17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder
will seek refuge in the grave;
let no one hold them back.
18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe,
but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.
The murderer becomes a fugitive, but he cannot escape his guilt. So it was with Cain, the first murderer, who became “a restless wanderer on the earth.” Life is a precious thing, and when it is taken it cannot be given back. To dismiss the guilt of murder is to cheapen human life, justice demands that murder be taken very seriously. In fact there is only one law in the Torah which is found in all five books, that the willful murderer is to pay with his own life (Genesis 9:6, Exodus 21:14, Leviticus 24:17, Numbers 35:30, Deuteronomy 19:11-12).
“The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.” There may be differing opinions on goodness and evil, but they cannot alter the inherent consequences. Those who embrace goodness are kept safe from the enforcement of law, but perhaps more importantly from the guilt and anxieties of injustice. “If we do not believe in decent behaviour, why should we be so anxious to make excuses for not having behaved decently?” It is a tragic thing when a person falls into a pit, and even more so when they have dug it themselves.