Rocks were hurled at a person as a means of execution (Leviticus 20:2; 24:14; Deuteronomy 13:10; 17:5; 21; 22:21).
Under Old Testmanet law, this form of execution was prescribed for certain offenses, such as idolatry by God’s chosen people, blaspheming the name of the LORD (Leviticus 24:16), willful murder (Leviticus 24:17), and sexual adultery (Leviticus 20:9-12; John 8:1–11).
In Hebrew society, there was a justice system. Mosaic Law required a trial and two or more eye-witnesses (Deuteronomy 17:6). Witnesses were required to be so sure of their testimony of guilt that they must be willing to cast the first stones, and they were required to do so. False witnesses were liable to punishment (Deuteronomy 19:16-21).
Biblical people who were subjected to stoning include:
- Shelomith’s son (Leviticus 24:10-23)—sentence commanded by God
- Achan/Achar (Joshua 7:25)—for selfish and direct disobedience of God’s command
- Naboth (1 Kings 21)—falsely convicted of blasphemy by Queen Jezebel
- Stephen (Acts 7:59)—a martyr falsely accused
- Paul (Acts 14:19; 2 Corinthians 11:25)—falsely accused. He survived.