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Salome: Was the "dancing" daughter of Herodias a child?

Children playing ball games.
2nd century AD marble relief, probably Roman.
(Source: Wikimedia)

Most people think of Salome as a conniving, dangerous seductress, but is her reputation as a seductress deserved? In this post, I look at the daughter of Herodias who “danced” for Herod Antipas in order to discover what kind of person she was and to find out what she did that resulted in John the Baptizer being beheaded.

[An article on Salome who was a follower of Jesus is here.]

Preamble: Young Woman or Little Girl?

I was reading 1 Samuel chapter 9 today, in the Greek, and I came across a word that is translated in 1 Samuel 9:11 (NIV) as “young women.” The word is korasia (plural).[1] When I think of “young women” I think of women around the ages of 18–25, but the “young women” in 1 Samuel 9 were probably girls whose chore it was to get water for the household.

I decided to look into this word korasion (singular), at its meaning and its usage, and while studying I found that there are two korasia mentioned in the New Testament.

Jairus’ daughter is identified as a korasion in Matthew 9:24 & 25 and Mark 5:41 & 42.[2] And we are given her age. She was twelve years old (Mark 5:42; Luke 8:42). The other korasion in the New Testament is the daughter of Herodias. (See Matt. 14:1–12; Mark 6:21–29).[3] Josephus tells us that the daughter’s name was Salome.[4]

In the past, I was led to believe that Salome was a sexy woman, an experienced temptress, and that she danced in a deliberately provocative manner for her stepfather Herod Antipas, but in real life Salome was possibly just a kid.[5]

Salome: Was the "dancing" daughter of Herodias a child?

This photo is of actress Brigid Bazlen portraying the clichéd Salome performing the “dance of the seven veils” in the movie King of Kings (1961). (Wikimedia)

Salome’s Seductive Dance or Endearing Play?

So what exactly did young Salome do to entertain her audience? Admittedly the rich sometimes indulged in salacious entertainment that sometimes involved children, but it is possible Salome’s dance was amusing and endearing rather than erotic.

The Greek verb for “pleased” (areskō) in the phrase, “she pleased Herod …” (Matt. 14:6; Mark 6:22) doesn’t have sexual connotations in and of itself.[6] And the Greek word for “dance” (orcheomai) in these same verses can refer to children at play. So Salome may have been playing in an amusing way to entertain her audience, and was not just dancing.[7]

The only other occurrences of orcheomai in the New Testament are in a quotation from Jesus where he mentions children calling out about dancing and mourning (Matt. 11:16–17; Luke 7:32). Ominously, Jesus’s words in these two passages about John the Baptist who would be killed because of a child’s “dance.”

An Oath and an Opportunity

Some believe Herodias put her daughter up to dancing provocatively for Herod with the hope he would, in appreciation, make some sort of offer or promise. However, the text does not support this assumption. How could Herodias have predicted Herod would make such a promise?

Herod’s oath to give up to half his kingdom is an idiom. This idiom suggests that a person making a request can ask freely and expect a liberal gift (Mark 6:22–23; Matt. 14:6–7). The same idiom is used when Esther asks favours of King Xerxes (Esth. 5:3, 5, 7:2). Sometimes rulers such as Xerxes set no limits when offering gifts (Herodotus, Histories 9.109, cf. 111). It is unlikely anyone would have dared to ask Herod or Xerxes (or any other ancient ruler) for a considerable portion of their territory, let alone, almost half. Furthermore, Herod Antipas only became ruler (tetrarch) of Galilee and Perea with Caesar’s permission, and he probably didn’t have the authority to divide his realm.

I suspect that when Herod made his oath to Salome, Herodias simply saw her opportunity to exact revenge on John the Baptist, and she took the opportunity when it presented itself. Moreover, rather than being a willing temptress, young Salome may have been an innocent pawn in her mother’s revenge against John the Baptizer who had been publicly condemning the marriage between Herodias and Herod Antipas (Matt. 14:3–4; Mark 6:17–21).

Salome and Delilah: Misconceptions and Stereotypes

The unfounded sexualisation of Salome in art and literature reminds me of the treatment of Delilah. Delilah, like Salome, is typically portrayed in art and literature as a manipulative, sexual temptress, but in the actual text of Judges chapter 16, she sounds like a nagging wife (e.g., Judg. 16:16).

