Thou shalt not kill

I. The Sixth Commandment is directly applied to two categories of killing.

A. Premeditated or presumptuous murder is evil.

1. The basis for such action is hatred (Deuteronomy 19:11; Exodus 21:14).

2. The murder of parents is especially evil (Exodus 21:15; 1 Timothy 1:9).

3. The secret murder is cursed (Deuteronomy 27:24).

4. The professional or hired murder is also cursed (Deuteronomy 27:25). 

5. The use of a weapon identifies murder.

a. It may be an "instrument of iron" (lethal weapon) (Numbers 35:16).
b. It may be a stone or club (Numbers 35:17-18).
c. It may be merely the use of hands (or fist) (Numbers 35:21).

B. Accidental or foolish killing is distinguished from murder.

1. This is contrasted with murder (Exodus 21:13).

2. This is identified as "unaware" killing (Deuteronomy 4:42).

3. This is described as "error" killing (Numbers 35:11).

a. It is without enmity (Numbers 35:22; Deuteronomy 19:14; Joshua 20:5).
b. It is by accident (Numbers 35:23).
c. It is may be through carelessness (Deuteronomy 19:5).

II. The Sixth Commandment is enforced with two classes of punishment.

A. Execution is demanded for premeditated and presumptuous murders.

1. The original authority was given to cor­porate man by God after the flood (Genesis 9:5-6)

2. The process of trial and conviction is established (Numbers 35:30-31; Deuteronomy 19:15).

3. The role of Executioner is identified (Numbers 35:19).

a. Equity of punishment is the principle (Leviticus 24:17-21; Exodus 21:23-25).
b. Law is designed to suppress evil (1 Timothy 1:8-10).

B. Imprisonment away from normal society is demanded for accidental or foolish killings.

1. Cities of Refuge were built for manslayers (Joshua 20:1-9).

a. They were to be easily accessible to the nation (Deuteronomy 19:7-8).
b. They were to be voluntarily entered (Exodus 21:13; Numbers 35:11).
c. They were places of protection (Numbers 35:15).
d. They were places of restriction (Numbers 35:26-28).

2. Imprisonment was for an indefinite length.

a. He was to remain in the Refuge until the “death of the high priest” (Joshua 20:6)
b. He was free to function within the city of Refuge (Numbers 35:28)

C. Ecclesiastes 8:11 – Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

D. Note:  There are many “sins” for which God demanded capital punishment

1. Abuse of parents (cursing; lack of provision; injury)

2. Adultery and associated incest and forcible fornication

3. Bestiality and Homosexuality

4. Breaking the Sabbath Day commandment

5. Deception about devoted offerings (Ananias and Sapphira)

6. Fortune telling, wizardry and sorcery (demon possession for evil purposes)

7. Premeditated murder -- Reckless homicide – Negligent homicide

8. Rebellious behavior toward society

9. Usurping the Priest’s offices – False Prophets

10. Various and sundry other cases – for willful disobedience of God’s laws

III. The Sixth Commandment is amplified by the New Testament.

A. Anger is identified as equivalent to killing (Matthew 5:21-22).

1. Fathers are not to stimulate anger in their children (Colossians 3:21).

2. Everyone is to be slow to anger (James 1:19-20).

3. Everyone is warned not to give in to anger (Romans 12:19).

4. Proverbs provide many interesting insights about anger.

a. We are not to befriend an angry man (Proverbs 22:24).
b. We are not to use grievous words (Proverbs 15:1).
c. We should know that anger generates foolish actions (Proverbs 14:17).
d. We should know that anger produces strife and sin (Proverbs 29:22).
e. We would be better off in total isolation that with an angry woman (Proverbs 21:19).

B. Hatred for our Brother in Christ is equivalent to murder (1 John 3:15).

1. Satan is the source of all murder (John 8:44).

2. Hell will contain such people (Revelation 21:8; 22:15).

C. Bitterness is to be "put away" from us (Ephesians 4:31).

1. Bitterness is a very evil thing (Psalm 64:3-6).

2. Bitterness will cause trouble and open sin (Hebrews 12:15; Titus 1:15).

3. Bitterness comes from the world, the flesh and the devil (James 3:14-16).

4. Bitterness must not be shown by husbands (Colossians 3:19).

D. Malice is also to be "put away."

1. Malice is described as a wicked lifestyle (Titus 3:3; 2:12).

2. Malice must be remedied by the Word of God (1 Peter 2:1-2).

3. Malice should be kept to the intensity of infant evil (I Corinthians 14:20).

4. Malice is a "leaven" that will pollute everyone (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).

E. Love prevents killing or hatred (Leviticus 19:18; Mark 12:31).

1. It is the "preferring" of each other (Romans 12:10).

a. It values the other brother more (Philippians 2:1-4).
b. It helps the weaker brother (Romans 15:1-3; Galatians 6:1-5).

2. It is the "compassion" for each other (I Peter 3:8-11).

a. It prevents evil action toward each other (Romans 13:8-10).
b. It is not hypocritical (1 Peter 1:22).
c. It is a "cover" for sins (1 Peter 4:8-10).
The Ten Commandments


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A Life of Loving God's Word in Psalm 119

The Power and Perseverance of Grace

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A series of lessons on chapters 1-11 of Genesis

The People and Power of Christ

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A series on the book of Revelation

Loving God and Loving Others in Exodus 20

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