Herodias’ Daughter Dancing

People in our congregations love to dance. In Messianic congregations, Charismatic churches, Israeli/Jewish culture, at weddings, during worship, and throughout the Biblical narrative, dancing is seen as a positive form of enjoyment, creativity and love.

The pleasure and beauty of dancing is inspired by God. However, as with all beautiful and pleasurable activities, there is a danger of it becoming a temptation to sensual activity, which can turn to sin.

The place of sexually provocative dancing has exploded in the past few decades because of the power of audio-visual technology in social media. On the one hand, filming oneself and dancing can be just fun. On the other hand, it can lead to a series of extremely dangerous moral and spiritual results.

I would like to summarize those dangerous results in four levels, each worse than the previous one, in kind of a ladder of side effects. These four levels can be illustrated in the story of Herodias’ daughter, dancing before Herod Antipas.

[The account can be found in Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9. The name of the young woman dancing is not mentioned in the Scriptures, but is known to be Salome, from the writings of historian Flavius Josephus Jewish Antiquities (18, 5:4). She was the granddaughter of Herod the Great, who built the Temple and murdered the children of Bethlehem at the time of Yeshua’s birth; and the stepdaughter of Herod Antipas, who appears throughout the gospels.

Crime and intrigue was found throughout the Herodian dynasty, including the murder of close family members who were seen as political rivals. In the story at hand, Herod married his brother Philip’s wife, Herodias – which was against the law, against Jewish tradition, and against biblical morality. Salome was Herodias’s daughter from her previous marriage with Philip.]

The background to the story is that John the Baptist publicly rebuked Herod and Herodias for this sin. Herodias was furious at him and sought to kill him. Salome danced at a feast held by Herod, and he was so overwhelmed by sensual attraction that he lost his head completely.

Mark 6 NKJV

21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom. 24 So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”

And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!” 25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”n26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.

Here is a simple description of the four levels of spiritual warfare going on in this story:

Level One: Salome’s Carnality

It seems by the biblical account that Herodias’s daughter was not thinking about John the Baptist or any other “geo-political” moral issues. She was just “into” herself and her dancing. She could feel how powerful it was. She loved the attention.

Herod’s response was out of proportion. However, it does show the effect of this kind of sensuality. (My wife puts it a little more simply, “How can men be so ignorant? Why don’t they understand what is going on?”) For this reason, there is so much sensual dancing in advertisement and social media. One of the reactions is for men to give money irrationally.

In this case, Herod says that he will give this young girl up to half his kingdom. Considering he may have been the wealthiest person in the whole Israel-Palestine area, that statement is bizarre. The only other time such a statement is made was by King Ahasuerus (Esther 5:6), who promised half the kingdom to Queen Esther, after he was overwhelmed by her beauty.

In the case of Salome and Herod, the power was used for evil. In the case of Esther and Ahasuerus, the power was used for good.

While young girls may think they are just having fun, the power of sensuality to distort moral values must be taken into account. To be ignorant of that is not innocent but immoral.

Level Two: Herodias’ Crime

When Herodias’ daughter comes to her mother, the mother tells her to ask for John the Baptist’s head. The daughter in her excitement over all the attention being given her, adds the demand for his head to be given her immediately and on a platter.

What started as Salome’s sensuality and Herod’s stupidity, now jumped up a level to murder. The carnality became crime. Not all carnality becomes crime, but it has the potential to do so. Salome’s silly self-centeredness became murder under the influence of her mother, who was burning with hatred toward John.

Level Three: Jezebel’s Attack

What Herodias didn’t understand was that she was also being used as a tool. There was a demonic spirit empowering her. This spirit is often referred to as the “Jezebel spirit” (Revelation 2:20, I Kings 21). It can be also referred to as the “Great Harlot” (porne mega, Revelation 17) – or by many other names.

This spirit combines rebellion, party-spirit, false spirituality, sexual sin, and ultimately has as its goal to discredit male authority and prophetic moral authority.

This third level had not just to do with Herodias’ wanting to sin and being willing to commit murder to continue; it had to do with stopping John. John was the great prophet of his generation. He represented God’s word to the people. Yeshua referred to him as the greatest prophet of all time.

Level Four: Satanic Attack

Ultimately all evil is directed against Yeshua, the Messiah, the righteous King, and Son of God. The Jezebel spirit is a high evil spirit, but it is second under the command of Satan. The Jezebel spirit was out to stop John the prophet. Satan was out to stop Yeshua and his disciples.

John was the prophet who introduced and identified Yeshua to the world. Yeshua represents God’s kingdom coming to this world. Satan was out to overthrow that kingdom. This is the real battle. What starts as just self-centered carnality ends up as a satanically empowered evil against God.

Summary of Four Levels:

The levels can be seen by who is promoting them:

1. Salome

2. Herodias

3. Harlot spirit

4. Satan

The levels can be seen by what is being accomplished

1. Sensuality

2. Adultery and Murder

3. Discredit Prophetic Authority

4. Attack Yeshua’s Kingdom

The levels can be seen by who was being attacked

1. Ignorant men

2. Righteous men

3. John

4. Yeshua

Let’s keep a balanced and discerning approach. Many forms of dancing are good; some are carnal. Not all carnality leads to sin, but it certainly can. Not all sin leads to criminal activity, but it certainly can. Not all carnal dancing opens the door to satanic spiritual attack, but it certainly can.

Let’s not be ignorant.

Source: Herodias’ Daughter Dancing (ritg.org)