"Thou shall not kill" question

jimmyakin.com/wp-content/uploads/anti-gun-control-rally-Reuters-640x480-300x225.jpgThe second amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

This amendment, along with the various interpretations given to its opening clause, guarantees that gun ownership will be a perennial topic in American politics.

In recent years there has been a marked shift in favor of those who support gun rights.

In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the second amendment entails an individual right to possess a firearm for lawful purposes including self-defense within one’s home.

Public opinion polling has also shifted in recent years. Using two-year averages and data provided by the Gallup organization:

[LIST]
*]Those who felt that the nation’s laws on the sale of firearms should be made more strict dropped from 73% in 1990-1991 to 51% in 2014-2015.
*]Those who felt they should be less strict rose from 3% to 12% in the same time frame.
*]And those who thought they should be kept as they are now rose from 21% to 35%.
[/LIST]
Similarly:

[LIST]
*]Those who thought there should be a law banning possession of handguns except by police and other authorized persons fell from 60% in 1959 to 27% in 2015.
*]In the same time frame, those who thought there should not be such a ban rose from 36% to 72%.
[/LIST]
Both in legal courts and in the court of public opinion, those who favor gun rights have been making significant advances.

But what is happening in these arenas does not tell us much about what a Catholic should think concerning such subjects.

So: What does the Church teach?

Fundamental Principles

Firearms can be used for different purposes (hunting, target shooting, etc.), but here we will consider their use in self-defense.

An initial point of reference is found in the Gospel of Luke, where Our Lord indicates the legitimacy of the right to self-defense, telling the disciples:

Let him who has no sword sell his mantle and buy one (Luke 22:36).

In a modern context, the fundamental principles of self-defense are laid out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:

If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful. . . . Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.

2265 Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for someone responsible for another’s life. Preserving the common good requires rendering the unjust aggressor unable to inflict harm. To this end, those holding legitimate authority have the right to repel by armed force aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their charge

The Catechism thus acknowledges the right to use lethal force in self-defense, including on behalf of others, when the use of this force is moderate (i.e., when it is not practical to use less force).

Applying the Principles to Firearms

The Catechism does not specify the means by which one may use lethal force in self-defense, but this may be inferred: If you are in a situation where the only effective means you have of defending your life (or that of another) is a gun then you can use it.

As the saying goes, when seconds count, the police are only minutes away.

This brings us to the question of gun ownership: Should you be allowed to have a gun?

Some Necessary Qualifiers

Of course, not everybody should be allowed to have a gun. Homicidal maniacs should not. Neither should toddlers.

In what follows, we’ll be considering ownership of firearms by ordinary, responsible people (responsibility including things like knowing how to use a gun and being committed to gun safety).

Statements of the Universal Magisterium

The Church’s universal magisterium is exercised either by the Roman pontiff or the worldwide college of bishops teaching in union with him.

I am not aware of any statements of the universal magisterium dealing with the ownership of firearms by ordinary, responsible individuals.

I am aware of no papal statements on this subject.

Neither am I aware of any statements by bodies such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which also exercises the universal magisterium when its decrees are expressly approved by the Roman pontiff (18*Donum Veritatis *).

A search of the Vatican web site on the term “handgun” does not turn up any results.

A search using the term “firearms” turns up a handful of references. These reveal that you’re not allowed to bring firearms into the Vatican museums, that the Holy See is concerned about illicit trafficking in firearms, etc.

The only relevant statement from a body connected with the Holy See that I have been able to obtain (and it took some doing to get it, because it is not on the Vatican web site), is found in a 1994 document titled The International Arms Trade: An Ethical Reflection by the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace (PCJP). Under the heading “Furnishing Arms to Groups That Are Not States,” the document says:

It is urgent to find an effective way to stop the flow of arms to terrorist and criminal groups. An indispensible measure would be for each State to impose a strict control on the sale of handguns and small arms. Limiting the purchase of such arms would certainly not infringe upon the rights of anyone (4:8).

This document does not address the question of handguns and small arms (rifles, etc.) except under the rubric of keeping them out of the hands of terrorists and criminal organizations. It thus does not engage the broader self-defense question.

It sees “a strict control on the sale” of such weapons as important (“indispensible”) for keeping them away from terrorists and criminal organizations, but it does not define what would count as this form of control. Presumably that would be determined by the individual states.

The document does not call for a ban on the sale of such weapons. It speaks of “limiting the purchase” of them, apparently within bounds that would “not infringe upon the rights of anyone”—presumably including their self-defense rights.

