Top 10 Dysfunctional Families in the Bible

Roger Fields

It’s nearly impossible to find a perfect family in the Bible. Most were highly dysfunctional. So here are my top 10 dysfunctional families.

Dysfunctional families

Dysfunctional families of the Bible in all their glitz and glory. Beware, sarcasm ahead.

1. FIRST FAMILY: Wifey (Eve) tricked Hubby (Adam) into disobeying God. Then things got really bad when one of their boys (Cain) killed the other one (Abel). Then Cain ran away to avoid prosecution. His was the first picture on a milk carton.

2. NOAH’S FAMILY: Noah saved his family from the flood and then got naked and plastered. Evidently, sailing around on a flooded earth in a barge full of animals was a bit stressful. He didn’t appreciate the fact that one of his boys (Ham) mocked him for his naked drunk condition. So Noah cursed his son. There is no record that Ham attended Thanksgiving dinner with the family that year.

3. ABRAHAM’S FAMILY: God promised a child to an elderly couple (Abram and Sarah). Abram was not ready to wait on Sarah to get pregnant so he had sex with his maid, Hagar. Hagar got pregnant, had a son (Ishmael) and then made fun of Sarah for not being able to get pregnant. Hagar and Ishmael left because they were no longer welcome in that happy family.

4. LOT’S FAMILY: This brainiac tried to give his daughters over to a bunch of homosexual hooligans.

5. ISAAC’S FAMILY: Jacob (one of Isaac’s twin boys) swindled Esau (the other twin) out of his birthright by lying to dad with the help of his mother Rebecca. Esau—understandably–then wanted to kill his brother, Jacob. So Jacob ran away to live with his crazy Uncle Laban, who tricked him into marrying his less-than-gorgeous daughter, Leah. Then as a good will gesture, Laban threw in his hot daughter, Rachael, to smooth things over.

6. JACOB’S FAMILY: Jacob had 12 boys and decided to buy the youngest one, Joseph, a designer coat. That didn’t sit well with the other brothers. So instead of leaving him out of family football they decided to throw him into a hole and kill him. The older brother, Reuben, was more reasonable and talked them into merely selling him as a slave to a band of Egyptian thugs. They told dad an animal killed him.

7. KING SAUL’S FAMILY: Israel’s first king (Saul) was jealous of the popularity of a shepherd boy (David) and became obsessed with killing him. Saul’s son Jonathon protected his best friend David, choosing his friend over his dad. Dad and son became estranged. That was not a display of family unity.

8. KING DAVID’S FAMILY: King David had a fling with his next-door neighbor, got her pregnant and killed her husband to cover it up. The baby died. Then one of his sons (Absalom) betrayed him. Wait, King David’s dysfunctional family should probably be #1.

9. SOLOMON’S FAMILY: The “smartest” guy in the world had a palace full of wives. (nuff said)

10. JESUS’ FAMILY: Jesus’ parents (Mary and Joseph) left their son (Jesus) behind on a road trip to Jerusalem. They somehow missed the fact that the Son of God was no longer with them on the way home. They turned around and went back for him. They found him in the temple and made him get back in the wagon. Later some of His own family didn’t believe He was the Messiah.


PAUL’S FAM: Actually, Paul the Apostle never got married or had a family. That’s right. The original church planter and primary author of the New Testament opted out of the whole fam thing. Maybe he read an article similar to this one around 40 AD.

So the next time you are tempted to feel like a failure in your own family, read this over. And thank God for infinite grace. Dysfunctional families never kept God from doing incredible things for His people.

roger fields