Aaron's Staff Becomes a Snake
8 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
9 “Pharaoh will demand, ‘Show me a miracle.’ When he does this, say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and throw it down in front of Pharaoh, and it will become a serpent.’”
10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did what the Lord had commanded them. Aaron threw down his staff before Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a serpent!
11 Then Pharaoh called in his own wise men and sorcerers, and these Egyptian magicians did the same thing with their magic.
12 They threw down their staffs, which also became serpents! But then Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.
13 Pharaoh’s heart, however, remained hard. He still refused to listen, just as the Lord had predicted.
John the Baptist Beheaded
14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.”
15 Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”
17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her.
18 John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.”
19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless,
20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.
21 Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee.
22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.”
23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”
24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”
25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”
26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her.
27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison,
28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother.
29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.