Ultimately, this document does not engage the Church’s magisterium. As noted above, the express approval of the pope (then John Paul II) is required—even for the documents of the CDF—to do that, and this document does not carry John Paul II’s express approval. It is therefore a hortatory, advisory document of the PCJP but not Church teaching.

Thus we do not seem to have any doctrinal statements by popes, the CDF, or others capable of exercising the universal magisterium.

Nor has the college of bishops as a whole made such statements.

**Statements of Particular Magisteria **

By divine law, individual bishops are also capable of exercising the teaching authority of the Church in their own, particular sphere.

I am sure that various bishops around the world have expressed their views on gun ownership, though I am not aware of any who have attempted to exercise their personal magisterium in this regard. (There is a difference between a bishop expressing an opinion and his saying, “This is Church teaching.”)

What about groups of bishops?—for example, the episcopal conferences like the U.S. bishops?

These bodies do not exist by divine law. They are erected by ecclesiastical law to serve pastoral purposes, but they were not instituted by Christ, and so they do not have the same teaching authority that the Roman pontiff and individual bishops do.

Consequently, episcopal conferences can only engage the Church’s magisterium in special circumstances.

As John Paul II established in his 1998 *motu proprio *Apostolos suos:

In order that the doctrinal declarations of the Conference of Bishops referred to in No. 22 of the present Letter may constitute authentic magisterium and be published in the name of the Conference itself, they must be unanimously approved by the Bishops who are members, or receive therecognitioof the Apostolic See if approved in plenary assembly by at least two thirds of the Bishops belonging to the Conference and having a deliberative vote (IV:1).

If a doctrinal declaration were approved by each member of an episcopal conference then it would be equivalent to each bishop engaging his own magisterium, and so there would be a foundation in divine law for seeing the declaration as an expression of the Church’s magisterium.

Similarly, if the Holy See approved (gave recognitio) to the doctrinal decree then it would be equivalent to the Holy See exercising its magisterium, and thus there would again be a foundation in divine law. (The norm indicates, however, that the Holy See won’t consider doing this if a doctrinal declaration got less than a two-thirds vote by an episcopal conference.)

Most of the time, neither of these conditions is met, and so we have to read statements issued by or on behalf of bishops’ conferences with a significant degree of caution.

The U.S. Bishops and Guns

The views of individual U.S. bishops on guns appear to be mixed. That is virtually guaranteed by the fact there are more than 400 active and retired Catholic bishops in America, and unanimity among them on a public policy question that divides the American public is not to be expected.

Further, some bishops are known to be avid hunters and users of firearms.

This does not mean that there is not a generally prevailing opinion among the U.S. bishops. Judging by statements issued by representatives of the body, it would appear that the general ethos of the U.S. bishops conference favors gun restriction.

Whenever there are mass shootings, it is typical for representatives of the bishops to issue a statement of sympathy and condolence, and it is common for these to contain language supporting the restriction of firearms.

The same position is common in statements prepared by various bodies within the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For example, in 2000, the bishops’ Committee on Domestic Policy drafted a position paper titled Responsibility, Rehabilitation, and Restoration: A Catholic Perspective on Crime and Criminal Justice, which was later approved by the conference as a whole. It states:

All of us must do more to end violence in the home and to find ways to help victims break out of the pattern of abuse.*As bishops, we support measures that control the sale and use of firearms and make them safer (especially efforts that prevent their unsupervised use by children or anyone other than the owner), and we reiterate our call for sensible regulation of handguns (“Policy Foundations and Directions” 4).

A footnote to this section states:

However, we believe that in the long run and with few exceptions (i.e., police officers, military use), handguns should be eliminated from our society. “Furthermore, the widespread use of handguns and automatic weapons in connection with drug commerce reinforces our repeated ‘call for effective and courageous action to control handguns, leading to their eventual elimination from our society’” (U.S. Catholic Bishops,New Slavery, New Freedom: A Pastoral Message on Substance Abuse[Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1990], 10).

The original source of the call for an ultimate elimination of handguns is a 1975 statement of the bishops’ Committee on Social Development and World Peace titled Handgun Violence: A Threat to Life.

While these statements indicate a prevailing and longstanding view that favors handgun restriction among the U.S. bishops, it does not constitute Church teaching.

The relevant statements are not doctrinal declarations and do not fulfill the conditions specified in Apostolos Suos for being authentic (i.e., authoritative) magisterium.

