murder Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
murder in Easton's Bible Dictionary
Wilful murder was 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).
murder in Smith's Bible Dictionary
The law of Moses, while it protected the accidental homicide, defined with additional strictness the crime of murder. It prohibited compensation or reprieve of the murderer, or his protection if he took refuge in the refuge city, or even at the altar of Jehovah. #Ex 21:12,14; Le 24:17,21; 1Ki 2:5,6,31| The duty of executing punishment on the murderer is in the law expressly laid on the "revenger of blood;" but the question of guilt was to be previously decided by the Levitical tribunal. In regal times the duty of execution of justice on a murderer seems to have been assumed to some extent by the sovereign, as was also the privilege of pardon. #2Sa 13:39; 14:7,11; 1Ki 2:34| It was lawful to kill a burglar taken at night in the act, but unlawful to do so after sunrise. #Ex 22:2,3|
murder in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
MUR'DER . The Jewish law calls a murderer one who slays another from enmity, hatred, or by lying in wait. Otherwise it is manslaughter, but the avenger of blood might kill the unintentional murderer if he overtook him before he reached the city of refuge. For intentional murder there was no pardon; the city of refuge, and even the altar, furnished no asylum, nor might money be taken in satisfaction. Ex 21:14, Ex 21:28-29; Num 35:30-32; 1 Kgs 2:5-6, 1 Kgs 2:28-34. It was one of the most odious and abominable crimes, Deut 19:13; John 21:9; Num 35:33-34, and was a subject of early and severe legislation. Gen 9:6. See Cities of Refuge. A remarkable regulation made it legal to kill a housebreaker taken at night in the act, but murder if killed during the day. Ex 22:2-3. For the punishment of murder see Punishments.
murder in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
In the Scripture view an outrage or sacrilege (Philo, Spec. Leg. 3:15) on God's likeness in man. Genesis 9:5-6, "whose sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man." His blood was so sacred that "God requires it (compare Psalm 9:12) of every beast"; so the ox that gored man must be killed (Exodus 21:28). God's image implies in man a personal, moral, and responsible will. To cut short his day of grace and probation is the greatest wrong to man and insult to his Maker. Cain's punishment God Himself took in hand, dooming him to a life full of fears, remorse, and guilt. His life was temporarily spared, perhaps in order not to impede the natural increase of mankind at the first. But after the flood God delegated thenceforth the murderer's punishment, which is death, to man; life must go for life, blood for blood.
Murder results from the instigation of Satan the "murderer (of Adam's and Eve's souls, and Abel's body) from the beginning" (John 8:44). Not only the killer but the hater is a murderer before God (1 John 3:12; 1 John 3:15).Even a slave's life sacrificed under the rod entailed death, or some heavy punishment as the judges should decide on the master, unless the slave survived the beating a day or two, when it was presumed the master did not intend to kill him and the loss of his slave was deemed enough punishment (Exodus 21:12; Exodus 21:20-21). A housebreaker might be killed in the act by night; but if by day he was to be sold, so sacred was life regarded (Exodus 22:2-3). The cities of refuge saved the manslayer, but not the murderer, from the blood avenger. frontCITIES OF REFUGE.)
Not even Jehovah's altar could save Joab (1 Kings 2:5-6; 1 Kings 2:31). Bloodshed in any way, even in war, brought pollution (Numbers 35:33-34; Deuteronomy 21:1-9; 1 Chronicles 28:3, David; 1 Chronicles 22:8). Striking a pregnant woman so as to cause death brought capital punishment. Two witnesses were required before anyone could be put to death for murder, a check on private revenge (Numbers 35:19-30; Deuteronomy 17:6-12; Deuteronomy 19:12; Deuteronomy 19:17). The sovereign assumed the power of executing or pardoning murderers (2 Samuel 1:15-16, David and the Amalekite slayer of Saul; 2 Samuel 13:39; 2 Samuel 14:7-11, David in respect to Anmon and Absalom; 1 Kings 2:34, Solomon and Joab).