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Exodus 21:12  (King James Version)
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<< Exodus 21:11   Exodus 21:13 >>


Exodus 21:12-14

The Hebrew of the sixth commandment is about as terse as it can be. It consists of two words that are the Hebrew equivalent of "No killing." However, enough other scriptures appear in God's Word to let us know that the commandment means that God does not permit violent and premeditated killing of one perceived as an enemy. Exodus 21:12-14 clarifies this:

He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee. But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.

This clearly separates a premeditated murder from an accidental killing. One can discern from verse 14 that, under this circumstance, constituted civil authorities are permitted by God to enact the death penalty.

Verses 12 and 13 imply that no amount of money or property settlement can atone for the destruction of the image of God in a murdered person. Even if the death was truly accidental, the killer still had to flee to a city of refuge. But for one guilty of deliberate murder, there were no sanctuaries whatsoever to flee to, not even the altar of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment



Exodus 21:12-14

God makes provision for an accidental or carelessly caused death. Yet if the murder was premeditated, the state executed the murderer. It made no determination of his sanity. Of course he was insane! Ascertaining a person's sanity in no way alleviates the loss to the victim's family or pays the murderer's debt to society. Capital punishment at least gives a sense of justice done and supplies a measure of deterrent if it is swiftly, consistently, and fairly administered.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sixth Commandment (Part One) (1997)



Exodus 21:12-14

Under the original letter of the law, it was intentional killing (murder) that was forbidden. Accidental killing was not regarded as murder. Nevertheless, manslaughter is a horrible crime, and the culprit had to remain in a city of refuge until the high priest died.

Martin G. Collins
The Sixth Commandment




Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Exodus 21:12:

Exodus 20:13
Exodus :
Leviticus 21:15-17
2 Corinthians 3:7

 

<< Exodus 21:11   Exodus 21:13 >>



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