And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him ... and he [Samson] found a new jawbone of an ass ... and slew a thousand men therewith. Judges 15:14-15Today is the sad anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. On 16 April 2007, 32 students were killed and many more wounded before the shooter, Sueng-Hui Cho, committed suicide.
The massacre was one of the worst in U.S. history, but it was small indeed by biblical standards.
Here is a list of massacres from the Bible, in ascending order by the number of victims. The list includes only those with a single killer where the number of victims is specified.
- Elisha (with help from God) sent two bears to kill 42 children for making fun of his bald head. 2 Kings 2:22-23
- Abimelech killed 69 of his brothers on a stone. Judges 9:5, BT
- Doeg the Edomite killed 85 priests and all the men, women, children, infants, oxen, donkeys, and sheep with a sword. 1 Samuel 22:18-19, BT
- Elijah (and God) burned to death 102 men. 2 Kings 1:10-12
- David killed 200 Philistines to purchase his first wife with their foreskins. 1 Samuel 18:25-27, BT
- Abishai killed 300 men with a spear. 2 Samuel 23:18, 1 Chronicles 11:20, BT
- The chief of David's captains killed either 300 (1 Chronicles 11:11) or 800 (2 Samuel 23:8) men with a spear. (Sometimes it's hard to correctly count the number of dead bodies in a massacre.)
- Elijah killed 450 religious leaders in a prayer contest. 1 Kings 18:22-40
(The total in this massacre may have been 850 if it included the priests of the groves.)
- Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad. Judges 3:31, BT
- Samson killed 1000 men with the jawbone of an ass. Judges 15: 14-15, BT
Update 1: Forgot the 85 priests that that were killed by Doeg the Edomite. (Thanks Aquaria.)
Update 2: Corrected the confusion between Elijah's massacres. (Thanks David.)