Mark 6:14-29

Herod kills John the Baptist

14 People were talking about Jesus. King Herod heard about what was happening. Some people were saying that Jesus was really John the Baptist. They said that John had died, but he had become alive again. ‘That is why this man can do these very powerful things,’ they said.

6:14The name of this Herod was Herod Antipas. He ruled Galilee region from 4 BC to AD 39.

15 Other people said, ‘This man is Elijah.’ And other people said, ‘He is a prophet. He is like one of God's prophets who lived a long time ago.’

6:15Elijah was a prophet of God. He had spoken powerful messages from God and he had done many great things. God's prophet Malachi said that Elijah would return one day. See Malachi 4:5. But Jesus showed that Malachi was talking about John the Baptist, not about Jesus himself. See Matthew 17:10-13.

16 But when someone told Herod, he said, ‘This man is surely John. I sent a soldier to cut off his head. But he has become alive again!’

17 Herod himself had sent his soldiers to take hold of John. He had said to his soldiers, ‘Tie his hands and feet and put him in prison.’ Herod had done that because of his wife, Herodias. She had been the wife of Herod's brother, Philip. But Herod had married her. 18 John had said to him, ‘Herodias is your brother's wife. It is not right for you to have her as your wife.’

6:18Herodias had left Philip, her first husband. Then Herod married her. So John told him what Moses had written in God's law. God's law said, ‘A man must not marry his brother's wife.’ See Leviticus 20:21. Herod was angry with John when he told him that. So Herod told his men that they must put John in prison.

19 So Herodias was angry with John. She wanted to kill him. But she could not do that, 20 because Herod was afraid of John. Herod knew that John was a good man and a servant of God. So Herod kept John safe. Herod liked to listen to the things that John said. But he did not know what to think about those things.

21 One day, Herodias had her chance. It was Herod's birthday and he asked many people to come to a special meal. Important men and officers came. The rulers from Galilee were also there. 22 The daughter of Herodias came in and she danced. Herod and his visitors were very happy when they saw her dance.

King Herod said to the girl, ‘Ask me for anything that you want. I will give it to you.’ 23 He made a strong promise, ‘I will give you anything that you ask me to give to you. I will even give you half of everything that I rule over.’

24 The girl went out and she said to her mother, ‘What should I ask him for?’ Her mother replied, ‘Ask for the head of John the Baptist.’

25 The girl went quickly to Herod and she said to him, ‘I want the head of John the Baptist. Put it on a plate! Do it now!’

26 Then Herod felt very sad. Because he had made a special promise, he did not want to refuse her. All his visitors had heard him. 27 So immediately, the king sent a soldier to go to John. The king told the soldier that he must bring John's head. So the soldier went to the prison and he cut off John's head there. 28 Then he brought it back on a plate. He gave it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 People told John's disciples about what had happened. So they went to the prison. They took away John's body and they buried it.