Salome (Herodias Daughter)
Introduction Matt 14:1-12 & Mark 6:13-29
When we think of power we relate it with heads of state, dictators, military, law enforcement or criminals. In fact these individuals carry a tremendous amount of authority but there are others that on the outward do not look like people of authorities but have the keys of life and death at their side. Entertainers are under estimated but many have power over people that can make life difficult to the common man.
1. A Mother's influence (Matt 14:1-12 & Mark 6:13-29)
· In our text we see that John at one point confronted Herodias ungodly marriage to Herod
· We need to look at her lifestyle to understand the mindset of those viewed as stars
· (Lev. 20-21)They where breaking the laws of God and did not like John's preaching
I. The bible states the she had a grudge against John and was trying to kill him
ii. The elite do not like for people to expose their sins or short comings
iii. John Kerry with the swift boat scandal, Britney Spears, Anna Nicole Smith, the Clintons
iv. Herodias was a women that did as she pleased and was not about to answer to John
v. She was also a mother and brought up her daughter to have the same convictions
vi. Little is known about the daughter but it is evident that she was a dancer
· Herodias prepared her to influence the court in entertainment, a powerful tool of seduction
· As parents who teach young ones the arts we are developing individuals that will influence
· Entertainment is a tool that will turn minds to an agenda
2. The Power of Art
· The daughter danced before the court - Salome
· Salome danced before the court, she was an entertainer who's dance to drunken royalty gain much
· (vs. 22 & 23) You have found favor, what do you want, Hollywood syndrome we are the elite
a. (Prov 6:23-29) Women have power over men thru flattery or sex appeal, expound
b. Marylyn Monroe, Happy birthday Mr. President, sex scandal and suicide
- For the most part entertainers do this for gain not the gospel, dancing to arouse
- Sex and entertainment go hand in hand, it's what it's all about
- The public is not interested in your political views, doors do open to horny men
- (Prov 6:23-29) This scripture shows the power of women that are up to no good
- This industry preaches a gospel of pleasure, Salome was no different, kill the Gospel, hate righteousness and if possible kill the massagers
- The Gospel contradicts entertainment the Word is spiritual and the other flesh
3. Salome Agenda (vs. 24 & 25)
· The entertainer was going to get paid but asked acts against the Gospel
i. We see this in Hollywood all the time attacks against the gospel but our idols.
· The reason is that entertainment appeals to the carnal flesh, strippers, porn and gay activist
i. When you give over to appetite your in a bad position as Herod
ii. Entertainers are preachers in a sense, they preach sin as the answer
· Salome world is not ours, (Matt 6:22-23) her life was that of darkness
· She was a product of pleasure not righteousness, Herodias brought her up to love mammon
i. Hollywood is the same they strive for a sinful life and hate the John's of this age.
ii. God brings reproach to their lifestyle and they respond by attacking the gospel
iii. The lie of choice and rights, live like the devil it's our right look at San Francisco
Entertainers appeal to sin, they glorify it and are trapped to it
The don't show you the tragic bondage they have to endure
Drug abuse, alcoholism, sex, narcotic, prescription drugs, death
Janie Lee Curtis - prescription drug addict brother die of heroin overdose
Salome life is one to be examined and learn from, flee youthful lust
(1 John 2:15-17) Love not the world
(James 1: 12-16) We are called to righteousness, run from temptation and serve God
13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets.
16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her.
18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
21 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;
22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias 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.
23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
26 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.
27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,
28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
14:1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,
2 And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
3 For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife.
4 For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
6 But when Herod's birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.
8 And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist's head in a charger.
9 And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath's sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.
10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.
11 And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
12 And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.
21 And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness; they shall be childless.
23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:
24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life.
27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?
28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?
29 So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
7:1 My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.
2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.
3 Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.
4 Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:
5 That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words.
6 For at the window of my house I looked through my casement,
7 And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding,
8 Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house,
9 In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night:
10 And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtil of heart.
11(She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house:
12 Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.)
13 So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him,
14 I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows.
15 Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee.
16 I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt.
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves.
19 For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey:
20 He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed.
21 With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.
22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
23 Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
24 Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth.
25 Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths.
