Saturday, 20 November 2010

Lying as an act of war

What then is a lie? I would say that a lie is a word or act that intentionally deceives a neighbour in order to hurt him. It is a false witness against a neighbor.
Is everybody my neighbour? The parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) greatly expanded the Jews concept of their neighbour. But not even this parable universalises it. Thieves, murderers are not our neighbours but our enemies. There is a form of love that is due to enemies, but this is not incompatible with a desire to bring God's judgement on them (certainly this is the case for God whose jealous anger is not incompatible with His general love for all his creatures). Nor is it incompatible with self-defence, punishment or just war. 
It is in this way that I would understand the rather substantial number of Bible passages in which someone misleads an enemy, without incurring any condemnation, and sometimes even being commended:
1. Exodus 1:15-21 [the Israelite midwives in Egypt]
2. Joshua 2:4-6; 6:17, 25; Hebrews 11:31; James 2:25 [Rahab's deception - what she did (hiding the spies) and what she said (lying)]
3. Joshua 8:3-8 [the ambush at Ai]
4. Judges 4:18-21; 5:24-27 [Jael and Sisera] 
5. 1 Samuel 16:1-5 [Samuel misleads Saul as to the reason for him mission]
6. 1 Samuel 19:12-17 [Michal deceives her father's troops] 
7. 1 Samuel 20:6 [David's counsel to Jonathan]
8. 1 Samuel 21:13 [David feigns madness] 
9. 1 Samuel 27:10 [David lies to Achish]
10. 2 Samuel 5:22-25 [another military deception]
11. 2 Samuel 15:34 [Hushai counselled to lie to Absalom] 
12. 2  Samuel 17:19-20 [women deceive Absalom's men] 
13. 1 Kings 22:19-23 [God sends a lying spirit against Ahab]
14. 2 Kings 6:14-20 [Elisha misleads the Syrian troops]
15. Jeremiah 38:24-38 [Jeremiah lies to the princes]
16. 2 Thessalonians 2:11 [God sends a powerful delusion so that his enemies will believe a lie] 

p835-836 DOCTRINE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE (Theology of Lordship)

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