Matthew 14:1-12 (The Death of John the Baptist 3)

How did Herod respond to Salome’s dance that so pleased him and his guests?  What would Salome’s age have had to do with Herod’s promise with an oath to give her whatever she desired?  Would he in his wildest dreams have expected her to ask for such a thing?  In light of her mother’s recent divorce from her father and marriage to Herod who was then her stepfather, what role might the family dynamics of her broken home have had in Herod’s desire to publicly demonstrate his affection for and satisfaction with the girl?  Think: if she had been his own daughter do you think he would have responded as he did?  What does this teach us about the insidious dangers inherent to broken homes and the mixed families that result from divorce and remarriage?  As a result of the manner in which he tried to win her over and the manner in which she responded, do you think he was successful to accomplish what he desired in his relationship to the girl?  What do you think his relationship to her would have been ever after as a result of her request?  Cf. Mat 14:9.  In what way do these same dynamics manifest themselves in broken homes and mixed marriages still today, with the same results?

Would it have been a sin for Herod to break the oath he had sworn to Salome?  See Lev 19:12, Num 30:2, Deut 23:21,23.  Was it an even greater sin for him to fulfill his oath?  See Exo 20:13; cf. Psa 72:1-2.  Was it primarily because of his fear of God that he felt compelled to honor his oath and grant the girl’s request?  See Mat 14:9, Mar 6:26 and think: do you think he would have granted her request if no guests were present and the oath was made in private?  Cf. Pro 29:25.  What does this teach us about the foolish nature of oaths as they are commonly sworn by men, and the so called “honor” among men that under the guise of religious faithfulness eggs one on to even greater wickedness?  See again Luk 16:15 and think about the “honor killings” in Muslim cultures, or the duels that commonly took place in prior western culture.  What is the remedy for such foolishness?  See Deut 23:22, Mat 5:33-37, Jam 5:12.  How might a more righteous king who made the mistake of such a foolish oath have responded to the girl’s request?  Cf. 1Pe 5:6.

What does the Scripture say Salome did with the head of John the Baptist?  What impact must such an event have had upon such a young girl?  How seared must her conscience have already been to agree to her mother’s designs, and how much more hardened must her heart have become by this incident?  Might this event that happened while still in her youth have been the defining moment of her life that irrevocably set her life’s course upon a path away from God?  Cf. Heb 3:7-8,13, 12:15-17, 2Co 6:1-2, Zec 7:12-13.  Considering that this incident happened while she was still a youth and was no doubt preceded by other profanities that were less conspicuous but no less consequential, what ought our own youth to learn about the serious nature of worldliness and where even seemingly small transgressions can lead?  Do the small choices we make in life naturally lead to larger, more consequential choices?

Consider that although a very young girl, Salome’s deed became enshrined in Scripture so that ever since it has been condemned by subsequent generations; although one’s sins may not be recorded and publicly displayed in this life as hers were, what does this teach us about the condemnation that shall rest upon the wicked for all eternity?  Cf. Isa 34:8-10, Rev 14:11, 19:1-3.  In the day of judgment, what responsibility will Herodias have in her daughter’s wayward actions, and with what consequences?  See again Luke 17:1-2.  What impact should the influence of Herodias in her daughter ’s life that led her to make such choices have upon us as parents?  If we walk, talk, and act like the world, should we be surprised that our children will make profane, even wicked choices that lead them away from God?  What remorse will gnaw at such wicked for all eternity that they damned their own children?  Contrast Pro 22:6, Gen 18:19, Deut 6:6-7, Psa 78:3-8, 2Ti 1:5, 3:15.

What does this episode teach us about the great dangers of absolute power over even life and death residing in any one person?  What does it teach us about the great dangers of political expedience?  How did the framers of our own country seek to guard against such tyranny?  Even in the most free country on earth are we completely free of such things?  Why is that, and what is the only form of government that would be completely just and free of political intrigue?  See 1Sa 8:6-20, 10:19.

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