|Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia|
pun'-ish-ments ('awon, "fault," "iniquity," "punishment for iniquity," "sin" (Genesis 4:13 Leviticus 26:41 Job 19:29 Psalm 149:7 Lamentations 4:22 Ezekiel 14:10 margin; Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; Amos 2:1, 4, 6), `onesh, "tribute," "fine," "punishment" (Lamentations 3:39), chaTa'ah, or chaTTa'th, "sin" and its retribution, "penalty," "expiation" (Zechariah 14:19); kolasis, "punishment," "torment" (Matthew 25:46), epitimia, "poll tax," hence, "penalty" (2 Corinthians 2:6), timoria, "vindication," hence, "penalty" (Hebrews 10:29), ekdikesis, "vindication," "retribution" (1 Peter 2:14 the King James Version)): A court could inflict for a crime against the person, a sentence of
(1) death in the form of stoning, burning, beheading, or strangling, etc.;
(2) exile to one of the cities of refuge in case of manslaughter (Numbers 35); or
(3) stripes, not to exceed 40, in practice 39 or less (Deuteronomy 25:3 2 Corinthians 11:24).
Offences against property (theft, fraudulent conversion of deposit, embezzlement, robbery) were punished by exacting more than the value of the things taken (Luke 19:8), the excess going to the injured party, thus differing from a fine, which goes into the treasury of the community. The housebreaker was liable to be slain with impunity (Exodus 22:2). A fine in the modern sense is unknown in the Scriptures, unless Leviticus 5:6-19 be interpreted as referring to such.
1. History of the Hebrew Law concerning Punishment:
The earliest theory of punishment seems to have been that of retaliation-"blood for blood"-and to some extent this principle appears even in the Law of Moses (Leviticus 21:19, 20 Matthew 5:38). Early in the history of the race, punishment was administered for sin and crime. Adam and Eve were driven from the Garden, and Cain, the first murderer, though not executed in retaliation for his deed, had a mark set on him. The words of Lamech (Genesis 4:24) indicate that death was regarded as the fitting punishment for murder, and the same thought apparently was in the minds of the brethren of Joseph (Genesis 42:21). Judah, as head of his family, seems to have had power of life and death (Genesis 38:24), and Abimelech threatens his people with the extreme punishment in case they injure or insult Isaac or his wife (Genesis 26:11). Similar power is ascribed to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:13).
2. The Mosaic Law concerning Punishment:
Under the Law of Moses, the murderer was to be put to death without mercy. Even if he took refuge at the altar in a sanctuary or in an asylum city, he would not be immune from arrest and execution, and the same principle was applied in the case of an animal (Exodus 21:12, 14, 23, 28, 36 parallel). But punishment under the Mosaic Law was not to be entailed or transmitted (Deuteronomy 24:16), as was the case among the Chaldeans (Daniel 6:24) and the kings of Israel (1 Kings 21 2 Kings 9:26).
It has been noted that capital punishment is extensively prescribed by the Mosaic Law, and undoubtedly the Law was carried out. This circumstance has been explained by reference to the fact that the nation consisted of newly emancipated slaves, and therefore required harsh measures to keep them in check.
Under the Mosaic Law, the offenses that made one liable to the punishment of death were:
(1) striking or reviling a parent (Exodus 21:15, 17);
(2) blasphemy (Leviticus 24:14, 16, 23 1 Kings 21:10 Matthew 26:65, 66);
(3) Sabbath-breaking (Exodus 31:14; Exodus 35:2 Numbers 15:32-36);
(4) witchcraft and false pretension to prophecy (Exodus 22:18 Leviticus 20:27 Deuteronomy 13:5; Deuteronomy 18:20 1 Samuel 28:9);
(5) adultery (Leviticus 20:10 Deuteronomy 22:22);
(a) before marriage, but detected afterward (Deuteronomy 22:21),
(b) in case of a woman with someone other than her betrothed (Deuteronomy 22:23),
(c) in a priest's daughter (Leviticus 21:9);
(7) rape (Deuteronomy 22:25);
(8) incestuous and unnatural connections (Exodus 22:19 Leviticus 20:11, 14, 16);
(9) man-stealing (Exodus 21:16);
(10) idolatry, actual or virtual, in any form (Leviticus 20:2 Deuteronomy 13:6; Deuteronomy 17:2-7);
(11) false witness in capital cases (Deuteronomy 19:16, 19).
