Gen 9:6 NKJV - 6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man...
ESV - 12 He looked this way and that, and seeing no one, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand.
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I like Paul Bayne's answer, however I feel the following also gets to the practical truth of it, in case the question is more about morals than specific Law: There had to be a 'detonator' so to speak, to cause the series of events leading to the exodus of the children of Israel, and since the chidren of Israel were slaves being stood over by whip-wielding Egyptians, what other course of action was likelier for God to appoint, than for Moses to stand against an Egyptian, in the defence of a slave, who was unable to defend himself against the attack being made upon him by the slave driver. Moses knew it would be suicide to stand against the slave driver but then still allow him to live...this would quickly have led to Moses' undoing (which would not have helped God's plan at all), so of course Moses had the wisdom to know that defending the Israelite slave would mean having to kill the Eqyptian, and quietly too, or else it would still lead to his demise, so that is why he hid the dead Egyptian behind the dune. Unfortunately, it is impossible to "Go to War Friendly", and this altercation was the unavoidable precursor to Moses "starting the war against Egypt" to free the Israelites. There was no other way. Moses was fulfilling Gods will, so of course God wouldn't hold Moses accountable for that death; and in any case, it was self-defence. Do people think God will judge as murderers all our soldiers who killed other soldiers in the World Wars? No. But God knows the heart and mind. He knows who was who, He knows which person/s was an evil perpetrator of war, as opposed to those acting out of self-defence. I feel that we in our present day society of the same rules applying for all, of equality, and precedents and rights and so forth; does blind people a little to the fact that God is not bound by such rules, and He makes a decision about a course of action and it may not be the same for one as the course of action He would use for another. God deals with us individually, and we can't say that just because killing a person is wrong, that it is wrong for God too, no matter what, in all cases. No. He decides. But it will always have been needful, in order to bring about his greater plan and purpose. God knows the big picture. God also knew that one Egyptian slave driver was worth nothing compared to a whole nation of Israelites. Someone had to get the ball rolling, and asking politely was not going to work at all, as can be seen in that story.
Moses was not under the Law as the Law wasn't instituted as of yet...being the Law of Moses. Moses was part of Pharaoh's household as we see in verse 10, but if you read verse 15, you will notice that once Pharaoh heard about his actions, he sought to kill Moses. This prompted Moses to flee into the desert. 10. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. She named him Moses, "Because," she said, "I drew him out of the water." 15 When Pharaoh heard of it, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and stayed in the land of Midian. And he sat down by a well. Once Moses was saved by the grace of God, his sins were forgiven, but eventually he had to face Pharaoh again, which would have brought great pressure to his innards (if you know what I mean). There's no mention (outside of the cartoon) where Pharaoh exonerated Moses for his crime (at least where I can see...?), so God had to deal with Moses as is pleased Him.
Genesis 9:6 is not a rule that God placed Himself and mankind under; it isn't a rule. It's a life principle, the same as other declarations of this kind; an acknowledgement of a truth for, and, of life, not a rigid rule. To understand the word of God as rules for man's life, to be adhered to or be punished, is to misappropriate the word of truth. God wasn't under obligation to carry out a death sentence on Moses for killing the egyptian any more than He was to end the earthly lives of Adam and Eve. Genesis 2:17. The same is true for us when we claim biblical authority for wanting to use death sentences in cases of heinous murders committed by sin-sick individuals. Genesis 9, God's covenant with Noah, is used to justify this vengeful, although understandable, attitude adopted by frustrated, fearful, and angry survivors. Declarations such as these weren't intended to depreciate to the value of a LAW. By works of the law (following a set of rules) no one will be justified, Gal 2:16. Man is not made for rule keeping now and never was. We're no good at it. Our nature is the problem. We were made to choose. We can get better at that if we apply ourselves to following the One who said: Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke... Matt 11:28. We can learn to choose life if we will learn from Him. I'm glad God doesn't listen to some who try to remind Him of His declarations of punishment for wrongdoing. He made no such promise. He declared the RIGHTEOUSNESS of eye for eye by Him, and no one else. His grace and mercy is RIGHTEOUS also. If I have a choice I choose grace and mercy. The Lord WAITS to be gracious to you, and therefore He exalts Himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for Him, Isaiah 30:18. It doesn't get any better than that.
The full details of the Egyptian who was smiting the Israelite (Gen 2:11) are not revealed in the text. It is quite probable he was guilty of slaying or injuring Israelites in his intent to keep them working at full capacity. God did not reprimand Moses because Moses had fulfilled the covenant of Noah by taking the Egyptian's life. However, Moses had ignored the due process of law in the land of Egypt, and so was subject to reprimand by the Egyptian authorities, in other words, by the pharaoh. This whole episode has a sense of divine predestination for Moses since he was ultimately intended to receive the revelation on Mount Sinai to bring his people out of Egypt.
Great question, Dan! It is an argument from silence, but really, the Bible doesn't give us enough details, I don't believe, here. I learned something from Warren Wiersbe who said, "It’s possible that the Egyptian officer wasn’t just disciplining the Jewish slave but was beating him to death, because the Hebrew word can mean that, so when Moses interfered, he was probably saving a man’s life. [Strong's Concordance bears this out as one of the word's meanings: "Smite fatally: a. (subject man) smite, with accusative, + word of killing (dying)"] And, if the Egyptian officer turned on Moses, which is likely, then Moses was also defending his own life."
No one can commit a crime without punishment. Moses killed a man and therefore he could not live as a free man in Egypt. Even though he was not punished by the king, he could not live as a free man, and that was his punishment for the crime he committed. Knowing how his people were oppressed,he could not go back to Egypt, he could not do anything about it, because he was paying for his crime. He looked down on the people of Israel and knew it was time to act (Exodus 2:25 NLT). At the right time God send him back not on a persona mission, but on a divine mission. He was a different man, he didn't come to kill but to save the nation of God.
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