Words in italic type have been added for clarity. They are not found in the original Hebrew or Aramaic.
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“One of Aesop’s fables is about an oak tree growing on the bank of a river and uprooted by a storm. It fell along the reeds and asked them how it was that he, a mighty oak, should be blown over but they, slender reeds, survive. They reply that he was stubborn and fought the wind while they ‘bow and yield ‘ to every breeze.
With his first coin and reputation as a surviving waverer Antipas may well have been thought of locally as a ‘reed blowing in the wind’.”
“When Herod the Great died in 4BC his large kingdom, Israel, was divided between three of his sons and his sister. The Roman Emperor, Augustus, gave the youngest son, Herod Antipas, the territories of Galilee and Peraea. They were geographically separate but the River Jordan flowed through both. His brothers began minting their own coins using motifs associated with their territories. Archelaus ruled Judea which included Jerusalem. It was the only area that had a coastline and so many of his coins display symbols of seafaring.”
The territories of Antipas:
John the Baptist Sends Messengers to Jesus
Matthew 11:1 Now it came to pass, when Jesus finished commanding His twelve disciples, that He departed from there to teach and to preach in their cities.
Matthew 11:2 And when John (the baptizer) had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples
Matthew 11:3 and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”
Matthew 11:4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see:
Matthew 11:5 The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”
Matthew 11:7 As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?
- Herod Antipas had coins printed of himself, not as an image of an animal or a man’s head, which would offend the Jews, but rather as a plant: a reed. The reed became a symbol of his two territories which had the river Jordan in common; where the reeds grew and thrived.
- A reed shaken by the wind is one who is flexible and can maneuver with religiosity and politics.
- Herod Antipas’ father was Herod the Great who had all the children two and under killed in Bethlehem after the wise men left.
- Herod the Great had also executed members of his own family. His son Antipas was set to be executed except Herod the Great died first from gangrene and worms that ate his private parts. As Antipas sat in prison he knew his father was ill and about to die. There is speculation his execution had been put off several times; probably making deals with the guards of favors after he was made king.
- Antipas ruled as governor of Galilee and Peraea from 4 B.C. to 39 A.D. – a period of 43 years and a remarkable achievement in the treacherous world of Roman Empire politics.
- Jesus referred to Antipas as a “sly fox”.
Matthew 11:8 But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.
- Jesus was referring to Herod Antipas who was clothed in royal garments and lived in a king’s house.
- The Hebrew word for “Reed” means a “Spearman”. Someone who is involved in piercing/staking. Herod Antipas not only was a reed shaken by the wind but, like the Centurian and the soldiers all were “Reeds” ie Spearmen, involved in the crucifixions of others.
- Reed: qānê H7070 Note the definition with the “X’ = “Spearman”
- Isaiah 42:3 “Behold! My Servant (Jesus) whom I have chosen,
My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased!
I will put My Spirit upon Him,
And He will declare justice to the Gentiles.
19 He will not quarrel nor cry out,
Nor will anyone hear His voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench,
Till He sends forth justice to victory;
21 And in His name Gentiles will trust.”
- Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them (the soldiers who nailed Him to the cross), for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
- Mark 15:39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
- These men; Antipas, the Centurion, and the Soldiers were bruised reeds which Jesus chose not to break. (He did not use His power against them.)
Matthew 11:9 But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.
Matthew 11:10 For this is he of whom it is written:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’
Matthew 11:11 “Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matthew 11:12 And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.
Matthew 11:13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Matthew 11:14 And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come.
Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Matthew 11:16 “But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions,
Matthew 11:17 and saying:
‘We played the flute for you,
And you did not dance;
We mourned to you,
And you did not lament (Lit. beat your breast).’
Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’
Matthew 11:19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber (wine drinker), a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children (works).”
Woe to the Impenitent Cities
Matthew 11:20 Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent:
Matthew 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Matthew 11:22 But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.
Matthew 11:23 And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, (will you be exalted to heaven? No, you) will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Matthew 11:24 But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you.”
Jesus Gives True Rest