Exodus 20:13

Sunday Morning Bible Study

May 25, 2008


We’ve been working our way through the Ten Commandments.

It was teddy bear carnage at the Wookey Hall Caves, a teddy bear museum in western England. In the summer of 2006, a Doberman pinscher guard dog named Barney "just went berserk." In an evening rampage, Barney shredded about 100 of the bears on display. But what really got everyone's attention was that he tore apart Mabel—Elvis Presley's teddy bear.

Mabel is currently owned by an English aristocrat named Benjamin Slade who lives close to the museum. He had reportedly paid something like $75,000 for the bear at a Memphis auction, and then loaned it to Wookey Hall Caves. The museum's general manager, Daniel Medley, reported: "I had a very embarrassing phone call with the owner. He's not very happy at all."

What would possess Barney the guard dog to become so angry? To be so violent? The dog's handler, Greg West, speculated that it might have been either a "rogue scent" that "switched on Barney's deepest instincts, or it could have been jealousy," because, according to West, "I was stroking Mabel and saying what a nice little bear she was."

At any rate, West spent several minutes chasing Barney before he could wrestle him to the ground and end the canine's act of vengeance. Photos of the dog after he had been quieted show him sitting on his haunches and looking very contrite. No dogs are allowed now at Wookey Hall Caves.

Lee Eclov, Vernon Hills, Illinois; source: Alan Cowell, "Doberman on Guard Duty Whacks 100 Teddy Bears," New York Times (8-3-06)

Today we look at the Sixth Commandment – “You shall not murder”

:13 "You shall not murder.

murderratsach – to murder, slay, kill

There are a lot of different Hebrew words that can be translated “murder” or “kill”.  With the New King James Bible, in the Old Testament there are two different Hebrew words that can be translated “murder” and nine different words that can be translated “kill”.  In the New Testament there is one word translated “murder” and five different words that can be translated “kill”.  There are 455 verses in the Bible that have a form of “kill”, and 61 verses that have a form of the word “murder”.

In the Old Testament:

murderratsach – to murder, slay, kill
De 5:17 ‘You shall not murder.
murdernakah – to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, kill
Jer 40:14 and said to him, "Do you certainly know that Baalis the king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael the son of Nethaniah to murder you?" But Gedaliah the son of Ahikam did not believe them.
killharag – to kill, slay, murder, destroy, murderer, slayer, out of hand
Ge 4:14 "Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen [that] anyone who finds me will kill me."
killnakah – to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, kill
Ge 4:15 And the LORD said to him, "Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold." And the LORD set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.
to killmuwth – to die, kill, have one executed
Ge 37:18 Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him.
killshachat – to kill, slaughter, beat
Ex 12:6 ‘Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.
killzabach – to slaughter, kill, sacrifice, slaughter for sacrifice
1Sa 28:24 Now the woman had a fatted calf in the house, and she hastened to kill it. And she took flour and kneaded [it], and baked unleavened bread from it.
killkarath – to cut, cut off, cut down, cut off a body part, cut out, eliminate, kill, cut a covenant
1Ki 18:5 And Ahab had said to Obadiah, "Go into the land to all the springs of water and to all the brooks; perhaps we may find grass to keep the horses and mules alive, so that we will not have to kill any livestock.
utterly killcharam – to ban, devote, destroy utterly, completely destroy, dedicate for destruction, exterminate
2Ch 20:23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy [them]. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
killqatal – (Qal) to slay, kill
Job 24:14 The murderer rises with the light; He kills the poor and needy; And in the night he is like a thief.
kill[email protected] (Aramaic) – to slay, kill
Da 2:13 So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise [men]; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill [them].

In the New Testament (written in Greek)

murderphoneuo – to kill, slay, murder
Mt 5:21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
killapokteino – to kill in any way whatever
Mt 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
killthuo – to sacrifice, immolate
Lu 15:23 ‘And bring the fatted calf here and kill [it], and let us eat and be merry;
killanaireo – to take up, to lift up (from the ground)
Lu 22:2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.
killdiacheirizomai – to move by the use of the hands, take in hand, manage, administer, govern; to lay hands on, slay, kill [with one’s own hand]
Ac 26:21 "For these reasons the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill [me].
killsphazo – to slay, slaughter, butcher
Re 6:4 Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that [people] should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword.

