What is Stoning?


John 8:1-7

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning he came again to the temple; all the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, 'Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such. What do you say about her?' This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, 'Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.'

What does stoning mean?

Stoning is a form of execution for those condemned to death. It is a very old means of execution, which consists of the assistants throwing stones at the defendant, until it kills him or her.

In what situations could a person be stoned?

The Mosaic law, expressed in the first five books of Moses in the Hebrew Bible, predicts death by stoning in eighteen situations

  1. Bestiality committed by a man.
  2. Bestiality committed by a woman.
  3. Blasphemy.
  4. Sexual relations with a betrothed virgin.
  5. Sex relations with stepdaughter.
  6. Sex relations with mother.
  7. Sex relations with stepmother.
  8. Cursing your parents.
  9. Instigate individuals to idolatry.
  10. Idolatry.
  11. Instigate communities to idolatry.
  12. Necromancy.
  13. Sacrificing one's own son to the god Moloch.
  14. Homosexuality.
  15. Pythonism.
  16. Children's rebellion against their parents.
  17. Disrespecting the Sabbath.
  18. Witchcraft.

NOTE: Currently in Judaism this is no longer practiced.

What is Stoning in Islam?

To this day, this punishment is still practiced in some Muslim countries. Although the Koran does not mention stoning as a penalty, according to some hadiths, the verses about stoning were lost, having been eaten by a goat. Islamic Law applied in certain countries justifies this practice by accounts of Muhammad's life (As per Sahih Bukhari 2:23:413, Sahih Bukhari 3:34:421, Sahih Bukhari 3:49:860, Sahih Bukhari 4:56:829 and others).
Stoning is the established punishment for a married man or woman who commits adultery. Most stoning victims are women; in Iran, 7 out of 10 people sentenced to stoning are women, according to Amnesty International.
Stoning is called rajm (Arabic: رجم) in Islamic literature, and is practiced in the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Qatar, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria (north), the Indonesian province of Aceh, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan. In some countries, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, stoning has been declared illegal by governments, but it is practiced extra-judicially. Sometimes, the sentence is not carried out, due to the international outcry.
Iran's government denies that there are stonings in the country, considering the allegations as western propaganda; however, they exist. According to Iranian law, a male prisoner must be buried in a pit up to his waist, but a female prisoner is buried up to her chest. Article 119 of the Penal Code specifies that stones used must not be so large as to cause immediate death, nor so small that they cannot be considered stones. The aim is to cause a slow and painful death. Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman, was accused in 2005 of adultery and attempted murder and sentenced to death by stoning. Her sentence was commuted and she was released in 2014 after nine years on death row. Soraya Manutchehri was stoned in 1982, in Kuhpayeh, on charges of adultery.

In Nigeria, where this form of execution is accepted, the recent conviction of Amina Lawal for adultery has generated international commotion, which culminated in her release.

Is there stoning in Christianity?

The New Testament for Christians abolished this type of execution; which is why you do not see Christian leaders lawfully stoning a criminal.
Well, in the text of John 8 - the only issue raised by Jesus' answer is the ability of sinful men to act as agents of God, dealing with men and women.

Text in the Bible

Leviticus 20:10

If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.

Deuteronomy 22:22

If a man is found lying with the wife of another man, both of them shall die, the man who lay with the woman, and the woman; so you shall purge the evil from Israel.

Ezekiel 23:47

And the host shall stone them and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses.