MATTHEW 14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.” And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he commanded it to be given to her. 10 So he sent and had John beheaded in prison. 11 And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. 12 Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Do you see the intensity of his fear? Herod did not dare speak of it openly, but he still speaks apprehensively to his own servants. Yet this whole opinion was absurd. It savored of the jittery soldier. Even though many were thought to have risen from the dead, no one had done anything like what was imagined of John. Herod’s words seem to me to be the language both of vanity and of fear. For such is the nature of unreasonable souls; they often accept a mixture of opposite passions.
(St. John Chrysostom)