Salome with the head of John the Baptist by Caravaggio painting

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 2: Matthew 14:1-12 Along With Mark 6:12-29


Herod heard about Jesus and thought he was John the Baptist risen from the dead. Herod had arrested John and put him in prison because John had told him taking his brother’s wife was unlawful. He wanted to kill John, but he was afraid.

Herod was tricked by Herodias’ daughter. She danced for him on his birthday and he liked it so much he promised to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. The king had to acquiesce since he took an oath and so many people were there. The girl took the head to her mother, and John’s  disciples buried John’s body and then they went and told Jesus.


Jesus had sent out his disciples to drive out demons and heal the sick. King Herod thought that John the Baptist had risen from the dead because of this. Others said he was Elijah. Herod had arrested John and thrown him in jail because he was saying it was unlawful for him to marry his brother’s wife. She did not like John and wanted him killed, but Herod feared John and protected him. He liked to listen to John.

On Herod’s birthday, he gave a banquet for his high officials. Herodias’ daughter dance for him, and he promised her he’d give her whatever she asked up to half his kingdom. The girl asked her mother what to ask for. She asked for the head of John the Baptist. The king could not back down. He immediately had John the Baptist beheaded and his head brought. The girl gave it to her mother, and John’s disciples buried John’s body.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 2: Matthew 14:1-12 Along With Mark 6:12-29

3) He thought Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead. Because he knew John to be a prophet and genuinely believed this could happen. He was superstitious, and he felt guilty over killing him. Plus, scholars say John the Baptist looked a lot like Jesus.

4a) Herodias did not like how John said her marriage to Herod was unlawful. She wanted him dead so she concocted a scheme to do so.

b) She used her to dance and lure the king into promising her whatever she asked for.

c) He wanted to save face. He could not back down fearing he’d appear weak and his word would not be trusted.

5) Sin breeds sin, and it’s best to stop it as soon as possible rather than keep sinning when you know it to be wrong.

6) That they took John’s body to bury it, as was appropriate and that they told Jesus. This could have been because they knew how close they were or they wanted to Jesus to know becuase he may be in danger, too

Conclusions BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 2: Matthew 14:1-12 Along With Mark 6:12-29

The saddest part of this story is how a mother uses her daughter to commit murder essentially. This obviously is not how a good parent should act. Also, Herod is very superstitious.

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End Notes BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 15, Day 2: Matthew 14:1-12 Along With Mark 6:12-29

Matthew 14:1-12

A tetrarch was a ruling of four people. In this case, when Herod the Great died, each of his four sons received a portion of the territory. This was a title, but Herod wanted to be called king. Herod (known as Herod Antipas) asked Roman Emperor Caligula for the title but was denied. He ruled over Galilee and therefore had heard a lot about Jesus. He thought Jesus might be John the Baptist reincarnated. John has been killed a year ago when this story is being told.

Herod had illegally divorced his first wife in order to marry his brother’s wife. No one said anything about this out of fear of death except John the Baptist. Later, the King of Petra would declare war on Herod since his daughter was Herod’s first wife.

Herod feared what the people would do if he killed John.

Herodias’ daughter was a teenager, and the dance would have been inappropriate to say the least. Why a ruler’s daughter would dance is unknown here.

Herodias knew Herod would promise her daughter anything. She knew immediately she wanted John’s head.

Herod did not want to kill John, but he gave in to societal pressure. He pleased people rather than God.

Both Herodias and Herod end up disgraced later in life all due to this sin, and they both commit suicide. Herod was accused of treason, and he was banished.

Mark 6:12-29

Jesus was taken as Elijah by some because it was prophesied Elijah would come before the Messiah did (Malachi 4:5). Jesus was also thought to be the Prophet whom Moses said would come after him (Deuteronomy 18:15).

No doubt Herodias’ daughter was hoping she could request something she wanted.

