Punishment

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The law required that capital punishment should be inflicted for reviling a parent, blasphemy, sabbath-breaking, witchcraft, adultery, man-stealing, idolatry, murder, etc. Capital punishment was by stoning (Deut. 13:1010And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. (Deuteronomy 13:10)); burning (Lev. 20:1414And if a man take a wife and her mother, it is wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you. (Leviticus 20:14)); the sword (Ex. 32:2727And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor. (Exodus 32:27)); and hanging (Deut. 21:22-2322And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree: 23His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 21:22‑23)). It appears that those who sinned at Baal-peor were first slain, and then hanged or impaled (Num. 25:4-54And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel. 5And Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye every one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor. (Numbers 25:4‑5)); the word is yaqa, and for hanging is used only here and in 2 Samuel 21:6,9,136Let seven men of his sons be delivered unto us, and we will hang them up unto the Lord in Gibeah of Saul, whom the Lord did choose. And the king said, I will give them. (2 Samuel 21:6)
9And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. (2 Samuel 21:9)
13And he brought up from thence the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of them that were hanged. (2 Samuel 21:13)
, when the seven descendants of Saul were “hung up to the Lord,” which may also signify being impaled. There is no record in scripture of crucifixion being practiced among the Jews. Capital punishment was at times carried out in ways not mentioned in the law: sawing asunder and cutting with harrows and axes (2 Sam. 12:3131And he brought forth the people that were therein, and put them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and made them pass through the brickkiln: and thus did he unto all the cities of the children of Ammon. So David and all the people returned unto Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 12:31); Heb. 11:3737They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Hebrews 11:37)); precipitation (2 Chron. 25:1212And other ten thousand left alive did the children of Judah carry away captive, and brought them unto the top of the rock, and cast them down from the top of the rock, that they all were broken in pieces. (2 Chronicles 25:12); Luke 4:2929And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. (Luke 4:29)).
For minor offenses there was flogging, which was restricted to forty stripes (Deut. 25:33Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed: lest, if he should exceed, and beat him above these with many stripes, then thy brother should seem vile unto thee. (Deuteronomy 25:3)). A whip with three thongs accounts for the “forty stripes less one” (2 Cor. 11:2424Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. (2 Corinthians 11:24)). Also placing in the stocks (Jer. 20:2-32Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of the Lord. 3And it came to pass on the morrow, that Pashur brought forth Jeremiah out of the stocks. Then said Jeremiah unto him, The Lord hath not called thy name Pashur, but Magor-missabib. (Jeremiah 20:2‑3)). In other cases the punishment was according to the offense: “eye for eye, tooth for tooth” (Exod. 21:24-2524Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25Burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe. (Exodus 21:24‑25)). Imprisonment for definite periods was not customary as a punishment, though persons were imprisoned (Gen. 39:2020And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound: and he was there in the prison. (Genesis 39:20); 2 Kings 25:2727And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evil-merodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison; (2 Kings 25:27); Jer. 37:4, 184Now Jeremiah came in and went out among the people: for they had not put him into prison. (Jeremiah 37:4)
18Moreover Jeremiah said unto king Zedekiah, What have I offended against thee, or against thy servants, or against this people, that ye have put me in prison? (Jeremiah 37:18)
). Punishment was needed in the government of the nation of Israel, as it is in any nation now. God’s four direct punishments were “the sword, the famine, the noisome beast, and the pestilence” (Ezek. 14:2121For thus saith the Lord God; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast? (Ezekiel 14:21)).
The Lord, referring to the law of an individual demanding an eye for an eye, enjoined forgiveness of personal wrongs; but this in no way interferes with civil government. Christians are exhorted to obey the ordained powers, pay tribute, etc.