My Bible has footnotes and in the footnote for Matthew chapter 4:12 it says:

John had been arrested by Herod Antipas (see 14:1-12) Antipas was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, where John was probably working at the time... Jesus withdrew to avoid martyrdom before finishing his work of revealing the kingdom.

My question is why would Jesus go to Galilee if he was trying to escape martyrdom when Herod Antipas was the tetrarch ruling over those regions?

  • Please identify your Bible.
    – enegue
    Jun 7 at 12:22

Benson holds another view about the possible reasons for Jesus departure into Galilee as described in Matt 4:12 -

Matthew 4:12. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison — Namely, for reproving Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, for taking his brother Philip’s wife, and for other evils, Matthew 14:3-4 : he departed into Galilee — Viz., from Judea. This it seems he did, partly to avoid the envy of the Pharisees, John 4:3, and partly to encourage John’s disciples, and to continue the preaching interrupted by his confinement, being desirous to improve those good impressions which the ministry of John had made on the minds of the people, and which would not be erased but deepened by the injurious things they saw him suffer. Thus it becomes one messenger of God to carry on the work begun by another.

Similarly, Barnes observes this:

He departed into Galilee - See Matthew 2:22. The reasons why Jesus then went into Galilee were probably:

  1. Because the attention of the people had been much excited by John's preaching, and things seemed to be favorable for success in his own ministry.

  2. It appeared desirable to have some one to second John in the work of reformation.

  3. It was less dangerous for him to commence his labors there than near Jerusalem. Judea was under the dominion of the scribes, and Pharisees, and priests. They would naturally look with envy on any one who set himself up for a public teacher, and who should attract much attention there. It was important, therefore, that the work of Jesus should begin in Galilee, and become somewhat established and known before he went to Jerusalem.

I agree that the footnote from the OP's Bible is a little mystifying.

  • Good answer. The other side of the coin is the adult Jesus didn't seem to have a problem with political leaders. Herod Antipas didn't want to kill John the Baptist and thought Jesus was John come back to life. Pilate, a polytheistic Roman, was scared when the Jewish leaders said he claimed to be the Son of God. Both undoubtedly heard about Jesus' miracles.
    – Perry Webb
    Jun 6 at 23:50

I came here to try to understand why it said Jesus "withdrew"; that word was really confusing because it implies going away from something. However, and reading what is written here in this thread my understanding is this (please tell me if this makes sense or not): Jesus was there in Nazareth his hometown, but above in the post it says, "Judea was under the dominion of the scribes, and Pharisees, and priests", and "Because the attention of the people had been much excited by John's preaching". This got me thinking about the holy spirit today, and how Jesus talked about what's in a man's heart many times. My understanding is that Jesus was there amongst His own people, so rightly and justly He would try to give the good news to them, but it was a land governed by the Pharisees, scribes, and priests thus their hearts were hardened by their pride and arrogance in their own knowledge. In Galilee, however, John had been preaching already and the people's hearts were open and hungry much as the holy spirit does today. He did what was right and tried to give them the good news, but he "withdrew" from them and went to where there were open and willing hearts after John went to prison because those people needed Him and their hearts were open. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

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    – agarza

He submitted to the Father. Therefore the Father must have told Him to go there, and He went in trust that He would receive any instruction and protection He needed.

John 5:19 (KJV):

Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise

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