Nazarene Space

Beit Din passes Keeping and Bearing Arms Halacha

 

Introduction

 

Today, January 29th, 2013 the International Nazarene has passed a historic halacha concerning the unalienable Yah given right to keep and bear arms.  In light of this official halacha, Nazarenes in the USA may claim, not only a second amendment "right o keep and bear arms" but a first amendment right to keep and bear arms as well, and Nazarenes outside the USA MAY have some basis for a claim to a right to keep and bear arms under whatever freedom of religion rights their secular governments may recognize. 

 

Keeping and Bearing Arms

 

Yeshua the Messiah said:  “And he who does not have a sword: let him sell his garment and buy for himself a sword.” (Luke 22:36)

 

How are we to understand this?

 

By this we are to understand that the Creator has given the people the unalienable right to keep and bear arms.

 

The first decree of King David upon becoming King of Israel was “teach the sons of Y’hudah the bow. Behold, it is written in the Sefer HaYashar.” (2Sam. 1:18).

 

And what if one should say “the bow” was the name of a song, and archery was not referred to here?  We read in Sefer HaYashar (The Book of Jasher):

 

8 And Jacob said unto Judah, I know my son that you are a mighty man for your brothers; reign over them, and your sons shall reign over their sons forever.
9 Only teach your sons the bow and all the weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brother who will rule over his enemies.
(Jasher 56:8-9)

 

And Rashi says of this verse (2Sam 1:18):

 

18. And he said to teach the sons of Judah the bow. Behold it is written in thebook of the just [Sefer HaYashar].
And he said to teach the sons of Judah the bow: And David said, Since the heroes of Israel have fallen, the sons of Judah must teach them (to wage) war and to draw the bow.:
Behold, it is written in the book of the just: In the Book of Genesis, which is the book of the just: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Now, where is it implied?" Your hand be on the nape of your enemies." (Gen. 49:8) What type of warfare is it wherein one directs his hand against his forehead which is opposite his nape? We must say that this is the bow.
(Rashi on 2Sam 1.18)

 

And how are we to understand “sword”?  By “sword” we are to understand a specific example of the general phrase “the bow and all the weapons of war” (Jasher 56:9)

 

For what purpose should a believer keep and bear arms?

 

We read in the Torah:

 

“If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten so that he dies, there shall be no
bloodguiltiness for him.” (Ex. 22:1(2))

 

It is from this verse that we have the Baraita which says:

 

“When a man comes to kill you, rise early and kill him first.”
(b.Berachot 58a, 62b; Numbers Rabbah XXI:4; Zohar 1:138a)

 

Rashi writes of this verse:

 

"He has no blood. [This signifies that] this is not [considered] murder. It is as though he [the thief] is [considered] dead from the start. Here the Torah teaches you: If someone comes to kill you, kill him first. And this one [the thief] has come to kill you, because he knows that a person will not hold himself back and remain silent when he sees people taking his money. Therefore, he [the thief] has come with the acknowledgement that if the owner of the property were to stand up against him, he [thief] would kill him [the owner]. - [From Talmud Sanhedrin. 72a]".

 

Thus we have the right to keep and bear arms to defend ourselves as well as our property.

 

We also have the right to keep and bear arms so that we may defend others.  As we read in the Torah:

 

"You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor: I am YHWH.”
(Leviticus 19:16)"

 

Rashi says of this verse:

 

"You shall not stand by [the shedding of] your fellow's blood. [I.e., do not stand by,] watching your fellow's death, when you are able to save him; for example, if he is drowning in the river or if a wild beast or robbers come upon him. — [Torath Kohanim 19:41; Talmud, Sanhedrin 73a]"

 

Finally we have the right to keep and bear arms in order to protect our rights from oppressive governments.  As we read in the Books of the Maccabees that when the Seleucid Empire became oppressive and violated the rights of the Jewish people to worship YHWH, they took up arms against this oppression (1Macc. 2; 2Macc. 8:1-4).   Resistance to tyrants is obedience to Yahweh.

 

Therefore the International Nazarene Beit Din says:

 

“It is incumbent upon a believer to keep and bear arms, this is not limited to a sword, or a bow, but includes “all the weapons of war” including all types of firearms.  A believer should not only “buy” arms (Luke 22:36) but teach their sons the bow and all the weapons of war, in order that they may fight the battles of their brothers.

 

 

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Views: 355

Comment by T. J. (Mordecai) Mitchell on February 1, 2013 at 7:27pm

We cannot allow evil doers to triumph if we can do anything to stop them. But to sit complacently and cowardly by while evil is being committted is nothing short of taking part in another man's sins.  

Comment by T. J. (Mordecai) Mitchell on February 2, 2013 at 5:03pm

I believe at one time there was a halacic ruling regarding hunting and the taking of (clean) beasts (deer, turkey, grouse, etc.) for food. Do we need to renew or update this ruling? 

Comment by James Trimm on February 2, 2013 at 5:54pm
Comment by beryl etanah on February 19, 2013 at 11:30am

to forbid citizens from bearing arms is itself a law protecting the criminals at arms

Comment by James Trimm on March 4, 2013 at 10:10am

Someone recently suggested that the phrase "If the sun be risen upon him" in Ex. 22:2(3) refers to a daytime rather than a night time break-in.

