“And if a man takes the life of any human being.” The Hebrew text is more idiomatic than the English translation reflects, and reads more like, “And if anyone strikes down the soul of a human being….” In this case, “strikes down” means “kill” and “soul” refers to the human life. The essence of the verse is “Anyone who takes another person's life must be put to death” (NLT). Modern societies have abandoned this law of God, even though He created people and ostensibly should know how to run a society. Generally, modern societies let murderers go after some prison time, or keep them alive and house, feed, clothe, and medically care for them until they die, which is often decades, and during that time they often cause much harm and danger to society. But have our “modern sensibilities” made society any better or safer? No. Instead, we are a very unsafe society and have a horrible prison problem. The Bible commands that murderers be put to death.
[For more on the death penalty, see commentary on Exodus 21:12.]