Gimme Really Horrifying Bible Verses

I need your help, my darlings!

Among the roughly ten trillion projects I’ve got in the works is the Really Bad Inspiration from the Bible initiative. I’ve got lots of beautiful photos, y’see, like this:

Image shows a silhouette of trees, and a lot of sunset-colored clouds.
Lovely sunset. Would look great with bizarre Bible verses.

Plenty of them are the kind of things you see on inspirational posters what has Bible verses about soft, fluffy stuff, and I figure, it’s about time to show what the Bible’s really like. I’m going to make my own inspirational images, quoting the worst, bloodiest, most intolerant or bizarre bits of the Bible. It’ll look roughly like this:

RBI Gen 7-4

That’s just a mock-up in Paint. I’ll be able to do the things properly once I’ve got my computer woes resolved.

So what I need from you, my darlings, is this: the worst Bible verses you know. The kind of stuff fluffy bunny Christians frantically skip when they’re skimming the not-so-good book. The ones that would get the thing banned from fundie bookstores for being too violent/lewd/immoral if it wasn’t for the fact they worship the book all this nastiness is in. I want the kinds of verses that make good people vomit. And once I’ve got ’em, I’ll start plastering them on inspirational images, showing how the Bible makes a mockery of any claim to justice, decency and morality.

And yes, they’ll available for purchase as magnets and postcards and such, so that you can give the appropriate Biblical gifts to Bible-believing folk. Just imagine the looks on Aunt Maude’s and Uncle JimBob’s faces when you give them the inspired Word imprinted on a completely unobjectionable photograph. Practice waxing lyrical about the power and majesty of God, and the 100% Pure Inspiration in Every Last Word, then sit back and watch them sputter as they realize they can’t tell you how awful and inappropriate it is, because Bible. It’ll be awesome.

Right, then. Hit me with your best worst verses!

(h/t Richard Carrier)

Gimme Really Horrifying Bible Verses

41 thoughts on “Gimme Really Horrifying Bible Verses

  1. 1

    How about Exodus 32:27

    And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.

  2. 5

    Exodus 14:28
    “The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen–the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived.”

    That’s a bit of a sucker punch. It’s always seen as a good thing that the Israelites got away. As soon as you isolate what happens to the Egyptians without that barracking for the good guys to mask it, it’s obviously pretty nasty.

  3. 6

    1 Timothy 2:11 ffm King James Version

    11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

  4. 7

    Hosea 13:16 – Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.

  5. 8

    I like this one; Leviticus 20
    18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

  6. 9

    Malachi chapter two begins with god telling his priests that if they do not honor his name then he will punish them – and the punishment is recorded in Malachi 2:3

    Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces (King James Version)

    I will rebuke your descendants; I will smear on your faces the dung from your festival sacrifices (New International Version)

    Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces (English Standard Version)

    A few versions try to clean up the punishment by having god threaten to rub “refuse” or “offal” on their faces.

  7. 10

    In Matthew 18:6 gentle Jesus, meek and mild, says:

    If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (New International Version)

  8. 11

    In Leviticus 26:14 God threatens to punish those who disobey him and the next 25 verses contain a list of punishments that include:

    I will send wild animals against you, and they will rob you of your children (verse 22)

    You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters (verse 29)

    (The sinful parents are punished by having their innocent children killed! That god is a bit of a scallywag sometimes, isn’t he?)

  9. 12

    Luke 14:26 If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple

  10. 13

    Exodus 12:
    29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
    30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

    Again with killing the children. This time, to force a political aim. Terrorism, in other words. Nice guy, this Yahweh.

  11. 14

    Ezequiel 39, KJV;
    17 And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord God; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.
    18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.
    19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you.
    20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord God.
    21 And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them.

    This is too easy! You can almost open the OT at random to find these.

  12. 15

    And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain. Only the cattle we took for a prey unto ourselves, and the spoil of the cities which we took. -Deuteronomy 2:34-35 KJV

  13. 16

    The hand of the LORD was against the city with a very great destruction: and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. -1 Samuel 5:6-7 KJV

    Shows that Yahweh liked a bit of scatological humor.

  14. 17

    [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the LORD. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. — 2 Kings 2:23-24

    Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. — Numbers 33:17-18

    And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you. — Leviticus 11:7-8 (No bacon? No football?)

