Death Penalties in the Bible

Missionaries often complain that some Islamic laws seem harsh. What would they think of these verses in the Bible?

Penalty Must be Carried Out

Moreover you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer who is subject to the death penalty; a murderer must be put to death. (Numbers 35:31)

bible prescribes

Death for:

Touching Mount Sinai

Any who touch the mountain shall be put to death. (Exodus 19:12)

If Your Ox Kills a Person

. . . the ox shall be stoned, and its owner also shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:29)

If You Kill a Burglar After Sunrise

. . . but if it happens after sunrise, bloodguilt is incurred. (Exodus 22:3)

For Worshipping a Cow

He said to them, "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, 'Put your sword on your side, each of you! Go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill your brother, your friend, and your neighbor.'" The sons of Levi did as Moses commanded, and about three thousand of the people fell on that day. (Exodus 32:27-28)

Having intercourse with

a woman in her period

If a man lies with a woman having her sickness and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow and she has laid bare her flow of blood; both of them shall be cut off from their people. (Leviticus 20:18)

Any Outsider Who Comes

Near the Place of Worship

. . . any outsider who comes near shall be put to death. (Numbers 3:10)

For Bringing a Foreign

Woman into the Camp

. . . he went after the Israelite man into the tent, and pierced the two of them, the Israelite and the woman, through the belly. So the plague was stopped among the people of Israel. (Numbers 25:8)

Death to a Whole City for Worshipping Other Gods

. . . you shall put the inhabitants of that town to the sword, utterly destroying it and everything in it ? even putting its livestock to the sword. All of its spoil you shall gather into its public square; then burn the town and all its spoil with fire, as a whole burnt offering to the LORD your God. It shall remain a perpetual ruin, never to be rebuilt. (Deuteronomy 13:15-16)

A Prophet Speaking in

the Name of Another God

But any prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, or who presumes to speak in my name a word that I have not commanded the prophet to speak ? that prophet shall die." (Deuteronomy 18:20)

Malicious False Witness

. . . then you shall do to the false witness just as the false witness had meant to do to the other . . . . Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Deuteronomy 19:19-21)

A City That Refuses to Surrender

When you draw near to a town to fight against it, offer it terms of peace.

If it accepts your terms of peace and surrenders to you, then all the people in it shall serve you at forced labor. If it does not submit to you peacefully, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the LORD your God gives it into your hand, you shall put all its males to the sword. You may, however, take as your booty the women, the children, livestock, and everything else in the town, all its spoil. You may enjoy the spoil of your enemies, which the LORD your God has given you. (Deuteronomy 20:10-14)

But as for the towns of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. (Deuteronomy 20:16)


If anyone kills another, the murderer shall be put to death . . . . (Numbers 35:30)

Moreover you shall accept no ransom for the life of a murderer who is subject to the death penalty; a murderer must be put to death. (Numbers 35:31)


. . . both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

Rape of a Betrothed Virgin

In the Open Country

. . . then only the man who lay with her shall die. (Deuteronomy 22:25)

A Raped Woman Who

Did Not Cry for Help

. . . stone them to death, the young woman because she did not cry for help in the town and the man because he violated his neighbor's wife. (Deuteronomy 22:24)


If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall be put to death; they have committed perversion, their blood is upon them. (Leviticus 20:12)


If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he shall be put to death; and you shall kill the animal. (Leviticus 20:15)

If a woman approaches any animal and has sexual relations with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. . . . (Leviticus 20:16)


If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death. . . . (Leviticus 20:13)


Whoever kidnaps a person . . . shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:16)

Priest?s Daughter Fornicating

When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death. (Leviticus 21:9)


You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live. (Exodus 22:18)

Offering Human sacrifice

. . . who give any of their offspring to Molech shall be put to death; the people of the land shall stone them to death. (Leviticus 20:2)

Striking or cursing father or mother

Whoever strikes father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:15)

Whoever curses father or mother shall be put to death. (Exodus 21:17)

Disobedience to Parents

They shall say to the elders of his town, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard." Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death. So you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel will hear, and be afraid. (Deuteronomy 21:20-21)


One who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death . . . . (Leviticus 24:16)

Working on a Saturday

. . . whoever does any work on it shall be put to death. (Exodus 35:2)

Gathering Sticks on a Saturday

. . . they found a man gathering sticks on the sabbath day. . . .

The whole congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death, just as the LORD had commanded Moses. (Numbers 15:32-36)

Family or Friends Who Invite

You to Worship Another God

If anyone secretly entices you--even if it is your brother, your father's son or your mother's son, or your own son or daughter, or the wife you embrace, or your most intimate friend--saying, "Let us go worship other gods," whom neither you nor your ancestors have known. . . . Show them no pity or compassion and do not shield them. But you shall surely kill them; your own hand shall be first against them to execute them, and afterwards the hand of all the people. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)

Sacrificing to false gods

Whoever sacrifices to any god, other than the LORD alone, shall be devoted to destruction. (Exodus 22:20)

Disobeying the Priest or the Judge

As for anyone who presumes to disobey the priest appointed to minister there to the LORD your God, or the judge, that person shall die. So you shall purge the evil from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12)