There is no evidence Delilah flirted or used her sexuality to coerce Samson into revealing his weakness. The narrative has her plainly asking, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued” (Judg 16:6 cf. 16:10, 13, 15). There is no sneaky or sexy subtlety here. Of course, Delilah probably didn’t tell Samson that she had been richly bribed by the Philistines to discover the secret of his strength (Judg 16:5), but he should have figured this out pretty quickly.[8]

It saddens me that I have been misled into thinking that Salome and Delilah were seductive temptresses even though the Bible never states this. It saddens me that people, including Christians, have been too presumptuous and have cast these two women, and others, in this negative and nasty stereotype.[9]


Real women and real men should not be type-cast; they should be seen for who they really are. This is true for Bible characters and it is true for people today.

Salome may have been a girl of around twelve years of age, who played or danced in front of an appreciative stepfather and his dinner guests, and who was prompted by her mother Herodias to ask for John the Baptist’s head on a silver platter. Who was Herodias? That’s an interesting story for another time.


I’ve used BDAG as the main source for definitions of Greek words in this post. Walter Bauer’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition, revised and edited by F.W Danker (University of Chicago Press, 2000), is known as BDAG for short.

[1] Korasion (the singular form) is the diminutive form of the word korē. Korē means “girl” or “young woman.” As well as meaning “girl,” korē also means the pupil of the eye. Metaphorically korē refers to someone held dear and cherished: the darling, the favourite, the “apple” of one’s eye. (BDAG p. 560)

[2] In Luke’s account, Jesus calls the girl a pais (Luke 8:54). BDAG (p. 750) gives the definition of pais as a young person normally below the age of puberty with the focus on age rather than social status.

[3] The word korasion is used eight times in the New Testament, only of Salome and Jairus’ daughter (Matt. 14:11; Mark 6:22 & 28 twice, and Matt. 9:24, 25; Mark 5:41, 42). It occurs several more times in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Old Testament. Boaz’s young unmarried maidservants, who Ruth gleans with, are called korasia (Ruth 2:8, 25; 3:2). In the book of Esther, the king’s men gather korasia to take to Xerxes harem (Est. 2:3, 4). Esther is herself referred to as a korasion in Esther 2:7 and again in 2:9 where she is also given seven korasia as maidservants. The word also occurs in 1 Samuel 20:30 and Zechariah 8:5 (9:5 LXX) in the Septuagint.

[4] “Salome” is derived from the Hebrew word shalom (“well-being, peace”) and was a popular girl’s name among ancient Jews. This is the passage where Josephus provides the name of Herodias’s daughter.

But Herodias, their sister, was married to Herod [Herod Philip I], 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 divorced 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 [in around AD 30] to Philip [Herod Philip II], the son of Herod [the Great], and tetrarch of Trachonitis; and as he died [in AD 34] childless, Aristobulus the son of Herod [of Chalcis], the brother of Agrippa, married her; they had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus … Josephus, Jewish Antiquities (Book XVIII, Chapter 5, 4) (Underline added.)

Salome coinSalome became queen of Chalcis and Armenia Minor. This coin shows an image of Salome as queen. (Wikimedia) Another coin depicting Salome, and her husband Aristobulus on the other side, can be viewed here.

[5] Because of her first marriage in around AD 30 and her second marriage in around AD 35, Salome’s year of birth has been estimated at AD 14. It is thought that many Jewish women in the first century married around the ages of 14–16 years old. There is hard evidence, mainly from inscriptions, about the ages of Roman women, and Salome’s family were heavily influenced by Roman customs.

Frier and McGinn write, “The sources on age at marriage among ordinary Romans, although poor in quality, suggest that women ordinarily entered their first marriage in their middle to late teens, but men only in their mid- to late twenties …”  The authors further note, however, that girls in the upper classes (girls such as Salome) could be used as political pawns and be “given in marriage at an extremely tender age.” Bruce W. Frier and Thomas A. McGinn, A Casebook on Roman Family Law (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 28.

