86. Is it wrong to lie?


God rewarded the Egyptian midwives for lying to the Pharaoh.
And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men-children alive? And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them. Therefore God dealt well with the midwives. Exodus 1:18-20
Rahab was "justified" when she lied about Joshua's spies.
And the woman [Rahab] took the two men and hid them and said thus: There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were; and it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark that the men went out; whither the men went I wot not; pursue after them quickly, for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house and hid them with the stalks of flax. Joshua 2:4-6

Was not Rahab, the harlot, justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?. James 2:25

David lied to Ahimelech when he said he was on the king's business. (He was King Saul's enemy at the time.) We know that God approved of this lie, since 1 Kings 15:5 says that God approved of everything David did, with the single exception of the matter of Uriah.
David said unto Ahimelech the priest, The king hath commanded me a business.... 1 Samuel 21:2
Elisha told King Benhadad that he would recover, even though God told Elisha that the king would die.
Benhadad the king of Syria was sick ... And the king said unto Hazael ... go, meet the man of God, and enquire of the LORD by him, saying, Shall I recover of this disease? Elisha said unto him, go, say unto him, Thou mayest certainly recover: howbeit the Lord hath showed me that he shall surely die. 2 Kings 8:8-10
In the Deuterocanonical book of Tobit, the angel Raphael lied to Tobias, saying "I am Azarias."
Tobias said to him: I pray thee, tell me, of what family, or what tribe art thou? And Raphael the angel answered ... I am Azarias. Tobit 5:16-18
Jesus lied when he told his family that he wasn't going to the feast, but later went "in secret."
[Jesus said] Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast. ... But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret. John 7:8-10
Even God lies now and then by putting lying spirits in the mouths of his prophets.
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him ... I will go forth and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him and prevail also; go forth and do so. 1 Kings 22:21-22


Thou shalt not bear false witness. Exodus 20:16

Thou shalt not raise a false report. Exodus 23:1

Keep thee far from a false matter. Exodus 23:7

Neither lie one to another. Leviticus 19:11

Neither shalt thou bear false witness. Deuteronomy 5:20

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. Proverbs 12:22

A righteous man hateth lying. Proverbs 13:5

Deceive not with thy lips. Proverbs 24:28

Wherefore putting away lying, speaking every man truth with his neighbor. Ephesians 4:25

Lie not one to another. Colossians 3:9

Lie not against the truth. James 3:14

All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone. Revelation 21:8

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. Revelation 21:27

Christian Responses
Answers in Genesis
Christian Courier
See also:
Is dancing a sin?
Is magic OK?
Is it wrong to steal?
Is it OK to make images?
Is it wrong to have sex outside of marriage?
Is divorce ever permissible?
Is it OK for a divorced woman to remarry?
Is polygamy OK?
Is it OK to covet?
Should we hate other people?
To kill or not to kill.
To judge or not to judge.
Is it OK for men to have long hair?
How should nonbelievers be treated?
How should homosexuals be treated?
Is it OK to call someone a fool?
Should we let others see our good works?