In the Bible God gives many commands, but he doesn't seem to have to keep all of them himself.

For example in the Ten Commandments God instructs his people not to murder (Exodus 20:13). But God frequently executes people himself, such as when he killed Korah and his 250 followers in Numbers 16.

Why doesn't God have to keep his own commandment not to kill? To disobey any of God's commandments is sinful. So how can God ignore them? Does the Bible explain why?

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    See: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/49/… The answer to that question pretty clearly explains this one. Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 22:17
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    The commandment is not do not kill.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:01
  • @curiousdannii: it kind of is... Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:16
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    @GregMcNulty, no it's "do not murder". Stop using the KJV guys! :)
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:19
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    @curiousdannii - I disagree with the close reason myself. It's borderline too broad by asking if "anyone has a solution" it's opening it up to anyone's personal opinion. I'd be willing to reopen if you'd be willing to take the time to edit it to resolve that issue and ensure it's within the site standards, and then vote to reopen and/or flag for reopening. Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 4:37

6 Answers 6


This question is about authority. It is wrong for you to discipline children unless you are their parent, or their teacher, or their sports coach etc. The relationship you have determines what authority you have over someone.

As our creator, God has complete authority over everyone. It is entirely right for him to kill any creature he made at any time for any reason. But we do not have that authority or right. We're not God.

Through the Bible you can see that at times God gives up his prerogative to kill. God's promise to Cain in Genesis 4 suggests that before the flood there were no situations when God allowed people to kill each other. After the flood in Genesis 9 God instructs his people to execute murderers and animals who kill people. In the Mosaic law he prescribes executions for many more crimes and sins. Fast forward to the New Testament, and Romans 13:1-5 says that God has given our civil rulers the right to punish wrongdoers. But in all of these cases a human's authority to kill people is always derived from God's own authority. None of us have that right in and of ourselves.

(And just for the record, the commandment is not "do not kill", but instead "do not commit murder". See this other question for an explanation of why the KJV says 'kill'.)

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    "God has given our kings and rulers the right to punish wrongdoers" - didn't they just take that right on their own...? Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:18
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    No, even though they might think they claimed the right by themselves, it was really God who appointed them. Romans 13 is more explicit than 1 Peter 3.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:21
  • but most of the leaders at that time were not Christian, so he appointed them but then they still went to hell? Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:27
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    Yeah. Just because God has appointed you to a position does not mean that you have been reconciled to him. God appoints every father and mother over their children, but that doesn't save them.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:28
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    The commandment is not "do not kill"! It is "do not murder". Murder is deliberate illegal and wrongful killing. It does not refer to executions, or to war for that matter.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 8, 2014 at 23:35

I don't have a full answer but I think few words can help...

Why parents forbid children from doing things they themselves do ? They know more.

Why God forbids killing but killed people ? He knows these persons more than humans do. He knows their thoughts and more, so his judgement is the best for his plans.

But we don't know everything there's to know about someone. We don't know what will happen to him/her. Maybe God wants to use him/her to do something. So I'd say that God forbids killing because it's "taking someone's destiny in our hands" but it's not our job.


The simplest answer would be derived from the choice of words used:

Thou shall not ........ (Emphasis mine)

The prohibition applies to man not God since here God is the One speaking to man.


One think we must know is " God will not act wickedly" - Job 34:12

(Sorry i'm not eloquent in English)

actually GOD killed those nations because of their iniquity (Genesis 15:16, Deuteronomy 32:43, Genesis 13:13) and what Korah did was to rises against GOD (Numbers 16:11). And GOD is the ruler and Creator of us All and HE has to do justice (Romans 12:19) and He is a "God of justice" (Isaiah 30:18)

"The Rock! His work is perfect, For ALL His ways are just; A God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He. - Deuteronomy 32:4

"He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing." - Deuteronomy 10:18

It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you - Deuteronomy 9:5

Hence God is not doing it for HIS selfishness HE is doing justice. For if GOD has not done any justice means who will do it.

Besides HE is the Creator.


Thou shalt not kill.

As mentioned by others, "kill" is "murder".

I am perhaps straying a bit around, and outside the scope of the question, but you might find some of the essence useful. Beware of some doom and gloom ;)

In short, it is God's prerogative to end a life, not man. Though I do not say God murder, the commandment is set forth to man, not God. If Abraham had set forth to kill his son on his own accord, that would have been a sin, as he was commanded by God to do it, disobeying would have been a sin. Though; as we know this was only a test on Abraham's obedience and faith, not an fulfilled act.

