Matthew 14:1-12

1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus

2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”

3 For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.

4 Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”

5 And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.

6 But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod.

7 Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.

8 So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.”

9 And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her.

10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.

11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 

12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

This account also appears in Mark 6:14-29 and Luke 9:7-9.

Herod (v.1) — Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Peraea — son of Herod the Great

tetrarch (v.1) = ruler of a fourth. Herod the Great’s kingdom had been divided among his sons

prison (v.3) — probably in the castle of Machaerus, on the Dead Sea — John had probably been in prison for about a year.

Herodias (v.3) — daughter of Aristobolus, who was Antipas’ half-brother. She was married to her uncle Philip (with whom she’d had a daughter, Salome). Herodias divorced Philip and married Antipas who was already married to the daughter of Aretus, king of Arabia.

daughter (v.6) — Salome, who was probably around 17 years old.

It was not long [after the events of this chapter] before the wicked ambition of Herodias led Herod to Rome to seek the title of king, given to Agrippa, the brother of Herodias. But in this quest he not only failed to obtain the title he sought but lost his dominions and was banished to Lugdumin in Gaul not far from the Spanish frontier, where he and the wicked Herodias later died in obscurity and dishonor. Salome was married to her uncle Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis and Batanea, but after a brief time was left a widow and disappears from history. Tradition says that she met with an early and hideous death. — Pentecost, pages 229-230.

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