Exodus 20:13, Matthew 18:19, etc. And the Changes


#1

Dear people. Let me just quickly say this first. I’m not a religious person, and hope to, partialy through this webforum, find my answers regarding religion, and the way it moves people.

Now to get to my first question on this forum. This question is devided into two parts.

This has to do with Exodus 20:13, Matthew 18:19 and others.
I read this statement not to long ago and this sparked my inquiry.

“Ex 20:13 reads, “You shall not murder.” Not all killing is murder”

I was quite astonished to read this. You may ask why, and I would reply the following;
The english translation of the Holy Bible is the only translation where, in Exodus 20:13, Matthew 18:19, and others it states “Thou Shalt Do No Murder” Whereas all other translations of the Bible, may it be Dutch, German, Latin, Italian, Spanish, it states “Thou shalt not Kill”. Now I am not a language scholar and I have to rely on the help of others to translate some pieces, but if I’m correct the original relevant words for these pieces of text in the Bible come for Hebrew. The relevant Hebrew words in these texts are, for Exodus 20:13 “ratsach” (see www/blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/7/1122783815-6579.html)). And the relevant Greek word in Matthew 18:19 is “phoneuo” (see blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/5/1122783467-7726.html)

The classic King James version of the Bible does, also in english, state “Thou shalt not Kill”. Now I’m wondering how the author of that statement can state the explenation that not all killing is murder. Why is it then that the english version is the only translations that states it this way?

and this brings my to another question. Apparently a change has been made from the classic King james version to the modern version of the Holy Bible. Now how is it that, and correct me if I’m wrong, nobody questions the fact that if differences can be made to the bible now that this could have happend just as easily in the past? Just a few years ago, the dutch version of the bible was changed. It previously stated that christ, after being born, was to lay to rest in a crib. Now it states that christ was to lay to rest on a bail of hay (english??? sorry). Now ofcourse it is able to draw different conclusions from each statement. Now as I’ve understood taking conclusions from pieces of text in the bible is done very easily. How is it nobidy questions these chages, or questions the fact that changes could have been made in the future?


#2

Welcome to the board, mulderalexander. Interesting choice of name there. You’ll have to tell us about it sometime. :slight_smile:

Your problem with “kill” or “murder” is really a moot point because in either case, the understanding is deliberate killing as in murder, not accidental or killing the enemy in a just war or execution of a vile criminal. All these latter sorts of killing are allowed for the greater benefit of societies. While murder is done strictly for personal revenge or gain.

If you are asking if the Bible is reliable even though there are poor translations or differing translations, the answer is yes.

I cannot speak for other faith traditions, but the Catholic Church authorizes certain translations and not others, but it does not teach that even an approved translation is definitive but that it does teach the truth, which is really all that is necessary.

You see the Bible is a complex library of writings, some thousands of years old. That these writings have come down to us so well intact is because it was lovingly copied and protected along the way. First by the Hebrew people, whose writings before Christ were as precious to them as their own children, if not more. And then to Catholic monks and scribes who carefully copied and kept safe the Sacred Writings.


#3

"Ratsach" has several nuances of meaning, it covers murder, manslaughter, and justifiable homicide. Look elsewhere in the Mosaic Law, you will find places where God commands ratsach under certain circumstances.

Homicide is the taking of human life; homicide is not always unlawful.
Manslaughter is the unlawful but accidental taking of human life.
Murder is the unlawful and intentional taking of human life.

“Thou shalt do no ratsach” would be better translated as “Thou shalt do no murder”.

As for changes to the bible, yes, you need to be aware of how a translator’s theological leanings might color his work. But we have very good ancient manuscript evidence for what the original greek and hebrew texts said; it’s not like we need to translate from a translation of a translation. I don’t know about the version you refer to, but my understanding is that the original greek indicates that Jesus was put in a feeding trough, which would be appropriate given that he’s the Bread of Life (“My flesh is food indeed”).


