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Reference: Crimes And Punishments


The term 'crimes' is here used loosely in the sense of punishable offences, including not merely crimes (crimina) in the sense of breaches of the criminal law in the modern sense, and torts (delicta) or breaches of the civil law, but also those offences in the sphere of religion and worship to which definite penalties were attached. Within the limits of this article it is possible to present only a summary of the more important and typical punishable offences recognized in the various Hebrew law-codes. The latter, indicated by the usual symbols, are: (1) BC, the oldest code, known as the Book of the Covenant, Ex 20:22 to Ex 23:33, with which for convenience sake is joined the Decalogue of Ex 20:2-17; (2) Deuteronomist, the Deuteronomic Code, De 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; (3) Law of Holiness, the Holiness Code, Le 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; and (4) Priestly Narrative, the great collection of laws known as the Priests' Code, and comprising the rest of the legislative material of the Pentateuch. In the case of Priestly Narrative alone will it be necessary to name the books (Ex., Lv., or Nu.) to which reference is made.

The penal offences of the Pentateuch may be conveniently grouped under the three heads of crimes against Jahweh, against society (including property), and against the individual.

1. A. Crimes against Jahweh, or offences in the sphere of religion and worship.

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