Do not murder (Mt 5:21-5:21)

“You have heard

That it was said

To those in ancient times.

‘You shall not murder!’

Whoever murders

Shall be liable

To judgment.”

 

Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις Οὐ φονεύσεις· ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ, ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει.

 

Next Matthew has Jesus expand on the individual commandments. The first of these was killing or murder. Human life was important, as first outlined in Genesis, chapter 4:1-16, in the Cain and Abel story, as well as in chapter 9:5-6, after the Flood. They already knew this basic commandment, since they had heard what had been told to their ancient ancestors (Ἠκούσατε ὅτι ἐρρέθη τοῖς ἀρχαίοις). This was the simple commandment not to murder or kill anyone (Οὐ φονεύσεις) from the Ten Commandments in Exodus, chapter 20:13 and Deuteronomy, chapter 5:17, as well as in Exodus, chapter 21:12-17, where there was a section on homicide. There were consequences for anyone who murdered someone else (ὃς δ’ ἂν φονεύσῃ). They were responsible for their actions. They were liable to be brought to judgment (ἔνοχος ἔσται τῇ κρίσει). This judgment would be before a Jewish court. There were a series of things that had to be done when a murder occurred, as outlined in Deuteronomy, chapter 21:1-9. The law about murder was fairly clear.

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Homicide (Ex 21:12-21:17)

“Whoever strikes a person mortally shall be put to death.  If it was not premeditated, but came about by an act of God, then I will appoint for you a place to which the killer may flee.  But if someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, you shall take the killer from my altar for execution.  Whoever strikes his father or his mother shall be put to death.  Whoever kidnaps a person, whether that person has been sold or is still held in possession, shall be put to death.  Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death.”

Next up on the agenda is the death penalty.  If you strike a person mortally you should be put to death.  However, if it is not premeditated, then there is a place where the killer may flee.  If someone willfully attacks and kills another by treachery, they should; be executed.  The penalty for striking or cursing a father or mother is death.  Remember that when you have a fight with your parents.  Kidnapers were also put to death even if the kidnapped person was still alive.