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by Wayne Blank
There are many recorded examples of bullies in the Bible, most of them being arrogant kings or appointed rulers who were dictators over their hapless subjects, whether their own people, or the people of a nation that they invaded. All eventually fell from power, no exceptions. Either their own people got rid of them before their nation was led further into disaster, or they were defeated militarily as a result, more often than not, not because of the bully's overestimating of himself or the powers at his command, but because of his arrogant underestimating of those who were forced to defend themselves from him.
In some cases, bullies went so far as to try to bully God with their blasphemy, as in the example of the Assyrian king Sennacherib who invaded Judah (the Assyrians had already conquered the northern kingdom of Israel - see The Galilee Captivity). God took care of that one Himself by annihilating Sennacherib's 185,000 man army that had Jerusalem under siege. His sons then assassinated him.
Sennacherib's own record of his invasion of Judah, which matches the Biblical account, has been found by archaeologists. The clay prism is now in the Oriental Institute Museum in Chicago. A translated excerpt from it illustrates the typical arrogance of a bully:
"Because Hezekiah, king of Judah, would not submit to my yoke, I came up against him, and by force of arms and by the might of my power I took forty-six of his strong fenced cities; and of the smaller towns which were scattered about, I took and plundered a countless number. From these places I took and carried off 200,156 persons, old and young, male and female, together with horses and mules, asses and camels, oxen and sheep, a countless multitude; and Hezekiah himself I shut up in Jerusalem, his capital city, like a bird in a cage, building towers round the city to hem him in, and raising banks of earth against the gates, so as to prevent escape ... Then upon Hezekiah there fell the fear of the power of my arms, and he sent out to me the chiefs and the elders of Jerusalem with 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver, and divers treasures, a rich and immense booty ... All these things were brought to me at Nineveh, the seat of my government."
The Assyrian prism stops short of recording the outcome of the invasion (as usual, ancient kings recorded their apparent victories, not their later defeats), however the Bible record completes the account - the Assyrian army was annihilated, not by Hezekiah's army, but by God:
"Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah [see Kings of Israel and Judah], that Sennacherib king of Assyria [see Ancient Empires - Assyria] came up against all the defenced cities of Judah, and took them. And the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem unto king Hezekiah with a great army. And he stood by the conduit of the upper pool in the highway of the fuller's field" (Isaiah 36:1-2 KJV)
Fact Finder: Who is an example of a "Christian" bully who abused his brethren?