Deuteronomy 21:21

21 1Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. 2So you shall purge the evil from your midst, 3and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Deuteronomy 21:21 Meaning and Commentary

Deuteronomy 21:21

And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that
he die
The populace; that is, after his trial is finished, and he is condemned to die; and he was not stoned until the three first judges were there (by whom he was admonished, and ordered to be beaten), as it it said, "this is our son", this is he that was beaten before you F6; and according to the Targum of Jonathan,

``if he feared (God, and showed any token of repentance) and received instruction, and they (his parents) desired to preserve him alive, they preserved him; but if he refused and was rebellious, then they stoned him;''

but the Jews say this law, and that of retaliation, were never put into execution:

so shalt thou put away evil from among you;
put a stop to, and prevent such an evil for the future, and remove the guilt of it; or, as the Targum of Jonathan, him that doeth that evil:

and all Israel shall hear, and fear;
it being to be publicly notified throughout the land, that such an one suffered death for such a crime, which would be a means of deterring others from the same; so Jarchi remarks,

``here (says he) a proclamation was necessary to be made by the sanhedrim, as that such an one was stoned because he was stubborn and rebellious;''

for the mystical sense of this see ( Ephesians 2:2 ) ( Colossians 3:6 ) .


F6 Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 3. sect. 4.

Deuteronomy 21:21 In-Context

19 then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives,
20 and they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.'
21 Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
22 "And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree,
23 his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Deuteronomy 13:10; See Joshua 7:25
  • 2. See Deuteronomy 13:5
  • 3. Deuteronomy 13:11; Deuteronomy 17:13; Deuteronomy 19:20
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.