The Bible

Bible Usage:


  • Included in Eastons: Yes
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: Yes
  • Included in Smiths: No
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

Easton's Bible Dictionary

The New Testament lays down the general principles of good government, but contains no code of laws for the punishment of offenders. Punishment proceeds on the principle that there is an eternal distinction between right and wrong, and that this distinction must be maintained for its own sake. It is not primarily intended for the reformation of criminals, nor for the purpose of deterring others from sin. These results may be gained, but crime in itself demands punishment. (See MURDER; THEFT.)

Endless, of the impenitent and unbelieving. The rejection of this doctrine "cuts the ground from under the gospel...blots out the attribute of retributive justice; transmutes sin into misfortune instead of guilt; turns all suffering into chastisement; converts the piacular work of Christ into moral influence...The attempt to retain the evangelical theology in connection with it is futile" (Shedd).

Naves Topical Index

Death penalty:

Shall not be remitted
Numbers 35:31

In the Mosaic law the death penalty was inflicted for:

Genesis 9:5-6; Numbers 35:16-21; Numbers 35:30-33; Deuteronomy 17:6

Leviticus 20:10; Deuteronomy 22:24

Leviticus 20:11-12; Leviticus 20:14

Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 20:15-16

Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13

Deuteronomy 22:21-24

Rape of a betrothed virgin
Deuteronomy 22:25

Zech 5:4

Exodus 21:16; Deuteronomy 24:7

Upon a priest's daughter, who committed fornication
Leviticus 21:9

Exodus 22:18

Offering human sacrifice
Leviticus 20:2-5

Striking or cursing father or mother
Exodus 21:15; Exodus 21:17; Leviticus 20:9

Disobedience to parents
Deuteronomy 21:18-21

Zech 5:3-4

Leviticus 24:11-14; Leviticus 24:16; Leviticus 24:23

Sabbath desecration
Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36

Prophesying falsely, or propagating false doctrines
Deuteronomy 13:1-10

Sacrificing to false gods
Exodus 22:20

Refusing to abide by the decision of court
Deuteronomy 17:12

1 Kings 2:25; Esther 2:23

Acts 5:36-37

Modes of execution of death penalty:

Genesis 38:24; Leviticus 20:14; Leviticus 21:9; Jeremiah 29:22; Ezekiel 23:25; Daniel 3:19-23

Leviticus 20:2; Leviticus 20:27; Leviticus 24:14; Numbers 14:10; Numbers 15:33-36; Deuteronomy 13:10; Deuteronomy 17:5; Deuteronomy 22:21; Deuteronomy 22:24; Joshua 7:25; 1 Kings 21:10; Ezekiel 16:40

Genesis 40:22; Deuteronomy 21:22-23; Joshua 8:29

Matthew 14:10; Mark 6:16; Mark 6:27-28

Matthew 27:35; Matthew 27:38; Mark 15:24; Mark 15:27; Luke 23:33

The sword
Exodus 32:27-28; 1 Kings 2:25; 1 Kings 2:34; 1 Kings 2:46; Acts 12:2

Executed by the witnesses
Deuteronomy 13:9; Deuteronomy 17:7; Acts 7:58

Executed by the congregation
Numbers 15:35-36; Deuteronomy 13:9

Not inflicted on testimony of less than two witnesses
Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; Deuteronomy 19:15

Minor offenses, punishable by:

Leviticus 19:20; Deuteronomy 22:18; Deuteronomy 25:2-3; Proverbs 17:10; Proverbs 19:29; Proverbs 20:30; Matthew 27:26; Mark 15:15; Luke 23:16; John 19:1; Acts 22:24; Acts 22:29

Genesis 39:20; Genesis 1:40

Confinement within limits
1 Kings 2:26; 1 Kings 2:36-38


On children
Exodus 34:7; Jeremiah 31:29; Lamentations 5:7; Ezekiel 18:2-3
Affliction, Design of; Chastisement; Fine; Judgments; Retaliation; Wicked, Punishment of

According to deeds:

