Summary: She asked for the head of John the Baptist. It was to be brought on a platter, the same as the other entries at this feast. So John was beheaded; becoming the first of many to die in this fashion. Many dying by even more horrible methods.
Harmony of the Gospels
Lesson: Herod Beheads John
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
Herod was no doubt informed of Christ’s miracles and preaching. At the same time He was being insulted by His countrymen for His unimportance and obscurity, He was becoming famous throughout Judea and in Herod’s court. His fame would cause the rulers and religious leaders to become more vigorous in their attempts to discredit Him and to eventually kill Him. His disciples were now being sent out in His name to preach the Gospel and they also did miracles, so this worked to spread His fame even faster.
2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
John never did any miracles, but Herod believed that Christ must Be John resurrected, and that now he has more power than he had before.
Herod thought that by getting rid of John, he would no longer be confronted by his sins, but now there is Jesus preaching the same message that John did, and He is becoming very popular with the people. Even His disciples were validating His greatness by their miracles, which they did in His name. Herod probably suffered from a guilty conscience, and thoughts that John had come back to life terrified him. In Proverbs it says, “The wicked flee when no man pursueth:….” (Prov 28:1 (KJV) Jesus did not intend to criticize Herod, like John did, because He had come to save men, but Herod was paranoid at this point and saw Him as an enemy. Note that Herod believed that John was a prophet and a great one and that he had power from God, but he was not sorry that He killed him. With just a little investigation, he could have discovered that Jesus was around long before John was beheaded. Herod was a madman, and his whole family was like the first century Mafia.
3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
Mark explains the connection between John and Herod, “And Herod respected John, knowing that he was a good and holy man, and so he kept him under his protection. Herod was disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so he liked to listen to him.” (Mark 6:20 (Living) John may have been bolder with Herod, since he knew him so well. The sin that he reprimanded him for was marrying his brother Philip’s wife, who was not a widow. He got her by deception and kept her. This marriage involved adultery and incest, beside the wrong done to Philip, who also had a child by this woman. And it was for this sin that John admonished him in plain language saying, “It is not lawful for thee to have her.”
Herod had John arrested and thrown into prison, partly to satisfy his need for revenge and partly to please Herodias, who was even more incensed against John than He was.
5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
He would have put him to death, but the thing that hindered him was his fear of the people, for they thought he was a prophet; it was not his fear of God. It is believed that John spent a year and a half in prison, which was about the length of his public ministry.
6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
Herodias planned a method to bring about the murder of John, so that Herod would save face. On his birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before him and his court; during the festivities held in honor of the occasion. Her dancing pleased Herod and put him in a jovial mood.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
And now he made a foolish promise to her and confirmed it with an oath; that she could have anything she wanted.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.
Her mother, knowing that Herod would make such an offer, had instructed her on what to say; or perhaps Herod was in on the plot, all along. She asked for the head of John the Baptist. It was to be brought on a platter, the same as the other entries at this feast. So John was beheaded; becoming the first of many to die in this fashion. Many dying by even more horrible methods.