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Note on a Biblical Headache

Bayard T. Horton, MD; John Wick Bowman, DD, PhD
JAMA. 1975;234(10):1019. doi:10.1001/jama.1975.03260230019013.
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To the Editor.—  "Headache" means many things to many people. Who, at some time in life, has not had a headache? Despite innumerable articles and references to headache in the world's literature, only one reference to headache appears in the Bible. This highly dramatic statement in II Kings 4:18-20, written about 845 to 825 BC, is quoted from the New English Bible:When the child was old enough, he went out one day to the reapers where his father was. All of a sudden he cried out, "Oh my head, my head!" His father told a servant to carry him to his mother. He brought him to his mother; the boy sat on her lap till midday, then he died.We suggest that the boy had a congenital intracranial aneurysm that ruptured, causing severe, excreciating pain and, apparently, death. Elisha, the Prophet, was hurriedly summoned to see the boy. He


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