Biblical Hatred Explored: 10 Examples in Scripture

Throughout history, the Bible has been a source of inspiration, guidance, and moral teachings. However, it also contains stories of intense animosity and hatred that some may find surprising.

From sibling rivalries to political enmities, the scriptures provide us with a glimpse into the darker aspects of human nature. Join us as we explore ten prominent examples of hatred found in the Bible.

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Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:3-8)

The story of Cain and Abel presents a vivid account of the first instance of hatred recorded in the Bible. Genesis 4:3-8 tells the tale of two brothers whose offerings to God are met with contrasting outcomes, leading to a tragic and irreversible consequence.

Cain, the older brother, presents an offering of fruits from the ground, while Abel offers the best of his flock. However, God favors Abel’s offering, provoking envy and resentment in Cain’s heart. The scripture states:

“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering, but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.”

Cain’s anger and frustration escalate, leading God to address him with caution:

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.'”

Instead of heeding God’s warning, Cain allows his hatred and jealousy to consume him. Consumed by emotions he could not control, he lures Abel to a field and commits the first premeditated act of murder in history. Genesis 4:8 recounts:

“Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.”

This tragic account of sibling rivalry and its devastating consequences serves as a powerful lesson on the destructive nature of unchecked hatred. The story of Cain and Abel stands as a sobering reminder of the importance of controlling one’s emotions and choosing love over resentment.

Joseph’s Brothers Hate Him (Genesis 37:3-11, 18-28)

The account of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 37:3-11, 18-28 portrays a deeply rooted animosity that arises from their father Jacob’s favoritism and Joseph’s dreams of future dominion over them.

Joseph’s brothers’ hatred towards him is fueled by their resentment towards their father’s obvious preference for Joseph. This favoritism manifests in the gift of a special coat, symbolizing Jacob’s favoritism towards Joseph.

Furthermore, Joseph’s dreams, which depict his future authority over his brothers, provoke their envy and anger. They perceive these dreams as arrogant and threatening, intensifying their hatred towards Joseph.

“Then he dreamed still another dream and told it to his brothers, and said, ‘Look, I have dreamed another dream. And this time, the sun, the moon, and the eleven stars bowed down to me.’ So, he told it to his father and his brothers; and his father rebuked him and said to him, ‘What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?'”

– Genesis 37:9-10

Joseph’s brothers’ resentment and hatred eventually reach a breaking point when Jacob sends Joseph to check on his brothers who were tending to their flocks. Seeing an opportunity to get rid of Joseph, they plot to kill him.

“So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped Joseph of his tunic, the tunic of many colors that was on him. Then they took him and cast him into a pit. And the pit was empty; there was no water in it.”

– Genesis 37:23-24

Instead of following through with their initial plan, Joseph’s brothers decide to sell him to a passing group of traders. They betray their own flesh and blood, ultimately leading Joseph into a life of slavery in Egypt.

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This account of Joseph and his brothers highlights the destructive power of envy and resentment within family relationships. It serves as a cautionary tale, prompting us to examine our own hearts and actions to prevent similar hatred from consuming our lives.

Joseph's brothers hate him

Saul’s Jealousy and Hatred for David (1 Samuel 18:6-16, 28-29)

In the book of 1 Samuel, we witness the intense jealousy and hatred that King Saul harbored towards David, the young shepherd who had gained favor with both the people and God himself. Saul’s fear of losing his throne fueled his animosity towards David, leading to a series of vindictive acts and attempts on David’s life.

Early on, Saul’s jealousy was ignited when the women sang praises of David’s victories and compared him favorably to the king. This provoked a strong sense of rivalry and resentment within Saul, as seen in 1 Samuel 18:6-9:

When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. As they danced, they sang:

“Saul has slain his thousands,
and David his tens of thousands.”

Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

Saul’s growing hatred for David intensified as he observed David’s success on the battlefield and the unwavering favor that God had placed upon him. This is evident in 1 Samuel 18:15:

When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.

As Saul’s jealousy consumed him, he made numerous attempts on David’s life, hoping to eliminate the perceived threat to his kingship. These episodes include Saul throwing a spear at David, sending him on dangerous military missions, and even promising his daughter’s hand in marriage as bait to have David killed by the Philistines.

In 1 Samuel 18:29, we get a glimpse into Saul’s twisted mindset:

Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.

This ongoing jealousy and hatred eventually led to a tragic end for Saul, as his obsession with David clouded his judgment and led him down a path of destruction.

Attempts on David’s Life by King Saul

First AttemptThrowing a spear at David1 Samuel 18:10-11
Second AttemptSending David on dangerous military missions1 Samuel 18:13-14
Third AttemptUsing his daughter as bait for the Philistines to kill David1 Samuel 18:20-27

Saul’s jealousy and hatred for David serve as a cautionary tale, illustrating the destructive consequences of harboring intense animosity towards others. Despite Saul’s attempts to eliminate David, God’s plan and favor prevailed, ultimately leading David to become one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history.

