In early Bible history, stoning was the Israelite method of executing those found guilty of the most serious offenses against the law. A crowd would gather around the offender and throw stones until he or she died.
The condemned individual was restrained by some means, ranging from being thrown before the stoning from an elevation of some sort that caused incapacitating injury, to being tied to a post (or simply "hog-tied" hand-to-foot), to being buried with just the head and shoulders left above ground, to just being surrounded by a large crowd of stone throwers in an enclosed area.
- "Anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death."
This idea of what might be called "diffused responsibility" can be seen in the more modern practice of execution by firing squad, in which responsibility for the actual death is distributed among several people, thus enabling each to consider their individual role less ethically or emotionally troubling.
Examples of stoning offenses
- "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto 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. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
Modern proponents of stoning
- Daily Bible Study: Stoning
- "Iranian adulteress faces death by stoning", Australian Broadcasting Corporation, October 16, 2005.
- "Iran: Five women sentenced to death by stoning in past twelve months", NCRI, July, 28, 2006.
- "Nigerian man sentenced to stoning for gay sex", Australian Broadcasting Corporation.