Posted by: CeCe | February 29, 2012

Explicit content in the Bible? Part 2

So in an earlier post, I discussed Ezekiel 23:20 and how it is not about an actual prostitute engaging in whoredoms.  It can be found here.  In this post, I wanted to address one of the most heart-wrenching (and disgusting) parts of the Bible, 2 Kings 26-29 (NIV):
As the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried to him, “Help me, my lord the king!”

The king replied, “If the Lord does not help you, where can I get help for you? From the threshing floor? From the winepress?” Then he asked her, “What’s the matter?”

She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him today, and tomorrow we’ll eat my son.’ So we cooked my son and ate him. The next day I said to her, ‘Give up your son so we may eat him,’ but she had hidden him.”

Holy crap.  Did the Bible just mention -gulp– cannibalism?  Yeah.  Some have pointed to this passage as being proof that God had no problem with cannibalism and in fact endorsed it.  However, there are some very important clues regarding the meaning of this passage (which is why context is so important!).  First, verse 25 says that there was a “great famine” in the city, because they were under siege.  The king’s reaction to the woman also hints at the famine, when he speaks of getting help from “the threshing floor” or from the “winepress”.  In other words, he was thinking she was asking for food, and he was saying he could get none for her.

But then how did the king react when the woman had told him about eating she and her neighbor eating her neighbor’s child? He tore his robes (verse 30).  It may seem like a silly reaction, but at the time (historical context), tearing one’s robes in times of anguish was very common, and was actually seen as a very serious reaction.  So the king was very upset by what he heard!

So no, 1 Kings 6:26-29 is not an endorsement for cannibalism at all.  Instead, it tells a story of a people who lived thousands of years ago, who were so desperate during a siege that they resorted to the unthinkable.  Not everything in the Bible is supposed to be taken as something to emulate.  Sometimes it’s to recount something that happened at some point in history, to teach a difficult lesson, or to demonstrate God’s power.  The fact of the matter is, not everyone in the Bible was righteous or worthy of any kind of respect.  I will be getting to those, also!

Have any other verses you think I should cover?  Feel free to tell me about it in a comment!



  1. Congratulations. You’ve explained away two apparently despicable things in the Bible. That must only leave a few hundred or so others.

    • Thanks for commenting! Have any suggestions? And I’m kinda hoping to cover as many as I can, if I can. I’m familiar with most of them.

  2. […] here: and here:, and since it has been a few days since I last posted them, I figured I’d post another. […]

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