The Twelve Sent Out
And He called the twelve [disciples] and began to send them out [as His special messengers] two by two, and gave them authority and power over the unclean spirits. He told them to take nothing for the journey except a mere walking stick—no bread, no [traveler’s] bag, no money in their belts— but to wear sandals; and [He told them] not to wear [a]two tunics. And He told them, “Wherever you go into a house, stay there until you leave that town. Any place that does not welcome you or listen to you, when you leave there, [b]shake the dust off the soles of your feet as a testimony against them [breaking all ties with them because they rejected My message].” So they went out and preached that men should repent [that is, think differently, recognize sin, turn away from it, and live changed lives]. And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many who were sick, and healing them.
John’s Fate Recalled
King Herod [Antipas] heard about this, for Jesus’ name and reputation had become well known. People were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” But others were saying, “He is [c]Elijah!” And others were saying, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets [of old].” But when Herod heard [of it], he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen [from the dead]!”
For Herod himself had sent [guards] and had John arrested and shackled in prison because of [d]Herodias, the wife of his [half-] brother Philip, because he (Herod) had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful [under Mosaic Law] for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not, because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed; but he enjoyed listening to him. But an opportune time [finally] came [for Herodias]. Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his officials (nobles, courtiers) and [e]military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. Now [Salome] the daughter of Herodias came in and danced [for the men]. She pleased and beguiled Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the [f]girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give it to you; [g]up to half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And Herodias replied, “The head of John the Baptist!” And she rushed back to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter!” The king was deeply grieved, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests [who might have regarded him as weak], he was unwilling to [break his word and] refuse her. So the king immediately sent for an executioner and commanded him to bring back John’s head. And he went and had John beheaded in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about this, they came and took away John’s body and laid it in a tomb.
- Mark 6:9 It was common for travelers to wear two tunics which could be switched.
- Mark 6:11 A symbolic act expressing contempt for a place that had rejected the message of salvation.
- Mark 6:15 Many of the Jews believed that the prophet Elijah would return before the Messiah appeared.
- Mark 6:17 See note Matt 14:3.
- Mark 6:21 Gr chiliarchois, originally referring to a commander of 1,000, but in Roman times of 600.
- Mark 6:22 Salome was probably only fourteen or fifteen years old.
- Mark 6:23 This was intended as an expression of generosity rather than a literal offer. In reality Herod was a tetrarch, a puppet ruler under Rome, and did not have authority over a “kingdom.”