6:1 And he went out from thence; and he cometh into his own country1; and his disciples follow him. JESUS VISITS NAZARETH AND IS REJECTED. Matthew 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-31
And he cometh into his own country. Nazareth. See Luke
1:26 and see Luke
2:39. As to the early years of Jesus at Nazareth, see Luke
26:2 And when the sabbath was
come, he began to teach in the synagogue1:
and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things?
and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and [what mean] such mighty
works wrought by his hands?
He began to teach in the synagogue. For comment on this usage of
the synagogue, see Mark
Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is
given unto this man, and [what mean] such mighty works wrought by his hands?
They admitted his marvelous teaching and miraculous works, but were at a
loss to account for them because their extreme familiarity with his humanity
made it hard for them to believe in his divinity, by which alone his actions
would be rightly explained. Twice in the early part of his ministry Jesus
had been at Cana, John
4:46, within a few miles of Nazareth, and turning away from it had gone
down to Capernaum. He did not call upon his townsmen to believe in him or
his divine mission the evidences were so full that they could not deny them.
6:3 Is not this the
carpenter, the son of Mary1, and brother of James, and
Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And
they were offended in him2.
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, etc. They brought forth
every item of trade and relationship by which they could confirm themselves
in their conviction that he was simply a human being like themselves. The
question as to his identity, however, suggests that he may have been absent
from Nazareth some little time. As to Jesus' kindred, see Mark
And they were offended in him. His claims were too high for them to
admit, and too well accredited for them to despise, so they sought refuge
from their perplexity by getting angry at Jesus.
6:4 And Jesus said unto them, A
prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin,
and in his own house1.
A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his
own kin, and in his own house. Jealousy forbids the countrymen of a
prophet to honor him. Base as this passion is, it is a very common one, and
is not easily subdued, even by the best of men. In Nazareth Jesus was no
more than the son of a carpenter, and the brother of a certain very common
young men and girls, while abroad he was hailed as the prophet of Galilee,
"mighty in word and deed" (Luke
6:6 And he
marvelled because of their unbelief1. And
he went round about the villages teaching2.
He marvelled because of their unbelief. As to this statement that
Jesus felt surprised, see Matthew
8:10. Says Canon Cook,
"It should also be borne in mind that surprise at the obtuseness and
unreasonableness of sin is constantly attributed to God by the
The statement, therefore, is perfectly consonant with the divinity of
THIRD CIRCUIT OF GALILEE. THE TWELVE INSTRUCTED AND SENT FORTH. Matthew
And he went round about the villages teaching. In the first circuit
of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples; in the second
the twelve were with him as apostles; in the third they, too, are sent forth
as evangelists to supplement his work.
6:7 And he calleth
unto him the twelve1, and began
to send them forth by two and two2; and he gave them
authority over the unclean spirits3;
And he calleth unto him the twelve. For a complete list of the
apostles, see Matthew
And began to send them forth by two and two. He sent the twelve in
pairs because: (1) Under the law it required two witnesses to establish the
18:16; 2 Corinthians
13:1; 1 Timothy
10:28). (2) They could supplement each other's work. Different men reach
different minds, and where one fails another may succeed. (3) They would
encourage one another. When one grew despondent the zeal and enthusiasm of
the other would quicken his activities.
The unclean spirits. See Mark
6:8 and he charged
them that they should take nothing for [their] journey1,
save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, now money in their purse;
And he charged them that they should take nothing for [their] journey,
etc. The prohibition is against securing these things before starting, and
at their own expense. It is not that they would have no need for the
articles mentioned, but that "the workman is worthy of his food" (Matthew
10:10), and they were to depend on the people for whose benefit they
labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is alluded to by Paul
9:14). To rightly understand this prohibition we must remember that the
apostles were to make but a brief tour of a few weeks, and that it was among
their own countrymen, among a people habitually given to hospitality;
moreover, that the apostles were imbued them with powers which would win for
them the respect of the religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The
special and temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule
under which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other
6:10 And he said unto them, Wheresoever
ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence1.
Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence.
The customs of the East gave rise to this rule. The ceremonies and forms
with which a guest was received were tedious and time-consuming vanities,
while the mission of the apostles required haste.
whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not1,
as ye go forth thence, shake off the dust that is under
your feet for a testimony unto them2.
And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not,
as ye go forth thence. Jesus here warns them that their experiences
would not always be pleasant.
Shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony unto them.
The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel was regarded
as polluted and unholy (Amos
2:7). The Jew, therefore, considered himself defiled by such dust. For
the apostles, therefore, to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from
their clothes or feet was to place that city on a level with the cities of
the heathen, and to renounce all further intercourse with it.
[It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of
judgment]. This clause is not found in the Revised Version. Compare
6:13 And they cast out many demons, and
anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them1.
And anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. Oil was
not used as a medicine. The Jews anointed their hair and their faces every
day, especially when about to depart from the house to move among their
fellows. This anointing was omitted when they were sick and when they fasted
6:16,17). When an apostle stood over a sick man to heal him by a touch
or a word, he was about to send him out of his sick chamber, and just before
the word was spoken, the oil was applied. It was, therefore, no more than a
token or symbol that the man was restored to his liberty, and was from that
moment to be confined to his chamber no longer. Compare James
5:14. This practice bears about the same relation to the Romish practice
of extreme unction as the Lord's Supper does to the mass, or as a true
baptism does to the sprinkling of an infant.
6:14 And king
Herod1 heard [thereof]; for his name had become known: and
he said, John the Baptizer is risen from the dead, and therefore do these powers
work in him.
HEROD ANTIPAS SUPPOSES JESUS TO BE JOHN. Matthew
King Herod. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. See Luke
6:15 But others
said, It is Elijah. And others said, [It is] a prophet1,
[even] as one of the prophets.
But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, [It is] a prophet,
[even] as one of the prophets. The work of Jesus impressed the
people as prophetic rather than Messianic, for they associated the Messiah
in their thoughts with an earthly kingdom of great pomp and grandeur. Jesus,
therefore, did not appear to them to be the Messiah, but rather the prophet
who should usher in the Messiah. Their Scriptures taught them that Elijah
would be that prophet. But the Apocrypha indicated that it might be Isaiah
or Jeremiah (1 Macc. 14:41). Hence the many opinions as to which of the
prophets Jesus was. If he was Elijah, he could not be properly spoken of as
risen from the dead, for Elijah had been translated, 2 Kings
2:11. For a comment on similar language, see Mark
6:16 But Herod,
when he heard [thereof], said, John, whom I beheaded1, he
But Herod, when he heard [thereof], said, John, whom I beheaded.
For the imprisonment of John, see Luke
3:20. The mission of the twelve probably lasted several weeks, and the
beheading of John the Baptist appears to have taken place about the time of
their return. See Matthew
He is risen. 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.
6:17 For Herod
himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison1
for the sake of Herodias2, his
brother Philip's wife; for he had married her.
For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him
in prison. See Matthew
Herodias. She was the daughter of Aristobulus, who was the half-
brother of Herod Philip I and Herod Antipas, and these two last were in turn
half-brothers to each other. Herodias, therefore, had married her uncle
Herod Philip I, who was disinherited by Herod the Great, and who lived as a
private citizen in Rome. When Herod Antipas went to Rome about the affairs
of his tetrarchy, he became the guest of his brother Herod Philip I, and
repaid the hospitality which he received by carrying off the wife of his
6:18 For John said unto Herod, It
is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife1.
It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. The marriage
was unlawful of three reasons: (1) The husband of Herodias was still living,
18:16. (2) The lawful wife of Antipas (the daughter of Aretas, king or
emir of Arabia) was still living. (3) Antipas and Herodias, being nephew and
niece, were related to each other within the forbidden degrees of
6:20 for Herod
feared John1, knowing that he was a righteous and holy
man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed; and he
heard him gladly.
For Herod feared John. Herod feared both John and his influence.
His fear of the man as a prophet caused him to shelter John against any
attempts which his angry wife might make to put him to death, and led him to
listen to John with enough respect to become perplexed as to whether it were
better to continue in his course or repent. At other times, when the
influence of Herodias moved him most strongly, and he forgot his personal
fear of John, he was yet restrained by fear of John's influence over the
6:21 And when a
convenient day was come1, that Herod on his birthday made
a supper to his lords, and the high captains, and the chief men of Galilee;
When a convenient day was come. A day suited to the purposes of
Herodias. The phrase refers to Mark
6:22 and when the
daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced1, she
pleased Herod and them that sat at meat with him; and the king said unto the
damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
And when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced. The
language seems to indicate that others had first come in and danced. The
dancer was Salome, the daughter of Herod Philip and his niece of Herod
Antipas. The dancing of the East was then, as now, voluptuous and indecent,
and nothing but utter shamelessness or inveterate malice could have induced
a princess to thus make a public show of herself at such a carousal.
6:23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever
thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom1.
Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of
my kingdom. The rashness of the king's promise is characteristic of the
folly of sin. Riches, honors, kingdoms, souls are given for a bauble in the
6:24 And she went
out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask1? And she
said, The head of John the Baptizer.
And she went out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? She
may have known beforehand what to ask. If so, she retired and asked her
mother that the brunt of the king's displeasure might fall upon her mother.
6:25 And she came
in straightway with haste unto the king1, and
asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the head of John
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king. She wished to
make her request known before the king had time to put limitations upon her
And asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the
head of John the Baptist. She asked for the prophet's head that she
might have the witness of their own eyes to the fact that he was dead, and
that they might not be deceived about it.
