During this week in my government class we have been talking about the death penalty, why it happens, what guards or policemen do before the prisoner is put to death, and what has to be done after his/her death. It’s interesting. In the same way GOD’s people had directions about how to do this “death penalty” as well.
“If someone has committed a crime worthy of death and is executed and hung on a tree, the body must not remain hanging from the tree overnight. You must bury the body that same day, for anyone who is hung is cursed in the sight of God. In this way, you will prevent the defilement of the land the Lord your God is giving you as your special possession.” (Deuteronomy 21:22, 23 NLT)
It’s not pleasant how people sometimes die. It’s very serious when it comes to actually having to kill somebody because they have been given the “death penalty.” Just like we read in this chapter, there were directions on how to do many things, such as:
- Cleansing for unsolved murder
- Marriage to a captive woman
- Rights of the firstborn
- Dealing with a rebellious son
- Various regulations (like the one from the text above)
These regulations do not end here. This is just a part of what GOD’s people had to do when it came to a “death penalty” and what to do after a death.
One lesson we can learn from this chapter is the respect that GOD told the Israelites to have for the dead–even the criminals who died. No matter who a person is, GOD wants us to respect them. The same goes for us. We need to respect everyone–no matter who they are or what they have done.
These chapters have many regulations and directions for the people of Israel to follow. Keep following us as we read more about these regulations and directions!
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.