Murder, such a simple word, an emotional word. In Exodus 20:13, we are commanded “You shall not murder.” Period. Conversation is over.
Merriam Webster defines murder as –“the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought”; or, –“to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice”
It is synonymous with kill. I find it interesting that the word kill has many more definitions, the simplest of which is “to deprive one of life”. Ask anyone who has lost a loved one at the hands of another, on purpose or accident, the pain is still the same. The fear, agony, misery, loss and grief are great. The weight is immensurable.
Ask anyone in today’s world how they fill about killing, murder, or capital punishment and you are guaranteed a VERY lively, highly emotional conversation. Is capital punishment murder? Is killing during war forgiven? What about accidents, because they do happen.
God gave man the ability to procreate life (I am only talking about the physical ability of a man and a woman making a baby. cloning, etc will be for another day). The fall gave man the ability to take it.
God, in His wisdom, gave us the answers to the questions above. Due to man’s interpretations though, we don’t read them the same. Also, the argument that through Jesus Christ, the old is put away. Something to think about, if that meant everything in the old testament was to be put away, why did He keep it around?
Jesus teaches us to love and forgive, He does not tell us to allow grievous acts to go unpunished. He does, as God does, acknowledge that all people will be held accountable for their actions. Perhaps on earth and at their stand, but definitely at their stand. So, what about war –
God recognizes wars happen. A soldier is doing their job. What they have been called (commanded) to do. Death in battle is forgiven. (I’m sure there are caveats here for the renegade soldier who kills arbitrarily, but then that would not be during battle would it?).
What about accidents – this is what man today generally refers to as killing.
God actually wants us to set a place aside where the killer can go and live their life protected. It, the Bible, talks about setting aside a town, so I have the impression that this person is allowed to go make a living, have a family, etc., just not in their home land and they cannot leave this place, ever. If they choose to leave the protection of the safe city, then the injured persons family can seek retribution without punishment.
On purpose – this is what man today calls Murder.
But if a man hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him, assaults and kills him, and then flees to one of these cities, the elders of his town shall send for him, bring him back from the city, and hand him over to the avenger of blood to die. Show him no pity. You must purge from Israel the guilt of shedding innocent blood, so that it may go well with you. –Deuteronomy 19:11-13
A person is not to take another person’s life on purpose. Period. End of conversation. It’s wrong. ‘Good’ people agree with that statement. It’s the definition of appropriate punishment that we struggle with.
Some believe we are instructed to have a death penalty:
Some believe we are to no longer seek an ‘eye for an eye’ because Jesus was the sacrifice and paid the price. Myself, I struggle with this one. My emotional self says you kill someone on person, you should die. My Christian self says I should not seek their life and I should forgive them and they should spend the rest of their life in jail. I believe the part I struggle with is the statement in fact that to carry out the death penalty is to kill (deprive one of life) with forethought. I really don’t know.