Sunday, 20 July 2014

One of the most relatable aspects of the Ten Commandments is also the most well known: “Thou shall not kill.” While non-believers may scoff at some of the other commandments, such as observing the Sabbath, it seems everyone can agree on the morality of not killing each other. Yet this commandment may be based on dubious translation.

It doesn’t take long to find problems with the idea of never killing. Does that mean one can never kill an animal for food, or kill someone in self-defense? What about the numerous people God kills in the Bible? The original Hebrew for this commandment provides the answer, as it reads more like “you shall not murder.” Everything from state-sanctioned executions to God’s judgment would fall under the idea of justice rather than unnecessary murder.
Why the confusion, then? Some biblical scholars think that early translations tried to bridge the later wisdom of Christianity—to love one’s enemies—with the earlier wisdom of the Old Testament, written by those who believed such maxims as “he who comes to kill you, kill him first.
Post a Comment