A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to kill, and A time to heal,.... A time to kill may be meant of a violent death, as A time to die is of a natural one; so the Targum,
"A time to kill in war;''
or else, by the hand of the civil magistrate, such who deserve death. Aben Ezra interprets it "to wound", because of the opposite "to heal"; and so there is a time when wounds and diseases are incurable, and baffle all the skill of the physician, being designed unto death; and there is a time when, by the blessing of God on means, they are healed; the wound or sickness not being unto death: so the Targum paraphrases the last clause,
"to heal one that lies sick.''
This may be applied in a civil sense to calamities in kingdoms, and a restoration of peace and plenty to them; which is the property of God alone, who in this sense kills and makes alive in his own time,
Deuteronomy 32:39; And in a spiritual sense to the ministers of the word, who are instruments of slaying souls by the law, which is the killing letter, and of healing them by the Gospel, which pours in the oil and wine of peace and pardon through the blood of Christ, and so binds up and heals the broken hearted; and there is a time for both;
A time to break down, and A time to build up; to break down a building, and build a waste, as the Targum; to break down cities and the walls of them, as the of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar; and to build them up: as in the times of Nehemiah and Zerubbabel: and so in a spiritual sense to break down the church of God, the tabernacle of David, and to raise up and repair the breaches of it; to build up Zion, and the walls of Jerusalem, or to restore the Gospel church state to its glory, for which there is a set time; see Amos 9:11.