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On the Beheading of John the Baptist and on Herodias (St. John Chrysostom)


Again Herodias is raving, once more she is making a disturbance, once more she is dancing and once more she is making an attempt to have John the Baptist beheaded by Herod. Again Jezabel goes round making an attempt to grab the winery of Naboth and chase Elijah ito the hills. I believe that I’m not just one to have fallen right into a trance, however all of you listening to the voice of the Gospel are as astonished as I’m at John’s frankness of speech and Herod’s empty-headedness and the animal frenzy of the godless girls. What can we hear ? Herod has John arrested and thrown him into jail. Why? Because of Herodias, the spouse of his brother Philip.The empty-headedness of Herod induced by the wretched girls is contemptible. What is one to say? How is one to explain the wickedness of these unchastised girls? It appears to me that there is no such thing as a wild beast on the earth to match an evil lady. I imply, in fact, the evil lady and never the nice and affordable lady. I do know modest and good girls, whose lives I have to recount for the edification and love of the nice.

There is not any wild beast on the earth to match an evil lady. Among the quadrupeds is there something fiercer than lion? No. Among the reptiles is there something extra merciless than the serpent? No. But the lion and the serpent are a lot much less evil, because the smart Solomon in affirmation of my declare is wítness: “I most well-liked to dwell with a lion and a serpent than with an evil and garrulous lady.” And lest you assume that the prophet has spoken insincerely, be taught from these examples: Daniel was handled respectfully within the den by the lions, however the righteous Naboth was slaughtered by Jezabel. Jonah was saved alive within the whale’s stomach, however Samson was shorn, sure and handed over to the enemy by Delilah.

John was suffering from serpents, snakes and vipers within the wilderness, however murdered by Herodias at dinner. Elijah was nourished by crows within the hills, however she hounded him to loss of life after the boon of rain. What did she say? “If you’re Elijah, I’m Jezabel. May the gods do to me no matter is becoming if by this time tomorrow I’ve not killed you.”

