Explore a list of villains in the Bible with a brief description of their bad deeds and fate. These Biblical villains in the Old and New Testaments were bad guys and girls who opposed God, His chosen people of Israel, and Jesus Christ.
Some of these villains did repent and receive God’s mercy, while others persisted in their wickedness and faced God’s judgment for their sins.
Villains In the Bible
The villains in the Bible are Satan, Cain, Pharaoh, Achan, Delilah, Abimelech, Goliath, Absalom, Queen Jezebel, Athaliah, King Nebuchadnezzar, Haman, King Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, Herodias, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, The Pharisees, and Abaddon.
Satan is the most famous villain in the Bible and the first bad guy to appear in the Old Testament of the Bible. Also known as Lucifer or the Devil, Satan is the ultimate enemy of God and humanity. He was originally an angel who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven. He tempts people to sin and accuses them before God. He also has a host of demons who serve him and oppose God’s will.
Satan first appears in Genesis 3 disguised as a serpent and deceives Adam and Eve into disobeying God by eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Satan is the main antagonist of the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation, where he is depicted as a dragon, a beast, and a false prophet. Satan will be defeated by Jesus Christ at the end of the age and thrown into the lake of fire.
Cain is the next Biblical villain that appears in Scripture. He was the firstborn of Adam and Eve and the elder brother of Abel. Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy because God accepted Abel’s offering but not his. Cain was cursed by God for murdering his brother and sent to wander as a fugitive on earth. However, God marked Cain with a sign to protect him from anyone who might kill him.
Even though Cain was a major villain, his sin is a reminder that God shows mercy on us in spite of our weaknesses–or outright depravity. The Almighty God is a God of grace. (See Genesis 4.)
Pharoah is the ruler of Egypt who enslaved the Israelites and refused to let them go when Moses demanded their freedom in God’s name. Pharaoh was a villain who hardened his heart against God’s signs and wonders, including the ten plagues that afflicted Egypt. He finally let the Israelites go after God had killed every firstborn son in Egypt but then changed his mind and pursued them with his army. Pharaoh and his army were drowned in the Red Sea when God parted it for the Israelites and closed it on them. (See Exodus 2-15.)
Achan is an Israelite who disobeyed God’s command to destroy everything in Jericho. This Biblical villain took some of the devoted things, such as silver, gold, and a robe, and hid them in his tent. This caused God’s anger to burn against Israel and made them lose the battle against Ai. Although Achan did an evil thing, he confessed his sin to God and repented but was not spared by his people. Achan was stoned to death along with his family and his possessions burned. (See Joshua 7.)
Delilah is a female Bible villain in the Old Testament. She was a Philistine woman who seduced Samson, a judge and hero of Israel who had supernatural strength from God. She betrayed Samson for a bag of silver by bringing in a Philistine to cut off his hair, which was the source of his strength, while he slept. Delilah was an evil woman whose name has since become synonymous with a voluptuous, treacherous woman. (See Judges 16.)
Abimelech is the son of Gideon’s concubine who tried to become king by force. Abimelech killed all of his brothers except for one, Jotham, who escaped. He became came after Gideon’s death and ruled over Shechem for three years. But then God sent an evil spirit between him and the people of Shechem, who rebelled against him. He was killed by a woman who threw a millstone on his head. (See Judges 9.)
Goliath is one of the most famous Biblical villains in the Old Testament and his story is among the favorite for children. He was a giant Philistine warrior who challenged the Israelites to single combat, but none of them dared to face him. He was also a bad guy in the Bible for defying God and mocking His people.
Goliath was ultimately killed by David, a young shepherd boy who slung a stone at Goliath’s forehead to defeat him. David then cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword. Goliath’s death caused the Philistines to flee and the Israelites to return home to rejoice in the victory. (See 1 Samuel 17.)
Absalom is a son of King David who rebelled against his father and tried to usurp his throne. He killed his brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar, and then fled to Geshur. He later returned to Jerusalem and conspired with Ahithophel to overthrow King David. He was a really bad guy who was eventually defeated by David’s army and killed by Joab, despite David’s order to spare his life. (See 2 Samuel 13-18.)
Queen Jezebel is a famous female villain in the Bible. She was a Phoenician princess who married King Ahab of Israel. She introduced pagan worship of Baal and Asherah into Israel and persecuted the prophets of God.
Queen Jezebel’s worst sin was arranging for the murder of Naboth, a righteous man who refused to sell his vineyard to Ahab. She was confronted by the prophet Elijah, who predicted her downfall. She was thrown out of a window by her own servants and eaten by dogs. (See 1 Kings 18-21.)
Athaliah is the daughter of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel of Israel who reigned from 841–835 BC. She was a wicked woman who married King Jehoram of Judah. After her son Ahaziah was killed by Jehu, the king of Israel, she seized the throne of Judah and killed all the royal heirs, except for her grandson Joash, who was hidden by his aunt Jehosheba.
