Is there any instance in the Bible in which:

  1. Parents lied to children, and
  2. God approved of it?

There is an instance in 1 Kings 22:22 in which the Lord is said to put a lying spirit in the mouths of the prophets, but that appears to be God -> spirit -> deceive a king, which seems different from parent/child relationships.

  • 1
    Welcome to the site. This is not bad for a first question. It is a little close to a "list" question, but I think the community will be happy to leave it open. However, an answer that says no will probably be very disappointing.
    – user3961
    Dec 20, 2013 at 20:10
  • Irony: I think Adam pointed out we don't seek God's approval. Unless you want to lie to yourself. Jan 19, 2014 at 21:52
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is a verse search question. Sep 20, 2015 at 6:21

1 Answer 1


Finding God's approval for men's actions is uncommon. More often than not, the actions of people are recorded in all their embarrassing detail without an explicit endorsement or condemnation by God.

I concur with the problematic comparison of humans to God, for God knows exactly who he is and what he should do, he is sovereign and sinless, and doesn't exactly have to behave the same way as we do (e.g. worship, prayer, etc.).

I cannot think of an instance in the (Protestant) Canon when a parent lied to his children in an attempt to do something morally good.

Is Lying Ever Allowable?

On the contrary, one could make an argument that God doesn't want us to lie at all. One example I can think of is Jesus' praise of Nathaniel: "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!" (Jn 1:47, NASB)

There are at least a few instances where people lied for "good reasons" and God blessed them (without necessarily approving of their method, but perhaps of their motives). One example is the Hebrew midwives who wouldn't murder the newborn sons they were to help deliver (Ex 1). Perhaps they were actually telling the truth and only deliberately arrived after the children were born, but I think it's safe to say that they deliberately employed a measure of deceit in what they told Pharoah.

A strict "no-deceit" rule of personal conduct does introduce difficult questions, like when I play a strategy game and do things to trick my opponent. It doesn't seem like it ought to be wrong since everything is strictly hypothetical and your opponent has no assurance that you are attempting to represent yourself in a plain and transparent way, but I consider this a weakness either in my argument or in the way I live.

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    Abraham lied to (or at the very least deceived) Isaac, surely. Dec 20, 2013 at 19:51
  • Paroah's daughter lied to her father....
    – Flimzy
    Dec 22, 2013 at 10:11
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    @lonesomeday, If I try to imagine what a father would say to his beloved son in the situation with Abraham and Isaac, I would consider this "not answering the question" as opposed to willful deceit. Providing a vague answer is not the same as lying.
    – mojo
    Dec 23, 2013 at 15:55
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    @Flimzy, the text only mentions the events, not the motives. I wouldn't have assumed that adoption was unheard of, even in that day. It never occurred to me that she might be pretending that the child was her own biological son (nothing is said one way or the other)—I would be a little surprised if she could pass such a thing off since anyone around her would have known that she'd never been pregnant in the year prior to the boy's birth. Hiring a wet nurse is a privilege of the wealthy, not necessarily a conspiracy. She even named him "drew out" in remembrance of how she acquired him.
    – mojo
    Dec 27, 2013 at 12:13
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    Lying is all about intention. Without the intent to deceive, you are only making a mistake. Even factual representation with the intent to decieve is a lie.
    – mojo
    Dec 27, 2013 at 12:17

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