Killing. What does it mean to kill? Killing is the act or action of causing death. Is there any way in which an act like this could be seen as justifiable? From a biblical standpoint, there is justifiable reasons to take the life from another. If you take a look at the sixth commandment it says, ‘Thou shalt not kill”. Many people have misunderstood the true meaning of this mainly because of it being an incorrect translation from the old King James Version of the Bible. A more accurate translation of this commandment is found in the newer versions of the Bible, like NIV, which translates to, "You shall not murder." This is not saying that the Bible condones all acts of murder, which is the unjustified taking of a person's life such as suicide, abortion, and euthanasia, but what it is saying is that the Bible does not forbid all forms of killing. In fact, at times it is adamant that killing is the right thing to do, but it must be seen as a justified act in God's eyes. According to the Bible, there are three main situations in which the taking of a human life is justifiable.
One justifiable situation seen by the Bible is self defense. Many of the same principles of self defense also apply to warfare, in the sense that God wants us to defend ourselves. If an aggressor proves to be too threatening and persistent, and you are in fear for your life, then we may be justified in killing the aggressor. An example of this principle can be shown in Exodus 22:2, when God says, “If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him”. If someone, while defending their property or oneself, should happen to kill the thief or aggressor, then no crime has been committed meaning there would be no guilt for his bloodshed. This exact principle can be applied to individuals as well as nations in the sense that when one nation becomes an aggressor towards another and sends their troops over to attempt to take over that nation, it is alright to fight back and kill to protect your nation at all costs.
A second justifiable situation as seen by the Bible is killing in warfare. At times the Bible offers many examples where God commands his followers to kill the enemy aggressors in war. The Old Testament is filled with commands from God himself to people such as Moses, Joshua, or David, to kill their enemy aggressors. In Deuteronomy 20:1 it reads, “When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you.” At times, God even commanded unmerciful acts upon the evil nations, such as in Deuteronomy 2:33-34, "The Lord our God delivered him over to us and we struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army. At that time we took all his towns and completely destroyed them--men, women and children. We left no survivors.", or in Deuteronomy 20:17, “Completely destroy them—the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites—as the Lord your God has commanded you.”
The last justifiable situation as seen by the Bible is capital punishment. In Exodus 21:12, when it says, “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.” Capital punishment is also shown in Genesis 9:5-6, it reads, “And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man." In both of these passages it is showing God’s command to the people that murderers should be executed for the acts they have committed or attempted to commit. As in the case of warfare and self defense, including this one, killing is not only seen as a justified act, but it is commanded by God.