26 For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.
1 John 2:15-17
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
Of course, there were
celebrity stories other
than the Simpson case in the 90's:
8852 Sunset Blvd, West Hollywood: The Viper Room, a rock club where 23-year-old actor River Phoenix ("Stand By Me") died of an overdose of heroin and cocaine. He collapsed on the sidewalk outside of this club, on Halloween night of 1993. (He was pronounced dead at Cedars-Sinai hospital, located at 8700 Beverly Blvd.). Ironically, The Viper Room is owned by another young actor, Johnny Depp (star of "Edward Scissorhands").
Skirball Center Drive exit to the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway:
where actor/comedian Bill Cosby's
27-year-old son, Ennis Cosby,
was shot and killed on January 16, 1997. Ennis had been heading north from West
L.A. on the 405, to visit a friend in the Valley, when his car had a flat tire.
It was 1:45 a.m. He pulled the car off onto the exit leading to Mulholland Drive
(in the Sepulveda Pass), and while he was fixing the flat on the west shoulder
of that road, just off the freeway ramp, a stranger shot and killed him for no
apparent reason (perhaps during an attempted robbery). An 18-year-old wannabe
gang member from Orange County, Mikail "Michael" Markhasev, was arrested for the
crime, tried, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
5065 Encino Avenue (at the NW corner of Embassy), in Encino: the family home of Phil Hartman, where the comic-actorwas shot to death in his sleep by his wife, Brynn, on May 28, 1998. His wife later committed suicide. Hartman had started out at the Groundling theater, then went on to "Saturday Night Live" (where he was known for his impressions of President Clinton), before landing the role of egotistical radio newsman 'Bill McNeal' on the TV sitcom "NewsRadio." He was 49 years old when he died.
11537 W. Killion Street, in North Hollywood: the home of Hervé Villechaize, the 3-foot, 11-inch actor who played "Tattoo", Mr. Rourke's dwarf assistant on the original TV series "Fantasy Island." He shot himself to death on the backyard patio of this home in North Hollywood, on Sept. 4, 1993 (following worsening health problems). He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered at sea.
23449 Malibu Colony Road, Malibu: the home of actor Brian Keith (TV's Uncle Bill in "Family Affair," and star of ""Hardcastle and McCormick"), where he shot himself on June 24, 1997, following a long bout with emphysema and lung cancer.
139 Fraser Street, Santa Monica: the studio apartment of actress and model Margaux Hemingway. Although she had found success early in life, in movies like "Lipstick," luck soon turned against her. With her career on the rocks, her neighbors reported that she hadn't been seen in over a week. Police found her inside her apartment - dead of an overdose of pills. She had committed suicide on July 2, 1996, the anniversary of the suicide of her famous grandfather, Ernest Hemingway.
Woodbine Park (on Motor Avenue at National Blvd.), in the Palms district of West L.A.: rap singer Snoop Doggy Dogg (real name: Calvin Broadus) was arrested for murder; he was allegedly behind the wheel of a black Jeep Cherokee during a drive-by shooting at this park, on August 25, 1993. Philip Woldemariam, an alleged gang member, was shot and killed. Broadus claimed self-defense, and eluded police long enough to announce the R&B winner at the MTV Awards show. He was acquitted of the murder charges, and the jury deadlocked on the lesser charges, which were later dropped. *
|12900 Mulholland Drive, in the Hollywood Hills: actor Marlon Brando's house, where his son, Christian Brando, shot and killed his half-sister's lover, Dag Drollet, in May of 1990. (Christian claimed the shooting was accidental, and occurred during a fight allegedly sparked because Cheyenne said Drollet was beating her) He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison. His half-sister, Cheyenne, committed suicide in Tahiti in 1995. After his release from prison in January of 1996, Christian returned home to his father's estate.|
945 N. Beaudry Ave., in downtown Los Angeles (between Chinatown and Dodger Stadium): the driveway of the home of actor Haing S. Ngor, where he was was shot to death on February 25, 1996. The Cambodian actor had won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 1984 after starring in the chilling true drama, "The Killing Fields.." It appears that he was murdered by street gang members because he refused to give up a gold locket containing a picture of his late wife - who had been allowed to die in childbirth by the Khmer Rouge soldiers in 1975. *
1509 E. Wilson Terrace, Glendale: the Glendale Adventist Hospital, where game show host Ray Combs killed himself on the night of June 2, 1996. Combs had hosted the popular "Family Feud" for seven years (from 1988-1994), until he was replaced by the the return of original host Richard Dawson. Combs had attempted suicide the same day at his home (at 1318 Sonora Drive, Glendale), and had been taken to the hospital, where he hanged himself with bedsheets in his hospital room while on a 72-hour "suicide watch.." He had been experiencing severe financial problems caused by the failure of his comedy club in Cincinnati. He had also been experiencing continued pain from a 1994 auto accident that had left him temporarily paralyzed, and was having marital problems.
