Today we continue the Herodian Inception in Mark 6:21-29.
A suitable day. What a strange way to describe the day a man was going to die. Suitable for Herodias, but not for John! Also, the shift in the mood here suggests that while the previous sections were Mark’s own recollections, this tale is likely being copied down from another source.
Alrighty, so we have some awkwardness here that contributes to the belief that this memory is from a separate source material. Mark just got done telling us that Herodias was Herod’s wife, but now she is his daughter! So, either we are literalists and this leader of the Jews was also an incestuous individual (which is practically impossible given his respect and position in Jewish society), or somewhere along the line the story got jumbled and names confused. Josephus the Historian records the name of Herod’s step-daughter as Salome, and Herod’s second wife as Herodias, so that should clear up some of the confusion.
Now I would like to take a minute to discuss what kind of dance a daughter could perform which would prompt a response from a father like this? “That was great sweety! You were so good I’ll give you whatever you ask for!” How would this go today? “I want the car!” “You got it, honey! I’ll just have to get myself a new one! No trouble at all!” What father would respond this way? All I’m saying is this seems very weird. Also, considering her age to likely be around 12 or younger, I doubt it was a seductive dance, despite what movies and depictions might tell you. Think more like the photo above. She overwhelmed him with cuteness.
It is noted that “up to half my kingdom,” is not meant literally, but is a colloquialism meaning “great wealth.” So he’s saying, I’ll even give you a crapload of money.
This girl didn’t know what to do with such an offer. I think that’s understandable, I mean she was probably pre-pubescent and would still have been heavily reliant on her mother for guidance in life. However, to have her mother as that and the girl not even flinch, that seems strange to me. Again, how would that go today? Even if murder were the norm? “Mama, what should I ask for?” “The head of my enemy!” “… but… but it’s my present! I want something for me!” “I don’t care, ask what I tell you right now!” “sigh… fine…”
And then the girl added that she wanted his head on a platter. I mean… gruesome kid am I right? It’s bad enough she doesn’t mind asking for the head of a man on her mother’s request but then elaborating on that request to put on a show? What is wrong with these people? They all need counseling! Speaking of counseling, this next photo is seriously supposed to be John’s actual head…
And that’s it. The story of the beheading of John the Baptist as a reason for Herod’s confusion about some people believing that Jesus was John the Baptist reborn. It’s sandwiched between two connected stories and seems like it really shouldn’t be here at all. It’s like a side story when you’re talking to your grandmother’s brother who you ask about the election and he decides in the middle to tell you about the time he bought a milkshake from the mayor’s son. It’s a remotely related subject, but does it have any impact on the rest of the story? Why Mark? Why?