Herod & Herodias

Herodias was the “guilty” spouse who left her husband Phillip with no reason to. Therefore her marriage to Herod was not a legitimate one. I agree. However I believe Phillip would have been free to remarry.

What do you do with Romans 7:2-3? Paul very clearly taught that even in the face of adultery, only death dissolved the marriage bond. Not one time in all of his teachings on marriage will you find that divorce dissolves a marriage. In Romans 7:2-3 his use of an adulterous wife is not by “accident”. It is very purposeful and reaffirms his other teachings on the permanency of marriage (I Corinthians 7:39) as it also reaffirms Jesus’ teachings that to enter into another marriage AFTER a divorce (for any reason) would be to commit adultery and as Paul says, to be called an adulteress/adulterer.

I suppose you will always have to believe this is a passage regarding remarriage when it’s not at all. There is a law they broke and John said what it was and we find it in Scripture. John the Baptist said it was unlawful to have his brother’s wife.

Leviticus 18:16 You may not have sex relations with your brother’s wife, for she is your brother’s.

It wasn’t that Herod could not have married any other divorced woman or vice versa, but that he was married to his brother Philip’s wife! That was the sin.

It doesn’t matter if they broke incest laws or he was committing adultery——either way their divorces and marriage to each other did NOT make them married in the sight of God. Herodias belonged to PHILIP—-in spite of a divorce, in spite of a new marriage. She did NOT belong to Herod. God does not acknowledge(nor join together) ILLICIT marriages—–incestual, adulterous, or homosexual.

You can play a John the Baptist (by The Holy Spirit) was addressing points much deeper than of the adulator in the marriage between Herod, and Herod’s brother’s wife, making Herodias the wife of two uncles of Salome. John had been telling him, “It’s not lawful for you to have her!” John addressed Herod yet Herodias was convicted. Do you think if Herodias had divorced her husband John would not have lost his head, by that conviction? If Herod had been “lawful”.? After all Herod Antipas appeased the Jewish people by openly observing their law.

John specifically addressed Herodias as the wife of Philip. She DID divorce Philip—-see Josephus’ antiquities of the Jews (Book 18, chapter 5, section: 1, 4). She openly defied the laws of her country by divorcing her husband and marrying another man. Marriage while one had a living spouse was not allowed (Rom. 7:2-3). She not only was living as an adulteress, but Herod and she broke Jewish law as well by Him taking his brother’s wife.

Do I think Herod would have cut off John’s head anyways? Who knows, but we do know WHY his head was taken…………rage………rage by a woman who is rabidly protective of her sinful life.

If Herodias repented and became a believer (she was not a Christian) … she would have to look at her situation carefully. If she would have decided to leave Herod to go back to Phillip (if he would take her back) I am not convinced she would be expected to before God. She was wrong to marry another man for sure. However playing musical marriages and possibly uprooting your children after you have been remarried for a number of years is not something I see the Lord wanting either.

Simply put … I am not convinced that the Lord expects His people to leave their new spouse and family (kids) to go back to their former spouse. Were they wrong? Yes for sure they were … however I am not so sure that staying in the marriage and raising the kids in a stable Christian home is something the Lord would judge as wrong.

You don’t sound too convinced. Either in the case of Herodias, her 1st marriage is dissolved or it is not in the sight of God. We see by John’s comments that it is NOT dissolved, that she and Herod are actually involved in an adulterous relationship, not a lawful marriage. If Herodias wanted out of that sin, her ONLY option would be to forsake her adultery.

You say the Lord would not want to uproot families, yet I gave you scripture that shows EXACTLY that due to disobedience. The act of repentance for the men in Ezra 9-10 WAS to leave their families (children and wives).

I guess the question is … Does someone continue to commit adultery if they stay in the marriage even after they have confessed their sin to the Lord and admitted how wrong they were and that they should have stayed with their first spouse? … I am not so sure they do continue to live in adultery.

Again, you don’t sound very convinced of your position. If the Lord has said that He does not recognize the divorce in the first place, then the “marriage” is not recognized either because in the Lord’s eyes, the persons involved are STILL married to their covenant spouses-not to their new “spouses”. To then say they should STAY in those relationships is to tell people to stay in their sin………very dangerous counsel.

The Bible says Philips wife, John the Baptist could have simply said Philips Wife because Herod and Phillip were half-brothers, making their marriage wrong. Herodias was also Philips niece making that marriage wrong also…

The point is you can’t use that example to make a blanket statement on divorce and remarriage….

