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The Definition of Murder

Numbers 35:16-25 :

“‘But if he struck him with an instrument of iron, so that he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall surely be put to death. If he struck him with a stone in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall surely be put to death. Or if he struck him with a weapon of wood in the hand, by which a man may die, and he died, he is a murderer. The murderer shall surely be put to death. The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death. When he meets him, he shall put him to death. If he shoved him out of hatred, or hurled at him, lying in wait, so that he died, or in hostility struck him with his hand, so that he died, he who struck him shall surely be put to death. He is a murderer. The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death, when he meets him.

“‘But if he shoved him suddenly without hostility, or hurled on him anything without lying in wait, or with any stone, by which a man may die, not seeing him, and cast it on him, so that he died, and he was not his enemy, neither sought his harm; then the congregation shall judge between the striker and the avenger of blood according to these ordinances. The congregation shall deliver the man slayer out of the hand of the avenger of blood, and the congregation shall restore him to his city of refuge, where he had fled. He shall dwell therein until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the holy oil.



Some animal rights activists try to assert that the Bible says it is wrong to kill, therefore it is wrong to kill animals. It is true that it says: "Thou shalt not kill," but it also explains what "kill" means here. It is obvious from a study of the Bible that it is talking about humans killing humans.


It is also interesting to read that the killer is protected by God's rules, perhaps more here in Numbers than we see in some courts today. God also gives clear things to look for when determining guilt, such as:


1) An instrument was used against the one killed and the killer knew that the person was there.


2) The one killed was shoved, an object was thrown (or shot) at him, or the hand was used against him, while the killer was waiting in ambush or was angry.


The innocent are well protected in that if there was no anger or intent to harm, the killer is to be considered innocent. It is interesting that the killer is to live in the city of refuge and stay there until the current high priest dies if they are innocent. I don't believe we have this kind of protection in America. There doesn't seem to be much concern about intent anymore. According to God, if a person is judged by the act only, it would mean that innocent people are being wrongly convicted.


Notice that the "avenger" is given the right to kill the guilty one after the jury trial is over. I also notice that there is no rule against mercy. It is clear, however, that according to the law the murder should be put to death. Our prisons would be less populated and there would also be no repeat offenders if this was done regularly. When we don't follow God's lead, we open ourselves up to harm because God' intent is protect us not to harm us.






Make sure to read: The Most Important Message.


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