Ten Surprising Stories in the Bible

From Snakes to Prostitutes to Vegetarians.

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7. Amnon and Tamar

Samuel II Chapter 13

Amnon and Tamar are half-siblings, both children of King David. Amnon becomes infatuated with Tamar, and ultimately rapes her. To retaliate, Absalom, another of David's sons, kills Amnon.

8. Elijah passes the torch to Elisha

Kings II Chapter 2

The prophet Elijah doesn't die; he ascends to heaven in a chariot. But before he leaves he gives Elisha a double portion of his spirit (whatever that means), and Elisha performs a series of wild miracles, including summoning two bears to mangle 42 unruly children.

9. Daniel the Wise Vegetarian

Daniel 1:8-21

When Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are living in King Nebuchadnezzar's palace they don't want to eat the (presumably non-kosher) food being served, and they ask for beans and legumes instead. The chief officer in charge of them is afraid going vegetarian will make them weak minded, but they become the wisest of all the men in the kingdom.

10. Hosea's Family Names

Hosea 1:2-8

God commands Hosea to marry a prostitute, which he does. When she begins having children Hosea names them Jezreel, Not-Accepted, and Not-My-People.

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Tamar Fox

Tamar Fox is an associate editor at MyJewishLearning.com. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Vanderbilt University, and a BA from the University of Iowa. She has worked as the editor of the religion blog at Jewcy.com. She spent a summer as a fellow at Yeshivat Hadar, and was a Senior Apprentice Artist for four years at Gallery 37 in Chicago.