Like I asked someone else today……….who was Herodias’ husband in the eyes of the Lord according to John?

You are saying that a new vow dissolves a previous one, this particular example in scripture shows that not to be the case as does Rom. 7:2-3.

As for the case of Herodias and Herod. It is clear that Herod somehow got Herodias to leave her husband and marry him.

Here is the crucial point — Herodias’ marriage to her husband Phillip was never subject to marital infidelity on the part of Phillip her husband. Herodias left Phillip and married Herod.

Had her husband cheated on her she would have had Biblical grounds to get divorced and remarry. That was not the case so yes her marriage to Phillip was still a valid and binding marriage in the sight of God.

So it is your contention that if one WANTS their marriage, (Philip for example), then the marriage is still intact, though the other person is remarried. In that case of adultery(remarriage), adultery does not dissolve the original covenant. Do you believe then that it is up to the innocent on whether the marriage is valid or not? If they want their covenant partner back, they can stand and wait—-causing their spouse to be in a continual state of adultery. If they don’t want that partner, they can “release” them and then they wouldn’t be in a constant state of adultery?

Ok so then we are the Phillips, did Phillip have the right to marry again?

No, John clearly said that she was PHILIP’s wife………her divorce of him and subsequent remarriage to Herod did NOT dissolve her marital bond to Philip………..so if the bond was intact for her, it was for him as well………..

Herodias/Philip – The issue was the relationship was prohibited in the OT law i.e. his brothers wife, not that it was a second marriage.

It doesn’t matter whether it was incest OR adultery. The fact remains that she DID divorce Philip, DID marry Herod, and that marriage was STILL not lawful. Your belief that a remarriage/new vows/adultery nullifies the previous LAWFUL marriage, cannot be supported by scripture.

I’m confused. Since Philip was still alive, their marriage was illegal. That means that:

~Her abandonment of Philip to live with Herod didn’t end her marriage – but doesn’t the “Pauline Privilege say something different?

~Her relations with Herod didn’t end her marriage – but wouldn’t that consistute the adultery that Jesus and Shammai both said ends a marriage?

~Her divorce didn’t end her marriage – which is supposedly what Deut. 24 says

That says to me that the sole determinant of the validity of a second marriage is whether or not the original spouse is living. But that’s crazy talk. I must’ve lost my head or something to believe that.

I’m right with you, brother!

Here is the writing by Josephus about Herod/Herodias illicit marriage: http://library.untraveledroad.com/Ch/Josephus/Antiquities-Jews/Book18/Herod-Tetrarch.htm

Here’s the footnote: “1This Herod seems to have had the additional name of Philip, as Antipus was named Herod-Antipas: and as Antipus and Antipater seem to be in a manner the very same name, yet were the names of two sons of Herod the Great; so might Philip the tetrarch and this Herod-Philip be two different sons of the same father, all which Grotias observes on Matthew 14:3. Nor was it, as I with Grotias and others of the Philip the tetrarch, but this Herod-Philip, whose wife Herod the tetrarch had married, and that in her first husband’s lifetime, and when her first husband had issue by her-; for which adulterous and incestuous marriage John the Baptist justly reproved Herod the tetrarch, and for which reproof Salome, the daughter of Herodias by her first husband Herod-Philip, who was still alive, occasioned him to be unjustly beheaded.’

This footnote is just one more source that identifies the difficulty that John the Baptist had with the marriage being related to the fact that he married his brother’s wife while his brother was still living.

The footnote identifies Herod and Herodias’ marriage as both incestuous AND adulterous. The simple fact of the matter is that even though they “married” each other, their marriage was unlawful. It is no different today when people commit adultery. They may think they are married, but what does Jesus say, “they commiteth adultery”……………..

Hi, recently was reading deeper into the account in which John stated that Herod and Herodias’ marriage was unlawful. I have always taken this account to support our stance on no remarriage while one has a living spouse. However, reading other sources state that even Herodias’ marriage to Philip wasn’t lawful because Philip was Herodias Uncle. Thus making out that the argument stating it was wrong for Herodias to marry because she had a living spouse by John, unlikely. Nevertheless, I was wanting to see if these sources were accurate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodias and http://divorceandremarriagecults.blogspot.com/2012/07/herod-and-herodias.htm

Thanks for your time, Tony

Hi Tony, The scandal was, according to Josephus, the Jewish historian of John’s day, that Herodias divorced her husband and married another (left a living husband to marry another). There is no indication that their sin was due to Jewish familial matrimony laws (marrying close relatives). The fact is that both Herod and his half brother were uncles to Herodias, so if we were to go by that reasoning, NEITHER would be suitable husbands to her—including Philip. The “close family tie” reason did not appear to be a problem as John still identified Philip as Herodias’ husband. No divorce, nor new marriage to Herod negated her union to Philip. Hope that helps. I encourage you to read Josephus’ account of their “marriage”.


