EVIDENCE: The Daughter of Jared (Compare Salome’s Intrigues)

Ed J. Pinegar, Richard J. Allen

As recorded in the New Testament, Salome, daughter of Herodias, dances before Herod the king, who then promises her whatever she asks, even half of his kingdom. Herodias instructs her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist in a charger, and upon this request the Baptist is beheaded (see Matthew 14:8–11; Mark 6:24–28; Luke 3:19). In the book of Ether, Jared’s daughter asks her suitor to bring her the head of the king so that he may usurp the throne. As Hugh Nibley says, “This is indeed a strange and terrible tradition of throne succession, yet there is no better attested tradition in the early world than the ritual of the dancing princess … who wins the heart of a stranger and induces him to marry her, behead the old king, and mount the throne.” Nibley states that this pattern was often followed in antiquity, as when the khalif’s sister obtained the head of the ruler of Syria in AD 998. Therefore, the tale of intrigue involving Jared and his daughter, which illustrates a device used anciently to dethrone elderly monarchs, is—though horrible and revolting—neither unique nor out of place in historical context. (See Echoes, 463–464.)

Commentaries and Insights on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2