Q&A: Old Testament Infanticide

Old Testament Infanticide

Question

Where in the Old Testament can I find stories on infanticide?

Answer

The Bible contains many references to infanticide. In idol worship, people (including Israel and Judah) sacrificed their own children (1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 16:3; 17:17; Jer. 7:31; 19:5; 32:35; 33:6; Ezek. 16:20-21). In war (even in holy war), entire cities/nations of people were sometimes killed (Num. 21:35; 31:17; 1 Sam. 15:3; 2 Sam. 22:19), including infants. Also, in Jeremiah 19:9 we read that God threatened to afflict his people so greatly that they would eat their own children, and in Lamentations 4:10 we have an indication that this may actually have come to pass. Then of course we have the famous stories of kings who kill infants in order to control threats to their kingdom (Exod. 1:22; Matt. 2:16; Acts 7:19). God himself killed all the firstborn of Egypt at one time, among which were certainly many children (Exod. 12:29), not to mention the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19), or the much more terrible flood of Noah's day (Gen. 6-9).


Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.