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Simply stated, the sixth of the Ten Commandments forbids the unjustified taking of a human life. However, the commandment itself has a couple of interesting elements that bear mentioning. First and...
The KJV "thou shall not kill." I also believe this has meanings such as do not murder. I read (but can't find reference today) that perhaps the full meaning was you should not take another person life, which could include kidnapping, improper imprisonment and or any other act that took away another person's rightful freedoms that God intended for them to have.
Beyond the obvious, the Ten Commandments were given to Moses at a time when Israel had just left Egypt. They no longer were governed by Egyptian law and Moses needed help in leading his people. By getting these laws down directly from God at just that time when these people had just witnessed God's power and wrath, I am sure it made keeping them much more probable. Also, remember they came from a land where the Egyptians could take human life almost on a whim and if it were Jewish life, then little or no consequence would result. God wanted them to know they had value as His people and as always his timing was perfect. Bottom line, God loves us and them.
The sixth - ninth commandments were designed to build society. Each was based on the value God placed on humanity, life, possessions, relationships etc. Not murdering did not forbid all taking of life. The Law itself included provisions for capital punishment. See Exodus 21:15-17, 23. There were also provisions made for warfare. See Exodus 17:8-16. Concerning deliberate murder, outside of the provisions of capital punishment and warfare this was a flagrant violation of the sanctity of life. An example of this is the story of Naboth in 1Kings chapter 21. This was committed by officers of the state. The first murder in the Bible was the killing of Abel by Cain in Genesis 4:8-14. The last murder of the Old Testament is that of Zechariah. (Recorded in 2Chronicles 24:20-22.) Jesus spoke of these two murders in Matthew chapter 23: 34,35. The most ghastly murder of all time was and will always be that of Our Lord and Savior Jesus. It was based on false charges and an illegal trial.
Simply put, the 6th Commandment forbids the taking of human life. Jesus himself and all but one of His disciples (John) were found guilty by government officials under provisions of government authorized capital punishment. They were violently put to death. Some will say, "The law itself shall include provisions for capital punishment." (Exodus 21:15-17). (Deuteronomy 19:21) "But life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand foot for foot." What did Jesus say about (Deuteronomy 19:21) (Exodus 21:15-17)? (Matthew 5:38-39) "Ye have heard that it hath been said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth': (39) But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." According to Jesus there is no place for any killing. Governments made up of people, sinners, are not capable of rendering a fair judgment. Jesus and the stoning of the woman convicted by Scribes and Pharisees, government appointed people, of adultery. (John 8:1-30) (7) "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (Romans 2:1-2) Execution of a government/people-convicted human, the death penalty, has no place in our Christian homeland. We humans all sin and come up short. "Thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest does the same thing." Sometimes leaders and judges look after only themselves, and their favor can be and are purchased with bribes. Ordinary people, and the poor especially are subject to exploitation.
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