#4

Mulderalexander,
Dell said oart of what I was going to expoain. First, the source you used, Blueletter.org is a Protestant site. There are differences in the number of biiks in Protestant and Catholic Bibles. For an explanation of the reasons behind this, you can go to the search function for the forums or try www.catholic.com
and find the relevant tract.
There are no extant versions of the original New Testament manuscripts. Translating from a 2000 year old document is ot easy.
Good Bible scholars, Catholic and Protestant, try to find the literal meaning of the text; what the author neant to communicate.
In order to do this, he must know, not only the languages used, but the culture and traditions of the time.
As Della said, the Catholic Church approves some versions of the Bible and not others. The wording may vbary, but the meaning of the text should not.
There are no contradictions in approved versions of the Catholoic Bible.
Even English scholars can argue the meaning of “kill” and “murder,” depending on context.


#5

Hi Della, and thatnks for the responce…the name is just last and first stuck together…a username I use a lot, as I do here.

Your answers triggers further thought and I’d like to reply to it. As you know within the english language there is a real difference between killing and murder. As you say the Catholic Chruch decides which translations are correct and wich are not. Now ofcourse it is widely known that the church has made mistakes in the past and the original translation of the classis King James version could have been mistaken.
Although the meaning as you derive it now is most logical to me and I understand what you are thinking. But my question remains. If all other translations state that killing is forbidden why is it that the english version differs? As I stated in the second pasrt of my question this all has to do with interpretation. We both interpret it as not murdering, who are we to say that this is correct? I’m dutch myself and when I read the dutch version it says that I should not kill at all. And I’m not only talking about man but about any living creature. And we all know that we are all guilty of this…be it an insect or a flower. It is all open for our own interpretation and the most widely accepted interpretation is often confused with the truth. I find it difficult that people can base so much on a book that preaches, above all, interpretation. My opinion is that this is also the reason that there are different churches within christianity because of different interpretations. Everyone convinced that their interpretation is the truth. But as nobody has (that can be proven) has talked to God directly to hear his version of the Bible we will never know, correct?

How do you believe in something that is riddled with questions?


#6

[quote=mulderalexander]Your answers triggers further thought and I’d like to reply to it. As you know within the english language there is a real difference between killing and murder. As you say the Catholic Chruch decides which translations are correct and wich are not. Now ofcourse it is widely known that the church has made mistakes in the past and the original translation of the classis King James version could have been mistaken.
[/quote]

The King James, indeed, had many problems. But the Church did not sanction it. King James of England did, for the Anglican Church.


#7

This is true, but this does not answer my question about interpretations, as it is not only the classic King James version that stated Thou Shall Not Kill, it is also nearly every other translation of the Holy Bible, dutch, spanish, italian, german. So my quetion remains, even if the english version I quoted was not a sanctioned version by the Catholic Church.


#8

First of all, thank you for your thoughtful response, MA (if I may take the liberty of shortening your name to its initials)! I thought maybe you had named yourself after Mulder, a character on an science fiction TV show popular here in America in the 90’s plus the name of the Greek conqueror, which I thought an odd, if interesting combination of names. :smiley:

The difficulty you are having with murder and killing is shown in the way you added the words “at all” to should not kill, which in and of itself is your own rendering of “shalt not kill”. You see what happens when we take it upon ourselves to translate Holy Writ? This is why the Magisterium of the Church is so careful about what translations it approves and which it doesn’t. :wink: As Strider pointed out, you have to understand such things within the context of the whole of the Christian faith, and not take words out of that context to make them say what you or I would have them say.

The Bible does not and cannot speak for itself. Anyone can see that, so it needs a proper interpreter, and that proper interpreter is the Church from which it came, the Catholic Church.

Also, Jesus never established the Bible as the ultimate authority in matters of faith and morals. He established the Church to do that. The Bible is the witness of the Church, while the Church is the witness as to the veracity of the Bible.

