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WHY .... doesn't Jehovah God consider warfare ... murder?

James Thomas Rook Jr.

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With the help of b4ucuhear from the JW closed club, using  what I had understood from the December 22, 1978 AWAKE!, which I had forgotten where I learned it, many years ago, it shows that Jehovah God does not consider, and never has considered warfare to be murder.

Every sovereign nation , tribe, and civilized people, however organized, hold this exact same viewpoint today.

What I am trying to do by asking "WHY?", is trying to separate sound  reasoning from the universal noise of crappy personal philosophy, and a million words that say nothing of value .... like Job's three elder friends that tried to console him, but in three days, had NOTHING worth saying worth recording in the Bible.


b4ucuhear from closwed club.jpg


Thanks for the reference .... this exactly agrees with my original premise ... that Jehovah God NEVER considered warfare murder, and that PRINCIPLE extends even to today ... and that is the way it SHOULD be viewed.

Here is the quoted material , for your convenience.

It is crystal clear, and unambiguous ... even though it does not comment outside of the limited scope under consideration.... which is the point I was making, making direct application of the PRINCIPLE.

G78 12/22 pg. 27-28 article "Did God Mean 'Thou Shalt Not Kill?'

" The Bible’s View

Did God Mean “Thou Shalt Not Kill”?

WHO has not heard someone say, ‘In the Ten Commandments God commands, “Thou shalt not kill”’? During recent wars some men gave that as their reason for refusing to fight. It also comes up in discussions of capital punishment.

Yet others refer to this command when trying to show that the Bible is contradictory. One booklet with that aim has a heading “Killing Forbidden” and lists “Thou shalt not kill. (Ex. xx. 13.)” but then calls attention to cases in which God told the Israelites to execute others. (Ex. 32:27; 2 Ki. 10:11, 30) And Jehovah directed the Israelites to exterminate enemy nations. (Deut. 7:1, 2, 16; 12:31; Josh. 6:12-21) So did God really command, “Thou shalt not kill”? What does the sixth of the Ten Commandments mean? And does it categorically rule out warfare and capital punishment?

The phrase “Thou shalt not kill” sounds familiar to most persons for that is how some popular Bibles render Exodus 20:13. (Deut. 5:17) If, though, you look up this text in many modern translations, you will likely find “You must not murder” or “You must not commit murder.”* Why the difference?

The original Hebrew word involved is ratsahh, which literally means “to break” or “to dash to pieces.” In his Hebrew lexicon, scholar John Parkhurst explains that in the Bible ratsahh “denotes manslaughter or murder, i.e. either the accidental or wilful taking away of a man’s life.”

It is noteworthy that of the 47 times ratsahh is used in the Hebrew Scriptures, 33 involve Israel’s cities of refuge. These served in cases where one man took another’s life. If it was determined judicially that the manslaughter was unintentional, the manslayer could remain in the city. But if legal investigation showed that he killed with malice or deliberateness, he would pay with his own life. With these two possibilities in mind, notice how ratsahh is appropriately rendered three times:

“As cities of refuge they will serve for you, and the manslayer must flee there who fatally strikes a soul unintentionally. . . . Now if it was with an instrument of iron [deliberately used as a weapon] that he has struck him so that he dies, he is a murderer. Without fail the murderer should be put to death.”—Num. 35:6, 11-34; Deut. 4:41-43; 19:1-7; Josh. 20:2-6; 21:13-39.

Other verses indicate that ratsahh usually applied to the taking of human life unlawfully, contrary to God’s law. Observe the associated things mentioned in Hosea 4:2: “There are the pronouncing of curses and practicing of deception and murdering and stealing and committing of adultery that have broken forth, and acts of bloodshed have touched other acts of bloodshed.”—Jer. 7:9.

