Bible Personages In Archaeology -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 26:2 (Spring 2013)
Article: Bible Personages In Archaeology
Author: Bryant G. Wood


Bible Personages In Archaeology

Bryant G. Wood

John, a relative of Jesus (Lu 1:36), prepared the way for the ministry of Jesus (Mt 3:1-3) and proclaimed him the Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah and Savior who would take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29-31). At that time Herod Antipas,1 son of Herod the Great,2 was tetrarch, or governor, of Galilee and Perea in Transjordan. For political reasons he married Phasaelis, daughter of the Nabatean king Aretas IV.3 While Herod Antipas was visiting his half-brother Herod Philip I,4 Herodias, Herod Philip’s wife, became interested in Herod Antipas and subsequently divorced Herod Philip. Herod Antipas then divorced Phasaelis and married Herodias. John condemned this union, as it was considered unlawful (Mt 14:4; Mk 6:18; Le 20:21). Herod Antipas arrested John, and bound him and placed him in prison (Mk 6:17). Although the place of imprisonment is not given in the New Testament, Josephus states that it was in Machaerus, a palace-fort built by Herod the Great in Perea (Antiquities 18.5.2). Mark documented the details of the awful events which followed (Mar 6:19-28):

Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod [Antipas] feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he imme...

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