Examples Of Hands That Shed Innocent Blood
These are kings, other people who exercised power equivalent to kings, and ordinary people who shed the blood of people who do not deserve to be killed. This is because they have not done any wrong or committed any grave offense for which they should be killed. There were many people who shed innocent blood, however, we will mention only those whose names were categorically mentioned in the historical accounts of the Scriptures:
Cain, the brother of Abel
Adam and Eve gave birth to their first two sons. The older was called Cain and the younger was called Abel. Now Abel was a shepherd, and Cain was a farmer. In the course of time, Cain took some of his farm produce and offered them as a sacrifice to the Lord. However, Abel chose one of the firstborns of his flock, the best of them, and offered it as a sacrifice to Yahuah. And Yahuah had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, He had no regard. So Cain was offended and was jealous. One day, Cain deceived Abel to come with him to the field and they both went to the field. There, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. Hence, he became the first pair of hands to shed innocent blood. Reference Ge 4:1-8
Saul, king of Yisrael
Saul was the son of Kish and the first king of Israel. His fear of losing his kingdom to David and the jealousy and hatred he had for David translated him into a bloodthirsty man for he was desperately seeking to kill David and any ally and sympathizer of David. Doeg the Edomite, a servant of Saul, informed King Saul that David had been to Nob and Ahimelech the priest had helped him, giving him provisions and Goliath’s sword and had inquired also of Yahuah for him. On hearing that, Saul sent for Ahimelech and his entire family, the household of his father Ahitub; and they came to Saul at Gibeah. And Saul, after a short interrogation, passed death sentence on them. He commanded Doeg to kill Ahimelech and the entire members of his family – the household of his father, killing eighty-five priests on that day. Saul, being still thirsty for revenge, proceeded to attacked Nob, the city of the priests. With the sword, he killed both men and women, children and infant, sheep, oxen, and donkeys – in fact, he killed every life in the city except Abiathar, the son of Ahimelech, who escaped to join David. Reference 1 Samuel 22:6-23
David, king of Yisrael
Uriah was a Hittite yet he sojourned amongst the Yahudim in Jerusalem. He was patriotic to Yisrael and he joined David’s army to war against the Ammonites. Whiles Uriah was away, it happened, late one afternoon, when David was walking on the roof of his palace, that he saw from the roof a beautiful woman, Bathsheba, bathing. He lusted after her, then he sent messengers and they brought her to him and he had sex with her. Afterward, she became pregnant by David and she informed David. To cover up wisely, David reasoned that if he could get Uriah to come from the battlefield and go home to his wife and make love to her, then it would appear as though Bathsheba’s pregnancy is Uriah’s. David sent for Uriah from the battlefield and had wanted him to go to his house as planned, but his plan failed for Uriah refused to go to his house. Then David devised a lethal plan to eliminate Uriah to cover up his shame. Then David wrote a letter and gave it to Uriah to take it to Joab. In the letter, he wrote, “Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting, and then draw back from him, that he may be struck down, and die”. David’s lethal plan for Uriah’s death happened as intended and Uriah died; hence David shed innocent blood – the blood of Uriah the Hittite. Yahuah sent the prophet Nathan to rebuke David for the sin of adultery and murder; and David earnestly repented. Reference 2 Samuel 11:2-18
Ahab, king of Yisrael
King Ahab of Israel, son of King Omri, was married to Jezebel. They practiced idolatry to the core and there was no fear of Elohim in them. In the course of time, Ahab requested to buy the vineyard of Naboth, but Naboth refused – his reason being that he would never sell the inheritance of his father. This displeased Ahab very much. When Jezebel got to know of this matter, she devised a way to usurp the property from Naboth. She wrote a letter in Ahab’s name and sealed it with Ahab’s seal and sent it to the elders of the city in which Naboth lived. The elders and the leaders of Naboth’s city did according to what was written in the letter they received: they proclaimed a fast; they brought Naboth before the people and falsely accused him by the mouth of two false witnesses that Naboth had blasphemed against Yahuah and the king. For this charge, Naboth, an innocent man, was stoned to death. Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth is stoned, and is dead”. When Naboth died Ahab went to take his vineyard.
Moreover, in order to give her religion of Baal a firm foothold on the land of Yisrael, Jezebel persecuted the prophets of Yahuah, killing any she laid her hands on. Jezebel had Ahab’s seal of approval in every act of wickedness she committed. Thus Ahab is equally as guilty as Jezebel; they have both shed innocent blood – the blood of the prophets of Yahuah and that of Naboth. Reference 1 Kings 21:1–16. 1 King 22:1–28
Hazael, king of Syria
Hazael, king of Syria, shed the blood of many people, including King Benhadad, his predecessor. Moreover, being a man of war, he killed many people on the battlefield – that is not what we hold him accountable for. We hold Hazael accountable for the blood of innocent children and pregnant women who were not armed for war. He smashed the children of the Yisraelites against the wall or against stones to kill them; and he cut open the bellies of pregnant women, killing both the mother and the unborn baby (fetus). For this evil, we count him as one who shed innocent blood – the blood of children, fetuses and pregnant women. Reference 2 Kings 8:7–15.
