As I was having my daily devotional time with God a few weeks ago, I came across what might be the first recorded obesity-related death in history! Here is what God’s word records…
15 Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were set so that he could not see. 16 The man said to Eli, “I am the one who came from the battle line. Indeed, I escaped from the battle line today.” And he said, “How did things go, my son?” 17 Then the one who brought the news replied, “Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken.” 18 When he mentioned the ark of God, Eli fell off the seat backward beside the gate, and his neck was broken and he died, for he was old and heavy. Thus he judged Israel forty years. ~ 1 Samuel 4:15-18
As you can see, the Israelites were battling the Philistines and lost. In the defeat Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas were killed, and the Philistines were able to take the Ark of the Covenant. The fact that the ark fell into the hands of a pagan nation was unthinkable.
When Eli heard the news, he was so shocked and disgusted that he fell back in his seat. The impact was so great that it broke his neck and killed him. The bible tells us that the reason for this was that he was old and heavy!
Eli was so heavy that a fall which might have otherwise led to embarrassment or a basic injury, led to his death! So, in my mind, this is the first recorded instance of obesity-related death!
I have to admit that this is not the first time that I have read this account, but this is the first time that the fact of Eli’s weight causing his death stood out to me.
There isn’t any profound theological lesson that I took away from his weight, just the fact that the weight he carried was so unhealthy that it led to his death!
photo credit: HeyltsWilliam
So What Do You Think?
- Can you think of any other early cases of obesity-related death?
- Are there other people in the bible who were described as being heavy or fat?
- If you had any thoughts about Eli before reading this, has anything changed?
© 2013, Khaleef “Fat Guy” Crumbley. All rights reserved.