Who Was Stoned in the Bible?
If you’re interested in the Bible’s history of stoning, you’re not alone. This horrific punishment lasted for centuries and was often used as a powerful deterrent to keep people from committing crimes. God cares about the purity of His people, so he made sure that the punishment for sin was stern. In Genesis 9:6, He mandated that murderers be stoned to death.
When Stephen was stoned, he was accused of speaking against the holy place of God. The Jerusalem temple was a holy place to the Hellenistic Jews, and Stephen had spoken out against its cult. He compared the ancient rituals of the Mosaic Law to the new order brought by Jesus. Stephen also spoke of a new way to worship God, made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus. These were serious charges, but Stephen did not back down from delivering the truth even knowing that his life was at stake.
The story of Stephen is recorded in Acts 6-7. At this time, the church was experiencing great growth, with thousands of believers coming to Christ. As a result, the church had to struggle with how to meet the needs of each new convert. Some of the new converts lived in small communities and shared their possessions. Others were widows who felt that they were not receiving proper care. In response to this, the apostles gathered their flock and selected seven men full of wisdom and the Holy Spirit. Stephen was one of the seven men chosen by the Apostles.
The story of Stephen’s death is a controversial one. While Jesus was executed by Pontius Pilate in 33 AD, Stephen’s death was a far less popular affair. The Jewish community was largely under the protection of the Roman government, so the execution of Stephen seemed to have no significance for the church at the time.
It is important to note that Stephen was stoned in Jerusalem, where the early Christian movement centered. In fact, the Holy Spirit had just come down on Pentecost, and more than 3,000 people had been baptized. The early Christians still had plenty of work to do, but Stephen’s stoning reoriented their efforts. The church in Jerusalem suffered persecution. The apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria.
Stone-throwing is an ancient form of punishment. Generally, a person who committed a crime is thrown head-first down a steep incline and has a huge stone rolled on top of him. The Bible tells us that a mob in Nazareth tried to stone Jesus for his speech in a synagogue. They drove him out of town, took him to the brow of a steep hill, and tried to throw Him off. However, Jesus miraculously escaped the stoning.
The Jews wanted to kill Jesus because of what he said about being God. In John 8:59, Jesus said, “I and the Father are one.” The same statement occurs in John 10:31. In both instances, Jesus says, “I am.” It is difficult to determine the reason why the Jews wanted to kill Jesus.
After he had finished his lesson on the Mount of Olives, Jesus was teaching in the temple courts. The people had gathered to listen to him. Among them was a woman who was caught in adultery. The religious leaders had brought her before Jesus, but they were unable to convince the woman to confess. While the law commanded the people to stone people who commit adultery, Jesus refused to do so.
The Pharisees tried to trick Jesus into approving the stoning of the woman. However, the man who had committed adultery was not present. Therefore, the Law called for the death of both parties. However, Jesus understood the duplicity of His enemies. Consequently, he asked the witnesses to cast the first stone, which they had to do after his accusers had left.
Stone-throwing is one of the oldest forms of capital punishment. It was practiced in the Near East and was used throughout the ancient world. The ancient Greek geographer Pausanias wrote about it.
The biblical account of Saul’s stoning is not the only example of a stone throwing incident. It also includes witnesses who laid their clothes at Saul’s feet and were required to cast the first stone. The witnesses were held responsible for the death of the accused, as they had given testimony against Saul.
Saul was a man wrapped in self-righteousness. He may claim to be a Hebrew of the Hebrews, the strictest sect of his religion, or a Pharisee. However, his heart was full of prejudice against Christ. As a result, he became a keeper of the stoners’ clothing.
Saul later approved of Stephen’s execution. In Jerusalem, the church was suffering. Many of the followers of the Lord were scattered around Judea and Samaria. After Stephen was killed, the church began to suffer persecution. The church in Jerusalem was attacked and many of its members were persecuted.
Stephen was a great preacher, but Saul was not moved by his sermon. The Bible does not mention whether Saul participated in the stoning of Stephen, but it does mention that he stood by and watched the stoning. This implies that he felt just as guilty as those who stoned Stephen.
The charges against Stephen are not entirely accurate. These charges were brought against him by false witnesses. There had to be some basis for the accusations against him. These charges had to do with his advocacy of changing the customs of Moses. The charges against him also included a statement that was against the “holy place” and “advocating the alteration of Moses’ customs.”
Saul of Tarsus
The stoning of Saul of Tarsus is the most notorious episode in the Bible. As mentioned in the introduction, Saul of Tarsus was introduced to Christianity by Stephen, but his heart was hard against Jesus. Thus, he refused to follow Christ and became the keeper of the clothes of the stoners. In 2 Timothy 3:11, Paul mentions stoning as one of the many trials he endured while preaching the gospel.
Saul was a Jew from the tribe of Benjamin. He was born in Tarsus, a city in modern-day Turkey, and raised in Jerusalem, Judea. At the time, Tarsus was a free city in the Roman province of Cilicia. His parents had become Roman citizens before his birth. Saul trained under the rabbi Gamaliel, one of the most respected rabbis in the first century. In addition to his religious zeal, he was also considered a Pharisee.
Saul’s family probably came from Judea or Rome. In Acts 22, he and his family move to Jerusalem. As a result, his family might have been born in Jerusalem. In addition, Paul states that he was “brought up” in Jerusalem. This may suggest that his family had lived in the city as late as 57 AD.
The story of the stoning of Saul of Tarsus is quite different from that of the execution of Peter in Acts 13. While he was the chief spokesman, Paul was stoned to death by the Jews of Antioch and Iconium. The crowd was not happy with his preaching, and many people threw stones at him. Thankfully, the apostle overcame the attempt and was caught up in the third heaven.
This story also highlights how different types of people respond to different events in the bible. While Stephen was a more spiritual man, Saul was more formal. In his later life, he wore Stephen’s mantle and became king of Israel. The Lord often sends people to replace the departed kings.
Jesus of Nazareth
It is unclear whether Jesus of Nazareth was actually stoned. The Bible doesn’t explicitly state that Jesus was stoned. However, a letter written by a Jewish writer in the thirteenth century claims that Jesus of Nazareth was executed by the Sanhedrin because he aspired to become the Messiah and led many astray. This writer is not Christian, so the letter is an important source for Jesus’ historical identity.
Although the punishment for stoning was horrific, it was an effective deterrent to committing crimes. In addition to being a cruel way to die, stoning served as a reminder that God cares about His people’s purity. Moreover, capital punishment for crimes was mandated by God in Genesis 9:6.
This passage is commonly cited by scholars as evidence of the existence of God, but it has been subjected to much debate. In recent years, New Testament textual criticism has been focused on this passage and most scholars have concluded that it should be removed from the text. However, many popular English translations of the Bible have incorporated the passage, while maintaining its historical context by placing it within double square brackets. Meanwhile, poets, theologians, and artists have continued to mine this story for fresh insights. In fact, the story has become a major Bible landmark.
When Jesus begins his public ministry, the Jewish people had been reading the prophet Isaiah for 700 years. Jesus read the passage and identified himself as the Messiah.