Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus, and said to his court, ‘This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.’
Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had told him, ‘It is against the Law for you to have her.’ He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked.
Prompted by her mother she said, ‘Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.’
The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
The head was brought in on a dish and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.
John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.
Translation of Scriptures: The Jerusalem Bible © 1966, 1967 and 1968 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd and Doubleday, a division of Random House, Inc.
Photograph: (c) 2005, Allen Morris. Head of John the Baptist. Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin.