Notes: September 12, 2009

Executed for preaching against divorce

You may know that John the Baptist was decapitated on order of Herod.  But do you know why the King ordered the death of a man that he considered to be holy and just?

Mark 6:14-28

  • It’s most likely that John the Baptist spoke often to the king (v. 20). Herod feared (respected?) John and watched him. Herod considered John to be a just and holy man. The preaching/teaching of John brought changes to the king’s life.
  • But one day (how many days, we don’t know) John told Herod that his marriage to his brother Philip’s wife was unlawful.
    • Aretas (the king of Arabia Petrea) and Herod had a quarrel, on the account following:—Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas, and had lived with her a great while; but when he was once at Rome, he lodged with Herod, {a} who was his brother, indeed, but not by the same mother; for this Herod was the son of the high priest Simon’s daughter. (110) However, he fell in love with Herodias, this last Herod’s wife, who was the daughter of Aristobulus their brother, and the sister of Agrippa the Great. This man ventured to talk to her about a marriage between them; which address, when she admitted, an agreement was made for her to change her habitation, and come to him as soon as he should return from Rome: one article of this marriage also was this, that he should divorce Aretas’ daughter. (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 5)
  • Herod’s previous wife was yet alive. Herodias’s previous husband was yet alive. Their (second) marriage to each other was unlawful in the eyes of God.
  • She pressured him to arrest John the Baptist. Women behind the leader often wield much influence.
  • To save face in front of guests, Herod agreed to execute John (v. 26).
  • She got her revenge. The preacher was silenced forever.

Matthew 14:12

John’s disciples collected the body for burial.