Is capital punishment good or bad?
Did you know the term death penalty is actually from Scripture?
Num 35:30 “Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty.”
Murder isn’t the only thing on this list though. I went and searched capital offenses in Scripture, basically what things God commands people to be put to death for doing. This is not an all inclusive list, but here are twenty things that were/are considered capital offenses in Scripture.
List of Capital Offenses:
Kidnapping/Abduction (Ex 21:16, Deu 24:7)
Assault on Parents (Exo 21:15)
Deadly Assault (Exo 21:12, Num 35:16-18, Num 35:21)
Trespassing on Holy Ground (Exo 19:12, Num 1:51)
Cursing Parents (Eso 21:17, Lev 20:9)
A Rebellious and Unrepentant Son (Deu 21:18-21)
Keeping an Animal that Kills People (Exo 21:29)
Having Sex with an Animal (Exo 22:19, Lev 20:15-16)
Profaning the Sabbath (Exo 31:14, Exo 35:2, Num 15:32-36)
Giving a Descendent to Molech (Lev 20:2)
Adultery (Lev 20:10, Deu 22:22, Deu 22:23)
Rape (Deu 22:25)
Insest (Lev 20:11, Lev 20:12)
Homosexuality (Lev 20:13)
Being a Harlot (Deu 22:13-21)
Being a Spiritist, Medium, or Witch (Lev 20:27)
Blaspheming the LORD (Lev 24:16)
Murder (Lev 24:17, Num 35:30)
False Prophet (Deu 13:5, Deu 18:20)
Enticing Others to Worship other Gods (Deu 13:6-10, Deu 17:2-5)
There is a capital offense not on this list, one we have all committed. Which one? Look up Romans 6:23 to find out.
Challenge: Why do you think God would command for those who have committed these acts to be put to death? Did anything in this list surprise you? How does God being a loving God line up with this list and with putting people to death? Why is understanding the death penalty and God’s role in it significant to each of us today?