What did this originally mean for the Israelites? It was a moral and civil prohibition against the unjust taking of life (not killing in general as per the KJV). Just war and executions of the state were both commanded of God, so the context of the OT easily tells us what is at stake here. The careless yet accidental taking of life, commonly referred to as 3rd degree murder is treated the same as we treat it, which is that there is a lesser or differing level of blame even if it is not the same as 2nd degree murder (rash response) or first degree murder (premeditated). And remember that American law is largely based on English law, which is largely based on the Judeo-Christian ethic of the Bible. The heart of the prohibition is two-fold: first that we would never intentionally take a life unjustly, and two, that we should actively promote the flourishing of physical life, since life itself is a gift from God.
What are all the different ways this command has been broken since it was given, from Israelite culture up till today? Willful murder, unjust wars and any government killing its own citizens unjustly, abortion and child sacrifice and child abandonment leading to death, physician assisted suicide or suicide of any kind, and (expanding this to the mind) hatred for others, wishing others to die, uncontrolled rage and insulting. Where does our deliverance from such murderous passions and rage come from? From the one who was murdered for us on the cross.
In Prayer Today:
Seek the Lord's grace and peace which quells our rage.