How could God allow killing and murder

Exodus 22:20 says He who sacrifices to any god, except to the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

Also in 1Ki 18:40 “And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.”

If free will is given to humans why would God allow these commandments. Isnt this against free will.?

Also, is God himself allowing his people to murder them those who go away from Him. Has he tried to hold Israelites with fear for life and not out of free will and love for God.?

If you want to discuss free will, you must also include responsibility.

These passages refer to issues within the community of faith known as the nation of Israel. Israel was founded on a faith commitment to the Lord. That was a free will decision. To enter a relationship (covenant) with the Lord, the people freely agreed to follow the laws of the Lord. One law, the first of the Ten Commandments, commanded the people to have no other gods before the Lord. This is a loyalty commandment.

Something you are leaving out of your free will complaint, is human responsibility for conduct. Humans have free will and they must account for how they use their free will. The passages you chose to quote were not written to discuss free will. They were written to emphasize the responsibility of the people living in the community of faith. Those who live in the community and enjoy the provision of the Lord must also live by the requirements placed upon the citizens of the community. Responsibility goes with free will.

The Exodus passage commands what must happen to people who have agreed to live the by community’s rules, but break the command to be loyal to the Lord. Those who choose to break their agreement, while living in the faith community, and worship another god must answer for their action. They cannot be allowed to continue living in the community and influence others to turn away from the Lord.

The Kings passage is similar. The prophets of Baal were Israelites. They agreed to loyalty to the Lord when they committed themselves to live by Israel’s covenant. They wanted all the benefits of belonging to Israel, but they wanted to give the credit for the blessings to Baal. This is a dangerous teaching by influential leaders. So they had to be destroyed.

The people had the choice to live by the covenant or to leave. But they could not live in the nation Israel and choose to serve another god. They made their choice and were held responsible.

God does not murder anyone who goes away from Him. The point of free will is to choose whom you will serve, but in making the choice, no one is free from responsibility for any subsequent actions that were based upon the choice for or against the Lord.

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Many unbelievers point this out, namely that our God, who is supposed to be merciful, seems rather not that way in the OT. And indeed, these passages are hard to understand with our limited minds. But I think we must keep in mind that God is never, ever, unjust. In fact, as regarding justice, we would all be dead and tossed into Hell, save for His Mercy. But in the end, I don’t believe He is executing justice on someone who might repent, but upon those who have proven that they have no interest in salvation.

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