You have to see that these things are true before ever understanding what the Bible is and what its place is in the Sacred Tradition handed down to us from Peter and the Apostles.

As to the accuracy of the Bible, you have to keep in mind that Bibles were hand-copied and so extremely expense. We are spoiled in our time to have copies of the Bible available to anyone who wants one in the Western world–most men didn’t for centuries. Also, men were more diligent about keeping copies pure than we are because they knew the integrity of the Bible was in their hands.

And lastly, but more importantly, the Spirit of God made sure that what we have of the written word of God is accurate enough to be a viable witness to the Church and the truth of the Gospel and that is all we really need concern ourselves with.


#9

Dear Della,

Thank you for the reply, I found it most interresting. I have just another question as to your explenation. I understand that indeed I have to look at pieces of text as a whole, and less as words put together (if you understand what I mean)

But as you say

And lastly, but more importantly, the Spirit of God made sure that what we have of the written word of God is accurate enough to be a viable witness to the Church and the truth of the Gospel and that is all we really need concern ourselves with.

my question to you is then the following; If the Spirit of God made sure that what we have is accurate enough to be a viable witness to the Church and the truth of the Gospel, how is it that there is so much diversity between christians? There are Protostants, adn Catholics. and here in holland I believe there are approx. 6 different christians churches! All preaching that they know best! If the Spirit of God has made it so clear how is it that there is so much diversity withing the christian faith? I was on holiday in boston a couple of weeks ago and stumbled apon a group of men calling protestants sinners and that they are condemned to everlasting suffering in Hell. Aren’t these also God’s children? Do they also not believe in God? If the spirit leads you, why is it not leading them? Or me?


#10

Mulder,

Hello and welcome to the Catholic Answers Forums! I wish you a long, joyful, and productive stay here.

What Della told you is correct: the Bible by itself, without a proper interpretation, will lead you into confusion. You have found this out yourself. (You need an interpreter right away to translate it from the original Hebrew, Chaldean, and Greek into your own language.)

The reason there are many different Protestant churches (in fact, there are a lot more than six; I have heard people say that there are 20,000 different Protestant denominations worldwide) is that they decided that they would not follow the Catholic Church’s guidance in interpreting the Bible. So each church went off on its own, some saying one thing about a verse and others saying another thing about a verse. And there is plenty of room for disagreement.

I believe that the Holy Spirit is leading many Protestants, and they are following the Spirit as best as they can. Protestants are sinners, of course, and so are Catholics and Jews and pagans. And it is not at all for any one of us to decide whether anybody else is going to Heaven or Hell; God will decide that. So those men in Boston were part right (Protestants are indeed sinners–but so is everybody else) and part wrong (they will not necessarily suffer in Hell).

  • Liberian

#11

Dear Librarian.

thank you very much for your responce and I must say that I found your statement of “everyone being a sinne” very amusing. Although absolutely true, I believe that many people would not agree with you.

I understand what you are saying about the fact that Protestants have chosen their own interpretation of the Bible. But now my question comes, who is to say that their interpretation is NOT correct? No-one can prove this! You may say that the catholic intrepratation is correct and so will all the different protostant churches, all 20.000 of them.

And then another quick note to add to that. Do you not find it strange that the christian faith is the only faith that knows so much diversity? No other faith has this!

PS. I have a bible in my own language, actually I have it in three langages (Dutch, english, and German)


#12

[quote=mulderalexander]I understand what you are saying about the fact that Protestants have chosen their own interpretation of the Bible. But now my question comes, who is to say that their interpretation is NOT correct? No-one can prove this! You may say that the catholic intrepratation is correct and so will all the different protostant churches, all 20.000 of them.
[/quote]

Mulder,

The problem with the question of “who is to say that [the Protestant] interpretation is NOT correct” is that we don’t know what “the Protestant interpretation” is. Some Protestants say one thing, others say something contradictory, and in some cases a third group will say a third thing that contradicts both of the first two. How would we decide which Protestant interpretation is the correct one?

