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."
The "stabbing two people with one long weapon" technique is actually one of Jason's favorites in the Friday the 13th series. And why not? He knows that if you can kill more than one person in a single stab, you're doubling your productivity.
The Bible Quote:
"Then an Israelite man brought into the camp a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the tent of meeting. When Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear into both of them, right through the Israelite man and into the woman's stomach."
The Righteous are such cock-blocks.
Long before Jason Voorhees patrolled Camp Crystal Lake, an uncompromising Jew named Phinehas knew exactly what to do about randy youngsters having premarital sex in his campgrounds.
He would go on to inspire the lamest-named terrorist organization on earth.
Of course, they kind of had it coming -- they hooked up right in front of Moses, the guy who just parted the Red Sea to break them out of Egypt and whose only request was that they cut out the public displays of affection. It's like nobody told them they were living in the Old Testament, when it didn't exactly take a felony to get you brutally slain in the name of God's Law.
In this case, God had already cursed the Israelites as a warning, because the women had been taking the term "missionary position" literally, and tempting the men to worship false gods with the help of their vaginas. Phinehas just snapped one day and decided to try double penetration of a different kind.
"I'd like to thank my years of study at Buzzkill University."
Considering how many slasher movies involve young people getting slaughtered out in the woods, often in some kind of "camp" setting, it's unsurprising that there have been some tent spikes hammered into heads. Like this scene from Sleepaway Camp 3:
That scene is pretty much lifted directly from the Bible, frame for frame ...
The Bible Quote:
"But Jael, Heber's wife, picked up a tent peg and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay fast asleep, exhausted. She drove the peg through his temple into the ground, and he died. Just then Barak came by in pursuit of Sisera, and Jael went out to meet him. 'Come,' she said, 'I will show you the man you're looking for.' So he went in with her, and there lay Sisera with the tent peg through his temple -- dead."
"Getting nailed" in the Biblical sense isn't nearly as fun.
Sisera, the guy who took a spike through the skull, was a military commander who had fled the scene of a military defeat and sought shelter in a hut owned by a guy named Heber and his wife, Jael. After a lovely meal and some good conversation, Sisera went off to sleep, only to awaken to the unpleasant sensation of having Jael drive a spike into his head so hard that she actually pinned his head to the floorboards. She sympathized with the opposing army, it appears.
We bring it up because it's one of the most bizarrely specific descriptions of an unconventional murder in a book otherwise filled with stories about men killing each other with donkey jawbones. Sure, she killed a guy with whatever she could find lying around. But the verse actually takes care to mention that the spike came out the other end and went into the ground. It's like it was scripted for an archaic Halloween sequel.
"And lo, Michael Myers plunged the corkscrew into the teen's stomach, and twisted at the wrist like so. And stuck fast upon the corkscrew was the teen's pancreas, which Michael disconnected from the teen with little effort. Michael then beat the teen with his own pancreas, and he died." Amen.
Never sleep with a girl who insists on bringing her hammer to bed.
This is the kind of thing that even slasher movies think is "weird territory." The closest we can think of is this Halloween III scene where a little kid's head bursts into insects, worms and snakes:
The Bible Quote:
"On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, 'This is the voice of a god, not of a man.' Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died."
That'll learn him.
Just to be clear, he didn't die and then get eaten by worms. He died of being eaten by worms. Whether this took place over the course of days or weeks, or if it happened immediately while he sat there, is unknown.
We're going to go with "immediately devoured by worm hordes."
We know the name "Herod" has come up a lot here -- there were actually five Herods in the New Testament; this one was the fourth one we see, and while he wasn't crazy enough to have all the babies in a town executed because of some pesky prophesy (that was his grandfather), this one followed the family tradition of generally being a dick. That said, we're not sure whether God may have overreacted here, since the only thing Herod is really accused of is someone else telling him he sounded like God, like maybe he had a really deep voice or something.
Whatever you think of God, you have to agree he's really creative with his punishments. "Eaten by worms" sounds like it came out of a game of Mad Libs. He could just as easily have been gored by ponies or crushed by seals. Either way would be pretty terrifying, you know, if you were there. The passage clarifies that he was eaten by worms and died, which is kind of a small mercy.
"You're next, Morgan Freeman."
When you ask yourself, "What's the most blood you've ever seen in a horror movie?" you'd have to skip right past the standard slasher films and think of the times when a whole swimming-pool-sized volume of blood has appeared, like the one the girl fell into in The Descent:
Or, there's the whole "hallway filling with blood" scene from The Shining:
Both pale in comparison to the Bible.
The Bible Quote:
"They were trampled in the wine press outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia."
Pictured: Horse with bridle. Not pictured: Oodles of blood.
If you're wondering how far 1,600 stadia is, it's about 180 miles. So it's a lake of blood about 5 feet high, extending 180 miles (in every direction, we assume). Somebody in the comments can do the math on how many gallons of blood that is, and how many people would have to be crushed in a huge wine press in order to create it.
Our guess is two Super Bowls' worth.
This is from the symbolism-heavy book of Revelation, and the lead-up to this quote depicts an angel with a sickle who has been commanded to harvest all of the "grapes" from the earth. He's told to throw them into the huge wine press of God's wrath. And you think, well, that's kind of weird that God would be mad at grapes, but whatever. Then when the press crushes down, the Bible makes it clear that it's blood that flows forth, and you realize, oh shit, those weren't grapes.
And, if you're having trouble picturing what this process would look like, here's a wine press in action:
Now imagine instead of grapes, it's people.
For more badassness from the Bible, check out The 9 Most Badass Bible Verses and The 6 Raunchiest, Most Depraved Sex Acts (From the Bible).
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn how to cleanse your soul of that Biblical horror.
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