Matthew 14

1 The Herod that reigned during most of Jesus' ministry was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. His father's kingdom had been divided among three sons and a daughter: Archelaus, Antipas, Philip, and Salome. Antipas ruled over Galilee and Perea. His official title was tetrarch ("ruler over a fourth"), but he is often referred to as a king.
2 There were some aspects of John's and Jesus' messages that were similar to one another (Mat 3:1-2, 4:17). Since Herod had executed John, he apparently considered Jesus the incarnation of his ghost. Jesus' miracles added to this conclusion.
3 Philip was Antipas' half-brother. After Antipas divorced his first wife, Aretas of Nabatea, he married Phillip's wife, Herodias, who was also his half-niece. This scandal caused popular criticism and political turmoil for Antipas.
4 John held Herod up to the same standard that God had given others whom would rule over His people. The law specifically forbid a man to marry his brother's wife (Lev 20:21).
5 It was apparently Herodias who was pressuring Herod to put John to death (Mark 6:19). She had been publicly humiliated by John's message, and felt that Herod should use his "right" to execute those who would criticize their ruler. Herod wanted to appease his wife, but he feared that he would lose complete control over his subjects if he disposed of the popular prophet.
6 Salome was Herodias' daughter from her previous marriage. See commentary on Mark 6:22.
7 See further commentary on Mark 6:23.
8 See commentary on Mark 6:24-25.
9 See commentary on Mark 6:26.
11 See commentary on Mark 6:28.
12 See commentary on Mark 6:29.