The rendering of the sixth commandment in the King James was very unfortunate. "Thou shalt not kill" in recent versions (like the NKJV, NIV, RSV, ASB, NASB, etc.) is accurately translated "You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13). In Hebrew, as in English, the words for "murder" and "kill" can be used interchangeably, but their different meanings are easily understood from the context. The Hebrew word for murder (ratsach, which appears in Ex. 20:13) is translated by the King James as murder/murderer 17 times, slayer/slain/slayeth 21 times, kill/killing 6 times, manslayer 2 times, and death once. The Hebrew word for kill (which appears in Ex. 13:15-harag) is translated by the King James as slay/slayer/slain 132 times, as kill 27 times, murder/murderer 3 times, destroyed once, out of hand once, and made/put/surely 3 times. The Ten Commandments forbid murder, not killing. The chapter following the giving of the Ten Commandments has a number of commands from God to execute criminals, including: "He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death." Ex. 21:12 "He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." Ex. 21:15 "He who kidnaps a man... shall surely be put to death." Ex. 21:16 "He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death." Ex. 21:17 "[If an unborn baby is killed] you shall give life for life." Ex. 21:23 It is not plausible to suppose that God contradicted Himself just a few sentences after delivering the Ten Commandments to Moses. Clearly God prohibited murder but insisted upon execution of murderers and others. The Sixth Commandment clearly is a prohibition against murder; not an injunction against capital punishment as Ezekiel 13:19 attests: "And will you profane Me among My people...killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live...?"