Background: Matthew 14:1-12

Key Verse: And the king was sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he commanded it to be given. Matthew 14:9 ESV


“Do you promise?”

“I promise it will be done.”

Later, after you have promised, you realize, there is a conflict. Should you fulfill the promise, or should you break the promise?

How often do we make promises? When we make promises, most have good intentions of fulfilling the promise. No one wants to disappoint the person that is depending on them, but what if you cannot fulfill the promise? What if you were tricked? What if you realize the promise is more involved than you expected?

John the Baptist, the earthly cousin of Jesus, was a different kind of preacher. The only son of Zechariah and Elizabeth, a miracle child, was destined to be the precursor of Jesus. He preached in the wilderness, wore clothes of camel’s hair, and ate wild locusts and honey. He was set apart fully focusing on the purpose God intended for his life, preparing the way for Jesus Christ. Many followed him. Many came to listen to him, including Jewish leaders.

For years, John preached of Jesus’ coming and what it meant. Even after Jesus made his public ministry debut, John continued to share about the kingdom of heaven. He spoke truthfully and with fire.   Herod (Hey-rod), known in history as Herod Antipas (Ah-dee-pahs), was a Roman-appointed ruler during John’s time. When John heard of Herod’s desire to be with Philip’s wife, John spoke out against it. Philip was Herod’s half-brother. His wife was Herodias (Hey-rho-dee-us). John said, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” See Matthew 14:4. Herod wanted to kill John, but he was scared because of what the people may do. Instead, he arrested and jailed him for Herodias.

One day, Herodias’ daughter, Salome (So-loam-may or Sah-lo-me), danced for Herod and his guests. Herod was pleased. He promised that he would grant Salome anything she desired. Herodias told her daughter to ask for John’s head. Salome asked for John’s head. Immediately, Herod regretted what he promised, but because he had promised in front of guests, he gave Salome what she asked. She took it to her mother. Afterward, John’s disciples came and took his body away for burial and told Jesus what happened. When Herod heard about Jesus and his miracles, Herod thought it was John the Baptist raised from the dead.


  1. Have you ever made a promise? Why?
  2. What kind of promises do you make? At the time, do you think you can fulfill them? Why?
  3. Have you ever disappointed someone because you could not fulfill a promise? How did you feel? How did the other person feel? Was there forgiveness?
  4. Have you ever made a promise you regretted? Why? What would you have changed?
  5. When Herod made his promise, do you think he expected Salome to ask for John’s head?
  6. How could Herod have avoided being in the situation of making such a promise?
  7. Why didn’t he tell Salome he did not want to fulfill her request? Do we feel the same sometimes?
  8. Have you ever been set up to do something you did not want to do? How did you respond?
  9. Can we change our minds about a promise we made? How should we handle it?
  10. Was Herod set up by Herodias, his brother’s wife? What could he have done?
  11. After Herod heard about Jesus and his miracles, what was his reaction? How do you think he felt?
  12. After reviewing this bible story, how are you going to approach making promises in the future?

What does the bible say about being hasty?

  1. Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matthew 5:37 ESV
  2. Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 29:20 ESV
  3. The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 ESV
  4. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV

Life Application

  1. Before making a promise, consider the reason for the promise. Can you say yes or no instead? Can you add a caveat (condition)?
  2. If you make a promise, prepare yourself for the consequences that may follow if you cannot fulfill it.
  3. If you make a promise you cannot fulfill, ask for forgiveness from God and seek his guidance on how to remedy the situation.

Learn more about Herod Antipas by clicking this link:


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