As shown above in the punishment for the deliberate murderer, not all taking of human life was considered ratsahh (murder), nor would it be prohibited by the sixth of the Ten Commandments. After the flood Jehovah God pointedly told Noah: “Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man.” (Gen. 9:6) Yes, even before he gave a law code to Israel, God permitted capital punishment. “Shedding man’s blood” by murder was what was forbidden by the Sixth Commandment, not the legal execution of a murderer.

This helps us to appreciate the use of ratsahh in connection with King Ahab. The king coveted Naboth’s vineyard and let the man be killed to get it. It was not a case of King Ahab’s directing a legally justified execution of someone who had committed a capital offense in Israel. Rather, it was an illegal killing of a man, something forbidden by the Sixth Commandment. Ahab thus was a “murderer” and deserved to die.—1 Ki. 21:1-10; 2 Ki. 6:32; Lev. 24:17.

But what about war? Were Israel’s wars in violation of God’s command that is fittingly rendered, “You must not murder”?

No, they were not. The fact is that the Bible never uses the term ratsahh (murder) regarding any of those wars. When the Israelites warred at God’s command, they were not acting illegally. They were authorized by and were being directed by the Supreme Lawgiver. (Isa. 33:22; Ps. 19:7) These wars were not wars for limitless territorial conquest, like so many of the national wars in recent times. They were not wars motivated by economic greed. Nor were they wars that violated legally arranged peace treaties or non-aggression pacts, as have some wars in modern history.

Absolutely no nation on earth today is composed entirely of persons worshiping Jehovah, miraculously directed by him through prophets and having a Divine grant to possess a certain portion of the earth. But all of that was the case with ancient Israel. Jehovah had noted that the inhabitants of Canaan were steeped in iniquity, being morally depraved and deserving of execution. (Gen. 15:13-21; Lev. 18:24, 25) As the owner of the entire earth, God determined to give the land to the nation of Israel. And, under the direction of leaders he specially chose, God used Israel to carry out his judgment against the Canaanites.—Deut. 9:4, 5; 12:31; Josh. 10:40.

Hence, in executing Jehovah’s legal and morally upright judgments, or when defending their God-provided land, the Israelites were not guilty of violating the command, “You must not murder.”

What about Christians? Since the Sixth Commandment merely restated what God had said earlier through Noah to the whole human family, we are still obliged to avoid murdering. In fact, the closing chapters of the Bible warn us that unrepentant murderers will experience eternal destruction in the “second death.” (Rev. 21:8; 22:15) How important it thus is to avoid sharing in taking human lives without God’s specifically stated authorization. Consistent with this, Isaiah 2:3, 4 prophetically describes God’s true worshipers, saying: “And many peoples will certainly go and say: ‘Come, you people, and let us go up to the mountain of Jehovah, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will instruct us about his ways, . . .’ And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. . . . Neither will they learn war anymore.”

Furthermore, Christians are alerted to the fact that murders issue from a bad heart. (Matt. 5:21-26; 15:19) If a person allowed hatred for a fellow Christian to develop in his heart, he would as much as be a manslayer or a murderer, something that we must avoid.—1 John 3:15.

So the rendering “Thou shalt not kill” does not truly convey the real flavor of the Sixth Commandment. It is more properly translated “You must not murder.” Appreciating this aids us to see that Israel’s righteous wars did not violate that command. And we can better sense its significance as to our conduct and attitude toward taking human life.


New World Translation, Today’s English Version, The New English Bible as well as translations by Moffatt, Fenton, T. F. Meek and R. Knox. "


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The idea just occurred to me, trying to answer the question of "WHY?" .... it is because if warfare were considered murder ... there would be no legal basis to make peace!


Those who won the war would be obligated to exercise retribution ( or justice... according to "local" winner's standards ..) on those who killed THEIR combatants. .... and THERE NEVER COULD BE PEACE, AS ALL ENEMY COMBATANTS, AND THOSE SUPPORTING THOSE COMBATANTS WOULD HAVE TO DIE, AS CONSPIRATORS,  AIDING AND ABETTING MURDER.

