The Root of Pacifism in the Hebrew Scriptures

by Robert Roberg

David taught us to love our enemies and pray for them.

“For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue. They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause. For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer. And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love” (Ps. 109:2).

David taught us not to be angry.

“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. A little while, and the wicked will be no more; although you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace” (Ps. 37:8).

David said that Yahveh hates those who love violence.

“The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates” (Ps. 11:5).

David said that Yahveh will destroy war and save the meek.

“In Judah is Yahveh known: his name is great in Israel. In Shalom also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the arrows of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. Thou art more glorious and excellent than the mountains of prey. The stouthearted are spoiled, they have slept their sleep: and none of the men of might have found their hands. At thy rebuke, O Elohah of Yacov, both the chariot and horse are cast into a dead sleep. Thou, even thou, art to be feared: and who may stand in thy sight when once thou art angry? Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared, and was still, when Yahveh arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth” (Ps.76:1-9).

David learned that vengeance belongs to Yahveh.

“O Elohah Yahveh, to whom vengeance belongeth; O Yahveh, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself” (Ps. 94:1). David saw that it is the bloodthirsty who pervert Yahveh’s message. “Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O Yahveh: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!” (Ps. 139:19, NIV).

David learned to continually pray for his enemies and to mourn when their leaders fall.

“I am praying continually for them in their misfortune; my prayer also shall be in their calamities. When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet” (Ps. 141:5, 6).

Perhaps David repented and longed to return to the right path for he wrote:

“Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war” (Ps. 120:6). “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Ps. 34:14).

I say “perhaps” David repented and learned to live in peace, love, and non-violence for on his deathbed he ordered the death of a man who had cursed him once. Therefore, in his final deed, he did not practice what he preached.

Some Final Thoughts So here we are with a toe into the 21st century. We have Israeli Jihadists who feel Yahveh is asking them to purge Israel of all non-Jews, and expand her boundaries from the Egyptian Nile to the Euphrates. We have Christian Jihadists who are ready to join any crusade, anywhere, whenever one can be established as having Yahveh’s blessing. And we have Islamic Jihadists who feel it is Yahveh’s will to conquer the whole world and submit everyone to Islam, or the sword.

Where there is smoke there is fire. With our scientists feverishly producing bigger and more fiendish weapons, and with the oil-rich Muslim nations purchasing these weapons in a mad rush, I mournfully and solemnly predict that as we enter this next century we will see the planet wracked, cracked, scorched, poisoned, polluted, burned, scathed, seared, scared, nuked, and inundated with larger and more deadly wars.

So What Should We Do?

Four things:

  1. Seek Yahveh with all your heart.
  2. Love Yahveh with all your heart, and soul, and mind, and strength.
  3. Follow Yehshuah’s Gospel that calls us to love all people, including our enemies, and do violence to no one.
  4. Stand still and see the salvation of Yahveh.