Biblical Offenses: 10 Examples from Scripture

Have you ever wondered how conflict and offense play out in the Bible?

From family disputes to political rivalries, the Scriptures are filled with powerful stories that shed light on the human experience. Discover ten intriguing examples of offense in the Bible that will challenge your beliefs and ignite your curiosity.

Explore the complexities of loyalty and friendship through the unforgettable tale of Jonathan and King Saul.

Delve into the unexpected consequences of pride and mischief within families as you uncover the story of David’s brother, Eliab. Witness the deadly clash between Jephthah and the Ephraimites, sparked by offense and exclusion.

Marvel at the resilience of the prophet Jeremiah in the face of rejection, and unravel the tensions between Jesus and the Pharisees as they clash over teachings and traditions.

Uncover the dangers of taking offense through the stories of John the Baptist and the Nazarenes, and ponder the grave consequences of Haman’s offense against Mordecai.

Consider the importance of forgiveness and the perils of offense in the account of Simon the Pharisee. Lastly, discover how offense can even occur within the early Christian community as you learn about the fate of Ananias and Sapphira.

Ready to embark on a thought-provoking journey through the pages of Scripture? Let’s explore the profound lessons nestled within these ten examples of offense in the Bible.

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Jonathan and King Saul

One of the significant examples of offense in the Bible involves Jonathan, the son of King Saul, and his friendship with David. In 1 Samuel 19, Jonathan finds himself caught in a difficult position when his father attempts to kill David, who is not only his loyal friend but also the anointed future king.

Jonathan’s loyalty to his father and his deep friendship with David create a complex conflict for him. He must navigate the tensions between his familial duty and his unwavering devotion to his companion.

This example highlights the theme of loyalty, friendship, and how offense can arise even within close relationships. It sheds light on the internal struggle faced by individuals torn between conflicting loyalties.

Jonathan’s loyalty and courage, as well as his ability to handle offense with grace and wisdom, serve as valuable lessons for navigating complex relationships and conflicts in our own lives.

Jonathan and King Saul
Key ThemesLoyalty, Friendship, Conflict
Scripture Reference1 Samuel 19
SummaryJonathan faces offense when his father, King Saul, attempts to kill his dear friend David. He must navigate the tensions between his loyalty to his father and his friendship with David.

In the next section, we will explore another intriguing example of offense in the Bible, involving David’s brother Eliab and the dynamics of pride, mischief, and family conflicts.

Eliab (David’s Brother)

When David volunteered to fight Goliath, his eldest brother Eliab became offended, accusing David of pride and mischief. This example portrays how offense can arise even within families (1 Samuel 17:28-30).

“And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the mischief of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.”

– 1 Samuel 17:28

Family conflicts are not uncommon in the Bible, and Eliab’s offense towards David highlights the complexities that can arise within familial relationships. It serves as a reminder that even those closest to us may find reasons to be offended. However, it is essential to navigate these conflicts with wisdom, love, and patience, seeking resolution and reconciliation.

Eliab - Offense in the Bible

Jephthah and the Ephraimites

Jephthah, a judge of Israel, found himself at odds with the Ephraimites, leading to a conflict fueled by offense. In the Book of Judges, the Ephraimites were offended when they were not called to join Jephthah in battle against the Ammonites.

“Why did you go to fight the Ammonites without calling us?”

Judges 12:1

Feeling excluded and disregarded, the Ephraimites were deeply offended by their exclusion from the battle, triggering a deadly confrontation between them and Jephthah’s forces. This conflict escalated, resulting in a violent clash that claimed the lives of 42,000 Ephraimites.

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This example highlights how offense can breed animosity and lead to destructive outcomes when conflicts remain unresolved. It serves as a reminder to address offense promptly and seek peaceful resolutions to avoid deepening divisions within communities and relationships.


Key Takeaways:

  • Jephthah faced offense from the Ephraimites when they were not invited to join the battle.
  • This offense resulted in a deadly conflict that claimed the lives of 42,000 Ephraimites.
  • The example emphasizes the need to address offense promptly and seek peaceful resolutions to prevent destructive outcomes.

Jeremiah

The prophet Jeremiah faced immense offense and rejection from his own people when he fearlessly delivered God’s messages of judgment. Rather than heeding his warning, they mocked him and imprisoned him, highlighting the danger of people taking offense at God’s word.

This serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences of rejecting God’s messages and the need for humility and open hearts to receive His truth.

