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John Baptizing  in Judea

Imprisonment of John the Baptist


For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison
for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
Luke 3:19










Early Summer of 27

14:3-5 6:17-20 3:19-20 Not in this book




Quotes & Notes on:    Luke 3:19  

  • John Wesley's Notes:
     His brother Philip's wife-Who was still alive. Mr 6:17.

  • Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:

    * Herod. Mt 4:12; Mr 6:17; Lu 3:19,20; Joh 3:23,24
    * Herodias'.
    This infamous woman was the daughter of Aristobulus and
    Bernice, and granddaughter of Herod the Great.

    * his. Lu 13:1
    * Philip's.
    Herod Philip, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne.

  • Adam Clarke's Commentary:

      For Herodias' sake] This infamous woman was the daughter of Aristobulus and Bernice, and grand-daughter of Herod the Great. Her first marriage was with Herod Philip, her uncle, by whom she had Salome: some time after, she left her husband, and lived publicly with Herod Antipas, her brother-in-law, who had been before married to the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia Petraea. As soon as Aretas understood that Herod had determined to put away his daughter, he prepared to make war on him: the two armies met, and that of Herod was cut to pieces by the Arabians; and this, Josephus says, was supposed to be a judgment of God on him for the murder of John the Baptist. See the account in Josephus, Antiq. lib. xviii. c. 7.

  • Family Bible Notes:

     (No comment on this verse)

  • 1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
    (No comment on this verse)

  • People's New Testament Commentary:

      For Herod had laid hold on John. This arrest of John the Baptist had taken place a year previous, shortly before our Lord's second visit to Galilee (Mt 4:12; Mr 1:14), the events of which are given by John (Joh 4:43-54). The prison was the castle of Machaerus. See PNTC for Mt 11:2.

    Herodias' sake. Antipas had been, while at Rome, the guest of his brother Herod Philip. Here he became entangled by the snares of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; and he repaid the hospitality he had received by carrying her off. He had himself long been married to the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia. This Herodias was the granddaughter of "Herod the King," and, hence, the niece of both her lawful husband and of Herod Antipas, who now had her.

  • Robertson's Word Pictures:
    For the sake of Herodias (dia Hridiada). The death of John had taken place some time before. The Greek aorists here (edsen, apetheto) are not used for past perfects. The Greek aorist simply narrates the event without drawing distinctions in past time. This Herodias was the unlawful wife of Herod Antipas. She was herself a descendant of Herod the Great and had married Herod Philip of Rome, not Philip the Tetrarch. She had divorced him in order to marry Herod Antipas after he had divorced his wife, the daughter of Aretas King of Arabia. It was a nasty mess equal to any of our modern divorces. Her first husband was still alive and marriage with a sister-in-law was forbidden to Jews (Le 18:16). Because of her Herod Antipas had put John in the prison at Machaerus. The bare fact has been mentioned in Mt 4:12 without the name of the place. See Mt 11:2 also for the discouragement of John en ti desmtrii (place of bondage), here en ti phulaki (the guard-house). Josephus (Ant. xviii. 5.2) tells us that Machaerus is the name of the prison. On a high hill an impregnable fortress had been built. Tristram (Land of Moab) says that there are now remains of "two dungeons, one of them deep and its sides scarcely broken in" with "small holes still visible in the masonry where staples of wood and iron had once been fixed. One of these must surely have been the prison-house of John the Baptist." "On this high ridge Herod the Great built an extensive and beautiful palace" (Broadus). "The windows commanded a wide and grand prospect, including the Dead Sea, the course of the Jordan, and Jerusalem" (Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus).

  • Albert Barnes' Commentary:

     For Herod had laid hold on John, etc. See Mr 6:17-20 Lu 3:19,20. This Herodias was a grand-daughter of Herod the Great. She was first married to Herod Philip, by whom she had a daughter, Salome, probably the one that danced and pleased Herod. Josephus says that this marriage of Herod Antipas with Herodias took place while he was on a journey to Rome. He stopped at his brother's; fell in love with his wife; agreed to put away his own wife, the daughter of Arteas, king of Petraea; and Herodias agreed to leave her own husband, and live with him. They were living, therefore, in adultery; and John in faithfulness, though at the risk of his life, had reproved them for their crimes. Herod was guilty of two crimes in this act:

    (1) of adultery, as she was the wife of another man;

    (2) of incest, as she was a near relation, and such marriages were expressly forbidden, Le 18:16.


