Vengeance, Retribution, Vindictiveness and Retaliation Is Torahlessness ≠ Love

Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Lev 19:17–18, KJV)

Leviticus 19:17, Not hate your brother. On vengeance, retribution, vindictiveness and bearing grudges against others. The KJV and NKJV translations of this verse is difficult to understand. The NIV reads, “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” The NAS has, “You shall not hate your fellow-countryman in your heart; you may surely reprove your neighbor, but shall not incur sin because of him.” Finally, the ASET reads, “You shall not your brother in your heart; you shall reprove your fellow and do not bear a sin because of him.”

In other words, when your brother treats you improperly, honestly confront him, or as Yeshua said, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Matt 18:15). However, if he ignores you and is still prone to vengeance or bearing a grudge against you, don’t become like him and retaliate against him (Lev 19:18). Instead, love him as yourself, or treat him with love as you wish to be treated (ibid.), or else you will incur his sin by becoming like him (v. 17). Yeshua summed up this godly principle of not giving in to vengeance and retaliation when wronged this way, “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matt 5:39). This is loving one’s neighbor as oneself and is the summation of the second half of the Torah (Mark 12:29–31) as summed up by the last five of the ten commandments (Exod 20:12–17).

Exhibiting vengeance, retribution, vindictiveness or bearing a grudge against one’s neighbor is a lack of self control, is a result of anger and is a form of hatred, which are all works of the flesh resulting in contentions between people (Gal 5:20). These are sinful behaviors and are the opposite of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22–24), and people who habitually practice these sins along with the other works of the flesh are in danger of not being in the kingdom of Elohim (Gal 5:21).


What Does the Bible Teach About Self Defense?

In Psalm 149:6–7, David, a man after Elohim’s own heart, speaking of the saints wrote, “Let the high praises of El be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand to execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people.” Was David’s statement merely poetic hyperbole, or was this how he, as the king and a spiritual shepherd of Israel, literally defended the people YHVH had placed under his charge? We know from his life story that the latter was the case.


When Abraham, the father of the faithful and a man who was the model of righteousness had his nephew Lot kidnapped what was his response? Does Scripture record that he prayed, then sat down expecting YHVH to supernaturally intervene and cause the Babylonians to release Lot? No. His response was to muster the 318 soldiers of his own personal army and to pursue the five kings. What was the result? YHVH granted Abraham a miraculous victory over Lot’s captors and Abraham gave a tithe of the spoils of war to Melchizekek (Gen 14).

The Torah, YHVH’s divine instructions in righteousness, in Exodus 22:2, permits and even expects a man to defend himself against a thief breaking into his home. If the defense of one’s home results in the death of the thief, there is no retribution against the defender. There are no penalties or prohibitions in biblical law against a man acting in self defense.

The well-known Aaronic Blessings (Num 6:22–27) contains the following words, “May Continue reading