“From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

Jeremiah 6:13-14

Jeremiah’s unwavering commitment to delivering God’s messages despite the offense he encountered serves as an example of courage and obedience. He stood firm in his calling as a prophet, faithfully proclaiming God’s truth even in the face of rejection.

As Jeremiah experienced, offense in the Bible is not limited to personal conflicts between individuals; it also encompasses the resistance and hostility people often have toward God’s messages and His prophetic messengers.

This pattern of offense and rejection can be seen in many biblical accounts, revealing the timeless struggle humans face in accepting God’s truths.

Let us reflect on Jeremiah’s story and consider how we respond to God’s messages today. Are we quick to take offense and reject His word, or do we humbly receive and embrace it, allowing it to transform our lives?

Jeremiah
ProphetOffense FacedResponse
JeremiahMockery, imprisonmentRemained faithful and continued delivering God’s messages
JonathanConflict between loyalty to his father and friendship with DavidSupported David and protected him
EliabAccused David of pride and mischiefNo further interaction recorded
JephthahConflict with the Ephraimites over not being called to battleEngaged in a deadly conflict

The Pharisees

The Pharisees played a significant role in the offense found in the Bible. They frequently took offense at Jesus’ teachings and actions, feeling threatened by His authority and how He challenged their traditions. One such instance is documented in Matthew 15:12:

“Then the disciples came to Him and said, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?'”

Jesus’ teachings often clashed with the Pharisees’ adherence to their established traditions. He prioritized the spiritual essence behind the law rather than the rigid observance of traditional practices. This challenged their authority and status, leading to offense and resistance.

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The Pharisees’ reaction to Jesus’ revolutionary teachings serves as a reminder that offense can arise when deeply held beliefs are questioned.

It invites us to reflect on how we handle such offenses and the importance of open-mindedness in understanding and embracing new perspectives.

Pharisees

John the Baptist

John the Baptist, a prominent figure in the Bible, made a courageous stand against Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee and Perea, by condemning his unlawful marriage to Herodias. This act of offense towards Herod’s unlawful union ultimately led to severe consequences for John.

The marriage between Herod Antipas and Herodias was considered unlawful according to Jewish law, as Herodias was the wife of Herod’s half-brother, Philip.

John, known for his uncompromising devotion to God’s righteousness, fearlessly spoke out against this violation and challenged the wrongdoings of those in power.

unlawful marriage in the Bible

John’s condemnation of the unlawful marriage offended Herod Antipas and Herodias, leading to his eventual imprisonment. Herod, compelled by his wife’s insistence and his own desire to maintain his reputation, ordered the execution of John the Baptist (Matthew 14:1-12).

John’s stand against Herod’s unlawful marriage serves as a powerful reminder of the consequences that can arise when we speak out against injustice and challenge those in authority. It also highlights the importance of upholding God’s commandments, even in the face of personal risk and offense.

The Nazarenes

When Jesus returned to his hometown of Nazareth and taught in the synagogue, the people took offense at him, resulting in their disbelief in his ministry.

This incident is recounted in the Gospel of Mark (6:1-6). The Nazarenes, who were familiar with Jesus’ background and upbringing, struggled to reconcile his teachings and miracles with their preconceived notions of him as a local carpenter’s son.

Their unbelief and offense at Jesus prevented them from fully embracing the transformative power of his ministry.

This example serves as a reminder that offense and unbelief can hinder spiritual growth and limit our ability to experience the miracles and blessings that God has in store for us.

“A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” – Mark 6:4

The Nazarenes’ offense in the Bible highlights the importance of having an open mind and heart when encountering God’s truth and the work of His ministers.

By setting aside preconceived notions and allowing ourselves to be receptive to the message of God, we can experience the transformation and blessings that come with faith.

ImpactConsequences
Limited spiritual growthLack of belief in Jesus’ ministry
Missed opportunitiesFailure to witness miracles
Resistance to changeRefusal to accept Jesus as the Messiah

The example of the Nazarenes invites us to reflect on our own attitudes and reactions when faced with unfamiliar or challenging teachings.

By cultivating a spirit of openness, humility, and faith, we can overcome offense and embrace the transformative power of God’s truth in our lives.

Nazarenes

Haman

In the book of Esther, we encounter the story of Haman, a powerful and ambitious official in the Persian Empire. Haman’s offense stemmed from his pride and desire for total respect and obedience.

When Mordecai, a Jewish man and cousin of Queen Esther, refused to bow down to Haman, his inflated ego was deeply wounded.

