(her oh' dee uhs) GREEK: HERODIAS

A granddaughter of Herod the Great and the sister of Herod Agrippa I, Herodias married her paternal half uncle Herod II (whom Matthew and Mark call Philip and seem to identify with Herod Philip the tetrarch) and bore him a daughter, Salome. But she deserted her first husband to marry another half uncle, Herod Antipas. This union was condemned by John the Baptist, who said to Antipas, "It is not lawful for you to have her" (Matthew 14:4).

Infuriated by the Baptist's accusation, Herodias sought to have John killed. But Antipas hesitated because of John's popularity. She got her wish, however, as a result of a notorious incident at Antipas's birthday feast. Antipas was so taken by Salome's dance at the banquet that he promised to give her whatever she wished. After consulting with her mother, Salome asked for the head of John the Baptist - which Antipas gave her and which she presented to her mother. The first-century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus also held Antipas responsible for the death of John, but he did not mention the banquet scene or the complicity of Herodias and Salome.

Herodias encouraged Antipas to go to Rome to seek advancement commensurate with that of her brother, Agrippa I. But instead of advancing him, the emperor Caligula deposed her husband and banished him to southern France in A.D. 39. Although the emperor offered to spare her, Herodias chose exile with her husband and there disappears from the pages of history.

{E2 Dictionary of Biblical People}

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