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Luke 3:19. Now Herod the tetrarch. Luke alone explains the reason why Herod threw John into prison: though we shall afterwards find it mentioned by Matthew 14:3, and Mark 6:17. Josephus says, (Ant. 18, v. 2,) that Herod, dreading a popular insurrection and a change of the government, shut up John in the castle of Macherus, (because he dreaded the man’s influence;)318318 “Pource qu'il savoit que c'estoit un homme de grande authorite envers le peuple, et pourtant se dutoit de luy.” — “Because he knew that he was a man of great authority among the people, and therefore had doubts about him." and that Herodias was married, not to Philip, who was Salome’s husband, but to another Herod. But as his recollection appears to have failed him in this matter, and as he mentions also Philip’s death out of its proper place, the truth of the history will be obtained, with greater certainty, from the Evangelists, and we must abide by their testimony.319319 The solution usually given, we believe, for this apparent discrepancy, is, that the name of the person in question was Herod-Philip. — Ed. It is well known, that Herod, though he had been married to a daughter of Aretas, King of Arabia, fell in love with Herodias, his niece, and carried her off by fraud. This injury might possibly enough remain unrevenged by his brother Philip, to whom the same Josephus bears testimony, that he was a person of a mild and gentle disposition, (18:4:6.)
This history shows clearly, what sort of reward awaits the faithful and honest ministers of the truth, particularly when they reprove vices: for scarcely one in a hundred bears reproof, and if it is at all severe, they break out into fury. If pride of this sort displays itself in some of the common people, we have no reason to wonder, that cruelty to reprovers assumes a more hideous form in tyrants,320320 “Les rois, princes, et grans tyrans.” — “Kings, princes, and great tyrants.” who brook nothing worse than to be classed with other men. We behold in John an illustrious example of that moral courage, which all pious teachers ought to possess, not to hesitate to incur the wrath of the great and powerful, as often as it may be found necessary: for he, with whom there is acceptance of persons, does not honestly serve God. When Luke says, he added this to all the evil actions which he did, he means, that Herod’s malice is become desperate, and has reached its utmost height, when the sinner is enraged by remedies, and not only refuses correction, but takes vengeance on his adviser, as if he had been his enemy.