[6] A common context of verses in the New Testament that contain the verb areskō is the context of pleasing God (e.g., 1 Thess. 4:1). For comparison, all the verses in the New Testament that contain this verb can be viewed here.

[7] I read the book Early Christian Families in Context last October (2012) in which there was a disturbing chapter about delicia children who were kept by some rich Roman men and women for the purpose of amusement and entertainment. These children, who were usually procured when they were very young, were often treated as pampered pets. Their main “job” was to play for the amusement of their owner. (It is not clear how common it was for delicia children to be involved in erotic entertainment and games.) I’m not all suggesting that Salome was a delicia child. I only mention this to show that wealthy Romans viewed the play of children, including innocent play, as entertainment.

[8] Delilah asked Samson four times to reveal the secret of his strength. Three times Samson replied by lying to her, but the fourth time he told the truth. After the first three times, when the Philistines suddenly appeared on the scene after Delilah had bound him, one would expect Samson to be aware that Delilah was allied with the Philistines. George Athas suggests a reason Samson trusted Delilah here.

[9] As well as the possible misrepresentations of Salome and Delilah by both Bible commentators and artists, Eve is sometimes portrayed as a sexual temptress, Bathsheba is commonly thought to have been an adulteress (but was more likely a victim of rape), the Samaritan woman of Sychar is regarded as a loose woman, and poor Mary Magdalene has been unjustly identified for centuries as a sex worker.

© Margaret Mowckzo 2012
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Explore more

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Reading the Bible with a Masculinist Bias
Women, Eve, and Deception
The Samaritan Woman of Sychar (John 4)
Who was Mary the Magdalene?
Salome: Follower of Jesus and Myrrh Bearer
The Domestic Intrigues and Political Power of Salome I, Sister of Herod the Great

40 thoughts on “Salome: Was the “dancing” daughter of Herodias a child?

  1. I never considered those things before. Very well done, Marg. I am guilty too. Though I’m sure someone put those ideas in my head in the first place, the fact is- they made such sense to me I never questioned them.

    Thank you for your critical thinking on this! I will read these stories differently next time.

  2. Thanks Greg. I was genuinely surprised when I read Judges a few months back. There is nothing in the biblical text to suggest that Delilah was the least bit seductive, but I only have to think of the name “Delilah” and my mind immediately associates the name to a loose woman and seduction.

    Faulty, stupid stereotypes! 🙁

    1. Hello everyone! I Am a young Christian that is fairly new to the Word, I am not trying to be argumentative but I am wondering; how was Delilah innocent? She knew in her heart that she was deceiving Samson when she accepted and implemented the task from the Philistines, and according to the New Oxford American Dictionary, “seduce” can also mean: to attract (someone) to a belief or into a course of action that is inadvisable or foolhardy. Just a thought

      1. Hi Donald,

        I don’t say that Delilah was innocent. What I do say is that the Bible gives no indication she used sex to trick Samson.

        “Delilah, like Salome, is typically portrayed in art and literature as a manipulative, sexual temptress, but when you actually read Judges chapter 16, Delilah sounds much more like a nagging wife (Judg. 16:16). There is no evidence that Delilah flirted or used her sexuality to coerce Samson into revealing his weakness.”

        My point isn’t about innocence, it’s about misconceptions and stereotypes as per the heading.

        1. I believe these women were, Samson didn’t lie his head on her lap like he was befriending her, she was in a sexual relationship with Samson. These women did use their feminine wiles. It’s obvious.

          1. Was Samson having a sexual relationship with Delilah? Probably. I don’t say he didn’t. But the Bible gives no hint that there was anything sexy in her questions to Samson. Rather, she seems to ask bluntly.

            Judges 16:6
            So Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.”

            Judges 16:10
            Then Delilah said to Samson, “You have made a fool of me; you lied to me. Come now, tell me how you can be tied.”

            Judges 16:13
            Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.”

            Judges 16:15-16
            Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.

            And is there anything sexual in the following verse? If there is, it’s not overt.
            Judges 16:19
            After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.

            I stand by my statement in the article, “There is no evidence Delilah flirted or used her sexuality to coerce Samson into revealing his weakness.”

