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Worthless Men; Lawless Sons Of Belial

(See the Bible studies Establishing The Covenant, p.8, Reprobate and The Homosexual Spirit.)

Belial- [BEE-lih-uhl] (worthlessness) - an Old Testament term designating a person as godless or lawless. The NKJV translates corrupt (1 Sam. 2:12), perverted (Judges 19:22), rebel (2 Sam. 20:1), scoundrel (1 Kings 21:10, 13), worthless men (1 Sam. 30:22), and worthless rogues (2 Sam. 16:7). A "daughter of Belial" (1 Sam. 1:16), (KJV) means a wicked woman (NKJV, NIV), one who is base (RSV) and worthless (NASB).

Belial sometimes takes the form of a proper name (or a personification), applied to a demon or to Satan (Nahum 1:15). Many scholars believe that Belial is another name for Satan.

(from Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary; Copyright (C) 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)

1 Samuel 2:12-17- Phinehas and Hophni were “worthless men" who would be killed by the Lord for their disrespect towards Him. They “despised the offering of the Lord.” We despise the offering of the Lord today when we give ourselves, the living sacrifice, half heartedly to Him.

12 Now the sons of Eli were worthless [1100~ KJV- “sons of Belial”; NKJ- “corrupt”] men; they did not know the LORD

13 and the custom of the priests with the people…”

17 Thus the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD, for the men despised the offering of the LORD.


1100 beliya` al (bel-e-yah'-al)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from 1097 and 3276; without profit, worthlessness; by extension, destruction, wickedness (often in connection with 376, 802, 1121, etc.)

(Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

a) worthless, good for nothing, unprofitable, a base fellow

b) wicked

c) ruin, destruction (construct)

Deuteronomy 13:12-16- A “worthless” person tries to lead God’s people astray to serve other gods.

12 "If you hear in one of your cities, which the LORD your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that

13 some worthless [1100] men [NIV- “sons of belial”] have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, 'Let us go and serve other gods' (whom you have not known),

14 then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. And if it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you,

15 you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword.

16 "Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt.


Deuteronomy 15:9-11- A “worthless” thought involves not taking care of the poor and needy.

9 "Beware, lest there is a base [1100] thought in your heart, saying, 'The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,' and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you.

10 "You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.

11 "For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'


1 Samuel 10:25-27- The choosing of Saul as king and the reaction of a group of “worthless” men.

25 Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house.

26 And Saul also went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him.

27 But certain worthless [1100] men said, "How can this one deliver us?" And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.


1 Samuel 30:22-24- Worthless, wicked men among David with selfish desires.

22 Then all the wicked and worthless [1100] men among those who went with David answered and said, "Because they did not go with us, we will not give them any of the spoil that we have recovered, except to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away and depart."

23 Then David said, "You must not do so, my brothers, with what the LORD has given us, who has kept us and delivered into our hand the band that came against us.

24 "And who will listen to you in this matter? For as his share is who goes down to the battle, so shall his share be who stays by the baggage; they shall share alike."


2 Samuel 23:6-7- Part of the last words of David concerned the judgment of “the worthless.”

6 "But the worthless [1100], every one of them will be thrust away [“to drive away, chased away”] like thorns, because they cannot be taken in hand;

7 But the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place."


Psalm 101:3- “Worthless things” are associated with those who fall away from the faith.

3 I will set no worthless [1100] thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me.


Proverbs 6:12-15- This passage tells of the fate of the “worthless.”

12 A worthless [1100] person, a wicked man, is the one who walks with a false mouth,

13 Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet, who points with his fingers;

14 Who with perversity in his heart devises evil continually, who spreads strife.

15 Therefore his calamity will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken, and there will be no healing.


Proverbs 16:27

27 A worthless [1100] man digs up evil, while his words are as a scorching fire.


Proverbs 19:28

28 A rascally [1100] witness makes a mockery of justice, and the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.


Nahum 1:15- The wicked, or worthless one will be cut off completely.

15 Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one [1100] pass through you; He is cut off completely.


