- If we are not supposed to murder, why are killings which occur during wars considered justifiable?
- Why did God sometimes command the Israelites to wipe out other nations?
- Does the New Testament forbid all killing?
My point is that often we do not have the whole picture when we read about various tragedies which occur in the Bible, or even, in our own lives. God does, though, and since He is sinless, pure and righteous, He will never indiscriminately wipe out people or nations without cause.
God was bringing His people Israel into the land which He had promised them, the land which God had given years before to Abraham and his descendants forever. (See Genesis 15:17-21). The Israelites had left Egypt exactly on schedule, to the very day (Exodus 12:40-41). Jericho was the first city they would encounter on their way into the promised land. All of the above may account for the LORD's instructions to destroy the city's inhabitants in this case.
Does the New Testament forbid all killing?
Interestingly, in the New Testament, Jesus seems to take the provision against murder even further. In Matthew 5, Jesus says:
"You have heard that it was said to the people long ago,