As is well known, the biblical sixth commandment, “Thou shall not kill”, is intimately linked to the First Commandment, “I am the Lord”. By linking the two at the top of Moses's two-column table, language is given priority: the name of God can be uttered only when the possibility of death has been set aside. In this way, the linking of these two commandments marks not only the birth of language, but also, more importantly, the start of ethics. As such, commandments one and six form the basis of practically all Western ethics from Kant's categorical imperative (the unconditional maxim needs a First Word to enter into force) to Lyotard's language games (for which all utterances are charged with the moral imperative to respond), for example. But how on earth does this famous linguistic and ethical structure fare in a context whereby the written text is not given priority, in a situation where prohibitions are inherited orally? This paper will attempt to expose the thorny issue of the role of the sixth commandment in the context of Rwanda. This will imply neither the exposition of the history of the arrival of the Bible in Rwanda nor the way it helped to consolidate the colonial regime. This paper will also not examine the neglect of the prohibition against murder during the genocide of 1994. Instead, the essay will examine the linguistic and cultural problems one faces when determining the birth of ethics in two radically different contexts.