Mattityahu Jewish New Testament

chapter 14
1. Around that time, Herod, the regional governor, heard of the fame of Yeshua
Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great (see 2:IN). ruled 0V« ЙЯ Regional governor, Greek teirarchos, "ruler of a quarter" of a country. Herod the Great's kingdom had been divided into not four but three, wuli our d Ins на ruling each part. See Lk 3:1N.

2. and said to his attendants, “This must be Yochanan the Immerser. He has been raised from the dead; that is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.”
3. For Herod had arrested Yochanan, put him in chains and thrown him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip;
Herodias, daughter of Aristobulus, who was one of the fifteen sons of Herod the Great, although not mentioned in the New Testament. She was married to her uncle Herod Philip (not the Philip of Lk 3:1), who fathered her daughter Salome (v. 6; the name is not given in the New Testament but is known from Josephus). Herodias left Philip to be mistress to his half-brother Herod Antipas (v. 4).

4. since Yochanan had told Herod, “It violates the Torah for you to have her as your wife.”
Yochanan. a true prophet, did not shrink from telling even the most highly placed what they least wanted to hear. It violates the Torah (Leviticus 18:16, 20:21) for you to have her as your wife, literally, "for you to have her."

5. Herod had wanted to put Yochanan to death; but he was afraid of the people, in whose eyes Yochanan was a prophet.
6. However, at Herod’s birthday celebration, Herodias’ daughter danced before the company and pleased Herod so much
7. that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
With an oath. Oaths were far more serious then than now. See 5:37&N.

8. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of Yochanan the Immerser.”
9. The king became deeply upset; but out of regard for the oaths he had sworn before his dinner guests, he ordered that her wish be granted,
Note Herod's overriding concern for his image here and in v. 5.

10. and sent and had Yochanan beheaded in prison.
11. The head was brought on a platter to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.
12. Yochanan’s talmidim came, took the body and buried it; then they went and told Yeshua.
12 Josephus reports in Antiquities of the Jews 18:5:1, that Herod Antipas was defeated in a war with Aretas, king of Arabia Petrea, and adds:
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army carne from God and that very justly, as a punishment of whal he did against John, that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God. and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable tohim. if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission) of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body: supposing still that the soul was throughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came to crowd about him, for they were greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, [for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise,] thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be loo late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus. the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure against him." (Antiquities 18:5:2, William Whiston translation, 1682)


13. On hearing about this, Yeshua left in a boat to be by himself in the wilderness. But the people learned of it and followed him from the towns by land.
14. So when he came ashore, he saw a huge crowd; and, filled with compassion for them, he healed those of them who were sick.
15. As evening approached, the talmidim came to him and said, “This is a remote place and it’s getting late. Send the crowds away, so that they can go and buy food for themselves in the villages.”
16. But Yeshua replied, “They don’t need to go away. Give them something to eat, yourselves!”
17. “All we have with us,” they said, “is five loaves of bread and two fish.”
18. He said, “Bring them here to me.”
19. After instructing the crowds to sit down on the grass, he took the five loaves and the two fish and, looking up toward heaven, made a b’rakhah. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the talmidim, who gave them to the crowds.
19 Looking up toward heaven. Yeshua is reported in six places to have prayed with hi eyes open (here; Mk6:41, 7:34: Lk 9:16: Yn 11:41, 17:1). Jews generally do so todaj Christians often pray with them closed. There is no command on the subject in the Bible In an age when people are easily distracted, closing one's eyes may help one to concen trate on God. On the other hand, those who choose to keep their eyes open have th< Messiah as their model. The phrase, "toward heaven," can also carry the secondar) meaning, "toward God" (see 3:2N).

He made a b'rakhah. The Jewish-English phrase means "said a blessing." The Greek here is evloged, "bless, speak well of"; elsewhere it is often evcharisto, "thank." Although the text does not say so specifically, it is reasonable to suppose that he recited the customary b'rakhah ("benediction"; see 9:8N) which Jews have said for more than two thousand years before meals that include bread: Barukh attah, Adonai Eloheynu, Melekh-ha 'olam, haMotzi lehem min ha 'aretz ("Praised be you, Adonai our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth").

Here are two points to nole about Jewish blessings at meals. First, the blessing before the meal is short. A longer "Grace" (Birkat-HaMazon) is said after the meal. This seems sensible: one thanks God for something received; moreover, on a full stomach one can relax and express appreciation at length: but on an empty stomach, if the prayers become verbose, one's mind easily descends from Heaven to the table. Second, the object of the blessing is God, not the food. It is unnecessary to say, as many Christians do, "Lord, bless this food to our bodies"; since food is already God's blessing to us (Genesis 1:29,9:3-4)! Rather, we thank him for providing it. See also below, 26:26-27&N.


20. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they took up twelve baskets full of the pieces left over.
21. Those eating numbered about five thousand men, plus women and children.
Five thousand men, plus women and children. Elisha. by a similar miracle of creation, fed one hundred people with twenty loaves of bread (2 Kings 4:42-44). Here Yeshua fed perhaps ten thousand with fewer loaves.

22. Immediately he had the talmidim get in the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the crowds away.
23. After he had sent the crowds away, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night came on, and he was there alone.
24. But by this time, the boat was several miles from shore, battling a rough sea and a headwind.
25. Around four o’clock in the morning, he came toward them, walking on the lake!
26. When the talmidim saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost!” they said and screamed with fear.
27. But at once Yeshua spoke to them. “Courage,” he said, “it is I. Stop being afraid.”
28. Then Kefa called to him, “Lord, if it is really you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
29. “Come!” he said. So Kefa got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Yeshua.
30. But when he saw the wind, he became afraid; and as he began to sink, he yelled, “Lord! Save me!”
31. Yeshua immediately stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “Such little trust! Why did you doubt?”
Such little trust Kefa has. even though a moment before he had much (v. 29). Faith is only present-tense; it does not build up like a bank account (see Ya 1:6-7). Yeshua's rebuke restored it: he walked back to the boat (v. 32). From this we learn the value of well-founded rebuke to the spiritually sensitive, that is, people open to correction.

32. As they went up into the boat, the wind ceased.
33. The men in the boat fell down before him and exclaimed, “You really are God’s son!”
34. Having made the crossing, they landed at Ginosar.
Ginosar (Genessaret), north of modern Tiberias. Site of 1985 discovery of a fishing boat from around the period of Yeshua. now on display at Kibbutz Nof-Ginosar.

35. When the people of the place recognized him, they sent word throughout the neighborhood and brought him everyone who was ill.
36. They begged him that the sick people might only touch the tzitzit on his robe, and all who touched it were completely healed.
Tzitzit. See 9:20N.

next chapter...