Excerpt of an 11 page article on Self Defense and the Defense of others
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This study examines the Biblical view of self-defense. We're looking at questions such as,Is it right to employ lethal force to protect the life of yourself and others?Is it right to take measures that might killan attacker who is wrongfully threatening your life or the life of another?
Self-defense here is defined as "protecting oneself from injury at the hand of others." Self-defense is not about taking vengeance. Self-defense is notabout punishing criminals. Self-defense involves preserving one's own healthand life when it is threatened by the actions of others
The Bible clearly teaches that we must preservelife--our own lives and the lives of other people. 1 Corinthians 6:19 teaches that our bodies are not our own. Rather, our bodies belong to God. Our bodies are His property and so we are not permitted to treat or destroy them aswe please: Or know ye not that your body isa temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye arenot your own; for ye were bought with a price: glorify Godtherefore in your body. (1Co 6:19-20 ASV)
Not only are weto take care of our bodies and the life contained. We have an obligation to preserve the body and life of other people. Psalm 82:4 even cites an obligationto protect those who are in danger: Psalm 82:4 Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the handof the wicked. Consider also Proverbs 24:11, which indicates we havea duty to preserve the lives of those who are harming themselves: Proverbs 24:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. Ezekiel 33 is a well-known passage: Ezekiel 33 "... 'But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is takenaway in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman's hand.'
In Deuteronomy22:8, if someone falls from your roof, and you failed to install a safety fencearound the edge, you would be held liable for the death of that person.Likewise, in Exodus 21:29-31, if a man has an ox which is prone to harm people,the owner is held liable if he fails to confine it and the ox harms or killsothers. If the ox harmssomeone, the negligent owner is fined. If the ox kills someone, the negligentowner is to be putto death.
We learn more about God's view of bloodshed from David. David is a man who loved God and who was loved by God. God raised him up to defend Israel. God sent David tophysically fight to defend Israel.When David killed Goliath and Philistines in battles, it was at God's command.They were righteous killings. Now, with that understanding, let's look at a few passages:1 Chronicles 28:3 "But God said to me, 'You shallnot build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.' 1 Chronicles 22:8 But the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast madegreat wars: thou shalt not build a house unto my name, because thou hastshed much blood upon the earth in my sight.
We start in the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:13 You shall not murder.Murder is wrong. This means the premeditated killing of othersis wrong. Killing in a fit of emotion is also wrong and is prohibited here. Butas we will see later, accidently taking the life of another is wrong. We must do all that we can to avoid it and stay as far away as possible from taking life.
Exodus 22:2-3 "If thethief is found breaking in, and he is struck so that he dies, there shall be noguilt for his bloodshed. "If the sun has risen onhim, there shall be guilt for his bloodshed. There aretwo cases here. In the first case, if someone breaks into your home at night,and you kill him, you are not held guilty of murder. You are not deserving of capital punishment. You do not need to flee to a city of refuge to preserveyour life. In the second case, it says "if the sun has risen on him",and you kill the intruder, you are guilty of his bloodshed. The understanding is that in daytime, there is light, and you can discern the intentions of the home invader. The crime in question here is theft ("If the thief").It is not legitimate to kill someone who is merely stealing your property. Increating civil laws, we see here that not all crimes are worthy of death.
In the daytime,it is assumed that the intention of the intruder can be discerned. If he is a thief, he may not be killed by the defendant. However, if the intruder is thereto commit a different crime—assault, murder, kidnapping, rape, etc.—different laws/rules would apply. Though the crime of theft is not worthy of death,kidnapping was worthy of death (Exodus 21:16, Deut. 24:7) as was murder.
Nehemiah 4:14 specifically says, "...fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives,and your houses." It is good and right to defend your family, even using lethal force weapons. Esther 8-9 The final Old Testament passage we examine is in the bookof Esther. Here we have a historical example arranged by Divine Providence. In this account, the Jews are under threat of racial violence. The civilauthority, King Ahasuerus, grants them legal permission to use lethal force inself-defense:
Buying and carrying a sword Luke 22:35-39 And He said to them,"When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?" So they said, "Nothing." Then Hesaid to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, andlikewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buyone. "For I say to you that this which is written muststill be accomplished in Me: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors.' Forthe things concerning Me have an end." So they said,"Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It isenough." Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, asHe was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him.
Luke22:49-53 (NAS) And when those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said,"Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" And acertain one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his rightear. But Jesus answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and healed him. And Jesus saidto the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come againstHim, "Have you come out with swords and clubs as against a robber? "While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me;but this hour and the power of darkness are yours."
Matthew26:51-56 And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew hissword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, "Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. "Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? "How then could theScriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?"
In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes,"Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to takeMe? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seizeMe. "But all this was done that the Scriptures of theprophets might be fulfilled."John18:10-11 Then Simon Peter, having asword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear.The servant's name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter,"Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which MyFather has given Me?"
Possession of weapons is neverdiscouraged in Scripture. In fact, in 1Sam 13:19ff, it is negatively reportedthat no spears or swords were found in Israel because of the Philistines: 1 Samuel 13:19-22 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, "Lest theHebrews make swords or spears."... So it came about,on the day of battle, that there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people who were with Saul and Jonathan.
Psalm 144:1 Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingersto fight: Psalm 18:34 Heteaches my hands to make war, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze
Psalm 44:6-7 For I will not trust in my bow, Norshall my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our enemies, Andhave put to shame those who hated us.We see in Nehemiah 4:14 that the people were armed and willing to use their weapons, butthey were also trusting in the Lord: "Do not be afraid of them; remember the Lord who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, yourdaughters, your wives, and your houses....
"At whatever place you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us." Do not put your trust in weapons. They are tools that are useful, butthey are only dead, inanimate tools,at the end of the day."...the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD's."(1Sa 17:47 NAS)
" (Titus1:7). Lamech is an example of someone who should not own weapons (Gen. 4:23f).
When you are insulted or cursed, when your wife or your mother is insulted or cursed, you are not to resort to violence. But I say unto you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless themthat curse you, pray for them that despite fully use you. Tohim that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him thattaketh away thy cloak withhold not thy coat also. Give toevery one that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them notagain. (Luk 6:27-30 ASV)
All rights reserved. This article comes from www.biblicalselfdefense.comand was written by MT. You are permitted to print and distribute upto 30 copies of this article so long as this paragraph is included and you notify usof your usage. To distribute more than 30 copies, you must first requestpermission.