And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.
Must a man, then, always keep a promise? I say, No. Let us look at some of the conditions.
1. A promise of that which in itself is impossible, I need not say, a man cannot fulfil. It is the making of such a promise that is a sin.
2. When the fulfilment of a promise is rendered impossible by the happening of subsequent events, a man who makes it is released from fulfilling that promise — at any rate, so far as those events hinder him from fulfilling it. Where a man promises to settle upon his son-in-law a certain stipulated amount in case of the uniting of his daughter in marriage to him, if, when the occasion comes, the father-in-law is bankrupt, how can he fulfil his promise? Circumstances have changed. His power to fulfil his promise is gone.
3. When the thing promised is contrary to the law of the land it is void.
4. Where a promise is made which involves a violation of morality, or the laws of God, no man has the right to keep it. And this is exactly the case that Herod found himself in. He was a fool to make the promise; he was a demon to fulfil it.
(H. W. Beecher.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her.