Elijah was afraid. He turned this over in his thoughts and walked off into the wilderness, a journey of forty days. He walked from Rathmen, begging to die, and mentioned: “Lord, let this be sufficient for me. Take my life. I’m not higher than my fathers.” Alas! Was Elijah afraid of a lady? The one who introduced rain to the world together with his tongue? The one who introduced down fireplace from heaven and raised the lifeless? Afraid of a lady? Yes, he was afraid. There is not any wickedness to check with an evil lady. Wisdom bears witness to my homily thatthere is not any head above the top of a snake, and no evil above that of a lady, probably the most evil and sharpest weapon of the satan. It was by a lady in the beginning that he overcame Adam in paradise; by a lady that he drove probably the most mild David to the treacherous homicide of Uriah; by a lady that he pressured the smart Solomon’s disobedience; by a lady that he shaved and blinded the courageous Samson; by a lady that he dashed the youngsters of Elias the priest to the bottom; by a lady that he  sure and incarcerated the noble Joseph; by a lady that he beheaded John the sunshine of the entire world. And I’m talking solely of human beings. Through a lady he solid down the angels from heaven and thru a lady he slaughters and kills, dishonours and violates all. For lady is shameless and spares no-one. She doesn’t honour the Levite, respect the priest or revere the prophet. A depraved lady is the worst doable evil. Even if she is poor, she is wealthy in evil. If she is depraved and rich, she is a double evil, an insufferable creature, an incurable illness, an untameable wild beast. I do know that snakes may be coaxed into submission and lions and tigers and leopards may be handled gently and tamed. An evil lady insulted turns into frenzied and flattered turns into excited. And if she is married, she will be able to work on her husband evening and day to sharpen his urge for food for guileful homicide, as Herodias did with Herod. If her husband is poor, she will be able to rouse him to anger and preventing. If she is a widow, she will be able to dishonour all males by herself. Her tongue will not be bridled by concern of the Lord, she doesn’t look in direction of any future judgement, she doesn’t look as much as God and she or he doesn’t know the right way to preserve official friendships. It is nothing for an evil lady at hand over her personal husband to loss of life. The righteous Job’s personal spouse carelessly handed him over to loss of life of blasphemy when she mentioned: “Say one thing in opposition to the Lord and die.” O one among depraved nature and unholy disposition, she had no pity when she noticed the insides of her husband coated with seething blisters, like burning coals, and all his flesh consumed by worms. She was not moved to pity when she noticed him totally contorted, labouring and struggling and barely in a position to breathe. She remained pitiless when she noticed one who had previously worn royal purple mendacity bare within the grime. She paid no thoughts to their former intimacy or to any of the high-quality superb issues that had adorned her due to him. But how might this occur? “Say one thing in opposition to the Lord and die.” O lady’s grace, treatment for mitigating ache, regulation of marital love – did she ever say something of the kind whenever you have been sick? Did she not heal your sickness with prayers and good works ? Is not this non permanent chastisement sufficient for him, or do you want to consign him to everlasting punishment for his blasphemy? Do you not know that every one blasphemy and sin will likely be faraway from man? Blasphemy in opposition to the Holy Spirit won’t be cancelled on this life or the one to come back. Do you need to see one other companion of this wickedness? Show me Delilah. For she shaved the courageous Samson, handed him over to the enemy, her personal husband who had shared her mattress, whom she cared for, caressed and liked greater than herself, whom she liked someday and deceived the subsequent, whom she lovingly cared for one and deceitfully buried the subsequent. Was he not good-looking? Indeed, who at the moment was extra good-looking ? He had seven curls on his head, the attractive picture of the seven-lamps. Was he not courageous? Who was braver? He strangled the fearsome lion alone on the street and destroyed hundreds of international enemies with a single  jawbone of an ass. And was he not holy ? He was so holy that when he was thirsting in a drought he prayed and water sprang forth to alleviate the drought from the jawbone of a lifeless ass that he was holding in his hand. And this good-looking. courageous and holy man was sure by his personal spouse and handed over like an enemy to foreigners. How is it {that a} lady can overpower such a robust man? From the innate goodness of the person ? For she stole the key of his power one evening used sturdy potions to beat him when he was bare. This is why Wisdom instructs you: “Be cautious of your spouse lest you entrust her with something.” Tell me what kind of beast has ever contrived such a factor in opposition to her mate? What reptile needs to destroy her personal accomplice? What form of lionness needs to ship her mate to be slaughtered? Consider the apposite phrases of Wisdom: “There is not any head above the top of the serpent and no wickedness above the wickedness of lady?” In a phrase, he who has an evil spouse let him know that he has been paid in full for his lawless acts. There is proof of this. Listen to what Wisdom says: “A depraved lady will likely be given to a lawless man in return for his evil deeds.” But let that be an finish of the homily in regards to the depraved lady.

