There are several events in the Bible that critics love to focus on, one of which is the stoning of a Sabbath breaker (Numbers 15:32-36). The event occurred about a year and half after the Exodus and within a few months of leaving Mt. Sinai. Unfortunately, it is one story that is easily construed to impugn God’s benevolence. Following are the facts:
A man was found picking up “sticks” on the Sabbath and immediately taken to Moses. This was a no-no. Work on the Sabbath was not allowed. It was declared a day of rest in perpetuity and the penalty for breaking this law was death (Exodus 31:13-17). Sounds a bit severe. Even the Israelites hesitated. Before acting on what the law clearly stated they put the man in hold while Moses consulted with God.
And the answer?
Execute the man publicly. All Israel was to stone him to death which means everyone, young and old alike, were aware of this stoning, and the reason for it, in real time. They not only witnessed it they participated. Seems gruesome! Glad I wasn’t there. [Read more…]