Why did they stone in the OT?


Why did people stone in the Old Testament, since all scripture is inspired by god, why would god want us to stone another for committing a grave act, even if it was a grave matter, why do so? They always deserve a chance to repent. Need an experianced answerer to answer this question for me.


Do we really have the right to scrutinize the judgments of God? When the Torah was given to Moses by God, man was still in a state on infancy relative to heeding a Divine Law. Never before in history had God taken a people under his wing and given them moral instructions that they must follow. Stoning was for grave offenses, and is it not better to save a man’s soul than to let him continue in his immorality to the perdition of his immortal soul?


wait i am sorry can you repeat that…


Good question.


Perhaps firmness needed to be emphasized more at that time. For at that time, even in Christ’s own words, men’s hearts were hardened, and perhaps what they needed was strict discipline. Once a person or a people has experience strict justice, only then perhaps can they fully begin to fathom what Mercy means. Christ came not to free man from the Law by relaxing it, but he did bring Mercy. Strictly speaking, the woman caught in adultery could have been stoned according to Mosaic Law, but Our Lord had the right to dole out Mercy and it was his right alone to give it or withhold it for He was and Is the the Divine Law Giver.


Hello there,

What I’d first like to do is to second what “JamalChristophr” brought up. As human beings, limited in our understanding of all things (including morality), we really have no right to be questioning the Creator both of the universe, and of morality as to what is good, and what isn’t. However, I suspect that you would like to see this question addressed through what is perhaps a more Western, or modernist lens. I will thus attempt to do that.

To begin with, we must recognize that God’s morals are absolute, and unchanging, and we must acknowledge that the crimes for which these punishments are prescribed remain immoral to this day. However, to a modern person, it would appear to be the case that the punishment does not fit the crime. I would say two things to this; firstly, one of the overarching theological themes of the Old Testament is the necessity of absolute obedience to God’s commandments, an obedience whose absence often leaves the ancient Israelites in hot water. What I believe God was seeking to accomplish in “laying down the law” in the Old Testament was to establish a base upon which further goals could be established with respect to the salvation of all of mankind. What we see in the Old Testament is that God first presented us with a very strict, and very righteous framework under which we could live, which failed due to our sinful nature. Secondly, the other point that I’d raise is the fact that violations of the Law at the time when Mosaic Law was first authored (assuming a traditional view of authorship, which I’ll not get into here) were more… immediate, one could perhaps say. What I’m struggling to describe with one word is the idea that God was more evident, and more immediate to people at that time, and that as such, transgressions against the Law were more evidently blasphemous, and egregious when viewed in the social context of the time. When Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, God literally handed them to him. God had led the Israelites through the desert to Israel. Many Israelis had witnessed the Lord at a deeply personal level, and knew for a fact that He existed. In my opinion, this means that for someone to have broken God’s commandments, especially in the context under which the Law was given, would have been incomprehensibly blasphemous, and thus more deserving of punishment.

To contrast with this, the new Covenant (open to both Jews, and Gentiles alike) has the appearance of being more lenient on law breakers. The lens of the immediacy through which we view the law breaking in the Old Testament is the lens through which I also view the reasoning behind the more relaxed law given in the New Testament. Christians are freed from many of the more difficult aspects of Jewish Law (both in terms of the punishment, and the crime) for two main reasons; 1) We are all redeemed by way of the grace of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ; and 2) The Gentiles had never known the Israeli God, and thus could not be expected to follow the Law as fervently as the Jewish population, especially given the influence of very Orthodox groups (such as the Pharisees) that was present at the time of Jesus.

I’d like to conclude with a few things. First of all, even if you don’t agree with my reasoning in terms of punishments, know one thing. The God of the Old Testament is the same God that we find in the New Testament; more than anything, he desires to love us, for we are his Creation. This is made evident when God first tells us to love our neighbour as we’d love ourselves, a first appearance which happens not in the New Testament, but in Leviticus 19:18. In line with this, available Rabbinical commentaries tell us that capital punishment was not in fact a common occurrence in Jewish culture, despite the bloodlust seemingly present in the pentateuch. Rabbi Akiva, who was a prominent Rabbi around the turn of the millenium, tells us that a court was considered to be deadly if it had one capital punishment case every seventy years. So once again, God’s grace always took primary consideration, and the death penalty was not a choice that was taken lightly. I hope that this wasn’t too much of a slog for you, and that I answered some of your questions. Have a blessed day!


As I read your apologetic, all I can hear is a young girl screaming and crying in terrible agony as a crowd of men gather around her and pummel her with rocks. Hear sickening crack of her bones. See her soft skin split with each blow. Watch her face deform as her skull and jaw shatter underneath it. Blood streaming from her head mingles with her tears and pools on the ground. Finally she collapses, barely able to comprehend anything but the pain, and slowly dies. And all this for having sex outside of marriage.

Is this something you want to defend? Is this done out of love?

This punishment fits nothing. It is barbaric. Whether it happened once or a thousand times, it’s disgusting.


Essentially the OT was a forerunner to the new. When Leviticus called for death in regards to sin, it was a forerunner to mortal sin.


Ah, I see. And that’s why they had to bash a young girl’s head in with rocks.


It’s still going on today in some countries. And it’s legal.
It was a form of capital punishment. We still have capital punishment today. I know that the pope spoke out negatively about it recently, but i have seen many on this forum support it.

