Biblical Principle #246: Limit to Israelite Beatings

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Under the Law of Moses, Israelites could receive no more than forty lashes in a beating for a crime.


GOD set a “reasonable” max threshold of forty lashes to any beating that an Israelite could suffer for a crime:

1 “Now if there should be a dispute between men, and they come to judgment, and they judge and justify the one in the right but condemn the impious one, 2 then it shall be, if the impious man should deserve to be beaten, you shall set him before the judges, and one shall beat him before them, according to his impiety, with a certain number of blows. 3 Forty blows he may give him and no more, lest he should exceed this and beat him with many blows above these, and your brother be disgraced before you.

Deuteronomy 25:1-3 OSB

Were it not for such a limit, GOD said, Israelites would disgrace their brother with many more hits than these.

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