Morris, Leon. The Gospel according to Matthew. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992.
“Matthew 14” pp. 368-386.
In the first 12 verses of Matthew 14 we return to the interrupted narrative of John the Baptist (Morris 1992, 368). Herod’s fear was that Jesus, doing his miracles, could be John the Baptist risen from the dead (Morris 1992, 369). Morris explains the complicated family relationship involving Herodias, something Matthew does not do (Morris 1992, 370). The birthday celebration detailed in the passage would not have been a Jewish custom but a Hellenistic one (Morris 1992, 371). While the dancing for entertainment may have been at least somewhat common, having a princess dance was surprising (Morris 1992, 372). The demand of John’s head on a plate clearly requested immediate execution (Morris 1992, 373), which displeased Herod.
Matthew returns to the deeds of Jesus in 14:13-36, beginning with his feeding of five thousand (Morris 1992, 374). Bread was considered as the staple food in the world of the Old and New Testaments. A miraculous multiplication of food reminded early Christians of the manna in the Exodus (Morris 1992, 375). While the disciples suggested sending the crowds away to find food, Jesus told them to feed the crowd (Morris 1992, 377). The disciples know of only a small amount of food and realize they cannot meet the need. In taking, blessing, and breaking the food, while some see communion, Morris does not because fish are not present in communion (Morris 1992, 379). In any case, there is plenty for all, with a substantial amount left over.
After this meal, Matthew, Mark, and John all have the incident of Jesus walking on water. Only Matthew records Peter walking on water also (Morris 1992, 380). After spending time in prayer, Jesus seeks to rejoin his disciples whom he sent ahead in a boat (Morris 1992, 381). By the time he reaches them they have been fighting bad conditions for several hours (Morris 1992, 382). After Jesus identifies himself, Peter asks leave to come join him, which Jesus affirms (Morris 1992,383). Jesus alone is able to rescue Peter from the waves. The storm stopped and the disciples trusted Jesus (Morris 1992, 384).
The chapter closes with Jesus healing people who simply touched his clothes (Morris 1992, 385).