The Meaning of Matthew 14:6 Explained

Matthew 14:6

KJV: But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.

YLT: But the birthday of Herod being kept, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst, and did please Herod,

Darby: But when Herod's birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod;

ASV: But when Herod's birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst, and pleased Herod.

What does Matthew 14:6 Mean?

Context Summary

Matthew 14:1-12 - For Righteousness' Sake
In the terror arising from his stricken conscience, Herod made confidants of his slaves, overleaping the barriers of position in his need of some ears into which to pour his fears. He had not finished with John. There is a resurrection of deeds as well as of bodies. The only way to have done with a sinful deed is to confess it and make reparation.
What true nobility John displayed in summoning the king to the bar of eternal justice! He might have said, "It isn't seemly," or, "It isn't politic;" but he puts it on more unassailable ground, which Herod's conscience endorsed: "It is not lawful."Herod was luxurious, sensual, superstitious and weak. He was easily entrapped by the beautiful fiend. To tamper with conscience is like killing the watch-dog while the burglar is breaking in.
How splendid the action of John's disciples! Reverent love and grief made them brave the king's hatred. In hours of lonely bereavement, the best policy is to go and tell Jesus. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 14

1  Herod's opinion of Jesus
3  Wherefore John Baptist was beheaded
13  Jesus departs into a solitary place,
15  where he feeds five thousand men with five loves and two fishes
22  He walks on the sea to his disciples;
34  and landing at Gennesaret,
35  heals the sick who touch of the hem of his garment

Greek Commentary for Matthew 14:6

When Herod‘s birthday came [γενεσιοις γενομενοις του ηρωιδου]
Locative of time (cf. Mark 6:21) without the genitive absolute. The earlier Greeks used the word γενεσια — genesia for funeral commemorations (birthdays of the dead), γενετλια — genethlia being the word for birthday celebrations of living persons. But that distinction has disappeared in the papyri. The word γενεσια — genesia in the papyri (Fayum Towns, 114-20, 115-8, 119-30) is always a birthday feast as here in Matthew and Mark. Philo used both words of birthday feasts. Persius, a Roman satirist (Sat. V. 180-183), describes a banquet on Herod‘s Day. [source]
Danced in the midst [ωρχησατο εν τωι μεσωι]
This was Salome, daughter of Herodias by her first marriage. The root of the verb means some kind of rapid motion. “Leaped in the middle,” Wycliff puts it. It was a shameful exhibition of lewd dancing prearranged by Herodias to compass her purpose for John‘s death. Salome had stooped to the level of an αλμε — almeh or common dancer. [source]
Birthday [γενεσίοις]
Though some explain it as the anniversary of Herod's accession. The custom of celebrating birthdays by festivities was not approved by the strict Jews; but it is claimed that the Herodian princes adopted the custom. The Roman satirist, Persins, alludes to a festival known as “Herod's Day,” and pictures a banquet on that occasion.“But whenComes Herod's day, and on the steaming panes The ranged lamps, festooned with violets, pour-DIVIDER-
The unctuous cloud, while the broad tunny-tail-DIVIDER-
Sprawled o'er the red dish swims, and snowy jarsSwell with the wine.”Sat. v., 180-188. [source]

Before [ἐν τῷ μέσῳ]
Rev.,in the midst. Wyc., leaped in the middle. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 14:6

Mark 6:21 Birthday []
See on Matthew 14:6. The notice of the banquet and of the rank of the guests is peculiar to Mark. [source]
Mark 6:21 When a convenient day was come [γενομενης ημερας ευκαιρου]
Genitive absolute. A day well appointed ευ — eu well, καιρος — kairos time) for the purpose, the day for which she had long waited. She had her plans all laid to spring a trap for her husband Herod Antipas and to make him do her will with the Baptist. Herod was not to know that he was the mere catspaw of Herodias till it was all over. See note on Matthew 14:6 for discussion of Herod‘s birthday (genesiois locative case or associative instrumental of time). [source]
Galatians 3:2 The hearing of faith [ἀκοῆς πίστεως]
See on Galatians 1:23. For hearing, render message. So, often in N.T. See Matthew 4:24; Matthew 14:6; John 12:38. lxx, 1 Samuel 2:24; 2 Samuel 13:30; Habakkuk href="/desk/?q=hab+3:2&sr=1">Habakkuk 3:2. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 14:6 mean?

[The] birthday now having been celebrated - of Herod danced the daughter - of Herodias in the midst and pleased - Herod
Γενεσίοις δὲ γενομένοις τοῦ Ἡρῴδου ὠρχήσατο θυγάτηρ τῆς Ἡρῳδιάδος ἐν τῷ μέσῳ καὶ ἤρεσεν τῷ Ἡρῴδῃ

Γενεσίοις  [The]  birthday 
Parse: Noun, Dative Neuter Plural
Root: γενέθλια 
Sense: a birthday celebration, a birthday feast.
δὲ  now 
Parse: Conjunction
Root: δέ  
Sense: but, moreover, and, etc.
γενομένοις  having  been  celebrated 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Participle Middle, Dative Neuter Plural
Root: γίνομαι  
Sense: to become, i.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἡρῴδου  of  Herod 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: Ἡρῴδης  
Sense: the name of a royal family that flourished among the Jews in the times of Christ and the Apostles.
ὠρχήσατο  danced 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Middle, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ὀρχέομαι  
Sense: to dance.
θυγάτηρ  daughter 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: θυγάτηρ  
Sense: a daughter.
τῆς  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἡρῳδιάδος  of  Herodias 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Feminine Singular
Root: Ἡρῳδιάς  
Sense: daughter of Aristobulus and granddaughter of Herod the Great.
μέσῳ  midst 
Parse: Adjective, Dative Neuter Singular
Root: μέσος  
Sense: middle.
ἤρεσεν  pleased 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἀρέσκω  
Sense: to please.
τῷ  - 
Parse: Article, Dative Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
Ἡρῴδῃ  Herod 
Parse: Noun, Dative Masculine Singular
Root: Ἡρῴδης  
Sense: the name of a royal family that flourished among the Jews in the times of Christ and the Apostles.