Hamman’s Hatred for Mordecai and the Jews (Esther 3:5-6)

In the book of Esther, we encounter a powerful story of hatred and revenge that has captivated readers for centuries. Hamman, a high-ranking official in the Persian Empire, harbors a deep-seated hatred for Mordecai and the Jewish people. This animosity stems from Mordecai’s refusal to bow down to Hamman, a gesture that triggers a burning rage within him.

Esther 3:5-6 describes Hamman’s twisted plan to annihilate the entire Jewish population: “When Hamman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead, Hamman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”

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This passage reveals the extent of Hamman’s hatred, as he seeks to exterminate an entire community simply because one man dared to defy him. This act of hatred and vengeance highlights the destructive power that can arise from unchecked emotions.

“When Hamman saw that Mordecai would not kneel down or pay him honor, he was enraged. Yet having learned who Mordecai’s people were, he scorned the idea of killing only Mordecai. Instead, Hamman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”

Hamman’s story serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us of the consequences that can arise when hatred consumes the human heart. It is a reminder to seek understanding, empathy, and forgiveness in the face of conflicts and differences.

Hamman’s Hatred for Mordecai and the Jews
Effects of Hamman’s HatredLessons Learned
Threatened the lives of innocent JewsUnbridled hatred can lead to heinous acts of violence
Caused division and fear within the Persian EmpireIgnorance and intolerance breed disharmony and strife
Prompted Queen Esther to take courageous actionStanding up against injustice can bring about profound change
Highlighted the importance of unity and solidarityOvercoming hatred requires coming together in support and love

Edomites’ Hatred for Israel (Ezekiel 35:5)

The Edomites’ perpetual hatred and violence towards the Israelites during times of calamity are condemned in the book of Ezekiel. This enmity highlights the consequences of harboring animosity towards God’s chosen people.

In Ezekiel 35:5, the Lord speaks against Edom, saying,

“Because you harbored an ancient hostility and delivered the Israelites over to the sword at the time of their calamity, the time their punishment reached its climax…”

These verses reveal the long-standing animosity between the Edomites and the Israelites. The Edomites, descendants of Esau, held a deep hatred towards their Israelite relatives. Throughout history, whenever calamity befell the Israelites, the Edomites took it as an opportunity to inflict violence and harm.

The Historical Background of Edom’s Hatred

The roots of this animosity can be traced back to the ancient rivalry between Jacob and Esau. Esau, the elder brother, sold his birthright to Jacob, resulting in bitterness and resentment. The fierce competition for status and blessings carried on for generations, leading to a profound divide between the Edomites and the Israelites.

Over time, this hostility grew in intensity, perpetuated by ongoing conflicts between the two nations. Despite being blood relatives, the Edomites displayed a consistent disregard for their kin, often aligning themselves with Israel’s enemies and partaking in ruthless acts of violence against them.

The Condemnation of Edom’s Actions

Ezekiel 35:5 serves as a stern rebuke from God, denouncing the Edomites’ actions and holding them accountable for their longstanding animosity towards Israel. The Lord’s condemnation reflects the significance of love, unity, and respect among His chosen people.

Consequences of HatredLessons Learned
  • Divisiveness and strife
  • Destruction and violence
  • Lost opportunities for reconciliation
  • The destructive power of hatred
  • The importance of forgiveness and reconciliation
  • The dangers of perpetuating animosity for future generations

As we examine the Edomites’ hatred for Israel, we are reminded of the destructive consequences that arise from harboring animosity. This biblical account serves as a compelling reminder to embrace love, forgiveness, and unity among God’s people, reflecting His divine nature and bringing forth blessings and harmony.

edomites’ hatred for israel

Absalom’s Hatred for Amnon (2 Samuel 13:22)

In the tragic tale of Absalom and Amnon, a story of sibling rivalry takes a dark turn. Absalom’s intense hatred for his half-brother Amnon stems from Amnon’s heinous act of raping their sister Tamar. The depth of Absalom’s rage and desire for revenge is evident in his meticulous planning and execution of Amnon’s murder.

“And Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar.” – 2 Samuel 13:22

The biblical account of Absalom’s actions serves as a haunting reminder of the destructive power of hatred and the devastating consequences it can have on individuals and families. This tragic tale explores themes of justice, vengeance, and the repercussions of unchecked rage.

