Desperately wicked: 10 of the most shocking incidents in the Bible

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

As anyone who reads the Bible knows, God’s word is not only a testimony of his awesome power, it is also a real account of just how evil we as people can be.   Here are 10 of the most shocking stories that are recorded to show just how much we need Jesus and to warn us of how low we are capable of stooping if we aren’t careful:

10.  Angry Jewish leaders stone Stephen to death (Acts 7). Truly one of the saddest accounts, it tells about a Christian who was just minding his own business carrying out the ministry God gave him.  That wasn’t good enough for some religious folks who were jealous of him and hated him and the message God told him to preach, so they put him through an unfair trial to summarily convict and execute him.  This is a poignant lesson that if you tell the truth, there are many people who don’t want to hear it and will do everything possible to either make your life miserable or try to end it.  Just look at what goes on here in the U.S. or around the world and you can see how this continues even today.  Whistleblowers, those who try to preserve life, and those who speak out for treating everyone fairly no matter what their race, religion, or gender are still ostracized, persecuted, or sometimes murdered.

9.  Seven sons of Sceva get their butts kicked by a possessed man (Acts 19). You know they got a serious whoopin’ if the guy beat them so bad they all ran away naked.  We can learn at least two things from this incident.  The first being that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is sacred so don’t take it lightly and the second is that those who don’t really know Jesus do not have access to the power that is in his name.  These evil spirits still roam the earth today looking for people to inhabit and should be taken seriously.

8.  Religious people in a Nazareth synagogue try to throw Jesus over the edge of a hill (Luke 4). Of course, those who are convinced that they are basically good don’t want to hear how sinful they really are, which is what Christ was pointing out to them.  They were a proud people who assumed that their cultural and religious heritage meant an automatic ticket to receive all of God’s blessings, including heaven.  Isn’t this the same way so many of us here in America act and think?  If they were raised in a Christian home or in a country they think is “Christian”, they believe they can ride the coattails of their relatives or the founding fathers right on into the pearly gates, praise God.  Jesus had to tell his fellow Nazarites their hearts weren’t right with God.  They considered his message sacrilege and thought this gave them the right to get rid of him permanently.

7.  The sons of the high priest Eli had sex with women who came to worship at the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2). If you thought Catholic priests started this trend, you’re wrong.  Hophni and Phinehas were actually married at the time and were priests who helped their father with his priestly duties, but disregarded the importance of anything sacred whether it was the sacrifices brought to the tabernacle, the women who brought the sacrifices, or marriage.  We see this same trend in a large number of churches today.  Eventually, judgment day came for Eli and his sons.  God gave them time to repent, but they refused and it cost them their lives.  “…be sure your sin will find you out.” (Numbers 32:23)

6.  David’s son Amnon rapes his half-sister, Tamar. What a tragedy this incident was!  It set off a chain of events that ruined so many people’s lives.  Amnon should have received severe punishment for his actions that ruined Tamar’s life.  David chose to do nothing about it.  This angered Tamar’s brother, Absalom, who eventually murdered Amnon when he realized his father wouldn’t defend his sister’s honor.  Absalom ended up fleeing for several years and when he returned, his father did not show him the love he longed for, resulting in Absalom’s resentment of his father, his attempt to steal the kingdom from his father, and his untimely death at the hands of treacherous Joab.  What a lesson this is to highlight the importance of godly discipline, forgiveness, and unconditional love that should take place within families to avoid unnecessary hurts.

5.  David commits adultery with Bathsheba and orders her husband to be murdered. Even strong, reliable leaders have a tendency to make bad judgments.  This is why it is so important not to put too much trust in any man, no matter who they are.

4.  Jephtha makes a vow that causes suffering for his daughter. I covered this at length in another post, so I won’t go into detail here.

