20 – John Arrested
Where: Bethany, Perea
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On Monday May 10, John and his disciples left the Adam area and continued their journey south to Bethany, Perea, where he would again proclaim the kingdom and baptize those who would listen. At the same time Jesus went west, up the Wadi Farah, toward Shechem. By Monday evening John and his disciples had arrived at Bethany, Perea.
The ruler of Galilee and Perea was Herod Antipas (son of Herod the Great). He had returned from Rome with plans to divorce his Arabian wife, who just happened to be the daughter of Aretas IV the Nabatean king. When she had learned of his plans, she tricked him into letting her escape back to her home city of Petra [today], which suited Antipas fine.
Antipas then “married” his niece Herodias. She was the daughter of Aristobulus (one of his own brothers). She had married Herod Philip (another brother of Antipas) by whom she had a daughter called Salome. It was after Herodias “divorced” Philip that she “married” Antipas.
To John the divorce was not legal and the relationship was adulterous and immoral. Thus John condemned it loudly and publicly. Because John was “preaching” to such large crowds, on a major road from Perea to Galilee, many people were becoming dissatisfied with Antipas, and the constant “harping” really bothered Herodias.
The summer was beginning and the hot winds, called Sirocco, were beginning to blow. Everyone was on edge. Antipas and Herodias had just left Jerusalem and were beginning their journey back to Galilee. They had made the trip down the Wadi Qelt to Jericho. They, and their escorts, were crossing the Jordan River ford when John saw them. He began to LOUDLY condemn them in front of the crowd that had gathered there. Herodias could take this no longer.
Herodias spent the rest of the day convincing Antipas that John presented a serious danger to his rule. She made it “so clear” that Antipas finally had to act. Antipas sent a messenger to the fortress ofMachaerus [which lay on the east side of the Dead Sea] to send enough soldiers to Bethany, Perea to arrest John and to detain him. By Wednesday May 12, John had been arrested and locked away in the fortress of Machaerus.
No questions have been asked yet.