Summary: What does the Bible say about suicide?
Suicide and the Church
Hot Potato the Church Wonft Touch #3
I donft think there is anything in this life more heartbreaking than suicide. It affects much more than the one life lost. The family, friends, acquaintances, community and generations to come are affected by the choice to die of one solitary person. Even more complicated are the cases of murder-suicide like the one we experienced in Zanesville at the bus garage a few years ago. Here the depressed person not only killed themself, but also killed the one they blamed for their unhappiness. The hard part for the victims family is that we canft punish the murderer for what they have done, and itfs hard to find closure. Probably every one here has known someone who has committed suicide, or has attempted suicide. Many more of us may have at least thought of it personally at some low point in our life. Even though they didnft attempt suicide the spiritual giants of the Bible Elijah and Job begged God for death in their darkest hours.
I The Problem of Suicide in Society
FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE IN THE USA
œ More than 30,000 reported annually (83 per day, 1 every 17 minutes)* (Experts believe the actual count is twice that high.) * (And there are 8-20 attempts for each completed suicide)
œ Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death; But 3rd among Youth (15-24); and highest among those over 65 (Elderly).
œ In recent survey 60% of teens thought about it, and 9% had tried at least once.
œ Persons under 25 accounted for 15% of all suicides in 2000. (From the 1950’s to the late 70’s the suicide rate increased by 200%, and has remained steady since.)
œ Psychological autopsy studies show that more than 90% of completed suicides had one or more mental disorders.
œ More people die from suicide than from homicide. (In 2000 1.7 times more).
œ In 1999 white males accounted for 72% of all suicides. (And 84% of those over 65 in 2000)
œ Males are more than four times more likely to die from suicide. But females attempt suicide more. (Why? Women use less lethal means.)
œ Most attempts are from women in their 20’s and 30’s.
œ Suicide rates are highest among the divorced, separated, and widowed and lowest among the married.
œ Also high among homosexual & bisexual. (One Study 30% attempted, ½ of that multiple attempts)
II Suicide in the Bible
The Bible contains two prohibitions against killing (Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17), but nowhere does it expressly forbid suicide. The word is not even mentioned in the Bible. It may be because life is viewed as a sacred gift of God, and the power of life and death is in his sovereign hand. The presence of the positive statements may make the negative one unnecessary There are seven recorded persons who took their life in the Bible.
1. Abimelech Judges 9:54
-He had already received the death blow, and was in the process of dying
-So he could not pull off the suicide himself, so servant did at his request
-Reason for suicide- Didnft want memory to be -he was killed by a woman.
2. Samson Judges 16:30
-This was also not technically a suicide- more and act of war, or revenge.
-He was in the will of God, God enabled him to pull it off
-Reason-Revenge for his eyes -To do what Godfs assignment for him was -Deliver Israel
3. Saul 1 Samuel 31:4
-He was already wounded, but if it was mortally wounded is questionable.
-He asked for another to assist him, but was refused.
-So he fell on his own sword
-He was out of the will of God
-Reason for Suicide- He didnft want to endure torture
4. Armor Bearer of Saul 1 Samuel 31:5
-His master the king had already committed suicide. (Suicide may run in families but not genetic
-Like here it can be an unconsciously suggested as a means of coping with overwhelming problems.
-He must have reasoned -the battle is lost - I will die anyway
-Reason-He followed another, fearing torture too.
5. Ahithophel 2 Samuel 17:23
-He was once a great counselor for David
-He switched to Absalom after Davidfs affair with Bathsheba
-Clearly foresaw the result of Huchaifs advise and knowing himself doomed.
-He planned his death gput his house in orderh and hanged himself
-He was out of will of God
-Reason for suicide -He saw the rebellion failing, and he would be considered a traitor.
6. Zimri 1 Kings 16:18
-He had murdered the king while drunk and killed his family, He had been in charge of the chariots
-He then became king and reigned seven days, but he had no following
-Omri led Israel to take Tirzah which was the capital.