Punished by their sins

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There are times when God does not need to personally intervene in human affairs in order for sinners to be punished for their sins. He has already set up a system whereby the consequences of a person's disobedience can come back upon them and punish them for their misdeeds. King Solomon wrote of this phenomenon in the book of Proverbs.

22. His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be held with the cords of his sins. 23. He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall breathe his last (Proverbs 5:22 - 23, HBFV throughout)

7. The robbery (violence and oppression) of the wicked shall destroy them because they refuse to do what is just (21:7, see also 13:21)

Below are four Biblical people whose had the consequences of their sins ultimately catch up with them and make them pay the ultimate price.

Abimelech, one of Gideon's many sons, desired to be 'great' (Judges 9). His convincing of his mother's household that he should be their leader led him to receive some money from the people of Shechem. The money was used to hire "vain" (empty and worthless) men to follow him. Traveling to his father's house at Ophrah, he had SEVENTY of his brothers killed.

After 'ruling' like a king for three years, God allowed a spirit of contention and bitterness to come between Abimelech and those in Shechem. Citizens of the city formed an army and fought Abimelech but lost. After defeating the citizen army he punished Shechem by MURDERING all of its people (verses 40 - 59). He then occupied the city of Thebez. While trying to burn a tower in the city where citizens were hiding, an unnamed woman dropped a piece of a millstone on Abimelech's head. With his skull broken by the stone, Abimelech has his armorbearer end his life (verses 53 - 54).

Athaliah is called in the Bible "that wicked woman" (2Chronicles 24:7). She had a notorious upbringing, as her parents were the evil King Ahab of Israel and Queen Jezebel. She married Jehoram, who reigned as King of Judah from 853 to 841 B.C. She allowed her sons to pillage the temple in Jerusalem and offer its sacred objects to the pagan god Baal. After her son King Ahaziah of Judah died after ruling only one year she assumed the throne of Judah.

How many sins are unpardonable?
Who has God killed for their disobedience?
Should we forgive but not forget others' sins?
Who are the most EVIL people in Scripture?
Why was David punished for taking a census?

As Queen, Athaliah increased her sins against God by killing all the male descendants of the royal household of David EXCEPT a child named of Joash (2Kings 11:1- 2, 2Chronicles 22:10 - 11). After reigning for six years as the only female to rule either Judah or Israel, the palace guard struck her down (2Kings 11:3 - 16). Joash succeeded her as ruler. The couple who protected the very young Joash from the Queen instigated the plot that took her life.

Haman was an Amalekite who was elevated to the powerful position of Persian prime minister under the reign of King Ahasuerus. Haman's pride and vanity got the better of him when he filled himself with anger when a low-level Jewish official (the Jews at the time were captives of the Persian Empire) named Mordecai refused to give him the kind of 'divine adoration' he demanded (Esther 3:1 - 2). He soon begins to seek ways to bring about the destruction of ALL Jews in the Kingdom.

Haman is so zealous to destroy the Jews that after lying to the King regarding their loyalty to obey the laws of the empire, he offers to PAY OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET for their total annihilation! After getting the King to agree to the slaughter (verses 8 - 11) Haman has gallows specially built in order to hang Mordecai (Esther 5:10 - 14). Mordecai, however, with the help of the King's wife Esther (who was a Jew whom Mordecai raised after her parents died) thwarts Haman's plans and saves the Jews. In one of the greatest ironic moments in history, Haman himself is executed on the gallows when the king discovers his evil plot (7:10)! Jews to this day yearly celebrate the deliverance from extinction through Esther and Mordecai by the festival called Purim.

Jezebel was the notorious and devilish wife of Israel's King Ahab. She worshipped false gods and encouraged others to do evil. She lived more than 14 years after Ahab died and certainly seemed to have gotten away with not being punished for her sins. One day, King Jehu of Israel entered the city where she lived. After she put makeup on and made a somewhat nasty comment to the king out her window, he commanded the eunuchs who served her to throw her out the window! The eunuchs complied and the evil queen was killed (2Kings 9:30 -33). Instead of being buried, the dogs of the city tear up and eat her corpse, which was prophecied to happen because of her sins (see 1Kings 21:23, 2Kings 9:1 - 10).

Additional Study Materials
What are the seven deadly sins?
What exactly is a Eunuch?
What does Proverbs say about evil being punished?
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