司殺章第七十四   
民不畏死,奈何以死懼之?若使民常畏死,而為奇者,吾得執而殺之,孰敢?常有司殺者殺。夫代司殺者殺,是謂代大匠 斲。夫代大匠斲者,希有不傷其手矣。

第 七 十 四 章
Dì qīshísì zhāng

民 不 畏 死 , 奈 何 以 死 惧 之 。
mín bú wèi sǐ, nàihé yǐ sǐ jù zhī.
若 使 民 常 畏 死 , 而 为 奇 者 ,
Ruò shǐ mín cháng wèi sǐ, ér wéi qí zhě,
吾 得 执 而 杀 之 , 孰 敢 。
wú dé zhí ér shā zhī, shú gǎn.
常 有 司 杀 者 杀 。
Cháng yǒusī shā zhě shā.
夫 代 司 杀 者 杀 , 是 谓 代 大 匠 斲 ,
Fū dài sī shā zhě shā, shì wèi dài dà jiàng zhuó,
夫 代 大 匠 斲 者 , 希 有 不 伤 其 手 矣 。
fū dài dà jiàng zhuó zhě, xīyǒu bù shāng qí shǒu yǐ.
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74. Execution
If people were not afraid of death,
Then what would be the use of an executioner?

If people were only afraid of death,
And you executed everyone who did not obey,
No one would dare to disobey you.
Then what would be the use of an executioner?

People fear death because death is an instrument of fate.
When people are killed by execution rather than by fate,
This is like carving wood in the place of a carpenter.
Those who carve wood in place of a carpenter
Often injure their hands.
人民若不怕死,執政者以死來恫嚇他們又有什麼用呢?如果先使人民懼怕死亡,有為非作歹的人再處死,這樣誰還敢為非作歹呢?
“常有”的道,才能決定誰該殺而殺之;若強要替天行道,就好比去替木匠削砍木頭。代替木匠砍削木頭的人,少有不傷著自己手的。
 
人民若不怕死,执政者以死来恫吓他们又有什么用呢?如果先使人民惧怕死亡,有为非作歹的人再处死,这样谁还敢为非作歹呢?
“常有”的道,才能决定谁该杀而杀之;若强要替天行道,就好比去替木匠削砍木头。代替木匠砍削木头的人,少有不伤着自己手的。
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