Originally Posted by Starman
We should ask this question of a rabbi. The Jewish understanding of Torah is that each mitzvah is written tersely and therefore requires expansion according to certain tried and trusted principles.
The ciommandment not to 'murder' is a ban against shedding inccocent blood. In this respect the word bears no difference to 'kill.' Arguments against that view are semantic but without worth.
The word translated as 'kill' in Exodus 20:13 is Ratsach
from a Hebrew root meaning to 'dash into pieces,' applied here specifically against the killing/murder of human beings with the meaning of 'put to death,' 'kill,' 'slay,' or 'murder.'
That has to be understood against those occasions when Jehovah decreed that certain malefactors should be put to death. When it is a man is killed through judgement, then Jehovah considered it not to be murder. Killing in battle is another obvious exception. I havenever found that anyone has misunderstood the herem against killing innocent persons for gain, Jealousy, or insouciance, nor for sparing the lives of those who commit offences that do not carry the death penalty.
In the scriptures wilful murder is distinguished from accidental homicide, and was invariably visited with capital punishment (Num. 35:16, 18, 21, 31; Lev. 24:17). This law in its principle is founded on the fact of man's having been made in the likeness of God (Gen. 9:5, 6; John 8:44; 1 John 3:12, 15).
The Mosiac law prohibited any compensation for murder or the reprieve of the murderer (Ex. 21:12, 14; Deut. 19:11, 13; 2 Sam. 17:25; 20:10). Two witnesses were required in any capital case (Num. 35:19-30; Deut. 17:6-12). If the murderer could not be discovered, the city nearest the scene of the murder was required to make expiation for the crime committed (Deut. 21:1-9).
These offences also were to be punished with death,
1) striking a parent
2) cursing a parent
3) kidnapping (Ex. 21:15-17; Deut. 27:16).