ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Is Mental Illness in the Bible? Part II

Updated on August 9, 2009
"Death of King Saul", 1848 Elie Marcuse (Germany and France) 1817-1902
"Death of King Saul", 1848 Elie Marcuse (Germany and France) 1817-1902

In my first Hub "Is Mental Health in the Bible?" Examples of faithful men were listed and you learned about their times of deep depression however situational. in this second hub the discussed characters are those that suffer from the most serious forms of mental illness. Some fell away or committed suicide and others came back to know God? Lets look at these extreme mentally ill candidates and cross parallels.

1. Nebuchadnezzar (reigned 605-562 B.C.) was a king of Babylon during a long and eventful reign the Neo-Babylonian Empire attained its peak and the city of Babylon its greatest glory under his reign. After seeing Daniel come out of the Lions Dens this King respected and acknowledged God almighty. Later we see his life takes many wild twists and in Daniel 4: 30-33 Attributes of an insane man – Then look at 34 –37 he had hit rock bottom (family killed, God sending vengience) and we see the King in a dire mad state . Quickly look at 34-37 We see Nebuchadnezzar's recovery from his mental issues. This King had a purpose he became a monument of God's justice and a trophy of his victory over the children of pride, Nebechadnezzar was humbled quicker by becoming insane than if he had been in an instant struck dead with a thunderbolt; here we see in our God’s mercy he was kept alive he still hit rock bottom yet in these scriptures he praises God (When he comes to his right mind King James says " At the end of the days" (he even says), "I praise the King of Heaven" Verse 37 However take note a key word that shows up 36 states when my reason returned to me. In these few words it is obvious that he was suffering from severe mental illness.

2. SAUL- The most certain case of mental illness in the Bible, in my opinion, is Saul. I Samuel 7:1 - 31:13 King Saul started out as a superior person, who became shows unstable thinking over a period of time, due to a number of unfortunate encounters in his life. 1 Samuel 9:17 The biblical description of King Saul is one of anxiety, depression, and severe bouts of manic behavior. In Saul’s encounters with David we find many of the causes for anxiety and depression and later suicide.  1 Samuel 31: 4 Saul’s behavior is consistent with manic depression or similar emotional conditions according to some scholars. The Biblical writer interprets this in the language of his understanding, but this does not change a major point: God was still dealing with Saul, even as a mentally ill person. Saul was a mentally ill King. God never told him to step aside, but to do what was right. In Saul, we are reminded that this message from God is our best advise to those out of touch with reality.

We see God’s dealings with Saul in two ways: the compassion and forgiveness of David, and the tragic consequences of Saul’s actions. In both of these, we see these two Biblical truths. Saul was a fully human person while he was mentally ill, and his actions were actions of moral responsibility. David, however, incarnates God’s mercy toward Saul, and shows us God’s compassion for the mentally ill.

I would suggest that to see all mentally ill persons- which includes many of us at some point in life- as purely victims is dehumanizing to an extent that compromises human dignity. God addresses Saul as responsible throughout this episode. Saul never ceases to be a human person to whom God’s commands can be addressed.

Yet, at the same time, David deals with Saul as one afflicted. He respects not only God’s choice of Saul, but Saul’s suffering with the “evil spirit.” This leaves us in an uncomfortable place. Many would want the mentally ill to be removed from responsibility. I believe this is the wrong way to view most mentally ill persons. Yet, we must also view them truthfully, fully taking into account what we can know about their condition, and treating them with caution with full awareness of their affliction. 

When he came to himself- I will end with passages I found in the new testament that come to mind about my chosen subject in Luke  /Luke 5:5 a man was demon possed (I do believe it was real demons) however this man was showing signs of severe mental problems and issues by acting out on himself and cutting himself with sharp stones. When he came to his right ming the bible state. I also noticed in the parable of the lost son in Luke 15:17 When he came to himself… What could this imply? Obviously sin had sent these mens in an altered state and he came out of it when he hit rock bottom. We need to pray for the mentally ill not condemn them.

Please think about these men and their unique mental states next time you read your Bible it will add a new spin to your studies.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      7 years ago

      how about Ishmael's mental state? Will he qualify as autistic should today's experts on developmental psychology examine him?

    • profile image

      sceptical and maybe about to report you? 

      7 years ago

      have you visited by micheal spencer.

      ONe of you is a liar - Spencer or you. Judging by the english on this site, i suspect it's you whom has stolen major parts of Micheal Spencer's speech. tut tut

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Nebakanezer suffered from lycanthropy.

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      7 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great hub. I was just looking through a psychology text book and there is a name for the mental illness of Nebukeezer. I will right back and give it to you. It is very rare.

    • profile image

      Ken Thomas 

      9 years ago

      You've done a good job with a challenging subject. Good insights! :)


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)