Last week we looked at several wicked people mentioned in the Bible. We continue this week with a few more examples of wickedness to avoid.
In the lengthy journey from Egypt to the promised land, the children of Israel very often murmured against the Lord and against the leadership of Moses (Num. 14:22). On one occasion, a wicked dissembler named Korah led a rebellion of well-known princes against the authority of God’s chosen (Num. 16:1-3). The baseless contentions of Korah and his cohorts were exposed when God opened the earth and swallowed those leaders of the rebellion, destroyed the princes that followed them by fire from heaven and sent a plague to destroy the people that accepted them. Those that follow the gainsaying of Korah were and are doomed to perish (Jude 11).
Another duo of devilishness that would have to be included in this list is Ahab and Jezebel. We are told that “Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him” (I Kings 16:30). Can you imagine owning such a notorious distinction as being labeled the most evil king? Ahab’s wickedness was bad enough, but what degraded him even further was his allowing his equally evil wife, Jezebel, to corrupt him even more thoroughly. For “there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up” (I Kings 21:25). Be careful whom you chose for a spouse!
Jezebel is a by-word for wickedness. She got her wickedness honestly, however, for her father was Ethbaal, king of Sidon, and priest of Astarte, which position he obtained by murdering his predecessor. Ahab and Jezebel established four-hundred fifty prophets of Baal and four-hundred prophets of the grove, and these ate at Jezebel’s table (I kings 18:19). Not only did they promote and support these false prophets and gods, but they also slew God’s prophets and servants (II Kings 9:7). Even Elijah had to flee for his life because Jezebel vowed to kill him (I Kings 19:1).
In the New Testament Jezebel is offered as an example of wickedness worthy of death. When, through John, the Lord addressed the church of Christ at Thyatira, He chose the notorious name Jezebel to identify the false prophetess troubling that congregation (Rev. 2:20). The leadership of that congregation had not appropriately and completely dealt with her error and were partially responsible for her continued wicked influence. This remains true of any and all elderships that do not confront error. It becomes a leavening influence that corrupts the whole congregation (I Cor. 1:1-5).
When Elijah confronted Ahab and Jezebel and condemned them, he was accused by Ahab as “he that troubleth Israel” (I Kings 18:17). Elijah responded by saying “I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim” (I Kings 18:18). Those that cause trouble are those that forsake the commandments of the Lord and not those that point out and condemn the error (Gal. 4:16).
Though Abimelech was the son of Gideon, the Bible describes him as “wicked.” “Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:” (Judges 9:56 ). Abimelech murdered his seventy brothers, with the exception of Jotham, and persuaded the men of Shechem to make him king (Jud. 9:1-3). With an apparently narcissistic personality, he hired vain men to follow him (Jud. 9:4). Like Diotrophes, he loved to have the preeminence (III John 9). His death was precipitated by a woman who threw a piece of a millstone which broke his skull (Jud. 9:53).
We could also include on this list the wicked king Manasseh, who spent his time building up the high places which his father, Hezekiah, destroyed. He seduced Judah to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel, and wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord (II Kings 21:1-8). The wicked Canaanite tribes could also be included as examples of wickedness that God wanted exterminated. Wicked Haman, who tried to destroy the Jews, has a spot on this list (Est. 7:6). Potiphar’s wife, Delilah and Athaliah would fit well on this list, too. How could we deny the Herods a spot on this infamous list?
But no list of wicked and evil people would be complete without mentioning Judas, the betrayer of our Lord. For a long time theories have been advanced with a hope to find some redeeming character in Judas. But the truth is set forth plain in scripture — he was a thief (John 12:6). Jesus knew from the beginning who really believed in Him and who did not, and who should betray Him (John 6:64, 70). Judas, of his own accord, sought how he might betray the Lord for money (Luke 22:5). The Bible tells us that satan entered into Judas (Luke 22:1-6). Luke recorded that he fell by transgression and went to his own place when (Acts 1:26). No, Judas was not some misunderstood saint. He was wicked, greedy and sold the Lord out for the price of a slave (Ex. 21:32).
There are many wicked people in the world. The examples the Bible gives are for a warning to us: “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall (I Corinthians 10:6-12).
Abstain from all appearance of evil (I Thess. 5:17).
Eric L. Padgett