Matthew 14:1-21

Sunday, March 5th, 2017





The destiny of the King includes the narrative about Jesus (13:54 - 17:27), the meaning and greatness of forgiveness (18:1-35), and the concluding statement, (1) And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan. (2) And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there (19:1-2).


The narrative about Jesus began with His last visit to Nazareth (13:54-58); and we continue in this message with His hearing of the murder of John the Baptist (14:1-14) and His feeding of the five thousand (14:15-21).

We see that –





Matthew 14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus.


At that time suggests then.


Herod the tetrarch is Herod (Antipas), the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea.


He was the son of Herod I, the Great.


Heard of the fame of Jesus is heard the report about Jesus.


Matthew 14:2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.


Herod assumed that John the Baptist had been raised from the dead and was performing these miracles.


And said unto his servants is and he (i.e. Herod Antipas) said to his slaves (or attendants).


What he said is, This (i.e. a reference to Jesus) is John the Baptist. Of course, Jesus is not John the Baptist; but Herod did not yet know this.


He is risen from the dead is He was raised from (or He has been raised from) the dead, and it has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.


And therefore is and because of this or and on account of this, which suggests because he has been raised from the dead.


Mighty works do shew forth themselves in him is the powers that do (or these powers that do) mighty works are working in him.




Matthew 14:3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.


For introduces an explanation of what led to Herod’s statement in verse 3.


Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison is Herod seized (or arrested) John and tied him and put (him) in prison. It has been translated in a way which emphasizes the result of its action.


For Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife is because of Herodias, the wife of Philip, his brother.


Matthew 14:4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.


For John said unto him (i.e. to Herod Antipas) suggests because John was saying to him, was asserting to him, was declaring to him, kept saying to him, kept asserting to him, or kept declaring to him.


What he was saying is, It is not lawful for thee (i.e. it is not right for you, it is not permitted for you, or it is not proper for you) to have her (i.e. to have Herodias).


The use of thee (i.e. you singular), which refers to Herod, indicates that John said this directly to Herod.


According to Mark 6:18 , Herod had actually married Herodias.


Matthew 14:5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.


According to verse 5, Herod wanted to execute John but was concerned about the people’s reaction inasmuch as they believed that John was a prophet.


And when he (i.e. Herod) would have put him (i.e. would have put John the Baptist) to death has been translated as showing time. It might instead suggest although he was wanting to kill him.


He (i.e. Herod) feared the multitude is he feared the crowd.


They (i.e. the people in the crowd) counted him as a prophet is they were considering (i.e. were looking on or were viewing) John the Baptist as a prophet.


Matthew 14:6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.


But introduces a statement in mild contrast to he feared the multitude.


When Herod’s birthday was kept suggests while Herod’s birthday celebration was being observed.


Again, Herod is Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea.


The daughter of Herodias is the daughter of Herod Philip and Herodias; but Herodias was now married to Herod Philip’s brother, Herod Antipas.


According to Josephus, although she is not named in the gospels, her name was Salome.


Danced before them danced in their midst.


And pleased Herod indicates that Herod liked what she had done.


Matthew 14:7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.


As a result of Herod’s liking what he saw, he rashly promised to give Herodias’ daughter whatever she wanted without realizing what her request would be.


Whereupon suggests for which reason or therefore.


He (i.e. Herod) promised with an oath to give her [i.e. to give to Herodias’ daughter] whatsoever she would ask, i.e. to give her whatever she might ask for.


According to Mark 6:23 , Herod promised to give her whatever she would ask up to half of his kingdom.


Matthew 14:8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.


And she . . . said introduces Salome’s response to Herod’s commitment.


Being before instructed of her mother is understood in the sense of because she had been pushed forward (or prompted) by her mother.


Herodias instructed her daughter to say, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger, literally give to me on a platter the head of John the Baptist.


A charger is a (relatively flat large) dish or a platter.


Matthew 14:9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.


Although Herod regretted his promise to Herodias’ daughter, to keep his oath and to save face before those who heard his oath, he ordered John’s beheading.


And the king [i.e. Herod] was sorry suggests and the king was grieved (i.e. became distressed, became sad, or became sorrowful).


Nevertheless introduces a statement in mild contrast to the request from Herodias’ daughter.


For the oath’s sake and them which sat with him at meat is because of the oath and (because of) those who were eating with (him) when he swore to Herodias’ daughter that he would give her whatever she might ask.


He [i.e. Herod] commanded it [i.e. He commanded (or ordered) John the Baptist’s head] to be given her [i.e. to be given to Herodias’ daughter].


So, to save face before his guests, Herod ordered John’s execution.


Matthew 14:10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.


In verse 10 Herod’s order was carried out.


And he sent and beheaded John. According to Mark 6:27 Herod sent an executioner who cut off the head of John the Baptist.


In the prison indicates where the execution of John took place.


Matthew 14:11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.


And his [i.e. John the Baptist’s] head was brought in a charger is His head was brought on a platter (or dish).


And given to the damsel suggests and was given to the girl (or maiden), i.e. to the daughter of Herodias.


And she brought it to her mother indicates that Herodias’ daughter brought the platter to Herodias with John’s head on it.


