I WAS THE FOX (HEROD), (Luke 23: 6-12).
One day a messenger arrived with rather unusual news. It was from the man, called Jesus. He had called me, a fox and that He had three days to do something I could not understand what it was. Oh, I was foxy! That is what kept me in power and in good standing with Rome. Caesar’s office made me Governor over Galilee. I would have preferred to oversee Jerusalem and Judah. But that region was assigned to Pilate. I intensely disliked the man. I was a Herod. My father was Herod the Great, King over all of Judah. My father protected the throne at any cost. Years ago, rumors spread that someone was born in David’s lineage. My father exterminated all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem. When he died, he had ordered to slay people everywhere so that it would appear that an entire nation mourned for my father. The Jews did not like us because we were not descendants of David or Jacob. Our line dated back to Esau, Jacob’s older twin. It was Jacob, with the help of his mother, that stole our ancestor’s birthright and blessings from Isaac, our father. It took us centuries to gain back our rights. Then Rome came and took that right from us. My brother Philip was placed in one insignificant region and I in another. We should have been in Jerusalem and not the Roman Pilate. Jerusalem was the heart and pulse of the Jews. It dated back to our ancestor Abraham. In that sense, my family and I were also Jews and had a greater right to the throne than the descendants of David. Esau was the first-born and not Jacob.
I had a great weakness. It was a moral problem. I committed adultery with my brother’s wife and stole her from him. I know it was not the right thing to do. But do not judge me too quickly. If you had met her, you might have fallen even deeper. She was much more than a charmer. She was shrewd and cunning. She had no moral backbone or scruples. She would do anything to gain favors. And she used others very skillfully to gain her ends. She came after me because I was better off than her husband. I, too, was a charmer and could tease my way into favors when needed. If I played my cards right, I could end up in Jerusalem. We still had our father’s palace in Jerusalem and that is where my wife preferred to live most of our time. I, too, took care of business in Galilee and returned to Jerusalem. But my affair, with this woman, did not sit well with the Jewish leaders and especially with this one bold prophet called the “Baptist.” He kept on preaching against what I had done. My wife kept nagging me to silence him. In her eyes I was a weakling. I, however, feared an insurrection. This prophet was well liked by the people and he was harmless. His words could not kill me; but, they certainly demoralized my wife. Then, she did not have as much to loose as I had. She could always find another lover, but I could not find another prestigious office. Rome did not look kindly on social or political unrest and I already had my jail full of malefactors and rebels.
Like I said, I had a weakness for women. My wife had a daughter that grew up in private and studied in Rome. When she returned all grown and very appealing to my sensual eyes, I held a party in her honor and requested that she dance for me. I liked her so much that I was willing to give her half of my kingdom that I no longer possessed. Oh, she smiled at me and teased me and asked, “anything?” I nodded and she hurried away to her mother, whom I had not invited to the party. She returned quickly with a large silver platter. She placed it in front of me. Then she delighted my guests and me with her shapely form in an explicit dance. She finished her dance in front of me, reclined at my feet and looked up saying, “Hand me the head of John the Baptist on this silver platter.” What had I done? This was not her desire. This was what her mother wanted. She outfoxed me. How could I have been so blind and not foresee that this girl was in cahoots with her mother. This innocent looking girl made me do what her mother could not. In front of all my guests, I had made her a promise and now I had to deliver the head of the Baptist. This young creature had nerves of steel. She simply took the head and carried it off to her mother. She ruined my party and my taste for her sensually. This inhumane act of murder, of a god-fearing good man, hunted me for the rest of my life. Thus, when another prophet arose in Galilee, I began to believe that John the Baptist had returned from the dead. Only, He was called “Jesus” and I desired very much to meet Him. But He called me a fox and shunned me.
I did get to meet Jesus. The Jewish leaders had Him arrested, tried and handed Him over to Pilate for sentencing. When Pilate learned that Jesus had come from Galilee, he sent Him to me. I examined Him, could not get a word out of Him and send Him back to Pilate. The Roman appreciated my gesture and we became friends. The truth is that I did not want the blood of another innocent man on my hands. I let Pilate take the blame. This was foxy on my part. I did not want another senseless crime on my hands. The Jewish Leaders were cunning plotters to get Pilate do what they wanted. They presented Jesus as a threat to Rome and that forced the Governor to act. To rub their noses, he had Jesus crucify as, “The King of the Jews.” I, too, was pleased that Jesus was being removed from contending for my throne. I was not to happy when Jesus’ followers began to multiply and proclaimed that another kingdom was on the way. To please the Jews, I ordered that Christians be apprehended and punished. We executed one called James Zebedee, a close companion of Jesus. We had the leader called Simon Peter in custody, but my guards let him escape. The Christians simply evaded my soldiers and I ended up as a miserable man. I simply could not stop the Jesus’ movement. It was beyond me how these people could believe that their Jesus was alive? His impact on His followers was incomprehensible. I, the smart one, was outfoxed.