3.  The men of Gibeah brutally rape a man’s concubine (Judges 19). The young man and his concubine were on their way home to Mt. Ephraim but had to stop in Gibeah because it got dark.  It was customary to take in a fellow countryman if they needed lodging at night, but the people of Gibeah were not very hospitable.  Finally an old man came along to lodge them for the night.  Then the men of the city got together and beat on the old man’s door later that night, requesting that he send out the young man so they could rape him.  They only stopped harassing the old man when the concubine was shoved out of the house to be brutalized and murdered by them.  It took awhile, but eventually these wicked men got what was coming to them after the young man appealed to all of Israel for justice.

2.  Lot’s daughters get him drunk to have sex with him. Although these young ladies knew of the faith of their great uncle Abraham, they obviously were influenced by all of the ungodliness in their midst at Sodom where they lived.  Their lack of faith in God led them to believe all hope was gone of them finding suitable husbands to replace the ones they lost in God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah.  They drew the conclusion that the only way for them to have children was to be impregnated by their own father.  How disgusting!  This story is a lesson on waiting for God to replace what needs replacing in your life, if you’ve lost it or just waiting for him to provide what you need by not leaning to your own understanding.

1.  Sodom and Gomorrah’s unbridled lust. These perverted men had seared their consciences and were so consumed by their own lust for the two angels, they threatened to rape Lot in addition to the two angels if he didn’t move out of their way.  It’s the type of lust that says, “I’m going to do whatever I can, including using others to make me feel good, even if it ends up hurting them or me.”  Even after the angels struck them with blindness, the evil men of Sodom were still trying to get to them.  What is to be learned from this?  The evil men of Gibeah mentioned at no. 3 and the men of Sodom are what can happen when a society decides not to legislate morality.  When a society caves in to the demands of wicked people, wicked people only make more demands and society suffers moral decay where more people’s lives are put in jeopardy.  It has been estimated that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually molested.  If we give in to the demands of sexual perverts for their so-called rights, that number will only go higher and more than just kids will be negatively affected.

It’s interesting that people haven’t changed much in the hundreds or thousands of years since these stories were recorded.  Mankind is just as wicked now as we were then.  The only things that have changed about us is that we’ve come up with newer ways to promote and carry out our wickedness.  But it makes me even more thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ since he will one day annihilate all evil and bring about true peace to overtake the earth.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–

2 thoughts on “Desperately wicked: 10 of the most shocking incidents in the Bible

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  1. Harry, very interesting list. As one who has read the Bible through multiple times, I am familiar with them all. I would like your comments on a few more shocking incidents from the Bible:

    1) Elisha calling several bears out of the woods to rip apart some children who were making fun of his bald head.

    2) Solomon, motivated by his own paranoia, overreacts to a trivial request made by one of his half brothers and subsequently murders him.

    3) As part of the reaction to what the men of Gibeah did (which you referenced to in item 3), eleven tribes of Isreal ganged up on the tribe of Benjamin (because they refused to turn over the mean of Gibeah, who lived in their territory), killing most of the men of Benjamin and apparently all of their women. They then had to find creative ways to find wives for the remaining men of Benjamin.

    4) Saul getting a witch to conduct a seance and call up the spirit of the deceased Samuel in order ask for some advice. Samuel was not happy about be conjured up and ultimately gave Saul some very bad news about what was going to happen the next day.

    5) Because Shechem, a man from a neighboring country, had had sex with their sister Dinah and subsequently requested her hand in marriage; Simeon and Levi deceived all the men of his household into getting circumcised (as a condition of them agreeing to the marriage). However, when they were still sore from the curcumcision, Simeon and Levi slaughtered all the men of that household. Their father, Jacob, was very displeased with their actions, saying they had caused Isreal to “stink” in the land.

    6) Abraham lying to Pharoah about Sarah, his wife. This nearly caused Pharoah to commit adultery with Sarah. Only an intervention by an angel of God prevented this great sin, which probably would have resulted in Pharoah being struck dead. Technically, Abraham didn’t lie when he said Sarah was his sister (she was indeed his half-sister), but he failed to tell Pharoah that she was also his wife. A partial truth is equal to lie. Incidently, this was not the first time Abraham told the same half-truth to a foreign king.

