Daughters in the Bible: Salome, the Patsy

Salome is a daughter who struggled to please her mother, regardless of the sacrifice or what it cost others.

Salome danced for Herod

Let’s set the scene.  John the Baptist has been arrested.  Herod is reluctant to kill him though.

Herod has a birthday and with it came a great banquet and celebration.  So, he called for the daughter of his wife, who was named Herodias.  The daughter is not named in the scriptures, but historical writers of the day give her name as Salome.

When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.  {Mark 6:22}

Herod is so please with the girls dancing that he is willing to grant anything to her.

The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” {Mark 6:22-23}

This is a high stake.  He is willing to give up to half of his kingdom to this young woman.  More than likely this was a very sensual, possibly even erotic, dance that was performed.  But instead of stopping her daughter, Herodias encourages her and sends her out as a piece of meat for these men.

 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.   {Mark 6:24}

Salome does not know what to ask for, so she goes to her mother, who may be waiting in

The king was pleased with her performance

the wings.  She’s clearly nearby.  Herodias answers immediately “the head of John the Baptist”.  She has wanted this for a long time and needed little time to think about it.

“But her {Herodias} hatred of him {John} is very strong in any case.  Herodias used her influence to bring down John because he dared to fulfill his role as prophet in challenging the Jewish leader, Herod Antipas.”  {Women of the New Testament}

Herodias cannot stand how John is a conscience for her evil deeds.  John has not been afraid to speak out about what they are doing wrong and made it clear that she should not be married to Herod {she was married to his half-brother}.

He offered anything she wanted

At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”   {Mark 6:25}

Salome goes out and tells Herod, who had not wanted to kill John.  But, he had promised anything and he had witnesses.  He could not go back on his word.

“Mark identifies the real villain as Herodias, whose power with her husband is undermined by John and also by Herod’s mixed feelings about John…The death of John will be all the more tragic because Herod does not really want to order it.  If he could have postponed it just a day,  he might have sobered up and changed his mind.  He might have had the courage to confront his wife.  But in Mark, John dies at the will of this young girl who is a patsy for her mother.”  {Women of the New Testament}

She sought the counsel of her mother, Herodias

The man went, beheaded John in the prison,  and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.  {Mark 6:27}

Herod sends a solder and has John beheaded, which is then brought up and displayed for all to see.  The head is given to Salome, who turns around and gives it to her mother.

Salome was doing whatever was necessary to please her mother and her mother was adept to use her to do her bidding.

“Her mother was hard to please.  Herodias was not interested in either children or in mothering.  Her focus was satisfying her own desires.  Salome was desperate to be needed and wanted, as is any child.  When Herodias suggested that Salome dance for her stepfather on his birthday, the girl agreed.”  {Women of the Bible study Bible}

She told the king she wanted John the Baptist head

Matthew provides a much shorter account of this event.

But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them: and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath, to give her whatsoever she would ask of him. But she being instructed before by her mother, said: Give me here in a dish the head of John the Baptist. And the king was struck sad: yet because of his oath, and for them that sat with him at table, he commanded it to be given. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a dish: and it was given to the damsel, and she brought it to her mother.  {Matthew 14:6-11}

Salome was sent out as a temptress and do to the biding of her mother.  In the end, it resulted in the death of a Godly man.

She then presented the head of John the Baptist to her mother

“Instead of hurrying to Salome’s side to protect and mentor her, Herodias used her daughter to force Herod’s hand and murder a prophet of God.”  {Women of the Bible study Bible}

Often it is easy to let someone else move the strings while we are the puppet.  When we realize how we have lost our independence it is hard to figure out how this happened and to discover who we are.  But God never called for us to be a puppet or a patsy to do someone else’s bidding.

Just as John the Baptist was killed, Godly men and women can succumb to deception and deceit at the hands of the enemy.

If you feel used, taken advantaged of, or is someone tries to call all of the shots in your life, I encourage you to seek the Lord and his will in your situation.  There was a time in my life when I had to do just that.

Do you seek the Lord in all things?


Salome was a pawn to her mother's wicked schemes Share on X

Pictures courtesy of FreeBibleImages.org

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