General references
Job 34:11; Psalms 62:12; Proverbs 12:14; Proverbs 24:12; Isaiah 59:18; Jeremiah 17:10; Ezekiel 7:3; Ezekiel 7:27; Ezekiel 16:59; Ezekiel 39:24; Zech 1:6; Matthew 5:22; Matthew 16:27; Matthew 23:14; Luke 20:47; Luke 12:47-48

Of the vineyard
Isaiah 5:1-7

Of the husbandman
Matthew 21:33-41

Of the talents
Matthew 25:14-30
Judgment, Judgment According to Opportunity and Works

Delayed punishment
Psalms 50:21; Psalms 55:19; Proverbs 1:24-31; Ecclesiastes 8:11-13; Habakkuk 1:2-4

Design of:

To secure obedience
Genesis 2:17; Exodus 20:3-5; Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 13:10-11; Deuteronomy 21:21; Deuteronomy 17:13; Deuteronomy 19:20; Proverbs 19:25; Proverbs 21:11; Proverbs 26:3
Judgments, Design of

Divine punishment, no escape from
Job 11:20; Proverbs 1:24-31; Proverbs 11:21; Proverbs 16:5; Proverbs 29:1; Jeremiah 11:11; Jeremiah 15:1; Jeremiah 25:28-29; Amos 2:14-16; Zephaniah 1:18; Ezekiel 7:19; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 23:33; Romans 2:3; Colossians 3:25; Hebrews 2:3; Hebrews 12:25


General references
Isaiah 34:8-10; Daniel 12:2; Matthew 3:12; Matthew 10:28; Matthew 18:8; Matthew 25:41; Matthew 25:46; Mark 3:29; Luke 3:17; John 5:29; Hebrews 6:2; Hebrews 10:28-31; Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 19:3; Revelation 20:10
Wicked, Punishment of

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

PUN'ISHMENT, noun Any pain or suffering inflicted on a person for a crime or offense, by the authority to which the offender is subject, either by the constitution of God or of civil society. The punishment of the faults and offenses of children by the parent, is by virtue of the right of government with which the parent is invested by God himself. This species of punishment is chastisement or correction. The punishment of crimes against the laws is inflicted by the supreme power of the state in virtue of the right of government, vested in the prince or legislature. The right of punishment belongs only to persons clothed with authority. Pain, loss or evil willfully inflicted on another for his crimes or offenses by a private unauthorized person, is revenge rather than punishment

Some punishments consist in exile or transportation, others in loss of liberty by imprisonment; some extend to confiscation by forfeiture of lands and goods, others induce a disability of holding offices, of being heirs and the like.

Divine punishments are doubtless designed to secure obedience to divine laws, and uphold the moral order of created intelligent beings.

The rewards and punishments of another life, which the almighty has established as the enforcements of his law, are of weight enough to determine the choice against whatever pleasure or pain this life can show.

Smith's Bible Dictionary

The earliest theory of punishment current among mankind is doubtless the one of simple retaliation, "blood for blood." Viewed historically, the first case of punishment for crime mentioned in Scripture, next to the Fall itself, is that of Cain, the first murderer. That death was regarded as the fitting punishment for murder appears plain from the remark of Lamech. (Genesis 4:24) In the post-diluvian code, if we may so call it, retribution by the hand of man, even in the case of an offending animal, for blood shed, is clearly laid dawn. (Genesis 9:5,6) Passing onward to Mosaic times, we find the sentence of capital punishment, in the case of murder, plainly laid down in the law. The murderer was to be put to death, even if he should have taken refuge at God's altar or in a refuge city, and the same principle was to be carried out even in the case of an animal. Offences punished with death.

