You’ve heard it said that the truth hurts. Sometimes it hurts a lot! Maybe that’s why Herodias hated John the Baptizer so much…
At the age of 23, Herodias divorced her husband, Philip, who was also her uncle, and married Antipas, another uncle. Both men were sons of Herod the Great, the king who ruled over Judea and Galilee… and the Herod that is mentioned concerning the wise men after Jesus’ birth.
John the Baptizer openly condemned Antipas for his marriage to Herodias, which caused Herodias to feed a deep hatred for John (Mark 6:17-20). She wanted to have John killed, but Antipas considered John a holy man and feared what would happen if he killed him. But, Herodias’ hatred would not die… and eventually she found a way to have John killed.
Instead of getting rid of her sin, she chose to get rid of the one who pointed it out. Herod Antipas arrested John under pressure from his wife and advisers.
Herod Antipas held a banquet for his birthday… a party in his own honor, and, at this celebration, Antipas’ daughter, Salome, danced for her father and his guests. Antipas was so pleased at her dance, he offered to give her anything she wished for… up to half his kingdom. Herodias encouraged her daughter to ask her father to give her the head of John the Baptizer on a platter… and her father gave it to her.
Herod Antipas was very distressed at her request, but he would not go back on his offer in front of his guests.
Herodias chose a pathway of a lifestyle of sin. And we have no evidence that she ever veered toward a pathway of righteousness. She was given a crystal-clear opportunity to choose; John showed her what right was, but she chose wrong… and doubled-down by putting John the Baptizer in her sights.
How do you react when you’re confronted with the truth?
A few years after Jesus’ death, Herodias’ brother, Agrippa, was made king over parts of Palestine… and Herodias was very jealous. She urged Antipas to sail to Rome and ask Emperor Caligula to be named king. But, Agrippa got wind of the plot, and sent letters to Rome, denouncing Antipas for various misdeeds. So, the Emperor exiled Antipas to the area now known as France. Herodias went with him, and she probably died there.
You can read the story of Herodias in Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29.