A large number of offenses come under the law of punishment by cutting off from the people, the meaning of which expression has led to some controversy. It may signify excommunication or death, and occurs in connection with the following offenses:
(1) breach of morals, such as willful sin in general (Numbers 15:30, 31); incestuous or unclean connections (Leviticus 18:29; 29:9-21);
(2) breach of covenant, brought about through uncircumcision (Genesis 17:14 Exodus 4:24), neglect of Passover (Numbers 9:13), Sabbath-breaking (Exodus 31:14), neglect of Atonement Day (Leviticus 23:29), work done on the Atonement Day (Leviticus 23:30), children offered to Molech (Leviticus 20:3), witchcraft (Leviticus 20:6), anointing an alien with holy oil (Exodus 30:33);
(3) breach of ritual, committed by eating leavened bread during Passover (Exodus 12:15, 19), eating fat of sacrifices (Leviticus 7:25), eating blood (Leviticus 7:27; Leviticus 17:14), eating sacrifices while unclean (Leviticus 7:20, 21; Leviticus 22:3, 4, 9), offering too late (Leviticus 19:8), making holy ointment for private use (Exodus 30:32, 33), making perfume for private use (Exodus 30:38), general neglect of purification (Numbers 19:13, 20), not bringing offering after slaying a beast for food (Leviticus 17:9), slaying the animal at a place other than the tabernacle door (Leviticus 17:4), touching holy things illegally (Numbers 4:15, 18, 20).
Of capital punishments that are properly regarded as of Hebrew origin, we note:
Stoning, which was the ordinary mode of execution (Exodus 19:13 Leviticus 20:27 Joshua 7:25 Luke 20:6 Acts 7:58; Acts 14:5). The witnesses, of whom there were at least two, were required to cast the first stone (Deuteronomy 13:9 John 8:7). If these failed to cause death, the bystanders proceeded to complete the sentence, whereupon the body was to be suspended until sunset (Deuteronomy 21:23).
Hanging is mentioned (Numbers 25:4 Deuteronomy 21:22), probably not as a mode of execution, but rather of exposure after death. It may have been a Canaanitish punishment, since it was practiced by the Gibeonites on the sons of Saul (2 Samuel 21:6, 9).
Burning, before the age of Moses, was the punishment of unchastity (Genesis 38:24). The Law prescribes it as a punishment in the case of a priest's daughter (Leviticus 21:9), and in case of incest (Leviticus 20:14), but it is also mentioned as following death by other means (Joshua 7:25), and some believe it was never used except after death. That it was sometimes used as a punishment on living persons among the heathen is shown by Daniel 3.
(4) The Sword or Spear
The sword or spear as an instrument of punishment is named in the Law (Exodus 19:13; Exodus 32:27 Numbers 25:7). It occurs frequently in monarchic and post-Bab times (Judges 9:5 1 Samuel 15:33 2 Samuel 20:22 1 Kings 19:1 Jeremiah 26:23 Matthew 14:8, 10), but among these cases, there are some of assassination rather than of punishment.
Strangling as a form of punishment has no Scripture authority, but according to tradition was frequently employed, and is said to have been performed by immersing the convict in clay or mud, and then strangling him by a cloth tied around the neck.
3. Punishments of Foreign Origin: Besides these, which are to be regarded as the ordinary capital punishments, we read of some that were either of foreign introduction or of an irregular kind, such as:
(1) crucifixion (which see);
(2) drowning (Matthew 18:6 parallel);
(3) sawing asunder or crushing (2 Samuel 12:31 Hebrews 11:37);
(4) torturing (1 Chronicles 20:3 Hebrews 11:35);
(5) precipitation (2 Chronicles 25:12 Luke 4:29);
(6) suffocation (2 Maccabees 13:4-8).
The Persians are said to have filled a high tower a great way up with ashes, and then to have thrown the criminal into it, and continually stirred up the ashes by means of a wheel till he was suffocated (Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchy, III, 246).
See also HEROD, II, 100.
Secondary forms of punishment not heretofore mentioned are to be noted as follows:
(1) Blinding or Putting Out of Eyes
Blinding or putting out of eyes in the case of captives (Judges 16:21 1 Samuel 11:2 2 Kings 25:7).
Chaining by means of manacles or fetters of copper or iron, similar to our handcuffs fastened on the wrists and ankles and attached to each other by a chain (Judges 16:21 2 Samuel 3:34 2 Kings 25:7); also alluded to in the life of Paul (Acts 28:20 Ephesians 6:20 2 Timothy 1:16); and in the case of Peter (Acts 12:6).
(3) Confiscation of Property
Confiscation of property that had fallen under the ban, i.e. had been singled out for destruction by the special decree of Yahweh, as in Numbers 21:2 Joshua 6:17; or had been reserved for the use of the army (Deuteronomy 2:35; Deuteronomy 20:14 Joshua 22:8); or given over to the priesthood (Joshua 6:19). The term may be extended to include all things vowed or sanctified and those irrevocably devoted or consecrated to God (Leviticus 27:21, 28). The idea is applied with special emphasis to those things which, because of their uncleanness, must not be used by the Israelites, though, through their warfare with the heathen, they might have come into possession of them (Deuteronomy 7:26 1 Samuel 15:16-23).
(4) Dashing in Pieces (Psalms 2:9; Isaiah 13:18).
(5) Divine Visitation.
(6) Exposure to Wild Beasts (Leviticus 26:22; 1 Samuel 17:46; Daniel 6).
(Rawlinson, Ancient Monarchy, I, 478; Nineveh and Babylon; mentioned figuratively in Micah 3:3).
(8) Forfeiture (Ezra 10:8).
Gallows in the modern sense probably were unknown to the ancients. Where the word occurs in Esther 5:14; Esther 6:4; Esther 7:9, 10; 9:13, 15, it probably refers to a beam or pole on which the body was impaled and then elevated to a height of 50 cubits as an object of warning to the people (see "Hanging").
Imprisonment is frequently referred to in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, indicating that this was a common mode of punishment among both the Israelites and other nations (Genesis 40:3; Genesis 42:17 Leviticus 24:12 Numbers 15:34 1 Kings 22:27 Jeremiah 37:15, 21 Luke 3:20 Acts 4:3, 10; Acts 23:10; and the Epistles of Paul).
In this term may be included all those outbursts of vengeance or other evil dispositions that were practiced in times or under circumstances when liberties with the prisoner were permitted on the part of bystanders or those who had charge beyond the execution of the judicial decree. Instances are found in the life of Christ (Matthew 26:59, 67 Luke 22:63 John 18:22); also in the life of Paul (Acts 23:2).
(12) Mutilation (Judges 1:6, 7; Ezekiel 23:25; 2 Maccabees 7).
The Law was opposed to thus treating any Israelite, and Samuel, when referring to the arbitrary power of the future king (1 Samuel 8:10), does not say that he would thus treat "their sons." It was a barbarous custom of the East (see EUNUCH; POLYGAMY), evidently regarded, among the Hebrews, as a heinous practice (Deuteronomy 23:1). The only act authorizing mutilation (except in retaliation) is mentioned in Deuteronomy 25:11.
(13) Plucking Off the Hair
Plucking off the hair is alluded to as a mode of punishment in Nehemiah 13:25 Isaiah 50:6.
(14) Prison Garments
Prison garments were in vogue to mark the convicts (Jeremiah 52:33).
Restitution has been alluded to in the general introduction to this topic.
Retaliation was recognized by Moses as a principle, but the application of it was left to the judge (Leviticus 24:19-22). A fine example of it is found in the law of Deuteronomy 19:19.
(17) Scorpions, Chastising with.
Probably the use of thongs armed with pointed pieces of lead or other metal (1 Kings 12:11 2 Chronicles 10:14).
