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Works of the Flesh: Murders

The heart of man is a strange and wild place. We are told by Christ in his word that on one hand, “…those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” Matthew 15:18. But on the other hand “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” Matthew 6:21-22. In seeking to understand the both the sin that is murder and the solution that can be offered, let us begin with a little history upon the subject.

Within the text of the Bible willful murder has been distinguished from accidental homicide. The consequence under the law of Moses was capital punishment “And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 24:17; cf. Numbers 35:16,18,21,31). This law in its principle is surely based upon that indelible fact of man’s having been made in the likeness of God, “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:5,6; cf. John 8:44; 1 John 3:12,15). Under the Law of Moses there was a prohibition for any compensation for murder or the delay in the punishment of the murderer “But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die” (Exodus 21:12,14 cf. Deuteronomy 19:11,13; 2 Samuel 17:25; 20:10). To ensure the protection of the innocent, two witnesses were required in any capital case, “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death…” (Deuteronomy 17:6ff; Numbers 35:19-30) If the murderer could not be discovered, the city nearest the scene of the murder was required to make amends for the crime that had been committed (Deuteronomy 21:1-9). Continue reading » Works of the Flesh: Murders