Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
mat 14:1At that time - When our Lord had spent about a year in his public ministry. Tetrarch - King of a fourth part of his father's dominions. Mar 6:14.
mat 14:2He is risen from the dead - Herod was a Sadducee: and the Sadducees denied the resurrection of the dead. But Sadduceeism staggers when conscience awakes.
mat 14:3His brother Philip's wife - Who was still alive. Mar 6:17.
mat 14:4It is not lawful for thee to have her - It was not lawful indeed for either of them to have her. For her father Aristobulus was their own brother. John's words were rough, like his raiment. He would not break the force of truth by using soft words, even to a king.
mat 14:5He would have put him to death - ln his fit of passion; but he was then restrained by fear of the multitude; and afterward by the reverence he bore him.
mat 14:6The daughter of Herodias - Afterward infamous for a life suitable to this beginning.
mat 14:8Being before instructed by her mother - Both as to the matter and manner of her petition: She said, Give me here - Fearing if he had time to consider, he would not do it: John the Baptist's head in a charger - A large dish or bowl.
mat 14:9And the king was sorry - Knowing that John was a good man. Yet for the oath's sake - So he murdered an innocent man from mere tenderness of conscience.
mat 14:10And he sent and beheaded John in the prison, and his head was given to the damsel - How mysterious is the providence, which left the life of so holy a man in such infamous hands! which permitted it to be sacrificed to the malice of an abandoned harlot, the petulancy of a vain girl, and the rashness of a foolish, perhaps drunken prince, who made a prophet's head the reward of a dance! But we are sure the Almighty will repay his servants in another world for what ever they suffer in this.
mat 14:13Jesus withdrew into a desert place - To avoid Herod: Because of the multitude pressing upon him, Mar 6:32 and To talk with his disciples, newly returned from their progress, Luk 9:10 apart - From all but his disciples. Joh 6:1.
mat 14:15The time is now past - The usual meal time. Mar 6:35; Luk 9:12.
mat 14:22He constrained his disciples - Who were unwilling to leave him. Mar 6:45; Joh 6:15.
mat 14:24In the evening - Learned men say the Jews reckoned two evenings; the first beginning at three in the afternoon, the second, at sunset. If so, the latter is meant here.
mat 14:25The fourth watch - The Jews (as well as the Romans) usually divided the night into four watches, of three hours each. The first watch began at six, the second at nine, the third at twelve, the fourth at three in the morning. If it be thou - It is the same as, Since it is thou. The particle if frequently bears this meaning, both in ours and in all languages. So it means, Joh 13:14, Joh 13:17. St. Peter was in no doubt, or he would not have quitted the ship.
mat 14:30He was afraid - Though he had been used to the sea, and was a skilful swimmer. But so it frequently is. When grace begins to act, the natural courage and strength are withdrawn.
mat 14:33Thou art the Son of God - They mean, the Messiah.
mat 14:35Mar 6:45.