When Satan Caused Sickness in the Bible

The following are some of the ways Satan physically hurt people in the Bible.


“Satan has bound this woman, …for 18 years – shouldn’t she be untied from this bondage on the Sabbath day (Luke 13:16)?”

Some older woman was stooped over for almost 2 decades. Today we would give this a name such as Bent Spine Syndrome or Camptocornia. However, the common belief in Jesus’ day was that Satan caused this deformity. When Jesus saw her, he told her that she was loosed from her bondage and with those words, she was able to stand upright.

The religious men of those days – the ones who protected their nation and their Laws – were offended at this because Jesus did this work on a Saturday when work should not be done. Jesus argued that it was a good thing that he did, because despite the fact that it was the Sabbath, he freed a woman from Satan’s bondage.


And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1).

When King David and his country were at the highest peak of success, Satan provoked him to ask his general to number the people of his kingdom. The Bible says that Satan’s objective was to hurt Israel through David’s actions. David’s pride left him vulnerable to Satan’s influence and as a result, God got angry and turned his anger against Israel.

Several things bother me about this passage. For one, when I was a pastor for 10 years, I numbered my congregation every week. For many of those weeks I thought about David’s numbering his congregation and wondered why it was so offensive. I wondered if it was pride or his attempt to number what God said would be more numerous than the stars.

It also troubles me that God hurt so many people because of their leader’s sin.

The Bible says that God’s ways are not like our ways. I would add to that, “the ways of the ancients were not like our ways.” Perhaps the ancients thought it was normal for God to kill people for their leaders’ sins; but today, while many Christians agree that leaders influence a nation for good and for bad,


A thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to torment me so I would not exalt myself (2 Corinthians 12:7).

Paul faced a demonic attack that affected his body. Many think he was going blind because of things he said in other letters relating to his sight such as realizing that the Galatians were metaphorically willing to pluck out their eyes and give them to Paul. Furthermore, Paul didn’t recognize the High Priest of his own group.
Whatever his issue really was, Paul sought healing from God, but was told by God that healing was not going to happen. Whatever Satan was doing to Paul was helping him to keep humble in the midst of an abundance of revelations. Paul accepted the explanation and rather than complaining about his ill fortune, he gloried in it because he knew that when he was at his weakest, God was at His strongest.

Then Satan answered the LORD, …”But stretch out Your hand  and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face (Job 1:11).”

God provoked Satan by pointing out how great Job was. Out of that provocation, a bargain was made, rules were set up, and the ultimate game challenge began – “Could Job be pushed so far that he would leave his religion and turn against God?”

God was convinced Job could handle anything; however, Satan was sure that with enough suffering, Job would cave in and turn against God.

Most of us face this challenge one time or another in our lives to some degree, and many of us fail. Blaming God and turning against Him when we face the worst in life seems to be a universal human reaction to extreme hardships. While the Bible promises that there is no trial that will be too much for us, God allowed Satan to push Job to the furthest possible boundaries and make him face the ultimate of challenges for faith.

I have seen people turn away from God because they lost someone they love. Job lost most of his family – his children and his fellow workers. He only had his bitter wife by his side who suggested that he turn away from God and give up his life. That suggestion was demonically influenced in that it was almost word for word what Satan told God Job would do if pushed far enough.

I have seen people break when they lost jobs, Job lost his entire company – his farm – and everything he had. I have seen people turn away from God because they got so sick; Job was given constant, painful, oozing puss, boils over his whole body.

A professor of mine once told us that there were no real atheists, just people who were angry with God. I may not agree with him in every case, but I do know that many people turn away from God and call themselves Atheists because of the types of issues Job faced. And I have met many others who have put a stop to their faith (whether or not they still believed in God) due to disappointments in life.


“God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil (Genesis 3:5).”

In the early chapters of the Bible, Satan did not make anyone bent over or get someone sick; rather, he provided the opportunity and the excuses, capitalizing on the desires Adam and Eve had to take a road that ended up in physical and emotional disaster. Working in, and around, and with Adam and Eve’s own desires to take what was not theirs’ to take; to learn what they should not have known; and to experience what they should not have experienced – working with their hunger to do what was not right, Satan helped Adam and Eve to take the steps to begin their slow but sure journey on a road to disaster and to death.

Today we know that too many drugs, too much alcohol, illicit sexual affairs, cheating, stealing, and lying have led thousands to ruin. Yet, the entry way to the path to such destruction is so inviting, so tempting, and so filled with good reasons and excuses, that people will take such journeys over and over again, even though they know that such journeys have ruined so many people.

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