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Mar 26, 2023

You Shall Not Murder

Passage: Deuteronomy 5:17

Preacher: Andrew Repsold

Series: Deuteronomy

Keywords: image of god, murder, killing, respect for life


This message helps clarify what murder is and isn't, why it is prohibited and how this command needs to be applied in our day and culture.


You Shall Not Murder

Deuteronomy 5:17

(See accompanying slides for additional flow and content.)

The Hebrew word also covers causing human death through carelessness or negligence.

The verb used here (ratsakh) includes both the unlawful or immoral killing of another human being (the specific meaning of the English word “murder”) and also causing the death of another human being through careless or negligent behavior (as in Deut. 19:4-6…axe head example, or Num 35:22-25…dropping a rock example). The exact opposite is commanded in Lev. 19:18, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

What is a human?

Biblically, a being that bears the image of God Almighty, and does not cease to exist once it’s life begins at conception. It will either spend eternity united with God in complete wholeness as a holy being perfectly imaging God in the new creation, or it will spend eternity in complete separation from the presence of God in Hell. And where God is not present, there is only sorrow, despair, weeping, gnashing of teeth and endless torment.


A more highly organized (further evolved) clump of cells…but does not have any more intrinsic value than a tarantula, or a rock, or a tadpole, or pond algae, or a bear. 


A rearrangement of cosmic energy…a portion of the universe. 

First, define the terms…

  1. What is murder? (Is it different than capital punishment? Than administering God’s righteous judgement on totally wicked nations? Then lethal self-defense?)

(and what is it not)

Therefore, some examples of murder would be…

-using any of the above means as an excuse to murder someone (exact vengeance etc.)

-abortion--the killing of an innocent child.

-reckless…doing highly dangerous things.


-carelessness/negligence….like dropping rocks from overpasses on cars driving by. Or owning a dog which then kills a child.

…all of these express a low value of human life.

  1. Why is murder morally wrong?

Possible Answer: it increases human suffering on a people group.

Possible Answer: because of the kind of creature humans are (namely, image bearers of God). The category of being type separates them from cattle.

-Image of God

Genesis 1:26-27 

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Genesis 9:5-7

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.

And you, be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.”

Implications of being made in the image of God:

-highly value yourself (love yourself)

-Christ’s extension of Hate.

Matthew 5:21


21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[c] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[d] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[e] of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26 Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.[f

Verses to Pray When Burdened with Shame for Previous Murders

Revelation 21:8

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

1 John 1:9

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 51

51 Have mercy on me, O God,
    according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
    blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
    and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions,
    and my sin is ever before me.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?

11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.