Matthew 14:8. And she, being before instructed of her mother Namely, before she made her request: for, after the king had made her this promise, she immediately went forth and said to her mother, What shall I ask? And her mother, having now obtained the wished-for opportunity of executing her revenge, eagerly replied, Ask the head of John the Baptist; representing, no doubt, to her daughter, that he had attempted to expel and ruin them both; and that, considering the opinion which the king still entertained of him, he might some time or other, though in irons, regain Herod’s favour and accomplish his design; for which reason, the opportunity of taking his life was not to be neglected, if she regarded her own safety. These, or such like arguments, wrought up the young lady to such a pitch, that she not only consented to do as she was bidden, but became hearty in the cause: for, Mark 6:25, she came in straightway with haste, Greek, ευθεως μετα σπουδης , immediately with eagerness; and while all the guests sat mute, expecting what mighty thing would be asked, she demanded the holy Baptist’s head, as of greater value to her than the half of the kingdom. Give me here Fearing if the king had time to consider, he would not do it; John Baptist’s head in a charger Επι πινακι , a large dish, or bowl. And the king was sorry Knowing that John was a good man; yet, for the oath’s sake, &c. So he murdered an innocent man for mere tenderness of conscience! Such was the tenderness of the consciences of those Jewish rulers, who, while they were using their utmost efforts to take away, by a most unjust and cruel process, the life of Christ, yet scrupled going into the judgment-hall of Pilate, lest they should be defiled! But Herod was influenced also by a regard for those who sat with him at meat. Doubtless he was unwilling to appear either rash, or fickle, or false before them, as they were probably the first persons of his kingdom for rank and character. Thus out of a misplaced regard to his oath and his guests, this king committed a most unjust and cruel action, which will ever reflect the greatest dishonour upon his memory.
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