The Catholic Church has Matthew 16:18, in which Jesus tells Peter that He will build His church on Peter, and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. One consequence of this is that the Catholic Church has the guidance of the Holy Spirit preventing it from teaching false doctrines. (Protestants, naturally, will disagree with pretty much everything I say in this paragraph.)

And then another quick note to add to that. Do you not find it strange that the christian faith is the only faith that knows so much diversity? No other faith has this!

It is a shame. Christianity is unique in many other ways as well–for example, it is the only religion whose God walked the earth in a specific historical place at a specific historical time–but this is one distinction I could do without.

PS. I have a bible in my own language, actually I have it in three langages (Dutch, english, and German)

Hooray for you!

  • Liberian

#13

[quote=Liberian]Mulder,

The problem with the question of “who is to say that [the Protestant] interpretation is NOT correct” is that we don’t know what “the Protestant interpretation” is. Some Protestants say one thing, others say something contradictory, and in some cases a third group will say a third thing that contradicts both of the first two. How would we decide which Protestant interpretation is the correct one?

[/quote]

Librarian I do not mean to offend you by what I’m going to say. I’m merely trying to find an answer behind every story. Do you not find it unjust to say that it your task to chose whose interpratation of the bible is correct? And your statement about the different protestant churches contradicting each other is a very cheap answer if I do say so myself. Maybe I should have been clearer but the same question could have been answerd for every church within the christian religion! How can you be sure that yuor interpretation is correct? You can’t, and that is a fact! Therefore I find it a bit (dare I say) hypocritical to show so little respect for other religions. You know as well as I do that religion is 90% demographical and 10% own choise. If my parents would have been catholics, I probably would have been too. If I had been born in the middle east, there would be good chance my parents would be muslim and so would I. And in every instance I wuld have been sure of the fact that what my parents, the people around me, and my church would have told me, would have been the truth. The same for me. My parents are atheists, and so am I. I have chosen to find out as much as I can about all different religions, respect the people who believe in what they believe, but I will always call them out ofr a discussion to find out if they are also looking outside the box and are not the indoctrinated, narrow-minded type that has now idea what he or she is talking about except what they have been told to be the truth their entire life. Those who question if what they have been told is true, and at the end of their surch still believe in what they do are truly strong and devoted. It does not say that they are right but they have dared to challenge what they have always been tought to be true!


#14

[quote=mulderalexander]How can you be sure that yuor interpretation is correct? You can’t, and that is a fact!
[/quote]

MA,

First and foremost, welcome. Please look around the main site and feel free to join any discussion you please. Keep in mind, however, that respect (which you have so far shown) is paramount. May God bless you and keep you.

Now, if your statement above were true, it would indeed follow that the Catholic position is hypocritical. You have not, however, proven your conclusion. In fact, you state your conclusion without understanding why the Catholic position is what it is.

First, we start with the Bible as a historical work (not divinely inspired). We analyze it for historical accuracy, and that accuracy is shown. The historical account is that Jesus was on the earth, and that He was God (for support of this, see C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity). The historical account establishes the fact that Jesus founded ONE church while He was on earth, and directed that Church to continue to pass on the One Faith diligently and completely. This is also testified to by the writings of the Early Church Fathers (ECF). The ECF proclaim a single faith, which was taught to them by the Apostles themselves and by those whom the Apostles taught. There is ample historical evidence to support this. This one faith / one Church with the authority given to her by Jesus, declared what the “canon” (contents) of the Bible would be, and declared with that same authority the fact that the Bible was divinely inspired. It is only on the authority of the Catholic Church that the Bible is to be believed as it is compiled. This is to say that without the authority of the Catholic Church, there is no logical reason to accept that 3 John, for example, is inspired and that the Shepherd of Hermas is not.

