The Daughter of Sin | Mark 6:21–22, 24, 27–28
But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” … 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” … 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.
We’ve been seeing the depth of sin in the Herod’s household, including the unlawful marriage between Herod Antipas and Herodias. John the Baptist highlighted this sin and called them to repentance. Herod knew it was the word of a true prophet (v. 20) but never repented; Herodias hated John and sought his life (v. 19).
This night proved fateful for more than John the Baptist, however. Herod throws a feast for his birthday and invited all the key political, military, and social leaders under him. Alcohol is a factor, and Herodias sees an opportunity to finally take John the Baptist’s life. So, she conspires with her daughter to circumvent his protection of John. In doing so, she makes her child as much a child of hell as she is.
Herodias led her daughter into debauchery. Her name is Salome, Herodias’s daughter with Herod Philip, now Herod Antipas’s daughter-in-law. Salome didn’t come with a ballet performance, as this wasn’t the kind of dancing in which respectable women engaged. Queen Vashti refused to allow herself to be ogled in a similar situation (Est 1:11–12), but Herodias doesn’t seem to have qualms with her daughter put on display at a drunken feast.
Herodias led her daughter to murder. The best possible spin on this is that Salome doesn’t hold personal animosity toward John the Baptist and that her mother forces her. However, she’s complicit in the crime because of her mother, and there’s no indication that Salome wasn’t influenced to share her mother’s hatred. Even though she didn’t wield the executioner’s axe, because of her mother, she also bears the responsibility of John’s murder.
Sinful parents lead their children astray in many ways, tempting them to sin. Though the resultant consequences may linger like the violence in David’s household (cf. 2 Sm 12:10), the Lord thankfully forgives parental transgressions. God can grant you repentance and change your heart, and He can do the same for your children. Until the Lord changes them, consider Ephesians 6:4—parents must not provoke children but “bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”