Forgiveness - Examples from the Bible



Esau forgives Jacob (Genesis 33) - Esau had been robbed of his birthright by Jacob, but Esau forgave him and embraced him.


Joseph forgives his brothers (Genesis 45, 50) - Joseph’s brothers sold him, stealing his colorful coat to show his father that he had died. But later Joseph gained great power and was in a position to imprison them or tell their father what happened. Instead, he imprisoned some brothers for a few days, but forgave them and never told his father what they had done.


Moses forgives Israelites (Numbers 12) - Miriam, sister of Joseph, was a prophetess and a true leader among the women in her day. But, toward the end of her life, she felt jealousy against Moses and his special relationship with God. Moses had married a nonIsraelite. Miriam was having difficulty accepting her role. So God smote her with leprosy, and directed Moses to send her outside the city for seven days. But Moses interceded with God if her behalf, and he forgave her.


David forgives Saul (1 Samuel 24-26, 2 Samuel 1) - Saul attempts to hunt down and kill David. Later, King David spares Saul’s life


David forgives Shimei (2 Samuel 16, 1 Kings 2) - Shimei threw stones at David, called him a murderer and wanted to cast him out. But David forgave Shimei, saying the Lord had bidden Shimei to do this, and said the Lord would look on in David's distress.


Solomon forgives Adonijah (1 Kings 1) - Before he dies, King David designates his son Solomon to follow him on the throne. But another son, Adonijah, tried to claim it. Solomon forgives him.


The prophet of Judah forgives Jeroboam (1 Kings 13) - God spoke to King Jeroboam (who was not a descendant of Jacob), and he forgave David. He said that David had kept the commandments, but it was common knowledge that King David had violated the commandments by having Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could marry her.


Jesus forgives his enemies (Luke 23) - The ultimate forgiveness -- Jesus facing the crucifixion said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”