madness

madness

A state of irrationality. In biblical times it was generally attributed to some other spirit or power taking over a person’s mind. Saul is the primary example of someone afflicted with madness in the OT. When God’s spirit left King Saul to rest on David, Saul was invaded by an “evil spirit” (1Sam 16:14-17). This spirit caused outbreaks of violence against David in which Saul attempted to kill him (1Sam 18:10-11; 1Sam 19:9). However, God’s hand was behind the evil spirit that invaded Saul, much as it was behind the outbreak of Saul’s prophetic ecstasy (1Sam 10:6; 1Sam 10:10). In the NT madness takes the form of demonic possession (Mark 5:1-13; Mark 9:14-29), but it is also brought up as a charge against John the Baptist (Matt 11:18), Jesus (Mark 3:21-22; John 8:48), and the apostle Paul (Acts 26:24).

1Sam 16:14-17

David Plays the Lyre for Saul
14Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.15And Saul's servants said to him, ... View more

1Sam 18:10-11

Saul Tries to Kill David
10The next day an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day ... View more

1Sam 19:9

9Then an evil spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand, while David was playing music.

1Sam 10:6

6Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them and be turned into a different person.

1Sam 10:10

10When they were going from there to Gibeah, a band of prophets met him; and the spirit of God possessed him, and he fell into a prophetic frenzy along with the ... View more

Mark 5:1-13

Jesus Heals the Gerasene Demoniac
1They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes.2And when he had stepped out of the boat, immediately ... View more

Mark 9:14-29

The Healing of a Boy with a Spirit
14When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them.15When the whole cr ... View more

Matt 11:18

18For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon’;

Mark 3:21-22

21When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.”22And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem ... View more

John 8:48

48The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?”

Acts 26:24

Paul Appeals to Agrippa to Believe
24While he was making this defense, Festus exclaimed, “You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insan ... View more

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.