Athaliah promoted the worship of Baal and opposed the worship of the God of Israel and Judah. She was overthrown by a revolt led by Jehoiada, the high priest, who crowned Joash as the rightful king. She was ultimately executed in the temple area for her treason and idolatry. (See 2 Kings 11.)
King Nebuchadnezzar is one of the greatest bad guys in the Bible. He was the most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He conquered Jerusalem and took many Jews into exile. He also erected a huge statue of himself and commanded everyone to worship it or be thrown into a fiery furnace.
Although a major villain to God’s chosen people of Israel, King Nebuchadnezzar was ultimately humbled by the Lord, who made him lose his sanity and live like an animal for seven years. He eventually acknowledged God’s sovereignty and was restored to his throne. (See 2 Chronicles 36; Jeremiah 52; Daniel 1-5.)
Haman is an Agagite, a descendant of Agag, king of the Amalekites. He was honored by King Ahasuerus of Persia and expected everyone to bow down to him. He was enraged when Mordecai, a Jew, refused to do so, and plotted to destroy all the Jews in the kingdom. Haman obtained the king’s decree to annihilate the Jews, but his plan was foiled by Queen Esther, Mordecai’s cousin. The King was outraged at Haman’s treachery and ordered that he be executed instead. Haman was hanged on the gallows he had prepared for Mordecai. (See Esther 3-9.)
King Herod the Great
King Herod the Great is the first villain that appears in the New Testament of the Bible. King Herod was a Roman-appointed king of Judea who served during the time of Jesus’ birth. He was well-known for his cruelty and paranoia and killed many of his own family members, including his wife Mariamne I, his sons Antipater, Alexander, and Aristobulus, and his brother-in-law Kostobar, for suspected plots against him.
King Herod the Great also ordered the massacre of all the male infants in Bethlehem, hoping to kill the newborn King of the Jews (the Messiah) which was Jesus Christ. However, King Herod the Great failed to kill Jesus, whose parents were warned by an angel, and escaped to Egypt; returning to Israel only after King Herod died. (See Matthew 2.)
Herod Antipas is the son of Herod the Great and the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. He married Herodias, his brother’s wife, which angered John the Baptist. He imprisoned John and later beheaded him at the request of Herodias’ daughter Salome. He also mocked Jesus and sent him back to Pontius Pilate during his trial. (See Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-28; Luke 3:19-20; 9:7-9; 23:6-12).
Herodias is a daughter of Aristobulus, a son of Herod the Great, and the wife of Herod Philip I. She left her husband and married his half-brother Herod Antipas, which violated the law of Moses. She hated John the Baptist for condemning her marriage and plotted to kill him. She used her daughter Salome to ask for John’s head on a platter after pleasing Herod with her dance (See Matthew 14:3-11; Mark 6:17-28).
Judas Iscariot is one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ who was called to follow Him. He betrayed Jesus to the Jewish authorities for thirty pieces of silver. He led a band of soldiers to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and identified him with a kiss. Judas Iscariot later regretted his betrayal and tried to return the money, but the priests refused to take it back. He hanged himself in despair. (See Matthew 26; Luke 22; John 18.)
Pontius Pilate is the Roman governor of Judea who presided over the trial of Jesus. Pontius Pilate found no fault in Jesus, but succumbed to the pressure of the Jewish leaders and the crowd who demanded his crucifixion. Although he is seen as one of the major villains in the Bible, Pontius Pilate washed his hands to symbolize his innocence in ordering Jesus to be flogged and executed. He also wrote the inscription “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” on the cross to affirm that it was the Jewish leaders who were responsible for Jesus being crucified. (See Matthew 27; Mark 15; Luke 23; John 18-19.)
The Pharisees are a religious-political group of influential Jews who were zealous for the law and oral tradition. They often clashed with Jesus and his disciples over their interpretation and application of the Scriptures. The Pharisees were the major bad guys in the Bible’s New Testament divsion because they were hypocritical, legalistic, and self-righteous, and rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They plotted to kill Jesus, had him crucified, and persecuted the early church (See the Book of Matthew; Mark, Luke, John; Acts).
Abaddon is a demonic being who rules over the Abyss, a place of torment for fallen angels during Tribulation mentioned in the Book of Revelation. He unleashes a horde of locusts that torments the people who do not have God’s seal on their foreheads. Abaddon was also called Apollyon, which means “destroyer” (See Revelation 9:11).
Go Beyond Bible Villains
The Bible is filled with more than just villains. Both the Old Testament and New Testament contain many heroes throughout the Scriptures. See the guides below to learn more about these heroic figures who pushed against the Biblical bad guys and girls..
- Old Testament Heroes In the Bible
- Heroes of Faith In the Bible (From Hebrews Chapter 11)
- New Testament Heroes In the Bible
Summary for Biblical Villains
We hope you enjoyed this list of villains in the Bible.
As you discovered, these bad guys and girls are known as Biblical villains because they opposed God, His chosen people of Israel, and Jesus Christ (the Messiah). Fortunately, some of these villains did repent and receive God’s mercy but others persisted in their sins and faced God’s judgment for their wicked deeds.
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