Vengeance is a recurring theme in the Bible, appearing with frequency in its narratives, laws, prophetic visions, and wisdom literature. The Bible embodies a rich tapestry of teachings on this keen human emotion, exploring vengeance in its various facets, manifestations, and implications.
What Vengeance Signifies in the Bible
Vengeance in the Bible is often depicted as a divine prerogative, reserved for God’s exclusive action and control. Maintaining a deep concern for justice and righteousness, the Bible contends that vengeance belongs to God, who will mete out retribution on the deserving in His infallible wisdom and unerring fairness. This view of vengeance projects God’s incorruptible nature and His commitment to justice, establishing Him as the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong.
Where the Bible Stands on Personal Vengeance
The Bible consistently discourages personal vengeance. The underlying rationale is that humans, being imperfect and prejudiced, may not adequately enact justice. From this perspective, the Bible advises individuals to resist the urge to avenge perceived slights or injustices on their own, as such actions may result in circular violence, escalating conflicts, or unjust punishments. It is suggested that individuals leave room for divine intervention and trust God to balance the scales of justice.
Who Administers Vengeance According to the Bible
The one who sanctions or carries out vengeance, as per the Bible, is God Himself. With His divine perspective and perfect justice, God is deemed uniquely capable of executing rightful vengeance. He metes out consequences to wrongdoers, demonstrating His sovereign rule over the world and His moral commitment against evil. The Bible emphasizes that when vengeance is applied, it is intended to serve as a correction, deterrence, and protection for society against destructive behaviors or offences.
Why the Bible Advocates Mercy Over Vengeance
Remarkably, the Bible also champions mercy over vengeance. It admonishes believers to replace resentment and anger with compassion, kindness, and forgiveness. The Bible recognizes resentment as damaging to the individual harboring it and advocates replacing it with love. This stance is not to condone or minimize wrongdoing. Still, it signifies that mercy imitates God’s character more closely than vengeance, and leaves room for God to execute justice.
When Revenge Is Discussed In The Bible
Although the Bible generally discourages personal revenge, it acknowledges the visceral human instinct for vengeance, particularly when wronged. Notably, there are instances when the Bible records righteous figures supplicating God for vengeance against their oppressors. It interprets these instances not as endorsement of vindictiveness, but as recognition of the human desire for justice, faith in God’s ultimate vindication and patience in waiting for God’s justice.
What the Bible Teaches About Governmental Vengeance
Beyond personal vengeance, the Bible addresses judicial or governmental vengeance, recognizing the necessity of punitive measures to preserve law and order in society. It assigns the responsibility for justice and the punishment of evildoers to earthly administrations, reflecting an endorsement of the rule of law. However, it cautions against misuse or overuse of punitive power, underscoring the importance of fairness, justice, and mercy in judgment.
Below is our full list of bible verses on vengeance (King James Version – KJV) provided in ranked order.
Most Popular Bible Verses About Vengeance
“19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”
“17 And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.”
“38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
2 Thessalonians 1:6
“6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;”
Related Themes: Retribution
“26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:27 Neither give place to the devil.”
“30 For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.”
“18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.”
“8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
“4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
“35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”
1 Thessalonians 5:15
“15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.”
“1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.”
1 Samuel 24:12
“12 The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.”
1 Timothy 5:8
“8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
“52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”
“24 Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,25 Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”
“15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.”
“26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.”
“47 Because thou servedst not the LORD thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things;48 Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things: and he shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until he have destroyed thee.”
“5 And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man.6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”
“24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”
“3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
“25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
2 Thessalonians 1:8
“8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
“41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”
“15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.”
“28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
“2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.”
“7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”
2 Thessalonians 1:9
“9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”