Saturday, April 18, 2015
BEHEADING (DECAPITATION) TRADITIONS IN THE SCRIPTURES AND IN POST-BOOK OF MORMON ANCIENT AMERICAN CULTURES By Mark F. Cheney ©2015 Although this essay may seem like a gruesome undertaking, beheadings are well known in the scriptures and in the ancient world. Perhaps the most famous beheading in the Christian world is that of David’s act after slaying the giant, Goliath (1 Samuel 17), and it should be noted that he performed the deed with the victim’s own sword which may be noteworthy as a possible part of some tradition in itself. Some Old Testament references to decapitations follow: Judges 7:25 And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb ... and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon.... 1 Samuel 17:57 And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, ... [he] brought ... the head of the Philistine in his hand. 1 Samuel 31:9 They cut off his head and stripped off his weapons, and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to the house of their idols and to the people. 2 Samuel 4:7-8 And they smote him, and slew him, and beheaded him, and took his head ... brought the head of Ishbosheth unto David.... 2 Samuel 16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head." 2 Samuel 20:22 And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and cast it out to Joab. 2 Kings 10:7-8 [T]hey took the king's sons, and slew seventy persons, and put their heads in baskets, and sent him them to Jezreel. And there came a messenger, and told him, saying, They have brought the heads of the king's sons. And he said, Lay ye them in two heaps at the entering in of the gate until the morning. Judith 13:2-11 They were all overcharged with wine ... But Holofernes lay on his bed, fast asleep, being exceedingly drunk. ... Judith stood before the bed praying ... Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel ... that I may bring to pass ... that it might be done by thee ... When she had said this, she ... loosed his sword ... And ... she took him by the hair of his head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord ... And she struck twice upon his neck, and cut off his head ... And after a while she went out, and delivered the head of Holofernes to her maid, and bade her put it into her wallet. And some New Testament references to beheadings, notably, John the Baptist’s: Matthew 14:10 And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. Mark 6:16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead. Mark 6:27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, Luke 9:9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him. Revelation 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.