Skip to main content
Bible Q

One of the Ten Commandments is ʺThou shalt not killʺ: if this is so, why does the Bible say God told his people to kill other people?

“Thou shalt not kill” is taken from Exodus 20:13 in, e.g., the KJV of the Bible. A better translation of this verse is “You shall not murder”.1 The Law of Moses, from where the Ten Commandments are taken, didn’t outlaw all forms of killing. For example, in some instances people were allowed to kill other people: see Numbers […]

Why is God so violent?

There is no denying that in the Old Testament (and in part, the New Testament) the actions of God are often violent and bloody. Either through direct action or through sanctioned action God seems responsible for a large number of deaths. These actions attributed to God not only seem unpleasant compared with our modern conceptions […]

Is Joshua 20:1-6 condoning manslaughter?

When someone had carelessly but non-maliciously killed someone, then God’s Old Testament law made provision for him to escape capital punishment, whilst not trivialising the killing. There was no expensive prison infrastructure. So banishing someone within the land of Israel to a city of refuge was a practical humane solution. This was not condoning manslaughter; […]

Is it OK to kill if it saves lives?

A Christian author once wrote the following, which may be useful to start this answer with: The question is sometimes asked: “What would you do if you saw someone attacking a member of your family?” A simple answer to this question is by no means easy. Shield the person attacked? Restrain the attacker, using as […]