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13 “You shall not murder.[a]

14 “You shall not commit adultery.[b]

15 “You shall not steal.[c]

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Footnotes

  1. Exodus 20:13 tn The verb רָצַח (ratsakh) refers to the premeditated or accidental taking of the life of another human being; it includes any unauthorized killing (it is used for the punishment of a murderer, but that would not be included in the prohibition). This commandment teaches the sanctity of all human life. See J. H. Yoder, “Exodus 20, 13: ‘Thou Shalt Not Kill’,” Int 34 (1980): 394-99; and A. Phillips, “Another Look at Murder,” JJS 28 (1977): 105-26.
  2. Exodus 20:14 sn This is a sin against the marriage of a fellow citizen—it destroys the home. The Law distinguished between adultery (which had a death penalty) and sexual contact with a young woman (which carried a monetary fine and usually marriage if the father was willing). So it distinguished fornication and adultery. Both were sins, but the significance of each was different. In the ancient world this sin is often referred to as “the great sin.”
  3. Exodus 20:15 sn This law protected the property of the Israelite citizen. See D. Little, “Exodus 20:15: ‘Thou Shalt Not Steal’,” Int 34 (1980): 399-405.

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