Kill/murder - ancient Greek

merquiades

Senior Member
English (USA Northeast)
Hello everybody,

A man of god has stated that the biblical commandment "Thou shalt not kill" was wrongly translated into English and should have been rendered as "Thou shalt not murder". He says he has studied ancient Greek. I'm wondering if our Greek scholars here could either confirm or refute this statement. It is significant because the latter would give support to the belief of some that it is okay for the devout to carry concealed weapons and kill someone in self-defense...
Sorry not to be able to help more as my knowledge of ancient Greek and the Bible are null.

Thanks so much in advance.
 
  • Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    I might be wrong, but I'd say that is one of the Ten Commandments. As such, it is to be found in the Old Testament, mostly written in Hebrew, not Greek.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    And from my distant memory of checking this very point in an on-line concordance to a Hebrew Bible, the commandment uses the most common word for 'kill', which is also used for any event where we'd say 'kill' in English: sacrifices, killed in war, accidentally killed by falling rocks. (I looked in multiple places to find different uses.) So the "my kind of killing is not banned" argument didn't seem well supported to me.
     

    S.V.

    Senior Member
    Español, México
    Also to slay, murder in Jastrov. Then rōṣêaḥ (s/b) → homicidii, murderer; and the previous makkêh... bišḡāḡāhkilleth... unawares.

    So from that ḇarzel 'iron', a steel alloy in military bullets would be haram.
     

    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    I might be wrong, but I'd say that is one of the Ten Commandments. As such, it is to be found in the Old Testament, mostly written in Hebrew, not Greek.
    Correct. The Greek text is a translation from Hebrew. The LXX was nevertheless interesting for interpreting the original text as there were obviously two text traditions and the modern Hebrew text represents only one of the two traditions and the LXX the other. With the Qumran scrolls this is a bit less relevant than it used to be. The fragment 4Q41, the oldest original Hebrew text of the commandments, agrees with Masoretic text (lo tirṣaḥ) at this point:
    1634588657176.png

    (link).

    The verb rṣḥ is indeed not the neutral word for kill which is hrg. But murder seems to be too narrow a translation. If refers to anything from murder to voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.
     
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    berndf

    Moderator
    German (Germany)
    The Septuagint translation of the Hebrew text has Oὐ φονεύσεις, the verb is φονεύω, the generic verb of killing a human being: φονεύω
    Yes, killing a human being seems a be a good translation of rṣḥ. Does φονεύω imply violent means and an human or at least animal actor? I am asking because, e.g., diseases can also kill human beings but that wouldn't be a valid use of rṣḥ. I guess the most generic translation of rṣḥ is to slay.
     

    Abaye

    Senior Member
    Hebrew
    While root רצח in the biblical commandment לֹא תִּרְצָח means strictly "murder", root הרג h-r-g "kill" is often used, when discussing biblical murder issues, in many Hebrew sources, ancient and new. In the traditional Aramaic translation of the Jewish bible (Onkelos), root קטל q-t-l is used, which like הרג can mean either "murder", "kill", "slaughter", "exterminate" etc., depending on the context.
     
    Yes, killing a human being seems a be a good translation of rṣḥ. Does φονεύω imply violent means and an human or at least animal actor? I am asking because, e.g., diseases can also kill human beings but that wouldn't be a valid use of rṣḥ. I guess the most generic translation of rṣḥ is to slay.
    Yes it does imply violent means, and a voluntary action by the side of the culprit. The neutral verb for killing is κτείνω, which could be used for either killing animals or an involuntary action which led to an unfortunate death (manslaughter we would say in modern language)
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    That's basically an extralinguistic matter, but I simply must note that the Biblical commandments shouldn't be interpreted out of the context anyway (even though checking with the original scriptures is always commendable). The most literal interpretations would unavoidably lead
    to absurd and contradictory conclusions, and very soon.

    And speaking of Christianity, its own doctrinal views of murder have a long history. If we're sticking to the Church Fathers, any killing of a man is basically a sin, but the consequences for the killer vary greatly depending on the context, and only a cleric (including monks) should not kill under any possible circumstances.
     

    Perseas

    Senior Member
    Yes it does imply violent means, and a voluntary action by the side of the culprit. The neutral verb for killing is κτείνω, which could be used for either killing animals or an involuntary action which led to an unfortunate death (manslaughter we would say in modern language)
    Regardless of the nuances, I'm wondering if "φονεύω" was more in use in the time and the place (milieu) that the Septuagint translation took place. Maybe "κτείνω" had started then to lose ground.
     
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    Regardless of the nuances, I'm wondering if "φονεύω" was more in use in the time and the place (milieu) that the Septuagint translation took place. Maybe "κτείνω" had started then to lose ground.
    I think by the time the Septuagint was made, κτείνω/ἀποκτείνω had acquired the meaning of sentencing someone to death by a court
     

    raamez

    Member
    Arabic
    While root רצח in the biblical commandment לֹא תִּרְצָח means strictly "murder", root הרג h-r-g "kill" is often used, when discussing biblical murder issues, in many Hebrew sources, ancient and new. In the traditional Aramaic translation of the Jewish bible (Onkelos), root קטל q-t-l is used, which like הרג can mean either "murder", "kill", "slaughter", "exterminate" etc., depending on the context.
    Arabic has only qtl for to kill, to murder, to slaughter, etc.
    hrg is mentioned in Lissan-alarab as an "Abyssinian" loanword for extreme killing. But this meaning probably never made it really into spoken Arabic or MSA.
    r-D-kh رضخ apparently means to stone in Arabic as it is used in one Hadith by Mohammad with this meaning, but more generally it means to beat or break. None of these is used in MSA as r-D-kh mainly used for to succumb to sth.
    r-D-ḥ رضح means trauma and رضحية is traumatic
    r-D-D رضّ is contusion
    The Arabic Bible translates lo tirṣaḥ as la taqtul
     
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