OK. So we have established the historical fact that Jesus established a Church and that the Church He established taught ONE Faith. We also have historical evidence of exactly what that ONE Faith was. This is the faith that is still proclaimed by the Catholic Church, and has been for the lase 2000 years.

Arrogance is only seen if there is no basis for the claim to possessing the One Faith. If there is a basis, then this is simply the truth, no more arrogant than declaring that 1+1=2 rather than any other close, but not accurate, answer.

Does that help?

RyanL

P.S.
If you need sources for the ECF writings, ask and you shall receive.


#15

RyanL

thank you for the info, it was quite informative. This has inspired me to go in search these pieces of historical “evidence” (I put evidence like this for I am a stuborn person and always check and do not tend to assume). If you could provide me with writings of the EFC I would be much obliged as I would enjoy reading them.

But your post has also set me to think of something a friend of mine once told me and I actually spent some time finding evidence for. It’s a funny thing really. nearly everyone I know celebrates christmas, and with that the birth of Jesus. How come? Jesus wasn’t born then! And I can prove it to you. Hopefully a bit of a brain teaser for you…

The world was transfixed by the year 2000–worried about the’Y2K’ bug in computers,
millennial madness in cult groups, political union in Europe, and a proposal to make
Mary “co-redemptrix” in the Catholic Church. While Rome flirted with blasphemy, few
realized that the true 2000th lunar anniversary of the birth of Jesus was August 22, 1998,
or on September 11, 1998 by the solar calendar dating we now use.

  Many may live to see the consequences of the anniversary, if it foreshadowed a coming

fake Christ. Or at the least, there were dozens of lunatics eager to take advantage of the
year 2000 hysteria to get the attention of the gullible.

  Yet the 2000th anniversary of the Nativity actually came 475 days before year 2000

began. The correct anniversary date was about sundown, Jerusalem time, the end of the
Sabbath, Saturday August 22, 1998.

  How can we know the exact day--and nearly the hour--of the birth of Jesus?

  Simple arithmatic.  A child could have done it, if only the basic assumptions had been

correct. But they weren’t. In the 19th century, critical scholars made a crucial decision to
reject a total lunar eclipse in January 1 BC and to accept instead one in March 4 BC, as
the chronological cornerstone for dating the death of Herod the Great, and thereby, the
possible birth years for Jesus.

  By so doing, the critics could argue Jesus had to born before 4 BC,  contradicting

Luke, who tied Jesus’ 30th year to the 15th year of Tiberius Caesar, 27-28 AD. Luke
effectively placed the birth in 3 BC, as did many of the early church fathers. Ironically,
even the date used by the Pope during the Christmas Eve midnight mass ritual is itself
consistent with the last half of 3 BC.

  The dirty little secret is that virtually all the available evidence has always pointed

at the harvest period of 3 BC as the focal point of the Nativity–including the possibility
of a late summer birth.

  By rejecting Luke, scholars also threw out the date of the birth Luke gives in his

Gospel. In his second chapter, Luke tells what happened the day Mary came to the
Temple for purification 40 days after the birth of Jesus. All one has to know is what
day this was. And Luke plainly names the day. In fact, he includes three statements
identifying the day. So what day was this?

  Yom Kippur.  The Day of Atonement.  The 10th day of the seventh month of the

Hebrew calendar.

  In Luke's time, Yom Kippur was called three things: The day of the "Fast," the day

of the "Purification,"and the day of “Redemption.” Luke uses all three to identify the
day Jesus was brought to the Temple. And he even quotes the Torah rule that mandates
the 40-day period for the mother to wait after the child’s birth [Lk 2:22-38].

  And if there were any doubt that it was Yom Kippur,  Luke tells of a woman named

Anna who had been in the Temple for a “night and day” without leaving. There was
ONLY ONE DAY A YEAR when a person could pray overnight in the Temple: Yom
Kippur. All other days, the Temple was locked at sundown.

