If you were, ask to put together a list containing ten of the most evil people in the Bible you would find it difficult though there are many to choose from. No doubt you would include Cain – first murderer (Satan excluded), Ahab / Jezebel – fraudulent business Manasseh – child sacrifice, Jeroboam I – Caused Israel to sin (Northern Kingdom), Herod the Great – killer of children, Herodias and Herod Antipas – killed John the Baptist, Judas betrayed Christ, Pontius Pilate – washed hands. Would you include Joram/Jehoram – killed his brothers, Abimelech – killed 70 brothers, or even Saul – before he became Paul, to make the final ten? For many people the Bible is a beacon of inspiration, a source of wonderful tales, and a unique moral guide. However, if we were to selectively take certain stories in the intellectual we could be greatly mistaken.
However, I want to argue that a place should be found on the list for a little-known character concealed in 1 Samuel, named Doeg the Edomite. The way in which Doeg appears on the scene, wreaks havoc, and disappears offers a great case study about how God relates to evil. A figure of great significance during Saul’s reign, but a man of radically different character, from Saul was Doeg. Doeg, was a close friend of Saul from the days of his youth, but tragically died at the tender age of thirty-four years old. Nevertheless, at that early age he had been president of the Sanhedrin and in Jewish circles considered the greatest scholar of his time. He was called Edomi, which means, not Edomite, but “he who causes the blush of shame” because by his deep mind and his learning he put to shame all who entered into argument with him. Nevertheless, his knowledge lay only on his lips, as his heart was not concerned in it, and his only ambition was to draw admiration of himself, his ego was uncontrollable. Little wonder, then, that his termination was catastrophic.
At the time of his death, Doeg had sunk so low that he forfeited all share in the life to come. Injured vanity caused his aggression toward David, who had got the better of him, David the only man who outsmarted him in a learned discussion. From that moment, Doeg direct all his energies to the task of ruining David. Doeg tried to poison Saul’s mind against David, by praising the latter inordinately, and so arousing Saul’s jealousy. Also, he would continue highlight David’s Moabite descent to all an sundry, and advocate that on account of it David could not be admitted into the congregation of Israel. Samuel and other prominent men had to bring to bear all the weight of their authority to shield David against the consequences of Doeg’s sophistry.
The bible though, is pack-filled with men of such shady character, and whose actions caused great pain to the recipients. Nehemiah was at the receiving end, “then Sanballat and Geshem sent a message to me, saying, “Come, let us meet together at Chephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they were planning to harm me” (Nehemiah 6:2). King David, “You, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel, Awake to punish all the nations; Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity. Selah” (Psalm 59:5). Jesus the Messiah did not escape this, “While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47-48). As noted earlier, Doeg life was cut short, a very disastrous end to a unique intellectual. The message of God is always love and offering of forgiveness when we ceased from our evil ways. To those of us who persist in using our lips to destroy, our treacherous actions will result in the same fate.