10 Most Tweeted Bible Verses in Response to bin Laden's Death

Osama Bin Laden The announcement that Osama bin Laden had been killed sparked record Twitter use, with as many as 4,000 tweets per second posted on Sunday night. In many of those tweets, people of faith processed the news by quoting relevant passages from the Bible. Using data collected by OpenBible.info's Stephen Smith, Christianity Today listed the 24 most-tweeted verses in the 12 hours after the story broke. They range from somber (#1: "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice," Proverbs 24:17) to smug (#3: "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers," Proverbs 21:15, started by Pastor Rick Warren*), and reflect an ambivalence about the appropriate way to react when a person who has committed great evil receives earthly justice. Here are the top 10:

1. Proverbs 24:17 "Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice."

2. Psalm 138:8 "The LORD will make PERFECT the things that concern me"(KJV). (NIV: "The LORD will vindicate me; your love, LORD, endures forever--do not abandon the works of your hands.") (Unrelated tweet by Rev Run.)

3. Proverbs 21:15 "When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers." (Rick Warren started this one.)

4. Ezekiel 33:11 "Say to them, 'As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?"

5. Ezekiel 18:23 "Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?"

6. Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, let us settle the matter," says the LORD. "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool."

7. Proverbs 11:10 "When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices; when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy."

8. Proverbs 24:18 " ... or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them." (The popularity of this verse is due to it finishing the sentence begun by the #1 most popular verse.)

9. Proverbs 24:1 "Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company;" (probably an effort to quote Proverbs 24:17)

10. Proverbs 28:5 "Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully."

Read the full list at Christianity Today.

* UPDATE (5/6/2011) Pastor Warren points out that he also tweeted Ezekiel 33:11, the fourth most-tweeted verse: "I take no pleasure in the death of wicked people. I only want them to turn from wicked ways so they may live."

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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