A DANCING GIRL, AND WHAT WAS GIVEN HER
Matthew xi: 2 to 19; xiv: 1 to 12; Mark vi: 14 to 29; Luke vii: 18 to 35.
OU remember that just before Jesus went from Jerusalem to
Galilee, as we read in Story 117, John
the Baptist was put in prison by the king, Herod
Antipas. Jesus stayed in Galilee for a year, and nearly
all that time John the Baptist was alone in his prison
near the Dead Sea. His followers, who were now very
few, came to see him, and told him of the works that
Jesus was doing. These were wonderful, but they were
not what John had expected Jesus to do; and in his
prison, with no one to explain what Jesus was saying
and doing, John began to doubt a little whether Jesus
were the Saviour who had been promised so long. Then,
too, John's followers were inclined to feel jealous,
because their master was now left alone, and all the
people were seeking Jesus. John sent two of his
followers to Jesus, to ask him this question, "Are you
really the Saviour who is to come, or are we to look
for some other as the promised Christ?"
When these men came with this message from John the
Baptist they found Jesus in the midst of a great
company of suffering people. They saw him making the
sick well by his touch, giving sight to the blind, and
casting out the evil spirits; and they listened to the
words of Jesus as he taught the people.
When his work for the time was done, Jesus turned to
the men who had come from John, and said to them, "Go
and tell John what you have seen and heard, how the
blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are made clean,
the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the
poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is
that man who believes in me without doubting."
 After these men had gone to bear the words of Jesus to
John, Jesus spoke to the people about John the Baptist.
"What was it that you went out into the wilderness to
see? Was it a reed shaken by the wind? Was it a man
dressed in rich robes? Those who are clad in splendid
garments, and sit at feasts, are in the houses of
kings. Who was the man whom you went out to see? Was he
a prophet of God? I tell you that he was a prophet, and
more than a prophet; for he was the one who came to
make men ready for the coming of the king. And I say to
you, that among those who are born on the earth, there
has never arisen a greater man than John the Baptist.
Yet he who is the least in the kingdom of God is
greater than John; for he can see with his own eyes,
what John can only hear of from others, the works of
All the common people who heard this were glad, for
they believed that John was a prophet, and they had
been baptized by him. But the Pharisees and the rulers
were not pleased, because they had refused to listen to
John the Baptist or to be baptized by him.
Not long after this the end came to the noble life of
John the Baptist. A great feast was held on King
Herod's birthday, and all the princes and nobles of his
kingdom were in the palace, eating and drinking
together. While they were making merry, the young
daughter of the woman Herodias, who lived with Herod as
his wife, came into the supper-room and danced before
the guests. Herod was so greatly pleased with her
dancing that he said to her, "Ask whatever you please,
and I will give it to you."
He swore a solemn oath that he would give her whatever
she might ask, even to the half of his kingdom. The
girl went to her mother, and said to her, "Tell me,
what shall I ask?"
Her mother told her what to ask, and she came back with
haste to the king, and said, "I will ask that you give
me here upon a plate the head of John the Baptist!"
The king was very sorry that he had made the promise,
but he was ashamed to break his word in the presence of
his princes. He sent a man to the prison, with orders
that the head of John the Baptist should be cut off and
brought. It was done; and the young girl took it upon a
plate, and gave it to her mother Herodias.
So, as Herod's father, thirty years before, had caused
 little children of Bethlehem to be killed, as we read
in Story 112, this King Herod, the son,
caused John the Baptist, one of the best of men and a
great prophet, to be put to death.
The followers of John the Baptist went to the prison,
and took away his body and buried it; and then they
went and told Jesus of all that had been done. After
this they were among the followers of Jesus.
Herod the king heard of what Jesus was doing, the sick
healed, the blind made to see, and the dead raised to
life. Everybody by this time was talking of Jesus and
wondering who he was. Some said, "This is the prophet
Elijah come again to earth."
Others said, "If he is not Elijah, he is surely one of
the prophets of the old time who has come to life."
But Herod said, "I know who this is. It is John the
Baptist, whom I killed! He has come back to life, and
by him all these great works are wrought!"
And Herod was in great alarm, for he was afraid of the
man whom he had slain.
TIBERIAS, ON THE SEA OF GALILEE, WHERE HEROD LIVED