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Occurrences &The Decalogue
One of the words translated as "kill" or "murder" in Hebrew is רצח (rasah). This word is often used in conjunction with two other Hebrew words associated with killing --  מות and הרג.

The root of רצח occurs 38 times with nearly half the occurrences taking place in Numbers 35, which deals with the cities of refuge for accidental manslaughter.  The first occurrence of rasah is in the Decalogue in Exodus 20, "You shall not Murder."

Kill or Murder?
While translated by the KJV as "kill" in the Decalogue a more accurate rendering of רצח in context and employed by modern translations, is "murder."  The Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament notes this word is used of,  "...culpable killing by use of force."

Other noteworthy examples of the usage of רצח include:
  • This word is never used for killing in warfare or self-defense (cf. Numbers 35:27,30).
  • This word is not used for suicide.
  • This word is used for execution of criminals by civil authority.
  • This word does not carry specificity as to the means of death.

Noting the usage of this word, we gain further insight into the commandment, "You shall not murder" in the Decalogue.

Hebrew Mnemonic for "Murder" 
To recall "rasah" is " he murdered" find a "sound-alike" word for "rasah." For myself, it sounds like "red sock."  Associate your "sound-alike" to the definition of " he murdered."  I vividly picture myself  murdering a "red sock."

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary Helps
To learn Hebrew vocabulary and grammar quickly and easily, visit us on the web at Biblical Hebrew Made Easy! To see more works by author Blair Kasfeldt, visit his website, Boost Your Memory!

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