Mental Illness in the Bible

figuring out the "lunatics" problem in the Bible

King Nebuchadnezzar

June 3, 2010 by kharrington · No Comments · Uncategorized


Nebuchadnezzar was the King of Babylon. He had a dream that “disturb him deeply” (Daniel 2:1-3). He asked sorcerers, fortune tellers, and several other psychics at that time to interpret the dream for him. No one could interpret it for him besides Daniel. Daniel predicted that God was telling the king that he would be removed from kingdom for 7 years because of his sins and he would live amongst the animals as an ox. His dream did come true and Nebuchadnezzar believed himself that he was an ox. He ate grass and lived out of his element. In the 7th year of his delusional state his “reason returned” to him and he began to praise God.

Nebuchadnezzar’s situation could fall under the symptoms of Schizophrenia, which are: social withdraw, depersonalization, loss of appetite, loss of hygiene, delusions, and hallucinations. Although Nebuchadnezzar’s symptoms could line up with Schizophrenia, a more closely related mental illness is Boanthropy.

The symptoms of Boanthropy are: when the victim believes himself/herself to be an ox, cow, or other animal, pronounced antisocial tendencies, and they prefer the diet of an ox or bull (handfuls grass and water). Boanthropy is linked to lycanthropy. Lycanthropy is the belief that one is a wolf (people believe that the myth of werewolves originated from this disease).

Boanthropy is a very rare mental illness. Nebuchadnezzar is a commonly used example of this disease because he possessed every symptom of it. With Boanthropy the person believes himself to be the animal which causes them to act out in a delusional way.

find out more about Boanthropy:

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