Matthew 14:11
And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
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(11) She brought it to her mother.—A glance at the after-history of those who were accomplices in the deed of blood will not be out of place. Shortly after the new society, for which John had prepared the way, had started upon its great career, when her brother, the young Agrippa, had obtained the title of king, through the favour of Caligula, Herodias, consistent in her ambition, stirred up her husband to seek the same honour. With this view she accompanied him to Rome; but they were followed by complaints from the oppressed Galileans, and the result was that he was deposed from his tetrarchy, and banished to Lugdunum (the modern Lyons) in Gaul. Thither she accompanied him, faithful to his fallen fortunes, in spite of overtures from her brother to return to Judæa, and there they died (Jos. Ant. xviii. 7, § 2). A tradition or legend relates that Salome’s death was retributive in its outward form. She fell upon the ice, and in the fall her head was severed from the body. Josephus, however, simply records the fact that she married first her great-uncle Philip, the Tetrarch of Trachonitis, and afterwards her first cousin, Aristobulus (Ant. xviii. 5, § 4).

14:1-12 The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God's people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.And his head was brought in a charger ... - For the sake of these wicked people, the bloody offering - the head of the slaughtered prophet was brought and given as the reward to the daughter and mother.

What an offering to a woman! Josephus says of Herodias that "she was a woman full of ambition and envy, having a mighty influence on Herod, and able to persuade him to things he was not at all inclined to." This is one of the many proofs that we have that the evangelists drew characters according to truth.

2. And said unto his servants—his counsellors or court-ministers.

This is John the Baptist: he is risen from the dead, &c.—The murdered prophet haunted his guilty breast like a specter and seemed to him alive again and clothed with unearthly powers in the person of Jesus.

Account of the Baptist's Imprisonment and Death (Mt 14:3-12). For the exposition of this portion, see on [1301]Mr 6:17-29.

Ver. 9-11. Mark relates it more largely, in Mark 6:26-28, And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sake 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. The king was exceeding sorry; he could have wished she had asked something else: he was troubled; for we heard before, that although he feared not God, yet he feared the people. Yet for his oath’s sake; not out of any religion of his oath: Juramentum non petest esse vinculum iniquitatis. They must be sottishly ignorant, that think their calling God to witness that they will do a thing which God hath forbidden them to do, should oblige them in any measure to the doing of the thing. But for his oath’s sake, in point of honour, because his word was gone out, that he might not appear guilty of any temerity or levity; and for the sake of those that were with him, that he might not seem before them to vary from his word, or it may be, as well to gratify them as to gratify the damsel and her mother; he sends an executioner, who took off John the Baptist’s head, and gave it to the damsel in a charger, who carried it to her mother. What could be more unjust, and inhuman, and bloody? John was not tried, nor condemned. It was a great festival, and should not have been profaned or defiled with blood. These things were nothing, when an unsatiable malice was to be gratified. Herodias will have her husband and his guests see that John Baptist’s head in a charger was to her as pleasing a dish as any was at Herod’s great feast. Thus died this great man, to satisfy the malice and lust of a lewd and imperious woman; and to teach us what we must expect, it we will be faithful to the trust which God reposes in us.

By the executioner that cut it off, to Herod, whilst he and his guests were at table; by which it should seem, that the prison was very near; and it is not improbable, that it was the castle of Macheerus that Herod made this entertainment in:

and given to the damsel; the daughter of Herodias, who, by her mother's instigation, had asked it, and who received it out of the hands of Herod himself; or however, it was delivered to her by his orders:

and she brought it to her mother; who had put her upon it, than which, nothing could be a more agreeable dish to her; and who, as Jerome says (c), because she could not bear truth, that tongue which spoke truth; she plucked out, and pierced it through and through with a needle, as Fulvia did Cicero's: but this triumph over the faithful reprover of her, and Herod's vices, did not last long; for quickly after this, they were stripped of their honours and riches, and deprived of the kingdom, and banished to Lyons in France, where they died (d). A Jewish chronologer says (e), Herod was driven out of the land by Tiberius, and fled to Spain, and died there.

(c) Adv. Ruffin. Tom. 2. fol. 82. K. (d) Joseph. Antiqu. l. 18. c. 8. (e) Ganz. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 25. 2.

And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.
Matthew 14:11. ἠνέχθῃ, not expressly said “there and then,” but all points to immediate production of the head on a platter in the banqueting hall before the guests; gruesome sight!—ἐδόθη, ἤνεγκε: what a nerve the girl must have had! her mother’s nature in her; the dancing and the cool acceptance of the horrible gift well matched.—κορασίῳ: not to be taken strictly; a young unmarried woman, say, of twenty (Holtz., H. C.). The dancing of a mere girl would have been no entertainment to the sensual revellers. The treat lay in the indecency.

11. brought it to her mother] The revenge of Herodias recalls the story of Fulvia, who treated with great indignity the head of her murdered enemy Cicero, piercing the tongue once so eloquent against her. Both are instances of “furens quid femina possit.”

Matthew 14:11. Τῇ μητρὶ αὐτῆς, to her mother) who without doubt treated it cruelly.

Matthew 14:11To the damsel (τῷ κορασίῳ)

Diminutive, the little girl, Luther gives mgdlein, little maid.

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