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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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(See CROSS, etc.) Death was the punishment of striking or even reviling a parent (Exodus 21:15; Exodus 21:17); blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14; Leviticus 24:16; Leviticus 24:23); Sabbath-breaking (Numbers 15:32-36); witchcraft (Exodus 22:18); adultery (Leviticus 20:10); rape (Deuteronomy 22:25); incestuous and unnatural connection (Leviticus 20:11; Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 20:16); man stealing (Exodus 21:16); idolatry (Leviticus 20:2). "Cutting off from the people" is ipso facto excommunication or outlawry, forfeiture of the privileges of the covenant people (Leviticus 18:29). The hand of God executed the sentence in some cases (Genesis 17:14; Leviticus 23:30; Leviticus 20:3; Leviticus 20:6; Numbers 4:15; Numbers 4:18; Numbers 4:20). Capital punishments were stoning (Exodus 17:4); burning (Leviticus 20:14); the sword (Exodus 32:27); and strangulation, not in Scripture, but in rabbinical writings.

The command (Numbers 25:4-5) was that the Baal-peor sinners should be slain first, then impaled or nailed to crosses; the Hebrew there (hoqa ) means dislocated, and is different from that in Deuteronomy 21:22 (thalitha toli ), Deuteronomy 21:23. The hanged were accounted accursed; so were buried at evening, as the hanging body defiled the land; so Christ (Galatians 3:13). The malefactor was to be removed by burial from off the face of the earth speedily, that the curse might be removed off the land (Leviticus 18:25; Leviticus 18:28; 2 Samuel 21:6; 2 Samuel 21:9). Punishments not ordained by law: sawing asunder, and cutting with iron harrows(Isaiah, Hebrews 11:37; Ammon, in retaliation for their cruelties, 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Samuel 11:2); pounding in a mortar (Proverbs 27:22); precipitation (Luke 4:29; 2 Chronicles 25:12); stripes, 40 only allowed (Deuteronomy 25:3), the Jews therefore gave only 39; the convict received the stripes from a three-thonged whip, stripped to the waist, in a bent position, tied to a pillar; if the executioner exceeded the number he was punished, a minute accuracy observed in 2 Corinthians 11:24.

The Abyssinians use the same number (Wolff, Travels, 2:276). Heaps of stones were flung upon the graves of executed criminals (Joshua 15:25-26; 2 Samuel 18:17); to this day stones are flung on Absalom's supposed tomb. Outside the city gates (Jeremiah 22:19; Hebrews 13:12). Punishment in kind (lex talionis ) was a common principle (Exodus 21:24-25). Also compensation, restitution of the thing or its equivalent (Exodus 21:18-36). Slander of a wife's honour was punished by fine and stripes (Deuteronomy 22:18-19).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Punishments'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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Wednesday, January 29th, 2020
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