Stoning has been around longer than OT times. There is record of it happening in Ancient Greece.
Why did people do it in general? As a way of preventing crimes and punishing for crimes.
Why did they do it in the bible? Because this is what the writers knew.

But there are a lot worse, more unfair, more violent crimes against very innocent people and children in the OT than stoning–for sure. And many were indeed God-ordered.

Well, the “grave offenses” are debatable.
If you cursed God, you were stoned. (Lev. 24:10–16). That seems harsh.
If you were a “witch” you were stoned. (Lev. 20:27) How would they show someone was a witch?
Not good. I would certainly scrutinize these ones, and others.



It was, actually, rather difficult to get yourself executed - rather like now where some countries have the death penalty available but it’s rarely applied.

It’s all in what is known as ‘Oral Torah’ (the traditions, commentaries, ‘case law’ etc that you find in the Mishnah and Talmud). For example: two witnesses were required and would have had to warn the offender/offenders prior to the ‘crime’ and the offender would have had to acknowledge that he/she had been warned; circumstantial evidence was not accepted; confessions were not accepted . . . quite what the situation had been in earlier times is difficult to judge but tradition tends to indicate that the death penalty had been more theoretical than practical.

In those times, after all, recompense would have been far more important than killing the individual who would have had to have done the recompensing.


Prior to Christ’s arrival, the only real way to pay for mortal sin was death.

During the Times of the Old Testament, once you fell into mortal sin, you became an enemy of God. In order to preserve the holiness of your people, whom you might drag down with you, you will die.

There were notable exceptions, however. One being King David, who was allowed to live in exchange for the life of his son who was born out of adultery.

Moses murdered an Egyptian, but the context in-which he murdered him made the murder a godly act.

Ever since Christ came down to Earth and installed the church and its systems, one of these systems being confession, the likelihood that we may be forgiven of serious sins without having to undergo grave punishments is increased. Purgatory, however may open its mouth even for those who are already forgiven, but still not entirely pardoned, emphasizing how bad it is to be an enemy of, or a former enemy of God. :hmmm:

Those posters probably don’t support stoning in general. Rather, they may be defending God’s individual actions.


When I was younger, I was always getting stoned to death. Death=death. How many times do I have to die?

LOVE! :heart:


I stopped focusing on the ‘inhumanity of God’ in the OT a while back (it kept me stuck) and chose to approach it from a different angle. Started a study on whether there was significance between rocks, stones, pebbles, crags … but got diverted.

Stones have major significance in the Bible. Stoning, altars, stone markers… Dreams while using a stone for a pillow:

**Gen. 28:18 **- So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz.…

And Jesus saying:

Matt. 3:9 - And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.

Luke 19:39-40:- 39 Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!” 40 “I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

Somehow, stones are Living (at least in the Bible). I’ve never said this out loud before (it sounds a bit strange), but I wonder if there isn’t some kind of ‘atonement’/purging’ when a person is, specifically, Stoned to death?

We don’t know exactly how Cain killed Abel, but could it have been by a “Living Stone”? And, perhaps, it was innocent blood on the Stone that caused:

**Gen.4:10-11 **- 10 And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground. 11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;

Anyway, just thoughts along the Way,



Well now you see the difference in interpretation. You also see how hard the hearts of God’s people in the OT were. Look at how they handled the Early Christians. Stoning. Why? because they stumbled at the cornerstone, Jesus Christ. Without Christ and the revelation He brought the OT is a cruel, vicious book. It is also very hard to understand why the laws where in place and worded the way they are without this cornerstone. Jesus fulfills the punishments in Leviticus through His passion and death. But that just shows how much damage sin had wrought on the world and the hearts of those whom sought to follow Him. It took the Word coming in the flesh to forge an everlasting Covenant in Jesus.


I’m sorry, but I’ve read this about 5 times now and absolutely nothing you wrote here makes any sense to me at all.


Because it avoided the shedding of blood.

I think you will find, if you study Scripture correctly, that God’s forgiveness has been greatly exaggerated.



People were not stoned in the OT for sex outside of marriage, that’s a misinterpretation. They were, however, executed for adultery. If one had pre-marital sex in OT times the individuals were simply considered married:

“16 “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall [q]pay money equal to the dowry for virgins.” Ex. 22:16-17 (NASB)

A final word on the theology of your reply: it would probably behoove you to study how Scripture paints the enemies of God (those that disobey God’s commands). You might be surprised to learn what and who they really are. They’re not quite as innocent as you’ve made them out to be.


Oh, well in that case, I guess it’s fine.

Who were those young women? What made them so bad that they deserved to have their brains dashed out.


Ok I’ll explain a little more in depth. The OT (Old Testament) was a forerunner to the NT. It all basically pointed the finger at Christ. The Messiah. Now the laws you are having trouble dealing with are found in the Torah. Most are in the book of Leviticus. This was a book given to the Jews to show the severity of sins (such as adultery) and show what the just appropriate punishment is. So when it says ‘‘any man lying with a married woman is an adulterer and shall be put to death’’ It is showing 1) lying with a married person is wrong and adultery. 2) the punishment for such a crime is death. Now Moses delivered this law to the Israelites. They read it and interpreted it as a physical death. But in the light of the New Testament we can clearly see that it was talking about spiritual death; the same death God told Adam and Eve about. ‘‘in that day (that you eat of the fruit) you shall surely die’’. Making any sense?

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