Feb 3,2023 - The Dance That Decapitated John's Head - Mark 6:14-29
Nguyen Trung Tay
The Dance That Decapitated John's Head - Mark 6:14-29
King Herod the Great, who attempted to slaughter the infant Jesus (Matt 2), was appointed King of Judea by the Romans in 37BCE. Prince Philip, one of his many sons, married Herodias, who unfortunately divorced Philip. For whatever reason that was unclear to the reader, even though the prince was alive, Herodias later became a wife of Antipas, a half brother of Philip. Note that in Jewish culture to ensure the property of the extended family to remain intact, a brother is by the Torah obliged to marry the widow of his childless deceased brother with the hope that this culturally marital union would produce a male heir to the deceased one (Deut. 25:5-6).
This Jewish cultural aspect is also illustrated through the confrontation between Jesus and the Saducees, who came to Jesus for an advice (a checkmate) regarding the story of the seven brothers who married the same woman (Mark 12:18-27). However, the marital bond between Antipas and Herodias seemed not to fit in this category, for Philip was alive at the moment his former wife, Herodias, became a wife of his brother, Antipas.
John the Baptist opposed such a marital relationship. Quite often the prophet of the desert publically made heaps of strong critical statements about the sinful act of the enthroned king Antipas and Herodias. And this courageous action eventually cost the prophet his own head through the dance of Salome, Herodias’ daughter. One day in front of the nobles and the elites, who were invited to attend the birthday’s banquet of King Herod Antipas, the girl danced so beautiful that the king in the presence of his honor guests naively swore an oath that whatever Solome would like to ask for, even haft of his kingdom (Galilee and Peraea), the king would be delightful to grant her request. And the girl pointed her finger at the head of John who was chained up in prison due to his fierce opposition to the royal marriage.
And the girl in turn presented the dish to her gentle (?) mother.
Oh! Happy day… What a dreadfrul moment for John the Baptist.
At once, the execution took place in the prison. A short time later, John’s head was placed on a dish and granted to Salome, who in turn presented the dish to her gentle (?) mother.
Fruit for the Day:
Do we have courage to confront our leaders regarding their sins, even if we are fully cognizant of our action that will eventually cost us some thing, an opportunity to be promoted, for instance, or even our own lives?
Forget not that the prophet of the desert John the Baptist and chose not keep quiet.