28:17 Blood Fugitive

A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; let no one help him. Proverbs 28:17

Charles IX of France, by Clouet.

When I worked as a prison librarian, one of my workers always wore a haunted look. He told me that he had killed during the commission of a robbery. “I can’t get that old woman’s screams out of my head,” he said. He was burdened with bloodshed.

Likewise Charles IX of France suffered terrors because of his role in ordering the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which butchered thousands of Huguenots without warning. At times he would boast of the massacre, and at others exclaim that he was damned and that the screams of the innocent victims were ringing in his ears. Sometimes he blamed himself; at other times he accused his mother and others who had counseled him to the atrocity.

Solomon’s approach seems pitiless: such a person is not to be assisted. The Old Testament law substantiates Solomon’s position: no sacrifice was provided for murder, but rather the murderer was to be executed; a life for a life. However, even under the Old Testament law there was mercy for some murderers: David was told he would not be executed for his plot against Uriah and the Lord witheld his hand from Ahab when that wicked king donned sackcloth after being rebuked for the killing of Naboth.

Now that Christ has come with his new covenant, there is forgiveness for things which were not forgiven under the old law. As Paul remarked in Acts 13:39, “and through Him [Jesus] everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.”

If I had had the wisdom at that time, I would have shared this hope with my worker.

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