Biblical Lust: 10 Key Examples from the Scriptures

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Do you believe that the Bible is filled with stories of love and sacrifice? While these themes are omnipresent, there are also cautionary tales about unchecked lust that can have devastating consequences.

In this article, we will explore 10 key examples of lust in the Bible to uncover profound lessons about the destructive nature of this vice.

From Amnon’s lust for his half-sister Tamar to Solomon’s lust for many wives, each example highlights how uncontrolled desires can lead to disastrous outcomes.

We’ll also delve into how these stories resonate in modern times and reveal their relevance to our daily lives. By studying these tales, we can gain a unique perspective on how to avoid falling prey to lust in its various forms.

So, sit back and reflect on these key examples of lust in scripture and their significance for the modern world.

Amnon’s Lust for Tamar (2 Samuel 13)

The story of Amnon and Tamar is one of the most disturbing examples of lust from the Bible that resulted in a heinous act of violence and great turmoil within the family of King David.

Amnon was the firstborn of David, and Tamar was his half-sister, the beautiful daughter of David’s son Absalom. Amnon became obsessed with Tamar and lusted after her. However, he knew that he could not have her since they were from the same family.

One day, Amnon pretended to be ill, and David sent Tamar to Amnon’s home to care for him. While Tamar was there, Amnon seized the opportunity, overpowered her, and raped her.

After this heinous act of violence, Amnon felt a great sense of shame and hatred towards Tamar, which eventually led him to banish her from his home.

When Absalom, Tamar’s full brother, learned of what happened, he became furious and plotted revenge.

Two years later, Absalom invited Amnon to a feast and had his servants kill him. This event caused great turmoil in King David’s family as Absalom was forced to flee and eventually led a rebellion against his own father.

This horrific tale showcases the destructive consequences of uncontrolled lust. It serves as a warning against the dangers of giving in to one’s desires without thought for the harm it can cause to oneself and others.

Amnon's lust for his half-sister Tamar

Shechem’s Lust for Dinah (Genesis 34)

The story of Shechem’s lust for Jacob’s daughter Dinah is a prime example of the destructive power of unchecked desire. Shechem, a local prince, became infatuated with Dinah and took her by force.

His actions sparked deceit and violence, leading to the destruction of his entire city.

“Then Shechem said to his father Hamor, ‘Get me this girl as my wife.’” – Genesis 34:4

Shechem’s father attempted reparation by offering to pay any bride price Jacob’s family required. However, Dinah’s brothers, enraged by the assault on their sister, plotted revenge. Led by Simeon and Levi, they killed Shechem and all the men of his city.

destruction upon the city

This tale highlights the devastating consequences of yielding to lust. Shechem’s desire led to an act of violence that brought ruin upon himself and his people.

Potiphar’s Wife’s Lust for Joseph (Genesis 39)

Potiphar’s wife’s lustful pursuit of Joseph highlights the dangers of uncontrolled desires. Joseph, who had been sold into slavery by his own brothers, found himself working as a servant in Potiphar’s house. However, he soon caught the eye of Potiphar’s wife, who pursued him relentlessly.

Despite her advances, Joseph refused to give in to her lustful desires, saying, “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9).

However, Potiphar’s wife was not willing to give up, and when Joseph rejected her advances yet again, she falsely accused him of assault, resulting in his imprisonment.

This false accusation not only caused Joseph to suffer unjustly but also serves as a warning against the destructive nature of uncontrolled desires. When we allow our desires to go unchecked, we can find ourselves making unwise decisions that have long-lasting consequences.

Potiphar's wife lusting after Joseph

The Men of Gibeah’s Lust for the Levite’s Concubine (Judges 19)

The story of the men of Gibeah’s lustful and violent demand for the Levite’s concubine is a chilling account that emphasizes the destructive consequences of unchecked desires.

According to the story, the Levite and his concubine were traveling to Jerusalem when they decided to spend the night in Gibeah. While they were there, a group of men from the city surrounded the house and demanded that the Levite be brought out to them, to have sexual intercourse with him.

The Levite, however, refused to comply with their lustful requests and instead made the unthinkable decision of throwing his concubine out of the house to the men, hoping to spare his own life.

The men proceeded to rape and abuse the concubine throughout the night until they left her for dead at the doorstep. After discovering her lifeless body, the Levite organized a revolt against Gibeah that ultimately sparked a civil war within Israel.

“…in the morning, behold, she lay at the door of the house…And her lord rose up in the morning…and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house…And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place. And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.”

The gruesome outcome of this story underscores the extreme lengths that uncontrolled lust can drive individuals and groups.

The brutal act of violence and subsequent civil war illustrate the devastating effects that can result from giving in to carnal desires. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of temperance and self-control in the face of temptation.

brutal act of violence

Solomon’s Lust for Many Wives (1 Kings 11)

Solomon, known for his wisdom, also had a notorious weakness for women. He had a total of 700 wives and 300 concubines, many of which were obtained through political alliances. While not explicitly mentioned as lustful desires, it’s evident that Solomon was driven by his lust for women, which resulted in his downfall.