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BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 15, Day 2: Genesis 16:1-6

Summary of passage:  Since Sarai had had no children, she told Abram to sleep with her Egyptian maidservant, Hagar, so she could have a family through her (as was the custom the child would be considered Sarai’s).  Abram agreed and after 10 years of living in Canaan after Egypt Hagar conceived.

Hagar began to despise Sarai (perhaps resentment or now she wants to usurp Sarai’s position since she is carrying an heir or pain that the child will not be considered hers) and Sarai (like woman do) blamed her husband.  Sarai says let God be the judge.

Abram tells Sarai that she can do what she wants with Hagar since Hagar is her servant. Sarai, acting out of her anger and not God’s love, mistreated her and Sarai fled.


3a)  Since she herself couldn’t have children she offered her maidservant, Hagar, to stand in her place and give Abram the promised children from God.

b)  Genesis 15:4:  “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.”

c)  Their faith was in they believed Abram would have a legitimate heir from his body but their unbelief came in believing Sarai would be the mother.  Based on both Sarai’s and Abram’s actions, neither believed Sarai could have a child.

4a)  Immediate:  the dissension, anger, contention, and mistrust that arose between Sarai and Hagar so much so that Hagar fled.

Long-term:  Hagar’s son, Ishmael, would be the father of the Arabs–those that surround Israel today and are the founders of Islam (Genesis 16:15).  After Isaac was born, the true son of Sarai, Sarai became jealous of Ishmael and drove both Hagar and Ishmael (Genesis 21:8-20).  Ishmael’s daughter would marry Abram’s grandson, Esau (Genesis 36:3).

Today:  Ishmael is the father of all Arabs so the entire conflict in the Middle East and elsewhere stems from this one sin where Abram and Sarai tried to help God out, resulting in “sibling rivalry” between Jews and Arabs all throughout history and to this day.

b)  In the same way as Sarai and Abram did and Jacob did when he stole Esau’s blessing and Moses did when he murdered the Egyptian.  We come up with human solutions that are often sinful (taking another woman outside of the covenant of marriage even though it may be accepted by society) that we think will yield God’s promised results.  And they never do.

Faith is all that is required.  And patience for God to work.  If we remember God doesn’t need our help, we’d all be better off.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  This is a hard one because I cannot see the long-term effects of my choices it seems.  I do know I am very impatient and very opinionated and most of the time I speak before I should when I get angry when it would have been better if I had said nothing at all.  Or I act hastily and then regret my decision.  This is seen in the little things of my life.

Conclusions:  Do you think Sarai wondered if she were good enough to have a son?  She obviously had low self-esteem or not enough faith (probably both) in order to offer up her maidservant to her husband.  Yet it shows the love she must have had for Abram; she loved him enough in order to give him a promised child not through her.  How many of us women would do that today?

This mistake I think we all make:  we get impatient and don’t trust God enough to set things right (or we have a mistaken idea of what ‘right’ is).  In this instance though, it was a grave mistake.  A child is a human being and messing around with God’s HUGE promise of creating nations had ramifications that changed history and last until this day.

Personal sin always affects those around you (and others not so close) and invades your relationships.  The profound consequences of the sin here of Abram and Sarai should be a lesson for us all.

End Note:  Apparently, back then Hagar would actually have sat on Sarai’s lap as Abram inseminated her to symbolically show that the child would be Sarai’s upon its birth and that Sarai was only the surrogate mother.  No wonder Hagar was upset!

I was appalled when Sarai blamed Abram for her “suffering” in verse 5.  It was her idea, not Abram’s!  He was probably only trying to appease her!  Which was true:  Abram did appease Sarai–the problem was he shouldn’t have.

As the man and head of the family, Abram should not have agreed to Sarai’s plan so in some sense she does have a right to blame him.  He should have been “logical” when Sarai was “too emotional” to think straight.  (Sound familiar?)  He should have had the faith to wait on God when she didn’t.

Same goes for allowing Sarai to mistreat Hagar (verse 6).  I totally disagree with this.  As the head, Abram should have dealt with Hagar since Sarai was blinded by emotion. Again, Abram deferred to his wife, which only caused more conflict and strife.