This particular commandment has been used by some people for various political causes.

Issue: Capital punishment

Some have seen this commandment as a reason to be against capital punishment, when the government executes a convicted criminal.

You will often see protestors with signs that read “Thou shalt not kill”, which is the old King James translation of this verse.

The folks who use this verse as a reason to oppose capital punishment tend to be people who haven’t read much of the Bible.  I find it interesting that they would use one verse to oppose it, and ignore dozens of verses that endorse it.

Murder is one of many crimes punishable by death.

(Exo 21:12 NKJV)  "He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.

There are a lot of crimes mentioned that are punishable by death.  Search your computer Bible for “put to death”.  You’ll find: Striking your parents (Ex. 21:15), kidnapping (Ex. 21:16), cursing your parents (Ex. 21:17), breaking the Sabbath (Ex. 31:14), adultery (Lev. 20:10) as well as a whole boatload of sexual sin (Lev. 20), channeling demons (Lev. 20:27), and blaspheming God’s name (Lev. 24:16).

(Exo 21:15 NKJV)  "And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

(Exo 21:16 NKJV)  "He who kidnaps a man and sells him, or if he is found in his hand, shall surely be put to death.

(Exo 21:17 NKJV)  "And he who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

(Exo 31:14 NKJV)  'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.

(Lev 20:10 NKJV)  'The man who commits adultery with another man's wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.

There’s a whole list of sexual sins, all punishable by death (Lev. 20)

(Lev 20:27 NKJV)  'A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them.'"

(Lev 24:16 NKJV)  'And whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death.

This law in Exodus is not the first time that God has dealt with the issue of murder.

Adam and Eve had two sons.  One murdered the other.  Cain killed Abel.

After the flood of Noah, God gave a command:

(Gen 9:6 NKJV)  "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man.
In this early law, God establishes the authority of human government, giving humans the authority to punish a murderer by taking their life.
The penalty of putting a murderer to death was not intended as a means of prevention, but to recognize that man was made in the image of God.  Human life is sacred.

Issue: War

In Rom. 13, Paul tells us that God gives human government the authority of the sword.

(Rom 13:1-4 NKJV)  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. {2} Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. {3} For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. {4} For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

This authority of government covers the punishment of criminals.

It would seem that this authority extends to the protection of the nation itself.

To say that all war is bad is not correct.

Sometimes war is a result of our sin, our lust (Jam. 4:1)

But sometimes God commands His people to go to war. (Ex. 17:16)

God is described as …
(Exo 15:3 NKJV)  “a man of war”

In our nation, our government is designed to represent the people.  It is not wrong for our government to go to war, but it would seem to me that since you and I have the power to vote, that we can always change the government.

I am not trying to make a political statement for or against the war, or for or against our government.  I’m simply trying to make sure that we approach these issues with a Biblical world view.

Issue: Suicide

There is no “object” to this command.  It does not say you should just not kill other people.  It can include yourself.

I know that people contemplating suicide are filled with pain and despair.  But it’s the wrong way out of the problem.

Issue:  Abortion

Webster defines “murder” as the “unlawful killing of one human being by another, especially with premeditated malice”, the idea that you intended to do them harm.

I think the only way for a person to consider abortion to be okay is if they somehow think that the fetus is not a person.

But when does life begin?  At birth?  At nine months?  At six months?  These days premature babies can survive at a very early age.  As medical science progresses does that mean that human life begins earlier and earlier?

To me, it seems the most reasonable solution is to realize that human life begins at conception. 
(Psa 139:13-16 NKJV)  For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. {14} I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. {15} My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. {16} Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
(Jer 1:5 NKJV)  "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations."
If this is the case, then “terminating” a pregnancy is nothing more than terminating another human being’s life.
I know there are painful issues involved when a person has been raped or if incest is involved.  But if that baby is a real human being, why does that child have to pay for its father’s sins by being put to death?