I. The following offences also are mentioned in the law as liable to the punishment of death-

  1. Striking, or even reviling, a parent. (Exodus 21:15,17)
  2. Blasphemy. (Leviticus 24:14,16,23)
  3. Sabbath-breaking. (Exodus 31:14; 35:2; Numbers 15:32-36)
  4. Witchcraft, and false pretension to prophecy. (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; 13:5; 18:20)
  5. Adultery. (Leviticus 20:10; 22:22)
  6. Unchastity. (Leviticus 21:9; 22:21,23)
  7. Rape. (22:25)
  8. Incestuous and unnatural connections. (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 20:11,14,16)
  9. Manstealing. (Exodus 21:16; 24:7)
  10. Idolatry, actual or virtual, in any shape. (Leviticus 20:2; 13:8,10,15; 17:2-7) see Josh 7:1 ... and Josh 22:20 and Numbers 25:8
  11. False witness in certain cases. (19:16,19) II. But there is a large number of offences, some of them included in this list, which are named in the law as involving the,penalty of "cutting off from the people. On the meaning of this expression some controversy has arisen. There are altogether thirty six or thirty seven cases in the Pentateuch in which this formula is used. We may perhaps conclude that the primary meaning of "cutting off" is a sentence of death to be executed in some cases without remission, but in others voidable

    (1) by immediate atonement on the offender's part; (2) by direct interposition of the Almighty i.e., a sentence of death always "regarded," but not always executed. Kinds of punishments .

    Punishments are twofold, Capital and Secondary. I. Capital. (A) The following only are prescribed by the law-

  12. Stoning , which was the ordinary mode of execution. (Exodus 17:4; Luke 20:6; John 10:31; Acts 14:5) In the case of idolatry, and it may be presumed in other cases also, the witnesses, of whom there were to be at least two, were required to cast the first stone. (13:9; Acts 7:58)
  13. Hanging is mentioned as a distinct punishment. (Numbers 25:4; 2 Samuel 21:6,9)
  14. Burning , in pre-Mosaic times, was the punishment for unchastity. (Genesis 38:24) Under the law it was ordered in the case of a priest's daughter (Leviticus 21:9)
  15. Death by the sword or spear is named in the law, (Exodus 19:13; 32:27; Numbers 25:7) and it occurs frequently in regal and post-Babylonian times. (1 Kings 2:25,34; 19:1; 2 Chronicles 21:4) etc.
  16. Strangling is said by the rabbis to have been regarded as the most common but least severe of the capital punishments, and to have been performed by immersing the convict in clay or mud, and then strangling him by a cloth twisted round the neck. (B) Besides these ordinary capital punishments, we read of others, either of foreign introduction or of an irregular kind. Among the former
  17. CRUCIFIXION is treated elsewhere.
  18. Drowning , though not ordered under the law, was practiced at Rome, and is said by St. Jerome to have been in use among the Jews.
  19. Sawing asunder or crushing beneath iron instruments. (2 Samuel 12:31) and perhaps (Proverbs 20:26; Hebrews 11:37)
  20. Pounding in a mortar , or beating to death, is alluded to in (Proverbs 27:22) but not as a legal punishment, and cases are described. 2 Macc. 6.28,30.
  21. Precipitation, attempted in the case of our Lord at Nazareth, and carried out in that of captives from the Edomites, and of St. James, who is said to have been cast from "the pinnacle" of the temple. Criminals executed by law were burned outside the city gates, and heaps of stones were flung upon their graves. (Joshua 7:25,26; 2 Samuel 18:17; Jeremiah 22:19) II. Of secondary punishments among the Jews, the original Principles were,
  22. Retaliation , "eye for eye," etc. (Exodus 21:24,25)
  23. Compensation , Identical (restitution)or analogous payment for loss of time or of power. (Exodus 21:18-36; Leviticus 24:18-21; 19:21) Slander against a wife's honor was to be compensated to her parents by a fine of one hundred shekels, and the traducer himself to be punished with stripes (22:18,19)
  24. Stripes , whose number was not to exceed forty, (25:3) whence the Jews took care not to exceed thirty-nine. (2 Corinthians 11:24)
  25. Scourging with thorns is mentioned (Judges 8:16) The stocks are mentioned (Jeremiah 20:2) passing through fire , (2 Samuel 12:31) mutilation , (Judges 1:6) 2 Macc. 7.4, and see (2 Samuel 4:12) plucking out hair , (Isaiah 50:6) in later times, imprisonment and confiscation or exile. (Ezra 7:26; Jeremiah 37:15; 38:6; Acts 4:3; 5:18; 12:4)