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Biblical Verses For Self-Defense
Below are a few verses that touch upon the subject of self-defense or defending another.
There are more verses, but these give an overview of the topic.
Genesis 9:5-6 (ESV)
5 And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.
6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.
Exodus 20:13 (ESV)
13 “You shall not murder.
Exodus 21:12-16 (ESV)
12 “Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death.
13 But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place to which he may flee.
14 But if a man willfully attacks another to kill him by cunning, you shall take him from my altar, that he may die.
15 “Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.
16 “Whoever steals a man and sells him, and anyone found in possession of him, shall be put to death.
Exodus 21:29-31 (ESV)
29 But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death.
30 If a ransom is imposed on him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is imposed on him.
31 If it gores a man’s son or daughter, he shall be dealt with according to this same rule.
Exodus 22:2-3 (ESV)
2 If a thief is found breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguilt for him,
3 but if the sun has risen on him, there shall be bloodguilt for him. He shall surely pay. If he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
Leviticus 24:16-17 (ESV)
16 Whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.
17 “Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death.
Numbers 35:6-34 (ESV)
6 “The cities that you give to the Levites shall be the six cities of refuge, where you shall permit the manslayer to flee, and in addition to them you shall give forty-two cities.
7 All the cities that you give to the Levites shall be forty-eight, with their pasturelands.
8 And as for the cities that you shall give from the possession of the people of Israel, from the larger tribes you shall take many, and from the smaller tribes you shall take few; each, in proportion to the inheritance that it inherits, shall give of its cities to the Levites.”
9 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
10 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,
11 then you shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there.
12 The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment.
13 And the cities that you give shall be your six cities of refuge.
14 You shall give three cities beyond the Jordan, and three cities in the land of Canaan, to be cities of refuge.
15 These six cities shall be for refuge for the people of Israel, and for the stranger and for the sojourner among them, that anyone who kills any person without intent may flee there.
16 “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.
17 And if he struck him down with a stone tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.
18 Or if he struck him down with a wooden tool that could cause death, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.
19 The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death.
20 And if he pushed him out of hatred or hurled something at him, lying in wait, so that he died,
21 or in enmity struck him down with his hand, so that he died, then he who struck the blow shall be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when he meets him.
22 “But if he pushed him suddenly without enmity, or hurled anything on him without lying in wait
23 or used a stone that could cause death, and without seeing him dropped it on him, so that he died, though he was not his enemy and did not seek his harm,
24 then the congregation shall judge between the manslayer and the avenger of blood, in accordance with these rules.
25 And the congregation shall rescue the manslayer from the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge to which he had fled, and he shall live in it until the death of the high priest who was anointed with the holy oil.
26 But if the manslayer shall at any time go beyond the boundaries of his city of refuge to which he fled,
27 and the avenger of blood finds him outside the boundaries of his city of refuge, and the avenger of blood kills the manslayer, he shall not be guilty of blood.
28 For he must remain in his city of refuge until the death of the high priest, but after the death of the high priest the manslayer may return to the land of his possession.
29 And these things shall be for a statute and rule for you throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.
30 “If anyone kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the evidence of witnesses. But no person shall be put to death on the testimony of one witness.
31 Moreover, you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer, who is guilty of death, but he shall be put to death.
32 And you shall accept no ransom for him who has fled to his city of refuge, that he may return to dwell in the land before the death of the high priest.
33 You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
34 You shall not defile the land in which you live, in the midst of which I dwell, for I the Lord dwell in the midst of the people of Israel.”
Numbers 35:16 (ESV)
16 “But if he struck him down with an iron object, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall be put to death.
Deuteronomy 19:1-13 (ESV)
1 “When the Lord your God cuts off the nations whose land the Lord your God is giving you, and you dispossess them and dwell in their cities and in their houses,
2 you shall set apart three cities for yourselves in the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
3 You shall measure the distances and divide into three parts the area of the land that the Lord your God gives you as a possession, so that any manslayer can flee to them.
4 “This is the provision for the manslayer, who by fleeing there may save his life. If anyone kills his neighbor unintentionally without having hated him in the past—
5 as when someone goes into the forest with his neighbor to cut wood, and his hand swings the axe to cut down a tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies—he may flee to one of these cities and live,
6 lest the avenger of blood in hot anger pursue the manslayer and overtake him, because the way is long, and strike him fatally, though the man did not deserve to die, since he had not hated his neighbor in the past.
7 Therefore I command you, You shall set apart three cities.
8 And if the Lord your God enlarges your territory, as he has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers—
9 provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the Lord your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three,
10 lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.
11 “But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities,
12 then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die.
13 Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.
