A question on adultery and pregnancy

That laws must be applied in unique circumstances tells us nothing about how the law was actually to be applied to the issue of a pregnant woman to be executed, which is the whole point at hand. Again, so far nobody has proven what would have happened in such a scenario one way or the other.

That's the thing about God's law and unique circumstances. It does not list all of them. The simple answer to your question, based on the bible, is "We don't know." That's what I've been saying about Torah and wisdom.
There are multiple replies that answer in the affirmative. Even the very first one.
My mistake. I'll let them answer for themselves.
What then is the reason given?
The reason is we don't take a hypothetical from God's law and apply it to a different circumstance and opt for the same punishment.
 
That's the thing about God's law and unique circumstances. It does not list all of them. The simple answer to your question, based on the bible, is "We don't know." That's what I've been saying about Torah and wisdom.

The reason is we don't take a hypothetical from God's law and apply it to a different circumstance and opt for the same punishment.
I don't understand how these two statements agree with one another. The first is saying that we do not know how such a situation would be handled, correct? But then the second is giving a reason in favor of the principle that it would always be wrong for such a thing to occur? If the second is true, then the first is untrue, as we would then in fact know how the law was to be applied.
 
The first is saying that we do not know how such a situation would be handled, correct?

In the sense that the Bible doesn't mention it.
But then the second is giving a reason in favor of the principle that it would always be wrong for such a thing to occur?

Let me clarify: not necessarily. That's the trick with laws. They have to be applied in different circumstances with different mitigating factors. Dr Duguid, in response to another of your questions, explained it this way:
 
In the sense that the Bible doesn't mention it.


Let me clarify: not necessarily. That's the trick with laws. They have to be applied in different circumstances with different mitigating factors. Dr Duguid, in response to another of your questions, explained it this way:
Alright, if I am understanding correctly, this answer then amounts to what I was asking about with:
But if one answers "no" that it would not necessarily be wrong for a government to do such a thing, then this raises the question as to if it would be wrong in any given situation, and if so, why in this given situation rather than another one? Whatever reason is given to this question, it certainly seems that it could not be based simply on the age of the infant since such a thing seems completely arbitrary. But I am definitely open to hearing the argument on this side as well.
I get that question is somewhat convoluted, but what I'm getting at is that it seems that if we agree that it is not necessarily wrong for the government to execute, but may be wrong in some cases, then whatever constitutes those cases, it seems to me that it cannot be a set-in-stone cut-off point based solely on the age of the infant [e.g. you cannot say that "it is always wrong to execute a 7-months pregnant mother, but before that, it is licit"]. Whatever circumstances create mitigation [for instance, I think the Mishnah's practice about not executing a pregnant mother just about to give birth is a good one] it cannot *formally* be based solely on a cut--off point of age. Would you agree with this?

Edit: I'm quite certain you would and thus I am now forgetting what the point of the question was. Nevertheless, you seem to have given a direct answer to the original question here in the negative and so that sufficiently answers my question anyways.
 
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For what it's worth, even U.S. law will not permit the execution of a pregnant woman - 18 U.S. Code § 3596 - Implementation of a sentence of death:
"(b) Pregnant Woman.—A sentence of death shall not be carried out upon a woman while she is pregnant." (I believe the practice is still to medically examine the woman to determine this before execution).

As for self-defense against a pregnant woman, you are obligated to do whatever is in your power to save your own life and the life of others, including the woman and the unborn child (assuming in your scenario that you are aware she is with child). If your intent is to protect your own life but in doing so the woman is killed and the baby dies, you are not at fault. This can be extracted from passages dealing with unintentional killing such as Deuteronomy 19.5.
 
Alright, if I am understanding correctly, this answer then amounts to what I was asking about with:

I get that question is somewhat convoluted, but what I'm getting at is that it seems that if we agree that it is not necessarily wrong for the government to execute, but may be wrong in some cases, then whatever constitutes those cases, it seems to me that it cannot be a set-in-stone cut-off point based solely on the age of the infant [e.g. you cannot say that "it is always wrong to execute a 7-months pregnant mother, but before that, it is licit"]. Whatever circumstances create mitigation [for instance, I think the Mishnah's practice about not executing a pregnant mother just about to give birth is a good one] it cannot *formally* be based solely on a cut--off point of age. Would you agree with this?

Edit: I'm quite certain you would and thus I am now forgetting what the point of the question was. Nevertheless, you seem to have given a direct answer to the original question here in the negative and so that sufficiently answers my question anyways.

Yes. That seems to be my position.
 
For what it's worth, even U.S. law will not permit the execution of a pregnant woman - 18 U.S. Code § 3596 - Implementation of a sentence of death:
"(b) Pregnant Woman.—A sentence of death shall not be carried out upon a woman while she is pregnant." (I believe the practice is still to medically examine the woman to determine this before execution).

As for self-defense against a pregnant woman, you are obligated to do whatever is in your power to save your own life and the life of others, including the woman and the unborn child (assuming in your scenario that you are aware she is with child). If your intent is to protect your own life but in doing so the woman is killed and the baby dies, you are not at fault. This can be extracted from passages dealing with unintentional killing such as Deuteronomy 19.5.
Regarding the current laws of the U. S., I just want to clarify (not that you're necessarily saying this, but to make sure that the state of the question is still clear to all) that it is agreed upon by all (I would assume?) that such laws may be in place, but again the question is whether they must be such that if they were appealed such executions would always be wrong.
 
