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Honour killings in the Bible



Christian apologists often like to use the issue of honor killings against Islam and Muslims; they argue that this proves Islam is a backward and barbaric faith. It must be said though, that the acts of honor killings we see carried out by Muslims doesn’t have a basis from Islam, rather these acts are carried out due to a mainly tribal mentality and mindset.

Now in their strong quest of trying to demonize Islam, Christian apologists have overlooked the fact that their Bible both condones and calls for honor killings to be carried out! Not only does the Bible call for honor killings, the type of punishment it calls for is for the lady to be burned to death:

If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire (Leviticus 21:9)

So according to the Bible, if a priest’s daughter disgraces her father by defiling herself, she should be burned in the fire. So will Christian apologists condemn their own Bible? After all they have been going on about how evil Islam is because of honor killings, so if Islam is evil because of honor killings, then their own Bible must also be evil for calling on honor killings.

Lest some accuse us of adding a spin to this verse, here are commentaries by Christian scholars explaining the verse:

She shall be burnt with fire - Probably not burnt alive, but strangled first, and then burnt afterward. Though it is barely possible that some kind of branding may be intended. (Adam Clarke commentary,

And the daughter of any priest,.... The Targum of Jonathan restrains it to one that is betrothed; but others, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra, whether betrothed or married; and all confess, as the former says, that the Scripture does not speak of one that is single or entirely free: but there is no exception in the text; and besides, the daughter of any man that was betrothed to a man, and guilty of the crime here spoken of, was to die, Deuteronomy 22:23; and therefore such a law respecting the priest's daughter would be needless; unless it can be thought that it was made merely for the sake of the different kind of death she was to be put to, and that burning was a more terrible one than stoning:

if she profane herself by playing the whore; which brings scandal and disgrace on any person, and much more on anyone that had the honour of being related to a person in such a sacred office, and the advantage of a more strictly religious education, and had eaten of the holy things in her father's house; all which were aggravations of her crime, and made it the more scandalous and reproachful to her: some render it, "when she begins to play the whore"F2; as soon as ever it is discovered in her, and she is taken in it; even for the first that she commits, she is not to be spared, but put to death:

she profaneth her father: which is another aggravation of her sin; she brings him under disgrace, disparages his office, and exposes him to censure, reproach, and ridicule, as not having taken care of her education, and taught her better, and kept her under restraints; men will upbraid him with it, saying, this is a priest's daughter that has committed this lewdness; nor will say of him, as Jarchi observes, cursed be he that begat her, and cursed be he that brought her up:

she shall be burnt with fire; not with hot melted lead poured down her mouth, but with faggots set about her; See Gill on Leviticus 20:14; no punishment is here fixed for the person that lay with her, but, according to the Jewish canonsF3, she was to be strangled. (John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible,


The Behaviour Of Priests’ Daughters (Leviticus 21:9).

Leviticus 21:9

“And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire.”

The thought of the priest not marrying a prostitute leads on to the possible danger of a priest’s daughter becoming a prostitute by virtue of her situation. As probably in the case of the worship of the golden calf (‘rose up to play’ - Exodus 32:6) it is clear that many people, even those with priestly connections, were ever in danger of desiring to participate in sexual rites connected with idolatry, possibly revering them as a kind of religious expression. And they would see sexual union with a priest’s daughter as the most desirable kind of such an expression. They had clearly had much contact with such sentiments and tended to revert to them. Such ideas had an understandable magnetic attraction. But they were forbidden to Israel, and especially to a priest’s daughter.

If a priest’s daughter was therefore encouraged by some to act in this way, and did so, she would be profaning her father, bringing shame on him and connecting him with worship that was both crude and unacceptable, and she must therefore be burned with fire. This punishment is on a par with that for a man marrying both mother and daughter at the same time (Leviticus 20:14), and for sinning in sacred things (Joshua 7:25). She would be being ‘devoted’ to Yahweh because she had sinned in a sacred thing. A priest’s family members were seen as holy, and must behave so. (Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible,

We could continue quoting several more Christian Bible commentaries who all affirm that this verse is it says, a priests daughter who defiles herself, should be burned as a punishment.

Some commentaries as we have seen have only said that she isn’t burned alive, but is strangled to death before being burned, even though the text says no such thing. Assuming that’s how it’s done, this doesn’t negate the death penalty as a punishment.

So the Bible clearly calls for honor killings, so we ask, will Christians now call their Bible evil, and to be rejected? Whether they do or not doesn’t matter, they are condemned by their own words and arguments, and we shall hold them to that. So by their own standards, yes, the Bible is evil and must be rejected.

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