John the Baptist's Death
The mission of Jesus has come to the ears of Herod Antipas who thinks Jesus is John the Baptist come back to life. Mark recounts the story of John's execution - how John was imprisoned in the fortress of Machaerus near the Dead Sea for offending Herodias, and how her daughter Salome charms Herod into presenting John's head to her on a plate. Again, it is likely Mark has woven together two separate elements of the apostolic tradition. Both the people and Herod thought Jesus was the Baptist redivivus (returned from the dead) which serves to illustrate both the impact of the mission of the twelve and the importance of both Jesus and John. This episode also prefigures Jesus' own death - both are unjustly condemned by an evil tyrant, but death does not constrain Jesus as it did John - Jesus is indeed redivivus!
v14 ο Βασιλευς Ηνρωδης
Ho Basileus Herodus "The King Herod" – actually it is Antipas, son of Herod the Great (4 BC-39 AD) and Tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, not king. A tetrarch was an appointed ruler of a Roman province. Antipas' desired to be a king like his father, which may explain Mark's use of the term. Ultimately this is what brought the Romans down upon him.
Hegegertai "has been raised" – literally awaken not the word the early church used for resurrection that would be “anastasis” but that used to reflect those who were brought back from death or the brink of death. Also those who were ‘aroused’ from deep slumber.
dunamais “powers" – miracles (which John never performed but Jesus did!)
v16 ακουσας (ακουω) aor. part.
akouo "when [Herod] heard" – in the aorist, and action with ongoing effect… Herod hears the different views about Jesus and here we are given his opinion. This is also a form of the word Jesus uses when he “calls” disciples “akalouo” i.e. they ‘hear’ and in the hearing respond and begin a journey with him that has ongoing effect!
We get the word ‘acoustic” from this.
v17 Here is an interesting insight to both the history and culture of first century Galilee. It is told in the third persons, so it take the form of a historical narrative, much like Luke and is only found in Mark. It is likely a written source that Mark quotes…perhaps even the same written source quoted by the Josephus about 100 years later!
αποστειλας (αποστελλω) aor. part. "had sent" - attendant circumstance participle expressing accompanying the main verb "arrested"; "for Herod has sent his guards to
εκρατησεν (κρατεω) aor. "seize/arrest" and
εδησεν (δεω) aor. "bound [him]” Herod had John bound and incarcerated in prison. Josephus says John was imprisoned in the fortress palace of Machaerus.
του αδελφου (ος) gen. "[his] brother" – (actually, his half-brother)
εγαμησεν (γαμεω) aor. "he had married". Under Roman law Herodias was legally able to divorce her husband Philip but under Levitical law Antipas was not permitted to marry his brother's wife (Lev.18:16, 20:21). Interestingly, Josephus, the Jewish historian, says Herodias was married to Herod the son of Herod the Great and Mariamne II and that Philip the Tetrarch (son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem, or if Josephus is to be believed, THAT Cleopatra) actually married Salome. It is not easy to identify all the relationships in Herod's family. That boy got around!
v18 ελεγεν (λεγω) imperf. "had been saying" - translated here as a pluperfect. The sentence explains why Herodias was so bitter against John – pluperfect is a tense that is used for emphasis, so John cold not let this go. In today’s world she would have been advised to ‘let it go” as would have John come to think of it.
εξεστιν + dat. "it is not lawful [for you]" – actually it is not proper.
v19 ενειχεν (ενεχω) imperf. +dat. "nursed a grudge"
απεκτειναι (απεκτεινω) aor. inf. "to kill" a complimentary infinitive Note the literary parallel between Ahab and Jezebel's interaction with Elijah, and Pilate and the Jew's interaction with Jesus. The righteous man, the wicked persecutor and the weak fence-sitter, prompts the question, “with whom do you stand?”
v20 εφοβειτο (φοβεομαι) imperf. "feared" - Herod had a deep respect for John.
συνετηρει (συντηρεω) imperf. "protected" - protecting John against Herodias.
ειδως (οιδα) perf. part. "knowing" - adverbial, probably best taken as causal; "for he well knew John was a holy man".