If warfare were considered by Jehovah God to be murder ...or the nations, tribes, and peoples considered warfare to be murder ... there could NEVER be any peace, and the healing of wounds, and forgiveness.

Remember stories of American and Japanese soldiers getting together after World War II, at a bar, and sharing stories of how they were once bitter enemies, killing each others on the battlefields?

I know DOZENS of stories like that ... of forgiveness, and healing, and letting bygones be bygones, BECAUSE ...

. it is UNIVERSALLY recognized that warfare is NOT murder.

That includes the viewpoint of Jehovah God.

NOW ... I know WHY!




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@James Thomas Rook Jr. after reading Awake article some thoughts came out. 

After the flood Jehovah God pointedly told Noah: “Anyone shedding man’s blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God’s image he made man.” (Gen. 9:6Yes, even before he gave a law code to Israel, God permitted capital punishment................

But what about war? Were Israel’s wars in violation of God’s command that is fittingly rendered, “You must not murder”?

No, they were not. The fact is that the Bible never uses the term ratsahh (murder) regarding any of those wars. When the Israelites warred at God’s command, they were not acting illegally. They were authorized by and were being directed by the Supreme Lawgiver. (Isa. 33:22; Ps. 19:7) These wars were not wars for limitless territorial conquest, 

.....(my add: yes they took territory :))

What about Christians? Since the Sixth Commandment merely restated what God had said earlier through Noah to the whole human family, we are still obliged to avoid murdering. .....(and to add again - capital punishment is legal and permitted by God, as article concluded)

Now, what about Christians today. Article using terminology "Christians", and not JW's or WT or JWorg and similar.  God have, according to Romans, His own arrangement and system how to punish wrongdoers. And that is SECULAR AUTHORITY. This is His SERVANT. But not only in Individual type of crimes, but about all sort of crimes on Global scene, on nationals levels. 

When one group, tribe, nation, fight against another one, for what ever reason, and murder number of individuals, they are guilty for taking their life. So, they need to be punished. Perhaps that can be reason for some group, tribe, nation to fight back and go to war. As article say, this is "Noah Law".

Well now, we have Romans epistle where God say how "Christians" are under Secular Authority Law, because they are His Servant to Punish crimes. Who can, have to punishing wrongdoers? Those who are Authorized? Who was given this Authorization? To Secular Authority, to Government in every single Nation.  

To make it short. "Christians" ares allowed to work under Secular Authority as executor of Government's orders about Capital Punishment decisions. If JW's consider self as the same as in article's terminology - "Christians", then JW can be policeman, executor of death penalties, or soldier in the army who working under Secular Authorities commands and instructions, wright or wrong, justice or injustice, because they are under God's appointment and His will to make free decisions. Because they will answer to God, not to JW member. 

In other words, JW member is not Authorized to questioning decisions made by Secular Authorities in the same way as he/she JW is not authorized to questioning GB doctrines and instructions.   :)))))

Well, can we choose who will we listen more, Secular Authorities or GB? Yes, we can choose to listen our conscience and free will. And take consequences for that, of course :)))


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What a load of bunkum. It seems that JTR Jr is looking for a way to gain peace of mind desperately, from any one he can.  Does James worry that he is still American and that America goes to war and murders people ? 

ANY true Christian that is trying to serve God properly, is no longer 'part of this world'.  So they are no longer of an earthly nationality. If they serve God properly they are part of God's Kingdom.

So WAR IS MURDER if you are a true Christian. 

We as Christians are not under the Mosaic Law so why even consider it ? 

The Nation of Israel existed for a few purposes, but mainly to 'produce' Jesus. God wanted that nation to survive but the Nation turned against God, killing Jesus, so God had that Nation destroyed.

But none of that relates to the true Christian personality of today. 

Where is the spirituality on this forum ? Where is the Faith ? Where is the Love ?

