Why did God kill the Egyptian babies?


Can you please shed some light on the angel of death causing the firstborn of all the Egyptian babies to die? I understand to some degree that God in His sovereign will allow this to work out for the freeing of the Israelites from bondage. Knowing that no one can fully comprehend the infinite mind of God, I do not question God, but it seems once again a question of innocent suffering for the greater good. Can you please help me with this?

Thank you for your biblical wisdom.


As mortal beings, we tend to view things from our own perspective. We assume that dying is worse than moving on to the next world. Or assuming that death always involves suffering.

The Egyptian children were innocent of sin, as are all children. "Moreover, your little ones who you said would become a prey, and your sons, who this day have no knowledge of good or evil, ..." (Deuteronomy 1:39). They were going to grow up in a society given over to idolatry and sin. Thus, from God's perspective, their early death gave them entrance to heaven they would not have if they had lived to old age.

"And God is omniscient, so he knows when a group of people have become so wicked that it would be bad for them, and for their children, and for the rest of the world, if they remain alive to keep sinning.  For example, the Canaanites sacrificed their children as part of their religion, and if God hadn't put an end to them, we might still be doing that today.  It may seem ironic that God also ordered that their innocent children be killed, but remember that they would not have remained innocent if they had been able to come to maturity.  Instead they went to Heaven, which might not have been possible if they had been corrupted by the religion of their parents." [Aron Wall, "When God Kills the Innocent"].

We also have to remember that the life that we have is a gift from God. Every one of us belongs to God. "See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand" (Deuteronomy 32:39). There is no guarantee regarding how long we will be here on this earth. It is God's right as our Maker to decide how much life we will experience. "He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD"" (Job 1:21). When God decided the world became too corrupt and decided to restart with a flood, children were killed in that disaster as well. But there was no other way to correct the corruption of the world and it was God's right to correct that problem. It isn't that God is arbitrary in using His authority. "Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?" (Genesis 18:25). But we must acknowledge that God is in a far better position to make the difficult decisions on how to correct the flow of evil without being unjust.

Also, realize that the time of death for every one of us -- young or old -- is controlled by God. "Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and his limits You have set so that he cannot pass" (Job 14:5).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email