Was it right for Moses to kill the Egyptian man?


“In the course of time Moses grew up. Then he went to see his own people and watched them suffering under forced labor. He saw a Hebrew, one of his own people, being beaten by an Egyptian. He looked all around, and when he didn’t see anyone, he beat the Egyptian to death and hid the body in the sand. When Moses went there the next day, he saw two Hebrew men fighting. He asked the one who started the fight, “Why are you beating another Hebrew?” The man asked, “Who made you our ruler and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and thought that everyone knew what he had done. When Pharaoh heard what Moses had done, he tried to have him killed. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian.” - Exodus 2:11-15, ESV

Was it right or wrong for Moses to kill the Egyptian man? If it is wrong, should he have left the Hebrew man to his fate?


I think the clue is in

Moses used more force than was necessary to save the Hebrew man so killing the Egyptian man was wrong.


That makes sense. Especially since the text didn’t say that the Egyptian was going to kill the Hebrew Man.

What should Moses have done then? What would you have done were you in Moses’s shoes?


Would that still apply under the old covenant though?:thinking:


Simply used no more force than was necessary to save the Hebrew. In other words he could have pulled the Egyptian man away and restrained him until the Hebrew man escaped or beat him unconscious rather than to death. He may have been able to use his relationship to Pharaoh to get the Egyptian man to leave the Hebrew man alone which would have not required force at all.


I think so. Moses wanted to check he would not be seen so he knew what he was doing was at least legally wrong and I think he would have understood it to be morally wrong too.


What I’m thinking is that, since Moses had no teaching authority like the Church, and his actions had a strong symbolic undertone, perhaps in fulfilling God’s will to liberate the Israelites by an utter rejection of his (evil) previous life, they wouldn’t be classified as murder. I also did a quick google search on this topic and found this (albeit Protestant) viewpoint:

‘Moses’ act of killing the Egyptian, therefore, was not a sin. He knew his calling was to lead Israel from Egypt and the bondage of Pharaoh. He knew that the warfare he and the nation had to fight was the destruction of the enemies of Israel. He knew that this would involve the destruction of the Egyptians. And so, his act of killing the Egyptian was not murder but an act of faith. That is, he thought that he would begin his work when he saw one of his brethren wrongfully misused.’


Also this (deeply unhelpful) topic on CAF:

OP take note!


Many people who God chose, were previously sinful people/ or after their call by God, slipped from grace;

-Adam and Eve were immortal human beings in an earthly paradise, and disobeyed God by listening to satan,
-Paul (was a murderer of christians, stood by as Stephen was stoned to death for preaching Jesus Christ)
-Moses (was a murderer)
-Abraham (had an affair with one of his servants)
-King Saul (paid mediums to contact the dead, Divination/ occult, which is actually demonic)
-King David (organised things so that a guy he knew of would be killed in battle, so he could marry the guy’s wife),

Thank Goodness for God’s forgiveness/ mercy,
God is always ready to forgive if people repent and choose His mercy,

I believe either Moses repented of his crime,
That something untold about the fight, meant that the killing was a justified act of self defence, maybe the Egyptian turned on Moses towards the end of the fight and Moses act was self defence?


I’d challenge that. I respect the tradition, but we now know it comes from a confusion of roles.


Yeah, it is disproportionate.


This was before the incident with the burning bush. There is no indication he had any thought of he had a “calling” to release them from Egypt. He was infuriated and impulsively killed the Egyptian because he thought he could get away with it. When he realized that the other Hebrews weren’t going to cover for his crime, he fled Egypt. (When he heard the call from the burning bush, he was in no hurry to believe it, either.)


Given that he looked around before killing the Egyptian I don’t think it was self defense, but I do believe he repented.


Obviously yes he repented :slight_smile:
Because God later used him as a prophet☺️


You keep mentioning him looking around, but that doesn’t necessarily mean guilt. It most likely meant fear of getting caught and punished.

While Moses’s actions were illegal in Egypt, that isn’t necessarily the same as being immoral. Sometimes laws are immoral and disobeying them is necessary; one example the laws in the Seleucid and Roman Empires that mandated idolatry.

Now I’m not saying Moses didn’t act immorally, I just felt the need to point this one factor out.


It does imply premeditation rather than self defense though. Certainly today using excessive force is immoral and I am inclined to believe that it was then and that Moses knew it. Joseph knew it would be wrong to commit adultery and Cain was held responsible for killing Abel before those laws had been given.


As the Bible says:
‘I have written My laws on your hearts.’

We all have a conscience :slight_smile:


He could have looked around to see if anyone else was going to save this man’s life. The truth, IMO, is we can’t know because we have not been given the information. What is clear is that God used this incident to put Moses in a position where God could use him for His plan.


Conceded, but I maintain that if he was capable of beating the Egyptian to death he was capable of simply restraining him or merely incapacitating him for long enough for the Hebrew to get away.


We just don’t know. It may have been a battle to the death. It didn’t necessarily happen the way Hollywood depicted it!

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