Hosea 10:1-4- Worthless oaths= self-exaltation and a faithless heart. “Worthless” people are covenant breakers. These are spoken of in Romans 1:18-32 as “men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Verses 31-32 in the KJV say that they are “without understanding, covenant breakers [802-“treacherous to compacts, faithless”], without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

1 Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, the more altars he made; the richer his land, the better he made the sacred pillars.

2 Their heart is faithless; now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.

3 Surely now they will say, "We have no king, for we do not revere the LORD. As for the king, what can he do for us?"

4 They speak mere words, with worthless [7723] oaths they make covenants; and judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.


7723 shav' (shawv)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

or shav (shav); from the same as 7722 in the sense of desolating; evil (as destructive), literally (ruin) or morally (especially guile); figuratively idolatry (as false, subjective), uselessness (as deceptive, objective; also adverbially, in vain)

(Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

emptiness, vanity, falsehood

a) emptiness, nothingness, vanity

b) emptiness of speech, lying

c) worthlessness (used of conduct)

Zechariah 11:17- “Worthless” shepherds rebuked.

17 "Woe to the worthless [457] shepherd who leaves the flock! A sword will be on his arm and on his right eye! His arm will be totally withered, and his right eye will be blind."


457 'eliyl (el-eel');

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

apparently from 408; good for nothing, by anal. vain or vanity; specifically an idol:

of nought, worthless

(Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

a) used of physicians, a shepherd, a divination

b) used of false gods

2 Kings 17:7-23- Israel was taken captive by their enemies for disobedience. They rejected God’s covenant He made with their forefathers and became “worthless” in the eyes of God. We are in danger of becoming the same.

13 Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah, through all His prophets and every seer, saying, "Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets."

14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God.

15 And they rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity [1892- “emptiness, vanity, a vapor, a breath”] and became vain [1891~ NIV-“They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless”], and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them.


1891 habal (haw-bal')

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

a primitive root; to be vain in act, word, or expectation; specifically to lead astray:

(Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew Lexicon)

to act emptily, to become vain, to be vain

a) (Qal)

1) to become vain

2) to be utterly vain (with the cognate accusative)

b) (Hiphil)

1) to cause to become vain

2) to fill with vain hopes

Jeremiah 2:5- A reference to Israel being led out of Egypt by the Lord, through the wilderness, and their straying from Him.

5 This is what the LORD says: "What fault did your fathers find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols [1892] and became worthless [1891] themselves.


Jeremiah 15:19-21- To speak for the Lord, as His mouth, there must be a removal of the “worthless” things in our lives. Proverbs 25:4 says, “Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith.” (See the Bible study called The Church Without Stain.) This form of “worthless” also refers to the prodigal. They are associated with loose living and immorality. The good news is there is hope for the prodigals to come home! (See Luke 15:11-32) There is also a promise that, in this cleansed state, those who fight against us will not prevail.

19 Therefore, thus says the LORD, "If you return, then I will restore you-- Before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless [2151-“prodigal”], you will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them.

20 "Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you," declares the LORD.

21 "So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent."


2151 zalal (zaw-lal')

a primitive root [compare 2107]; to shake (as in the wind), i.e. to quake; figuratively, to be loose morally, worthless or prodigal:

1) to be worthless, to be vile, to be insignificant, to be light (Qal)

a) to be worthless, to be insignificant

b) to make light of, to squander, to be lavish with

2) to shake, to tremble, to quake (Niphal) to shake, to quake

Jeremiah 23:16-17- Listening to, and then accepting the teachings of a false prophet will make you “worthless” in God’s eyes. Their twisted teachings allow for someone to walk in the stubbornness of their own heart, apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit, and still have peace with nothing bad happening to them. They strengthen the hands of evildoers (Jeremiah 23:14~ see the Bible study Evildoers In The House Of God). By “smooth words” they turn to godlessness those who act wickedly toward the covenant of God (Daniel 11:32).

16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless [1891]; they speak a vision of their own heart, not from the mouth of the LORD.

