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Evil Kings In The Bible – Ahab, Saul, Manasseh, and more

There are several evil kings mentioned in the Bible, such as — King Rehoboam (the son of King Solomon and king of Judah for seventeen years), King Ahaz (the twelfth king of the southern kingdom of Judah), Manasseh (who promoted idolatry throughout his kingdom), Herod Antipas (a co-conspirator in the death of Christ), Herod the Great, Saul, and Ahab.

The Bible is perfect, full of lessons from good and bad experiences and godly and evil men.

The Bible presents events and people of contrasting nature to let us understand that God uses various experiences, good and bad, to fulfill His will and teach us His ways.

That is why we have records of people with exceptional characters, and evil people placed side-by-side.

There are various examples of kings in the Bible.

Some served God and drew His people closer to Him, while others served strange gods, oppressed the people, and did great evil before God.

Here are some of the evil kings in the Bible.

List of Evil Kings in the Bible:


list of bad kings in the bible

The death of Ahab – Picture from The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments books collection published in 1885, Stuttgart-Germany

Ahab was the King of Israel. Here’s what the Bible says about him. “Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him.” (1 Kings 16:30).

King Ahab was known for forsaking the One true God of Israel and worshipping false gods like Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 16:31–33).

One of the highlights of his sins was marrying Jezebel, an idol worshipper who influenced his idolatry.

Jezebel was a bloodthirsty queen who hated God and his prophets and hunted them down, massacring them (1 Kings 18:4).

Ahab disobeyed God’s direct command to destroy Ben-Hadad, the King of Syria who waged war against Israel.

Instead, Ahab formed a treaty with him (1 Kings 20). His action displeased the Lord, who sent His prophet saying, “Your life shall go for his life, and your people for his people.”

Another instance of Ahab’s evil was his encounter with Naboth the Jezreelite (1 Kings 21).

Naboth had a vineyard close to the palace, and Ahab approached him to give it to him in exchange for another one. However, Naboth declined, stating the vineyard was an inheritance from his father.

Ahab So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased, telling Jezebel what happened.

She then planned for Naboth’s murder, using Ahab’s office seal, and gave her husband the land.

Ahab’s death was followed by an unaimed arrow.


evil kings of israel

Conversion of Saul – Picture from The Holy Scriptures, Old and New Testaments books collection published in 1885

Saul, the King of Israel, started off as a good man.

He was chosen by God to be the first king of united Israel. God was with him, and he prospered. However, everything changed when he disobeyed God’s command to utterly destroy the Amalekites by killing man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox, sheep, camel, and donkey.

However, Saul spared Agag, the King, and the fattest cattle, with the claim of wanting to sacrifice them to God.

God rejected him and chose David to replace him.

Saul became possessed by an evil spirit.

He hunted David and tried to kill him on several occasions but failed.

Saul became obsessed with killing David.

It was reported to him at a certain time that Ahimelech, a priest of God, had helped David.

Saul sent for Ahimelech and his family and ordered they be killed.

Eighty-five priests were killed that day.

Saul also invaded Nob, the city of the priests, men and women, children and nursing infants, oxen, and donkeys, and sheep were all slaughtered.

Because God had rejected Saul, He no longer spoke to him. So Saul consulted a medium to call Samuel’s spirit to know what fate has for him (1 Samuel 28).

A medium uses evil spirits to conjure the dead. God is against it and commands that everyone who practices it be put to death (Leviticus 19:31, Leviticus 20:27)

Herod the Great

good and bad kings of the bible

Magi before Herod

He was King of the Jews when Jesus was born.

The prophecy about a king that will be born was already in existence since the time of Isaiah (Isaiah 9:6). However, when the wise men from the East came in search of the King of the Jews born in Bethlehem, Herod felt threatened because he felt Jesus was going to be a political king that will take over his throne. So the quest to kill him began.

He told the wise men to give him the location where Jesus was. But they were warned in a dream not to disclose it to him.

Herod became enraged when the wise men did not return with feedback and started a killing spree.

He ordered that all male children in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, be put to death, but Mary and Joseph had fled to Egypt with baby Jesus (Matthew 2:16).

He is a wicked king because he ordered the killing of children.

Herod Antipas

Herod was the King of Galilee.

He was having an affair with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. John the Baptist spoke against his ungodly relationship with his brother’s wife.

So, he arrested and locked him up. His initial plan was to kill John, but he was afraid of the uprising that might arise because the people considered John the Baptist a prophet, so he kept him in jail.

Herodias’s daughter did a dance performance that thrilled Herod during Herod’s birthday.

He was so pleased he swore to give her whatever she might ask.

She consulted her mother, who hated John the Baptist for speaking against her affair with the King.

She prompted her to ask for John’s head.

Herod obliged because of the oath. John was beheaded, and his head was on a platter and given to the girl, who presented it to her mother.

Herod was evil for ordering the killing of an innocent man.


most evil king in the bible

Manasseh, shackled to neck, hands and feet near a bridge. Before him lies a crown – a reference to his kingship.

Manasseh was the King of Judah, who reigned for fifty-five years in Jerusalem.

The Bible records he did evil in God’s sight, rebuilding alters his father, Hezekiah, had destroyed.

He went deep into idol worship to the extent of converting the house of the Lord to a place of idol worship (2 Kings 21:1–18).

He sacrificed his son, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums.

He deliberately desecrated God’s temple to provoke God’s anger.

He led people astray and seduced them to do evil.

Manasseh was an evil king because his reign was characterized by extreme idolatry and wickedness.

King AhazWho are the wicked kings in the Bible

King Ahaz was the son of Jotham, king of Judah, and succeeded him at the age of 20 (or 25, according to some sources).

Ahaz is portrayed as a bad king and wicked ruler in the Old Testament and in the eyes of the Lord with few good decisions.

During his reign, he faced many trials but persisted in his wickedness and refused to repent.

His rule was marked by idolatry and other forms of wickedness that displeased God.

One particularly notable event during Ahaz’s reign was when he copied a pagan altar for use in Jerusalem instead of trusting in God for protection against Assyria – something which greatly angered many people at the time, including Isaiah himself, who warned him not to do it (Isaiah 7:3-4).

King Rehoboam

Rehoboam was born to King Solomon and Naamah, an Ammonite princess. Despite his privileged upbringing, Rehoboam’s reign would ultimately be marked by strife and division.

Here’s a quick recap of the most wicked kings in the Bible:

  1. Ahab
  2. Saul
  3. King Herod the Great
  4. Herod Antipas
  5. Manasseh King of Judah
  6. King Ahaz
  7. King Rehoboam


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