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John the Baptist's death! The end of Salome the dancer?

  John the Baptist was so great that Jesus said that among those born of women there was none greater than John the Baptist, though He also said that the least being in Heaven was greater than the greatest man on Earth. 

  John evangelized so successfully that Israel, about 2000 years ago, was made ready for the appearance of Jesus chiefly by him.  But with the coming of Jesus he willingly watched his ministry shrink as Jesus' grew.  He was a man of great ability, but humble spirit in this respect.  He was a tremendously looming figure who willingly saw himself eclipsed by the one he recognized as his greater and his Master. 

  The Gospels tell how John was later imprisoned for openly condemning King Herod's marriage to Herod's own brother Phillip's wife.  Herod had put away his treaty wife, the daughter of an Arab king named Aretas, in preference for this forbidden woman, named Herodias after a previous Herod referred to as Herod the Great.  He was the first Herod mentioned in the New Testament, the one that killed many babies in an attempt to ensure baby Jesus - a great prophesied King! - was killed among them.  But this later related Herod feared John the Baptist and knew him to be a prophet, though he also continued to hold him prisoner. 

  It is hard to say what would have happened to John the Baptist if the issue of his disposition as a prisoner had relied solely upon a dreading yet admiring Herod.  But, it was not just Herod that was rebuked by John's accusations, but also Herod's ill-obtained wife Herodius.  And so, at a banquet held by Herod, the Gospels relate how the daughter of Herodius, a girl named Salome, danced, and very pleasingly.  So much so that a reveling Herod told her out loud in front of his many assembled guests that she could have anything she wished, up to half of his kingdom.  

  This girl named Salome consulted her mother Herodias, who hated John the Baptist, about what she ought to ask for.  Herodias advised her daughter to request the head of John the Baptist as a reward for her dancing, and she did this.  Despite the macabre nature of the request a reluctant and regretful yet proud and publically 'placed on the spot' Herod ordered the foul deed to be done for the sake of his rash promise in front of so many witnesses, in order to maintain his reputation as their king. 

  The head of John the Baptist was chopped off and brought in a charger to be shown to the girl and the public, and thus ended the life of John the Baptist, the greatest person ever born of women by Jesus' own declaration, at least at the time of John's death.  Perhaps Jesus would say that he was still the greatest born of women, barring His own birth by Mary? 

  There is a tradition - though it is not in the Bible - that Joanna, the wife of Suza (Suza was the steward of Herod) obtained John's head and had it buried honorably on the Mount of Olives in a container.  The Bible tells us that John's disciples obtained the rest of his body.  But there is also a tradition about what eventually became of this girl, Salome, who danced:       


Excerpted from an (Orthodox Church in America) article on saints and their lives

After the murder of St John the Baptist, Herod continued to govern for a certain time. Pontius Pilate, governor of Judea, later sent Jesus Christ to him, Whom he mocked (Luke 23:7-12).

The judgment of God came upon Herod, Herodias and Salome, even during their earthly life. Salome, crossing the River Sikoris in winter, fell through the ice. The ice gave way in such a way that her body was in the water, but her head was trapped above the ice. It was similar to how she once had danced with her feet upon the ground, but now she flailed helplessly in the icy water. Thus she was trapped until that time when the sharp ice cut through her neck.

Her corpse was not found, but they brought the head to Herod and Herodias, as once they had brought them the head of St John the Baptist. The Arab king Aretas, in revenge for the disrespect shown his daughter, made war against Herod. The defeated Herod suffered the wrath of the Roman emperor Caius Caligua (37-41) and was exiled with Herodias first to Gaul, and then to Spain.

End Quote


  An ironic conclusion, you must admit.  The girl apparently remained with her mother Herodias and step-father Herod until she met this grisly end.  They in turn were exiled by Roman Emperor Caligula who was famous for violating the conventional behaviors governing inter-relations between men and women.....the sort of thing John the Baptist accused Herod of doing.....and they spent their lives in Lyons France 

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