Proverbs 28:17

ESV If one is burdened with the blood of another, he will be a fugitive until death; let no one help him.
NIV Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back.
NASB A person who is burdened with the guilt of human blood Will be a fugitive until death; no one is to support him!
CSB Someone burdened by bloodguilt will be a fugitive until death. Let no one help him.
NLT A murderer’s tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don’t protect him!
KJV A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

What does Proverbs 28:17 mean?

Murder is a heinous crime which the Lord detests. This is especially heinous because it insults God's work of creating human beings in His own image (Genesis 1:27). One of the Ten Commandments given to Israel was, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13). The root word used in that commandment is ratsach, implying predatory or careless killing (Numbers 35:11; Deuteronomy 4:42; 22:26–27). God's attitude towards this sin was established well before the Law of Moses (Genesis 4:10–12; 9:6). When Cain killed his brother Abel, he suffered a penalty for murder. He would work the ground in vain, and he would be a fugitive and a wanderer.

Solomon (Proverbs 25:1) underscores the fugitive sentence imposed on a murderer. Old Testament law provided the death penalty for murderers, whose only escape was to run to safe zones in certain cities (Numbers 35:6). In an earthly sense, it is wrong to aid a murderer in escaping punishment, even if their crime occurred a long time ago. We should not seek to soothe a murderer's conscience or cover up their sin. Calling them to repentance—and possibly to earthly forgiveness—is different from helping them escape accountability.

Guilt for murder, whether felt or not, is a lifelong sentence. Hebrew phrasing uses a variety of terms throughout Scripture to suggest a "burden" (Isaiah 38:14 Deuteronomy 28:29; Hosea 5:11) which implies torment and heaviness.
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: