We've milked the Bible before for its most badass and sexiest passages, but the good book has a dark side as well. More than just occasionally, people get killed in ways so innovative and gruesome that they could have been filmed as scenes in a slasher movie. And, as we'll show you, some have done exactly that.
The first rule of Hollywood slasher movies is that your movie isn't worth the price of admission without a good impaling. Like this scene in Jason X, where the guy gets tossed down onto a huge spike shaped like a drill bit:
If you imagine the spike is much, much bigger, you have the Bible version.
The Bible Quote:
"Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, 'A pole reaching to a height of 50 cubits stands by Haman's house. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king.' The king said, 'Impale him on it!' So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king's fury subsided."
Above: The Punishment of Haman. Who was apparently pretty ripped.
Haman wasn't the only character in the Bible who got executed by impalement, or even the only one in the book of Esther. However, he stands out for both scale and irony. Fifty cubits is about 75 feet long, instead of a more utilitarian, manageable length like what they typically used to impale people (by the way, you probably don't want to click that link).
We've done our best to tastefully represent the impalement process here.
We have previously mentioned the story of Haman and Mordecai -- basically, Haman was the Hitler of ancient Persia, but his plan involved fewer blitzkriegs and many more giant spikes. His attempt to slaughter all of the Jews took an unexpected nosedive when King Xerxes fell in love with a Jewish woman and Haman found himself hoisted by his own petard, where by "hoisted" we mean "impaled" and by "petard" we mean "75-foot spike." We can only assume Haman's body slowly corkscrewed down to the bottom, just like in the Jason X clip above.
What's important is that he died doing what he loved: being a bastard.
Hey, remember the (spoiler alert) ending of Se7en where the bad guy kills Brad Pitt's wife, then mails her head to him in a box?
The Bible has that, times 12.
The Bible Quote:
"When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, 'Get up; let's go.' But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. When he reached home, he took a knife and cut up his concubine, limb by limb, into 12 parts and sent them into all the areas of Israel."
"There's a dead girl on the porch and my $500 FedEx gift card expires tomorrow. What should I do, God?"
Yep, he dismembered his dead girlfriend and mailed her body parts all over the country.
The prelude to this story is an incident that actually happens twice in the Bible: An angry mob shows up at the door of a man's home demanding gay sex. Rather than sacrifice himself to the desires of the angry, horny mob, the man heroically offers to throw a woman to them instead.
"It is the righteous who saves the ass of a stranger with the asses of his loved ones."
In the other story (the story of Sodom and Gomorrah), the mob refuses, but here they accept his girlfriend as an offering and brutally rape her. The next day, she returns home so utterly broken that she falls dead on the doorstep (the man doesn't know until hours later, because he's having the best night's sleep of his life).
In this situation, you really only have two choices. You can clean the girl up and give her a respectful burial, or you can saw her corpse into 12 pieces and mail bits of her all over the country. He of course chose the more insane option. The purpose, apparently, was to rile the people of Israel up into a murderous frenzy against her killers. Though we're not sure why they needed to get a package containing only the top third of her torso to spur them to action, but it was a different time. You couldn't really send a photograph.
"This is for that random broad with the mole above her clavicle!"
A sufficiently brutal movie can't get through its run time without the "show the crowd the severed head of a hated enemy" scene. It came up in Gladiator, 300, Conan the Barbarian, the TV series Game of Thrones ... hell, let's just link you to the list at TVTropes.
This is the kind of thing you probably think happened all the time in Old Testament days, but the following story is actually from the "peace and love"-themed gospels of the New Testament. The story of John the Baptist and his severed head is so tragic yet bizarre that even an unbeliever would say, "Yeah, this is the kind of thing that has almost certainly happened at least once."
Although real-life John probably had less of a baby face.
The Bible Quote:
"On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, 'Ask me for anything you want, and I'll give it to you.' And he promised her with an oath, 'Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.'
"But not my incredible shiny hat."
She went out and said to her mother, 'What shall I ask for?'
'The head of John the Baptist,' she answered.
At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: 'I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.'
Which she apparently carried with her at all times.
The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother."
Historians have accused Herod of a lot of things, but throwing boring parties wasn't one of them. And the man took them seriously -- in this case, he makes a rash promise to a woman, who asks for something that an average person would probably have refused (earlier in the Bible, it said that Herod actually liked listening to John the Baptist, aka the guy she demanded be beheaded).
It isn't a great party unless someone gets head.
And, where you or I would have said, "Sorry, but Roman law means I've got to go through a trial and all that before I can get you that head. And also I'm afraid I'll have to ask you to leave," Herod goes along with it because he was afraid of making a bad impression on his dinner guests.
Also, while it's true that the girl's mother was behind the whole thing, you have to like how the mother simply wanted John beheaded, and it was the daughter who added the little detail of the head actually being brought to her "on a platter." What the hell is wrong with people?
The answer is "everything."
Hey, remember that scene in Final Destination 4 where that guy's guts get ripped out of his butthole by a malfunctioning pool filter? No? Well here's a YouTube embed! You're welcome!
How did this happen in the Bible? They didn't have any pool filtration machines back then. Well ...
The Bible Quote:
"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."
Jehoram. Not pictured: Bowels.
We like the Bible's knack for understatement there with those last five words.
By the way, the next line in this quote is, "His people made no funeral fire in his honor, as they had for his predecessors," so you get the impression King Jehoram wasn't the most popular king. There were several things that got him that reputation, but the top one was murdering his own brothers. One of the people who were irritated by this was Elijah the prophet, who sent him an angry letter that basically told him he was about to get the world's worst case of diarrhea.
In Hebrew that tablet reads, "You will poop your pants to death."