The Bible is full of many fascinating tales – many good, and some bizarre – here are the top 10 bizarre tales from the Bible.
10. A lesson for those who dare mock male pattern baldness
Found in: 4 Kings 2:23-24
One of the more inspirational passages in the Bible tells the story of Elijah, a wise man, yet one cursed with male pattern baldness. One day he was minding his own business, making the long walk to Bethel, when he is attacked by a roving band of children who tease him with names like “bald head.” But Elijah was having none of this, he turns round and curses them in the name of the Lord, and instantly two female bears emerge from a nearby wood and maul all 42 children to death.
The moral of this story? Don’t make fun of bald people. Frankly, why this story isn’t included along with the Ten Commandments is anybody’s guess, but I think it would serve as an excellent lesson for children who think baldness is something to be made fun of.
9. Eglon’s ignoble death
Found in: Judges 3:21-25
Ehud is the Bible’s sneakiest assassin (and also the only left-handed person mentioned in the Holy Book). He is on a mission to deliver a “message from God” to smarmy King Eglon. Ehud waltzes in to meet the gluttonous king, pulls out a sword and stabs Eglon in the stomach. At first he can’t get it in, but he pushes harder and eventually reaches his intestine. Eglon is so overweight, we learn, that his fat actually covers the hilt of the sword, pushing it further into his stomach until it’s not even visible. It’s at this point that Eglon loses control of his bowels and begins to defecate mercilessly all over his chamber. The King’s attendants eventually come back, but do not enter Eglon’s bed chamber, assuming he is relieving himself. After waiting “to the point of embarrassment”, his attendants burst in to find their king dead on the floor, covered in his own faecal matter. Meanwhile, Ehud had escaped to the town of Seriah.
The moral of this story? Who cares, but it’s damn cool.
8. Onan – cautious, yet foolish
Found in: Genesis 38:8-10
A story so eponymous, it gave way to its own neologism – onanism, an archaic term for masturbation. Basically, God kills Er. Why? We don’t really find out. However, in a stroke of good luck, Er’s father, Judah, has given you the right, nay the duty, to have sex with your dead brother’s wife. Onan is a bit apprehensive at first, but agrees to go through with this bizarre scheme to create a ‘true heir’ to Er. He begins to have sex with the girl, but at the last minute decides to pull out and spill “his seed upon the ground.” God is so irked he decides to kill Onan too, and thus nobody gets an heir. This story is the basis for the Christian condemnation of masturbation and birth control.
The moral of this story? In the words of Monty Python, “Every sperm is sacred…”
7. A very disturbing tale
Found in: Judges 19:22-30
Within the Bible, one occasionally finds stories so horrible, one can wonder what their purpose is. Not only is this story utterly bizarre, but it is also absolutely disgusting. A man and his concubine are wandering the streets when they decide to seek shelter for the night, and find a man kind enough to let them stay. That night however, a group of men turn up at the door and demand to see the guest so that they may have sex with him. The owner is unwilling to let his male lodger be raped and so offers up his virgin daughter instead. However, this is still not good enough for the men, so the owner offers them his guest’s concubine and the men accept. The men brutally rape the woman and leave her on the doorstep where she bleeds to death. If that is not enough, when she is found by her husband, he chops her up into twelve pieces which he sends to each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The moral of this story? I would hope none.
6. A novel way to show your love
Found in: 1 Kings 18:25-27
Before Byron, before Casanova, there was David. Young and in love, David desperately wants to marry Saul’s daughter Michal and offers Saul anything he wants to let him marry her. What could Saul possibly want? Money? A vow of love? No. Saul wants foreskins. 100 to be exact. Why? Who cares. If you want my daughter, you’re going to have to find 100 foreskins by tomorrow. David finds this odd, but then again this girl is hot, so he goes out and kills 200 men, and collects their foreskins. It’s only then he remembers that he only needs 100 foreskins. Oops. Oh well, maybe if he hands over twice as many foreskins, Saul will be doubly as impressed. Indeed he is and duly hands over his daughter to David.