My personal view is that abortion is a breaking of this commandment.

What if you’ve had an abortion?

You are like every other sinner.  There is a Savior who died to pay for your sin.  There is forgiveness in Jesus.  There is acceptance in Jesus.


Jesus dealt with murder in a little different way.

He’s not just concerned with the letter of the law, but the very heart of the law.  What’s at the heart of murder?

(Mat 5:21-24 NKJV)  "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.' {22} "But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, 'Raca!' shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, 'You fool!' shall be in danger of hell fire.

angryorgizo – to arouse to anger; to be provoked to anger, be angry

without a causeeike – inconsiderably, without purpose, without just cause

Racarhaka – empty, i.e. a senseless, empty headed man

councilsunedrion – any assembly (esp. of magistrates, judges, ambassadors), whether convened to deliberate or pass judgment; the Sanhedrin

{23} "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, {24} "leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Dave Ritner did a great job teaching on this yesterday at the Men’s breakfast.

This is not talking about people that you have an issue with, this is talking about people that have an issue with you.

Some people go to church and think that this will make them okay with God, even when they’ve hurt other people.
If you have offended someone else, you won’t make it right with God by apologizing to God.  You will make it right with God by fising your problem with the other person.
Dave gave a great illustration – if you are a salesman and you’ve made your sale, but then your customer has a problem with the product – if you ignore the situation you are going to lose your customer.  If you make things right for your customer you will have a customer for life.

John links murder with something else.


(1 John 3:14-15 NKJV)  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. {15} Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

murdereranthropoktonos – a manslayer, murderer

Hatred isn’t too far from anger.  When I think of hatred, I think of things like racism, unforgiveness, carrying grudges.

If you hate people because of their race, you need to question whether or not you know God.

If you refuse to forgive, but insist on carrying a grudge, the same thing applies.

Exit from Anger

The Bible says,
(1 Cor 10:13 NKJV)  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

I like to think of it this way – if I’m in a tempting situation, God always promises to give me an “exit”, a way out.  That includes anger.  Let me point out a couple of the exits in the room…

1.     Deal with it.

(Eph 4:26-27 NKJV)  "Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, {27} nor give place to the devil.
It is possible to be angry without sinning.  There are some things to be angry about – like injustice in the world.  But don’t take that too far, most of us aren’t angry about the right things.
The big lesson here is to deal with your anger.  Letting the anger boil inside of you is going to give Satan a foothold in your life.
Do something about your anger.
Children will play with virtually anything they get their hands on. It's no surprise, then, that when Dutch children in the town of Barneveld uncovered an unexploded World War II artillery shell, they played with it. In fact, they had games with it for several months. That shell was still live and contained high explosives. Thankfully, the deadly plaything did not explode in the Barneveld playground as the children tossed it about. Eventually the authorities learned about the shell, confiscated it, and exploded it in a safe place.

Craig Brian Larson, editor of PreachingToday.com; source: "Children play with high-explosive shell," Reuters (10-22-07)

Your anger is like that unexploded shell.  Don’t act like a child and think you don’t need to deal with it.

2.     It’s just not right.

(James 1:19-20 NKJV)  So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; {20} for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Getting angry with people doesn’t earn you any brownie points with God.
I think that there is an ugly little secret about some of us.  Some of us pretend real good when we get to church.  We are all kind and nice to the people at church.  And then we get home and the anger comes out.  Our spouse knows all about the anger.  Our kids know all about the anger.  But we justify ourselves and feel we have a reason to be angry.

If being angry makes me a murderer, does that mean that some of us with anger problems are serial killers?

Are you an angry person?  You need to recognize that your anger is wrong.  If I understand Jesus correctly, you might be considered a murderer.
Anger is pretty ugly.  You might not realize it, but whether you look the horned devil, or just a boy who’s lost his head, your anger just isn’t right.