6060 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA.: the Petersen Automotive Museum, the site of a Soul Train awards party on March 9, 1997, after which rapper Notorious B.I.G. (aka Christopher Wallace) was gunned down and killed by a drive-by shooter shortly after midnight, while sitting inside his Chevrolet Suburban.
15519 Saddleback Road, Canyon Country, CA: the home where singer Del Shannon committed suicide. Shannon had recorded the smash hit song "Runaway." im 1964. It stayed #1 on the charts for four straight weeks. Although he had previous hits (such as "Keep Searchin (We'll Follow the Sun)" and "Hats Off to Larry," "Runaway." was his last song on the charts. He drank heavily, until he joined A.A. in 1979. His hit "Runaway" enjoyed renewed popularity as the theme to the 1986 TV series "Crime Story.." on February 8, 1990, he shot himself in the head with a .22 caliber rifle. His wife thought his death might have been related to his recent use of the prescription drug Prozac.
2025 Avenue of the
Stars, Century City: the
Hotel, where former Columbia Pictures president
David Begelman shot
himself on August 7, 1995. Begelman had started the powerful agency Creative
Management Associates, which pioneered the idea of "packaging" stars, writers
and directors from the same agency. He had then gone on to head Columbia,
presiding over the making of such hits as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."
and "Shampoo." But he fell from power in 1977, when he was accused of
forging checks and misappropriation of funds, and eventually convicted of grand
theft. The scandal became the subject of David McClintick's 1982 bestseller "Indecent
For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her.
For Herod himself had sent forth, and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison - in the castle of Machaerus, near the southern extremity of Herod's dominions, and adjoining the Dead Sea. (Josephus Ant. xviii 5, 2).
For Herodias' sake. She was the grand-daughter of Herod the Great.
His brother Phillip's wife - and therefore the niece of both brothers. This Philip, however, was not the tetrarch of that name mentioned in Luke 3:1 (see there), but one whose distinctive name was 'Herod Philip,' another son of Herod the Great, who was disinherited by his father. Herod Antipas' own wife was the daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia; but he prevailed on Herodias, his half-brother Philip's wife, to forsake her husband and live with him, on condition, says Josephus (Ant. xviii. 5, 1), that he should put away his own wife. This involved him afterward in war with Aretas, who totally defeated him and destroyed his army, from the effects of which he was never able to recover himself.
For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. Noble fidelity! It was not lawful, because Herod's wife and Herodias' husband were both living; and further, because the parties were within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity (see Lev 20:21); Herodias being the daughter of Aristobulus, the brother of both Herod and Philip (Josephus xviii. 5, 4).
Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not:
Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, [eneichen (NT:1758) autoo (NT:846)] - rather, as in the margin, 'had a grudge against him.' Probably she was too proud to speak to him: still less would she quarrel with him.
And would have killed him: but she could not:
For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
For Herod feared John - but, as Bengel notes, John feared not Herod.
Knowing that he was a just man and an holy. Compare the case of Elijah with Ahab, after the murder of Naboth (1 Kings 21:20).
And observed him, [suneteerei (NT:4933) auton (NT:846)] - rather as in the margin, 'kept' or 'saved him:' that is, from the wicked designs of Herodias, who had been watching for some pretext to get Herod entangled and committed to despatch him.
And when he heard him, he did many things (many good things under the influence of the Baptist on his conscience); and heard him gladly - a striking statement this, for which we are indebted to our graphic Evangelist alone; illustrating the working of contrary principles in the slaves of passion. But this only shows how far Herodias must have worked upon him, as Jezebel upon Ahab, that he should at length agree to what his awakened conscience kept him long from executing.