Philip’s wife didn’t leave him because of sexual immorality (fornication) so of course it was adultery.

Then how is it that Herodias’ fornication with Herod didn’t dissolve marriage with Phillip? The point is that immorality didn’t her dissolve marriage or else it wouldn’t be adultery for her to be with Herod to begin with. Her immorality should have dissolved her marriage to Philip so she could be with Herod, right? John says she still belonged to Phillip even though she committed immorality.

You say adultery (immorality) breaks the marriage bond, yet we see that remarriage adultery does not (herod/herodias). Why is it you believe that extramarital adultery breaks a marriage bond, but remarriage adultery does not? That is a very confusing stance to me and one I think you would have an impossible time proving with scripture.

We only have one instance of a divorce to repent scenario and that is in Ezra. This was because of foreign gods. As for the case of Herod and the man in the Corinthian church these are cases of INCEST. In Levticus it plainly states that one cannot have his brothers wife, so you cannot use this example.

In Ezra, the people sinned against God by rebelliously marrying those He forbade (in other words God had nothing to do with their marriages—-He did not join them together). In repentance, even though they had children, they FORSOOK those unlawful marriages. Those who didn’t forsake their rebellious unions were cast out of Israel. Whether Herod was not committing incest (actually the “law” was speaking about DEAD brothers, not taking their LIVE wives with children from a living brother). The point is this: their new “marriage” did not make it a LAWFUL marriage in God’s eyes. Their divorces did not dissolve their previous marriages. Herodias STILL belonged to Philip despite divorce, remarriage/adultery. The same holds true today when people forsake their spouses and take others. Despite their divorce/remarriage/adultery, the original marriage is still binding in the eyes of God—-since HE is the one who created this “one flesh”.

Leviticus is absolutely speaking of the mosaic law and taking a brothers wife. Herod and Herodias cannot be intpreted beyound this.

The “law” pertained to marrying a DEAD brother’s wife if they had no children together. Either way it is not incest. The thing is: Philip was alive......and Herod had his LIVING brother’s wife—-aka: adultery. Their divorces and subsequent “marriage” did not legitimize their present union. John lost his head for telling Herod he HAD his brother’s wife. This is a perfect illustration for those who continue to teach: a divorce dissolves a previous marriage and allows for remarriage.......and also dispels the false teaching that no matter how a re “marriage” came about, now that you are in it, you stay in it and glorify God. That teaching is about as far from what Jesus taught on the matter, as anything I can think of—-a true “license to sin”........and is a very scary thing considering Jesus said the sexually immoral will have their place in the lake of fire.....and Paul taught that adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Very sobering to minimize the Words of Christ and say a relationship HE deemed sinful, really is not sinful. What God did to Aaron’s sons comes to mind regarding how God views disregarding His ways and making our own way to “worship” Him. As a matter of fact, we also see this in Mal. 2:11-17. The Lord rejects those who come to the altar with sacrifices when they have rejected their covenant spouse and taken another.

Now we know that John the Baptist was working under Old Testament Law. How can you expect someone under old testament law to understand something before Jesus ever taught it? He was speaking of taking his brothers wife, not speaking of a remarriage.

Herod was living with another LIVING man’s wife—-ADULTERY.....which was not acceptable according to Mosaic law (brother’s wife) OR Jesus’ teachings (marriage after divorce). BOTH acts were sinful in that day. According to the “law of Moses” a man COULD marry his brother’s wife IF his brother was DEAD and they had no children together. Also, actually, Jesus DID teach on MDR BEFORE (Matthew 5) John confronted Herod (Matthew 14)—-at least in the Gospel of Matthew. John the Baptist said to Herod in Mt 14:4, “it is not lawful for thee to have her.” We could go round and round about what exactly John meant, but the fact is: their “marriage” was unlawful and NOT recognized by God—-just as the marriages in Ezra and just as the marriages Jesus and Paul talk about that are adultery.