husband and his guests see that John Baptist’s head in a charger was to her as pleasing a dish as any was at Herod’s great feast. Thus died this great man, to satisfy the malice and lust of a lewd and imperious woman; and to teach us what we must expect, it we will be faithful to the trust which God reposes in us.