Gospel of Matthew, 14.1-12
At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.”
For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask.
Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.”
The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother.
His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus.
The Beheading of St John the Baptist (c. 1869), Puvis de Chavannes
Gospel of Mark, 6.14-29
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.”
But others said, “It is Elijah.” And other said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.”
But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, he brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her.
For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him.
When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.
But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee.
When his daughter Herodias* came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.”
And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half my kingdom.”
She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” she replied, “The head of John the baptizer.”
Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her.
Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother.
When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
* Some Greek texts show that Salome may have also been called Herodias like her mother, but was referred to as Salome in order to avoid confusion. In the historical records of Flavius Josephus, Herodias was first married to the king’s brother Herod Philip, with whom she had a daughter, Salome.