The Bible for millions of people is a book of morality that frowns upon all sorts of sin. One of the biggest since is the telling of lies or otherwise concealing truth. However, the holy book is full of liars telling all manner of lies for all manner of reasons. This article will list some of the most interesting and explicit examples of the telling of untruths; some of which are pivotal to events in the text.
The ‘Father of Lies’ is referenced time and time again fir his deceitfulness. Though he deceived Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge (which in itself is a deception rather than an outright lie), in the New Testament it is declared that he:
‘¦masquerades as an angel of light.
Satan is able to deceive others but appearing as angels or other holy beings which is perhaps the biggest lie of all.
2. Saint Peter
At The Last Supper, Jesus said to Peter that he would deny him three times:
Truly I tell you,’ Jesus answered, ‘this very night, before the cock crows, you will disown me three times.’ But Peter declared, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’
They asked him, ‘You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?’ He denied it, saying, ‘I am not.’ One of the high priest’s servants’¦ challenged him, ‘Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?’ Again Peter denied it
3. Judas Iscariot
The betrayer of Jesus tells a lie in the most famous part of his story, but he does so without words. In the culture of the time, a kiss would have been a sign of deference from one to a superior, yet Judas uses the kiss to indicate which man is Christ to the Roman soldiers:
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: ‘The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.’ Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi!’ and kissed him.
In II Kings 8, Hazael is instructed by Elisha to lie to Ben-Hada about a prophecy regarding his health. Hazael might be the liar but it is Elisha that orders it:
Hazael went to meet Elisha… He went in and stood before him, and said, ‘Your son Ben-Hadad king of Aram has sent me to ask, ‘Will I recover from this illness?’ Elisha answered, ‘Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless, the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.’
Did Jesus lie about going to the festival or did he simply change his mind? The translations differ, with some including and others omitting the word ‘yet’, others imply that he changed his mind.
You go to the festival. I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come.’ Ã‚ After he had said this, he stayed in Galilee. However, after his brothers had left for the festival, he went also, not publicly, but in secret.
Returning to the Garden of Eden, the creator of Adam and Eve told the pair that they would die if they ate of the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden. Oddly, it is down to Satan to correct this:
The woman said to the snake, ‘We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’’ ‘You will not certainly die,’ the snake said to the woman.
When meeting the Egyptians, Abraham makes his wife tell them that he is his sister. This is partly true as she is his half-sister, something frowned upon in the Bible yet he implores her to leave out the part about being married. Clearly though, this lie is for both of their sakes:
As he was about to enter Egypt, he said to his wife Sarai, ‘I know what a beautiful woman you are. Ã‚ When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will let you live. Say you are my sister, so that I will be treated well for your sake and my life will be spared because of you.’
Leaving aside the fact that Lot offers up his daughters for prostitution (clearly worse than lying) he tells the mob that they are virgins:
Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.’
Their purity in all likelihood is not true because a few sentences later:
And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said’¦
She lied to God about whether or not she laughed because she was afraid of what He might do to her for disbelieving the prophecy that she will give birth:
Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.’ Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, ‘I did not laugh.’
10. The Sons of Jacob
The story of Joseph shows the jealousy of his brothers toward the coat their father gave him (in their mind, this meant he would become head of the household). Their lie was to claim their brother had been killed when they had actually sold him into slavery:
He went back to his brothers and said, ‘The boy isn’t there! Where can I turn now?’ Then they got Joseph’s robe, slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood. They took the ornate robe back to their father and said, ‘We found this. Examine it to see whether it is your son’s robe.’
The Bible is littered with those who tell lies; some of those as you can see above are surprising. However, as with a lot of things, the meanings are forever open to interpretation and may not be considered lies under certain translations of the books.