Deuteronomy 24:7 (ESV)
7 “If a man is found stealing one of his brothers of the people of Israel, and if he treats him as a slave or sells him, then that thief shall die. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
1 Samuel 13:19-22 (ESV)
19 Now there was no blacksmith to be found throughout all the land of Israel, for the Philistines said, “Lest the Hebrews make themselves swords or spears.”
20 But every one of the Israelites went down to the Philistines to sharpen his plowshare, his mattock, his axe, or his sickle,
21 and the charge was two-thirds of a shekel for the plowshares and for the mattocks, and a third of a shekel for sharpening the axes and for setting the goads.
22 So on the day of the battle there was neither sword nor spear found in the hand of any of the people with Saul and Jonathan, but Saul and Jonathan his son had them.
Nehemiah 4 (ESV)
14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”
15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.
16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah,
17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.
18 And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me.
19 And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another.
20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”
21 So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out.
22 I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.”
23 So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.
Esther 8-9 (ESV)
10 And he wrote in the name of King Ahasuerus and sealed it with the king’s signet ring. Then he sent the letters by mounted couriers riding on swift horses that were used in the king’s service, bred from the royal stud,
11 saying that the king allowed the Jews who were in every city to gather and defend their lives, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any armed force of any people or province that might attack them, children and women included, and to plunder their goods,
12 on one day throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar.
13 A copy of what was written was to be issued as a decree in every province, being publicly displayed to all peoples, and the Jews were to be ready on that day to take vengeance on their enemies.
14 So the couriers, mounted on their swift horses that were used in the king’s service, rode out hurriedly, urged by the king’s command. And the decree was issued in Susa the citadel.
15 Then Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal robes of blue and white, with a great golden crown and a robe of fine linen and purple, and the city of Susa shouted and rejoiced.
16 The Jews had light and gladness and joy and honor.
17 And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his edict reached, there was gladness and joy among the Jews, a feast and a holiday. And many from the peoples of the country declared themselves Jews, for fear of the Jews had fallen on them.
1 Now in the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s command and edict were about to be carried out, on the very day when the enemies of the Jews hoped to gain the mastery over them, the reverse occurred: the Jews gained mastery over those who hated them.
2 The Jews gathered in their cities throughout all the provinces of King Ahasuerus to lay hands on those who sought their harm. And no one could stand against them, for the fear of them had fallen on all peoples.
3 All the officials of the provinces and the satraps and the governors and the royal agents also helped the Jews, for the fear of Mordecai had fallen on them.
4 For Mordecai was great in the king’s house, and his fame spread throughout all the provinces, for the man Mordecai grew more and more powerful.
5 The Jews struck all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and did as they pleased to those who hated them.
16 Now the rest of the Jews who were in the king’s provinces also gathered to defend their lives, and got relief from their enemies and killed 75,000 of those who hated them, but they laid no hands on the plunder.
17 This was on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth day they rested and made that a day of feasting and gladness.
Job 5:3-4 (CSB)
I have seen a fool taking root, but I immediately pronounced a curse on his home.
4 His children are far from safety. They are crushed at the city gate, with no one to defend them.
Psalm 18:34 (ESV)
34 He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
Psalm 21:12 (ESV)
12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows.
Psalm 64:7 (ESV)
7 But God shoots his arrow at them; they are wounded suddenly.
Psalm 82:4 (ESV)
4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
Psalm 144:1 (ESV)
1 Of David. Blessed be the Lord, my rock, who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle;
Proverbs 24:11 (ESV)
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
Isa 1:16-17 (CSB)
Wash yourselves. Cleanse yourselves. Remove your evil deeds from My sight. Stop doing evil.
17 Learn to do what is good. Seek justice. Correct the oppressor. Defend the rights of the fatherless. Plead the widow’s cause.
Ezekiel 33 (ESV)
1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 “Son of man, speak to your people and say to them, If I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from among them, and make him their watchman,
3 and if he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows the trumpet and warns the people,
4 then if anyone who hears the sound of the trumpet does not take warning, and the sword comes and takes him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet and did not take warning; his blood shall be upon himself. But if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life.
6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.
Matthew 5:38-48 ( See the article: Turn the Other Cheek).
Matthew 26:51-56 (ESV)
51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear.
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.
53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
55 At that hour Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I sat in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me.
56 But all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples left him and fled.
Luke 22:35-39 (ESV)
35 And he said to them, “When I sent you out with no moneybag or knapsack or sandals, did you lack anything?” They said, “Nothing.”
36 He said to them, “But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.
37 For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
38 And they said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords.” And he said to them, “It is enough.”
39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.
Luke 22:49-53 (ESV)
49 And when those who were around him saw what would follow, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
51 But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
53 When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
John 18:10-11 (ESV)
10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Revelation 1:16 (ESV)
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
Revelation 2:16 (ESV)
16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
Revelation 19:15 (ESV)
15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.
The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001.
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