Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Women in the Life of Jesus: Herodias and Salome

At that time Herod, the ruler of Galilee, heard the reports about Jesus.  So he said to his servants, “Jesus is John the Baptist, who has risen from the dead. That is why he can work these miracles.”
Sometime before this, Herod had arrested John, tied him up, and put him into prison. Herod did this because of Herodias, who had been the wife of Philip, Herod’s brother.  John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to be married to Herodias.”  Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they believed John was a prophet.
On Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced for Herod and his guests, and she pleased him.  So he promised with an oath to give her anything she wanted. Herodias told her daughter what to ask for, so she said to Herod, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”  Although King Herod was very sad, he had made a promise, and his dinner guests had heard him. So Herod ordered that what she asked for be done. He sent soldiers to the prison to cut off John’s head.  And they brought it on a platter and gave it to the girl, and she took it to her mother. John’s followers came and got his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.-Matthew 14:1-12 (NCV)

Herodias. She was not a Believer. She is not mentioned as coming directly in contact with Jesus in the Scriptures, but she was in important figure during that time.  So, why should we take notice of her?
Herodias was influential in the life of her daughter.  The New Testament doesn’t give Herodias’ daughter a name, but she is identified by the Jewish historian Josephus as Salome.  Ironically her name means peace.
On Herod’s birthday, Salome dances for Herod and his guests.  She dances for all these men, while her mother watches.  It makes Herod so happy that he gives he offers her up to half of his kingdom.  What kind of dancing can you do for an evil man to warrant that kind of reward?
Since she is presumably still a young girl, or a child, she goes to her mother and asks her advice on what to ask of Herod.  What an opportune moment for Herodias.  She could have told her to ask for something that would benefit her daughter.  But she does not.  Instead, because of her selfishness, and bitterness, she chooses this moment to exact revenge on John the Baptist, someone who has publicly humiliated her. So, she tells her very impressionable daughter what to ask for, the head of John the Baptist on a platter.  You will remember that John is Jesus’ cousin, and the forerunner of the Messiah.  This is going to affect John’s disciples, as well as Jesus.  Because of Herodias’ influence as a mother, her daughter does what she tells her.
She didn’t realize the influence she had over her daughter, or maybe she did.  All mothers have this influence, whether they know it or not.  Our choices invariably become their choices, creating a ripple effect.
Because of all of the people that heard about Jesus in Jerusalem and throughout the region, including Galilee, I like to think that at some point Salome heard that Jesus loved her, and converted.  That’s what He came to do, give grace, mercy, love and forgiveness for those in situations just like hers.  That same grace was available to Herodias too.

Many blessings to you as you walk in His divine love,

To read more posts in this series, go here to Women in the Life of Jesus. 

1 comment:

  1. Very beautiful. What an amazing God who gave us influence, we have to guide wisely.