[IMPORTANT: This list contain a competition.] For many of us the Bible is a source of inspiration, a teller of wonderful tales, and a moral guide. But if we were to selectively take certain stories in the abstract we could be horribly misguided. This list is going to introduce ten characters from the Bible who were certainly not following the moral guide in the very same Book which chronicles their lives and experiences. These are but ten of the vilest villains in the Sacred Scriptures; alas many more abound. Be sure to name and shame the rest in the comments.
Antipas was a pathetic and weak man who – at the behest of his soon-to-be mistress “salome” (his step-daughter) carried out her demand (originating from her mother Herodias – item 9) to murder John the Baptist. In what is probably his most famous moment he stood in judgement of Jesus Christ when Pontius Pilate felt incapable of the task. Antipas – expecting a miracle – was most annoyed at Jesus’ silence so sent him back to Pilate to be murdered upon the demands of the Jews.
Antipas didn’t just behead John the Baptist – but that alone makes his worthy for a place on this list. Fittingly he died in exile after plotting to overthrow Emperor Caligula.
Herodias was clearly destined to a life of evil – marrying first Herod II, the son of the evil Herod “the Great” (item 2 on this list) and then falsely divorcing him to marry his far viler brother Herod Antipas (Item 10 – directly above). Her life of crime didn’t end with bigamy. Saint John the Baptist was rather vocal at the time about the bigamous marriage of Herodias and Herod Antipas and it raised the ire of the adulteress – to a point where she would not be happy until she saw him slaughtered.
Seeing how enamored her new husband (Herod Antipas) was with her daughter (his step-daughter – Salome) she offered the girl to him in exchange for the arrest of St John. Herod being rather a weak man took her up on the very generous offer – appeasing the ill-feeling of Salome about the arrangement by promising to grant her any wish should she “lie” with him. This is where Herodias was able to cleverly execute her plan. She convinced her daughter to “get together” with her father-in-law in order to have the Baptist killed.
After the famous dance of the seven veils, Salome told her father-in-law that she was his – and she named her wish (in reality the wish of her witch of a mother Herodias): the head of John the Baptist. Happy to dick his brother’s wife but not to renege on a promise to his new teenage bed pal, Herod had no choice but to command it be done. Salome has gone down in history as the woman who had St John killed; but in reality it was her evil conniving mother Herodias who was behind it all.
If this story interests you, you will probably love the Oscar Wilde play Salome. Here is the complete film on youtube of an incredible interpretation of his play by the great director Charles Bryant starring the incredible Alla Nazimova with the sets and costumes mimicking those designed by Aubrey Beardsley (Salome illustration above) who died a the young age of twenty-five.
During the birth of man God suspended the laws of incest; therefore it was possible for Adam and Eve to have children who could marry each other and have their own children. But before we even get to the second generation of Adam and Eve we find trouble with the first. Cain and Abel were brothers – the children of our first parents. Abel was devoted to God and made many offerings to him – particularly his prize fatted sheep.
Cain also made many offerings but – extraorindarily fond of meat – offered fruit instead. God, clearly being a devout carnivore was far more interested in Abel’s offerings and gave him much praise for them – and frankly who wouldn’t prefer a side of lamb over a basket of plums? Cain, being the jealous type decided to take matters into his own hands.
He convinced his brother to check out the newly laid fields and whilst rollicking amongst the Einkorn wheat (the original wheat that doesn’t cause an obesity crisis) pulled out his sword and shoved it firmly in his brother who, unfortunately, had his back to him. It is a very famous story and here it is as told by the Sacred Scriptures:
Undoubtedly you have heard the phrase “jumping’ Jehoshaphat!” Joram (sometimes known as Jehoram) was Jehoshaphat’s son. Actually he was one of seven sons – no wonder Jehoshaphat was jumping – you would be too with seven babies’ nappies to change. Joram reigned jointly with his father for a while but, realizing his father’s time was drawing short, decided he needed to cement his place as sole ruler of the Kingdom of Judah. With six brothers it is no wonder he was a little edgy about the succession to the throne.
So Joram did what any co-regent would do under the circumstances. He took a sword and slashed the throats of his bros. Single-handedly this megalomaniac dismembered his little brothers. If that isn’t evil I don’t know what is. Oh wait – yes I do – see the next item. Oh – by the way – in case you are wondering what became of old Jehoram: he died when his bowels fell out (2 paralipomenon 21:16-19).
Cain and Jehoram deserve a place on this list without a doubt, but if they are here – so should Abimelech be. He didn’t kill one brother; he didn’t kill six brothers, he killed seventy! Yes. That isn’t a typo. He murdered all but one of his brothers! Clearly his father, Jerobaal, had a lot of spare time on his hands. So anyway – after butchering his brothers the local city folk declared him king (not surprisingly). After this rather vile moment of evil the Scriptures go on to tell the quite random tale of talking trees – of course – that makes sense! Follow the link below and read the remainder of the tale to hear about the talking trees.
When we think of old folk we usually think of kindly old grandparents who give us candy and love everything we do. Not so in Biblical times. The Old Man from Ephraim (most of you will know him as Lot) was definitely not your stereotypical grandpa. After inviting some random traveling guy (who turns out to be the angel Gabriel) into his house for a sleep over, the local village men go on a horn-fest and demand the guest be given to them for a good old fashioned Biblical gang-bang.
