Bible Question:

I want to know the meaning of the Hebrew word for “kill” in Eccl. 3:3. I've found the meaning for the one in the sixth commandment. Thank you.

Bible Answer:

It is good to be sure of the meaning of the Hebrew word “kill” in scripture as the connotations for kill and murder differ. We will start by looking at the second of the two passages that you are asking about.

You must not murder. (NASB) Exodus 20:13

The Hebrew word that is translated as “murder” is RASAH. It means “to murder.” The old King James Version Bible used the old English and therefore it read as “You shall not kill.” The word “kill” in the old King James English meant “to murder” and the word “to slay” meant “to kill.”

A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up. (NASB) Ecclesiastes 3:3

The Hebrew word that is translated as “to kill” in this passage is HARAG. It means “to kill or slay ” but not to murder.


God does not want us to murder another human being. Murder is killing another person without a legal justification. While God has told us we can take the life of an animal for food (Gen. 9:3-4), we cannot take the life of another person on our own. However, God has given governments the right to take the lives of individuals who murder other people (Romans 13:1-4). Governments have been given the right to kill men and women who murder. Capital punishment was granted by God for moral reasons to render justice.

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