The moral of this story? Never be ashamed to do crazy things for love.
5. Like slicing salami
Found in: Exodus 4:24-26
Continuing the Bible’s fascination with all things foreskin, we get the bizarre story of God trying to kill Moses because his son isn’t circumcised. God is about to obliterate Moses when his wife Zipporah takes out a flint and quickly cuts the foreskin of his son (ouch), throwing the bloody skin fragment at Moses’ feet. “You are a bloody husband to me!” squeals Zipporah, flint in one hand, child in other. God, clearly freaked out by this woman, backs off and Moses is saved.
The moral of this story? Never turn down a woman for being a psycho. Someday she may save your life.
4. Jesus and the fig tree
Found in: Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13-14
So, Jesus is walking from Bethany and he’s feeling a bit peckish. He encounters a fig tree, but unfortunately it is barren as it’s the off season for figs. Annoyed, Jesus demands the fig tree bear him fruit, however the fig tree doesn’t respond (it’s a tree), so Jesus, in an act of uncharacteristic rashness, curses the fig tree to death. This story is bizarre for many reasons, but mainly for how little it means to the Jesus story and how Jesus seems to react so harshly. OK, so he’s hungry, and we all get a little cranky when hungry, but come on, the fig tree had done nothing wrong. This just seems like abuse of powers to me.
The moral of this story? I honestly can’t think of one. This story seems so unimportant and purposeless yet both Mark and Matthew mention it so it must have some importance. The best I can think of is: don’t disobey Jesus, even if you’re an inanimate tree.
3. Even God is proud of his backside
Found in: Exodus 33:23
It’s a big day for Moses. He’s finally going to meet God face to face and is giddy with anticipation. Soon the time comes and Moses positions himself on a rock ready to see the divine creator himself. But God backs out at the last minute claiming that no man can see his face and live. However, he has a solution. He will let Moses have a peek at his backside, “And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” Moses must be heartbroken. He was hoping to see God’s face not his bottom! Imagine explaining that to the wife: “Oh honey, did you see God’s face?” “Umm not quite…I got a great look at his ass though!” Moses most likely slept alone that night.
The moral of this story? God works in mysterious (and slightly gay) ways.
2. Balaam and his talking donkey
Found in: Numbers 22:28-30
Balaam is just minding his own business, spanking his ass (donkey) when suddenly he hears a voice. It’s his donkey who is asking him why he is spanking him. Balaam doesn’t seem the least bit miffed that his donkey has starting talking in the same language as him and says, “Because thou hast mocked me.” The donkey then gets philosophical and explains the nature of their relationship and how his feelings have been hurt. Eventually they make peace. Oh yeah did I mention it was TALKING DONKEY?
The moral of this story? Don’t beat animals. If they could talk then they would probably tell you how upset they were.
1. Jacob and the case of the magical genetics
Found in: Genesis 30:37-39
And the most bizarre tale in the Bible goes too…this head-scratcher from Genesis, with its utterly bemusing explanation of the genetic code. Basically, Laban is taking all of Jacob’s beloved striped and spotted cattle. Jacob is left with boring old, plain-coloured cattle, which he doesn’t seem to like at all. So Jacob concocts a cunning plan: he gets some sticks and begins painting stripes on them. He then plants them next to his cattle. What Jacob thinks is that if he gets his cattle to look at the striped sticks while copulating, then they will give birth to striped young. Now, we’d all expect this idiotic plan to fail and Jacob to learn a lesson about something or other, but no it actually works. The cattle give birth to striped young, and Jacob is happy. What on earth is going on here? Anyone with the most basic understanding of genetics knows that this is bunk. The odd thing is that this story seems to have no purpose and moral – it’s just there. And I can’t help wondering how many scientists with painted sticks had attempted to repeat this process before Mendel came along and said, “I’m pretty sure that’s not how it’s supposed to happen fellas, why don’t we try this instead?”
The moral of this story? Your guess is as good as mine.