(Mt.14:1-11; Mk.6:17-28; Lk.3:19-20)
Royals have a long history of marrying within the family. Thus, it was no surprise to anyone when Herod Antipas ran off with his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. It was however of consequence to John the Baptiser. If the Herodian family were going to present themselves as Jewish royalty, then it was expected that they have a degree of respect for God’s marriage Laws (Lev.18:16). John’s rebuke of Herod Antipas for stealing his brother’s wife landed him in prison. Herodias, who was intent upon making sure that John should pay the penalty for calling her out, waited her opportunity.If you live long enough, you know that it doesn’t take long for opportunities for evil to present themselves with people like Herod.All it took was the coming together of a godless triad, and an event spiked with booze, beauty, boasting and bitterness. The scene was set for the murder of a great man of God.Herod couldn’t help himself. At his birthday party his ‘stepdaughter,’ Salome, danced for him. Being high on lust and self-importance, he initiated this tragic exchange: Herod: “Ask for anything you like, Salome.”Salome: “What do I ask for, mum?”Herodias: “The head of John the Baptist on a platter.”Would John have thought twice before getting on Herodias’ wrong side if he knew what was going to befall him? You know that he would have said what he had said, despite any adverse consequences, known or otherwise. Herodias has on her hands the blood of the man that Jesus commended as: “Among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! (Mt.11:11). Herodias, granddaughter of the man who murdered the babies of Bethlehem, was acting to type. She didn’t have to!