The Bible, which parents and Sunday School teachers give children to teach them love, kindness, and good behavior, actually contains a good deal of violence, most of it in the Old Testament. Some of the Bible's most famous stories involve fighting and killing. It starts with Cain, the first murderer, in the early chapters of Genesis. Later, David kills Goliath in a one-on-one duel; it's a story that is taught in Sunday School, and which has also inspired classic art. Think of Caravaggio's "David with the head of Goliath."
Here's a bigger surprise: A good bit of the violence in the Bible is committed by God himself! Early in Genesis, in a fit of angry remorse over creating humanity, God drowns everyone on the planet except Noah and his family. Later, God kills the firstborn of every Egyptian family, and then drowns the Egyptian army in the Red Sea. It's a relief to reach the New Testament, with its focus on peace -- except, of course, for the central act of violence the entire New Testament revolves around, the crucifixion of Christ.
How familiar are you with the significant acts of violence in the Bible, the perpetrators and the victims? Test your knowledge with our fill-in-the-blank quiz!
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