Special Sub-Topic: Suicides In The Bible
|In chapter 9, of the book of Judges, a bloodthirsty King arose to rule Israel. Fortunately, a man named Gaal gathered an army to defeat this king. In one battle, a brave woman was able to drop part of a millstone on the bad king's head. Ashamed, and dying with a cracked skull, the king ordered his armor-bearer to "run him through" with his sword. The order is obeyed and the evil king died. What was the name of this terrible king? |
Abimelech. "Draw your sword and dispatch me, lest they say of me that a woman killed me." So his attendant ran him through and he died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all left for their homes. (Judges 9:54-55)
Abimelech was the son of the great Hebrew judge Gideon; however, his mother was only a concubine; and, to gain power, he had to kill almost all of Gideon's 70 sons. His tragic death suited this cruel tyrant.
|Samson, a great hero of the Old Testament, once tore a lion apart with his bare hands, and he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Sadly, a wicked woman named Delilah betrayed Samson to the Philistines. These enemies of God shaved off Samson's hair, blinded him, and then enslaved him. While in captivity, Samson's hair grew back which caused his great strength to return. However, still suffering from being a blind slave, Samson decided to commit suicide in what manner?|
He knocked down two columns, killing all at a huge Philistine feast.. Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" He pushed hard, and the temple fell upon the lords and all the people who were in it. Those he had killed at his death were more than those he had killed during his lifetime. (Judges 16:30)
Samson's suicide is interesting as it was done so to carry out the will of God. Scholars generally hold his self killing as to be virtuous.
|In 1 Samuel 31, we read of the death of King Saul. After becoming the King of Israel, problems besieged Saul's reign; he seemed to find himself in one trouble after another. In great despair, he finally killed himself. How did Saul do this?|
He fell upon his own sword.. The Philistines pursued Saul and his sons closely, and slew Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua, sons of Saul. The battle raged around Saul, and the archers hit him; he was pierced through the abdomen... So Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. (1 Sam 31:2-4)
For this once powerful King of Israel to kill himself was very unexpected. But, Saul had been disloyal to God during his reign, a mistake that proved fatal.
|King Saul's close servant, his armor-bearer, sadly committed suicide as well. Where was this unnamed servant when he ended his life? |
With King Saul.. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and run me through, lest these uncircumcised come and make sport of me." But his armor-bearer, badly frightened, refused to do it... When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell upon his sword and died with him. (1 Sam. 31:4-5)
Unwilling to hurt his Master, Saul's servant proved his loyalty by dying by his own hand just as Saul did. He is a very minor character in Scripture, but certainly worthy of note in this quiz.
|After the death of Saul, David was made the new King of Israel. These were joyful times for Israel as David was a great king.
Unfortunately, David had a difficult son named Absalom; Absalom received counsel from his friend Ahithophel to overthrow his father David. Although he at first was in agreement, Absalom eventually acted against his friend's advice in the rebellion. Ahithophel, dejected and scared, then killed himself, how? |
Hanging.. When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not acted upon, he saddled his ass and departed, going to his home in his own city. Then, having left orders concerning his family, he hanged himself. And so he died and was buried in his father's tomb. (2 Sam. 17:23)
Ahithophel should have avoided the temptation for evil; but, drunk for power, he ended up destroying himself.
Absalom died not long after Ahithophel; in a bizarre accident, Absalom's long hair become entangled in the branches of a tree. Absalom was then stabbed as he hung from the tree helpless.
|In 1 Kings, we read of a servant named Zimri who usurped the Israeli throne. Just a week later, when the army, led by Omri, heard of this news, they surrounded the palace that Zimri was in. Zimri then killed himself through what means?|
Fire. Omri marched up from Gibbethon, accompanied by all Israel, and laid siege to Tirzah. When Zimri saw the city was captured, he entered the citadel of the royal palace and burned down the palace over him. He died... (1 Kings 16:17-18)
Another minor character who got what he deserved. Zimri had been the servant of King Elah. Zimri waited until Elah was drunk while in the city of Tirzah; Zimri pounced on Elah and beat him to death. The wicked Zimri then had all the men of Elah's father's family put to death.
|Tragically, a close friend and apostle of Jesus betrayed him to the Pharisees for thirty pieces of silver. It is not clear if this traitor knew that Jesus was to be put to death. Regardless, this coward was so overwhelmed with guilt and fear that he hanged himself. What was the name of this wicked man?|
Judas. Then Judas, who had handed him over, seeing that Jesus had been condemned, began to regret his action deeply. He took the thirty pieces of silver back to the chief priests and elders and said, "I did wrong to deliver up an innocent man!" They retorted, "What is that to us? It is your affair!" So Judas flung the money into the temple and left. He went off and hanged himself. (Matt. 27:3-5)
Judas is the most infamous person in the Bible.
|In the Gospel of John, Jesus is speaking to a group of unbelievers. Christ said something to them that caused them to become confused; they even wondered if Christ planned to kill himself!
What was it that Jesus said that caused these unbelievers such confusion?|
"Where I am going you cannot come.". Again he (Jesus) said to them: "I am going away. You will look for me but you will die in your sins. Where I am going you cannot come." At this some of the Jews began to ask, "Does he mean he will kill himself when he claims, 'Where I am going you cannot come'?" (John 8:21-22)
Christ often spoke in language that was mysterious. These people who thought he was foretelling his suicide were most likely the most cynical of the unbelievers.
|In the Acts Of The Apostles, Paul saved a man who was about to attempt suicide. Paul and his companion were locked in a jail when an earthquake hit and broke the chains and opened the prison doors. Fearing the escape of the prisoners, the jailer was ready to fall upon his sword; Paul then stopped him. What was the jailer's name? |
He is not named. Thinking that the prisoners had escaped, he drew his sword to kill himself; but Paul shouted to him, "Do not harm yourself! We are still here." (Acts 16:27-28)
Silas was the Christian companion who was in jail with Paul.
Although the jailer is unnamed, his reward was great: he found baptism, through Paul, into the fellowship of Christ.
|The prophet Jonah also made an attempt at suicide. After being commanded by God to preach to the people in Nineveh, Jonah fled by taking a boat to a distant land. God then created a huge storm and all on the boat feared that they would drown. Jonah ordered the sailors to throw him overboard, and by doing this the seas calmed down. Where was the boat traveling to? |
Tarshish. Jonah said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea, that it may quiet down for you; since I know it is because of me that this violent storm has come upon you." (Jonah 1:12)
Jonah certainly was not expecting God to send a great fish to swallow him up for three days. He most assuredly thought that he would drown once he had been thrown into the stormy waters. What a sad man Jonah must have been.
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