“Arrest him,” screamed Herodias. “I want that vagabond prophet silenced immediately!” Trembling with rage, she pointed an accusing finger at Herod, the King of Judah. “Do you hear me?” she asked accusingly as she waggled her finger before his face.
Herod looked out the palace window to the street below where John, the Baptizer stood boldly proclaiming in a loud voice that Herod was condemned before the God of Israel for living with Herodias, his brother’s wife.
“Do you hear what he dares to say publicly? He calls you an adulterer, and he makes me out to be nothing but a whore!” The eyes that had beguiled many of Jerusalem’s most famous men flashed with anger. “You’re the king, aren’t you?” Pausing a moment in her tirade to gain effect, she looked at Herod and with subtle sarcasm in her voice she added, “Or are you just another wimp, cowering before a shouting maniac who calls himself a prophet of God?”
“Enough!” he snapped. “The time will come for action that will silence his voice. That prophet is held in high esteem by all the people. To arrest him would cause a riot in the city and that would bring Pilate’s troops here in a moment. You know he hates the ground I walk on, and he seeks every opportunity to humiliate me in the eyes of Rome. Nothing would delight him more than to see me dethroned.”
“So you are a wimp,” she shot back. “A king without a backbone who let’s a lone prophet from the desert stand at his window and shout his accusations!”
Herod bristled under the withering attack of this beguiling woman who always got what she wanted. “I will act when the time is ripe. All you understand is how to beguile a man. You know nothing about politics, and especially Roman politics.” Turning away from her abruptly, he stamped out of the room, shouting for the captain of the guard to come.
“Remove that prophet from the street below,” he ordered curtly.
“You mean arrest him, sir?” questioned the captain.
“I said remove him!” he shouted as he stamped out to his private quarters.
Herodias observed the scene with satisfaction. She had touched a sore spot. He was afraid of that man. She knew it, and he knew it, too. Looking at the puzzled captain of the guard, she coyly remarked as she swept by him, “Do as the king commanded. Remove him. Take him 10 miles up the Jordan River and drop him off.”
Clicking his heels together, he saluted and left to carry out the king’s orders. The small detachment of soldiers brushed people aside and opened a way for the wagon to take John to the Jordan River.
“You’re disturbing the peace of Jerusalem by your tirade. The king has ordered you removed to the Jordan River.”
“Does that old fox think he can silence the message from God? Tell him it is unlawful for him to be married to his brother Philip’s wife. The judgment of God is upon him unless he repents and turns from his adultery,” John replied emphatically as he climbed up into the wagon.
“Enough,” commanded the captain. “You are an offense to the king and the city of Jerusalem.”
“And do you also think you can silence the voice of God with your military forces? Not all the soldiers of the Temple Guard or the Romans are able to silence God’s voice. I tell you also, repent and turn from your wicked ways and discover the forgiveness of a merciful God.”
“Be still,” shouted the captain irritated by his insolence. “You so-called prophets are always stirring up the people and calling on them to repent.