Surprising Facts You Never Knew About the Bible

The Orphan Psalms

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No, they’re not the ones about orphans. They’re the psalms without an author attached (18 in the Hebrew Bible, 17 more in the New Testament). In addition to King David, who is credited with some of the best of the lot including the 23rd (“The Lord is my shepherd/I shall not want”), and his successor Solomon, there were at least half a dozen other contributors, including Moses.

Toughest biblical heroine

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Hands down, it’s got to be Judith. A ravishing, ruthless widow in the town of Bethuliah who seduces Holofernes, the general of the invading Persian army, gets him drunk in his own tent, and decapitates him with two strokes of his own sword. She sticks the head into a bag, walks up to the gates and displays it, scaring away the enemy forces. Could a modern spy do better? We think not.

Worst family member in Scriptures?

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There’s a lot of competition for this one. Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his only son on God’s command, is certainly in the running. Then there’s Cain, who kills his only brother (more about him below). Then there’s Rebecca, who connives with her son Jacob to cheat his elder brother Esau out of his birthright, even going so far as to lay a pelt on Jacob’s arm to convince her dying husband he is actually Esau (who was known as a “hairy man”).

However, Joseph’s brothers take the cake: When father Jacob gives Joseph a coat of many colors (remember the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat?), his jealous older brothers decide to kill Joseph and throw him in a hole. One brother intervenes, so they sell him into slavery instead, telling dad that Joseph was eaten by a wild animal. How’s that for sibling rivalry?

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