But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger. 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. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.Matthew 14:6-11
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 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 he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. 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 by and by in a charger 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
The clear wording in Mark’s gospel account of “convenient day” shows that the killing of John the Baptist was a murder that was well planned and executed. Whether or not Herod was agreeable to the scheme is not certain, but the manner in which Herodias acts shows us that she is most likely the driving force behind the murder of John.
The Jews at that time did not typically celebrate birthdays so Herod and his friends are partaking of what would have been a Gentile, idolatrous festival to celebrate Herod. With this big party the plan to kill John the Baptist could be hidden somewhat from the view of the Jewish community.
At the party, the daughter of Herodias, and possibly others, were dancing for Herod and his friends. This damsel was the daughter of Philip. Which means she was Herod’s niece. (Remember, this is one seriously messed up family). The King James Bible does not hide the truth but it does word things in a way that is not vulgar in nature. What really happened next was that Herod lusted after his niece! So, he promises to give her up to half of his kingdom.
The girl immediately goes and asks her mother what she should request. The fact that the girl did not ask something for herself makes me suspect that Herodias planned the entire event. Further, the fact that Herod is “sorry” for he promised the girl shows that he was not thinking about killing John, he was just expressing inordinate affection, again. And just because Herod is “sorry,” I do not give him credit for true repentance because he carries out the wishes of his wife. Men in their depraved nature know they are wrong but continue to act. Ever since Adam took of the forbidden fruit in the garden, man has known the difference between right and wrong.
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.Romans 1:32
Herodias asks for John to be killed immediately before the party is over. She ceased on this convenient time and did not want to miss her opportunity to stop the tongue of the one who dared tell her she was wrong! Her wish is granted and John is beheaded in prison. He is given no trial and the execution was done in private. All of this shows the people involved did not want their actions coming to light.