The U.S. bishops thus have not engaged their collective, particular magisterium on this question and the statements in question are of a hortatory, advisory nature that reflects the prevailing opinion among U.S. bishops.

Conclusion

We thus arrive at the following takeaways:

[LIST]
*]Church teaching supports the right of individual self-defense, including the use of lethal force when necessary. It does not expressly address the means by which this may be carried out, but it is a reasonable inference that if a gun is the best way you have to defend yourself, you can use it.
*]The Church’s magisterium has not made any pronouncements regarding ordinary people possessing firearms for self-defense purposes, though the general ethos both at the Holy See and among the U.S. bishops seems to favor handgun restriction.
*]Therefore, this is an area in which, in Cardinal Ratzinger’s words, there may be “a legitimate diversity of opinion” among Catholics.
[/LIST]
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More…

Whenever somebody asks a Catholic why they support the death penalty (if they do), or even killing in self defense and how they reconcile it with “thou shall not kill”, the response is invariably “it means we should not murder” of some sort.

My question is, why then does the text say “kill” and not “murder”, if it actually means murder?

It might be better rendered as you shall not kill unlawfully, after all it obviously does not mean no killing under any circumstances as the soldiers of ancient Israel killed in self-defence quite a lot long after the Commandments were written. Also war is not regarded as an absolute evil in all circumstances and the concept of the ‘Just war’ exists. Few wars would fit the guidelines but the idea exists. I don’t support the death pentalty but I do recognise that other Catholics do and that it is a matter of choice for Catholics and something on which we may legitimately differ.

Basically because the Hebrew language of the OT is not particularly rich in vocabulary, not a lot of synonyms. As a result, one verse that says “Thou shalt not kill” must be taken in the context of the whole Old Testament, which contains plenty of instances (including capital punishment, self-defense, and just war) when it IS lawful to kill another human being.

I am not saying that those precedents of legitimate killing are set in stone and cannot be changed. Certainly we do not execute adulterers or disobedient adult children. But what I’m saying is that “thou shalt not kill” is not a universal prohibition against killing.

My question is, why then does the text say “kill” and not “murder”, if it actually means murder?

It does not mean murder. For example, a person can be “killed” with words; verbal abuse, gossip etc…

Language has its drawbacks…I’ve seen it written, thou shalt not commit murder before, but I don’t know if that was a approved.accepted rewording or a personal gesture by the writer.

***Recent informative apologist post added to thread and all moved to apologetics since this is not simply a Biblical question but concerns church teaching on self defense.

See new post #1 above.:coffeeread:***

It does not mean murder. For example, a person can be “killed” with words; verbal abuse, gossip etc…

That is not what the original text is talking about. The Hebrew word in the original text refers to the actual violent taking of life, not insulting someone and making him/her feel badly.

From Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words:

KILL – Ratsach OT:7523, “to kill, murder, slay.” This verb occurs more than 40 times in the Old Testament, and its concentration is in the Pentateuch. *Ratsach *is rare in rabbinic Hebrew, and its usage has been increased in modern Hebrew with the exclusive meaning of “to murder.” Apart from Hebrew, the verb appears in Arabic with the meaning of “to bruise, to crush.”

*Ratsach *occurs primarily in the legal material of the Old Testament. This is not a surprise, as God’s law included regulations on life and provisions for dealing with the murderer. The Decalogue gives the general principle in a simple statement, which contains the first occurrence of the verb: “Thou shalt not kill [murder]” Ex 20:13. Another provision pertains to the penalty: “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses…” Num 35:30. However, before a person is put to death, he is assured of a trial.

The Old Testament recognizes the distinction between premeditated murder and unintentional killing. In order to assure the rights of the manslayer, who unintentionally killed someone, the law provided for three cities of refuge Num 35; Deut 19:1; Josh 20:1; 21 on either side of the Jordan, to which a manslayer might flee and seek asylum: “…that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares” Num 35:11. The provision gave the manslayer access to the court system, for he might be “killed” by the blood avenger if he stayed within his own community Num 35:21. He is to be tried Num 35:12, and if he is found to be guilty of unintentional manslaughter, he is required to stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest Num 35:28. The severity of the act of murder is stressed in the requirement of exile even in the case of unintentional murder. The man guilty of manslaughter is to be turned over to the avenger of blood, who keeps the right of killing the manslayer if the manslayer goes outside the territory of the city of refuge before the death of the high priest. On the other hand, if the manslayer is chargeable with premeditated murder (examples of which are given in Num 35:16-21), the blood avenger may execute the murderer without a trial. In this way the Old Testament underscores the principles of the sanctity of life and of retribution; only in the cities of refuge is the principle of retribution suspended.

