Murderer - Trench's New Testament Synonyms


phoneus (G5406) Murderer
anthropoktonos (G443)
sikarios (G4607)
Phoneus, anthropoktonos, and sikarios are all translated "murderer" in the Authorized Version. Although this is a proper translation of phoneus (Matt. 22:7; 1 Pet. 4:15; Rev. 21:8), it is too general for anthropoktonos and sikarios and ignores characteristic meanings of these words.
Anthropoktonos, which corresponds exactly to the English manslayerand homicide, is found in the New Testament only in the writings of John (8:44;. 1 John 3:15, twice). Anthropoktonos is particularly appropriate on Christ's lips in John 8:33; no other word would have been as suitable. John 8:33 alludes to Satan's great and only too successful assault on the natural and spiritual life of all mankind. By planting sin (and its result, death) in the authors of the human race, Satan infected all of Adam and Eve's descendants. Satan was truly ho anthropoktonos, for he would gladly have slain not just one particular person but the entire race.
Sikarios occurs only once in the New Testament, on the lips of a Roman officer (Acts 21:38). It is one of many Latin loan words that the Romans introduced into their eastern provinces. Unlike the West, the East refused Latinization and retained its own language. The sicarius derived his name from the sica, a short sword, poniard, or stiletto that he wore and was prompt to use; he was a hired mercenary or swordsman. In the long agony of the Republic, the Antonies and Clodiuses kept troops of sicari in their pay, often using them as bodyguards to inspire fear and, if necessary, to remove obnoxious persons. The Latin sicarius found its way into Palestine and the Greek spoken there. Josephus gave full details about the sicari. They were the "assassins" who arose in the latter days of the Jewish commonwealth, when all societal ties were fast dissolving. They were an ominous token of Rome's approaching doom. Concealing their short swords under their garments and mingling with the multitude at the great feasts, the sicari would stab their enemies and then join the bystanders in exclamations of horror, thus effectively averting suspicion from themselves.
Phoneus may refer to any murderer. Phoneus is the genus of which sikarios is a species. The sikarios is an assassin who uses a particular weapon and follows his trade of blood in a special manner. Anthropoktonos refers to a murderer of men, a homicide. Phoneus may be used more vaguely. A wicked man might be characterized as phoneus tes eusebeias (G2150, a destroyer of piety), even though he does not directly attack men's lives. A traitor or tyrant might be characterized as phoneus tes patridos (a destroyer of the fatherland).

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