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Thou Shall Not Kill: Does God Violate His Own Commandment?

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Vanch1018

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The sixth commandment is "Thou shalt not kill.Atheists claim that God violated His own commandment in ordering the destruction of entire cities, just to allow the Jews to have a homeland in the Middle East. The Bible confirms that God ordered the killing of thousands of people. Isn't this an open and shut case for the hypocrisy of the God of the Bible?

Is all killing the same?

One thing you have to love about atheists is their extreme appreciation for the King James Version (KJV) translation. The KJV was translated in the early 17th century using an archaic form of modern English. In the last 400 years, the English language has changed significantly. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those who read the KJV (both believers and unbelievers) are unqualified to know what the text means in many instances because of word meaning changes. In attempting to demonstrate the contradiction of God's commands to Israel and the sixth commandment, atheist cite the KJV translation, "Thou shalt not kill."

However, like English, Hebrew, the language in which most of the Old Testament was written, uses different words for intentional vs. unintentional killing. The verse translated "Thou shalt not kill" in the KJV translation, is translated "You shall not murder" in modern translations - because these translations represents the real meaning of the Hebrew text. The Bible in Basic English translates the phrase, "Do not put anyone to death without cause.The Hebrew word used here is ratsach,which nearly always refers to intentional killing without cause (unless indicated otherwise by context). Hebrew law recognized accidental killing as not punishable. In fact, specific cities were designated as "cities of refuge," so that an unintentional killer could flee to escape retribution.The Hebrew word for "kill" in this instance is not ratsach, but nakah, which can refer to either premeditated or unintentional killing, depending upon context.Other Hebrew words also can refer to killing.The punishment for murder was the death sentence.However, to be convicted, there needed to be at least two eyewitnesses.The Bible also prescribes that people have a right to defend themselves against attack and use deadly force if necessary.

Is God's killing justified?

To answer the question whether God breaks His own commandments, we need to determine if God committed murder (i.e., killed people without cause). The Bible is quite clear that God has killed people directly (the most prominent example being the flood) and indirectly (ordered peoples to be killed). If God ordered or participated in the killing of innocent people, then He would be guilty of murder. Let's look at two of the most prominent examples.

The flood

According to the Bible, God killed every human except Noah, his wife, his sons, and their wives in the flood. Were any of these people killed unjustly? The Bible says specifically that all people (except Noah and his family) had become corrupted.Not only had all people become corrupted, but they were continually plotting evil!Is it possible that an entire culture can become corrupted? You bet! Recent history proves the point rather well. When the Nazis took over Germany before WWII, opposition was crushed and removed. When they began their purging of the undesirables (e.g., the Jews), virtually the entire society went along with the plan. Further examples are given on another page. So, the Bible indicates that no innocent people were killed in the flood.

God orders killing

What about when God ordered Joshua and his people to kill every man, woman and child in Canaan?What crime could be so great that entire populations of cities were designated for destruction? God told Moses that the nations that the Hebrew were replacing were wicked.How "wicked" were these people? The text tells us that they were burning their own sons and daughters in sacrifices to their gods.So we see that these people were not really innocent. For these reasons (and others), God ordered the destruction of the peoples whom the Israelites dispossessed.

What about the children and other "innocents"
Surely God could have spared the children! People tend to assume that children are innocent, even if their parents are doing bad things. The assumption is unfounded. For example, Palestinian Muslim children are officially taught in grammar school to hate their Jewish neighbors. They are so well indoctrinated that some of them give up their lives in suicide bombings as children.Corruption literally does breed corruption, which is why God did not want the Hebrews tainted by the other corrupt cultures of the Middle East.

Surely there must have been other innocent adults in those cities who were destroyed with the wicked! There actually is an example of a time when God was asked if He would destroy the innocent along with the wicked. Prior to destroying Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham asked God if He would destroy the righteous along with the wicked.God replied that He would spare the entire city for 50 righteous people.Abraham kept reducing the possible number of righteous people, asking God if He would destroy the entire city along with those number of righteous people.God's reply in each case was that He would not destroy the righteous along with the wicked. The lowest number Abraham asked about was ten righteous people, although the answer would likely be the same with as few as one righteous individual. How do we know this? God sent two angels to warn the four righteous people in Sodom to flee before He destroyed the city.It is quite convenient that such details are usually left out of atheistic sites complaining about the "evil" perpetrated by God. In fact, God saved certain people from being killed in cities such as Jericho.

Conclusion

Is God a Moral Monster?The commandment "Thou shalt not kill" is really not as general as the King James version would indicate. The commandment actually refers to premeditated, unjustified killing - murder. Although God ordered the extermination of entire cities, He did so in righteous judgment on a people whose corruption had led to extreme wickedness, including child sacrifice. Did God destroy the righteous along with the wicked? In an exchange with Abraham, God indicated that He would spare the wicked to save the righteous. He demonstrated this principle by saving righteous people from Sodom and Jericho prior to their destruction. The charge that God indiscriminately murdered people does not hold to to critical evaluation of the biblical texts.

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