Whether you see the Bible as absolute fact or as a collection of parables and allegories, the tales told throughout the ancient text can be described as informative, inspirational, and even heartwarming. On the other hand, there are more than a few biblical stories that are downright horrifying. From beasts bursting out of hell to genocide to the dead rising from the grave, the Bible covers an unsettlingly wide range of atrocities that can befall those who disobey its teachings.
Below are some of the scariest, most violent, and most bizarre tales to come from the Bible.
The Judgment Of Solomon
And the king said, Bring me a sword. And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other."
When two women approach the wise King Solomon with a tricky question about which one of them is the mother of a baby, his suggestion is simply to cut the baby in half so that each woman may have part of the child.
The baby's life is eventually saved when the "true" mother reveals herself after offering to give up the child to spare their life. Although the tale is (thankfully) free of bloodshed, it has no doubt frightened a fair number of kids in Sunday school.
The Story Of Job
So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
In the Book of Job, God makes a deal with Satan to test Job's faith. While Satan doubts the man, God claims that Job is so devout, no amount of pain or suffering could ever make him falter. As a result, Job loses everything he holds dear and is even stricken with boils that he has to remove himself.
God eventually gives back everything Job had and more, but the story nevertheless leaves the reader wondering how much their own faith might be tested someday.
The Destruction Of Sodom And Gomorrah
Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
The story of Sodom and Gomorrah begins with angels trying to visit Lot, a pious man, but before they can get into his house, they're attacked by an angry mob from Sodom. Lot then tries to save the angels by offering up his daughters to the mob, but the angels spare Lot's daughters by blinding the mob.
As the angels lead Lot and his family away from the burning cities, Lot's wife looks back at her old home one last time and is immediately turned into a pillar of salt for her apparent lack of faith.
The Beast Of Revelation
And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
Although there are multiple interpretations of the beasts in the Book of Revelation, that doesn't make their descriptions any less grotesque. As the beasts gather with the false prophet for the battle of Armageddon, they're ultimately defeated by Christ, who casts them into a lake of fire.