The bad behavior of several people contributed to the death of John the Baptist, and we could ask why they did what they did. Let’s look at what motivated Herod, Herodias, her daughter, and the birthday guests.
Herod really didn’t want to put John to death. John so fascinated him that he liked to sit close by to hear John speaking with his jailors.
Herodias had left her husband Phillip to marry the more influential Herod. She felt that her dignity put her above any right of John to question her behavior.
Her daughter seemed to have appreciated the applause of the dinner guests, and she had been raised in such a cruel household that she didn’t feel squeamish about asking for John’s head.
The dinner guests were so given over to enjoying themselves that they had lost any sense of common morality.
but, as to the question of what motivated them to concur in John’s death; there is an odd answer that occurs to me. A few years ago, in a popular movie called “Moonstruck, ” a man in his late middle age began cheating on his wife who was played by Olympia Dukakis. The whole thing was so stupid that Olympia was left asking, “Why do men do such things?’
The movie was quite insightful in coming up with this answer to her question: “They do it because they are afraid of dying.”