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Assassins

The term assassin was brought to Europe by the Crusaders (see Crusaders Of The Middle Ages) who used it in reference to an Islamic sect in Syria and "Palestine" (see Palestine) who considered the murder of "religious enemies" (i.e. to them, anyone who believed anything other than the teachings of Mohammad - see Islam) their "sacred duty." The English word assassin is derived from the Arabic word hashishi, meaning "hashish eater" - they often used hashish before they committed their acts of terrorism. While the ancient meaning is still at least partly accurate today (e.g. the man who assassinated US Senator and Presidential-candidate Robert Kennedy in 1968 was Islamic and Palestinian-born), the modern-day usage of the term is generally used for anyone who murders a political (e.g. U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin) or religious (e.g. Rabbi Meir Kahane in Brooklyn, Mahatma Ghandi in India) leader by surprise assault.

Sword

Assassinations In The Bible

During Bible History, the Kings of Israel and Judah, and others, were justifiably concerned with the possibility of assassination. Some examples:

King Joash of Judah was assassinated by his own servants:

"Now the rest of the acts of Joash, and all that he did, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? His servants arose and made a conspiracy, and slew Joash in the house of Millo, on the way that goes down to Silla. It was Jozacar the son of Shimeath and Jehozabad the son of Shomer, his servants, who struck him down, so that he died. And they buried him with his fathers in the city of David, and Amaziah his son reigned in his stead." (2 Kings 12:19-21 RSV)

Joab assassinated Abner:

"When Joab came out from David's presence, he sent messengers after Abner, and they brought him back from the cistern of Sirah; but David did not know about it. And when Abner returned to Hebron, Joab took him aside into the midst of the gate to speak with him privately, and there he smote him in the belly, so that he died, for the blood of Asahel his brother. Afterward, when David heard of it, he said, "I and my kingdom are for ever guiltless before The Lord for the blood of Abner the son of Ner." (2 Samuel 3:26-28 RSV)

After failing to conquer Jerusalem, King Sennacherib of Assyria was assassinated by his own sons:

"And The Lord sent an angel, who cut off all the mighty warriors and commanders and officers in the camp of the king of Assyria [see The Day Sennacherib Challenged God]. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he came into the house of his god, some of his own sons struck him down there with the sword." (2 Chronicles 32:21 RSV)

Fact Finder: Was the killing of Jesus Christ in some ways similar to an assassination?
See Hypocrites


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