Facts About Bible Stories That Made Us Say 'Really?'

List Rules
Vote up the most surprising details found in the Bible.

It should come as no surprise that the Bible is the most widely read book in the world. However, it's a really big book, spanning several centuries' worth of events, and naturally, some passages have become more popular than others. This has led to some interesting Bible stories falling into obscurity, with even the most devoted Christians forgetting their wilder details.

Over the years, many Redditors have shared facts about Bible stories that are often overlooked. The following list offers some of their findings, along with editorial context to clarify their points.

If you're keen on Bible history, this list may amuse, delight, or even shock you. Vote up the Bible story facts that genuinely surprise you.

  • 1
    1,676 VOTES

    King David Paid A Grisly Dowry For His Wife

    From Redditor u/m-etatron:

    TIL that King David from the Bible offered 200 foreskins for his wife's hand in marriage.


    Context: The demand for enemy foreskins is part of a plot by King Saul to stop David from threatening his leadership. At the time, Saul is basically possessed by a demon, so it's explicitly meant to be a nasty idea. Saul tells David, "You want my daughter's hand in marriage, go collect these from 100 Philistines," knowing full well it's a high-risk mission with little chance of success. So David not only fulfills the gruesome task, but delivers double.

  • 2
    1,328 VOTES

    The Bible Does Not Describe Angels As Winged Humans

    From Redditor u/Xaxos92:

    TIL that the depiction of angels as winged humanoids in robes was just a relatively recent idea. In the Bible, they were described as terrifying odd shapes and stuff. One was a burning wheel with multiple eyes and another was a four-faced being. This was why they would say "fear not" to a human.

    Context: Various angels are described in the Bible, none of which conform to the popular image of a beautiful human with feathery wings. In Isaiah, "seraphim" have six wings and can be translated as "burning ones." They also may be "flying serpents." Cherubim are described by Ezekiel as having four faces: man, ox, lion, and eagle. They have human hands, possibly four in all, four wings, and are accompanied by "whirring wheels." Ezekiel describes these wheels (AKA ophanim) like so: "They sparkled like topaz, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not change direction as the creatures went. Their rims were high and awesome, and all four rims were full of eyes all around."

  • 3
    1,343 VOTES

    In The Old Testament, God Sends Bears To Devour Children Who Mock The Prophet Elijah

    From Redditor u/Touma_Kazusa:

    TIL in the Bible, God sent two bears to [slay] 42 children because they mocked a man for being bald.


    Context: It is argued by some Biblical scholars that God does this not because the youths mock Elijah for being bald, but for their general disrespect toward an elder and a man of god.

  • 4
    878 VOTES

    Goliath's Height Varies Based On Which Translation You Read

    From Redditor u/fiishmarket:

    TIL that Goliath from the Biblical story "David and Goliath" was four cubits and a span tall, or roughly 6'9".

    Context: The length of a cubit was classically defined as the tip of the middle finger to the forearm, which is a highly subjective measurement. Some cultures used a figure that was as long as 21 inches, though scholars generally put it at 18 inches. So, if Goliath's height is "four cubits and a span" (one span is half a cubit), then he would be 6'9". The "four cubit" measurement is the translation given in the Septuagint and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. However, the "received" Hebrew text gives Goliath's height as "six cubits and a span," which puts Goliath at the much more imposing 9'9".

  • 5
    806 VOTES

    Dragons And Unicorns Are Both Mentioned In The Bible

    From Redditor u/Greg-2012:

    TIL there are seven Bible verses about dragons.

    From Redditor u/p_U_c_K_IV:

    TIL the Bible mentions unicorns nine times.

    Context: Not all the "dragon" references in the Bible explicitly refer to dragons as the Game of Thrones variety. Instead, these are more like wild, unknown creatures. Other references are more metaphorical, such as calling the devil a dragon. As to the unicorns, these are a mistranslation of the Hebrew re'em, which likely referred to a now-extinct breed of ox. But the Greeks translated this word as monokeros, which means "one-horned." The Latin translation by St. Jerome then used the Latin word unicornis. Even then, however, unicornis did not refer to a horse with a horn. We don't get that interpretation until much later, after the Bible was translated into English.

  • 6
    1,227 VOTES

    A Heavily Redacted 'Slave Bible' Was Created To Dissuade African Slaves From Rebelling

    From Redditor u/Judah_Earl:

    TIL about the "Slave Bible," an abridged version of the Bible made for slaves, in which the enslaved Israelites never left Egypt and lines that condemn slave owners were removed.


    Context: Created for African slaves living in Jamaica, Barbados, and Antigua, this version of the Bible was first published in 1807 - three years after the Haitian Revolution. According to Anthony Schmidt, an associate curator at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, "About 90 percent of the Old Testament is missing [and] 50 percent of the New Testament is missing" from the Slave Bible. All passages that might inspire slaves to rebel were removed, and all passages that reinforced slavery were kept.