    Then there is the one so bad that I won’t quote it here. Trigger warning: Judges 19:22-30

  15. 18

    Judges is a mine of badness. It’s all repetitive stories about how each time the Israelites fail to worship De Lawd properly, he permits them to be conquered. “So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them; and he sold them into the power of their enemies round about…” Over and over again.

    But the highlight of Judges is this very graphic depiction of the first political assassination and its aftermath.

    3:15ff (RSV) — But when the people of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. And Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit in length; and he girded it on his right thigh under his clothes. And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. And when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he … said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he commanded, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence… And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his [the king’s] belly; and the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the dirt came out. Then Ehud went out into the vestibule, and closed the doors of the roof chamber upon him, and locked them…

    26ff: Ehud escaped while they delayed… and the people of Israel went down with him from the hill country, having him at their head… So they went down after him, and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites, and allowed not a man to pass over. And they killed at that time about ten thousand of the Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men; not a man escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years…”

    You gotta like the irony of “the land had rest” as a result of a massacre of 10,000 men. But the key point is very clear: The Lord planned and approved a political assassination, “raising up” a man with specific skills to carry it out. (He’s left-handed so he can use a sword concealed on his right where, one supposes, the palace guards wouldn’t expect it.) It’s unmistakable that The Lord not merely approves of this operation but plans it and trains the operative.

  16. 19

    Actually a search of the Bible Gateway on “bowels” provides more amusement, like 2Chronicles 21:18, “After all this, the Lord afflicted Jehoram with an incurable disease of the bowels. In the course of time, at the end of the second year, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great pain.”

    That would make a nice inspirational poster.

  17. 20

    Revelation 14, NASB;
    20 And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

    IOW, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet!

  18. 21

    Warning, truly horrible stuff to follow.

    Judges 19:1-29 Describes the gang rape (to death) of a woman who fled to her father’s house in order to get away from the man who’d taken her as a concubine, her subsequent dismemberment, and shipping off of her body parts to the twelve tribes of Israel in order to incite a war.

    Judges 21:15-23 Describes the kidnapping into sexual slavery of young women attending a party.

    Basically, just open Judges to any random page and prepare to be horrified.

  19. 23

    Exodus 21;7 NLT
    7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are.

    So much fun for everyone.

    The rest of it’s not much better.

    8 If she does not satisfy her owner, he must allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her.
    9 But if the slave’s owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave but as a daughter.

  20. 24

    The end of the parable of the talents is pretty horrific; Jesus does not come off well at all. This is a personal favorite of mine, as it shows that the New Testament can be just as bad as the Old.

    He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’

    Matthew 25:24-30, Revised Standard Version. Bolded verse is Matthew 25:29.

  21. 25

    Here is one of my favorites …

    Ezekiel 23:20
    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

    I’m not really sure I want to see the graphic you’ll pair with that, though.

  22. 26

    Deuteronomy 13:6-9

    If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.

  23. 27

    PSA: The NIV and some other versions of the bible are copyright protected. Make sure you find out which ones are and that you don’t quote those versions on your posters or you may find yourself subject to some unpleasant legal action.

    Now for my contribution. “and lusted after her lovers there, whose members were like those of donkeys, and whose issue was like that of horses.” Ezekiel 23:20 ESV.

  24. 28

    Oops, missed grendelsfather’s post. So here is another wonderfully sick verse. And this one has the benefit of being printed in red letters in many copies of the bible.

    For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” Matthew 19:12

    Cut of your man-parts for jesus.

  25. 29

    janiceintoronto is right. Uplifting quotes seem to be so easy to find only because of the amount of time that hordes of believers spend raking the books for inspiration. But any random sampling, once you pick through the boring parts, reveals that the job is much easier for us. Any book you pick contains something horrifying, dehumanizing, or just plain bizarre. You could even search for demotivating verses by subject.

    Animal cruelty:

    Genesis 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.


    Ecclesiastes 10:19 A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.

    Child beating:

    Proverbs 23:13-14 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell

    Slavery (even in the NT):

    1 Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

    Women’s oppression:

    Genesis 3:16 I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

    Or just plain absurdity:

    1 Corinthinians 1:27 God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise

    The main challenge is not finding awful stuff to quote, but picking one from a vast array of choices.

  26. 30

    Matthew 25:1–13:

    Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

    Luke 14:26:

    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

    Acts 12:22–24:

    And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost.

  27. 31


    The wedding customs of the ancient Jews, judging from the specimen lere laid before us, seem to have been singular enough, and such as would now commend themselves to few tastes. For a number of virgins to go out with lamps to meet a bridegroom at midnight seems an arrangement that might have been invented for the purpose of producing the greatest possible discomfort to all the parties concerned.