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 a convenient day (for the purposes of Herodias) was come, that Herod, [genomenees (NT:1096) heemeras (NT:2250) eukairou (NT:2121), hote (NT:3753)] - rather, 'A convenient day being come, when Herod,'
On his birth day, made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief [estates] of Galilee. This graphic minuteness of detail adds much to the interest of the tragic narrative.
And when the daughter of the said Herodias 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 when the daughter of the said Herodias - that is, her daughter by her proper husband, Herod Philip: Her name was Salome, (Josephus Ibid.)
Came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, [korasioo (NT:2877)] - 'the girl.' (See the note at Mark 5:42.)
Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
And he [the king, so called, but only by courtesy (see the note at Mark 6:14] sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, unto the half of my kingdom. Those in whom passion and luxury have destroyed self-command will in a capricious moment say and do what in their cool moments they bitterly regret.
And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist. Abandoned women are more shameless and heartless than men. The Baptist's fidelity marred the pleasures of Herodias, and this was too good an opportunity of getting rid of him to let slip.
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger 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 by and by [ex (NT:1537) autees (NT:846)] - rather, 'at once,' in a charger-or large flat 'trencher' [pinaki (NT:4094)] - "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 the king was exceeding sorry. With his feelings regarding John, and the truths which so told upon his conscience from that preacher's lips, and after so often and carefully saving him from his paramour's rage, it must have been very galling to find himself at length entrapped by his own rash folly.
Yet for his oath's sake. See how men of no principle, but troublesome conscience, will stick at breaking a rash oath, while yielding to the commission of the worst crimes!
And for their sakes which sat with him - under the influence of that false shame, which could not brook being thought to be troubled with religious or moral scruples. To how many has this proved a fatal snare!
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 immediately the king sent an executioner, [spekoulatoora (NT:4688) - the true reading is evidently spekoulatora (NT:4688)] - one of the guards in attendance. The word is Roman, denoting one of the Imperial guard.
And commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison - after, it would seem, more than 12 months' imprisonment. Blessed martyr. Dark and cheerless was the end reserved for thee; but now thou hast thy Master's benediction, "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me" (Matt 11:6), and hast found the life thou gavest away (Matt 10:39). But where are they in whose skirts is found thy blood?
And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.
And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. Herodias did not shed the blood of the stern reprover; she only got it done, and then gloated over it, as it streamed from the trunkless head. The striking analogy to this in the Church of Rome will be noticed in Remark 3, below.
And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.
And when his disciples heard of it-that is, the Baptist's own disciples, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb - "and went and told Jesus" (Matt 14:12). If these disciples had, up to this time, stood apart from Him, as adherents of John (Matt 11:2), perhaps they now came to Jesus, not without some secret reflection on Him for His seeming neglect of their master; but perhaps, too, as orphans, to cast in their lot henceforth with the Lord's disciples. How Jesus felt, or what He said, on receiving this intelligence is not recorded; but He of whom it was said, as He stood by the grave of His friend Lazarus, "Jesus wept," was not likely to receive such intelligence without deep emotion. And one reason why He might not be unwilling that a small body of John's disciples should cling to him to the last, might be to provide some attached friends who should do for his precious body, on a small scale, what was afterward to be done for His own.
(1) The truth of the Gospel History is strikingly illustrated in this section. Had the Life of Christ which it contains been a literary invention, instead of a historical reality, the last thing probably which the writers would have thought of would have been to terminate the life of His honoured forerunner in the way here recorded. When we read it, we at once feel that, to be written, it must have been real. But we turn to the Jewish historian, and in his Antiquities of his nation we find precisely the same account of the Baptist's character, his fidelity to Herod, and his death, which is here given-with just this difference, that Josephus, as might be expected, presents rather the public bearings of this event, while our Evangelists treat it solely with reference to the Baptist's connection with his blessed Master. Thus each throws light upon the other.
(2) When men in power connect themselves, whether by marriage or otherwise, with unprincipled women, they usually become their tools, and are not unfrequently dragged by them to ruin. Illustrations of this are furnished by history from the days of that accursed Jezebel, who first drew Ahab into the commission of treason against the God of Israel and the murder of his own subjects, and then hurried him to destruction; and of Herodias, who was the means of imbruing the hands of Herod Antipas in the blood of the saintly John the Baptist, and was the occasion of that war which proved so fatal to him, down to pretty modern times. And might not the working of the same passions to similar issues be seen in the history of less exalted persons, if only it were written? A warning this, surely, against such unhallowed unions.
