12 Savage Deaths In The Bible That Made Us Say, 'Goodness, Gracious!'

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Vote up the biblical deaths make you say, 'Goodness, gracious!'

Both the Old and the New Testaments, venerated by multiple faiths, are full of allegorical tales, instructive passages, and theological foundations - with a lot of death woven in. Deaths in the Bible take all forms.

The best-known one in the Bible is perhaps that of Jesus Christ, but the savage ends met by the figures here are just as intense. Vote up the ones that really bring the pain.

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  • Sisera's Head Was Nailed To The Ground
    Photo: Artemisia Gentileschi / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
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    412 VOTES

    Sisera's Head Was Nailed To The Ground

    The Book of Judges includes the story of King Jabin of Hazor and one of his commanders, Sisera:

    Because [Sisera] had 900 chariots fitted with iron and had... oppressed the Israelites for 20 years, they cried to the Lord for help.

    Sisera led his Canaanites into conflict against 10,000 men from the Naphtali and Zebulun tribes. The forces met at Mount Tabor, where Sisera suffered a humiliating defeat. Sisera fled and sought refuge in the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber.

    Jael offered Sisera a blanket, some milk, and told him he was safe. When Sisera fell asleep, however, Jael went to work:

    [She] picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died.

    412 votes
  • Jezebel Was Pushed Out Of A Window And Devoured By Dogs
    Photo: Jan Symonsz Pynas / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Phoenician princess and wife to King Ahab of Israel, Jezebel refused to give up worshipping Baal, the god of fertility. Surrounded by adherents to the cult of Yahweh, Jezebel was reviled by Ahab's subjects, especially after she demonstrated significant influence over her husband. Jezebel orchestrated the demise of Naboth so her husband could get his ancestral lands.

    The prophet Elijah intervened and told King Ahab that his heirs would all perish, his dynasty would collapse, and Jezebel would be eaten by dogs because he had fallen out of God's favor. King Ahab perished before any of that happened, but several years later, Jezebel did meet the fate Elijah had predicted. 

    After being promised the throne of Israel if he slayed Jezebel, Jehu brought the prediction to fruition. Jezebel purportedly anticipated her demise, even putting on makeup and fixing her hair.

    As Jehu approached, Jezebel looked down from her tower and asked her attendant if he was loyal to her or to Jehu. Then: 

    [Jehu] looked up at the window and called out, “Who is on my side? Who?” Two or three eunuchs looked down at him. 

    “Throw her down!” Jehu said. So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered the wall and the horses as they trampled her underfoot.

    After Jezebel was gone, Jehu celebrated. He instructed his men to "take care of that cursed woman" and inter her. When they went to retrieve Jezebel's remains, "they found nothing except her skull, her feet, and her hands." Dogs ate her flesh, essentially making Jezebel's body "like dung on the ground" (2 Kings 9:30-37).

    303 votes
  • Herod Agrippa Was 'Eaten By Worms' - From The Inside
    Photo: Nikolai Bodarevsky / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain
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    185 VOTES

    Herod Agrippa Was 'Eaten By Worms' - From The Inside

    Called King Herod in the Book of Acts, Herod Agrippa was the grandson of Herod the Great. He ruled Judea from 41 to 44 BCE, a position he acquired in large part thanks to his connections to the Roman court. Herod Agrippa, according to Acts 12:18-25, met his horrific end on a trip to Caesarea from Judea.

    After Herod Agrippa met with a group of disgruntled people from Tyre and Sidon, the dissatisfied group chastised him for behaving like a god. As a result of not giving "God the glory," Herod Agrippa was "eaten by worms" and perished.

    Historian Flavius Josephus added more details to his version of the events:

    A severe pain also arose in his belly... He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, "I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life... I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner." After he said this, his pain was become violent. 

    Exactly what the "worms" were has been a matter of debate. The cause of Herod Agrippa's demise may have been dysentery or some intestinal parasite that obstructed or perforated his intestine.

    185 votes
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    187 VOTES

    Aaron's Sons Were Burned Alive

    In the Book of Numbers, Aaron had four sons: Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. The first two, Nadab and Abihu, perished "before the Lord when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai."

    Nadab and Abihu had flouted God's command that only Aaron was supposed to make sacrifices at Sinai. Aaron, for his part, watched on as his sons were incinerated, but one of his remaining sons, Eleazar, played a different role when this type of punishment happened in Numbers 16. After a group of 250 men unlawfully burned incense, "a fire came out from the Lord and consumed then." Eleazar was then ordered to clean up the "charred remains and scatter the coals."

    187 votes
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    218 VOTES

    Eglon Was Stabbed On The Toilet

    When Ehud presented King Eglon of the Moabites with a tribute, he told the monarch that he had an additional secret message for him. Eglon, described as "a very fat man," dismissed his attendants to hear what Ehud had to say (Judges 3:15-20).

    Ehud had carried in a sword and approached the king. Eglon was in the "upper room of his palace." The following ensued:

    As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it (Judges 3:20-23). 

    Ehud left via the patio, locking the doors behind him, and when the king's attendants returned, they assumed "[h]e must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace." Ehud had stabbed Eglon while he was on the toilet and, after "waiting to the point of embarrassment," Eglon's men finally opened the door to find their king slain (Judges 3:24-25). 

    218 votes
  • Absalom, the third son of King David of Israel, felled his half-brother, Amnon, after Amnon sexually abused their sister, Tamar. Absalom fled for three years after slaying Amnon, returning to Jerusalem only after his father allowed it.

    Once Absalom was back in his father's favor, he usurped his father's throne by leading a revolt. He also slept with David's concubines in the process, advised that it would make him appear "obnoxious to your father, and the hands of everyone with you will be more resolute" (2 Samuel 16:21).

    Both Absalom and David gathered troops and prepared for conflict. They faced off at the Wood of Ephraim (somewhere in Jordan, according to scholars), where Absalom was defeated. Absalom tried to flee on a mule: 

    The mule went under the thick branches of a large oak, [and] Absalom’s hair got caught in the tree. He was left hanging in midair, while the mule he was riding kept on going (2 Samuel 18:9).

    While the men who found Absalom didn't harm him, Joab - Absalom's own cousin - acted:

    He took three javelins in his hand and plunged them into Absalom’s heart while Absalom was still alive in the oak tree. And 10 of Joab’s armor-bearers surrounded Absalom, struck him and killed him (2 Samuel 18:24-25).

    185 votes