the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26
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 Psalms 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. (See 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).
These files are public domain.
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Murder'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fbd/​m/murder.html. 1949.