Frank E. Hirsch
Punishments (31 Occurrences)
2 Timothy 3:11 My punishments and pain; the things which came to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; the cruel attacks made on me: and the Lord made me free from them all. (BBE)
Revelation 15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and strange; seven angels having the seven last punishments, for in them the wrath of God is complete. (BBE)
Revelation 15:6 And the seven angels who had the seven punishments came out from the house of God, clothed with linen, clean and bright and with bands of gold about their breasts. (BBE)
Revelation 15:8 And the house of God was full of smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, and no one was able to go into the house of God, till the seven punishments of the seven angels were ended. (BBE)
Revelation 16:9 And men were burned with great heat: and they said evil things against the name of the God who has authority over these punishments; and they were not turned from their evil ways to give him glory. (BBE)
Revelation 18:4 And another voice from heaven came to my ears, saying, Come out of her, my people, so that you may have no part in her sins and in her punishments. (BBE)
Revelation 21:9 And one of the seven angels who had the seven vessels in which were the seven last punishments, came and said to me, Come here, and see the bride, the Lamb's wife. (BBE)
Revelation 22:18 For I say to every man to whose ears have come the words of this prophet's book, If any man makes an addition to them, God will put on him the punishments which are in this book: (BBE)
Exodus 6:6 Say then to the children of Israel, I am Yahweh, and I will take you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians, and make you safe from their power, and will make you free by the strength of my arm after great punishments. (BBE)
Exodus 7:4 But Pharaoh will not give ear to you, and I will put my hand on Egypt, and take my armies, my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt, after great punishments. (BBE)
Exodus 9:14 For this time I will send all my punishments on yourself and on your servants and on your people; so that you may see that there is no other like me in all the earth. (BBE)
Leviticus 26:21 And if you still go against me and will not give ear to me, I will put seven times more punishments on you because of your sins. (BBE)
Deuteronomy 7:19 The great punishments which your eyes saw, and the signs and the wonders and the strong hand and the stretched-out arm, by which the Lord your God took you out: so will the Lord your God do to all the peoples who are the cause of your fears. (BBE)
Deuteronomy 28:59 Then the Lord your God will make your punishment, and the punishment of your seed, a thing to be wondered at; great punishments and cruel diseases stretching on through long years. (BBE)
Deuteronomy 29:22 And future generations, your children coming after you, and travellers from far countries, will say, when they see the punishments of that land and the diseases which the Lord has sent on it; (BBE)
Job 19:29 be afraid of the sword, for wrath brings the punishments of the sword, that you may know there is a judgment." (WEB KJV JPS ASV WBS YLT)
Psalms 88:16 The heat of your wrath has gone over me; I am broken by your cruel punishments. (BBE)
Psalms 149:7 To execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; (WEB KJV ASV WBS YLT)
Isaiah 26:9 In the night the desire of my soul has been for you; early will my spirit be searching for you; for when your punishments come on the earth, the people of the world will get the knowledge of righteousness. (BBE)
Isaiah 66:4 So I will go after trouble for them, and will send on them what they are fearing: because no one made answer to my voice, or gave ear to my word; but they did what was evil in my eyes, going after that in which I took no pleasure. (See NAS)
Jeremiah 15:3 For I will visit them with four kinds of punishments, saith Jehovah: the sword to slay, and dogs to tear, and the fowl of the heavens, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and to destroy. (DBY)
Jeremiah 49:17 And Edom will become a cause of wonder: everyone who goes by will be overcome with wonder, and make sounds of fear at all her punishments. (BBE)
Jeremiah 50:13 Because of the wrath of the Lord no one will be living in it, and it will be quite unpeopled: everyone who goes by Babylon will be overcome with wonder, and make sounds of fear at all her punishments. (BBE)
Ezekiel 14:21 For this is what the Lord has said: How much more when I send my four bitter punishments on Jerusalem, the sword and need of food and evil beasts and disease, cutting off from it man and beast? (BBE)
Ezekiel 16:41 And they will have you burned with fire, sending punishments on you before the eyes of great numbers of women; and I will put an end to your loose ways, and you will no longer give payment. (BBE)
Ezekiel 28:22 These are the words of the Lord: See, I am against you, O Zidon; and I will get glory for myself in you: and they will be certain that I am the Lord, when I send my punishments on her, and I will be seen to be holy in her. (BBE)
Ezekiel 28:26 And they will be safe there, building houses and planting vine-gardens and living without fear; when I have sent my punishments on all those who put shame on them round about them; and they will be certain that I am the Lord their God. (BBE)
Ezekiel 30:14 And I will make Pathros a waste, and put a fire in Zoan, and send my punishments on No. (BBE)
Ezekiel 30:19 And I will send my punishments on Egypt: and they will be certain that I am the Lord. (BBE)
Ezekiel 39:21 And I will put my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see my punishments which I have put into effect, and my hand which I have put on them. (BBE)
Zephaniah 3:7 I said, "Just fear me. Receive correction, so that her dwelling won't be cut off, according to all that I have appointed concerning her." But they rose early and corrupted all their doings. (See NIV)