(3) When we read of Herodias, how she shed, not with her own hand nor by her own immediate order, the blood of this faithful witness for the truth, but only got it done by the secular arm, and how she then gloated over it-we can hardly help thinking that, when the harlot-Church was depicted by the apocalyptic seer, as a "woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Rev 17:6), this bloody adulteress, Herodias, must have sat for her picture. For the apocalyptic woman does not herself shed the blood of saints or martyrs, nor order them to be slain; it is "the beast" - the secular power of apostate Christendom-that makes war against the saints, the faithful witnesses for the truth, and overcomes them, and kills them (Rev 11:7; 8:7). But yet the "woman" rides this beast, seen as a scarlet coloured, or bloody, beast (Rev 17:6); the secular power acting according to her dictates, in ridding her of those hateful witnesses against her abominations as a horse obeys his rider; while she herself is represented as drunken with their blood-revelling in her freedom from their withering rebukes. Can so vivid and deep an analogy be quite accidental?
(4) Fidelity in testifying against sin, though some times rewarded here, is not unfrequently allowed to be borne at the cost of temporal interests, liberty, and even life itself. How easily could He who healed the sick, cleansed the lepers, opened blind eyes, and raised even the dead to life, have interposed for the rescue of His true-hearted servant from the rage of Herodias, that he should not have been deprived of his liberty, and at least that his precious life should be spared! But He did not do it. Instead of this He suffered His public career to be closed by arrest and imprisonment; and after lying long in prison, and without any light as to his prospects-in answer to a deputation which he sent expressly from his prison-He allowed him to seal his testimony with his blood in that gloomy cell, with none to comfort him, and none to witness the deed but the bloody executioner, as if to proclaim to his servants in all time what He had bidden the messengers say to himself, "Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in Me." How noble was the answer of the three Hebrew youths to King Nebuchadnezzar, when he threatened them with the burning fiery furnace if they would not fall down and worship the golden image which he had set up - " If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king: that we will not serve thy gods," etc. (Dan 3:17-18). They had full confidence that deliverance would be vouchsafed for the honour of Yahweh's name. But they might in that be mistaken; He might not see it fit to interpose; and "if not," then they were prepared to burn for Him: but deliverance or none, they were resolved not to sin. And that is the spirit in which all Christ's servants should take up their cross; prepared to be nailed to it, if necessary, which it may or may not be-they cannot tell-rather than prove faithless to the Lord Jesus.
Here, for the first time, all the four streams of sacred text run parallel The occasion, and all the circumstances of this grand section are thus brought before us with a vividness quite remarkable.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
Mark 6:7-13; Mark 6:14-29
Verses 7-13 Though the apostles were conscious to themselves of great weakness, and expected no wordly advantage, yet, in obedience to their Master, and in dependence upon his strength, they went out. They did not amuse people with curious matters, but told them they must repent of their sins, and turn to God. The servants of Christ may hope to turn many from darkness unto God, and to heal souls by the power of the Holy Ghost.
Verses 14-29 Herod feared John while he lived, and feared him still more when he was dead. Herod did many of those things which John in his preaching taught him; but it is not enough to do many things, we must have respect to all the commandments. Herod respected John, till he touched him in his Herodias. Thus many love good preaching, if it keep far away from their beloved sin. But it is better that sinners persecute ministers now for faithfulness, than curse them eternally for unfaithfulness. The ways of God are unsearchable; but we may be sure he never can be at a loss to repay his servants for what they endure or lose for his sake. Death could not come so as to surprise this holy man; and the triumph of the wicked was short.
(from Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database. Copyright © 2000, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
Mark 6:14-20; Mark 6:21-29
And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.
See this account of the death of John the Baptist fully explained in the notes at Matt 14:1-12.
Verse 20. [For Herod feared John] That is, he stood in awe of him on account of his sanctity, and his boldness and fearlessness in reproving sin.
