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Does the Bible condone infanticide?
Thank you for this question about infanticide in the Bible. At the beginning of this reply I want to state that the Bible, when taken as a whole written work, does not condone infanticide or murder of any kind.
It is important to note that the Bible is made up of 66 different books and letters written over a period of around 1600 years by around 40 different people. During this time the Bible records the history of God's relationship with mankind and His creation. Over the course of history God has revealed more about Himself and His plans for the people in the world.
At the beginning God choose to have a group of people to worship and know Him. These people were the descendants of Abraham; they were God's chosen people. Anyone was welcome to be part of this group of people. Other people did not follow God or worship Him and they did many terrible things to God and others.
God gave rules to His people so they could be an example to the rest of the world. One of the most important rules was: "You shall not murder." (Exodus 20:13) This was given in the second book of the Bible called Exodus. This is one of the earliest parts of the Bible written by Moses.
At some point in the history of God's people it is clear that God did allow the killing of whole groups of people. These people were not living for God or in a way that brought peace to the earth and would have had no issue with killing all of God's people including their children. This can be seen where enemies of God's people wanted to kill all of them:
So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. And the king said to Haman, "The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you." Then the king's scribes were summoned on the thirteenth day of the first month, and an edict, according to all that Haman commanded, was written to the king's satraps and to the governors over all the provinces and to the officials of all the peoples, to every province in its own script and every people in its own language. It was written in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed with the king's signet ring. Letters were sent by couriers to all the king's provinces with instruction to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all Jews, young and old, women and children, in one day, the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their goods. (Esther 3:10-13)
These times in history were bleak times. Man would kill another man with no second thought. These events took place thousands of years ago where the rules that governed the world were very different from today. There was no United Nations or international peace treaties; there were no human rights or laws of the land that everyone followed. It is still hard for us however to understand why this may have needed to happen. It is important that we look at it in the context of history. It was either God's people that would have been killed or their enemies.
God has always commanded His people not to murder, but to be at peace. This was His ultimate desire and plan for all people. But because people do not listen to God then things had to change at certain points.
Now we have the whole completed Bible and we see that the teaching of God through Jesus is that we should still not murder: You know the commandments: "'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honour your father and mother.'" (Mark 10:19) Jesus even takes it a step further and says you should not even be angry with people in your heart and that His people should pray for their enemies and turn the other cheek.
In summary I hope that you can see the Bible as a whole, when understood in its true historical context, does not condone infanticide. Instead God's own Son was murdered for us to be forgiven and restored with God for the wrong things we have done. God wants us all to know him and live for him as he has always done.
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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