Lessons to Learn from The Folly of Herod Antipas 

Verses 3 to 11 of Chapter 14 of the Gospel of Matthew contain one of the accounts of the beheading of John the Baptist by Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee at the time, a story from which red pill men can learn some important lessons where it concerns what their own consciences tell them about the whims of manipulative women. Before we begin this analysis, a quick review of this story is in order.

The head of John the Baptist

Herod Antipas – one of the sons of Herod the Great, who tried but failed to kill Jesus Christ in Chapter 2 – has John the Baptist imprisoned, “for Herodias’ sake;” (14:3) John had insisted that it was, “not lawful,” (14:4) for Antipas to have married Herodias, because Antipas had divorced his first wife to do this and because Herodias had done the same with her first husband, Herod II. Herod II – also called Herod Philip I – is also the half-brother of Antipas (same father, different mother).

On one of Antipas’ birthdays, Salome – the biological daughter of Herodias and Herod II, and thus the stepdaughter of Antipas – “danced before them, and pleased Herod,” (14:6) to the point where Antipas, “promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.” (14:7) Unfortunately for Antipas, Salome – at the instruction of her mother – demands, “John Baptist’s head in a charger,” (14:8) and the reluctant Antipas ultimately gives her want she wants and has John beheaded in prison.

Herodias and Salome

Biblical commentator Albert Barnes notes the significance of Antipas feeling, “sorry,” (14:9) at the prospect of killing John, arguing that there are three likely reasons for this. Antipas felt a great respect for John – considering him, “a just man and an holy,” as recorded in Mark 6:20 – he, “feared the multitude,” who, “counted him as a prophet,” (14:5) and Antipas had the sense that beheading John was, as Barnes argues, “so manifestly wicked,” as to make Antipas’ conscience object to the request. Barnes also contends that Antipas can see the shallowness of this request, which is made solely to, “gratify the malice of a wicked woman,” referring to Herodias’ hatred of John for his criticism of her marriage to Antipas.

Antipas has the power to deny Salome’s request and preserve the life of John, but he beheads John both because of the oath he swore to give Salome whatever she wanted (made before he knew what exactly she wanted) and because of, “them which sat with him at meat.” (14:9) Barnes argues that this is essentially a description of Antipas succumbing to peer pressure and being, “afraid of the charge of cowardice and want of spirit;” he gave Salome what she wanted and failed to have the courage to obey his conscience.

It is also worth noting the style of Salome’s dance, dubbed the Dance of the Seven Veils; Barnes argues (as do cinematic depictions of the dance in 1953 and 1961) that this was a, “lascivious and wanton,” act performed by a, “dissolute,” girl, and the fact that Salome was Antipas’ stepdaughter adds an incestuous element to the dance. One arguably does not even need to hold the conservative views on sexuality that Barnes does to see the disturbing nature of this performance by Salome.

Antipas and his mistake

It is ultimately Antipas’ folly and personal cowardice – that is, cowardice in being reluctant to do that which he personally knows to be right – that leads to the death of John the Baptist, who arguably acts as a symbol for Antipas’ conscience. The first two verses of Chapter 14 recount Antipas’ belief that – after hearing of, “the fame of Jesus,” (14:1) fame which grew due to Christ’s performance of miracles for the people – John has somehow, “risen from the dead.” (14:2)

Barnes argues that Antipas mistook Christ for John because of his guilty conscience; Antipas knew that executing John was wrong from the beginning, and later feared that John had somehow miraculously returned, as Antipas’ conscience would never let him forget his fatal failure to do what needed to be done when it needed to be done. Antipas still bears ultimate responsibility for John’s execution, but even Jordan Peterson would argue that the provocative and likely neotenic Salome was, “deeply complicit,” in contributing to this mistake.

Knowing when you’re being manipulated

Red pill men recognise that their biology – by itself – will not serve them well when it comes to interacting with women, and Antipas was negligent to ignore the incestuous and thus highly questionable nature of Salome’s dance. Like the average blue pill man, he swore an oath to give a woman whose character he knew little to nothing about whatever she wanted purely because she visually, “pleased,” (14:6) him.

Hence the second point made by Paul Elam in his video ‘Six Subtle Gateways To Borderline Hell‘, in which he argues that if a woman becomes highly sexual with you early on in the relationship, this is a sign that she is weaponizing her sexuality to your detriment. Salome’s sexual manipulation is like that of the Greek goddess Hera – as discussed previously on this website by Peter Wright – in that it serves a purely selfish end; this is made even more unsettling by the collusion of her mother Herodias, who would have presumably been quite satisfied with the sight of John’s head after Salome, “brought it to her mother.” (14:11)

To reiterate, sexual manipulation is one of the easiest ways that a woman can get a man of her choosing to do whatever she likes, given how visual men are when it comes to sexual selection. It is this kind of manipulation that red pill men must be able to perceive for what it is – especially when it is coming from women about whom we know very little, or nothing at all – and they must value what their conscience tells them over what their hormones tell them when dealing with a Salome in their own lives.

*All quotes from the Bible are taken from the King James Version of the text.