The woman who compassed the death of John the Baptist at Macherus (Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; compare also Luke 3:19,20; 9:7-9). According to the Gospel records, Herodias had previously been married to Philip, but had deserted him for his brother Herod the tetrarch. For this Herod was reproved by John (compare Leviticus 18:16; 20:21), and Herod, therefore, to please Herodias, bound him and cast him into prison. According to Matthew 14:5 he would even then have put John to death, but "feared the multitude," which regarded John as a prophet. But Mark 6:19 f relates it was Herodias who especially desired the death of John, but that she was withstood by Herod whose conscience was not altogether dead. This latter explanation is more in harmony with the sequel. At Herod's birthday feast, Herodias induced her daughter Salome, whose dancing had so charmed the tetrarch, to ask as her reward the head of John the Baptist on a charger. This was given her and she then brought it to her mother.
Herodias was daughter of Aristobulus, son of Herod the Great, by Mariamne, daughter of Hyrcanus. Her second husband (compare above) was Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea (circa 4-39 AD), son of Herod the Great by Malthace. Herod Antipus was thus the step-brother of Aristobulus, father of Herodias. Regarding the first husband of Herodias, to whom she bore Salome, some hold that the Gospel accounts are at variance with that of Josephus. In Matthew 14:3; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:19, he is called Philip the brother of Herod (Antipus). But in Matthew 14:3 and Luke 3:19 the name Philip is omitted by certain important manuscripts. According to Josephus, he was Herod, son of Herod the Great by Mariamne daughter of Simon the high priest, and was thus a step-brother of Herod Antipas (compare Josephus, Ant, XVIII, v, 4). It is suggested in explanation of the discrepancy
(1) that Herod, son of Mariamne, bore a second name Philip, or
(2) that there is confusion in the Gospels with Heroal-Philip, tetrarch of Trachonitis, who was the son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra, and who was in reality the husband of Salome, daughter of Herodias (compare also A. B. Bruce, The Expositor Greek Testament., I, 381; A. C. Headlam, article "Herod" in HDB, II, 359, 360).
According to Josephus (Ant., VIII, vii, 2; XVIII, vii, 1) the ambition of Herodias proved the ruin of Herod Antipas. Being jealous of the power of Agrippa her brother, she induced Herod to demand of Caligula the title of king. This was refused through the machinations of Agrippa, and Herod was banished. But the pride of Herodias kept her still faithful to her husband in his misfortune.
C. M. Kerr