you shall not murder… but kill all you like

In the King James Bible Exodus 20:13 says: “Thou shalt not kill.” But the New American Standard says, “You shall not murder.” So what?
Do you see a difference between murder and killing?

If not, think again. “Kill” in hebrew is harag, while “murder” is ratzach. Which word used in 20:13? That’s right, ratzach for murder. The Scripture is 100% against murder, but says nothing about killing in self-defense, protection of another, or even killing animals.

“So,” you say, “that’s just the Hebrew. The Greek says all killing is wrong.”

Actually, the Greek (Matthew 5:21 for example) uses phoneuo (murder) which is also distinct from the three words used for “kill” anaireo , apokteino ,and thuo . The Master taught that murder was wrong, not killing.

So what do we make of this? What constitutes killing? Murder? It seems like killing is the blanket under which murder falls. Murder is a subset of killing because not all killing is murder, but all murder is killing.

Any thoughts on this morbid topic?


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