Day 123: The Sixth Commandment, part 4 - "Lawful War" I

Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 67. Which is the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment is, "Thou shalt not kill [b]."

Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbour unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto [e].

Westminster Larger Catechism
Q.136. What are the sins forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are, all taking away the life of ourselves [c], or of others [d], except in case of
• public justice [e],
lawful war [f], or
• necessary defence [g];
the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life [h]; sinful anger [i], hatred [k], envy [l], desire of revenge [m]; all excessive passions [n], distracting cares [o]; immoderate use of meat, drink [p], labor [q], and recreations [r]; provoking words [s], oppression [t], quarreling [v], striking, wounding [w], and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any [x].

Why Important?

10,000/yr vs. 10,000 per day. What is the tendency of purposeful, orchestrated, intentional, organized, systematic, institutionalized killing?
Somewhere between 50-90 million human beings were killed in World War II. The clear winner of that war was Marxism/Communism, which took Eastern Europe and Asia, over 1 billion slaves. Would Moses or Isaiah have considered the wars of the last 200 years to be Godly, "lawful wars?" How about the wars we're already seeing in the 21st century?

Review: "Capital Punishment" - Atonement

Genesis 9:4-6
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.
Numbers 35:33 - [In ContextRead ChapterOriginal Hebrew]
So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed [kaphar] of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it.
Deuteronomy 21:8 - [In ContextRead ChapterOriginal Hebrew]
Be merciful [kaphar], O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.

The Holy War in the Promised Land

  • Leviticus 20:9
    For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
  • Leviticus 20:11
    And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
  • Leviticus 20:12
    And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.
  • Leviticus 20:13
    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
  • Leviticus 20:16
    And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
  • Leviticus 20:27
    A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 18:24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. [25] And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. [26] You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you [27] (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), [28] lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. [29] For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.

Exodus 22:20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

"Utterly destroyed" = "devoted." It is a religious ban, not what we would think of as a "military strategy." The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says that this word

means a ban for utter destruction, the compulsory dedication of something which impedes or resists God's work, which is considered to be accursed before God. The idea...appears in Num 21:2-3, where the Israelites vowed that, if God would enable them to defeat a southern Canaanite king, they would "utterly destroy" (i.e., consider as devoted and accordingly utterly destroy) his cities. This word is used regarding almost all the cities which Joshua's troops destroyed (e.g., Jericho, Josh 6:21; Ai, Josh 8:26; Makkedah, Josh 10:28; Hazor, Josh 11:11), thus indicating the rationale for their destruction. In Deut 7:2-6, the command for this manner of destruction is given, with the explanation following that, otherwise, these cities would lure the Israelites away from the LORD (cf. Deut 20:17-18). Any Israelite city that harbored idolaters was to be "utterly destroyed" (Deut 13:12-15; cf. Ex 22:19). (I:741)

Proof Text from the Larger Catechism:

lawful war [f], Deuteronomy 20 throughout. Ver.1 When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt, etc.

Ver.2 So it shall be, when you are on the verge of battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people. Ver.3 And he shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel: Today you are on the verge of battle with your enemies. Do not let your heart faint, do not be afraid, and do not tremble or be terrified because of them; Ver.4 for the LORD your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’

The priests? Dressed as warriors. The Nazirites when under their vow were the same as priests, which is why David and his men, when under the vow, were given priestly food (1 Samuel 21:5-6). Priests killed animals that represented people. The activities at the Temple were the activities of Holy War. [James B. Jordan]
indent.gif (90 bytes)The military was not necessarily a state function [in contrast with] a Church function in the Old Covenant. Indeed, holy war was a specifically priestly function. The torching of cities is to be understood as taking God's fire off from His altar and applying His holy fiery wrath to his enemies. Thus, the torched cities were called "whole burnt sacrifices" in the Hebrew Old Testament (Dt. 13:16; Jud. 1:17; 20:40, in Hebrew). During the holy war, the men became temporary priests by taking the Nazirite vow (Num. 6; 2 Sam. 11:11 + Ex. 19:15; Dt. 23:9-14; Jud. 5:2, "That long locks of hair hung loose in Israel . . ."). This is all to say that the rendering of specific judgments is a sabbatical and priestly function, not a kingly [civil] one. The sword of the state executes according to the judgments rendered by the priests.
indent.gif (90 bytes)Thus, the military duty is priestly. The mustering of the host [army] for a census is, then, not a "civil" function as opposed to an ecclesiastical one, and the atonement money of Exodus 30 is not a [civil] poll tax, as some have alleged. [James B. Jordan, The Law of the Covenant, pp. 231-232.]

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