What does Mark 6:23 mean?
ESV: And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.”
NIV: And he promised her with an oath, 'Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.'
NASB: And he swore to her, 'Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you, up to half of my kingdom.'
CSB: He promised her with an oath: "Whatever you ask me I will give you, up to half my kingdom."
NLT: He even vowed, 'I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!'
KJV: And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
NKJV: He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
Verse Commentary:
The promise of a ruler to give half of his kingdom is ancient and certainly hyperbolic. Although it is inferred in 1 Kings 13:8, the story of Esther gives the best examples. King Ahasuerus offers Esther half of his kingdom when she approaches him, when he has eaten her first banquet, and after he has eaten her second. She does not ask for half his kingdom, but she does ask that her people, the Jews, be able to defend themselves against those who would destroy them.

Most likely, neither the girl nor her mother expect Antipas to literally give them half his kingdom, but his impulsivity does give Herodias the chance she has been waiting for. The combination of his carelessness, his desire for the respect of his guests, and his most-likely-erotic response to his step-daughter's dancing will lead to the death of John the Baptist. This was an act Antipas had been avoiding in fear that John's disciples would rise against him (Matthew 14:5). If they rebel, Rome may decide he cannot rule properly, and give his position to another. In promising the girl half his kingdom, he winds up risking it all.

Instead of impulsive, God desires us to be steadfast. Not "children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes" (Ephesians 4:14). He wants our faith to remain steady and not waffle in the face of persecution (Revelation 2:10). We are meant to seek the truth, not just what is pleasant to hear (2 Timothy 4:3), because "the one who endures to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13).
Verse Context:
Mark 6:14–29 follows the disciples' success in continuing John the Baptist's work with a flashback of John's execution. John was Jesus' cousin (Luke 1:36) and the herald of Jesus' ministry (John 1:19–28). He preached repentance to many, including Andrew and Peter (John 1:35–42). He also baptized Jesus (Mark 1:9–11). Herod Antipas ruled over Galilee, where Jesus was from, and Perea, near where John preached. Antipas was fascinated by John, but his wife felt threatened by John's condemnation of their incestuous marriage. This story is also found in Matthew 14:1–12, Luke 3:19–20, and Luke 9:7–9.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus returns to His hometown of Nazareth, but the people there are faithless and skeptical. As a result, Jesus performs no more than a few minor miracles. He then assigns His twelve apostles to travel in pairs, preaching repentance and healing various conditions. Mark then takes a brief detour to explain the death of John the Baptist, beheaded after Herod Antipas is tricked by his wife. The focus then returns to Jesus, explaining His miraculous feeding of thousands of people, walking on water, and healing people in Gennesaret.
Chapter Context:
Even as the Twelve are given opportunity to wield some of Jesus' power and authority, they still struggle to understand. They misinterpret who He is, what He has come to do, and how much He will ask of them. They fear Jesus' display of deity, but seem to dismiss the murderous rejection of His hometown and the death of John the Baptist. It's easy to have faith in a prophet who seems poised to rescue Israel from foreign rule. It is still beyond them to understand that He is actually God.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/26/2024 10:50:00 AM
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