The prophets use *ratsach *to describe the effect of injustice and lawlessness in Israel: “…because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery…” Hos 4:1-2; cf. Isa 1:21; Jer 7:9. The psalmist, too, metaphorically expresses the deprivation of the rights of helpless murder victims: “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless” Ps 94:6.

The Septuagint gives the following translation: phoneuein (“murder; kill; put to death”).

The KJV gives these senses: “kill; murder; be put to death; be slain.”

It does not mean murder. For example, a person can be “killed” with words; verbal abuse, gossip etc…

The original Hebrew word means to take a human life by violence, not to insult someone and make him/her feel badly.

From Vines Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words, format adjusted to make it easier to read:

KILL – *Ratsach *OT:7523, “to kill, murder, slay.” This verb occurs more than 40 times in the Old Testament, and its concentration is in the Pentateuch. *Ratsach *is rare in rabbinic Hebrew, and its usage has been increased in modern Hebrew with the exclusive meaning of “to murder.” Apart from Hebrew, the verb appears in Arabic with the meaning of “to bruise, to crush.”

*Ratsach *occurs primarily in the legal material of the Old Testament. This is not a surprise, as God’s law included regulations on life and provisions for dealing with the murderer. The Decalogue gives the general principle in a simple statement, which contains the first occurrence of the verb: “Thou shalt not kill [murder]” Ex 20:13. Another provision pertains to the penalty: “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses…” Num 35:30. However, before a person is put to death, he is assured of a trial.

The Old Testament recognizes the distinction between premeditated murder and unintentional killing. In order to assure the rights of the manslayer, who unintentionally killed someone, the law provided for three cities of refuge Num 35; Deut 19:1; Josh 20:1; 21 on either side of the Jordan, to which a manslayer might flee and seek asylum: “…that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares” Num 35:11. The provision gave the manslayer access to the court system, for he might be “killed” by the blood avenger if he stayed within his own community Num 35:21. He is to be tried Num 35:12, and if he is found to be guilty of unintentional manslaughter, he is required to stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest Num 35:28. The severity of the act of murder is stressed in the requirement of exile even in the case of unintentional murder. The man guilty of manslaughter is to be turned over to the avenger of blood, who keeps the right of killing the manslayer if the manslayer goes outside the territory of the city of refuge before the death of the high priest. On the other hand, if the manslayer is chargeable with premeditated murder (examples of which are given in Num 35:16-21), the blood avenger may execute the murderer without a trial. In this way the Old Testament underscores the principles of the sanctity of life and of retribution; only in the cities of refuge is the principle of retribution suspended.

The prophets use *ratsach *to describe the effect of injustice and lawlessness in Israel: “…because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery…” Hos 4:1-2; cf. Isa 1:21; Jer 7:9. The psalmist, too, metaphorically expresses the deprivation of the rights of helpless murder victims: “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless” Ps 94:6.

The Septuagint gives the following translation: phoneuein (“murder; kill; put to death”).

The KJV gives these senses: “kill; murder; be put to death; be slain.”

The original Hebrew word means to take a human life by violence, not to insult someone and make him/her feel badly.

From Vines Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words, format adjusted to make it easier to read:

KILL – Ratsach OT:7523, “to kill, murder, slay.” This verb occurs more than 40 times in the Old Testament, and its concentration is in the Pentateuch. Ratsach is rare in rabbinic Hebrew, and its usage has been increased in modern Hebrew with the exclusive meaning of “to murder.” Apart from Hebrew, the verb appears in Arabic with the meaning of “to bruise, to crush.”

Ratsach occurs primarily in the legal material of the Old Testament. This is not a surprise, as God’s law included regulations on life and provisions for dealing with the murderer. The Decalogue gives the general principle in a simple statement, which contains the first occurrence of the verb: “Thou shalt not kill [murder]” Ex 20:13. Another provision pertains to the penalty: “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses…” Num 35:30. However, before a person is put to death, he is assured of a trial.

