Killing vs Murder

By: Steve Shirley

     Why does the 6th commandment state "thou shalt not kill," and then God kills or orders the killing of thousands? This appears a contradiction. The key is in understanding that there is a difference in the Bible between killing and murdering. The 6th commandment, properly translated, should state "thou shalt not murder" instead of "thou shalt not kill." Most modern translations properly use the word murder (ratsach in Hebrew). "Ratsach" is used 4 times in the Old Testament, including as part of the 10 commandments as found in (Ex 20:13)(Deut 5:17). It refers to the shedding of INNOCENT blood, deliberately, and with premeditation.

     We can also go to the New Testament to show us the 6th commandment refers to murder instead of kill. In the New Testament, the 6th commandment is repeated 4 times in (Mt 5:21)(Mt 19:18)(Mk 10:19)(Lk 18:20). The word used for kill when quoting the 6th commandment is "phoneuo" in Greek, which means "to be a murderer." Modern translations use the word murder instead of kill and in (Mt 19:18) in the KJV it is correctly translated as murder.

     The Bible uses many different words for kill. Killing is taking the life of someone who is NOT INNOCENT, who is found guilty. God has set up laws and rules which in some instances, when broken, can end in death for those found guilty of breaking them. God has also ordained rulers and governments to execute justice (Rom 13:1-4)(1 Pet 2:13-14)(Acts 25:11).

     The Bible says God is a perfect judge, and knows the hearts of ALL men. Those who might appear innocent to us, may not be so in God's eyes, for God knows not only who we are now, but who we will become in the future. We will NEVER understand all of the wisdom and insight of God, but He knows what He is doing.

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