Justin John Boudin, a 27-year-old man from Minnesota, pleaded guilty to fifth-degree assault charges for violently losing his temper. Here’s the irony: he was on his way to anger management class when he committed the crime. According to the criminal complaint, Boudin was waiting at a bus stop when he started to harass a 59-year-old woman. Witnesses say he yelled at her over what he felt was a general lack of respect. When she took out her cell phone to call police, Boudin punched her in the face. When a 63-year-old man tried to stop him, Boudin hit him with a blue folder that held his anger management homework. Police tracked him down by using the papers inside.

Van Morris, Mount Washington, Kentucky; source: Associated Press, "Man Hits Woman On Way To Anger Control Class," www.msnbc.com

3.     Put anger away

Col 3:8  But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.
The words Paul uses are words he might use to describe taking your coat off.

When you have been outside in the rain and you walk inside into a warm dry room, you take your coat off.  You don’t cover it up with another coat, you take it off.

Psychologists warn us that when a person covers up their anger instead of getting rid of it, that the anger turns to depression.

Are you struggling with depression?  I’m not an expert, and I have a suspicion there may be more to depression than just this one thing – but do you have some anger you’ve been holding on to?

Get rid of it.

4.     Forgive

(Eph 4:31-32 NKJV)  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. {32} And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Paul not only talks about putting it away, but taking some positive actions as well.

be kind – start doing nice things toward the person you’re angry with.  What?!?!?!?

“Try praising your wife, even if it does frighten her at first.”—Billy Sunday

tenderhearted – soften your heart towards them, what if you were in their shoes?

forgiving – the actual word is charis, we usually translate this “grace”.  Show grace to them.  Let your grudge go.

“Forgiveness means it finally becomes unimportant that you hit back.”

Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

I think one of the most heroic examples of forgiveness comes from Corrie Ten Boom in her book, The Hiding Place:
It was a church service in Munich that I saw him, the former S.S. man who had stood guard at the shower room door in the processing center at Ravensbruck.  He was the first of our actual jailers that I had seen since that time.  And suddenly it was all there—the roomful of mocking men, the heaps of clothing, Betsie’s pain-blanched face.  He came up to me as the church was emptying, beaming and bowing. “How grateful I am for your message, Fraulein,” he said.  “To think that, as you say, He has washed my sins away!”  His hand was thrust out to shake mine.  And I, who had preached so often to the people in Bloemendaal the need to forgive, kept my hand at my side.  Even as the angry, vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them.  Jesus Christ had died for this man; was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him.  I tried to smile, I struggled to raise my hand.  I could not.  I felt nothing, not the slightest spark of warmth or charity.  And so again I breathed a silent prayer.  Jesus, I cannot forgive him.  Give me Your forgiveness.  As I took his hand the most incredible thing happened.  From my shoulder along my arm and through my hand a current seemed to pass from me to him, while into my heart sprang a love for this stranger that almost overwhelmed me.  And so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.  When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself. 

5.     Take out a contract

(Rom 12:17-21 NKJV)  Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. {18} If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. {19} Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. {20} Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head." {21} Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Revenge isn’t your job, it’s God’s job.
Are you angry with an injustice?  Do you want to get even?  Put a “contract” on the person – turn them over to a professional, put them in God’s hands.  Let God take care of it.  You can let it go.

6.     Eat humble pie.

(James 4:1-10 NKJV)  Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? {2} You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.
Remember Barney the guard dog?  What are the triggers that send us into a rampage? What releases our anger and desire for revenge? Is it jealousy over the strokes that someone else got? More importantly, who do we damage when we lose control? More than likely, it's something more valuable than a teddy bear.
Yet you do not have because you do not ask. {3} You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. {4} Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. {5} Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? {6} But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." {7} Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. {8} Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. {9} Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. {10} Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
Dealing with anger requires humbling yourself.

Humbling yourself requires you admit you were wrong. It requires that you ask for forgiveness for your lousy attitude.  It requires that you make things right with the other person.

Do you need to be right with God?

Draw near to God.