A Royal Coward
Although it grieved the king, because of his oath and the dinner guests he commanded it to be given. — Matt 14:9 NET
Herod called himself a king, and yet see what a poor slave he was, what a craven coward! He was sorry he had made the oath, exceedingly sorry. His conscience was not altogether dead. He did not want to kill John. He was afraid of public opinion, which he knew would condemn him. He was afraid of avenging wrath. Then he hate himself for having been caught by Herodias in her plot to have her long-cherished revenge. Yet he was so much a slave that, although he claimed to be a king, he had not the courage to refuse such a request.
True, he had made an oath, but no promise or oath is binding which requires one to sin. Of course, Herod did very wrong to make such a reckless oath, not knowing what his promise would involve. After he had made it he was bound to keep it, at whatever cost to himself, provided nothing sinful was involved. If Herodias had asked for half his kingdom, he would have been bound to grant her request; but he was under no obligation to grant any desire which required him to commit sin.
It was not the oath, however, that really influenced Herod. He had not the courage to do the heroic thing he ought to have done. He was afraid of the ridicule of his guests; and he was so under the power of Herodias that he dared not refuse what she demanded. It was his weakness that wrecked him. Rather than be a moral hero he stained his hands in holy blood; and the stains are not yet washed out.
There are some things we have no right to swear away. Things that are our own we are always to do with as we have sworn. According to the Scriptures, a good man, having sworn to his own hurt, changes not. But no oath binds any one to give away another man’s life. This is not his to give.
Daily Word of God - July 11
Public domain content taken from Come Ye Apart by J.R. Miller.