All 37 Death Penalties in the Old Testament

Included on this list

  • Death penalties revealed by God to be enacted by men on other men.

Not included on this list

  • Death penalties coming from man’s fallible judgment. Eg. Judah and Tamar; Jacob with Laban, etc.
  • Death penalties where God took the life, but did not command government to take the life. Eg. Nadab and Abihu; Uzzah ,etc.

Legal categories

  • Moral: Laws for all people of all times
  • Civil: Laws for the society of Israel
  • Ceremonial: Laws for the time before the Cross
 First TextCauseOther PassagesLegal category Mor.       Civ.       Cer.
 1.Gen. 9:5-6MurderEx. 21:12, 14; Lev. 24:17 ,21; Num. 35:16, 17, 18, 21, 30; Deut. 19:12XX
 2.Gen. 17:14Rejecting circumcision XX
 3.Ex. 12:15, 19Eating leaven during Passover XX
 4.Ex. 19:12Touching Mount Sinai when God comes down XX
 5.Ex. 21:15Assaulting parents XX
 6.Ex. 21:16Kidnapping or slave tradeDeut. 21:7XX
 7.Ex. 21:17Cursing parentsLev. 20:9XX
 8.Ex. 21:29Negligent homicide XX
 9.Ex. 22:18SorceryLev. 20:6, 27XX
 10.Ex. 22:19BestialityLev. 18:23; 20:15-16XX
 11.Ex. 22:20IdolatryNum. 25:5; Deut. 17:5XX
 12.Ex. 30:33, 38Imitating the anointing oil X
 13.Ex. 31:14, 15Working on the SabbathNum. 15:32-36XXX
 14.Lev. 7:20Eating the sacrifice while uncleanLev. 7:21X
 15.Lev. 7:25Eating the fat of the sacrifice X
 16.Lev. 7:27Eating the blood of the sacrifice X
 17.Lev. 17:4, 9Offering sacrifice without bringing it to Jehovah at the tabernacle Sacrificing to false gods or to your own religion XXX
 18.Lev. 18:6-18IncestLev. 20:11-12, 14, 17xx 
 19.Lev. 18:19Sexual relations during a woman’s cycleLev. 20:18  x
 20.Lev. 18:20AdulteryLev. 20:10; Deut. 22:21, 22, 24xx 
 21.Lev. 18:21Ritual child sacrificeLev. 20:2xx 
 22.Lev. 18:22SodomyLev. 20:13xx 
 23.Lev. 19:8Eating the sacrifice late   x
 24.Lev. 21:9Prostitution of a priest’s daughter xxx
 25.Lev. 22:3Coming to holy things unclean  xx
 26.Lev. 23:29-30Profaning the day of atonement  xx
 27.Lev. 24:14-16Blasphemy xx 
 28.Num. 3:10Joining the priesthood from outside Levi   x
 29.Num. 3:38Coming near the Tabernacle   x
 30.Num. 4:15, 20 May have been a divine judgment, a penalty only enacted by God Himself.Touching or looking on the tools of the Tabernacle when moving them   x
 31.Num. 15:30Presuming on GodDeut. 17:12xX 
 32.Num. 18:7Taking the priest’s office  XX
 33.Num. 19:13, 20Defiling the tabernacle or sanctuary  XX
 34.Deut. 13:5, 9, 15Promoting a false god XX 
 35.Deut. 18:20False prophecy XX 
 36.Deut. 21:21Rebellion against parents XX 
 37.Deut. 22:25Rape XX 


  • There is no clear division between the traditional 3 categories of the law as moral, civil, and ceremonial. The overlap between these categories is so fluid as to make them inaccurate for understanding the Mosaic law. Covenant Theology needs these 3 categories, and yet they are not accurate.
  • The death penalties of the Mosaic law do not allow for freedom of religion: idolatry, blasphemy, promoting a false god, neglecting the Sabbath, and false prophecy. The NT repeatedly assumes freedom of religion. Therefore, the OT laws cannot control the society in the times of the NT. Theonomy implements these death penalties, and yet it also tries to defend freedom of religion.
This entry was posted in Hermeneutics, Lists and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *