Among all the wicked women of the Bible, Herodias looms as one of the most cruel. She was the New Testament’s version of Jezebel. Even though both of their husbands, Herod and Ahab, were weak and wicked; Herodias and Jezebel were still the more devilish and their evil ways caused their downfall and the downfall of their men. Herodias is mentioned in the Bible in three different places (Matthew 14:3-12, Mark 6:14-24, Luke 3:19-20) for one wicked act – the beheading of John the Baptist. What can we learn from this heartless queen to avoid becoming Herodias-like in our behavior?
1. Herodias harbored hate. The royal family of the Herodian dynasty was extremely dysfunctional, despicable, and disgraceful. An important fact to keep in mind is that Herodias’ grandfather, Herod the Great, is the same man who wanted Baby Jesus killed. Herodias was married to her uncle Philip before Herod, Philip’s brother, saw her and took her for his own wife. John the Baptist rebuked Herod for this wrong act. This rebuke enraged Herodias and for her sake, Herod had him locked away in prison. John’s imprisonment was not enough for Herodias. Because he had told her new husband the right thing, she now hated John the Baptist and wanted him killed. Through much scheming, she hatched a plan to use her daughter to have the forerunner of God’s Son murdered and his bloody head brought to her on a platter.
The hate that burned in Herodias’ heart eventually came out in her decisions. Instead of admitting that she was wrong, Herod was wrong, and John the Baptist was right, pride pushed her to be the instigator for a deplorable act. She did not seem to have second thoughts about having her own daughter play a role in the murder she planned. Hate blinded her and in the end of her life, drove her to shame.
1 John 3:15 reads: “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Hate can lead people to do the most horrible things. Remember: Cain hated Abel in his heart before he murdered him; Saul hated David in his heart and pursued him like a mad man in an unsuccessful attempt to kill him; Herodias hated John the Baptist in her heart before she had him murdered. The verse above equates hating someone with murdering them because when you hate someone, you no longer love them and when you no longer love them, you stop caring about them. You no longer care if they are dead or alive. Feeling uncared for is one of the worst feelings in the world.
We know that God is love and as His children, we ought to reflect that love to the people around us – even those who rebuke us when we are wrong. Hate breeds evil, corrupts the mind, shuts out heaven and invites hell into one’s life. There is nothing right about hate. There is everything wrong about hate.