The Bible is full of examples to follow, as good people live good lives and give us good advice. But it's got quite a few examples of people who behaved really badly, some of them in the context of their personal relationships. So here are my candidates for the five worst husbands in the Bible.
1. Adam. When God confronts him with his sin in eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he blames both Eve and God himself – "The woman you put here with me – she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it" (Genesis 3:12). A decent husband would have taken responsibility.
2. Abraham. Not once, but twice, Abraham passes his wife Sarah off as his sister (Genesis 12:10-20 and Genesis 20:1-17), letting powerful men sleep with her because he was afraid of them. He also agreed to sleep with her slave Hagar so he could have a child (Genesis 16). He's wrong on every level.
3. Nabal. He's a surly and bad-tempered landowner who refuses to help David when he needs provisions (1 Samuel 25). His wife Abigail goes behind his back to help, saving his life in the process. She tells David to "pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name – his name is Fool." When she tells him what she's done, he has a stroke and dies (she marries David).
4. Solomon. Arguably the worst husband in the whole of the Old Testament. Multiple marriages for powerful people were the norm in those days, but he took it to excess: he had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). We're told that he "held fast to them in love", but that's far too many anniversaries to remember.
5. Xerxes. He was the king who went on to marry Esther, but his first wife was Vashti. He gave a huge banquet and got roaring drunk, and commanded Vashti to come and "display her beauty" to his guests. She refused, and he divorced her. It all ended well for him though; he was much happier with Esther, and she saved the Jews from massacre.
And for the five best husbands in the Bible, click here.
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