            Delilah nagged Samson. And there is no reason to presume that the other women I’ve mentioned in this article used feminine or sexual wiles.

  3. In that culture of that time, women were what we would now call girls when they married. Mary was about 12-13 when she had baby Jesus. I think in the Mishnah the Pharisees said that a marriage could not be consummated until the female had had a period. This may seem totally obvious to us, but they felt they needed to be explicit.

    Once people started to live longer, then the stages of life could be more spread out.

    1. “Once people started to live longer, then the stages of life could be more spread out.”
      Not 100% true. It is because of the 1900’s post-industrial revolution that has led to “the stages of life being spread out” aka adolescence. Even in Moses’ day, people were living into their 80’s and Moses himself was well over 100. It isn’t that people matured “early” back then, they were just maturing “on time” back then. We say they “matured early” not because they actually did mature early, but because we just mature late in life nowadays – so it seems early to us when in actuality it is actually on time. As a side note, let’s not forget that Jesus was a man at age 12. That’s why he attended Passover for the first time at 12; because the law required all ADULT MEN to attend. He was obedient to the law.

      See Dr David Black’s sermons on adolescence:

    2. There is no proof that Mary’s was 12-13. Matter of fact most ancient Jewish girls married after 15. Mary was more likely to be 15-20 then 12-14.
      https://books.google.com/books?id=af_nDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false Pg 46

      https://books.google.com/books?id=mFZsgugWF_UC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false Pg 51-52

      https://books.google.com/books?id=BQBaDwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false Pg 107-110

      They all point out that Jewish girls in ancient Israel typically married around 15-20. Babylonian Jewish girls around 12-16.

      “In Palestine and in the west a man marries at 30 to a woman 10-15 years younger. Source? New Testament Sexuality by William Loader pg 17.

      1. Hello Heaven. It would be useful if you could provide relevant quotations from the books you’ve linked to. I would like to read these matters of fact.

        From the limited access I have on Google Books, Michael Satlow makes this comment about Jewish marriages in antiquity: “We cannot confidently answer even the most fundamental of demographic questions such as the average age at first marriage …” p. 263. See also Sanctified Sexuality which mentions Satlow in a footnote on p. 47.

        On p. 46 of Sanctified Sexuality, Joseph Fantin writes, “In first-century marriages, it was common for the husband to be much older than the bride. Girls could marry at twelve. Nevertheless, women usually married after fifteen and men after twenty-five.”

    3. And forgive for replying to an old comment, but I find it sick how some Christians assume that Mary was 12-14 when she got pregnant. Pregnancy and childbirth is risky enough for women, but more so for girls under 16 or 17. I don’t care it was cultural. God should know better. You mean to tell he couldn’t tell Mary’s parents to betrothal her at 18 or cause it to last for several years until she was 18? He is all powerful. Maybe he has those. Christians see him as the prefect dad. A good dad wouldn’t agree to getting a 12-14 year old girl pregnant. If you read Ezekiel 16 closely you can see it use past tense as in a girl who is finish with puberty. Girls typically finish around 15-17. Even if most married at 12, I can’t see why Christians just can’t believe that God extend the betrothal. Man would do that to a 12 year old girl. I thought the Heavenly Father was better then men.

    4. “ Page 52
      Jewish women in Babylon often wed earlier, in their early or mid-teens, to husbands who were close to twenty years of age. Judean men, in contrast, tended to delay matrimony until around the age of thirty.
      No preview available for this page.
      Page 51
      This toil started quite early. The extant literary evidence suggests that most Jewish women married in their late teens or early twenties. Jewish women in Babylon often wed earlier, 4. SeekingJudea’s Missing Women 51. from
      Queen Salome: Jerusalem’s Warrior Monarch of the First Century B.C.E. pg 51-52

      “In sum, these sources suggest that in Palestine (Israel ) and the West Diaspora, Jewish (elite?) men might have typically married around thirty to women who were in their (mid or late teen) years”
      -Jewish Marriage in Antiquity
      By Michael L. Satlow pg 108

    5. Thanks for this, Heaven. I appreciate it.
      (I was hoping for actual literary or epigraphic evidence, not summary statements.)

