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Mark 6:15-16+ But others were saying, "He is Elijah." And others were saying, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old. "But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, "John, whom I beheaded, has risen!"
He sent and had John beheaded in the prison - Herod had gone to far now. The dirty deed had to be carried out posthaste. Although Herod was not a true king he did have authority to carry out the death penalty.
Notice the phrase He...had John beheaded - Mark says he sent an executioner (spekoulator) used only in Mk 6:27 and representing a Latin loan word that originally literally meant a spy or scout and when attached to a ruling official meant member of a bodyguard or executioner. The executioner was merely an instrument in the hands of Herod. Herod was the guilty party at his birthday party! David and Herod were both guilty even though they did not personally carry out the execution.
Broadus - Some argue that this term, with 'here' in Matthew 14:8, and 'straightway' in Mark 6:25, cannot be taken literally, because the spectacle would have spoiled all festive enjoyment; but they have forgotten how Herodias' ancestor, Alexander Jannaeus, while holding a feast with his concubines, commanded eight hundred rebels to be crucified in full view, and their wives and children to be slain before their eyes. (Josephus "Ant.," 13, 14, 2.) A great feast usually began about the close of the day, and so it was probably late at night when the executioner came and awoke John and hurriedly beheaded him. After his weary imprisonment of more than a year, the Baptizer was now suddenly cut off. But his work was ended; he had come as the herald of the Messianic reign, and that reign was now being established; the answer of Jesus to his message (Matthew 11:2ff.) had doubtless cleared his perplexities and removed lingering doubts; there was nothing more to live for, and to die was gain. Nor is it anything very dreadful to die suddenly, if one has lived the life of faith. This murder of the greatest among the prophets in his dungeon was in itself hardly so shocking a sight, as the scene yonder in the banqueting hall. There stood the maiden, her cheek still flushed with her recent exertion, while the guests sought to drown their painful emotions in wine, and the executioner hastened on his cruel errand. When the dish was brought, with the bleeding head upon it, no doubt she took it daintily in her hands, lest a drop of blood should stain her gala dress, and tripped away to her mother, as if bearing her some choice dish of food from the king's table. It was not uncommon to bring the head of one who had been slain to the person who ordered it, as a sure proof that the command had been obeyed. When the head of Cicero was brought to Fulvia, the wife of Antony, she spat upon it, and drawing out the tongue that had so eloquently opposed and condemned Antony, she pierced it with her hair-pin, with bitter gibes. Jerome refers to this incident, and says that Herodias did likewise with the head of John. We know not his authority for the assertion, but the darling desire of the Herod family seems to have been to ape the worst follies and cruelties of the Roman nobility. (Commentary)
Josephus informs us that John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded by Herod in the strong castle of Machaerus, which he describes as situated about 60 stadia east of Jordan, not far from where the river discharges itself into the Dead Sea.
His disciples (mathetes) came and took away the body and buried it - This refers to John's disciples, so they clearly were not with him when he was beheaded although we know they had access to him from Mt 11:2. Just imagine their agony and grief that this man who had taught them was lying headless on a prison floor. Took away is the verb airo which means to lift up or pick up and carry away. Picture John's headless body lying on the floor of his prison cell with blood everywhere -- a gruesome scene for sure! But don't miss the glorious word "it"! Why? Because they buried "IT" not HIM.
Their Common Fate.At Herodias' prompting, Herod has John beheaded. "Execution by beheading went against Jewish law, but agreed with Greek and Roman custom" (Gundry 289). While Jesus escapes the enemy for the moment (the hour appointed by the Father has not yet arrived), already we are being prepared for the climax of the Gospel, when Jesus himself will suffer death at the hands of the enemies of the kingdom (cf. comments on Mt 11:12b; Mt 16:21; Mt 17:12).
This reference is emphasised by two characters being named Stephanie Hackett and Philippa Collins-Davidson. Genesis included members Steve Hackett, and Phil Collins. The album sleeve notes also mention a Cynthia Jane De Blaise-William who beheaded Henry Hamilton-Smythe. Blaise-Hamilton is the name of the slaughtered family in the episode.
Harsh TimesDB106145 10 hours 33 minutesby Mario Vargas Llosaread by Ian GuerraGuatemala, 1954. The military coup perpetrated by Carlos Castillo Armas and supported by the CIA topples the government of Jacobo Árbenz. Behind this violent act is a lie passed off as truth, which forever changes the development of Latin America: that Árbenz encouraged the spread of Soviet Communism in the Americas. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2021.DB106145 Harsh Times 2b1af7f3a8