May 12, 2002 / Volume 2, Issue 19
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
God forbids killing (Exodus 20:13). And yet God commands killing (Exodus 32:27).
Let us see the two texts in question:
You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13)
And he said to them, 'Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' (Exodus 32:27)
The questioner is incorrect in saying "God forbids killing". What He does forbid is murder. However, not all killing is murder. Exodus 32 is the record of God's judgment upon His people for their idolatry. It is not God violating His own law, but upholding His own law (see Exodus 20:4-5).
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible