Not really sure why I was excited when I found an example of waterboarding in the Bible. But I was.
This was one of those epiphanies that should be marked as “Disturbing but Sublime.” Like as in I think I found something nobody else knows about…
But it’s kind of creepy–do I even want to share it?
One thing was for sure: I needed to bone up on my understanding of waterboarding, so I paid a visit to Google and Wikipedia.
Lowdown on Waterboarding
The process is fairly simple: lay a wet towel over someone’s face and pour water on it. And while the technique has been around for centuries, the label “water board” was first used in 1976.
Keep in mind, this is different from the “Chinese water torture.” That cruel ordeal invented by the Ancient Asians involves slowly dripping water on someone’s face. The goal was to drive them made.
The goal behind waterboarding is to get people to talk.
And while some insist that waterboarding is a legitimate interrogation technique, others view it as torture, including Christopher Hitchens.
In his Believe Me, It’s Torture piece at Vanity Fair he reported on his experience of being water boarded. One of the things he wanted to learn was whether it was true that this technique “simulated drowning.”
About the experience, which lasted less than 15 seconds, Hitchens wrote:
You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates” the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning.
Waterboarding in the Bible–and The Idiot
I’m pretty sure there is a place in the Bible that describes someone being waterboarded. That places is found in 2 Kings 8:15:
But the next day he took the bed cloth and dipped it in water and spread it over his face, till he died. And Hazael became king in his place.
To be honest, Hazel wasn’t trying to torture Ben-hadad, the king. Nor was he trying to interrogate him.
He was trying to kill him.
And no lie, just a few days after I read that passage in 2 Kings I came across this in Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot:
Yes, not physically. I don’t think anyone would raise a hand against a creature like me, even a woman would not strike me now. Even Ganya wouldn’t strike me! Though I did think he was going to fly at me at one time yesterday…. I’ll bet you anything I know what you’re thinking about now. You’re thinking, ‘he mustn’t be beaten of course, but he might be smothered with a pillow or a wet cloth in his sleep–in fact one ought to….’ It is written on your face that you’re thinking that at this very second.
You can find that paragraph at the bottom of the page.
What Do You Think?
Did I get it right? Are these examples of deaths from waterboarding? Can you share any other examples of waterboarding from the Bible or literature?
Share your thoughts.