Herod and Herodias

January 15, 2021

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 (Matthew 14:3).

If Hollywood ever runs out of salacious material in producing movies, the movie moguls can look to the Bible for enough to keep them busy. On second thought, we don’t need to hear or see any more than we already have.

Herodias is mentioned 6 times in the New Testament. She was the daughter of Aristobulus and Bernice, daughter of King Herod Agrippa I, and grand-daughter of King Herod the Great. She was first married to Herod Philip, her uncle, by whom she had Salome. She eventually left Herod Philip and lived publicly with Herod Antipas, her brother-in-law. He had been previously married to Phasaelis, the daughter of King Aretas of Arabia Petraea (the Nabateans of Petra). As soon as Aretas heard that Herod Antipas was going to divorce Phasaelis, he declared war. The two armies met in battle. The army of Herod Antipas was slaughtered by the Arabians. The Jewish historian, Josephus, said this was God’s judgment for the murder of John the Baptist (Antiqities, b. 18, c. 7). Herodias was bad news big time, second only to Jezebel.

King Herod Antipas was an evil, corrupt, shameless, henpecked, and sexually perverted man given to every kind of sinful excess available to him. He would have been a shining star in Hollywood. He was also a wimp. He had John the Baptizer imprisoned because of his wife, Herodias. Herodias didn’t like John’s zealous preaching against sin, and Herod Antipas didn’t like Herodias nagging him about it. They had an audience with John, who rebuked them both for their sins. Herodias wanted him dead, Herod Antipas did not. But she got her way via her daughter, Salome, who danced a sensual dance in front of her uncle/step-father and his friends. Oscar material here.

What’s the point here? The point is, how fearless is your faith? How committed to Jesus are you in the face of our current culture? John was neither a diplomat or a ‘reverend’ (in the modern abuse of the term). He stood against sin, rebuked the sinner, and let the chips fall where they may. “Such godly boldness, which does not consider the consequences, is the hallmark of prophetic greatness” (John MacArthur). It was the holy boldness of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7), the Apostles Peter, Paul, and John, and countless others down through Christian history. Can it be said of us today?

“Lord Jesus, if ever there was a time in this generation when the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be publicly and boldly declared, now is that time. When our pulpits are compromised, our churches apostatized, and our witness sanitized, help us to rise up with the pure Gospel of truth in Jesus Christ. We will suffer for it, but our sufferings here cannot be compared to the glory we will bring to Your holy name and the ongoing work of Your kingdom. Amen.”


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