The Old Testament recognizes the distinction between premeditated murder and unintentional killing. In order to assure the rights of the manslayer, who unintentionally killed someone, the law provided for three cities of refuge Num 35; Deut 19:1; Josh 20:1; 21 on either side of the Jordan, to which a manslayer might flee and seek asylum: “…that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares” Num 35:11. The provision gave the manslayer access to the court system, for he might be “killed” by the blood avenger if he stayed within his own community Num 35:21. He is to be tried Num 35:12, and if he is found to be guilty of unintentional manslaughter, he is required to stay in the city of refuge until the death of the high priest Num 35:28. The severity of the act of murder is stressed in the requirement of exile even in the case of unintentional murder. The man guilty of manslaughter is to be turned over to the avenger of blood, who keeps the right of killing the manslayer if the manslayer goes outside the territory of the city of refuge before the death of the high priest. On the other hand, if the manslayer is chargeable with premeditated murder (examples of which are given in Num 35:16-21), the blood avenger may execute the murderer without a trial. In this way the Old Testament underscores the principles of the sanctity of life and of retribution; only in the cities of refuge is the principle of retribution suspended.

The prophets use ratsach to describe the effect of injustice and lawlessness in Israel: “…because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery…” Hos 4:1-2; cf. Isa 1:21; Jer 7:9. The psalmist, too, metaphorically expresses the deprivation of the rights of helpless murder victims: “They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless” Ps 94:6.

The Septuagint gives the following translation: phoneuein (“murder; kill; put to death”).

The KJV gives these senses: “kill; murder; be put to death; be slain.”

DaveBj,

The OP is talking about Catholicism not Judaism.

Matthew 5:21
21
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,n ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.’*
22

  • But I say to you, whoever is angry* with his brother will be liable to judgment,…

The CCC reaffirms and elaborates on Jesus’ fulfillment of the 5th commandment.

This does not change the meaning of the original text but expands on it for Catholics.

Trying to explain how killing and murder are 2 different things are one thing, and I do agree there are differences, but using this kind of logic, any of the other 10 commandments could have ‘exceptions’ too, where a person could do the act in certain context or situation and still not be breaking the commandment…if this logic applies to one, it would have to apply to all.

100% agree. People use the murder vs killing argument as justification for their belief that the death penalty is OK, even as the Church works to abolish it.

The fifth commandment has to do with more than just taking a life anyway. It has to do with taking your own life (suicide), with anger and verbal abuse. It has to do with keeping your guns secured so that others can’t hurt themselves if you choose to own guns. It has to do with reckless driving, driving while intoxicated, using drugs, taking care of your own health and the health of your children, and a whole host of other issues beyond just taking a human life. This is Church teaching, not mine.

-Tim-

The church has never interpreted the commandment not to kill to be an absolute ban on killing; she has always acknowledged three legitimate instances where killing is in fact allowed: just war, self defense, and capital punishment.*And thus that which is lawful to God is lawful for His ministers when they act by His mandate. It is evident that God who is the Author of laws, has every right to inflict death on account of sin. For “the wages of sin is death.” Neither does His minister sin in inflicting that punishment. The sense, therefore, of “Thou shalt not kill” is that one shall not kill by one’s own authority. *(Aquinas)
As for bearing a weapon for self defense, she has allowed this as well.
*… if there is no law commanding or prohibiting something for everybody, many actions which are evil in one man will not be evil in others. For example, if there be no law prohibiting the carrying of weapons, the carrying of weapons will be evil for him who is easily provoked to anger, and who has enemies whom he desires to kill; but it will not be evil for a peaceable man, who only desires to defend himself; yet, if the law forbids it, then it is evil for all, for the law should not consider what is good or evil for this one or that one, but what will profit or harm the State. *(St. Bellarmine)
*
*Ender

The verb “to kill” - viewed from a moral theology perspective - is a word lacking moral content. There just is not sufficient information to say whether that speaks of an act which is immoral or moral. I can’t speak for the precise explanation of the wording for the commandment, but I can tell you my understanding of what is immoral in connection with “killing”, and provide some examples:

  1. act with the purpose or motivation to kill someone;
  • We may never act from a desire to do harm to anyone - all such acts are immoral.
  • Thus, our motive in a just war, or self-defence or capital punishment must remain the appropriate good end for which such actions are just means.
  1. choose (as a means) to directly kill an innocent person for any reason, including a good end.
  • Such an act is intrinsically evil due to an immoral moral object.
  • Abortion is an obvious example.
  • We act morally when we act to directly save mother, using necessary and proportionate means, even though death of the unborn is foreseeable (a consequence of the action).
  1. Take steps not intending death, but through actions not proportionate to the situation, bring about a persons death.