This really is in the Bible incidentally – gay gang bangs – who would have thought it?! Lot summons up his morals and refuses to hand over the man. But he has a better alternative: he hands over his virgin daughter and the concubine of the visiting stranger (you can’t travel without a concubine in the Bible of course – even if you are an angel). The village men – content to rape anything they can get their hands on – agree to leave the angel behind and take off with the concubine (obviously the virginal daughter was a dog) for the night.
But wait – it gets worse. The next morning the poor concubine is left in a heap on the door step of the Lot’s house. Any person with any civility would, of course, take her in and clean her gashes – undoubtedly there are many wounds left after a night of Biblical village rape. But is that what happens? No. The guest – jointly evil with Lot – thinks the concubine is dead and carries her home on his ass. Upon arriving home he doesn’t check his heavenly emails – he grabs a knife and chops her into twelves bits and posts her around the country. As you do. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:
Jezebel wasn’t just a whore – she was a butchering murderous bitch. Being a worshipper of Baal (a devil) she determined to convert her nation-by-marriage (Israel – she was a Phoenician princess married to a Jewish king) to the same religion. In order to do so she butchered as many Jewish prophets as she could round up; and she rounded up quite a few!
This is not entirely uncommon in the old testament as the Jews frequently killed their prophets; but Jezebel had to go one worse. Not content to murder the prophets to stop them spreading their “wickedness” she sacrificed babies to her god of stone to appease him. Elijah – her chief protagonist at least has a chance for vengeance and eventually slaughtered the 450 prophets of Baal. Jezebel came to a ruinous end when she was cast from a window by three Eunuchs whereupon she was trampled to death by horses and eventually eaten by dogs, leaving behind her only her feet, skull, and hands.
As so often we see in the Old Testament, the Jews became greedy and fell into wicked ways. When that happened God typically sold them into slavery of sorts. At the time of Jephthah the slave-owners were the Philistines and the Ammonites. Being somewhat of a good fighter his fellow Jews ask him to be their leader in battle, but that is not enough for Greedy Jephthat who decides that he wants to be the supreme chief of the Jews for good (a king in a sense). His fellow men agree on the condition that he beats the enemy.
To ensure that will be victorious over his enemies he makes a special deal with God: if he can beat the Ammonites he will offer as a burnt sacrifice to God the first thing or person that comes out of the door to greet him upon his return. He wins his battle – heads home – and the first thing he sees is: his virgin daughter. Not overcome with emotion or love of his beautiful firstborn he thinks only of his promise. Next minute the daughter is ash on the pyre. Yes – the evil bastard baked his daughter so he could be king.
NOTE: this interpretation exists only in the King James version of the Bible written in the 1500s – the original Catholic Bible has the girl offered up as a virgin for the rest of her life.
Herod the Great (“a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis.” – off to a good start!) is the famous King from the time of Christ. He was a Jewish ruler who governed (with the support of the Romans with whom he was very tight) Judea. Amongst his achievements was the building of the great Second Temple – a popular venue for the Jews to sell sacrificial animals, food, sweets, and to trade money; it was this place which Jesus Christ would later come to smash apart.
But it is not this den of thieves for which Herod is most famous; he is better known for his massacre of innocent children – the death toll of which has been unheard of since (unless you liken abortion to the murder of innocents in which the modern death toll is exponentially higher). The story goes that Herod heard of the birth of Christ (after his agents spied the three wise men entering his country) and, wanting to prevent a replacement king, ordered the murder of all newborns in the village of Bethlehem (the place of Christ’s birth). Imagine that – ordering the murder of ALL babies born in a city over the previous two years. That is the reason we remember the evil Herod the “Great”.
Well – that and the fact that his temple wall is the most sacred place in modern Judaism – a dedication to one of the most evil men in the history of the Bible.
You were undoubtedly expecting to see Judas on this list. Given that he betrayed God Himself (Jesus, the Son of God) who could be more wicked in the Bible than he? Some controversy exists regarding this particular evil man as he seems to create a paradox. It goes thus: he betrayed God but if he hadn’t there would be no salvation as Christ had to die for that to happen. So if Judas was a faithful apostle, Christ wouldn’t have died so there could be no salvation.
Either way – his act of betrayal is but one part of his wickedness. In the end he succumbed to the selfish act of suicide and hanged himself from a tree; most descriptively we know that his bowels gushed from his body in the act. He is almost universally regarded as being a resident of Hell for his acts.
As this list is about the Bible and it is one of the first lists posted since we have migrated to our new host – we are running a competition. All you have to do to enter is be a registered commenter; in other words anonymous commenters or commenters who are not logged in are discounted. Simply sign in with Disqus, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or Listverse to be an entrant. For every 100 comments generated by this list we will randomly select one commenter to receive a beautiful leather bound copy of the Bible pictured above (value: $125 US).
It is a big book – family size – so it is well worth entering. Comments must be coherent and to the point – comments that are obviously posted with no relevance to the topic won’t be included. As a further bonus, if we get over 500 comments in the next 48 hours not only will we be awarding five Bibles as prizes, we will slip $500 US dollars into one Bible signed by Jamie Frater (also selected at random) to help you along with your Christmas shopping.
Just to make things clear – if we get 100 comments, one person will receive a prize. If we get 400 comments, four people will get a prize. If we get 500 comments, five people will get a prize and one will also receive $500 US in cash extra. This competition is open to every member of Listverse regardless of where you live. This is not a US-only competition. If you are from Timbuktu you can still enter.