Daily Devotions


Day 187

"Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart." Psalm 119:34

Text: Exodus 22 : 18-20


The death penalty may be pronounced against those convicted of murder! However, this severe sentence was not restricted to the crime of murder alone. There were other crimes or sins that merited the death penalty.

“You shall not permit a sorceress to live.
Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death.
He who sacrifices to any god, except to the LORD only,
he shall be utterly destroyed.”
EXODUS 22:18-20

Three other categories of offences may warrant a death penalty to be pronounced.

1. “You shall not permit a sorceress to live”

Of course, it must be proven that the accused was indeed a sorceress. The genuine sorceress is one who dabbles with the occult! Her influence over people can be most dangerous and deadly! Her existence would always pose a constant threat to Israel!

2. “Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death”

Unnatural sexual inclinations and actions must be curbed! Sexual perversion, involving animals is despicable in any time and age! Those who persist in such unnatural acts were an affront to human decency. They must be brought to justice and the full measure of the law must be enforced against these perverts!

3. “He who sacrifices to any god… he shall be utterly destroyed”

The laws of Israel had both civil and religious elements! Civil laws were to be upheld. Religious laws were also to be upheld for a number of reasons:-

a) Israel as a theocracy
Israel was not a secular nation. It was a nation founded by the Lord Himself. Thus He could combine both the civil and the religious elements in its judicial system!
b) Israel bound to God by a Covenant
Whereas other nations had their Constitutions (if any), Israel had a Covenant-relationship with the Lord. Capital punishment for the worship of idols was explained as part of the Covenant agreement! Once Israel accepted the Covenant, then the laws would apply!
c) Idolatrous worship in the early days
People took the worship of idols most seriously. Sometimes, idolatrous practices included human sacrifice! This is nothing short of murder. Hence, those who practised such idolatrous worship would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law! They could not get away with murder in the name of religion!