      I imagine it was important for Mary to be young when she had Jesus. There’s nothing easy about accepting that Mary was a virgin when she became pregnant, but it would have been easier to accept that a 14-15 y/o mother was a virgin than an 18-20 y/o mother after a long betrothal.

      This sickening-to-us dynamic of men marrying young brides because of their “purity” is still going on in the world. I thank God, I don’t live in such a culture! It disgusts me and I fully support current efforts to stop child marriage. But to some extent, this was the culture of the world Jesus was born into.

      We don’t know how long Joseph’s betrothal to Mary was. Perhaps it was extended to her 16th, 18th, or even 20th birthday. We just don’t know. Mary becoming pregnant doesn’t have anything to do with the length of her betrothal to Joseph.

      Also, the same God who might extend a betrothal for the sake of health, can also protect and enhance the health of a young teenage mother.

      Mary appears to be a very fit woman in the Gospels. She travelled from Nazareth to visit her cousins Elizabeth and Zechariah in the Judean hills, and returned three months later (Luke 1:39:ff). She travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem where she delivered Jesus (Luke 2:4ff). There was a short 10 km trip from Bethlehem to Jerusalem to present Jesus at the temple (Luke 2:22). She and her family fled to Egypt (Matt. 2:13ff), and two years later returned to settle in Nazareth (Matt 2:19). Then there was an annual trip to Jerusalem for Passover (Luke 2:41), and no doubt shorter trips such as when Mary went to a wedding in the nearby village of Cana and then stayed in Capernaum for a few days (John 2:1, 12). She had probably travelled with Jesus around Galilee, at least sometimes, before he passed on the responsibility of her care to the beloved disciple (John 19:25-27). Mary was in Jerusalem where she watched her son be crucified (John 19:25). And she was still in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14). Tradition says that Mary lived her later life in far off Ephesus.

      I appreciate that walking long distances requires different organs and muscles than being pregnant and delivering a baby, but it seems Mary’s health was not appreciably impaired, and she had several healthy subsequent pregnancies which is remarkable considering the risks of childbirth in the ancient world.

      I do not want my disgust of ancient customs to cloud how I read the Bible. To the best of my ability, I want to read the books of the Bibles as the ancient authors saw it when they wrote them. And for all we know, Mary may have been very young when she had Jesus.

  4. If only the church devoted comparable effort and energy toward avoiding slander, as it does toward campaigning against more hot-button issues.

  5. Don, Deborah and I have just been going through Thayers and looking at the texts they give for korasion, and the Hebrew words (Strongs 3207, 5291) they give as being translated by korasion in the LXX.

    In light of everything I’ve looked at, I think it’s reasonably safe to say that a korasion is a girl about 12 years old, or younger, of marriageable age, or approaching marriageable age. So that ties in with your comment. Then again, Salome may have been younger still.

    Verity3, It bothers me that Christians in the past have been quick to think the worst of Bible women. Another one is the Samaritan woman. I think Jesus and her were having a genuine theological discussion on the subject of worship. How wonderful is that? But people say that she brought up the subject of worship to divert attention from her marital situation. Aghh! I think Jesus brought up the five husbands as a metaphor – a metaphor that the woman understood.

  6. I agree with your comments about Salome. I did some research on her and came to the same conclusion you did. Actually, I wrote a book about my findings called ‘Salome; An Invitation to the Dance’ (as Marcus Johnson).
    Even though it took my 5 years to write this book, you have still managed to come up with some points I’ve missed.

    Hasko Starrenburg

  7. Hi Hasko,

    Thanks for leaving a comment.

    I had a look at some previews, and a review, of your book. I like the interesting and imaginative way you’ve presented your findings.

    1. Can you imagine how traumatizing it must of been for her to carry the head of a man on a tray??? I can only imagine Jesus’ reaction when He got the news, finding out that Herodius used a little girl in such a sickening way. No wonder He had to get away. It may have taken all He had not to go over there and forcefully take that little girl out of that house. She was one sick mama. I feel for Salome. I do hope she got saved. I actually read about this verse today and could see Salome slipping down to John’s cell and asking him questions about God. She was a little girl and girls are curious and then to carry his head. frightening!! It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Jesus snatched Salome up after all that nonsense.