  This shows the 40th day of Mary's Purification had begun at the end of Yom Kippur,

the end of the 10th day of the 7th month, because we know the Purification was done at
the earliest opportunity–at the beginning of the 40th day after birth. And since the 6th
month normally had only 29 days, simple arithmatic shows Mary’s 39 days of Purification
had to have begun around sundown on the 1st day of the 6th month, called Elul.

  This was the night of the first sighting of the new moon of Elul.  The Magi in Babylon

were recording this sunset sliver of the new moon on a clay tablet. The cuneiform tablet
the Magi made at that hour 2000 years ago, along with thousands of others from Babylon,
resides in the British Museum. It is possible that this clay tablet was inscribed by one of
the famous Magi who later brought a strange set of gifts to Bethlehem. So the new moon
seen by the Magi in Babylon at the very moment of Jesus being born is recorded on one of
the tablets now in London. Cuneiform scholars have identified the date on this tablet as
equivalent to September, 11, 3 BC.


#16

CONTINUATION!!!

  The Hebrew lunar calendar dates vary with respect to our solar calendar.  So the 1st

of Elul was September 11th in 3 BC, but began on August 22 in 1998. The same was true
in the days of the early church, of course. In a given year, the 1st of Elul could have fallen
on September 8th, for example.

  This may solve another ancient mystery.  No one seems to know how Rome came to

honor September 8th as the birthday of Mary. There is no Biblical, historical, or church
tradition to explain it. It just emerges out of nowhere. Rome keeps the 8th of December as
the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary [ie. conceived without original sin]. It is
a holy day of obligation for all Catholics to attend Mass. This feast is clearly based upon
September 8th also, and mortal sin is attached to the failure of a Catholic to observe it, yet
the origins of these dates are unknown.

  On the other hand, we can now see that if Jesus were born on September 11th as Luke

indicates, then Jesus would have been conceived around December 8th in 4 BC. The now
mysterious Mary dates fit Jesus quite well. How might this have happened?

  In the late 4th century, in early 380 AD, Pope Damasus I was endeavoring to force all

Christians in the Roman Empire to yield to his authority. He got the Emperor to issue an
edict requiring them to practice the religion of Rome. We know that it is about this time
the Christmas midnight Mass was first celebrated and December 25th first identified as a
Catholic holy day. It is said Damasus was seeking to lure the people away from pagan
rites honoring the birth of the sun god at midnight by compelling Catholic attendance at a
memorial in honor of Christ’s death, ie the Mass. The people confused this Mass with the
pagan solar birth rituals conducted at that same time. Gradually, the Christ-Mass became
associated with the Nativity.

 Meanwhile, the true feast around September 8th, which naturally honored Mary in

giving birth to Jesus, was converted into a day commemorating her own birth, and an old
holyday honoring the conception of Jesus was converted into a day commemorating the
conception of Mary on December 8th. Strangely, there is still widespread belief among
non-Catholics that this is the day Jesus was concieved–a possible lingering remembrance
of the original meaning of this date.

  We can also tell from Luke's Gospel that Jesus had been born in early evening, for

Luke says the shepherds were keeping watch by night, but still had time to go into town
and tell the people what they had seen earlier that evening. People rose early with the sun
in those days, and would have been asleep by 9 or 10 pm. Therefore, the birth had taken
place no later than 8 pm, and probably before 7 pm. Yet Luke says it happened at night,
which means after sunset–surely after 6 pm in September. Hence, it follows that Jesus
was born within a few minutes of 6:30-7:30 pm on the evening of September 11th, 3 BC.

