Knowledge vs Relationship

How important is it to understand the ANE, the location of the Temple, the Roman cast system, honor and shame, client-patron relationship, and several other topics when we study our Bibles?  These are very interesting topics, and they are important for a deeper understanding of the biblical text.  If we fail to understand the culture […]

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The Truth About Stoning


(This transcript is provided for reference only.  It will likely contain grammar and spelling mistakes.)

Hey what’s up guys?

You know Stoning is a pretty misunderstood topic.

Most people probably assume as soon as someone did something wrong people would bend down and grab the closest rock and go to town on the person until they were dead.

But that couldn’t be farther from the truth though.

The truth is, there were rules that were followed in regards to hearing cases, passing judgment, and carrying out penalties including stoning someone to death.

We’ll get into all that later, but first I want to touch on some of the verses that show that stoning a person to death was something commanded by YHWH and not just a barbaric practice.

Let’s look at Exodus 19:12-13



Now let’s jump to Leviticus 20:2



And finally, Leviticus 24:14-16



In each one of these verses we just read, YHWH is the one commanding death by stoning.

It was YHWH who created capital punishment, not man.



As far as stoning goes, there were only certain crimes or sins that warranted stoning someone to death.

Here is a list of all the sins that were punishable by death.







If a person was found guilty of any of these sins they were to be put to death and stoning was the method most often used.

Like I said earlier though, a person could not just pick up rocks and start throwing them at someone!

There was a court system in place and rules that had to be followed



So on top of these three things,

the witnesses who testified against a person were required to cast the first stones,

if the guilty person was still alive after that,

then and only then could the other people at the city gate pick up stones and throw them at the guilty person.

We see this in Deuteronomy 17:7



There were even rules concerning bearing false witness in a case.


Slide 11

After looking at all this information, we can start to paint a more accurate picture about what stoning was really like in the Ancient Near East.

Here is one last piece of information though.



Now we should be able to see that stoning was not a case of random people picking up rocks and killing someone when they did something wrong.

There were rules in place that had to be followed.

There had to be no less than two witnesses.

There had to be a trial held for the witnesses to be heard.

No partiality was to be shown to the accused or accuser, whether they were a native born or a foreigner living in the land.

If you gave false testimony you were given the same punishment as the falsely accused, which would have been death.

If someone was found guilty then and only then could the two witnesses cast the first stones. After that other people would cast stones until the guilty person was dead.

So, we can see that the idea that many people have about stoning is just not correct.

That’s why many people like to ask if we stone our kids when they learn we follow Torah.

The answer is NO!

We’re not under a biblical form of government so we can’t just go out in the back yard and stone our kids.  If we did we would actually be breaking Torah.

And that’s the same situation Y’shua was in in the story of the adulterous woman.

Some people believe this story is an example of Y’shua showing that he came to bring grace and love and that the old law no longer applies.

Let’s read this story and then we’ll break it apart to see exactly what is really going on.





Unless we understand the Torah and the instructions concerning adultery and stoning, it does seem like Y’shua is replacing the Torah with a more loving way.  There is a major clue in this story, though, that lets us know that things are not exactly the way they appear.

Verse 6 says



They were trying to trap him…so what exactly does that mean?

In order to have the full picture, we have to go back to the Torah to see exactly what the instructions were for stoning someone for committing adultery.



So we can see that BOTH the man and woman have to be put to death.

And based on everything we’ve covered already about trials, witnesses, and the process that had to take place before someone could be stoned…

Hopefully, things should be more clear now.

Now we can start to see exactly how they were trying to trap Y’shua.

Where was the man at?

Where were the two witnesses?

Why was this not taken to the judges to be heard?

If Yeshua had cast that first stone, or even if he had given them the OK to stone her, then he would have been violating Torah.

That’s how they were trying to trap him.

But, He didn’t fall for it.

Instead, he did like he always did when people tried to trap him…he turned things around on them by saying…



After he said that, one by one they all left.

By not stoning the woman, he was actually upholding the Torah, not going against it!

Think about this…

If Yeshua broke Torah then that disqualifies him from being the spotless lamb and his death means nothing.


We hope this teaching has been a blessing and remember…


The Ancient Near East “101”

Most people have probably never heard the phrase “Ancient Near East” and if they have it was almost certainly not in the context of reading our Bibles.  What is the Ancient Near East (ANE)?  The ANE is comprised of the modern nations of Egypt, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Lebanon, the Gulf States and Turkey. 1  […]

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