Bible Question:

Whatever happened to Herodias and Salome?

Bible Answer:

Herodias was the wife of Herod Antipas’ (called Herod in the New Testament) brother Herod Philip (called Philip in the New Testament). Luke 3:1 says that Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis. Herodias first appears in scripture in Matthew 14.

. . . when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests. He sent and had John beheaded in the prison. Matthew 14:3-10 (NASB)

The passage tells us that Herod was having an affair with his brother’s wife. In the “The Antiquities of the Jews” Book 18, Chapter 5, Josephus says that Herodias divorced her husband Philip for Herod, who was still married to his first wife. Therefore, when John the Baptist told Herod that he was sinning, Herod did not like the message.

Who was the young woman who danced before Herod? Josephus tells us the young woman’s name was Salome. She was Herodias’ daughter and later became the wife of Philip after her mother divorced him.

. . . but Herodias, their sister, was married to Herod [Philip], the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest, who had a daughter, Salome; after whose birth Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorce herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod [Antipas], her husband’s brother by the father’s side; he was tetrarch of Galilee; but her daughter Salome was married to Philip, the son of Herod, and tetrarch of Trachonitis . . . (Josephus, Ant. 18, 5)


Josephus adds that Herodias joined Herod Antipas in exile in Lugdunum (Antiquities of the Jews 18, 7,2). Herod had been defeated in battle and was exiled by Aretas. Salome also reportedly decided to join Herod and Herodias in exile rather than be alone. The emperor had sent them to Spain and as she was passing over a frozen river, the ice broke and she sank in up to her neck and died. Did this occur because of their sin?

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (NASB) Galatians 6:7

But God’s forgiveness restores us into a loving relationship with Him. That is the message of John 3:16 and 1 John 1:9.