[Knowing that he was a just man and an Holy] A holy, pious, upright, honest man-a man who would not be afraid of him, or afraid to speak his real sentiments.
[And observed him] Margin, "kept him, or saved him." This does not mean that he "observed" or obeyed his teachings, but that he kept him in safe custody in order to preserve him from the machinations of Herodias. He was willing to show his respect for John, and to secure him from danger, and even to do "many things" which might indicate respect for him-at least, to do so much as to guard him from his enemies.
[And did many things] But he did not do the thing which was demanded of him-to break off from his sins. He attempted to make a compromise with his conscience. He still loved his sins, and did "other" things which he supposed might be accepted in the place of putting away, as he ought, the wife of his brother-the polluted and adulterous woman with whom he lived. Perhaps he treated John kindly, or spoke well of him, or aided him in his wants, and attempted in this way to silence his rebukes and destroy his faithfulness. This was probably before John was imprisoned. So sinners often treat ministers kindly, and do much to make them comfortable, and hear them gladly, while they are still unwilling to do THE THING which is demanded of them-to repent and believe the gospel. They expect that their kind attentions will be accepted in the place of what God demands-repentance and the forsaking of their sins.
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;
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)
In most of our English translations the story begins with the little word“but”. Luke, the author of Acts, sets up a study m contrasts. There are Barnabas, a man filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 11:24), and Ananias, whose heart was filled with Satan (5:3). One was utterly truthful, the other a liar.
Here are counter pointed faith and unbelief, selflessness and selfishness, goodness and deceitfulness, sacrifice and sacrilege, trust in God and the worship of self (”hubris,” pride), total commitment and base hypocrisy.
The setting was“paradise regained.” They had all things in common, real community: shared resources, sensitivity to others’ needs, security - not in material things, but in the risen Christ. It’s the closest to Utopia the world has ever seen. Sinners - even murderers of the Lord Christ - were repenting and being forgiven and accepted; the sick were being healed; great grace was upon them all.
But in the midst of all this beauty and harmony, the serpent enters the garden again. It’s a horrific story. And yet, we feel, Ananias and Sapphira were just ordinary people like us. Don’t we sometimes engage in“impression management” to manipulate others’ opinion of us? Who of us hasn’t sometimes pinched stuff from our employer for personal use? Or falsified our tax return a little bit? Or withheld the truth, or covered up with a“white lie”?
Their motives were probably pretty ordinary - perhaps even defensible. Perhaps their generous or heroic selves were inspired by the generosity of Barnabas. Their fearful selves wondered what would happen in their old age if they gave away all their assets. Their critical selves asked questions about the“bums” on the receiving end of these handouts. Their distrustful selves may have raised questions about the apostles’ honesty; the church hadn’t appointed auditors yet. But in the end their egocentric selves won; they wanted glory without sacrifice, the kudos Barnabas had received without having to pay the price.
Yes, they were ordinary people - very ordinary. What sins might we have committed if we were sure we’d never be found out? If you had carried out some of the evils you planned or dreamed about, you’d be in jail for life. The sin of Ananias and Sapphira was not greed, but deception, hypocrisy - and who of us hasn’t done worse?
There is something more insidious, subtle, and dangerous here however. Ananias was engaged in an act of worship. Barnabas had laid his gift“at the apostles’ feet,” and this same expression is used of Ananias. Their offerings weren’t merely to the apostles, but to God. Their motivations, the“thoughts of their hearts,” were therefore God’s concern. Here is the worst kind of hypocrisy - the sort that got Christ so angry - hypocrisy bordering on sacrilege. It wasn’t just a matter of pretending to be devout but really being a liar and a cheat (though they were that). Sacrilege goes a lot further; it’s robbing God of what is rightfully God’s,“stealing Divine glory,” withholding what we have professed as belonging to the Lord. Ananias and Peter are not just two mortals confronting each other. Here the battle is joined between God and Satan, whose instruments they have become.
Astonishing. Perhaps this man and his wife were in the group on which the Holy Spirit fell so dramatically at Pentecost and had also been baptized in water as they joined the church. Previous to that Ananias may even have been among the seventy apostles preaching the Kingdom, healing the sick, casting out evil spirits (Luke 10:9, 17). Let us never forget there is no sin that is impossible for any one of us to commit. There but for the grace of God we go too.