      1. Hi Kim,

        As a member of the Herodian family, and a daughter of the vindictive Herodias, I have a feeling Salome may have been regularly exposed to brutality.

        Salome became the queen of Chalcis and Armenia Minor. But there is no hint of evidence she ever became a Christian.

    2. Yes, she did become a Jesus follower although she was never married. These historical accounts were written for the Roman records after the fact, not necessarily very accurate. Salome fled from the palace and became a follower as a result of the trauma she endured that day. She was cared for and hidden by the other woman. She died in France.

      1. Hi Nancy,

        Josephus tells us that Salome was married to Philip the Tetrarch of Ituraea and Trakonitis. After Philip’s death, in 34 AD, she married Aristobulus of Chalcis and became his queen. Josephus also mentions her children. Josephus (37-100 AD) is considered a fairly reliable source of facts and information, though he does have some biases. (See chapter 5, section 4, here.)

        Also, coins were minted during Salome’s lifetime, in 56-57 AD, showing that Aristobulus and Salome were king and queen. Three of these coins still survive. (More information about these coins is here.) Salome’s lineage is not obscure.

        What Roman records are you referring to, Nancy? And which records contain the ideas you are claiming?

  8. Hi Marg

    I am always reluctant to be too quick to jump to conclusions, The household of Aristobulus was probably quite big. However, I did trace the line of inheritance, and Aristobulus would actually be the owner of the Herodian villa in Rome at the time Paul wrote to the Romans. He would not be living there at the time, for he was (client) king of Lower Armenia and lived in Nicopolis upon Lycus. His son Herod would be in Rome, partly for his education and partly as a hostage. Even Herod the Great always had at least one son living in Rome at any time.

    Herod the son of Salome (Herodion is the diminutive of Herod) was later personally known to Josephus, who called him ‘a very humble man’. An unusual characteristic for a Herodian.

    Actually, it is also interesting to note that on the coin of Salome, her husband is on the other side, and he calls himself a Hasmonian (ae Maccabean) rather than a Herodian.

  9. Even 14 year olds can be seductresses.

    1. True, but Salome may have been much younger. She may have been a little girl.

  10. Seduction is not specifically sexual. While I don’t think Herod’s wife’s daughter seduced him, Delilah enticed Samson 4 times to tell her how she could take away his strength, the fourth time she said that, he didn’t really love her if he didn’t tell her the source of his strength; this is no less manipulate than a man saying to a woman “you don’t love me if you don’t have sex with me” before they are married. Anyone who knows people know how they act when they want to get something from someone when they don’t want to give it to them, there is no way you can read that story and legitimately say that she didn’t seduce him to get what she wanted.

    1. Hi Linkno,

      I agree that seduction doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual, though it usually is. But I fail to see how Delilah’s frank speech can be misunderstood for seduction or enticing (Judg. 16:6; 10, 13, 15-16).

      1. Because you are simply reading it as frank speech without thinking about the way humans act.
        Judges 16:5
        5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

        Note the word entice used here, she was told to entice him and entice him she did.

        1. Patah פָּתָה (H6601b), which occurs in Judges 16:5 can mean entice, but it can also mean deceive or persuade. The word is translated in a variety of ways in different English translations. (See here.)

          The Bible presents Delilah’s speech in a frank, matter of fact manner. Moreover Judges 16:16 states, “With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it” (NIV). Or, if you prefer, “And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death” (KJV).

          This does not sound like enticing.

  11. Very interesting on the Greek word for girl. But notice that Herod’s proposal to Salome was real and he was not joking about giving her half of his kingdom. The age for a person to be appointed over a kingdom even half of Herod’s(about 500,000 subjects and half would be 250,000) was 15. Herod would have never promised a kingdom to a 12 years old girl. It would have been seen as ridiculous and not a word of a king. Salome was at least 15 with her feminine body already developed.

    1. Hello Carmelo. I’m wondering why you say that the minimum age for a person to be appointed over a kingdom was 15. What time period and region is this law from? Is it a Roman law? Is it Jewish law?