Menahem, king of Yisrael
King Menahem, son of Gadi, went up from Tirzah to kill Shallum in Samaria and he ascended the throne. After taking the throne, he went to Tiphsah; because the people of the city did not open their gate to him, in that they did not yet accept or acknowledge him as their king, he took the city by force and sacked it. Worse yet, he did much evil by cutting open the bellies of all pregnant women in Tiphzah and its vicinity, killing the innocent mothers and the fetuses. Needless to say, Menahem is guilty of shedding innocent blood – the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses. Reference 2 Kings 15:16
Jehoram, king of Judah
Jehoram reigned as king after Jehoshaphat, his father. He was married to Athaliah, the wicked queen. He did not fear nor seek Yahuah like his father Jehoshaphat. No sooner was he made king than he killed all his brothers, the sons of his father. Further, he also killed some of the leaders of his kingdom. These victims of his have done him no wrong, nor committed any offense; hence, for killing them, he has shed innocent blood – the blood of his brothers and the blood of key personalities. Reference 2 Chronicles 21:4
Manasseh, king of Yahudah (Judah)
Manasseh began to reign after the death of Hezekiah, his father. He was nothing like the good King Hezekiah. Manasseh proved himself to be the worse king to reign on the throne of David. Apart from being a staunch worshiper of idols, he was also bloodthirsty; he shed innocent blood very much in Jerusalem to such an extent that Yahuah would not pardon his sins. Even after the death of King Manasseh, Jerusalem and Judea suffered the consequence of his bloodshed. In fact, Manasseh bloodshed is one of the main reasons for which Yahuah delivered the Kingdom of Yahudah (Judah) into the hands of the Babylonians and they went into exile in Babylon. Reference 2 Kings 21:1–18
Jehoiakim, king of Yahudah (Judah)
In the days when Jehoiakim was king and Jeremiah the prophet yet prophesy, there was also another prophet of Yahbuah called Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjathjearim, who prophesied against the city Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judea much like Jeremiah. When Jehoiakim the king and the other leaders of the kingdom heard his words, the king sought to kill him. Urijah heard of the king’s intention to kill him. Out of fear, he escaped to Egypt. However, King Jehoiakim sent Elnathan and certain men with him into Egypt. And they fetched Urijah out of Egypt and brought him alive to Jehoiakim the king; who put him to death with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people. For this deed of Jehoiakim, we count him as one who shed innocent blood – the blood of Urijah the prophet. Reference Jeremiah 26:20-23
Herod the Great, king of Judea
At the time when Yahusha was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the Great, there came Magi (wise men) from the east to Jerusalem to look for Him and worship Him. When Herod heard that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, he sent the wise Magi to Bethlehem to search for the child and he also told them that if they happen to find him they should come to inform him of his whereabouts.
Eventually, the Magi (wise men) found the child; they worshiped him, gave him gifts, and return to their country without seeing Herod. When King Herod realized that the magi have tricked him, he was enraged and he ordered the killing of all male children, aged two years and below, who are in Bethlehem and in all that region. This was carried out to the letter. Herod the Great is still remembered as the king who shed innocent blood – the blood of children. Reference Matthew 2:1–16
Herod Agrippa I, king of Judea
Herod Agrippa proved himself to be a true son of Herod the Great; just like his father, he shed innocent blood – the blood of Apostle James. Herod Agrippa, for no good reason, caught James the brother of John and killed him with the sword. He proceeded to take Peter and would have killed him had it not been for Divine intervention. Reference Acts 12:1–19
Herod Antipas or Herod the tetrarch of Galilee
Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great, arrested John the Baptist and put him in prison because he preached against his affair with Herodias, the wife of Philip, Antipas’s brother. Herod Antipas, initially, did not have any intention of killing John the Baptist. However, when Herod Antipas was celebrating his birthday, the daughter of Herodias came to dance at the feast, and it pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask for. Herodias talked her daughter into asking for the head of John the Baptist. Though Herod Antipas was sad because of her request, nevertheless he would not go back on his oath; so he ordered the executioner to behead John the Baptist in prison. John’s head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who sent it to Herodias, her mother. Herod Antipas and Herodias are guilty of shedding innocent blood – the blood of John the Baptist, a prophet of Yahuah. Reference Matthew 14:1–12; Mark 6:17–28
Pilate, governor of Judea.
“There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.” Luke 13:1(ESV)
This piece of history recorded in Luke 13:1 raises many questions in the minds of Bible readers: what did the Galileans do to deserve this brutal threat? Or, why did Pilate kill them? It is worth noting that they were neither committing any act of rebellion nor doing any act of violence. The imagery of the scripture suggests that these Galileans were some religious people offering their sacrifices in the temple; and then, for whatever reason, Pilate had his soldiers fall on them and kill them; and after having killed them he mingled their blood with the blood of the animals that they were killing for sacrifice. On account of this evil deed, Pilate, governor of Judea, shed innocent blood – the blood of some religious Galileans.