6:26 And the king
was exceeding sorry1; but for the
sake of his oaths2, and of them
that sat at meat, he would not reject her3.
And the king was exceeding sorry. Because the deed went against his
conscience and his sense of policy as above stated.
But for the sake of his oaths. The oath alone would not have
constrained Herod to grant Salome's request, for if left alone he would
rightly have construed the request as not coming within the scope of the
oath. The terms of his oath looked to and anticipated a pecuniary present,
and not the commission of a crime.
And of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her. But Herod's
companions, being evil men, joined with the evil women against the man of
God, and shamed Herod into an act which committed him forever to a course of
guilt. Thus, a bad man's impulses are constantly broken down by his evil
6:28 and brought his head on a platter, and
gave it to the damsel; and the damsel gave it to her
And the damsel gave it to her mother. To the anxious, unrestful
soul of Herodias this seemed a great gift, since it assured her that the
voice of her most dangerous enemy was now silent. But as Herod was soon
filled with superstitious fears that John had risen in the person of Christ,
9:7, her sense of security was very short-lived. The crime stamped Herod
and Herodias with greater infamy than that for which John had rebuked them.
6:29 And when his
disciples heard [thereof], they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a
And when his disciples heard [thereof], they came and took up his
corpse, and laid it in a tomb. Herod had feared that the death of John
would bring about a popular uprising, and his fears were not mistaken. As
soon as they had decently buried the body of the great preacher, John's
disciples go to Jesus, expecting to find in him a leader to redress the
Baptist's wrongs. They knew the friendship of John for Jesus, and, knowing
that the latter intended to set up a kingdom, they believed that this would
involve the overthrow of Herod's power. They were ready now to revolt and
make Jesus a king. See John
6:1,2,15. But Jesus would not aid them to seek the bitter fruits of
revenge, nor did he intend to set up such a kingdom as they imagined.
6:30 And the apostles gather themselves
together unto Jesus; and they told him all things, whatsoever they had done, and
whatsoever they had taught.
FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN. (Spring, A.D. 29.) A.
RETURN OF THE TWELVE AND RETIREMENT TO THE EAST SHORE OF GALILEE. Matthew
And the apostles . . . told him all things, whatsoever they had done,
and whatsoever they had taught. They had fulfilled the mission on which
Jesus had sent them, and on returning each pair made to him a full report of
6:31 And he saith unto them, Come
ye yourselves apart into a desert place1, and
rest a while2. For there were
many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat3.
Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place. An uninhabited place.
And rest a while. Need of rest was one reason for retiring for the
thinly settled shores east of the lake.
For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much
as to eat. Matthew proceeds to give us another reason for his retiring.
6:32 And they went
away in the boat to a desert place apart1.
And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart. They sailed
to the northeastern shore of the lake to a plain lying near the city of
Bethsaida Julius. See Luke
6:33 And [the
people] saw them going, and many knew [them], and they ran together there on
foot from all the cities, and outwent them1.
FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN. (Spring, A.D. 29.) B.
FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND. Matthew
And [the people] saw them going, and many knew [them], and they ran
together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. Jesus
probably set sail from near Capernaum, and from thence across the lake to
the narrow, secluded plain of El Batihah, where he landed is less than five
miles. Seeing him start, the people followed him by running along the
northern shore, and, though having a little farther to go, they traveled
faster than the sailboat, and were waiting for him on the shore when he
6:35 And when the
day was now far spent1, his disciples came unto him, and
said, The place is desert, and the day is now far spent;
When the day was now far spent. The time to seek lodging and
provisions had gone by, and therefore the multitude must act quickly.
6:36 send them away, that they may go into
the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat to eat.
Send them away, that they may . . . buy themselves somewhat to eat.
The apostles were the first to think of eating, and naturally enough, for
they had started on empty stomachs, and their own discomfort made them
anticipate the sad plight in which the multitude would soon find itself.
6:37 But he answered and said unto them,
Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go
and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread1, and give
them to eat?
Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread? The word
translated "shilling" is the Roman denarius, worth about seventeen
cents. The sum was not large, as we reckon money, but, considering the
purchasing power of money in those days, if was an imposing sum, and it is
to be doubted if the treasury-bag of Judas even contained the fourth part of
it. For a denarius was the regular price for a day's labor.
6:38 And he saith unto them, How many
loaves have ye? go [and] see. And when they knew, they
say, Five, and two fishes2.
How many loaves have ye? go [and] see. When sent to see what was in
their larder, it appears that they had nothing at all. Andrew reports the
finding of the boy's lunch while it was as yet the boy's property (John
And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. Some of the
others, having secured it from the boy, report it now at the disposal of
Jesus, but comment on its insufficiency. Eastern loaves were thin and small,
like good-sized crackers, and around the Sea of Galilee, the salting and
preserving of small fish was an especial industry. These fish, therefore,
were about the size of sardines. The whole supply, therefore, was no more
than enough for one hungry boy. But each loaf had to be divided between a
thousand, and each fish between twenty-five hundred men.