    I’m sure I could think of more if I really tried hard, but that’s all I can think of for now.

    Please send me your remarks via email.

    Best Regards,

    Terry Mitchell

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  2. Terry,

    These are some good incidents you’ve pointed out. Here are my comments:

    1) In 2 Kings 2 where the children were mauled by two bears, this was not the only time little children received God’s judgment. In Numbers 16, Korah, Dathan, and Abiram attempted to usurp the priesthood for themselves because they despised Moses and Aaron. It resulted in God opening up the earth to swallow up them and their whole households, including their children (Numbers 16: 27-32). In Joshua 7, Achan and his whole family were stoned to death, including his children, because he stole goods from Jericho when God commanded everything to be destroyed and nothing taken. His sin had caused Israel to lose their next battle and lives were lost because of him.

    God holds children accountable for what they know. Elisha was on his way from Jericho to Bethel in 2 Kings 2. Elijah had just been caught up to heaven and everyone in Jericho and Bethel knew it because word had spread throughout these cities, which had prominent schools of prophets. These kids knew Elisha was a man of God and that his head was shaved as a vow to the Lord because he was known in their town to the people and the prophets in their town. For them to mock Elisha was an utter insult to who he was and who he represented, so Elisha was well within his right to curse them. But if you read the scripture carefully, it was God who decided how to bring the curse to pass. Elisha did not give a specific curse on them to be mauled by bears. He left the specifics up to God.

    2) Solomon was actually not paranoid. His half-brother, Adonijah, had previously attempted to usurp the throne from David and blatantly disregarded David’s previous statements that Solomon was to succeed him as king. David then acted at Bathsheba’s request to shore up Solomon’s rightful claim to the throne when he abdicated the throne in 1 Kings 1 so Solomon could become king immediately. As king, Solomon then showed mercy to his treasonous older half-brother by sparing his life.

    Adonijah then tried to muster some support to usurp the throne again by using Bathsheba to talk to Solomon so he could have Abishag, David’s last concubine, as his wife. In those days it was customary that if someone were to lay claim to a throne, he would do so by mating with the previous king’s concubines. That’s why Absalom had several years earlier raped David’s concubines in public when he violently usurped David’s throne. Adonijah was trying to be sneaky, but Solomon was wise to his plot and had the usurper killed.

    3)The men of Benjamin got what was coming to them. If men committed such a crime as attempting to sexually assault a man and then brutally raping and killing his wife, under the Mosaic law they had to die to preserve the pure morals of the land. Nevertheless, the tribe of Benjamin had been blessed by God through both Jacob and Moses to prosper and to completely cause the annihilation of the tribe would bring severe judgment from the Lord. Out of fear for the Lord and respect for Jacob and Moses, it was their obligation to see to it that it was possible for the tribe to replenish its numbers, so wives had to be found for them in Israel.

    Although modern society sometimes sees rearing children as bothersome and inconvenient, God and those who love him see it as a ministry to make sure the older generations are taken care of and so younger generations will bless the Earth in some way.

    4)The witch was actually shocked that the spirit of Samuel contacted the land of the living. This shows that God was in control and not the witch in this situation. Saul was rebuked for his conduct and his fate did not change as he had hoped. The bottom line is that necromancy will bring God’s judgment.

    5) Shechem showed that he was sincerely sorry for what he did to Dinah and wanted to do the honorable thing by marrying her which, in those days, was an act of good faith to restore her good name. Jacob gave his word as an honorable, God-fearing man that the marriage would occur. By killing the men, Levi and Simeon made Jacob’s word look like nothing. In those days, a man’s word was his bond and the perception of his word could affect any future agreements he might try to establish with others. Since Shechem made a sincere apology, Simeon and Levi were obligated to forgive him, but they didn’t and so Jacob withheld blessing them on his death bed.

    6) Abraham, even though he was a friend of God and had faith in God, faced times when he doubted God would come through for him. But isn’t this what all of us go through sometimes? I know I have.

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