Matthew 14

1 In that time Herod tetrarch, [that is,] prince of the fourth part, heard the fame of Jesus;
2 and said to his children, This is John Baptist, he is risen from death, and therefore works of power work in him. [and said to his children, This is John Baptist, he hath risen from dead, and therefore virtues work in him.]
3 For Herod had held John, and bound him, and putted him in prison for Herodias [and put him into prison for Herodias], the wife of his brother.
4 For John said to him, It is not leaveful to thee to have her.
5 And he willing to slay him, dreaded the people; for they had him as a prophet.
6 But in the day of Herod's birth, the daughter of Herodias danced in the middle, and pleased Herod.
7 Wherefore with an oath he promised to give to her, whatever thing she asked of him.
8 And she before-warned of her mother, said, Give thou to me here the head of John Baptist in a dish.
9 And the king was sorrowful, but for the oath, and for them that sat together at the meat, he commanded to be given.
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a dish, and it was given to the damsel, and she bare it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came, and took his body, and buried it; and they came, and told to Jesus.
13 And when Jesus had heard this thing, he went from thence in a boat, into a desert place beside. And when the people had heard, they followed him on their feet from cities.
14 And Jesus went out, and saw a great people [And Jesus, going out, saw a great multitude], and had ruth on them, and he healed the sick men of them.
15 But when eventide was come, his disciples came to him, and said, The place is desert, and the time is now passed; let the people go into towns, to buy them(selves) meat. [Soothly the evening made, his disciples came nigh to him, saying, The place is desert, and the hour hath now passed; leave thou the companies, that they, going into castles, buy meats to them.]
16 Jesus said to them, They have not need to go; give ye them somewhat to eat. [+Forsooth Jesus said to them, They have no need to go; give ye to them to eat.]
17 They answered, We have not here, but five loaves and two fishes.
18 And he said to them, Bring ye them hither to me.
19 And when he had commanded the people to sit to meat on the hay, he took five loaves and two fishes, and he beheld into heaven, and blessed, and brake, and gave to his disciples; and the disciples gave to the people. [And when he had commanded the company to sit to the meat on the hay, five loaves and two fishes taken, he beholding into heaven, blessed, and brake, and gave loaves to his disciples; soothly the disciples gave to the companies.]
20 And all ate, and were fulfilled. And they took the remnants of broken gobbets, twelve baskets full. [And all ate, and were filled. And they took the reliefs of broken gobbets, twelve coffins full.]
21 And the number of men that ate was five thousand of men, without women and little children.
22 And at once [And anon] Jesus compelled the disciples to go up into a boat, and [to] go before him over the sea, while he let go the people [till that he left the companies].
23 And when the people was let go, he ascended alone into an hill to pray [+And the companies left, he ascended up into an hill alone to pray]. But when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 And the boat in the middle of the sea was shogged with waves, for the wind was contrary. [Forsooth the boat in the midst of the sea was thrown with waves, for the wind was contrary.]
25 But in the fourth waking of the night, he came to them walking on the sea.
26 And they, seeing him walking on the sea, were disturbed, and said [were distroubled, saying], That it is a phantom; and for dread they cried.
27 And at once Jesus spake to them, and said [And anon Jesus spake to them, saying], Have ye trust, I am; do not ye dread.
28 And Peter answered, and said, Lord, if thou art, command me to come to thee on [upon] the waters.
29 And he said, Come thou. And Peter went down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus.
30 But he saw the wind strong, and was afeared; and when he began to drown, he cried, and said [saying], Lord, make me safe.
31 And at once Jesus held forth his hand, and took Peter [And anon Jesus, holding forth his hand, caught him], and said to him, Thou of little faith, why hast thou doubted?
32 And when he had ascended into the boat, the wind ceased.
33 And they, that were in the boat, came, and worshipped him, and said [saying], Verily, thou art God's Son.
34 And when they had passed over the sea, they came into the land of Gennesaret.
35 And when men of that place had known him, they sent into all that country; and they brought to him all that had sicknesses [all having evil].
36 And they prayed him, that they should touch [namely] the hem of his clothing [the hem of his cloth]; and whoever touched were made safe.

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Matthew 14 Commentary

Chapter 14

Death of John the Baptist. (1-12) Five thousand people miraculously fed. (13-21) Jesus walks upon the sea. (22-33) Jesus healing the sick. (34-36)

Verses 1-12 The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God's people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.

Verses 13-21 When Christ and his word withdraw, it is best for us to follow, seeking the means of grace for our souls before any worldly advantages. The presence of Christ and his gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christ's creating power, till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of men's souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember always to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christ's gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

Verses 22-33 Those are not Christ's followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ's disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God's people, from mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to affright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ bade Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord's power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ's disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world's Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in God, will come, ( Hebrews 11:6 ) .

Verses 34-36 Whithersoever Christ went, he was doing good. They brought unto him all that were diseased. They came humbly beseeching him to help them. The experiences of others may direct and encourage us in seeking for Christ. As many as touched, were made perfectly whole. Those whom Christ heals, he heals perfectly. Were men more acquainted with Christ, and with the diseased state of their souls, they would flock to receive his healing influences. The healing virtue was not in the finger, but in their faith; or rather, it was in Christ, whom their faith took hold upon.

Matthew 14 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.