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Birthdays by the Month
Birthdays in the Bible
Birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible on three separate occasions and, in each case, something terrible occurred. These three accounts bear brief examination.
The first account is in Genesis. Pharaoh, the Egyptian king, celebrated his birthday by executing his chief baker (Gen. 40:1-23). God gave Joseph special understanding of a dream by Pharaohs butler and baker, that the baker would lose his life three days after Joseph interpreted the dream. Joseph understood that Pharaoh would use this occasion ¯his own birthday party to put his baker to death. As the dream had foretold, the baker was hung at the party.
In the second account, the New Testament figure Herod the tetrarch reluctantly ordered the beheading of John the Baptist (Matt. 14:3-11). Notice verse six: "But when Herods birthday was kept¯ During the dancing and merry-making at his birthday party, Herod got carried away and eventually made a promise that he did not want to keep. As a result, a great servant of God lost his life.
The final account is found in the book of Job. The Bible says that Jobs seven sons “went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them (Job 1:4). These parties were obviously not centered around any kind of celebration related to God, or Job would not have worried that his children may have sinned during these celebration feasts. He was not exactly sure what was going on in their minds, but the very celebration of their birthdays triggered great concern in him (1:5). Apparently, during the birthday party of Jobs oldest son, God allowed Satan to kill all ten of Jobs children through what appears to be a tornado (vs. 6-13, 18-19).
Further proof that these birthday celebrations displeased God is found in Job 3. Take time to read the entire chapter carefully. Job spends much time cursing every aspect of the day of his birth. The loss of all of his children, due to a birthday celebration, stunned and sobered him. His words make plain that there is nothing good about the day of a mans birth. He openly cursed the day he was born. This will be shown to have greater meaning later in this article.
Some who are familiar with these accounts attempt to explain them away by saying that there is no statement contained within them that directly prohibits birthday celebrations. They also ignore Jobs comments described in the previous paragraph. It is true that the above scriptures do not contain a direct condemnation of birthdays starting with the phrase “Thou shalt not or something similar. But consider for a moment the central lesson of each of these accounts. They represent the only three birthday parties described in the entire Bible. Absolute disaster occurred on each occasion! If God felt birthday celebrations were something positive and good, why wouldn't He have recorded one other account where something either good or positive happened? Yet, there is no such account.