Let us now discuss of the nice lady, particularly since there are such girls current. For good girls see the virtues of the nice as theirs and regard their labours as their very own crowns. An instance of and hospitable lady was the blessed Shunamite, who inspired her husband to construct a house for Elisha in order that he might need peace and quiet. She put a mattress, desk and lamp there for him. The mattress was not devoid of clothes however had sheets appropriate for a prophet and the lamp not with out gentle however with gentle from burning oil, the desk not with out bread however laden with meals. What is one to say of that blessed widow who acquired the  prophet Elijah ? For whom poverty was not a humiliation due to the wealth of her good will, who had no bread or wine or meals or the rest to consolation her in her poverty. She had no land to develop meals. She had no winery the place she might develop the candy grape. She had no tree to supply her with scrumptious fruit at harvest time. How might she when she had no land for meals or vines. But all the time at harvest she wouldwalk behind the reapers gleaning no matter she might and on this means retailer meals for a yr. It was to her that Elijah went in the course of the famine when your complete earth had change into virtually desiccated for lack of rain, when the  sky had change into deep purple, when the air was brazen and the clouds bridled, when there was no plant, no flower, no seed, no dew, no ears swaying, when the rivers started to dry up and the sources of the waters within the springs have been being choked by the warmth. The salt waters of the ocean started to extend as a result of there was no inflow of candy water, the rainfall and showers having stopped. At that time Elijah went to the poor widow. You understand how a lot she suffered even in instances of loads. The prophet left the rich who had sufficient  bread and got here down the hill to go to her. Why did he who might carry down fireplace from heaven together with his phrases not carry down bread for himself ? Was he not in a position? Yes, he was. But he didn’t do that. Why? So that he wouldn’t deprive the widow of the advantages of hospitality. And, apart from, he would replenish her handful of flour and tiny quantity of oil by blessing them. The prophet didn’t go a lot to be fed by as to feed the poor widow and reveal the hidden goodness of her coronary heart. God who is in a position nourishes all of the saints on the earth by His personal will. He retains the reward of having the ability to distinguish the well-disposed hearts on the time of hospitality by their fruits. For there could also be instances when there’s no-one to handle them, for instance when He supplies nourishment by birds, as with Elijah within the mountains, or by a international prophet, as with Daniel within the pit, or by a sea creature, as with Jonah and the whale, or He rains down meals, as with our fathers within the desert, when there was no-one there to handle them and He rained down manna from heaven and made water movement from rocks. With the saints dwelling harmoniously with others on the earth, He retains again His proper hand. But if He sees that they’re in issue, He releases it to assist them obtain salvation by His  benefactions. Elijah went off to the widow, who had nothing however a handful of flour, which, with issue, served as a meal for her and her youngsters. What did he say to her? “Give me a little bit water in a cup, and I’ll drink.” As she went to get it, he known as after her: “And a little bit bread.” She mentioned what she didn’t have and confessed what she had. “What!” “As the Lord lives, I want I had fireside truffles, however I’ve solely a handful of flour and a small cruse of oil.” “Amazing that amid such scarcity you don’t refuse to supply what little you may have !” How lots of the filthy wealthy, when requested  by mates for favours, refuse them, blandly asserting that they don’t have anything? And even when they’ll  be persuaded to present, they draw up iron-clad agreements, during which they bind the receiver with the high-quality print and so they require cast-iron safety. But she unhesitatingly was prepared to supply the handful of flour. And what did the prophet say to her? “Hasten and get me some fireside truffles, first for me after which for you and the youngsters.” What the prophet mentioned was a trial, a take a look at of the guts and proof of her prepared disposition. The coronary heart of the blessed lady was, because it have been, below a yoke and she or he was  being examined.What was she disposed to do ? To be good to her personal youngsters or entertain the prophet? She selected to stint herself and her youngsters and obtain the prophet. For she knew that those that obtain prophets within the identify of a prophet will obtain the reward of a prophet. Those who present a cup of chilly water within the identify of a disciple won’t lose their reward. What is that the prophet mentioned? Hasten? Was he so hungry that he wanted to hasten ? No in fact not. But  benefaction is severe, joyful and heat, with out grief or compulsion. God loves the joyful giver. Hasten and confer your profit first upon me and final upon your self and your youngsters. Hasten, as Abraham hastened on the arrival of the angels to his cattle for a calf to fetch a lamb. And as Sara hastened to the fireplace to get the bread hid within the heavens. Hasten and make your sacrifices to God as Abraham has accomplished. And not for your self first after which for me, like Cain, Ophni and Phineas, the sons of Eli the priest, who insulted God by being the primary to take the primary fruits from the choices made to God. Sara zealously did what was prescribed. Abraham, wanting on the wealthy fireside bread, acquired it and spoke and stuffed her home with good issues.The handful of flour, he says, won’t run out from the barrel or the oil from the cruse till the Lord brings rain down upon the earth. Why till then ? It must be. New grace was wanted, as of rain falling, to finish the outdated regulation. The phrase was adopted by the deed. Do you see how good girls loved the fruits of hospitality ? For the fruits of fine deeds are illustrious and the basis of sensible knowledge unshakeable.

Women, you may have heard in regards to the deeds of depraved girls and the virtues of fine girls. Love the latter and wish not the previous. Imitate the latter, despise the previous, that you could be observe of their footsteps, I imply these of the nice, and be counted among the many refrain of the saints in Jesus Christ, for his is the facility and the glory ceaselessly. Amen.

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