Matthew 14:10

10 and had John beheaded in the prison.

Read Matthew 14:10 Using Other Translations

And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
He sent and had John beheaded in the prison,
So John was beheaded in the prison,

What does Matthew 14:10 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Matthew 14:10

And he sent
"An executioner", as in ( Mark 6:27 ) where the Latin word "speculator", or as it is sometimes written "spiculator", is used; and is the name of an officer concerned in executions, and particularly in beheading of persons; and so is used by Latin writers.

``In a civil war (says F24 Seneca), a servant hid his master that was proscribed; and when he had fitted his rings for himself, and put on his clothes, he met "speculatoribus", the "speculators"; he told them he desired nothing, but that they would perform their orders, and immediately stretched out his neck.''

And the same writer elsewhere F25 speaks of a soldier that was condemned by Piso, on suspicion of murdering his fellow soldier;

``Who was had without the camp, and as soon as he stretched out his neck, he, who was thought to be killed, suddenly appeared; upon which the centurion that had the management of the execution, ordered "speculatorem", the "speculator", to put up his sword, and returned the condemned person to Piso.''

The word is also used by the Jewish doctors, and in the same sense: take the following instance among many F26.

``R. Ishmael said to R. Simeon ben Gamaliel (when they were both apprehended, in order to be executed), brother, there was a man ready to receive his blow, and they entreated (rwjlqpoal) , "the speculator": one said, I am a priest, the son of an high priest, slay me first, that I may not see the death of my companion; and the other said to him, I am a prince, the son of a prince, slay me first, that I may not see the death of my companion: he replied unto them, cast lots; and they cast lots, and the lot fell on R. Simeon ben Gamaliel; immediately he took a sword, "and cut off his head".''

And as this word is often used by them F1 for an executioner, so (alwqpo) , "specula" is often made mention of by them F2, as a sort of punishment by death: and such an officer was sent by Herod, to inflict this punishment upon John; who accordingly executed it,

and beheaded John in the prison;
that is, of Machoeras, where he lay, without giving him a hearing, or allowing him to speak for himself, or with his friends: and which was done in this private manner, partly for dispatch, and partly on account of the people; who it might have been feared, had the execution been public and known, would have rose and rescued him.


F24 De beneficiis, 1. 3. c. 25.
F25 De ira, l. 1. c. 16. Vid. Julium Firmicum, l. 8. c. 26. & Florum, l. 4. c. 7. & Suetonium in vit. Caligul. c. 52. Octav. August. c. 74. & Claud. c. 35. Tertullian. de Corona, c. 1.
F26 Abot R. Nathan, c. 38. fol. 9. 1.
F1 Vid Targum Jon. in Gen. xxxvii. 36. & xxxix. 1. & Targ. Sheni in Esth. v. 2. Jarchi in Exod. iv. 11. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 108. 1. & Gloss. in ib.
F2 Bereshit Rab. sect. 79. fol. 69. 3. Vajikra Rab. sect. 24. fol. 165. 2. & Bemidbar Rab. sect. 7. fol. 187. 4.
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