While Josephus and Luke, politically, lay the death of John the Baptist at the feet of Herod Antipas, Mark clearly blames Herodias and her daughter Salome for John’s beheading.
And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee…And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me…the head of John the Baptist.
And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought; and he went and beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. Mark 6:21-28
“Damsel” is a term often found linked with “virgin” as in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 which says: If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed…Also, Mark helpfully clarifies exactly what the term means…
And he took the damsel by the hand, and said unto her, “Talitha cumi;” which is, being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, arise. And straightaway the damsel arose and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. (Mark 5:39-42)
We are being told that Herodias’ daughter was a young virgin—perhaps betrothed–as discussed earlier and we will see again–virgins were most often kept indoors to preserve their virginity. But we the reader have added to Salome’s character a voluptuous Lolita-like pre-teen pursuing her own perverted ways at the expense of God’s elect: a typical teenage girl in some circles. But Herodias’ daughter could not have been a mere “damsel.”
Herodias…had a daughter Salome…married to Philip, the son of Herod, the tetrarch of Trachonitis… Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.V.4.
Let’s look at that: Continue reading “Salome the Damsel Queen”