Summary: Discusses some of the more controversial aspects that Scripture teaches is a wrongful ending of a human life and then talks about the source of murder as Jesus comments on it.
Do Not Murder
Exodus 20:13 - "You shall not murder.
This morning we are going to talk about the 6th Commandment as we continue our series on God’s Top Ten.
The sixth commandment is found in Exodus 20:13 and reads, “You shall not murder.”
I think that when many of us hear this commandment, we think to ourselves, finally, one that we should have no trouble keeping.
I am not a murderer.
I have never killed anyone.
I would never kill anyone.
Or at least, that is what I think.
This morning I want to take a look at this command and some of the more controversial areas within our society that are debated if they would be a violation of this command or not.
Then I want to look at what Jesus says about this command and see how we might apply this to our lives so that we can truly live a life were we don’t murder people in our actions or in our minds.
Translations of “Ratsach” (Rawt sack)
Now the translation of this command has been a source of some controversy in the past.
The Hebrew word that is translated as murder in the NIV is “ratsach” and it can be translated as “murder, slay or kill.”
The older English translations have translated it as kill, saying “Thou shalt not kill.”
All of the newer translations have translated it as “You shall not murder.”
What exactly does this command mean in the context of the teaching of the whole Bible?
I believe that when interpreted within the context of the teaching of the Bible as a whole, I believe that it is best translated murder if you have to use one word, but I believe that if you could paraphrase it a better translation, considering the teaching of the rest of the Bible would be
“You shall not wrongfully end the life of another human being.”
Now it is limited to a human being because this word is never used in regards to the killing of an animal, so that is surely what is not being talked about.
In fact within this same chapter, regulations are given for the sacrifice, the killing, of animals, so, it is definitely used in regards to other human beings.
Now, how do we determine if the taking of a life is murder, if it is wrongful.
Well, obviously, many situations can have circumstances that can play a part in determining if something was right or wrong, but this morning we are going to address some general topics to see if we can determine from the Bible if the taking of a life is wrongful, that is unlawful or immoral, or if it is justified based upon Scripture.
Acts that Violate the 6th Commandment
Now there are some acts that clearly violate the teaching of this command that there would be little argument over.
They would include
1st degree murder - a premeditated murder.
2nd degree murder - intentional killing of another that is not planned or premeditated, but not in the heat of passion.
Voluntary Manslaughter – intentional killing in which the offender had no prior intent to kill; a killing in the heat of passion.
Involuntary manslaughter - unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that is a misdemeanor or low-level felony
We even see Scripture give an example of involuntary manslaughter.
28 "If a bull gores a man or a woman to death, the bull must be stoned to death, and its meat must not be eaten. But the owner of the bull will not be held responsible. 29 If, however, the bull has had the habit of goring and the owner has been warned but has not kept it penned up and it kills a man or woman, the bull must be stoned and the owner also must be put to death.
This just shows that we have got to live our lives being responsible for our actions and the effects that our actions as well as for the thing within our control.
Now these are pretty straight forward and most of us, if not all of us, would agree that these acts would violate the 6th commandment.
Now I want to turn to some other acts that may be more controversial and more difficult to discern, at least for some, and ask
Do these acts violate the 6th Commandment?
And understanding that God is not a God who contradicts Himself, I want us to look through the Scriptures and see if we might be able to ascertain if these actions would be considered a breaking of the 6th commandment to not wrongfully end the life of another human being.