April 28

Text: Matthew 14:3-5

For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.  For John had been saying to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her."  And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they regarded him as a prophet. (NASB)

In Jewish society, people devoted to application of the Law of Moses did not marry the woman who was married to a brother (see Leviticus 20:21).  Herod the tetrarch married Herodias, who previously was the wife of his brother.  John told Herod his marriage was wrong.  As a result, Herodias despised John, and Herod personally would have liked to have John executed.

Johnís death would resolve two problems for Herod.  (1) John dared confront Herodóhow dare John challenge the actions of the ruler?  (2) Johnís death would bring peace to Herodís householdóan upset wife does not benefit a marriage. 

However, Johnís execution could create a bigger problem than it solved.  To execute John might upset Herodís subjects because they regarded John to be a prophet sent by God.  Killing John had the potential of challenging his rule IF upset Jewish subjects displeased the authorities in Rome who appointed Herod.  Thus, Herod considered it practical to imprison John--that was sufficient.

Notice Herodís initial decision not to execute had nothing to do with John.  The decision concerned Herodís best interestóit did not concern Johnís best interest at all.  He decided what was in his best interest because he feared the multitude. Neither God nor John factored in Herodís initial decision.

Suggestion for reflection: What is the basis of your decisions?  Read Esther 4 (17 verses).

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