The Daughters Dance

Lesson 16

King Herod's wife, Herodias, hated John the Baptist. The desert-dwelling prophet had dared to call her an adulteress for leaving her husband Philip to marry his evil but wealthier brother. Now the wicked queen determined to use her influence over Herod to get even with John. First, she persuaded him to have John imprisoned. Then she asked to have John executed, but Herod refused. He knew that John was a true prophet and feared political backlash from the people.

Finally, Herodias developed a fool-proof scheme. She threw a party for Herod's birthday and invited all his friends and the nobles from his realm, then she arranged for her beautiful daughter Salome to dance in a seductive, captivating style. Herodias hoped that after Herod had a few glasses of wine, he would ask Salome what reward she wanted for her enchanting dance.

Her sinister plan worked. After Salome's dance, Herod made a pompous oath: "Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom." Mark 6:23. As the inebriated guests were applauding the king's generosity, the girl stood ready with her reply. Then she shocked everyone by asking for the head of John the Baptist on a platter! Herod was stunned by the gruesome request, but all of his shocked friends were watching for his response. Afraid that he would appear weak if he refused, the proud king reluctantly gave the order. That very day the mighty prophet John was beheaded alone in prison.

This was not the first time that a mother and daughter team used the government to persecute God's people.