CCC
Supporting point (1)
*2268 The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful.

2269 The fifth commandment forbids doing anything with the intention of indirectly bringing about a person’s death. The moral law prohibits exposing someone to mortal danger without grave reason, as well as refusing assistance to a person in danger. *Supporting point (2)

*2258 … no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being.

2268 also supports this.*Supporting point (3)
2269 … Unintentional killing is not morally imputable. But one is not exonerated from grave offense if, without proportionate reasons, he has acted in a way that brings about someone’s death, even without the intention to do so.

It is not fair to take one line of the Gospel out of context, when you read a little further Jesus said, that two swords are enough between all his disciples.

36 He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. 37 It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’**; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.”

38 The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.”

“That’s enough!” he replied.**

And when it came time to use the swords, it seems the disciple asked Jesus, but did not wait for Jesus to respond.

[quote]49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.

It seems to me that Jesus talks about buying swords, in order to show how they should not be used, even in self defence

What is the greater message of swords, when you read the whole of Luke’s Gospel in context?

When you read Mathews Gospel of the arrest of Jesus, it seems that Jesus is not in favour of self defence again…

Mathew 26

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. 48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” 49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”[d]

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”

55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

[/quote]

I have had a few formative experiences on this subject and would like to share them, and then express my views.

First, in Washington DC, I have seen what happened when the government took away guns (from the 1970s - 2008). Basically, the criminals came in from MD and VA and robbed and killed defenseless people. Please look it up yourself and ponder the loss of life.

Second, when I was a young man, I was pulled over by the police (turns out I had a break light out and he wanted to warn me to get it fixed.) I pulled over, and got out of the car and looked back at the cop to try and figure out why he had pulled me over. It was dark, and I couldn’t see him because of the bright lights. I got back in my car and waited. He came over, out of breath and said that he nearly shot me. He was trained to defend himself. He told me to never get out of a car after being pulled over. I often think about how close to being shot dead I was. I never get out of my car if pulled over.

Third, I was pulled over for having too dark of a window tint on a used car I just bought. The police man explained that troopers were being killed by people who were armed shooting point blank at cops.

Fourth, I was in a movie production where the chief technician came out everyday and showed us what happens to a soda can when you shoot it with a blank from a gun. The can disappears in a cloud of smoke. He did it every day before the show. We knew NEVER to fire a gun with a blank at anyone.

My take away from this is practical, not theoretical at all.

  1. You can’t take away guns from just some people. That is cruel. If you want gun control it needs to be everybody. But our constitution makes it clear that guns are a right. So, if you want gun control you need to start by changing the constitution.That does not seem likely.

  2. Guns are extremely dangerous.

  3. Given 1 and 2, it is essential that every American take basic gun training, understand how to handle a fire arm and understand gun safety and how police use them. This must be made mandatory. In this process, we can determine those people who should not be allowed to own or operate a fire arm. It must become the law that enabling a person deemed unfit, to have access to a gun, is a serious crime.

Wow… talk about eisegesis!

That’s your take on what “It is enough” means! It could mean many things; the editors of the NAB suggest that Jesus’ discussion was meant to be figurative, not literal (i.e., that they should be prepared to be self-sufficient and capable of effective self-defense), and when they pulled out two swords, He said, “enough of this!”

Likewise, it could mean that He’s unhappy that they picked up on the ‘weapons’ part, but not on the purse or sack part.

It seems to me that Jesus talks about buying swords, in order to show how they should not be used, even in self defence

Not sure what this means. Buy a sword, so that you’ll never use it? Really? :hmmm:

When you read Mathews Gospel of the arrest of Jesus, it seems that Jesus is not in favour of self defence again…

No – your example demonstrates that Jesus did not want to be ‘rescued’ from his mission of saving humanity through His death and resurrection. Taking that to mean that He was against self-defense just flies in the face of logic… :shrug:

As an FYI, the Greek word Luke used is ἱκανός

here is the Strongs entry, definition and related examples.

biblehub.com/greek/2425.htm

St. Bellarmine had a different understanding of that incident.*For Our Lord rebuked Peter not because a just defense is unlawful, but because he wished not so much to defend himself or Our Lord, as to avenge the injury done to Our Lord, although he himself had no official authority… *(De Laicis, ch 13)
That is, defense is legitimate, revenge is not.

Ender

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