His numerous marriages to foreign women led him to embrace their idols and practices, turning him away from the one true God. This idolatry was a direct disobedience of God’s commandments, leading to God’s anger and eventually the division of Solomon’s kingdom.

The consequences of Solomon’s unchecked desires serve as a warning against the dangers of giving in to lustful desires. His story highlights the importance of staying true to one’s faith and resisting temptation, as even the wisest and most powerful can fall prey to their fleshly desires.

Solomon's lust for many wives

The Young Man Seduced by an Adulterous Woman (Proverbs 7)

A young man is easily seduced by an adulterous woman. She entices him with flattery and leads him astray with her smooth talk, convincing him to give in to his lustful desires.

The tale of the young man serves as a warning against the destructive nature of lust and the folly of giving in to temptations. The consequences of his actions are severe, as he is left with nothing but regret and shame after succumbing to the woman’s advances.

“With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk. All at once he followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose.” – Proverbs 7:21-22 (NIV)

It is important to recognize that lust can lead us down a dangerous path, causing us to act against our better judgment and ultimately leading to regrettable outcomes. The young man’s story serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us to stay true to our values and not give in to the seductions of those who would lead us astray.

Young man seduced by an adulterous woman

The Consequences of Lust

ConsequencesExamples
Violence and TurmoilAmnon’s lust for Tamar (2 Samuel 13)
Deceit and DestructionShechem’s lust for Dinah (Genesis 34)
False Accusation and ImprisonmentPotiphar’s wife’s lust for Joseph (Genesis 39)
Brutality and Civil WarThe men of Gibeah’s lust for the Levite’s concubine (Judges 19)
Idolatry and DivisionSolomon’s lust for many wives (1 Kings 11)
Regret and ShameThe young man seduced by an adulterous woman (Proverbs 7)
Disaster and PunishmentAchan’s covetousness (Joshua 7)
Deception and DownfallBalaam’s lust for financial gain (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11; Revelation 2:14)
Tragic EndHophni and Phinehas’ lust for power (1 Samuel 2:12-17, 22)

Lust has a destructive power that can lead us astray and cause us to act recklessly. It is important to remain vigilant and stay true to our values, lest we fall victim to the enticements of those who would lead us down a dark path.

Achan’s Covetousness (Joshua 7)

Achan’s covetousness led him to disobey God’s command, ultimately resulting in disaster upon himself and his family. In Joshua 7, following the triumph at Jericho, the Israelites were commanded not to take any of the spoils for themselves. However, Achan coveted the riches and stole some of them, directly disobeying God’s command.

As a result of Achan’s disobedience, the Israelites were defeated in their next battle at Ai. This brought shame and mourning upon Israel, as well as punishment on Achan and his family. They were stoned to death, and their possessions were burned, serving as a stark warning to others who might be tempted to disobey God’s commands due to their own covetous desires.

Achan's covetousness

“But the Israelites were unfaithful in regard to the devoted things; Achan son of Karmi, the son of Zimri, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took some of them. So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel.”
– Joshua 7:1

Balaam’s Lust for Financial Gain

Balaam, known for his greed, was a prophet who allowed his lust for financial gain to lead him astray. He was hired by Balak, the king of Moab, to curse the Israelites but was unable to do so because God would not allow it. Instead, Balaam counseled Balak to deceive the Israelites into sinning, knowing that God’s anger would fall upon them.

His deception ultimately led to his downfall, as he was killed in battle against the Israelites. This cautionary tale reminds us that succumbing to our desires can lead to disastrous consequences.

“They have followed the way of Balaam son of Beor, who loved the wages of wickedness.”

(2 Peter 2:15)

“Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.”

(Jude 1:11)

“Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.”

Hophni and Phinehas’ Lust for Power

As priests at the tabernacle, Hophni and Phinehas were in a position of power and authority. However, they allowed their lust for power and control to consume them, leading to an abuse of their position and the mistreatment of those they were meant to serve.

Their lustful desires also extended to the women who served at the entrance of the tent of meeting, further showcasing their lack of self-control and disregard for the consequences of their actions.

Unfortunately, their lust for power and unchecked behavior ultimately led to a tragic end for both Hophni and Phinehas. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of allowing lust for power to control one’s actions and the devastating consequences that can result.

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Allan Wilson is the creator of the Scriptural Thinking Affirmations Package. Featuring over 200 minutes of mp3 audio Bible affirmations complete with background music. The package comes with the original affirmations PDF ebook and many bonus affirmation Bible studies as well. The affirmations are designed to help you call to remembrance all of the wonderful benefits of being in Christ and the marvelous privilege of being a child of God.