(My apologies to those of you who might have received this twice. Inadvertently, I posted it on Hold the Faith blog. But this is where it belongs. Susan.)
This ‘mini-series’ is inspired by ‘the woman caught in adultery’, John 8: 3 and to be honest the idea came from a message I listened to on 119 Ministries entitled ‘Should we Stone our Children’. Some points mentioned set me on a quest… not to see if I should stone my children, but on the issue of stoning, and more particularly John 8: 3
First of all –
Stoning was capital punishment in those days.
They didn’t have electric chairs, lethal injections, hangings or even guns. Apparently there were a lot of stones.
So, like all capital punishment, before lawyers, it was a deterrent. A deterrent to a nation that had so far forgotten its blessing as the chosen of God, that it needed to be reminded of the way to live… and if they lived like the pagans did, what the consequences were to be.
This is much like the way responsible parents train their children. For example, to our little children… “If you go near that fire you will be burned – don’t do it.”
Or, “Don’t run into the street…”
Parental rules are for children’s protection.
Is it not feasible that God gave His rules for the same reason?
He also wanted His children to live as He lived, to be part of His family.
Now before I wander off the subject onto rules… let me steer myself back on course… Stoning… so we can understand the situation with Jesus and the woman caught in adultery more clearly.
In Lev 24: 13 – 16 there is an overview of some of the instructions for stoning (capital punishment).
But that is not all there is to it. There are some very clearly defined instructions to protect the accused person.
The rules governing capital punishment were clear and strict… strict in the protection of the accused!
“One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the moth of two or three witnesses shall the matter be established.” Deuteronomy 19:15
I could leave it here, because it is plain enough… but going on the principles of witnesses required, I shall add a couple more.
“… but one witness is not sufficient testimony for the death penalty.” Numbers 35: 30b
Deuteronomy 17: 6 Whoever is worth of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses, but he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness.
So that is the matter of the witnesses… but there is more. The clearly laid out judicial system of the times. We will look at that next time.
Tread softly, you may be treading on someone’s dreams.