(Mr 6:27). Instead of the Greek word, Mark here uses a Latin word, speculator, which literally means "a scout," "a spy," and at length came to denote one of the armed bodyguard of the emperor. Herod Antipas, in imitation of the emperor, had in attendance on him a company of speculatores. They were sometimes employed as executioners, but this was a mere accident of their office. (See Mark, Gospel according to.)
An officer of high rank in the East; commander of the bodyguard who executed the king's sentence. So Potiphar (Ge 37:36 margin, Ge 40:3); his official residence was at the public jail. So Nebuzaradan (Jer 39:9), and Arioch (Da 2:14; Mr 6:27). "The king (Herod) sent an executioner," literally, one of his bodyguard; speculator, a military watch or scout, from the vigilance the office required.
This word does not occur in the O.T. except in the margin. In three places persons are pointed out as 'captain of the guard,' who in the margin are called 'chief of the executioners or slaughtermen.' Ge 37:36; Jer 39:9; Da 2:14. In Solomon's day Benaiah the chief of the army was called to fulfil this office, 1Ki 2:25,34,46, though doubtless the 'chief ' had others under him that actually carried the king's word into execution, unless the persons were of high rank. In Mr 6:27 Herod Antipas called to an executioner, or one of his guard to behead John the Baptist.