ακουσας (ακουω) aor. part. "when Herod heard [John]"
ηπορει (απορεω) imperf. "he was puzzled" – an idiom; perplexed by the mystery of John’s message.
ηδεως adv. "liked [to listen to him]" – he appreciated his time with John.
v21 ενομενης (γινομαι) aor. part. "finally the ευκαιρου adj. "opportune"
τοις γενεσιοις (α) dat. "on [his] birthday".
μεγιστασιν (αν ανος) dat. "for [his] his nobles". in Peraea or Galilee?
τοις πρωτοις dat. adj. "the leading men [of Galilee]" – AKA the local aristocracy.
v22 εισελθουσης (εισερχομαι) aor. part. "when she came in" - a temporal clause.
της θυγατρος αυτης της Ηρωδιαδος "the daughter of Herodias" – a stronger variant reading of the pronoun produces the translation, "his daughter, Herodias." It is possible that Herod had a daughter with Herodias and named her the same as her mother, but it is far more likely that it was his stepdaughter who danced, the girl known as Salome.
ορχησαμενης (ορχεομαι) aor. part. "danced" - participle continues temporal clause.
ηρεσεν (αρεσκω) aor. "she pleased" - obvious sexual connotations in the use of this word; not only did Herod take his brother's wife, he probably wanted the daughter too.
τοις συνανακειμενοις (συνανακειμαι) pres. part. "his dinner guests" – literally “those who reclined at the table with him.”
τω κορασιω (on) dat. "to the girl" - to the young girl.
αιτησον (αιτεω) aor. imp. "ask" - in the sense of "request.
δωσω (διδωμι) fut. "I'll give it" - The extravagance of the offer and its acceptance, serves to emphasize the value of John the Baptist and by implication, Jesus.
v23 ωμοσεν (ομνυω) aor. "he promised" - the offer of "half my kingdom" is, of course, an offer the stepdaughter of a dictator would graciously decline!
v24 εξελθουσα (εξερχομαι) aor. part. "she went out [and said]" - participle expressing action accompanying the verb "said".
τι αιτησωμαι (αιτεω) aor. subj. mid. "what shall I ask for" – a deliberative subjunctive.
v25 ευθυς "at once" – immediately; she seems to be eager to carry out her mother's suggestion.
εισελθουσα (εισερχομαι) aor. part. "having come” attendant circumstance participle.
meta spoudhV (h) "with great haste” modal, expressing the manner of her coming; again indicating her eagerness.
εξαυτης "right now" - at once, immediatly.
v26 γενομενος (γινομαι) aor. part. "was becoming” expressing action accompanying the verbal phrase "did not what to refuse her"
περιλυπος adj. "greatly distressed" - sorrowful, sad, deeply grieved - a strong word illustrating the worth of John. The description is of a person in a trap and unable to escape; possibly used here to indicate annoyance; "the king was pissed".
τους ακακειμενους (ανακειμαι) pres. part. "his dinner guests" - the ones reclining at table.
αθετησαι (αθετεω) aor. inf. "to refuse [her]" - disappoint, break one's word. infinitive is complementary. Herod's reluctance again illustrates the worth of John.
v27 αποστειλας (αποστελλω) aor. part. "so he [immediately] sent” the σπεκουλατορα (σπεκουλατωρ) "executioner" –military scout, a member of the headquarter staff with a special commission, likely a member of his personal bodyguard.
επεταξεν (επιτασσω) aor. "with orders"
ενεγκαι (φερω) aor. inf. "to bring"
απελθων (απερχομαι) aor. part. "the man left” expressing action accompanying the verb beheaded.
v29 ακουσαντες (ακουω) aor. part. "hearing of this" οι μαθηται ουτου "John's disciples" - here the existence of an identifiable group of John's disciples is noted in scripture. It is likely that most of Jesus' disciples were originally members of this group.
το πτωμα "the body" (corpse) a word only used once in Mark.
μηημειω (ον) "a tomb" – from the word “to remember”