Taking a step back one have to remember that we live in a world of death. By fall of man sin entered the world, and death trough sin, thus the world and all living things die. Even the creation itself withers away. The creation that was perfect became corrupted. The world is full of life and joy, but surely full of death and suffering as well. This is part of the fallen world. God does not enjoy it, thus he set forth to save us.

God is almighty and we can not even come close to fully understand God, his nature and his actions. We can, however, see that God throughout the Bible, is a loving, merciful, wise, just God. One can also surely say he is a patient and forgiving God. That is the "norm" so to speak. So why then does he "kill people"?

As we see from context man sometimes fall under God's judgement. Perhaps especially when the society they live in are completely rotten; to the core (Gen 18).

And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous;

The cities cries to the heavens. One can only imagine their evil and bad ways. Still, we remember from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah that Abraham pleads (Gen 18):

And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?


And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.

– If he had found ten righteous, the city would have been saved.

Another "big" example is the tribes of Canaan. (Gen 15)

But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

iniquity is here perversity, moral evil, etc. This shows that God knew they would become even more perverted and evil, but they were not there yet. The people of Abraham was not to take the land until the iniquity of the Amorites was full.

We also know that Israel was punished when they strayed away from God.

Beside this it is part of the fallen nature. Death entered the world. The world is no longer as it should be.

One also have to remember how serious the act of killing is in God's eyes. Even David, who fought a righteous war, was marked (1 Chron 28):

But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.

We learn that life is precious, and the life is in the blood. Blood, even from animals, has it's place. Thus is one of the old ways emphasized in (Acts 15) by telling us not to consume blood.

But should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.

Looking at Genesis 9, we read that

Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

By the laws given the taking of life was a capital offense. Even killing by accident was punishable by death, though one then had the possibility to save oneself by taking refuge in dedicated areas. One was permitted to kill a thief, but only by night when one could not tell what the intentions of the intruder was. Sheree murder in any form was capital offense.

Throughout the Bible there are several passages about defending one self, rescuing others etc. But one are never to kill by e.g. revenge, anger, be quick to draw sword etc.

Finally, in short, one clearly see that God say Thou shalt not murder. If all types of killing, even self-defense, just war or even capital punishment was a sin, then one would end in a circular fallacy. It is clear that it is murder or even negligent homicide.

Some notes further on.

One often hear that "it was the God of the Old Testament", but the seriousness in it is a reality today as well. I truly believe the world is different, as with the spiritual world, after Jesus victory over death, but, God still see to nations and people, as well as the individual. So even by remembering (John 3:17)

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

And by knowing though we live in an imperfect world, we have salvation and God's love and peace in our heart, we live to serve and rejoice even trough suffering (Rom. 5)

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

God's wrath as well as his blessing is as real today as it ever has been.

My point in mentioning this in context of the question is the reality of the fallen world and the importance of prayer for our nation, leaders, people, as well as family and communion.

I believe God can hold his hand over and bless nations, as well as take that blessing and protection away. That is serious business.

  • ">**Thou** shalt not kill. As mentioned by others, "kill" is ":murder". i don't think that's exactly what is meant. it's not to differentiate one form of homicide (that is "evil" and prohibited) from some other form of homicide (that might be considered "justified" and "okay"). i think "killing" animals might be excepted, but not killing people. it really means "You shall not slay." everyone (including the 9-11 hijackers) have their own reasons to justify their homicide. God is not approving our own personal reasons for homicide yet condemning the other guy's reasons. Commented Oct 9, 2014 at 14:07
  • 'God is almighty and we can not even come close to fully understand God, his nature and his actions.' Hurricane Katrina, Boston Marathon Bombing, Ebola, AIDS, Black Plague... Yep, you're damn right about that.
    – Jim G.
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 17:32

If we are speaking about OT killing of nations then there is a theory that they were nephilim. It is presented by L.A. Marzulli in the watchers series and on this page. Could this be the reason i dont know? God only knows this. But as other i would say that 'do not murder' is correct translation.

so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God (1 Cor 2:11 KJV)

We cannot know unless God let us know why He told israelites to kill them all.

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