Editor's note: President Barack Obama's news that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed after a firefight in Abbottabad, Pakistan, sparked one of Twitter's heaviest usage periods ever, with more than 4,000 tweets a second. The event was even reported live on Twitter, with Donald Rumsfeld's chief of staff reportedly announcing the death to his followers before mainstream media outlets broke the story (though he credits "a connected network TV news producer" as his source).
Among Christians, social network streams were full of debate over whether to rejoice in bin Laden's death, with Bible verses quoted by both sides. Stephen Smith, whose OpenBible.info collects realtime data on Bible verse quotes on Facebook and Twitter, compiled this list of the most popular verses in the 12 hours after the news broke. (Links go to the most recent posts of those quoting that verse; quotes are from the 2011 edition of the NIV unless otherwise noted.)
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.)
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."
11. Ezekiel 18:32 "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!"
12. Romans 8:31 "What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?"
13. Romans 12:19 "Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay,' says the Lord."
14. Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD."
15. Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
16. Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (This verse is usually one of the most-popular verse on Twitter.)
17. Romans 10:15 "And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'"