Mark 6:21

A suitable opportunity, however, occurred when Herod, on his birthday, gave a dinner to his high officials, and his generals, and the foremost men in Galilee.


finally the time is right
kairos becomes immediately

yet slow this down
to consider right for whom

with our multiple agendas
it is seldom clear which leads

distinguishing a better angel
from any other is time constrained

beast or angel are both seen
after their fruits are tasted

celebrate accumulated anniversaries
celebrate that not yet seen

privileged accomplishments speak loudly
learning to walk new paths risks falls

we fritter away our moment
bread logged circus feasts


Carrington looks at Mark structurally and would read it sequentially, according to the Jewish calendar, except for longer readings of Jesus in Jerusalem and the “Passion” during the feasts of Tabernacles and Passover.

This calendaring aspect intrigues:

Herod chose a ‘fortunate day’ for the banquet in connexion with which it occurred. It was his genesia or birthday…. the birthday of a king in the ancient world was the day of his accession…and we learn from the Mishnah that Jewish kings counted their reigns from the old new-year’s day, Nisan I….133

The story is so told as to echo the story of King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther….the visit of Queen Esther to King Ahasuerus took place on Nisan I. 134

If there is an intentional reference to Esther rather than simply an intertextual connection, it would suggest that this is a turning point in the undoing of a plot against the Jews. This can justify John’s death as a plotter and can bring Herod into clearer relief as one who, bottom-line, is undoing the salvation of those he has power over. This birthday feast is anti-Purim in showing that the people are not safe from palatial plots to aggrandize someone’s personal privilege, whether it is the machinations of a Hamon or a Herodias or today’s equivalent.

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