What Scripture Says About Animals That Kill

From time to time we’ve all heard stories about animals attacking, even killing, their trainers and owners. Some folks argue it was their natural instinct that caused them to do this. Others say that more precautions should have been taken. What do you think should happen?

It’s a tragedy for a life to come to an end because of an animal attack. If you are a business owner, you recognize there’s major expenses involved in the capture, purchase, and training of wild animals.

When an animal attacks or kills, what needs to be done? You could say that more precautions could have been taken, but doesn’t that blame the victim or at least excuse the animal? Since we know that wild animals are called wild for a reason, you could say that the person knew the risks – blaming the victim again. You could also reason that the animal “didn’t intend to harm” – excusing the animal. Neither undoes what has been done.

Our goal today is not to pass judgment, or to take matters into our own hands. Our goal today is to understand what God’s Word says about it. Remember, God created man in His image and gave man dominion over the animals.

Notice in the following passage what scripture says should be done with the animal.

If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit. But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death. If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him. Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him. If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
Exodus 21:28-32

Basically, it says this:

  • If the ox gored and killed, the ox was stoned to death.
  • If the ox had been known to push in the past and the owner knew it and had done nothing, but now the ox had killed, both the ox and the owner were to be put to death. However, the owner could pay ransom for his own life.
  • If the ox pushed a manservant or maidservant, the master was paid and the ox stoned to death.

Scripture is clear; the ox was always to be stoned to death.


Key Focal Verse:

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalms 139:14

Our challenge today is to stop making excuses for animals that injure or kill. God created the animals, other passages of scripture show that He cares for them, but He did not give us scripture that excuses their behavior.

Human life is precious!

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