Amidst the complexities of human emotion and the consequences of Amnon’s heinous act, this story provides a cautionary tale that reverberates through the ages, reminding us of the devastating consequences of unresolved hatred and the need for forgiveness and reconciliation.

absalom’s hatred for amnon

Comparison of Absalom and Amnon in 2 Samuel 13:22

Relationship to TamarBrotherBrother
Motive for HatredAmnon raped TamarN/A
ActionsPlans and executes Amnon’s murderRapes Tamar
ConsequencesExiles himself and incites rebellion against King DavidKilled by Absalom’s servant

The Pharisees’ Hatred for Jesus (John 15:18-25)

During his ministry, Jesus encountered fierce opposition and animosity from the religious leaders of his time, especially the Pharisees. Their deep-seated hatred for Jesus stemmed from his teachings and claims of divinity, which challenged their authority and beliefs. In John 15:18-25, Jesus addresses his disciples, warning them that the world would hate them because they are not of the world, just as it hated him. He explains that the Pharisees’ hatred towards him and his followers is a result of their ignorance and rejection of God’s truth.

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The Pharisees’ hatred for Jesus was fueled by their fear of losing control over the people and their religious influence. They saw Jesus as a threat to their power and status, viewing his popularity with the masses as a challenge to their authority. Instead of acknowledging Jesus’ divine authority and the truth of his teachings, they resorted to plots and schemes to discredit him and undermine his ministry.

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19, NIV).

The Pharisees’ hatred for Jesus was not only manifested through their words and actions but also through their constant attempts to trap him with their questions and accusations. They sought to undermine his authority and reputation in order to maintain their position of power within the Jewish religious establishment.

Despite facing intense hatred and opposition from the Pharisees, Jesus remained steadfast in his mission and continued to teach and demonstrate God’s love and truth. He warned his disciples of the challenges they would face as his followers but also assured them of the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to guide and strengthen them amidst persecution.

the pharisees’ hatred for jesus

Through their hatred for Jesus, the Pharisees exemplify the world’s hostility towards him and his message of redemption and salvation. Their actions serve as a reminder of the opposition that true followers of Christ may face in a world that often rejects and resists God’s truth.

Jews’ Hatred for the Samaritans (John 4:9; Luke 9:51-56)

In the New Testament, we encounter the historical and religious tensions between Jews and Samaritans, resulting in a profound animosity between the two groups. This animosity is deeply rooted in centuries of conflict and differences.

The Samaritans were considered by the Jews to be racially impure and religiously heretical. The hostility stemmed from the Samaritans’ mixed ethnic origins and their worship on Mount Gerizim instead of Jerusalem.

In John 4:9, we find the account of the Samaritan woman at the well who expresses her surprise at Jesus—a Jew—speaking to her, saying, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” This verse highlights the social and ethnic divide between Jews and Samaritans.

Furthermore, in Luke 9:51-56, we witness the disciples’ encounter with a Samaritan village that refuses to welcome Jesus. James and John respond by asking if they should call down fire from heaven to destroy the village, reflecting the deep-seated hatred harbored towards the Samaritans by some Jews.

“When his disciples James and John saw this, they asked, ‘Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?’ But Jesus turned and rebuked them.” – Luke 9:54-55

This example reveals the disciples’ prejudice against the Samaritans and their willingness to resort to violence to express their animosity.

The ongoing conflicts between Jews and Samaritans serve as a reminder of the divisions and prejudices that can exist within religious and ethnic groups. It emphasizes the importance of overcoming hatred and embracing love and understanding, as taught by Jesus in his teachings and actions.

Jews' Hatred for the Samaritans

How Can Hatred and Excellence Both Be Explored in the Bible?

The Bible contains both examples of biblical excellence and instances of deep-seated hatred. The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis demonstrates excellence in forgiveness and perseverance, while the Book of Jonah reveals the destructive nature of hatred and prejudice. These contrasting themes provide valuable lessons for believers.

Herodias’ Hatred for John the Baptist (Mark 6:17-29)

In the Gospel of Mark, we witness the intense hatred that Herodias, the wife of Herod Antipas, bears towards John the Baptist. Herodias’ animosity stems from John’s bold condemnation of her marriage to Herod, which was deemed unlawful according to Jewish law.

Herodias’ hatred for John is deeply entrenched, fueled by her determination to silence his prophetic voice. As Herodias plots against him, she seeks an opportunity to eliminate the man who challenges her immoral union.

The occasion arises when Herod throws a lavish birthday feast, and Herodias’ own daughter captivates the guests with her dance. Pleased by her performance, Herod offers her a reward of her choosing, up to half his kingdom. In a sinister twist, Herodias seizes the chance to manipulate the situation and demands the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

Driven by her relentless hatred, Herodias succeeds, and John the Baptist tragically meets his demise, beheaded at the request of a vengeful woman. Herodias’ actions stand as a stark reminder of the destructive power that seething animosity can wield.