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January 7, 2016, 10:55 AM

A Contradiction in Scripture

In my life and in my experience I have heard a lot about the bible being full of contradictions. But, in my own personal study, I haven't found that to be the case. That is, until recently. As we study the 9th commandment today, I think it is wise for us to realize that the bible says not to lie while also demonstrating exceptions to that rule. While this may not be a full blown contradiction that brings the integrity of scripture into question, it is something unusual that warrants a look. 

There are at least two times that scripture seems to say that it was good for someone to break the ninth commandment. The first glaring exception to the ninth commandment happens in Exodus 1:15-20. Here we find the midwives for the Hebrew women lying to Pharaoh about why they did not follow a direct order.  Another obvious exception happens in Joshua chapter 2. Here we find Rahab lying to her government about the location of some Hebrew spies. 

The most peculiar thing about these exceptions is that in both cases, scripture points to the fact that God blesses these individuals for lying. Why is that? Why would God bless someone for breaking His commandment? While I cannot say that any of my reasons are 100% correct, I do feel that they are very solid possibilities. 

1. Their lying saved lives – In both circumstances, the lies told saved the lives of the individual and other people. Had Rahab admitted to hiding spies, she would have been executed for treason along with the spies. Had the midwives admitted to intentionally disobeying a direct order from Pharaoh, they would have placed their lives and the lives of the children at risk.

2. Their lying accomplished the will of God – In both cases, the lies told played a role in God's will being accomplished. In the case of the midwives, God was growing His chosen people into a mighty nation. Also, God's leader for His people in the person of Moses, was one of the baby boys born during that time. In the case of Rahab, God's will was the fall of Jericho as the Israelites conquered the Promised Land. In both cases, the lies diverted the efforts of those opposing or resisting God's will. 
3. Their lying was an affirmation of their faith in God – In both cases, the individuals lied because they feared God.  Instead of fearing those who were opposing the will of God, they feared God.  This was an evidence of their faith in God as greater and more powerful than their culture's authorities and gods.
While these three points do not explain away the fact that there seems to be exceptions to the ninth commandment, I think it is important for us to view these curious occurrences in light of their context.  In this proper context, we see that these exceptions occur within a very narrow set of circumstances. 




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