17 They continually say to those who despise Me, 'The LORD has said, "You shall have peace" '; and to everyone who walks according to the dictates [“stubbornness, hardness, in the sense of twisted”] of his own heart, they say, 'No evil shall come upon you.'"


New Testament Passages

Matthew 25:14-30- The parable of the talents and the “worthless” slave, or bond servant of the Lord, being ejected from God’s kingdom. (See the Bible study Outer Darkness.)

30 "And cast out [“drive out, eject”] the worthless [888] slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


888 achreios (akh-ri'-os)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from 1 (as a negative particle) and a derivative of 5534 [compare 5532]; useless, good for nothing, i.e. (euphem.) unmeritorious

Luke 19:12-27- Another parable of the “worthless” slave who wouldn’t let the Lord reign over him.

22 "He said to him, 'By your own words I will judge you, you worthless [4190- “wicked, evil”] slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down, and reaping what I did not sow?

27 "But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay [“to slaughter”] them in my presence [“in front of”]."


Titus 1:15-16- A professing Christian who is “worthless”, or “reprobate” (see the Bible study Reprobate) has a defiled mind and conscience. Their deeds do not stand the test. They are disobedient and stand “unapproved” before God. They do not pass God’s “Quality Control”.

15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless [96] for any good deed.


96 adokimos (ad-ok'-ee-mos)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from 1 (as a negative particle) and 1384; unapproved, i.e. rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally)

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1) not standing the test, not approved: properly used of metals and coins

2) that which does not prove itself as it should: unfit for, unproved, spurious, reprobate

Hebrews 6:4-12- Being “enlightened” and then falling away to the point of being burned, becoming “worthless”. We must allow the Holy Spirit to develop a spirit of perseverance within us (see Romans 15:5; see the Bible study The Word Of My Perseverance). It will save us in the end of our race. (See the Bible study Destroyed By Fire.)

4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit,

5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame.

7 For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled [see Luke 8:15, 2 Peter 1:8], receives a blessing from God;

8 but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless [96- see Romans 1:28 below] and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.

9 But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way.

10 For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end [see Romans 2:7, Hebrews 3:14],

12 that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.


Romans 1:28- See the note below.

28 And even as they did not like to retain [“to have, that is, to hold; to own, to possess”] God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate [96] mind, to do those things which are not convenient;


This passage (verses 1:18-2:16) should place the proper fear of the Lord in every Christian’s heart. Verse 18 speaks of those who “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The Greek for suppress is katecho. It means “to hold back, to detain, to restrain or hinder the course or progress of.” Jesus told the Pharisees in John 8:37, "I know that you are Abraham's offspring; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you [or “makes no progress in you”]." Romans goes on to say that they “knew” God, but did not glorify Him as God. His glory was not revealed in and through them because of the practicing of wickedness. Their foolish hearts were darkened (verse 21) as they exchanged the gaining of God’s glory for their own glorification. For this reason (self-glorification), God gave them over to their “vile affections”, or “shameful sin.” To be given over means “to surrender, to give into the hands of another, to give over into one’s power or use, to deliver up one to custody.” At this point, you will find yourself held prisoner to a lifestyle of sinful bondage that will end up in the fiery judgment of the Lord (Romans 2:1-16). Rampant homosexuality and lesbianism (Romans 1:26-32) like we have today are a sign that much of our society has been given over by God to the lusts of their hearts. Without repentance their end will be eternal destruction.

James 1:26- “Worthless”, empty, fruitless religion; the result of an unbridled tongue.

26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle [“to hold in check, to restrain”] his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless [3152].


3152 mataios (mat'-ah-yos)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

from the base of 3155 (see below); empty, i.e. (literally) profitless, or (specifically) an idol:

(Thayer’s Greek Lexicon)

1) devoid of force, truth, success, result

2) useless, of no purpose

3155 maten (mat'-ane)

(Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

accus. of a derivative of the base of 3145 (through the idea of tentative manipulation, i.e. unsuccessful search, or else of punishment); folly, i.e. (adverbially) to no purpose, in vain, fruitlessly

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