Matthew 14:12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.


And his disciples refers to John the Baptist’s followers.


Came implies that John’s disciples came from wherever they were to the prison where John had been executed.


And took up the body and buried it suggests that they carried away (or removed) John’s body and buried it.


And went (or came) to wherever Jesus was and told Jesus, i.e. they announced to Jesus or reported to Jesus what had happened to John.


One cannot help but remember that John the Baptist said of Jesus, He must increase, but I (must) decrease (John 3:30 ).


Now, don’t feel too sorry for John the Baptist. This was God’s way of removing him from the scene. His ministry of introducing the Messiah was complete; so, God took him home to heaven.




Matthew 14:13 When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.


After receiving the report about John, Jesus left where He was by boat. He went alone to a desert place and was eventually followed by people who came on foot from the cities.


When Jesus heard of it is simply Jesus having heard about it.


He departed thence is He withdrew from there.


By ship may mean either by boat or in a boat.


A ship is a rather small fishing vessel used on the Sea of Galilee.


Into a desert place apart suggests into an isolated (i.e. unfrequented, abandoned, empty, or desolate) place by Himself.


And when the people had heard thereof suggests after the people heard (or learned) of it and means that they had learned about the desolate place where Jesus would be found.


Followed him indicates that the people followed Jesus to wherever He was. It suggests that the people went after Him.


On foot suggests that they walked on land in contrast to His going by boat.


From the cities indicates that people went from the various cities where they lived to wherever Jesus was. There is no way of knowing which cities were involved.


Matthew 14:14 And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.


And Jesus went forth and Jesus went out (or disembarked) from the boat.


And saw a great multitude is and saw a large crowd.


And was moved with compassion toward them is and had sympathy toward them or felt pity for them.


And he healed their sick indicates that Jesus healed the sum total of this multitude’s sick people.

Next, we see –





Matthew 14:15 And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.


And when it was evening is literally evening having come or after evening had come.


Evening refers to the period between late afternoon and darkness.


His disciples came to him means that Jesus’ disciples approached Him.


Saying introduces what Jesus’ disciples were saying to Him, which takes up the rest of this verse.


This is a desert place suggests this place (or this location) is isolated (i.e. unfrequented, abandoned, empty, or desolate). Basically, there was nothing there.


And the time is now past suggests and the hour has already passed, which implies that the hour is already late.


Send the multitude away suggests send the crowds (or the people) away.


That they may go into the villages and buy themselves victuals is so that they may go into the small towns and may purchase food for themselves.




Matthew 14:16 But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.


But introduces a statement in mild contrast to the suggestion the disciples made to Jesus in verse 15.


Jesus said unto them is Jesus said to them (i.e. to His disciples).


They need not depart suggests they do not need to go away.


They refers to the people who had followed Jesus to this desolate place. Remember that this not a small crowd.


Give ye them to eat is you give, where ye is emphatic and refers to the disciples.


Them refers to people who had followed Jesus.


The reader should supply something or food with to eat so that it is understood as give them (something) to eat or give them (food) to eat.


Although they searched for food to give the crowd –



Matthew 14:17 And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.


And (or but) they (i.e. Jesus’ disciples) say unto him is they were saying (or they were repeatedly saying) to Jesus.


We have here but five loaves, and two fishes suggests, We only have here five loaves and two fish.


Loaves are breads or loaves of bread.


According to John 6:9 , Andrew reported that these all belonged to a young boy,


John 6:9 There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?


And, it was undoubtedly a miracle that the little boy had not already eaten his lunch!





Matthew 14:18 He said, Bring them hither to me.


He said is Jesus said; and what He said is, Bring them hither to me, i.e. bring them (i.e. the five loaves and two fish) here to Me.


Matthew 14:19 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 to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.


And he (i.e. Jesus) commanded the multitude (i.e. commanded the crowd or the people) to sit down on the grass, i.e. to lie down (or recline) on the grass in preparation for eating a meal.


And took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven he blessed means that Jesus gave thanks for them.


And brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude indicates how Jesus distributed the pieces of bread to the crowd.




Matthew 14:20 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.


After the crowd finished eating and everyone was satisfied, the leftovers consisted of twelve baskets filled with fragments.


And they did all eat is and all ate.


And were filled suggests that they all had enough to eat. No one went away hungry.


And they took up suggests they carried away or they removed.


They is not identified, but presumably it was the disciples who had distributed the bread to the crowd.


The fragments that remained is the remainder (or what was left over) of the fragments.


Twelve baskets full speaks of a dozen baskets which were probably large and heavy. The leftovers were far more than the original five loaves and two fish in the little boy’s lunch.




Matthew 14:21 And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.


And they that had eaten is and the ones eating or the ones who were eating.


Were about five thousand men gives an approximate number of persons who ate from the little boy’s lunch.


Men refers to adult males.


Beside women and children suggests in addition to women and children. It indicates that the crowd was even larger than five thousand, but it does not give any indication of how many women or children would have been present. It may not have been a large number of women and children.



There is a lesson here. If we give all that we have of our lives and possessions to Jesus, you will be amazed at what He is able to do with them.