Question:

It Says in the Ten Commandments do not kill yet God helped the Israelites to win wars. Does this not contradict His own laws? God Ordered David to brutally kill an enemy king and when Jael hammered a tent peg through Sisera’s head and when Gideon fought. When David killed Goliath was that not breaking God’s law yet God made him king of Israel with all the battles that went on, all the times God told the Israelites to fight was not God ordering them to break one of the rules set by Himself?

Answer:

Exodus 20:13 says, “Thou shalt not KILL.” You must take into account all that the Bible teaches on a subject to rightly determine what God meant by that. II Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY DIVIDING the word of truth”.

Upon further reading, it quickly becomes clear what God meant by that statement. Numbers 35:6-34 says, “And among the cities which ye shall give unto the Levites there shall be six cities for refuge, which ye shall appoint for the MANSLAYER, that he may flee thither: and to them ye shall add forty and two cities. So all the cities which ye shall give to the Levites shall be forty and eight cities: them shall ye give with their suburbs. And the cities which ye shall give shall be of the possession of the children of Israel: from them that have many ye shall give many; but from them that have few ye shall give few: every one shall give of his cities unto the Levites according to his inheritance which he inheriteth. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Then ye shall appoint you cities to be CITIES OF REFUGE for you; THAT THE SLAYER MAY FLEE THITHER, WHICH KILLETH ANY PERSON AT UNAWARES. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; THAT THE MANSLAYER DIE NOT, UNTIL HE STAND BEFORE THE CONGREGATION IN JUDGMENT. And of these cities which ye shall give six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither. And IF HE SMITE HIM WITH AN INSTRUMENT OF IRON, SO THAT HE DIE, HE IS A MURDERER: THE MURDERER SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH. And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: THE MURDERER SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH. Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: THE MURDERER SHALL SURELY BE PUT TO DEATH. The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: THE REVENGER OF BLOOD SHALL SLAY THE MURDERER, when he meeteth him. BUT IF HE THRUST HIM SUDDENLY WITHOUT ENMITY, OR HAVE CAST UPON HIM ANY THING WITHOUT LAYING OF WAIT, OR WITH ANY STONE, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: Then THE CONGREGATION SHALL JUDGE BETWEEN THE SLAYER AND THE REVENGER OF BLOOD according to these judgments: And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil. But if the slayer shall at any time come without the border of the city of his refuge, whither he was fled; And the revenger of blood find him without the borders of the city of his refuge, and the revenger of blood kill the slayer; he shall not be guilty of blood: Because he should have remained in the city of his refuge until the death of the high priest: but after the death of the high priest the slayer shall return into the land of his possession. So these things shall be for a statute of judgment unto you throughout your generations in all your dwellings. Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. MOREOVER YE SHALL TAKE NO SATISFACTION FOR THE LIFE OF A MURDERER, WHICH IS GUILTY OF DEATH: BUT HE SHALL BE SURELY PUT TO DEATH. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for BLOOD IT DEFILETH THE LAND: AND THE LAND CANNOT BE CLEANSED OF THE BLOOD THAT IS SHED THEREIN, BUT BY THE BLOOD OF HIM THAT SHED IT. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel.”

From the above passage it is very clear what God was referring to in the Ten Commandments — murder. The person who accidentally killed someone had to go live in one of the Cities of Refuge until the death of the High Priest. But the person who premeditated the action, was considered a “murderer,” and was to be put to death. That lines up exactly what God told Noah after the flood. Genesis 9:1-6 says, “And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. WHOSO SHEDDETH MAN”S BLOOD, BY MAN SHALL HIS BLOOD BE SHED: for in the image of God made he man.”

It is clear that all killing is not wrong. God commands that for some crimes people be put to death. Thus, Exodus 20:13, “Thou shalt not KILL,” is clearly referring to “murder.”

Capital punishment, or the death penalty is still in effect today. Romans 13:1-4 says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”

The truth is that all of us deserve to die, because all of us are sinners. Romans 3:23 says, “For ALL HAVE SINNED, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 6:23 says, “For THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The Lord Jesus Christ paid that death penalty for us, that we might have everlasting life. Romans 5:8,9 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” Have you received Jesus’ payment for your sin?