What does Mark 6:26 mean?
ESV: And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
NIV: The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.
NASB: And although the king was very sorry, because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her.
CSB: Although the king was deeply distressed, because of his oaths and the guests he did not want to refuse her.
NLT: Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her.
KJV: And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
NKJV: And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her.
Verse Commentary:
In the story of Esther, King Ahasuerus is manipulated by Haman to send a decree that allows his people to destroy the Jews. Ahasuerus doesn't realize that his queen is Jewish until the decree has been sent out. When Esther reveals her ethnicity, Ahasuerus immediately hangs the evil Haman, but he cannot take back the decree, "for an edict written in the name of the king and sealed with the king's ring cannot be revoked" (Esther 8:8).

Herod Antipas finds himself in a similar situation. Possibly while drunk, and probably while aroused, he has promised his wife's daughter anything she asks in front of "his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee" (Mark 6:21). Antipas is a Samaritan/Edomite chosen by the occupying Roman emperor to rule over Jews. He built his capital on a cemetery, making it unclean for the Jews, and broke the Jewish law by marrying his brother's wife. He needs all the support he can get, especially if the people revolt (Matthew 14:5). So when his step-daughter publically requests the head of John the Baptist, in response to his own oath, he has to acquiesce.

Unlike Ahasuerus, Antipas is not acting out of a moral obligation to keep his word—he broke his first marriage oath quickly enough. However, he is very concerned about his reputation in front of these nobles, even if earning that support risks rebellion by the people. A similar situation will arise when Pilate agrees to have Jesus crucified to keep the peace (Mark 15:15).

Fear of rebellion is not the only reason Antipas hesitates. He seems to genuinely like John, for whatever reason. "Sorry" is from the Greek root word perilupos and means to be very sad, overcome with sorrow. It is found in Mark only twice—here and of Jesus at Gethsemane (Mark 14:34).
Verse Context:
Mark 6:14–29 follows the disciples' success in continuing John the Baptist's work with a flashback of John's execution. John was Jesus' cousin (Luke 1:36) and the herald of Jesus' ministry (John 1:19–28). He preached repentance to many, including Andrew and Peter (John 1:35–42). He also baptized Jesus (Mark 1:9–11). Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee, where Jesus was from, and Perea, near where John preached. Antipas was fascinated by John, but his wife felt threatened by John's condemnation of their incestuous marriage. This story is also found in Matthew 14:1–12, Luke 3:19–20, and Luke 9:7–9.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth, but the people there are faithless and skeptical. As a result, Jesus performs no more than a few minor miracles. He then assigns His twelve apostles to travel in pairs, preaching repentance and healing various conditions. Mark then takes a brief detour to explain the death of John the Baptist, beheaded after Herod Antipas is tricked by his wife. The focus then returns to Jesus, explaining His miraculous feeding of thousands of people, walking on water, and healing people in Gennesaret.
Chapter Context:
Even as the Twelve are given opportunity to wield some of Jesus' power and authority, they still struggle to understand. They misinterpret who He is, what He has come to do, and how much He will ask of them. They fear Jesus' display of deity, but seem to dismiss the murderous rejection of His hometown and the death of John the Baptist. It's easy to have faith in a prophet who seems poised to rescue Israel from foreign rule. It is still beyond them to understand that He is actually God.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/26/2024 11:16:32 AM
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