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And king Herod heard about Jesus (for his name had become known). And some people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised out from among the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Bible other translations

“some people were saying.” The manuscript evidence is divided. Some ancient manuscripts read “And he [Herod] said,” while other manuscripts read, “And they [some people] were saying.”

The contextual evidence, and the evidence from the other Gospels, is that Mark 6:14 is not recording what Herod himself said, but what others were saying about Jesus; likely other people who had witnessed the miracles that Jesus did. Herod heard what others were saying about Jesus (Luke 9:7), and drew his conclusion that Jesus was John who had been raised from the dead (of the choices he had, it may have been his guilt over killing John that led him to that conclusion). Herod had to draw his conclusion about Jesus from what he heard from others because Herod himself had never personally met Jesus until Jesus had been arrested in Jerusalem, taken to Pontius Pilate, and then sent by Pilate to Herod (Luke 23:6-8). Furthermore, if Mark 6:14 is what Herod said, then Mark 6:15 does not fit in the context. If, in Mark 6:14, Herod made a definitive statement that Jesus was John, then there would be no point for Mark 6:15 to say, “But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets.’” Mark 6:15 would not contradict Herod’s conclusion if that is what Mark 6:14 had stated. The proper chronology of the situation is that Mark 6:14-15 fits with what Luke 9:7-8 says, that Herod was perplexed “because it was said by some that John had been raised out from among the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and yet by others that one of the prophets of old had risen.” Seen this way, Mark 6:14-15 is saying exactly what Luke 9:7-8 is saying, and Herod had to make a choice as to who Jesus was. Then Mark 6:16 reveals to us that Herod decided that Jesus was John, raised from the dead.

[For more on the chronology of what Herod heard and his conclusion about who Jesus was, see commentary on Mark 6:16].

“out from among the dead.” For an explanation of this phrase, see commentary on Romans 4:24.


Commentary for: Mark 6:14