Ask almost anyone to recite the commandment in the Ten Commandments that prohibits taking a life and you will be told, “Thou Shall Not Kill.”
That is the King James translation of the sixth commandment. It is a magnificent translation, but one that has led to much moral confusion.
You would think that of all the Ten Commandments the one that needs the least explaining is the sixth, because it seems so clear. In fact, it is probably the least well understood of the Ten Commandments.
The reason is that the Hebrew original does not say, “Do not kill.” It says, “Do not murder.”
Both Hebrew and English have two words for taking a life — one is “kill” (harag in Hebrew) and the other is “murder” (ratzach in Hebrew).