    From A Plain Commentary on the First Gospel by an Agnostic, Williams and Norgate, 1891.

  28. 32

    Matthew is chock full of good Christian family values, many of them pithy enough for a demotivational poster. A couple of samples:

    8:21 Let the dead bury the dead.

    10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

    10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

  29. 33

    That goes double for the King James version. Not only is it public domain, but it appeals to a particularly nutty subculture of fungelicals as the most authoritative version.

  30. 34

    I can’t believe nobody’s beaten me to the charming story of Lot and his daughters, from Genesis. It might need some editing to turn it into a nice, pithy poster quote, though:

    Genesis 19:30-36New International Version (NIV)
    Lot and His Daughters
    30 Lot and his two daughters left Zoar and settled in the mountains, for he was afraid to stay in Zoar. He and his two daughters lived in a cave. 31 One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to give us children—as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then sleep with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
    33 That night they got their father to drink wine, and the older daughter went in and slept with him. He was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
    34 The next day the older daughter said to the younger, “Last night I slept with my father. Let’s get him to drink wine again tonight, and you go in and sleep with him so we can preserve our family line through our father.” 35 So they got their father to drink wine that night also, and the younger daughter went in and slept with him. Again he was not aware of it when she lay down or when she got up.
    36 So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.

  31. 35

    Deuteronomy 7:1-6 (NASB)

    When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.

    Seems to me not much different from genocide.

    Also Numbers 31:17-18:

    Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately. But all the girls who have not known man intimately, spare for yourselves.

    The rest of the chapter is similar. It’s about what to do about some conquered people. How to divide them up, their livestock, and their inanimate possessions. Notice how casually it treats the captured people as property.

  32. 36

    Matthew 21:18-19

    Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.

    When I first read that, I was shocked. It was just SO immature, so much like some little child’s temper tantrum.

    Matthew 27:25

    And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”

    About their wanting Jesus Christ to be crucified. That’s a VERY bizarre thing for a lynch mob to say. The better-documented lynch mobs of recent centuries are, if anything, just the opposite. Some US lynch mobbers even took pictures of their handiwork and passed them around.

    That’s what led to centuries of Christians considering Jews collectively guilty of crucifying Jesus Christ. But according to the Greater Good theodicy, that crucifixion was a Good Thing, since that crucifixion was substitute punishment for everybody’s sins. So every believer in substitute punishment ought to congratulate JC’s executioners.

  33. 37

    Death penalty for disobeying parents:

    If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.

    Deuteronomy 21:18-21
    Death penalty for gathering wood:

    While the Israelites were in the wilderness, a man was found gathering wood on the Sabbath day. Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and the whole assembly, and they kept him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him. Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, as the Lord commanded Moses.

    Numbers 15:32-36

  34. 39

    This youtube series has a few verses you might contemplate adding to your list here if you haven’t got them already :

    “…Show her no pity! Cut off her hand!”
    – Deuteronomy 25:11-12

    Plus :

    A Eunuch perspective – and catch-22 : Matthew 19:12

    Then there’s also :

    Revelation 6:8 “They were given authority to kill one quarter of the earth’s population…” and there’s plenty more from that particular book of the Bible (& online reference source) too.

  35. 40

    Blaspheming the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven (Mark 3:28-30), Neither will speaking against It (Matthew 12:30-32). Since I like to call that entity the Holy Spook, it looks like I will be eternally damned. Bertrand Russell said about it in Why I Am Not A Christian:

    That text has caused an unspeakable amount of misery in the world, for all sorts of people have imagined that they have committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, and thought that it would not be forgiven them either in this world or in the world to come. I really do not think that a person with a proper degree of kindliness in his nature would have put fears and terrors of that sort into the world.

    I once evaluated Jesus Christ’s conduct by various moral codes, using how he was depicted in the Gospels.

    About the Ten Commandments, he worked on the Sabbath, he was rather anti-family, he gratuitously killed a fig tree and some pigs, and in the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, as a boy, he zapped a boy who bumped into him, killing that boy.

    About the medieval-Catholic Seven Deadly Sins, he is slothful about his Second Coming, and he was wrathful to those who would not listen to him, and also to those scribes and Pharisees. About wrath, he also threw temper tantrums at a certain fig tree and at the merchants in the Jerusalem Temple.

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