Hostage Bound, Hostage Free

By Ben Weir, Carol Weir and Dennis Benson

The account of the Presbyterian minister Ben Weir’s 16 months spent in Lebanon as a hostage of Islamic Jihad, and of his wife’s efforts to hasten his release.

ISBN: 9780718826901


Benjamin Weir was the first American hostage to be released from captivity in Lebanon having been held for sixteen months by Islamic Jihad Shiites. Hostage Bound, Hostage Free tells the remarkable story of Ben’s kidnap, his imprisonment and his eventual release. It is also the poignant story of Carol, his wife, and her attempts to involve the United States’ government in Ben’s release.

Ben and Carol’s experiences, told here in their own words, provide a unique insight into the world of hostages, hostage-takers and international politics. Terry Waite, whose role was crucial, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Colonel Oliver North, Robert MacFarlane and George Schultz all figured in the attempts to obtain Ben’s release.

Ben and Carol Weir were working in Lebanon when their lives were irrevocably altered by events beyond their control. Each suffered isolation, pain, fear and despair, but the outcome is a tale of determination, hope, courage and faith.

Additional information

Dimensions 234 × 153 mm
Pages 184

Trade Information LGEN

About the Author

Rev. Benjamin M. Weir is the Moderator of the 198th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). His first position in southern Lebanon was as a pastor in the predominantly Shiite town of Nabatiyeh. At the time of his kidnapping he was a missionary in Beirut.

Carol Weir is on leave of absence from the Near East Scholl of Theology in Beirut, where she is Assistant Professor of Christian Education.

Dennis Benson is Director of Media Ministries and Associate Professor of Communications, United Theological Seminary, Ohio.


1. “Be quiet. Don’t make any noise. If you do, I’ll kill you.”
2. “What is your name? Your maden name? Your husband’s name? His mother’s maiden name?”
3. “Count your many blessings, name them one by one.”
4. “He is my friend. … I want to know if he is being held in this part of the city.”
5. “We know you work with the American Embassy. … We know you go there.”
6. “Ben is sharing in the suffering of a people who have been subjected to every kind of violence.”
7. “One more mistake on your part and you’re dead.”
8. “They may be small, but they make a lot of noise!”
9. “Oh God, I don’t want to die. I want to live. I want to be free, to be useful.”
10. “He is alive. You must be very happy.”
11. “Why doesn’t your government do something? You are a forgotten man.”
12. “Pray, yes, but we must be active also!”
13. “Wishing you a Merry Christmas.”
14. “You are a religious person. Pray.”
15. “I’m going to break your legs and arms!”
16. “Have you been to Washington?”
17. “If I survived this once, I can do it again”
18. “Do I have to wait 444 days for Ben’s release?”
19. “There is an inaccuracy. … My wife and son could not possibly have been to that many places.”
20. “Go right on doing what you are doing.”
21. “You are the one chosen.”
22. “Your husband has been released.”
23. “What can we do?”
24. “Let Carol put it on your finger.”
25. “Peace.”

Endorsements and Reviews

Benjamin and Carol Weir’s story is a compelling account of the tragedy of human indifference and official insensitivity that should be read and contemplated by all … These two brave and long-suffering people are a living testament to the power of individual initiative and humane principles, and to the folly of ‘official’ policies that choose to shoot it out rather than to talk it out, to escalate rather than to negotiate. Reading their story will move you from frustration and despair to faith and hope. It is a story for our age.
Rev Jesse L. Jackson

Hostage Bound, Hostage Free is an extraordinary testament of faith, of hope, of love, by an American Presbyterian minister, Benjamin Weir, and his wife, Carol. In these pages I painfully touched my own captivity – the loneliness, the pain, the frustration, the fear, the despair, and finally the inner peace and utter reliance on God’s love and faithfulness – and I touched the courage of a wife and son and daughters, Ben’s family, who struggled against the forces that wanted their silence. Hostage Bound, Hostage Free is a spiritual odyssey of triumph.
Father Lawrence Martin Jenco OSM