Physical Abuse – page 3 of Scriptures Describing Abuse

Physical abuse includes threats of imminent assault, because they are assaults by the legal definition of the term.

Murder and attempted murder

The story of Cain murdering Abel is the first time murder is recorded in the Bible.

Gen. 4:1-9  Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”  And again, she bore his brother Abel.  Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, and Cain a worker of the ground.  In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions.  And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard.  So Cain was very angry, and his face fell.  The LORD said Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen?  If you do well, will you not be accepted?  And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.  Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.”  Cain spoke to Abel his brother.  And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.  Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”  He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

When God says to Cain ‘If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door.’ it indicates that abuse is a behavioural problem, a problem which can be mastered by changing one’s behaviour. God allows no room for excuses, for absolving oneself of responsibility because of one’s terrible childhood, bad inheritance, ill fortune or any other rationalisation. Note that God says this before Cain has become violent. God can see the wrathful attitude which is building in Cain, the ‘tension building’ phase before the explosion. And he warns Cain: “If you continue to have this sinful response you will fall into even deeper sin, for sin is like a wild animal crouching at your door and waiting to devour you.”

1 Sam. 18:11  And Saul hurled the spear, for he thought, “I will pin David to the wall.”  But David evaded him twice.
Note in verses 12, 15 and 29 how the perpetrator is afraid because of the victim’s godliness. This fear enrages him more; all emotions in a perpetrator get converted into anger.

1 Sam. 20:33  But Saul hurled his spear at him [Jonathan] to strike him.  So Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death.

Lk. 4:29  And they [the Nazarenes] rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.

John 10:31  The Jews picked up stones again to stone him.

Acts 14:5,19  When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them… v.19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.

2 Chron. 24:20-21  Then the Spirit of God clothed Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, and he stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God, ‘Why do you break the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper?  Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has forsaken you.”‘  But they conspired against him, and by command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD.

Death threats

Num. 14:10a  Then all the congregation said to stone them (Moses, Aaron,. Joshua and Caleb) with stones. Also 16:41.

1 Kings 19:2  Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.”   See also Ex. 10:28.

1 Sam. 30:6  And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters.  But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

Physical restraint and binding

Mt. 26:50  Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you came to do.  Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and seized him.   Also Mt 26:57; John 18:12


Lk. 22:63-65  Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him.  They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?”  And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.

Mt. 26:67  Then they spit in his face and struck him.  And some slapped him,    Also Mk. 14:65; Jn. 19:3

Mt. 27:30  And they split on him and took the reed and struck him on the head.

John 18:22  When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”

They hit Jesus, and accused him of disrespect to the high priest

Whipping, beating, grievous assault

Mt. 27:26  Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.   Also John 19:1

Judges 16:21  And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles.  And he ground at the mill in the prison.

Deprivation of necessary food and drink

Jer. 38:9  “My lord the king, these men have done evil in all that they did to Jeremiah the prophet by casting him into the cistern, and he will die there of hunger, for there is no bread left in the city.”

Gen. 37:24-25  And they took him [Joseph] and threw him into a pit.  The pit was empty; there was no water in it.  Then they sat down to eat.

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