“Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. “
Luke 13:32, (context, vv. 31-35)
Herod’s “accomplishments” were hardly the stuff of a righteous king. He flagrantly committed several very public sins. He wasn’t a good king, as he flouted his authority over the Jewish people. He was regarded as cunning, but weak. Some of his evil things he did is listed below:
- Signed a decree to murder all the children under two year old and under.
- Ruled as a “puppet” leader and was given his authority by the emperor Augustus and the Roman government.
- He permitted Salome to dance before an audience, which was forbidden by the Jewish Law.
- Ordered the murder of John the Baptist after John confronted him about his evil relationship with Herodias.
- Turned Jesus over to Pontius Pilate for judgement and execution.
Needless to say King Herod Antipas didn’t have a good track record, he was regarded as a wicked man, and an evil king. He actively opposed any threats to his rule. It’s interesting that he resisted both John, and later Jesus. He was a definite threat to the kingdom of God.
Typically the Pharisees’ and the Herodians’ were on opposite poles, especially when it came to religious and legal matters. It’s quite interesting that they united to oppose Jesus and his ministry. Herod was very superstitious and paranoid–for instance, he believed that Jesus was actually John the Baptist risen from the dead to continue his ministry.
Jesus called him a fox, which certainly wasn’t an endearing description, and described the rule of Antipas as an evil ruler. Usually kings choose a “lion” as their emblem–it represented strength and authority, Jesus refused to recognize Herod in this way. Herod was an evil man, and ruled like a fox.
“To the Jew the fox was a symbol of three things. First it was regarded as the slyest of animals. Second, it was regarded as the most destructive of animals. Third, it was the symbol of a worthless and insignificant man.”
Barclay’s Commentary on the Bible
Jesus is direct and blunt. He knew the character of Herod’s reign, and didn’t mince words when he referred to him. Jesus recognized the evil and “labeled” it. At the same time he seemed to acknowledge the authority of Herod’s reign.
Jesus was well aware of the “timetable” he had. He understood that he had plenty of work to do, and the time that he had to do it. Jesus was definitely aware of Herod’s resistance to his ministry, but wasn’t the least bit intimidated or cowed into silence or fear.
It’s interesting to note that Jesus understood that his death was imminent.
The ministry of Satan often can be seen in the influence of fallen man–it seems the more authority one has over others, the more the enemy can work. Perhaps that’s the awareness that Jesus has. Rather than altering his ministry, Jesus has confidence that he is on God’s timetable. He refuses to be afraid of this wicked king.
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
Proverbs 29:25, ESV