  • Jamieson-Faussett Brown:

    (No comment on this verse)

  • Spurgeon Commentary:

    Of course it was not lawful for him to take to himself his brother Philip's wife while Philip was yet living, and while his own wife was living also. While he was the guest of Philip at home, he became ensnared by Herodias;  and the guilty pair, who in addition to their being already wedded, were by birth too near of kin for lawful marriage, came back to Galilee as if they were man and wife. It was bravely spoken of the Baptist when he bluntly said, "It is not lawful for thee to have her"; but the sentence cost him dear.  Herod Antipas could bear to do the deed, but he could not bear to be told that he had committed an unlawful act. John did not mince matters, or leave the question alone. What was a king to him if that king dared to trample on the law of God? He spoke out pointedly, and Herod knew that he did so. Herod laid, hold on John, because John's word had laid hold on Herod.  The power of evil love comes out in the words, "for Herodias sake." This fierce woman would brook no rebuke of her licentiousness. She was a very Jezebel in her pride and cruelty; and Herod was as a puppet in her hands.

  • William Burkitt's Notes:

    Observe here, 1. The person that put the holy baptist to death: It was Herod, it was Herod the king, it was Herod that invited John to preach at court, and heard him gladly.

    1. It was Herod Antipas, son to that Herod, who sought Christ's life, chap. 11. cruelty runs in the blood, Herod the murderer of John, who was the forerunner of Christ, descended from that Herod who would have murdered Christ himself.

    2. It was Herod the king. Sad! that princes who should always be nursing fathers to, should at any time be the bloody butchers of, the prophets of God.

    3. It was Herod that heard John gladly; John took the ear and the heart of Herod, and Herod binds the hands and feet of John. O how inconstant is a carnal heart to good resolutions; the word has oft-time an awakening influence, where it doth not leave an abiding impression upon the minds of men.

    Observe, 2. The cause of the baptist's death; it was for telling a king of his crime. Herod cut off that head whose tongue was so bold as to tell him of his faults. The persecutions which the prophets of God fall under, is usually for telling great men of their sins: men in power are impatient of reproof, and imagine their authority gives them a license to transgress.

    Observe, 3. The plain-dealing of the baptist, in reproving Herod for his crime, which, in one act, was adultery, incest, and violence.

    Adultery, that he took another's wife; incest, that he took his brother's wife; violence, that he took her in spite of her husband.

    Therefore John does not mince the matter, and say, it is not the crown and sceptre of Herod that could daunt the faithful messenger of God. There ought to meet in God's ministers, both courage and impartiality.

    Courage, in fearing no faces; impartiality in sparing no sins. For none are so great, but they are under the authority and command of the law of God.

  • Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary:

    (No comment on this verse)

  • The Fourfold Gospel:

    Some thought that Elijah might have returned, as the Scripture declared, or that Jesus might be a prophet just like the great prophets of old. Matthew (Mt 14:1,2) by introducing what follows with the word "for," gives us the reason why Herod clung to this singular opinion of Jesus, He did so because this opinion was begotten in the morbid musings of a conscience stained with the blood of John.





  • Time Frame

    • John's ministry began in January of 27

    • John's arrest took place in April of 27, soon after Jesus began his public ministry

    • Execution of John the Baptist is in Matthew 14:6-12 and Mark 6:21-29, probably 1 year later

  • Two Reasons for His Arrest 

    1. Herod's Fear of Possible Revolution

      • This is Herod Antipas

        • Son of Herod the Great of the infancy stories

        • Ruler of Galilee and Perea

        • Roman governers ruled Judea;  Herod ruled Galilee

        • Jesus appeared before him and remained silent (Luke 23:7-11) prior to his crucifixion

      • John was at the center of a massive, fervent religious movement.

      • John had a large following of disciples, who continued as a separate movement from Christians long after the death of John

      • Herod, like his predecessors and other tyrants, customarily attempted to destroy any possible opposition movements

    2. Herodias' Anger at John 

      • John had rebuked the relationship between Herod and Herodias, probably in a personal conversation with Herod who is thought to have sought John's sanction on the relationship

      • Leviticus 18:15 and 20:21 forbade their relationship (2 living brothers sharing a wife)

      • (Note that Josephus named Antipas as the brother of Herod and Philip as his half brother who was married to Herodias' daughter, Salome).




Updated:   Wednesday, March 06, 2013 at 03:52 AM



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