God’s Killings in the Bible Part VII – 18 Acts of Murder in II Kings

NOTE: In the Old Testament alone, there are over 132 incidences of God murdering or ordering murders. According to the Orthodox Church Fathers, in the Old Testament it is the Logos—the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity before His Incarnation—who is making appearances and acting: “God the Father acts through the Son in the Holy Spirit.” In II Kings [IV Kings in the LXX], 18 separate incidents are recorded where God either kills or orders His people to kill others. The following biblical verses are taken from the King James Version:

Saint Elias in the cave (below) and on a chariot of fire. A fresco from Rila Monastery, Bulgaria
Saint Elias in the cave (below) and on a chariot of fire. A fresco from Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

God burned 102 men to death for asking Elijah to come down from his hill, 2 Kings 1:9-12. Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down. And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty. Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly. And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

God killed Ahaziah (of Israel) for asking the wrong god, 2 Kings 1:16-17. And he said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to enquire of Baalzebub the God of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to enquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.

Ekron imagined in a medieval fresco illustrating 1 Samuel 5-6 (Cathedral crypt, Anagni, Italy, ca. 1255)
Ekron imagined in a medieval fresco illustrating 1 Samuel 5-6 (Cathedral crypt, Anagni, Italy, ca. 1255)

God sends two bears to rip apart 42 boys for making fun of a prophet’s bald head, 2 Kings 2:23-24. And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

Paul Farrell Illustrated Stories from the Bible

The Lord delivered the Moabites, 2 Kings 3:18-25. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armor, and upward, and stood in the border. And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country. And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it.

3000 year old Moabite Temple Discovery in Jordan

A skeptic is trampled to death, 2 Kings 7:17. And the king appointed the Lord on whose hand he leaned to have the charge of the gate: and the people trode upon him in the gate, and he died, as the man of God had said, who spake when the king came down to him.

God’s seven year famine, 2 Kings 8:1. Then spake Elisha unto the woman, whose son he had restored to life, saying, Arise, and go thou and thine household, and sojourn wheresoever thou canst sojourn: for the LORD hath called for a famine; and it shall also come upon the land seven years.

Bronze figurine of a Baal, ca. 14th–12th century BC, found at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) near the Phoenician coast. Musée du Louvre.
Bronze figurine of a Baal, ca. 14th–12th century BC, found at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) near the Phoenician coast. Musée du Louvre.

Jehoram of Israel, 2 Kings 9:24-25. And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot. Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the LORD laid this burden upon him;

Jezebel, 2 Kings 9:33-37. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot. And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter. And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel: And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel.

Royal Seal of Jezebel (9th century BC)
Royal Seal of Jezebel (9th century BC)

Ahab’s sons: 70 heads in two heaps, 2 Kings 10:1-10. And Ahab had seventy sons in Samaria. And Jehu wrote letters, and sent to Samaria, unto the rulers of Jezreel, to the elders, and to them that brought up Ahab’s children, saying, Now as soon as this letter cometh to you, seeing your master’s sons are with you, and there are with you chariots and horses, a fenced city also, and armor; Look even out the best and meetest of your master’s sons, and set him on his father’s throne, and fight for your master’s house. But they were exceedingly afraid, and said, Behold, two kings stood not before him: how then shall we stand? And he that was over the house, and he that was over the city, the elders also, and the bringers up of the children, sent to Jehu, saying, We are thy servants, and will do all that thou shalt bid us; we will not make any king: do thou that which is good in thine eyes. Then he wrote a letter the second time to them, saying, If ye be mine, and if ye will hearken unto my voice, take ye the heads of the men your master’s sons, and come to me to Jezreel by tomorrow this time. Now the king’s sons, being seventy persons, were with the great men of the city, which brought them up. And it came to pass, when the letter came to them, that they took the king’s sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel. And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. And it came to pass in the morning, that he went out, and stood, and said to all the people, Ye be righteous: behold, I conspired against my master, and slew him: but who slew all these? Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD, which the LORD spake concerning the house of Ahab: for the LORD hath done that which he spake by his servant Elijah.

They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning (2 Kings 10:8).
They have brought the heads of the king’s sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning (2 Kings 10:8).

Ahab’s family, friends, and priests, 2 Kings 10:11. So Jehu slew all that remained of the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great men, and his kinsfolks, and his priests, until he left him none remaining.

Jehu kills Ahaziah’s family, 2 Kings 10:14. And he said, Take them alive. And they took them alive, and slew them at the pit of the shearing house, even two and forty men; neither left he any of them.

Possible depiction of Jehu King of Israel giving tribute to King Shalmaneser III of Assyria, on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III from Nimrud (circa 827 BC)
Possible depiction of Jehu King of Israel giving tribute to King Shalmaneser III of Assyria, on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III from Nimrud (circa 827 BC)

The rest of Ahab’s family, 2 Kings 10:15-17. And when he was departed thence, he lighted on Jehonadab the son of Rechab coming to meet him: and he saluted him, and said to him, Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If it be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot. And he said, Come with me, and see my zeal for the LORD. So they made him ride in his chariot. And when he came to Samaria, he slew all that remained unto Ahab in Samaria, till he had destroyed him, according to the saying of the LORD, which he spake to Elijah.

The followers of Baal, 2 Kings 10:25-28. And it came to pass, as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, that Jehu said to the guard and to the captains, Go in, and slay them; let none come forth. And they smote them with the edge of the sword; and the guard and the captains cast them out, and went to the city of the house of Baal. And they brought forth the images out of the house of Baal, and burned them. And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. Thus Jehu destroyed Baal out of Israel.

The stele of Baal with Thunderbolt found in Ugarit
The stele of Baal with Thunderbolt found in Ugarit

Queen Athaliah and the priest of Baal, 2 Kings 11:15-20. But Jehoiada the priest commanded the captains of the hundreds, the officers of the host, and said unto them, Have her forth without the ranges: and him that followeth her kill with the sword. For the priest had said, Let her not be slain in the house of the LORD. And they laid hands on her; and she went by the way by the which the horses came into the king’s house: and there was she slain. And Jehoiada made a covenant between the LORD and the king and the people, that they should be the LORD’s people; between the king also and the people. And all the people of the land went into the house of Baal, and brake it down; his altars and his images brake they in pieces thoroughly, and slew Mattan the priest of Baal before the altars. And the priest appointed officers over the house of the LORD. And he took the rulers over hundreds, and the captains, and the guard, and all the people of the land; and they brought down the king from the house of the LORD, and came by the way of the gate of the guard to the king’s house. And he sat on the throne of the kings. And all the people of the land rejoiced, and the city was in quiet: and they slew Athaliah with the sword beside the king’s house.

Athaliah, Queen of Judah, Dragged from the Temple.
Athaliah, Queen of Judah, Dragged from the Temple.

God sent lions to eat those that didn’t fear God enough, 2 Kings 17:25-26. And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the LORD: therefore the LORD sent lions among them, which slew some of them. Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore he hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land.

And angel killed 185,000 sleeping soldiers, 2 Kings 19:35. And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

the angel strikes the Assyrian army and instantly kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers!
the angel strikes the Assyrian army and instantly kills 185,000 Assyrian soldiers!

God caused King Sennacherib to be killed by his sons, 2 Kings 19:36-37. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his God, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

Josiah killed all the priests of the high places, 2 Kings 23:20. And he slew all the priests of the high places that were there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.

Dura Europos Synagogue: The Slaughter of Jerusalem`s sinners
Dura Europos Synagogue: The Slaughter of Jerusalem`s sinners
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