It is more than confusion try to keep the ancestry of Philip the King. He is most the time referred to as Herod Philip. He had the unfaithful wife, Herodias, who was responsible for John’s death when John had raised an uproar about her marriage and was embarrassed by John in pubic. She determined to have John put out of the way. All history records the alienation and ire of the Jewish people by the deed she forced Herod into. She asked for the head of John the Baptist by Salome. Herod had made a real stupid promise, all He had to say was I promised you do a gift, I did not offer to commit murder! Sometimes, when men are trying to impress other men they overstepped themselves. In Leviticus 18:16 and 20:21 it was unlawful for a man to have his brother’s wife. Herod was an Edomite, yet, he was bound by a law of God called instinct or nature. It is shameful that a man of such great morality and courage could be so easily killed by a woman who had none. History records that even the Roman world set themselves against Herod. Herodias was stripped of her royalty and sent off to spend the rest of her life with Herod.
In Matthew 14:1-14, Herod conscience had so messed with him that Herod even confused Christ with John the Baptist, like the Baptist Church does today. The guilty conscience(the usual complement of atheism) held no sway with the Christ. Christ was not sympathetic to his plea. Herod got the message of Jesus and John the Baptist confused, he thought John the Baptist preached John was to resurrect from the dead-wrong prophet!!
Preachers may be silenced, and imprisoned, and even banished, but the word of God will still be preached. The prophets may not live forever, but when the word of God seizes control of the hearts and minds of men, it will strive with man. It is true, like the blood of Abel, “blood can cry out of the ground” and “make the devils fear and tremble,” even though they will not repent! They will never be at peace with themselves. There may evidence of the terror of strong conviction yet, no saving conversion!! God accepts no man or woman’s person, all men are subject to the law of God! There may be times that preachers may be indiscreet and get away with it, but sometimes those in authority, without honor, are not restrained from wicked practices. A common error of power is supposed sovereignty.
And so Herod beheaded John. What did that gain him? And in whose eyes was he lifted higher? He who had been a blessing, after his death was now being blessed. A great deal of innocent blood will have been shed before time ends, who will gain? There was a voice silenced, a “burning, shining light was extinguished,” but God was glorified! The damsel and her mother may have triumphed for a moment, but condemned for eternity! Jerome writes that when John’s head was brought her, she gave herself the barbarous diversion of pricking the tongue with a needle. She thought she had stopped his message. She had made sport of a great man, her mother’s insatiable rage had made disciples weep and lament as the world rejoiced, yet like brother Stephen all they got out of it was the burial of the body-from that point on they had no joy, for the removal of this great preacher had advanced the kingdom of God. This was all he had dedicated his life to, anyway!!
Josephus mentions the death of John the Baptist in his book Antiquities 18.116 – 119, and adds, that a fatal destruction of Herod’s Army took place in his war with Arteas, King of the Petrea (whose daughter was Herod’s first wife, whom Herod put away to make room for Herodias). It was generally considered by the Jews to be just judgment upon Herod and Herodias who were both banished to Lyons in France, which says Josephus, was his just punishment for harkening to her solicitation. And lastly, the daughter of Herodias, skating on the ice that winter, fell through the ice, fell headlong, slit her neck on a rock so badly that it was severed from body. God had required her head for that of the Baptist. If true, this was a remarkable act of Providence. Sometimes it just does not pay to do the works of darkness! And where did John end up? In the arms of his beloved Lord! Comfort sometimes have no value, sometimes when taken, show us the “hand of God.”