The same in the JW Org and Watchtower society, no Faith, no Love, and no SPIRITUAL MEN.

Quote " using  what I had understood from the December 22, 1978 AWAKE!, which I had forgotten where I learned it, many years ago, it shows that Jehovah God does not consider, and never has considered warfare to be murder. "

WRONG. What it shows is that MEN who are NOT INSPIRED, have written such. It proves nothing only that you are prepared to rely on the word of MEN. 

James you seem to have an agenda. But you seem to have made your decision even before you asked any questions. Where is your Wisdom ?

This bit is almost funny Quote "  Christians are alerted to the fact that murders issue from a bad heart. "

And are you saying that WAR doesn't issue from a bad heart ? 

Wars begin with hate, greed, dishonesty, love of power, love of self, and possibly love of murder.


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What I have said is crystal clear and unambiguous.

You just cannot wrap your mind around what I am actually saying, from the noise of what you THINK I might be saying.

Because your thought processes are agenda driven, you assume mine are also.

If they are, I am totally unaware of what that agenda might be.

However, this is a common problem.

it is crystal clear to me, that a million words and "buzz scriptures" to the contrary (scriptures that sound good as long as you do not try to make direct application, to a SPECIFIC circumstance ...), that Jehovah God DOES NOT consider legitimate warfare between any organized group of people to be murder.

It's like when the Democrats tried to impeach President Trump by charging him with "Abuse of Power", and "Obstruction of Congress".

This is something that the Voters should decide, because the STANDARD for impeaching a President ... overturning the expressed will of the majority of States in the Republic ... was if he was guilty of "High Crimes and Misdemeanors", of which he was CLEARLY NOT GUILTY ... as no one EVER charged him with violating ANY specific law.  Basically, he was impeached, but acquitted of all charges against him.

Had it not been a weaponized indictment to keep him from competing in the 2020 Presidential Elections, which it was ( I watched full weeks of it, in its entirety), and been a legitimate impeachment, he STILL would have been acquitted, as he did not commit a crime that ACTUALLY EXISTED.

Since Jehovah God DOES NOT consider legitimate warfare between any organized group of people to be murder, my ONLY concern is trying to understand the legal principle of ...... WHY?

After the American Civil War, between the States, Abraham Lincoln granted Amnesty to all those who committed treason against the Union, by warring against the Union, and peace was restored.

Murders on BOTH sides were NOT forgiven

To the best of my knowledge and belief, this is exactly how Jehovah God considers the making of war, and the making of peace.

And exactly how he considers murder.

all other discussions, that are not involved in getting the answer to WHY? ... are beside the point.

If you can show me a clear, unambiguous scripture that says Jehovah in any way considers warfare to be viewed as, and reacted to, as first degree, premeditated murder, I will accept that, and of course HAVE to change my viewpoint.

Until then ... everything else is ONLY opinion.

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As I can no longer be bothered to be drawn into the problem you have with yourself, I'll just let it go.

You seem to have the same problem as many on here.

You are a 'physical man' not a 'spiritual man'. You lack faith in the things you cannot see.

And you are still part of this world, just like Tom and Aurana. Still talking politics. 

11 pm in England. Goodnight


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.... AND WITHOUT FURTHER ADO ... an observation about this, from the "JW Closed Club". ... and of course an observation on the observation .....




.... there is a REASON why people, believing that the Earth is being supported on the back of a giant Turtle, come to that firm belief, and defend it against the logical impossibility of it, by ALSO rationalize it with .... " ... it's Turtles ... all the way down."


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You have a problem that only you can deal with James. I didn't even bother to read the above. 

You seem to have a need for warfare to be ok, just as you seem to have a need to have a house full of firearms. 

I think both are part of the American Dream, so as I suggested but you ignored, it is better to be no part of this world. 

Being no part of this world would mean having no need for warfare or firearms.

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