  A confirmation of this time is in the book of Revelation.  Historian Ernest L. Martin

consulted NASA lunar-phase tables and found the image of the heavens in Revelation 12
showed where the sun and the moon were, relative to Virgo, at the time Jesus was born,
pin-pointing sunset of September 11th of 3 BC. It seems the moon moves so quickly it is
"beneath the feet" of Virgo only a few hours every month. Moreover, the moon comes
within two lunar diameters of Virgo’s feet at the time of a new moon but once in 30 years.
The only such occurance any time near the birth of Jesus was on September 11th, 3 BC.


#17

[quote=Strider]Mulderalexander,
Dell said oart of what I was going to expoain. First, the source you used, Blueletter.org is a Protestant site. There are differences in the number of biiks in Protestant and Catholic Bibles. For an explanation of the reasons behind this, you can go to the search function for the forums or try www.catholic.com
and find the relevant tract.
There are no extant versions of the original New Testament manuscripts. Translating from a 2000 year old document is ot easy.
Good Bible scholars, Catholic and Protestant, try to find the literal meaning of the text; what the author neant to communicate.
In order to do this, he must know, not only the languages used, but the culture and traditions of the time.
As Della said, the Catholic Church approves some versions of the Bible and not others. The wording may vbary, but the meaning of the text should not.
There are no contradictions in approved versions of the Catholoic Bible.
Even English scholars can argue the meaning of “kill” and “murder,” depending on context.
[/quote]

I just looked at this post again. I can’t believe I let all those typo’s get by me. Must’ve been tired


#18

Hmmph. Interesting. As far as I know, there is no requirement by the Catholic Church to believe that either 1. Christ was born on Christmas or 2. He was born in 1AD. As for what you’ve written, there seems to be a bit of commentary in there that is questionable (in early 380 AD, Pope Damasus I was endeavoring to force all Christians in the Roman Empire to yield to his authority…), but it’s thought provoking if nothing else.

As for the link I promised…enjoy! You may want to start with Ignatius of Antioch (born in Syria, around the year 50; died at Rome between 98 and 117), who was a disciple of the Apostle John (who wrote a couple of books of the Bible and was the guardian of the Blessed Virgin Mary after Jesus’ death and resurection). You may also want to read the Didache, or “Teachings of theTwelve Apostles”, which was written by an anonymous author around 70AD. Although many, many, many heresies are written against in the early Church, the Didache (to my knowledge) includes none of them. In other words, it’s orthodox.

God Bless,
RyanL


#19

Mulder,

Don’t worry about offending me; I have a very thick skin on these forums. I can appreciate your feeling that I have very casually dismissed Protestant churches because I am a devout Catholic, so if you will please bear with me a little I will give you some of my history.

I was born and raised in the Episcopal Church. When I was a child, we lived for two years in West Africa, where I learned a little bit (very little–I learned more from my father’s stories later in my life) about the paganism of that part of the world. We also lived for five years in the West Indies, where I learned a good bit about Hinduism. When I went to graduate school, the kosher dining hall was between the engineering building and the computer center, so I found myself there and was their “token Gentile” for four years.

As a grown-up, some years after I married I left the Episcopal Church and became Lutheran. Two years later my wife and I joined the Southern Baptist Church (which I had attended, but not joined, while I was in college), and after a few years there we joined the Catholic Church.

The Catholic Church and the Orthodox Churches are the only Christian churches that can trace their histories back in an unbroken succession to the original Apostles who were taught by Jesus Himself. All the Protestant churches broke off somewhere along the line and have a discontinuity in their history. Thus it would stand to reason that the Catholic Church has an advantage over the Protestant churches when it comes to knowing and practicing what Jesus taught.

I certainly respect Protestants–and non-Christians, too–who know what they believe and why they believe it, but this is not the same thing as saying that they are correct in what they believe. And I commend and encourage you in your desire to find out what the various religions teach.

  • Liberian

#20

The killing part is largely a matter of language:

[quote=“www.tektonics.org”]To answer this further and beyond mere social data we need to look at the original Hebrew words involved and figure out what they mean. Let’s start with the word ratsach, from the Decalogue commandment in Exodus and Deuteronomy.