Key here is that the verb "risen" is in the perfect form (a completed action) and the prepositional phrase "upon him" places this completed action in direct connection with the theif himself... not "If the sun be risen..." but "If the sun be risen upon him [the thief]..." or it could be translated "If the sun be risen upon IT [the break in]..."

If the verse meant to refer to a daytime rather than a night time burglary, it would not say "If the sun be risen upon him" but simply "If the sun be risen" for at this point the sun has risen upon everyone not just the thief, who has not even entered the picture until sometime after sunrise.

As the text reads:

1 (22:2) If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguiltiness for him.
2 (22:3) If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be bloodguiltiness for him; he shall make restitution. If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
3 (22:4) If the theft be found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep: he shall pay double.
(Ex. 22:1-3 (2-4) HRV)

Notice the verse goes on to say: "If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be bloodguiltiness for him; HE SHALL MAKE RESTITUTION." But if he is caught in the act in verse 2(3), he has not taken anything yet, and cannot make "restitution" because he has not taken anything yet. This can only refer to a time after the theft has transpired, and the theif has made a getaway with the goods... then he can "pay double" what he has taken as we read in verse 3(4).

Clearly veses 2-3(3-4) do not refer to a daytime burglary as opposed to a nighttime burglary, but to a discovery of the burglary and identification of the burgler after morning has come. At this point one does not kill the burgler, but force him to make restutution for his theft.

I decided to look and see how our forefathers understood this verse.

The LXX gives an interesting interpretation:

"And if the thief be found in the breach, [made by himself] and be smitten and die, there shall not be blood shed for him.
But if the sun be risen upon him, he is guilty, he shall die instead..."
(Ex. 22:2-3a LXX)

The Targum and the Talmud (Sn. 72a-b) understand "if the sun rise upon him" in a fairly strained way, to mean that it is somehow "as clear as day" that the thief could be known not to pose a threat of harm to the occupant. The only example the Talmud is able to give, is that of a father or son (however we know fathers and sons do at times kill one another).

Even the Talmud questions this strained interpretation:

"Rab said: ‘Any man that broke into my house, I would kill, excepting R. Hanina b. Shila.’ Why? Shall we say because he is righteous [and therefore certain not to kill me]? Surely he has broken in! — But because I am assured that he would have pity upon me, like a father for his son."
(San. 72b)

In other words we are presented with an impossible situation... a father might kill a son and a son might kill a father. We couls only know as clear as day that a righteous man would not mean us harm... but a righteous man would never be a thief as the text specifies that it speaks of a thief.

I think this is an example of the Talmud discussing an impossible hypothetical situation, not so as to derive halacha, but rather to shed understaning on the mind of YHWH.

Thus the Talmud goes on to say:

"Our Rabbis taught: [If a thief be found breaking up,] and be smitten, — by any man; that he die, — by any death wherewith you can slay him. Now, [the exegesis] ‘And be smitten, — by any man’ is rightly necessary; for I might think that only the owner may be assumed not to remain passive. Whilst his money is being stolen, but not a stranger: it is therefore taught that he is regarded as a potential murderer , whom even a stranger may kill [in defence of the owner]."
(b.San. 72b)

Interestngly the same phrase "the sun rose upon him" appears in Gen. 32:32(31). Here Rashi says:

And the sun rose for him: This is a common expression: When we arrived at such-and-such a place, the dawn broke for us. This is the simple explanation. The Midrashic Aggadah (Tanchuma Buber, Vayishlach 10; Gen. Rabbah 68:10) [explains]: And the sun rose for him-to heal his limp, as it is said: (Mal. 3:20): “the sun of mercy, with healing in its wings”; and those hours that it hastened to set for him when he left Beer-sheba, it hastened to rise for him.

In other words, by the next morning.

At any rate none of these understand the passage to refer to a daylight break-in, however the LXX understands the phrase "But if the sun be risen upon him" in the same way I have, though wrongly [I believe] concluding that the thief is still at the home of the break-in. Rashi also understands the same phrase in Gen. 32:32 as "a common expression" and interprets it just as I do in Ex. 22.



"If the sun be risen upon him" does not refer to a daytime burglary as opposed to a nighttime burglary.

1 (22:2) If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguiltiness for him.
2 (22:3) If the sun be risen
upon him, there shall be bloodguiltiness for him; he shall make restitution. If he have nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.
3 (22:4) If the theft be found in his hand alive, whether it be ox, or ass, or sheep: he shall pay double.
(Ex. 22:1-3 (2-4) HRV)

If it is already daytime when he breaks in, then the sun does not rise upon him (it already rose before his break-in). Clearly it does not mean that he broke in by night, and spent so much time in my house that the sun has since risen before I catch him. The clear meaning therefore is that the break-in occurred in verse 2 (verse 1 in Christian versions) and that since that time in verse 3 (verse 2 in Christian versions) the sun has risen on his crime. So verse 3 is saying that I cannot hunt him down and kill him the next morning.

That means verse 2 (1 in Christian versions) is saying that I cannot know his intentions, but can (and should) assume he means me harm. Even if I flee, I cannot know that he will not pursue me.

This is why the Torah says: "If a thief be found breaking in, and be smitten so that he dies, there shall be no bloodguiltiness for him."

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