1 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 went with His talmidim into Yahuḏah and taught there. At this time, Yoḥanan of the Wilderness, who heralded the coming of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, was immersing at Ainum, not far from Salem, because there was a plentiful supply of water in that place. A great number of people came to be cleansed in the waters, for Yoḥanan was still free.
2 At this time, there was much disturbance in Shomeron, and many soldiers were coming and going, for a false deliverer had arisen and proclaimed himself as 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄’s Anointed. The people were restless, and there were many rumors, but Yoḥanan had no dealings with any of these things. Yet some said the false deliverer was a follower of Yoḥanan, but this was untrue.
3 The talmidim of Yoḥanan came to him and said, “Respected teacher, some time ago you testified concerning a Man who came to you on the other side of the river. Now He has started to immerse, and His teachings gather many men to Him.”
4 Yoḥanan said, “No man can speak with authority concerning 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 without His sanction, but this Man I know to be a True Messenger and the Worthy Bĕn.”
5 They said, “He also heals.” Yoḥanan replied, “No man can heal, except through the power of the Ruaḥ Ha’Qodesh; and this Man has that power.
6 “I have said I am not ha’Mashiaḥ; neither am I any other whom men seek; I am the forerunner sent to herald His coming. The bride belongs to the bridegroom, but he who stands at the bridegroom’s right hand to support Him is pleased when he hears the words spoken by the bridegroom. That pleasure is now mine, but not for long; for as my star declines, so His waxes brighter.”
7 Yoḥanan feared no man and condemned hypocrisy and indifference to the Torah wherever he found it. He was the rod of the poor and unlearned, and a staff to the weak and oppressed. He was incorruptible and spoke forthrightly, never hiding anything within his heart, and condemned wrongdoing wherever it occurred.
8 Now, Yoḥanan immersed with water, and because of this the kohenim were against him; but on this matter they could do nothing. However, Yoḥanan had condemned the actions of Hĕrodĕs, who had sinned against his blood and the Torah. And because of this, the people murmured against Herod. Therefore, as these were restless times, and the people were in a mood for revolt, he had Yoḥanan taken and imprisoned. For had there been a rising against Hĕrodĕs at this time, Rome could not have come to his aid.
9 Yoḥanan was imprisoned in a fortress, and this pleased Hĕrodias, for she had long borne ill will towards him. Though Hĕrodĕs had no lawful right to take his brother’s wife, the fault was not his alone. Hĕrodias wished with all her heart to rid herself of the condemnations of Yoḥanan but could not accomplish this because Hĕrodĕs held Yoḥanan in awe. For he was a truly qodesh man, much beloved by the people. Though Yoḥanan was kept in confinement, Hĕrodĕs often spoke with him and listened to his words. But though they stirred the heart of Hĕrodĕs, he found them difficult to understand.
10 While in prison, doubt stirred in the heart of Yoḥanan, and he sent talmidim to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, enquiring whether he felt he was truly 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄’s Anointed; for at this time there was much confusion on the matters. When the talmidim returned, their reply puzzled Yoḥanan, for they reported 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 as saying, “I am not He whom you expected, or the Deliverer of these people, but the Deliverer of all men. Nevertheless, if only another will change the hearts of the people, I shall not be found wanting.” But Yoḥanan received wisdom and knew he had not erred.
11 Now, a certain feast day came, and Hĕrodĕs entertained his officials and the leading men of Galil. And during the course of the entertainment, his daughter danced for the guests. She so charmed and delighted them that Hĕrodĕs, while under the influence of wine and the urgings of others, being also full of pride at their applause, swore to grant her any boon, whatever it entailed.
12 The girl withdrew to consult her mother, who told her to request the head of Yoḥanan. Though the request greatly upset Hĕrodĕs and sobered him because he realized the extent of his folly, he himself could not break an oath of this sort made in the presence of his guests.
13 The oath sworn was a sovereignly one, but Hĕrodĕs was not a sovereign. Therefore, he put it to one of the guests – a learned man – as to whether anything he wished to do would have force within the Torah, or whether he could only be bound by an oath made within the Torah. The man replied that even sovereigns were bound by the Torah, and though Hĕrodĕs was less than a sovereign, he had sworn a sovereignly oath which, if broken, would confirm his lack of sovereignly authority. However, he said that Yoḥanan, being a lawbreaker, could not be protected by the Torah, and so the oath made by Hĕrodĕs stood.
14 So on the morrow the head of Yoḥanan was struck off and displayed at the gate. So it was that Yoḥanan was put to death because Hĕrodĕs feared his influence over the people; for he declared the coming of a new reign, and Hĕrodĕs feared the day of deliverance.
15 Yoḥanan had said, “I have been sent with many powers. I am with you to point out the Way of the Torah. I herald the Deliverer and the Rule of Elohim.”
16 Yoḥanan had taught his talmidim to pray in this manner: “Qodosh be the name of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 in the places He created to serve His will. Let the coming of the new reign under the Rule of Elohim not be delayed beyond our days, but come in the time which is at hand.”
17 When the followers of Yoḥanan heard what had happened, they took charge of the body of Yoḥanan and laid it in a tomb by the river. There was a loud outcry from the people, who said, “Why should our neḇi’im be treated in this manner? Where is the Deliverer?”
18 Later, when 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 returned to the river, He found two followers of Yoḥanan and took them to a place of safety.