King Herod had ordered the arrest and imprisonment of John the Baptizer (86). Herod had done this at the insistence of Herodias — whom he had taken to be his wife, even though she was already married to his brother Philip. John the Baptizer had repeatedly told Herod, “It isn’t right for you to marry your brother’s wife!” This was embarrassing to Herodias, who held a grudge against John and wanted him killed.
But Herod would not permit John’s execution. Herod respected John because he knew that he was a godly man. Herod even liked to listen to John, although he became very anxious every time he heard him. Herod also knew that killing John would upset the Jews, because they considered him a prophet.
Then, on Herod’s birthday, when he gave a feast for many prominent people of Galilee, Herodias found her chance to eliminate John. Her daughter, Salome, danced for Herod & his guests, which pleased them all very much. So the king rashly promised the girl, “What would you like to have? I swear that I will give you anything you ask for, even as much as half my kingdom!”
Salome went out and asked her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptizer,” Herodias answered immediately. The girl hurried back to the king and announced, “I want you to give me the head of John the Baptizer on a plate!”
King Herod really didn’t want to kill John, but he felt he couldn’t refuse the girl because of the rash promise he had made in front of all his guests. So Herod sent a guard with orders to bring John’s head. The guard left, went to the prison, and cut John’s head off; then he brought it on a plate and gave it to Salome, who gave it to Herodias.
When John’s students heard about this, they came & got his body & buried it. Then they went & told Jesus.
King Herod had heard about all that Jesus was doing, because his reputation was spreading everywhere. Some people said of Jesus, “John the Baptizer has come back to life! That is why he has this power to do miracles.” Other people said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is like one of the prophets of long ago.”
Herod was confused by all this, so he wanted to meet Jesus to figure it out for himself. Herod even wondered if John the Baptizer really had come back to life.
(86) Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29, Luke 9:7-9