Note: several versions of this passage have been published elsewhere. In this proposal there is a central point about the haste of Herodius’ daughter. This arises from the long held grudge of Herodius and her frustration at not being able to persuade Herod to kill John. Once the opportunity arose there was no time to delay in case Herod changed his mind. It was the oath given in the presence of his friends that forced his hand for fear of loss of face. So in the end Herodias had her way through playing on the pride of her husband.
A. 14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. 15 Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. 16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.
B. 17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for he had married her. 18 For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. 19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: 20 For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
C. 21 And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him,
D. the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
E. 24 And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
F. 25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king,
E’. and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.
D’. 26 And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake,
C’. and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
B’. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought:
A’. and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother. 29 And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.