6:39 And he
commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass1.
And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the
green grass. By thus arranging them in orderly companies, Jesus
accomplished several things. He saved his apostles much time and labor in
distributing the food. He insured that each one should be fed, and that the
reality of the miracle could not be questioned, and he ascertained
definitely how many men were fed.
6:41 And he took the five loaves and the
two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and
brake the loaves1; and he gave to the disciples to set
before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
And looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves. He
blessed the loaves and fishes by returning thanks for them. This and similar
acts of Jesus are our precedents for giving thanks, or, "asking the
blessing" at our tables.
6:43 And they took
up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes1.
And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the
fishes. See John
6:44 And they that
ate the loaves were five thousand men1.
And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men. Considering
the distance from any town, the women and children would not likely be
numerous. They form no part of the count, for Eastern usage did not permit
the women to sit with the men. They, with the little ones, would stand
6:45 And straightway he constrained his
disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before [him] unto the other side to Bethsaida1,
while he himself sendeth the multitude away2.
FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN. (Spring, A.D. 29.) C. THE
TWELVE TRY TO ROW BACK. JESUS WALKS UPON THE WATER. Matthew
Bethsaida. The suburb of Capernaum.
While he himself sendeth the multitude away. The obedience of the
disciples in leaving him helped to persuade the multitude to do likewise.
6:46 And after he had taken leave of them, he
departed into the mountain to pray1.
He departed into the mountain to pray. The news of John's
14:13) was calculated to exasperate him in the highest degree, and also
to deeply distress him. He needed the benefits of prayer to keep down
resentment, and to prevent despondency. For this he started away as soon as
he heard the news, but the people prevented him till night.
6:47 And when even was come, the
boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land1.
The boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. The
diciples evidently expected that he would follow. Possibly they skirted the
shore, hoping that he would hail them and come on board.
6:48 And seeing
them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them1,
about the fourth watch of the night2
he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them:
And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto
them. That is, it blew from the west, the direction toward which the
disciples were rowing.
About the fourth watch of the night. From 3 to 6 A.M.
He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea. The disciples of Jesus
can rest assured that the eyes of the Lord will behold their distresses, and
that sooner or later the Lord himself will arise and draw near for their
6:49 but they,
when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried
But they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a
ghost, and cried out. Their fears would probably have been greater if
Jesus had approached the boat, for they were severe enough to make them cry
out, even when he was seen to be passing by them.
6:50 for they all saw him, and were
troubled. But he straightway spake with them, and saith unto them, Be
of good cheer: it is I1; be not
Be of good cheer: it is I. There was no mistaking that voice. If
Isaac knew the voice of Jacob (Genesis
27:22), Saul the voice of David (1 Samuel
26:17), and Rhoda the voice of Peter (Acts
12:13), much more did the apostles know the voice of the great Master.
Be not afraid. See Luke
6:51 And he went up unto them into the
boat; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in
And they were sore amazed in themselves. The disciples showed the
hardness of their hearts in that the working of one miracle did not prepare
them either to expect or to comprehend any other miracle which followed.
They ought to have worshipped Jesus as the Son of God when they saw the five
thousand fed, but they did not. But when he had done that, and had walked
upon the water, and quieted the wind, and transported the boat to the land,
they were overcome by the iteration of his miraculous power, and confessed
his divinity (Matthew
6:53 And when they had crossed over, they
came to the land unto Gennesaret1,
and moored to the shore.
Gennesaret. The land of Gennesaret was a plain at the western end
of the lake of Galilee. Josephus describes it as about thirty furlongs in
length by twenty in average width, and bounded on the west by a semicircular
line of hills. Also see Luke
6:54 And when they
were come out of the boat, straightway [the people] knew him1,
And when they were come out of the boat, straightway [the people] knew
him. Though the apostles had started their boat toward Capernaum, the
storm appears to have deflected their course, and the language of the text
suggests that they probably came to land at the south end of the plain,
somewhere near Magdala, and made a circuit of the cities in the plain of
Gennesaret on their way to Capernaum.
6:55 and ran round
about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were
sick, where they heard he was1.
And ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on
their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. As they knew
the course that he was taking, by running ahead they could anticipate his
arrivals and have the sick gathered to take advantage of his presence.
6:56 And wheresoever he entered, into
villages, or into cities, or into the country, they
laid the sick in the marketplaces1, and
besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment2:
and as many as touched him were made whole.
They laid the sick in the marketplaces. As he did not stop in these
cities, the sick were laid in the street that they might touch him in
And besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his
garment. The story of the woman who touched the hem of his garment had
evidently spread far and wide, and deeply impressed the popular mind (Mark