Continuing with the Biblical Bad Guys series, the Primary Class learned about another ruler that fits the bad guy category. This time, Herodias, the wife of Herod Antipas.
Herod Antipas was one of Herod the Great’s sons. At the death of Herod the Great, Herod the Great’s kingdom was split into different sections with each of his remaining sons ruling one of those sections. For Herod Antipas, that meant he ruled Galilee and Perea.
During Herod Antipas’ reign, a man named John the Baptist began preaching about repentance and began to prepare the way for Jesus. Herod Antipas heard about John the Baptist’s teaching and liked what he had heard. But when John the Baptist realized that Herod Antipas had taken his brother’s wife, Herodias, as his own, John brought Herod Antipas’ and Herodias’ wrongs to light. John began spreading the word that Herod Antipas had done wrong and this made Herodias, Herod Antipas’ wife, very angry. So angry, in fact, that she would have killed John herself, but knew she could not and instead he was put into prison.
A little while later, Herod Antipas threw a party to celebrate his birthday. At this party, he asked Salome, the daughter of Herodias, to dance before him.
Herod Antipas was so pleased with Salome’s dancing that he declared to everyone at the party that he would give Salome a present. He offered her up to half of his kingdom, but let her decide what it was that she would receive. Salome decided to consult with her mother, Herodias, about what she should ask the king for as a gift.
Herodias knew the king could not go back on his word about the gift, especially since he had declared it in front of so many people. She knew that if Herod went back on his word, it would make him look weak and he would lose favor among his people and his kingdom. So, Herodias instructed Salome to ask for the head of John the Baptist on a charger. Herodias hated John for what he had said against her and she wanted him to pay dearly for what he had said about her and her husband. Herodias, though, could not kill John herself, but she could inadvertently order his execution if her daughter had asked for it.
Salome then returned quickly to the king and made her request. She requested that John the Baptist’s head be delivered to her on a charger, just as her mother had instructed her to do. Herod Antipas was very, very sad about this request because he liked John and had listened to John’s teachings. He also knew that John was a just and holy man and did not want to kill him. But for the sake of the oath and his reputation, Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded and his head was delivered to Salome, who then presented her mother with his head.
After the skit, Sandra explained to the kids that Herodias carried hatred in her heart against John the Baptist. Because Herodias hated him so much, she devised a plan to have him killed, which lead to her breaking another of God’s commandments. As Sandra explained last week, allowing one sin in your heart always leads to more sin.
After the lesson, the kids continued working on their Biblical Bad Guys books. Check back soon for the next installment of Biblical Bad Guys!
Hatred stirreth up stifes: but love covereth all sins. Proverbs 10:12