List of capital crimes in the Torah

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According to the Torah or Law of Moses, these are some of the offenses which may merit the death penalty.

Religious practices[edit]

Sexual practices[edit]

  • Being either participant in consensual sexual activity, in which a betrothed woman consensually loses her virginity to another man[17]
  • Rape by a man of a betrothed woman in the countryside[18]
  • Adultery with a married woman.[19] Both parties are to die.
  • A woman falsely representing herself as a virgin before the marriage ceremony[20]
  • Marrying one's wife's mother.[21] This was in addition to one's wife; death is by burning.
  • Certain forms of incest, namely if it involves the father's wife or a daughter-in-law.[22] Other forms of incest receive lesser punishment; sexual activity with a sister/stepsister is given excommunication for a punishment;[23] if it involves a brother's wife or an uncle's wife it is just cursed[24] and sexual activity with an aunt that is a blood relation is merely criticised.[25]
  • Certain sexual activities between males (Hebrew: zakhar) involving what the Masoretic Text literally terms lie lyings (of a) woman (Hebrew: tishkav mishkvei ishah),[26][27][28] and the Septuagint literally terms beds [verb] the woman's/wife's bed (Greek: koimethese koiten gynaikos);[29][30] the gender of the target of the command is commonly understood to be male, but not explicitly stated. The correct translation and interpretation of this passage, and its implications for homosexuality in Judaism and homosexuality in Christianity, are controversial. Translations into English are wide-ranging.[31][32]
  • Bestiality.[33][34] Both the human and the animal are to die.
  • Prostitution by the daughter of a priest[35]


  • Murder, believed by Jews to apply to non-Jews as well.[36][37][38][39] Sanctuary at the altar was not permitted.
  • If an ox has gored in the past and the owner has been warned about the behavior of the ox but has failed to confine it and it gores and kills another person the owner is put to death. If the interested party requires payment of a fee death is not required. If a slave is killed the owner of the ox is to pay a fine, and the ox is to be stoned in all cases.[40] However, Exodus 21:28 mandates that the ox be stoned for the first offense of goring.

Parental discipline[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Exodus 22:19
  2. ^ Leviticus 20:1–5
  3. ^ Numbers 25:1–9
  4. ^ Deuteronomy 13:2–10
  5. ^ Deuteronomy 17:2–7
  6. ^ Deuteronomy 18:20–22
  7. ^ Leviticus 20:27
  8. ^ Leviticus 20:27 (LXX)
  9. ^ Exodus 22:18
  10. ^ Exodus 22:17 (LXX); note that verse numbering in the Septuagint doesn't correspond exactly with the Masoretic Text
  11. ^ Exodus 22:18
  12. ^ Leviticus 24:10–16
  13. ^ Exodus 31:14–15
  14. ^ Exodus 35:2
  15. ^ Numbers 15:32–36
  16. ^ Numbers 1:51, Numbers 3:10 and Numbers 3:38
  17. ^ Deuteronomy 22:23–24
  18. ^ Deuteronomy 22:25–27
  19. ^ Leviticus 20:10
  20. ^ Deuteronomy 22:13–21
  21. ^ Leviticus 20:14
  22. ^ Leviticus 20:11–12
  23. ^ Leviticus 20:17
  24. ^ Leviticus 20:20–21
  25. ^ Leviticus 20:19
  26. ^ Coogan, Michael (October 2010). "4. Thou Shalt Not: Forbidden Sexual Relationships in the Bible". God and Sex: What the Bible Really Says (1st ed.). New York, Boston: Twelve. Hachette Book Group. pp. 116–117, 140. ISBN 978-0-446-54525-9. OCLC 505927356. Retrieved May 5, 2011. It is arbitrary to assert on the basis of biblical authority that some of them, such as sex between men, are intrinsically wrong, whereas others, such as wearing clothing made from wool and linen, are not: the biblical writers themselves make no such distinction. Few who argue that homosexuality is wrong – to say nothing about incest, adultery and bestiality – because the Bible says so, would enforce the death penalty for these offences as the Bible also commands.
  27. ^ Leviticus 20:13
  28. ^ Leviticus 18:22
  29. ^ Leviticus 18:22 (LXX)
  30. ^ Leviticus 20:13 (LXX)
  31. ^ Leviticus 20:13
  32. ^ Leviticus 18:22
  33. ^ Exodus 22:18
  34. ^ Leviticus 20:15–16
  35. ^ Leviticus 21:9
  36. ^ Genesis 9:6
  37. ^ Exodus 21:12–14
  38. ^ Leviticus 24:17–23
  39. ^ Numbers 35:9–34
  40. ^ Exodus 21:28–32
  41. ^ Exodus 21:15
  42. ^ Exodus 21:17
  43. ^ Leviticus 20:9
  44. ^ Deuteronomy 21:18–21
  45. ^ Ehrman, Bart (2009). "Eight. Is faith possible?". Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). HarperCollins e-books. p. 281. ISBN 978-0061173943. OCLC 317877487. My view is that everyone already picks and chooses what they want to accept in the Bible.6 The most egregious instances of this can be found among people who claim not to be picking and choosing. I have a young friend whose evangelical parents were upset because she wanted to get a tattoo, since the Bible, after all, condemns tattoos. In the same book, Leviticus, the Bible also condemns wearing clothing made of two different kinds of fabric and eating pork. And it indicates that children who disobey their parents are to be stoned to death. Why insist on the biblical teaching about tattoos but not about dress shirts, pork chops, and stoning?
  46. ^ Deuteronomy 17:8–13
  47. ^ Deuteronomy 19:15–21
  48. ^ Exodus 21:16
  49. ^ Deuteronomy 24:7

External links[edit]