      Also, did Herod Antipas even have the authority to divide his area of responsibility, Galilee and Perea, in half? He only became ruler (tetrarch) of Galilee and Perea with Caesar’s permission.

      As I say in the article, I take the “up to half my kingdom” to be an idiom.

      There is little difference between promising up to half a kingdom to a 12-year-old girl than to a 15-year-old girl.

      1. Herod the Great had green light to do as he pleased with the kingdom he was given by Cesar. His sons inherited this power even as rulers of part of the original kingdom. Antipas didn’t have to ask for permission from Cesar to appoint a member of the herodian family over some of those subjects. As long as the Herod’s sons kept the peace and paid taxes they were okay with the Roman empire. Not only Josefus writes about this but also Plinio writes about Roman and Jewish political relationship. Any doctor, including Luke, would acknowledge the difference between a 12 years old little girl (daughter of Jairus) and a 15 years old dancer like Salome with her feminine body already developed. Between 12 and 15 are big development progress. Physically and psychological. Also, Mary seems to be a mature young woman by the way Dr Luke writes that she traveled alone 20 miles to visit Elizabeth. No 12 years old would have done that in 1st century Israel. Plus the knowledge of the scriptures and her Grace isn’t of a little girl. There must be some mixing between Asian culture and Jewish cultures of that time.

        1. Carmelo, You didn’t answer my question about what law you referred to.

          Herod Antipas was a client king of Rome. He couldn’t do whatever he wanted, and he was later removed by emperor Caligula and exiled in Gaul.

      2. Emperor Alagabus became emperor at 16 after several months of tutoring. During the Pax Romana if an appointed regent was still a kid he or she received tutoring until reaching age 15 or 16. This happened with Archaelaus who had to wait till he was 16 to be tetrarch .

        1. It was Philip who went through a process of coaching before he was old enough to be tetrarch not Archaelaus.

  12. Herod wasn’t using an idiom when he offered his niece stepdaughter half of his kingdom. It was a real offer. From there we know this girl was at least 15 which was the youngest age a person could be appointed over a position or kingdom. Like some kings and emperors in ancient times appointed at 15 and 16 years old. Besides, Herod would have been seen as a fool offering half of his kingdom to a 12 years old girl. Likewise, Mary was a young woman virgin not a little 12 years old girl when the angel came to her.

  13. The daughters of Lot were not 12. According to the narrative we can infer that the oldest was about 18 and the youngest 16. There’s no factual evidence these assumptions that Jews gave their 12 years old daughters in matrimony. This could be a mixing of cultures coming from 2000 years.

    1. Carmelo, I don’t see any reason to compare Salome with Mary. Mary is not called a korasion in the Bible, she is called a parthenos (“young woman, virgin”) who is already betrothed when Gabriel visits her (Luke 1:26-27 cf. Matt. 1:18).

      There’s also no reason to compare Salome with Lot’s daughters. These young women are not called korasia; rather, they are called thugateres (“daughters”) eight times in Genesis 19 LXX. These women also seem to be betrothed (Gen. 19:14).

      I honestly have no idea what Lot’s daughters have to do with anything. Who suggests they were 12? Is it mentioned in one of the videos that someone shared?

      I mention neither Mary nor Lot’s daughters in the article, but I do discuss Salome’s age in a footnote. (We are given no information about how developed Salome was.)

      The Bible calls Salome a korasion. Believe what you want, Carmelo, but kings, especially client kings of Rome, do not divide their kingdoms with girls.

  14. […] Salomezion (Salome) Alexandra (139–67 BCE) was a regnant queen. She was the last monarch to rule Judea as an independent nation.
    (I’ve written articles on Salome, the conniving sister of Herod the Great, Salome, the dancing daughter of Herodias, and Salome, the devoted disciple of Jesus.) […]

  15. […] The name “Salome,” derived from the Hebrew word shalom (“wellbeing” or “peace”), was a popular feminine name among the Jewish people in the first century. Its popularity was due to it being the name of Queen Salome Alexandria who ruled Judea from 76 to 67 BCE.[1] On my website, I have an article about Salome the shrewd sister of Herod the Great (here) and an article about Salome the daughter of the conniving Herodias (here). In this article, I look at Salome who was a disciple of Jesus. […]

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