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Haman’s reaction to Mordecai’s perceived disrespect was extreme. Fueled by his offense, he devised a wicked plan to not only punish Mordecai but to annihilate the entire Jewish population in the Persian Empire.

In an act of vengeance, Haman convinced King Ahasuerus to issue a decree for the annihilation of all Jews, setting a specific date for their destruction.

annihilation of the Jews

This image depicts the gravity of Haman’s plot, as it shows the magnitude of the threat faced by the Jews during this time. It serves as a powerful visual representation of the annihilation that was planned.

Haman’s intense offense reveals the destructive power it holds, leading to hatred, bigotry, and harm. Fortunately, through the courageous actions of Queen Esther and Mordecai, the Jewish people were ultimately saved from Haman’s evil scheme..

The story of Haman serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the consequences of allowing offense to fester and drive destructive actions. It reminds us of the importance of empathy, forgiveness, and finding peaceful resolutions.

Simon the Pharisee

In the Gospel of Luke, there is an intriguing account of a Pharisee named Simon who takes offense at Jesus’ actions. In Luke 7:36-50, we witness a fascinating interaction that highlights the power of forgiveness and the dangers of harboring offense.

During a meal at Simon’s house, a sinful woman enters, carrying an alabaster jar of perfume. Overwhelmed by her gratitude and love for Jesus, she begins to weep, washing His feet with her tears and anointing them with perfume. Simon, observing this act of devotion, becomes offended and questions Jesus’ acceptance of this woman’s actions.

“If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner!” – Simon the Pharisee (Luke 7:39)

Jesus, perceiving Simon’s thoughts, shares a parable about two debtors—one who owed a large amount and another who owed a smaller sum. When neither debtor could repay their debt, the gracious lender forgave both.

Jesus then asks Simon, “Which of them will love him more?” (Luke 7:42). Simon acknowledges the one forgiven of the greater debt would love more.

Jesus uses this parable to illustrate the power of forgiveness and contrasts Simon’s lack of hospitality with the woman’s extravagant display of love and repentance. He highlights her faith and forgives her sins, declaring, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace” (Luke 7:50).

Lessons from Simon the Pharisee

  • Forgiveness transcends societal conventions: Simon, as a Pharisee, held a position of religious authority and influence. However, his offense came from his rigid adherence to societal norms rather than a genuine understanding of forgiveness.
  • True forgiveness is an act of love: Jesus uses the sinful woman’s actions as an opportunity to teach Simon about the power of forgiveness and love. The woman’s extravagant display of love and repentance serves as a powerful example for us all.
  • Offense blinds us to the transformative work of God: Simon’s offense prevented him from recognizing Jesus’ authority and the miraculous transformation occurring before him. Offense can blind us to the work of God in our lives and hinder our own spiritual growth.

Jesus’ encounter with Simon the Pharisee offers profound lessons about forgiveness, love, and the dangers of offense. It serves as a reminder to approach others with grace, to let go of offense, and to embrace the transformative power of forgiveness.

Simon the Pharisee
Key PointsBiblical References
Simon the Pharisee takes offense at Jesus’ acceptance of a sinful woman’s act of devotion.Luke 7:36-50
Jesus uses a parable to illustrate the power of forgiveness.Luke 7:42-47
The sinful woman exemplifies faith, love, and repentance.Luke 7:47
Lessons from Simon the Pharisee: 
– Forgiveness transcends societal conventions 
– True forgiveness is an act of love 
– Offense blinds us to the transformative work of God 

Can Betrayals in the Bible Be Considered as Offenses According to Scripture?

Yes, biblical betrayals in scripture are considered as offenses according to the teachings of the Bible. The betrayal of Jesus by Judas, for example, is a clear example of going against the teachings of scripture. Scripture emphasizes the importance of trust and faithfulness, making betrayals a serious offense.

Ananias and Sapphira

In the early Christian community, Ananias and Sapphira encountered a situation that led to a tragic outcome. Offended by the expectation of selling their property and giving all the proceeds to the community, they decided to withhold a portion for themselves. However, their deception and offense had severe consequences.

When Ananias presented his portion of the money to the apostles, claiming it to be the full amount, Peter confronted him about the deceit.

Ananias fell dead upon hearing Peter’s words. Soon after, Sapphira arrived, unaware of her husband’s fate. When questioned by Peter, she also lied about the amount of money received. Similar to Ananias, she faced the same fate and lost her life.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the power of offense and the importance of honesty and integrity within a community. The offense of Ananias and Sapphira towards the expectations of the early Christian community ultimately cost them everything.

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