ABC:Numbers 15

From BibleStrength

Verse 32, Should We Keep the Sabbath?

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

The FFRF want to focus on the Sabbath rules under the Old Covenant, not the New Covenant which Christians are under (Jeremiah 31:31); ignoring the context of the Sabbath for which it was given, as the Israelite Pharisees did. In doing so, they ignore the principles emphasized in the New Testament by Jesus about the Sabbath, that it was intended primarily for the good of people, not as a burden. (Mk. 2:27) What matters is that the Sabbath be used to do good for others. (Mt. 12:12)

The Sabbath was intended to protect the poor from overwork, not create onerous regulations that govern what everyone can do on a certain day of the week (as the Pharisees viewed it). The Old Testament Covenant, including its rules on the Sabbath, was not kept properly by the Israelites for thousands of years, which is why Jesus brought in the New Covenant which emphasizes the underlying spiritual principles the Sabbath was intended for; protecting and helping mankind while focusing on God.

Verse 36, Should We Kill?

Dan Barker of FFRF claims there is a contradiction here and makes the following comments (italicized):[1]

The Hebrew word translated "kill" in Exodus 20:13, ratsach, is translated as "murder" or "murderer" 17 out of the 47 times it is used in the Old Testament by the KJV. It is also translated "slayer," "slain," or "slayeth" 21 times, and twice it is translated as manslayer. Only 5 times is it translated as "kill."[2] The confusion is in large part caused by the KJV not translating the same Hebrew words identically throughout the New Testament, and the word ratsach, had it been correctly translated into English as murder, would have removed any confusion.

God allows killing to stop, punish, or deter evil in cases of war or judicial punishment. See e.g. the commandment of "eye for an eye." However, harming others without provocation or even out of vengeance is prohibited; for God has always commanded that "vengeance is mine, I will repay." (Leviticus 19:18) The cases mentioned above do not violate the Biblical prohibition against murder; and were all judicial punishments ordained by God. In Exodus 32:7 the Israelites were sacrificing their own children alive to a golden calf to honor Baal and Molech while committing sexual perversions, so God ordered those responsible destroyed to prevent the spread of wickedly immoral practices.

In 1 Samuel 15:2-8 God ordered the destruction of a wicked group of people that had attacked the Israelites, murdering Israel's feeble rather than fighting Israel's warriors, presumably women, children, and the elderly. (cp. Deuteronomy 25:18) In the case of Hosea 13:16 the sins of Israel included idolatry involving child sacrifice (Ezekiel 16:20), for which they were punished horribly as a nation by God allowing their enemies to destroy them. The cases of 1 Samuel 6:19 and Numbers 15:36 were similarly judicial punishments commanded by God for disobedience, specifically working on the Sabbath and looking into the Ark of the Covenant, which represented God's Holy of Holies. At any rate, none of the cases could be considered murder as they clearly involved God-directed punishments through God's governance/government, not willful decisions by individuals to harm others without provocation or take vengeance into their own hands.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Barker, D. (2019). "Bible Contradictions." FFRF.
  2. Brown, Driver, Briggs, and Gesenius (2019). "Ratsach." BibleStudyTools.