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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Shoftim 48-7


Deuteronomy 20:10 21:9

When the LORD your God delivers it into your hand, put to the sword all the men in it... However, in the cities of the nations the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely destroy them... If a man is found slain, lying in a field in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess, and it is not known who killed him,... Accept this atonement for your people Israel, whom you have redeemed, O LORD, and do not hold your people guilty of the blood of an innocent man." And the bloodshed will be atoned for. So you will purge from yourselves the guilt of shedding innocent blood, since you have done what is right in the eyes of the LORD.

Deut. 20:13, 16-17a; 21:1, 8-9 NIV


What is the difference between killing and killing?

The Torah commands to execute all males from a city that in times of war would not submit to peace conditions offered by the chosen people. Besides, the Torah orders the sons of Israel to destroy completely men, women and children from the seven peoples that were bound for extermination due to their many abominable sins.

This kind of killing is allowed by the Torah because it constitutes the performance of divine justice upon those who rebel against the Eternal in a special way. On the other hand, in this aliyah we have a text that deals with a murder committed by a stranger. The Eternal takes such an action in a very serious way. A person has killed another one without authorization or right to do it. Any layman has no right to take away the life of no one unless he is attacked in a way that his life is in risk. In such case he can defend his own life but he has not the right to take revenge.

Shedding innocent blood is one of the gravest sins men can commit and the Eternal does not take sin lightly. Because of shedding of innocent blood the Flood came to the ancient world and later the Eternal wasn't willing to forgive the great amount of innocent blood shed by an evil king and that's why the deportation to Babylon came (2 Kin. 24:4).

The Torah promises that if the elders of the nation sacrifice an innocent animal in a special place and declare their being unaware of the murder of certain man in the field, making a prayer asking for forgiveness on behalf of the people; then the Eternal will forgive the collective guilt that had come upon the entire people due to that sin.

The murder of a man brings guilt upon the whole people if the murderer is not found and sentenced or if it is known who the murderer is and no justice is performed against him.

The unfair death of a human being brings severe consequences upon the entire people and if that sin is not forgiven, the whole people will have to suffer the Eternal's wrath for it.

Now, if the Eternal's wrath comes upon an entire nation due to unjust bloodshed of a human being, what will happen in countries in which there are daily murders against unborn children in the place created by the Eternal to be the safest one for their development and wellbeing, the womb? The cruelest murder human beings can commit is to kill their own children. There is no excuse whatsoever for the murder of an unborn person.

Where are the voices speaking on behalf of the yet unborn who are murdered and those in danger of death? Let's not remain silent in the face of the barbaric practice of abortion!! Do not vote for a party that is not against abortion.

Shabbat shalom,


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