Many regard the 6th commandment as the most basic and easiest one to follow. All governments of the world have this commandment in their law in some way shape or form. However the text as is written in the King James Version (and 99% of other Bible versions) is problematic. The commandment is understood to mean ‘murder’ rather than kill, although ‘thou shalt not kill’ is still displayed on most replicas of the 10 commandments.
Many translate the original word rasah as ‘murder’ instead of kill. Hebrew language scholars agree that killing not covered by this use of the phrase "to kill," and is therefore different in war. To kill an enemy in the context of a "just" war is not directly covered in this passage.
The difference in kill and murder is perhaps more clearly seen in the book of Numbers. Read the whole 35th chapter on your own; I will only quote a few verses:
“Six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them: that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither. And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death… The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him. But if he thrust him of hatred, or hurl at him by laying of wait, that he die; Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.
But if he thrust him suddenly without enmity, or have cast upon him anything without laying of wait, Or with any stone, wherewith a man may die, seeing him not, and cast it upon him, that he die, and was not his enemy, neither sought his harm: Then the congregation shall judge between the slayer and the revenger of blood according to these judgments: And the congregation shall deliver the slayer out of the hand of the revenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to the city of his refuge, whither he was fled: and he shall abide in it unto the death of the high priest, which was anointed with the holy oil” (Numbers 35:9-34).
Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on your position) God has taken the power of judgment away from man (the congregation) and we have no cities of refugee; designed for people awaiting trial for involuntary manslaughter. We have to rely on police for protective custody. But the point can be clearly seen that a murder is not liked in the eyes of the Lord and if a murderer is convicted, the ‘revenger’ of blood is not held guilty for killing the murderer.
"So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are: for blood it defileth the land: and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which ye shall inhabit, wherein I dwell: for I the LORD dwell among the children of Israel" (v.33-34).
Allowing a murderer to live in the land defiles the land (that is food for thought in our modern day democracy) and therefore capital punishment is required. Notice also that the Lord says the land wherein ‘I’ dwell.
This translation of murder is also obvious/necessary because if the commandment was taken literally as kill then we would not be able to kill plants or animals for food and drink. Even Jesus ate fish and the smell of sacrificial rams, goats and lambs roasting on an altar is, “a sweet smelling savour to the Lord” (Genesis 8:20-22/ Exodus 29:18, 25, 40-42/ Leviticus 1:5-17/ 2:1-10/3:15-17).
FOOD 4 THOUGHT (You do the dishes): Notice how in the above scriptures the Lord calls for preparing some of the different offerings sort of like a Bar-B-Que, with oil and flour, and then calls it a sweet savour. Lastly: “Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:14-15).
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:12-14).
May the Lord add a blessing to those who gain understanding through the reading of his word.
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