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  1. #1
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    Nov 2003
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    Thou Shalt not: Murder or Kill?

    Since I saw this brought up in another thread, and it wasn't explained or defended properly, I thought I would start a new thread specifically about this very topic.

    There seems to be a gross misunderstanding about how the Bible was written, its language, grammar, interpretation, etc...

    The summarized examination

    The 6th Commandment (Exodus 20:13) is "Thou shall not murder". Only a couple versions out of many use the word "kill", because "kill" is not as accurate as "murder".

    The Hebrew word used in Exodus 20:13 is lo tirtzach, which means: to murder, slay, kill premeditated (however, sometimes accidental), as an avenger, intentional slayer, assassinate. In some cases, it also references: to be killed or to be slain. It is used over 60 times in the OT, all of them in the context of above.

    However, there are about 13 derivations of the word "kill" in the Hebrew language (1 in Aramaic) used for the OT. Some held meanings such as avenger, man slayer, slain, but none held as strong a meaning as tirtzach...and certainly, none of the verses that you accuse of being "guilty" of contradiction above.

    A more detailed study

    Furthermore, the Israelites did not have a term that precisely fits our present-day idea of murder, they differentiated among killing, manslaughter, and murder in their legal terminology. You have to remember, that when interpreting, one must follow certain guidelines. The one in particular here, is that of understanding the context and language of the writer...not of us today, as the reader.

    A derivative of the word tirtzach can be found with the meaning of shatter [Psalm 42:11] or slaughter [Eze 21:27]). It refers to a killing that was inherently evil (Judges 20:4; Job 24:14; Psalm 94:6; Isa 1:21; Hosea 6:9). It was also listed in abuses of the covenant community (Jer 7:9; Hosea 4:2) and in lists of curses (Deut 27:24-25). Jezebel committed murder (rasah) against the prophets (1 Kings 18:13), as did Ahab against Naboth (1 Kings 21:19) and Simeon and Levi against the Shechemites (Gen 34:26). However, the same term could also have applied to unintentional manslaughter (Deut 4:41; 19:3-6; Joshua 20:3), blood vengeance (Num 35:27,30), attempted assassination (2 Kings 6:32), and on one occasion it was used for the figurative killing of humans by animals (Prov 22:13).

    "Thou shall not murder" is one of the laws of nature, and was strongly enforced by the precepts given to Noah and his sons, Gen. 9:5, 6. It does not forbid killing in lawful war, or in our own necessary defense, nor the magistrate’s putting offenders to death, for those things tend to the preserving of life. But it does however, forbid all malice and hatred to the person of any (for he that hateth his brother is a murderer ), and all personal revenge arising therefrom; also all rash anger upon sudden provocations, and hurt said or done, or aimed to be done, in passion (see Matthew 5:22).

    Taking a single verse without the whole of scripture is an erroneous way to interpret scripture. There are absolutely no regarded scholars, nor historians who would agree with your mistaken methodology that a single verse may be examined without the context in which it is written. You may as well take the verse "Jesus wept." and conclude that Jesus was nothing but a big cry baby.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; July 23rd, 2011 at 10:08 PM. Reason: correctly updated to "tirtzach"
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