How can God be against abortion when he ordered the deaths of Amalekite infants/children?


1 Samuel 15:2-3

2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

Not only does God command the deaths of children and infants, he also makes no distinction between pregnant and non-pregnant women. By implication, obeying this command would have required the Hebrews to commit many abortions.

One defense I’ve often heard to the accusation that this was immoral of God is that God knew that when the Amalekite children grew up, they would try to exact vengeance against the Hebrews. Therefore they were part of the Amalekite evil that God was trying to destroy. But by this logic, one could argue that God might be working through couples choosing abortion to similarly arrange the future in accord with his will.

You could take any of history’s tyrants, for example, and argue that avoiding their evil could have been God’s will, and thus that aborting them would have been God working through the couple who chose the abortion and the doctor who performed it.

So if you believe that God prohibits abortion, how can you reconcile that with God’s actions in the Bible? There seems to be two alternatives: either God is guilty of murder because he commanded abortion, or abortion is not always murder because it might be the will of God.


excellent question.



Interesting topic…I will follow


Hear hear.


The Natural Law is for man, not for God. His actions do not invalidate it, not that they violate them anyway.

Harem warfare was the way of the land back then. This is the complete destruction of opposing tribes. Whole cultures had to be destroyed so as to not lead Israel astray. We see Israel fall away and return to God on numerous occasions. The neighbouring tribes with their own beliefs would have simply led Israel astray once again.

Remember that God’s covenant was not with anyone but Israel at this time. They were His people and He would protect them.

Remember Jesus’ teaching on divorce. God allowed divorce because the hearts of the Israelites were hard. In the same way, harem warfare was allowed because of the cultures and ingrained societal thinking of the time.

The same logic cannot be applied to couples having an abortion for the simple fact that there is a difference between warfare and everyday life.

By your logic, the warfare permitted by God would also make it okay for us to kill our neighbour and kill our neighbour’s cattle etc. There is a clear difference between warfare and how we live our lives and the morality involved.

Killing of an enemy in warfare is not murder, and never has been.


I guess I see it this way.

I guess if you believe God is the creator and author of all life he has a right to do with it as he pleases for his purposes. However, he did not give man that same right over his creation.

If the potter makes a piece out of clay, it is the work of his hand and he has the right to destroy it for whatever purpose. However, he did not give someone else that same right to destroy what he has made.


I think there are more than the two possible “options” you offer, each is, in a way, answering
or narrowing down to what you think the answer may be? But good question.

Hoping a priest, monk, nun, apologist, or theologian will respond to this question~
following thread…


**Not one of these again! :doh2: We come across these “biblical ethics” questions by Atheists and the like all the time.

Here is the distinction:

GOD is GOD. HE is the SOLE author of Human Life. HE alone has the exclusive rights to the life of any human being. If I use your analogy, I could say “why do people die, as it is GOD who recalls Human life as HE has determined a time for everyone to die”. This question touches upon the sovereign rights of GOD. GOD is the author and source of all human life. The fact that You are breathing right now is because HIS eternal decree allows You to. If HIS decree called for You to stop breathing in thenext minute, then that is what happens. GOD has the rights to recall the lives of anyone, at anytime. HE is GOD and the creator of all laws and life. What the commandments do not allow us to do is kill, because You and I do not have rights to the lives of others as we did not create that life, nor do we sustain it.

This is another arguement thrown out there by Atheists. However, all Atheists tend to use are moral arguements against the existence of GOD. Most arguement begin like “If GOD exists, why does HE allow war”. However GOD allowing things such as war are not contingencies on the arguement of HIS actual existence**.


God is sovereign over human life. We are not.

God no longer acts through people under His direct command. Couples who seek abortion are not acting in His will.



I just realized I have not been on the forums long enough to make this discernment!
But , of course, this reply is the truth. And the truth will set you free~


I recommend Jimmy Akin’s article Hard Sayings of the Old Testament. It doesn’t address the question from the abortion angle, but it looks at those passages in the Old Testament where God calls for the destruction of entire tribes. Since that is really the underlying question anyway, by answering that, the abortion question doesn’t really apply.


I’m confused. God is sovereign, but it’s not possible that he’s still acting through people? How can you justify that categorical pronouncement?



Akin says that God could make it up to the innocent Amalekites by giving them heaven. That applies just as well to abortion. He also says that perhaps the whole thing is metaphorical, but does God need a story where he explicitly commands the wiping out of infants and children, and implicitly commands the wiping out of pregnant women, to make his point? That really confuses matters if God also wants to condemn abortion, and the Bible says that God is not the author of confusion.


You’re ignoring the context of war vs the context of everyday life…


I have seen other support for infanticide outside this story. I don’t have a answer for them.

[BIBLEDRB]Exodus 21:22-23[/BIBLEDRB]

The woman’s death is seen as the taking of a life but the child is not.

[BIBLEDRB]Numbers 3:15-16[/BIBLEDRB]

Any Child less than a month isn’t counted as a person.

It is seems that the idea of “personhood” was different in the O.T.


I would disagree with this statement. God acts through people via the guidance of the Holy Spirit. God the Father may not directly interact with us, but God the Holy Spirit surely acts through people.

To the OP:
We are explicitly told not to kill/murder. Abortion is killing a living human child. God did command the destruction of towns and the killing of people, but, as people have already said, He is our Creator, and only He has that right.


But public revelation is closed. So God no longer inspries people to violate the normative moral law.


(bold highlighting is mine) I don’t see the implication at all. The killing of a pregnant woman together with the fetus is double homicide, and may be double murder (if not justified as an act of war as Sultan Of Swing argues, but which to me seems a bit of a stretch). I think the word abortion should be used more precisely to mean the selective ending of the life of an unborn child.

Your other point:

I am not competent to fully address that remark, but I see a few reasons to reject it as a false argument to justify immoral choices:
*]God commands us to respect and protect life. “Thou shalt not kill.”
*]We have free will, and a conscience, and it is our responsibility to make good choices. We cannot do whatever we please and shrug it off, saying “It must be God’s will.”
*]We cannot accept the notion that “the end justifies the means.”

In short, this scripture passage or the events described in it cannot be used in any way to justify murder or abortion.


Exactly. Let’s be more precise, though: abortion is the act by which a mother chooses to end her unborn child’s life through pharmaceutical or surgical means. (After all, if someone else chooses to end her baby’s life against her will, it’s a different situation.)

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