The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire BibleMatthew 14:4
For John said unto him…
John having heard of this
incestuous marriage, went to Herod, and reproved him to his face for
it; and, as Luke says, "for all the evils he had done", (Luke 3:19) for
he was a very wicked man, and guilty of many flagitious crimes:
John, in so doing, showed his zeal for holiness, his hatred of sin,
his courage and faithfulness in reproving thus freely so great a
man; and made it manifest, that he came in the spirit of Elijah:
what he said to him was,
it is not lawful for thee to have her,
being forbidden, (Leviticus 18:16)
for though by another law it was right to marry a brother's wife,
after his decease, when he left no issue, yet this was not the case
here; Philip was now living, and, had he been dead, such a marriage
would have been unlawful, because there was issue; she had a
daughter, who afterwards is said to dance before Herod; and besides,
he himself had another wife, whom he put away; so that his sin was a
very aggravated and complicated one: lying with a brother's wife,
was one of those sins which, according to the Jewish F8 canons,
deserved cutting off, or death by the hand of God. Josephus F9
gives another reason of the imprisonment and death of John, that
Herod feared that the people of the Jews, through his means, would be
moved to sedition, and revolt from his government; which might be
what Herodias suggested to him, or what he gave out himself, to cover
the true cause of his proceedings: but the true reason is, what is
here given, and is to be confirmed by the testimony of Jewish
writers. One of their chronologers F11 delivers the account in these
``Herod Antipater was a very wicked and pernicious man, many
of the wise men of Israel he slew with the sword; and he
took to wife, his brother Philip's wife, whilst he was
living; and because John the high priest (for so through
mistake they call him) (hz le wxykwh) "reproved him for
this"; (see (Luke 3:19) ) he slew him with the sword, with
many of the wise men of Israel.''
And, says their historian F12,
``also he, Herod, slew John, because he said unto him, it is
forbidden thee to take the wife of Philip, and he slew
him; this is that John that practised baptism.''
F8 Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 1.
F9 Antiqu. lsss. 18. c. 6.
F11 Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 2.
F12 Joseph. Gorionides, 1. 5. c. 45.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 14:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/geb/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=014&verse=004>. 1999.