Does God Order People to Randomly Kill People?
@Nickdrumr2 from Twitter asks: “You say god doesn’t order people to kill. But you also say he does. Please explain?”
In order to answer this apparent contradiction, we must make a distinction between killing someone and committing murder. Murder is the unlawful taking of a life, while killing may be lawful or unlawful.
Self-Defense or Murder?
The Bible provides many circumstances under which the taking of a life is legally allowed by Scripture. Killing another person in an act of self-defense (Exodus 22:2) was permitted with no consequences. There are examples of God calling the people to war against other nations to punish them for their sins. When Joshua led the children of Israel into the Promised Land, God commanded the Israelites to utterly destroy the idolatrous peoples who inhabited the land (Deuteronomy 20:16–17). A list of their sins can be found in Leviticus 18, including incest, murdering children, and so on. When God called Israel to war against those in the Promised Land, then He was permitting the killing in this situation, making men His agents of justice, as in the case with capital punishment.
Nickdrumr2, you are confusing God telling His people, the Israelites, to protect themselves from those (Amalekites, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites) who were continually attacking them with murder and other sinful acts.
An example are the Amalekites who were continually never ceasing to attack the Israelites; murdering without regard the Israelite infants, children, women, and men while they took from the Israelites what did not belong to them. Reading 1 Samuel 15:2 in context we see why God ordered the Amalekite slaughter (or as some people say, genocide, massacre, annihilation, extinction, elimination, etc.) 1 Samuel 15:2 “This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt.’”
Note reading the Old Testament in context shows that it wasn’t just one instance of waylaying, it was a repeated occurrences multiple times over a long timeframe that the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. God’s command to the Israelites (His chosen people) to destroy the Amalekites was just as an order today for a President to order his/her military to destroy an enemy; so to protect the innocent people.
Now you ask what about the Amalekite children? The Amalekite children were victims of their parents’ heartless attacks against the Israelites. If the Amalekite parents had not attacked the Israelites, the Amalekite children would never have been a victim of their parents attacking the Israelites. The parents of the Amalekite children were continually attacking the Israelites and seeing that the Amalekite parents were so brutally cruel and hated God and God’s chosen people, God knew it best that their children need to be with Him instead of their the Amalekite parents. There were no Human Services departments back then and the Israelites were not supposed to make the Amalekite children slaves and leaving them to fend on their own was inhuman.
An Attempt to Sanitize the Story
I am in no way trying to “attempt to sanitize the story” nor would I attempt to sanitize the story because it is a very tragic that the Amalekites were so ruthless and crass in their continually attacking the Israelites (God’s chosen people) without regard to the death of Israelite infants, children, women, men and would not stop attacking and murdering the Israelites and taking their things. In situations other than the Amalekites whom God knew would not make peace with the Israelites, God ordered the Israelites to make an offer of peace with the people prior to any attack (Deuteronomy 20:10). God in His infinite wisdom and infinite omniscience knew that the Amalekite elders would never stop attacking the Israelites even if talks of peace had occurred. To protect His people (the Israelites) who were continually being attacked by the Amalekites, God commanded the Israelites to preserve themselves by destroying the Amalekites and everything that the Amalekites stood for in their hatred of God and the Israelites.
To find out more about how the Israelites had to defend themselves from others sins (Amalekites, Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites, etc.), read the Old Testament books of Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy, Numbers, Judges, 1 Samuel, and 1 Chronicles. I suggest that you read each of them in context; meaning that each verse and chapter needs read from the start of the book to the end of the book. Reading in context helps keep one from making assumptions about what was written and thus jumping to conclusions which are misleading and false such as thinking that God randomly tells people to kill other people.
Does God Order People to Randomly Kill People? No, God does not order people to randomly kill other people in acts of murder. God is however, okay with people defending their families, friends, others, and self; including countries defending countries.
Thank you @Nickdrumr2 for your question! God bless you and your family!