And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsover thou wilt, and I will give it unto thee. – Mark 6:17

*   *   *

All we need to know about King Herod is revealed in his male lust and bombast.

The (exotic) dancer (then, as now, a euphemism for stripper) would have been his own niece. The intercourse is implied. Is there any taboo he will not violate?

Matthew 14:3-11 tells this event in more detail.

While the Gospels do not name her, other sources report Salome as a daughter of Herodias, and the assumption has held.

*   *   *

Comparing the depictions of women in the Hebrew Bible and those in the New Testament, I’m struck by how often the former endorses blood-and-flesh sexuality while the latter generally presents pallid females, unless they’re of a scarlet character, like this dancer.

The debauchery of Herod’s court, of course, is the devil’s den. Meanwhile, there were drunken feasts in the pagan courts of the Hebrew Bible as well. What on earth would stop them?

*   *   *

But you who know the Lord, and are turned in unto him, do you put your Trust in him, who is Prince of the Kings of the Earth, unto whom all Power doth belong, and through God you shall do valiantly; for he it is that shall tread down all your Enemies. (Elizabeth Bathurst, 1655?-1685)

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