The original meaning of ratsach. Our modern translations render the word “murder” rather than “kill” – but is that really a parallel definition? It is absurd to suppose that we have adequately grasped every nuance of this term, and then suppose that we can make it equal exactly some concept of Western jurisprudence!
Studies of the word by Hebrew scholars and historians are equivocal. It does seem to fit well for descriptions of what we would call manslaughter – killing in anger. Some have suggested that it only applies to “blood revenge” killing. Now uneducated Skeptics of course take this as a victory of some sort and blather endlessly about how scholars can’t agree, etc etc etc – to which I can only say, while they do disagree on some points, there are indeed certain limitations that are agreed upon one way or the other. Figuring these out comes of careful study of the text in its social and legal context – not from simply reading the text in English and strolling through Strong’s concordance, then sitting back and laughing as scholars with more education than you discuss the issue.

Ratsach is used only a few times in the OT. In long passages in Numbers 35, Deut. 19, and Joshua 20-21, it is used to describe the act of someone who has committed what we might call manslaughter, or negligence; but it seems that there is more to the matter. Passing by places where the word is used but there are no contextual clues (Is. 1:21; Jer. 7:9; Hos. 4:2), we have this:

In Judges 20:4, it describes the killing of a woman who was in a house that was beset upon by night by a gang of evil men.
In 1 Kings 21:19, the Lord rhetorically asks Ahab if he has ratsached. This is after Ahab has concluded a plot to do away with Naboth by having two fellows say they have heard Naboth blaspheme. (This word also describes Ahab in 2 Kings 6:32.)
In Job 24:14, it describes one who in the light sets upon the poor and the needy, and is a thief at night.
In Ps. 62:3, it describes the fate of someone who is not prepared for what will happen to them, for they have no foundation in God. In Ps. 94:6 it describes the wicked who kill the widow and the stranger – those who are helpless and disoriented.
In Prov. 22:13, it describes something a lion will do to the slothful man. Barker fusses on this verse quite a bit when he tries to debunk the “murder” definition (for of course lions cannot “murder” anyone!), and he has a point; but he misses the more important point. This verse, we shall see, is the key to the whole puzzle!
In Hos. 6:9, it is applied to priests who commit iniquity, with a comparison to a troop of robbers waiting for someone.
Taken together, we can discern a simple definition of ratsach: It refers to any killing that is done in the manner of a predatory animal – which means either 1) as an angry reaction to stimulus; or 2) lying in wait, as one waits for prey. We have no difficulty or contradiction in Scripture with this verse, or with places where God declares judgment of death upon men.

But there is another verse which skeptics makes hash of, Leviticus 24:17. The word here is nakah, and some make much over the fact that though this is forbidden by God, we see the Canaanites getting nakahed, David nakahing Goliath, etc. – well, nakah occurs in the OT almost 500 times! But it actually would not have taken much to figure this one out, either. Nakah is a word that is used in the sense of striking (Gen. 19:11, where land is nakahed), defeating or conquering (Gen. 14:5, 7, where Abraham nakahs an army). It does not mean “to kill” but is given that definition by context alone. Being that nakah does carry this variety of nuances, it is absurd to allege that there is some contradiction in Scripture over nakah.

But even if the nuances were the same, skeptics should consider a simple fact which they will refuse to accept: God’s command not to nakah in Leviticus offers an obvious exception, that God may command others to nakah those deserving judgment – the prescription is to men, concerning men. God owns His creation; it is His right to do as He pleases with it; and this in no way suggests that God is commanding a breaking of His own rule, since a higher rule – that of righteous judgment upon those deserving of it – is in effect, over and against a rule that is part of a “general guidance” law code. Skeptics who complain about “God ordering people to break His own rules” tend to miss this salient point, because they are assuming a 21st-century concept of law upon an ancient law code with a different purpose!
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