Famous Liars in the Bible

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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.

1. Satan

Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan
Gustave Doré, Depiction of Satan

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

Saint Peter as Pope by Rubens
Saint Peter as Pope by Rubens

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.’

Yet later:

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 Judas Kiss" (1866) by Gustave Doré.
“The Judas Kiss” by Gustave Doré.

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.

4. Elisha

Elisha
Elisha

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.’

5. Jesus

Jesus depicted as the Good Shepherd
Jesus depicted as the Good Shepherd

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.’  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.

6. God

Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, face detail of God.
Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo, face detail of God.

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.

7. Abraham

Abraham
Abraham

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.  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.’

8. Lot

Lot
Lot

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’¦

9. Sarah

Sarah and Abraham hosting three angels
Sarah and Abraham hosting three angels

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

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel
Rembrandt -Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

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.’

Conclusion

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.

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18 Responses

  1. Sapient

    August 25, 2013 11:54 pm

    Re: “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..”

    That is hardly the case.

    The essential principles of redemption are found in this Genesis story….an innocent died in their place to cover their guilt….

    THAT is the Biblical pattern…ultimately, that was God Himself, incarnate.

    Reply
    • Julie

      November 12, 2015 5:43 pm

      God didn’t and doesn’t lie. In the garden when He told Adam and eve that they would die, He meant a spiritual death-separation from God.

      Reply
  2. KJV Only Reader

    April 26, 2018 1:59 pm

    Jesus never lied. Read the same passage in the KJV. The other per-versions change this, for some reason. If Jesus lied about not going then went, ultimately, he lied, which is a sin, which would mean that He couldn’t be the spotless Lamb of God & couldn’t take away our sins (for He would be a sinner just like the rest of us).

    Reply
  3. Jj

    July 16, 2018 11:56 am

    A true believer in Christ will not attempt to disgrace our heavenly father by claiming he’s a liar. Your understanding is not the same as God. But it is the same a the son of deception..

    Reply
  4. Fikayo

    June 21, 2019 9:01 pm

    You had GOD (The almighty Lord in heaven whose words you twisted out of context, that doesn’t and NEVER WILL lie) and NOT Ananias and Sapphira?!?!?!?!

    What LUNACY is this?!

    Reply
  5. Darrell F Divinity

    November 14, 2019 8:19 am

    Your interpretation of the bible and what is being said in your selected passages is so ludicrous and off-based. It really shows your ignorance of how a person should interpret the bible. In my almost 40 years of studying the bible and listening to great thinkers and theologians of the past and present, you are the 1st to say that God was lying when he said to Adam “If you eat of the fruit of the tree you will die”. Mankind was going to live forever, but because of the entrance of sin (disobedience) man now experiences both spiritual and natural death as the penalty (Romans 6:23).

    Reply
  6. ashley

    July 16, 2020 6:07 am

    this is damnable heresy to blaspheme the lord jesus christ to rank him in a list of liars. absolutely appalling to see this being wrote for people to read and be mislead by. shame on you whoever wrote this filth.

    Reply
  7. Olamide

    March 29, 2021 9:22 am

    You’ll have to think before posting something biblical, elisha didn’t lie, he said he will recover from the sickness,not from death, hazeal killed him for the word of God to come pass, he didn’t killed by the sickness.. And about Abraham, Abraham didn’t lie, Sarah was actually his half sister, the daughter of his father not if his mother..

    Reply
  8. brenda lebsack

    July 31, 2021 1:33 pm

    infomory.com should be included in this list… as they use half truths to make their points.
    The implications of Jesus and God lying? There’s an agenda here and it sounds like they use the same tactics as the “angel of light.” Mastery of deception is 1/2 truths that appear to have “noble” causes with “apparent credibility”

    Reply
  9. Nico

    August 18, 2021 10:30 pm

    Saying God and Jesus lied, just reflects the agenda of this poor, uneducated fool. You don’t have to believe in anything in the Bible to know the truth as expressed by the simple language of the text, read in context.

    Reply
  10. Matt

    August 25, 2021 2:28 am

    God lied? Incredibly ignorant understanding of this scripture. Satan hardly corrected anything, in fact he’s the one who lied in an attempt to mislead Eve, you know, “The Great Deceiver”. The Bible also states it is impossible for God to lie (Hebrews 6:18). Adam and Eve were destined to live forever before they sinned by partaking from the Tree of The Knowledge of Good And Evil. They then lived out their lifespans and died, as is the sentence for everyone since them.

    Reply
  11. Prince Joseph R

    October 10, 2021 1:31 am

    Obviously Christians cannot stomach this. They went into defense mode right away. I do not find one meaningfull comment with proper explanation as to why these are not lies.

    Reply
  12. JC Brickson

    February 4, 2022 2:30 pm

    ALMIGHTY GOD does not lie!!

    He told Adam…”the day you eat of this tree you shall surely die”

    Adam lived to be 930 years old, so the unlearned will say, GOD must have lied.

    But the Bible informs us that one day with the LORD is as 1,000 years (2 Peter 3:8).

    Adam NEVER made it to the end of his first day. He was 70 years short!

    GOD did NOT lie!!!

    Reply
  13. JC Brickson

    February 4, 2022 2:45 pm

    Elisha did NOT lie !! He told the TRUTH.

    Elisha saw that GOD would allow King Benhadad to recover from his illness and he told Hazael to tell the King that.

    But Elisha ALSO saw that the King would die at the hand of Hazael who would KILL him in order to seize the throne. Hazael took advantage of the King’s illness knowing they’d think the King died from his illness rather than by asphyxiation.

    The King died because of a coup…not because Elisha lied!

    You should be a little more exact in your reporting!

    Reply
  14. Mary

    May 13, 2022 2:22 pm

    every word inspired by”GOD” is there for a reason Why would whoever you are, an unbeliever i presumed-state”GOD”creator of all and things and”JESUS”who that word is it not even to be announced any where, near, applied , as of be with, you have and had blasphemed two most sacred names upon earth and “HEAVENLY” shouldn’t you repent, ask for your’s, even threw this, willingly_What you have committed judas iscariot relative and with your deception to deceiver people from “THEKINGof kings” LORDof lords, you- shall bow down and tongue-ly.confess”JESUS IS LORD” shamelessly to write with all

    Reply

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