Perhaps I am thinking of this too simply (and when it comes to the relationship between the law of God, the church, and the state, I am way out of my element), but to me there is no question that these executions would always be wrong. How can we be vehemently against abortion as Christians and desire to uphold the sanctity of human life from the time of conception, and yet support the state executing a woman who is pregnant, which will kill the child who has done no wrong? I doubt that I am considering all of the nuance of all the arguments made in this thread, but to me the executors would most certainly be committing a grievous 6th Commandment violation by ending the life of the preborn child.
 
Perhaps I am thinking of this too simply (and when it comes to the relationship between the law of God, the church, and the state, I am way out of my element), but to me there is no question that these executions would always be wrong. How can we be vehemently against abortion as Christians and desire to uphold the sanctity of human life from the time of conception, and yet support the state executing a woman who is pregnant, which will kill the child who has done no wrong? I doubt that I am considering all of the nuance of all the arguments made in this thread, but to me the executors would most certainly be committing a grievous 6th Commandment violation by ending the life of the preborn child.
With regard to the OP, I agree that executing a woman who is pregnant would violate the 6th Commandment if the execution can be put off until the unborn are born.

No human at any stage of life is without sin. We don't oppose abortion because we are protecting "innocent" life - we oppose it because every human is made in the image of God.

God has, in His sovereignty, ordained the killing of pregnant women and nursing children - see places like Numbers 31:17 and 1 Samuel 15.3 - so it cannot be unlawful in all instances.
 
No human at any stage of life is without sin. We don't oppose abortion because we are protecting "innocent" life - we oppose it because every human is made in the image of God.
Yes absolutely — to clarify my use of the word “sanctity” in my post, I did not use that to mean that preborn children or newborns are “innocent,” as that goes against the testimony of Scripture regarding original sin (Ps. 51:5), but I used it rather to mean the inherent dignity and value that every human being has by reason of being created in the image of God.
 
The question merely regards whether the principle is true that: the government would always be wrong to execute a pregnant woman.
Yes, I feel that it would always be wrong to do that. We know that a baby in the womb is a human being, so to murder it is a violation of God's command. The baby was not the one committing the crime, and does not deserve punishment for that crime.
 
If she cried rape, it isn't adultery, but I don't really see how that is directly relevant to the question. I'm just trying to figure out what one would have to say based on how would would answer the original question posed. It at least initially seems to me that is one answers "yes" to the question of whether a government would *necessarily* be wrong in executing a pregnant woman, then one puts on themselves the position that such a thing never (at least lawfully) took place in Israel. That seems hard to argue for, but I'm definitely open to hearing it. But if one answers "no" that it would not necessarily be wrong for a government to do such a thing, then this raises the question as to if it would be wrong in any given situation, and if so, why in this given situation rather than another one? Whatever reason is given to this question, it certainly seems that it could not be based simply on the age of the infant since such a thing seems completely arbitrary. But I am definitely open to hearing the argument on this side as well.

As an aside, it seems that the assumption behind answering "yes" is usually along the lines of thinking that indirectly causing the death of the infant by the execution of the mother would always be immoral. But it at least seems to me that there's good reason to doubt this assumption. Of course, we must realize that the context of adultery itself is rather irrelevant here: for instance, a pregnant woman can still commit murder and this raises the same question in regards to execution. But to take an (admittedly, rather unrealistic) example that would seem to raise doubt against this principle: consider if one's life is endangered by a pregnant woman to the point where, having exhausted all other options, in order to defend oneself, one must take the woman's life. Surely this would be moral and yet it indirectly causes the death of the infant. Thus, if we attend only to the justice of execution, it seems to me that such a thing could be argued to be moral in view of the principle of double effect with the greater good in view being the immediate justice of execution itself.
I have to say koodos this is the most interesting, yet dark, ethical question I've thought about. I don't know if they ever did that, so the question of what should they do seems dependent on what did they do?
I have to admit I don't like ethical questions in the abstract because I can't separate theory from practice in my mind.
I still think it would be wrong when excommunication from the society would fullfil the same purpose and no one has to die. Hence alleviating the moral question. These are human beings where're talking about, the same as us. They understood that too. So no it would be wrong when expulsion from the society would maintain holiness and mercy.
 
With regard to the OP, I agree that executing a woman who is pregnant would violate the 6th Commandment if the execution can be put off until the unborn are born.

No human at any stage of life is without sin. We don't oppose abortion because we are protecting "innocent" life - we oppose it because every human is made in the image of God.

God has, in His sovereignty, ordained the killing of pregnant women and nursing children - see places like Numbers 31:17 and 1 Samuel 15.3 - so it cannot be unlawful in all instances.

Regarding your last sentence, Andrew - again, we are no longer under the Old Testament civil laws, which died when Old Testament Israel died. It may not have been unlawful then (although whether that law was actually ever carried out literally is a matter of debate), but it's certainly not a matter of law now. Especially with Jesus forgiving the adulterous woman, etc.
 
Regarding your last sentence, Andrew - again, we are no longer under the Old Testament civil laws, which died when Old Testament Israel died. It may not have been unlawful then (although whether that law was actually ever carried out literally is a matter of debate), but it's certainly not a matter of law now. Especially with Jesus forgiving the adulterous woman, etc.
Note that the woman was accused of being caught in the very act, but the man is nowhere to be found. The trial is suspect from the very beginning.

One fact that gets overlooked in discussion of this passage is that under the Romans, the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone (that's why they had to get the Romans to execute Jesus).

The Jewish leaders were trying set a trap, like always. Why else would they have asked Jesus about it? If he told them to stone her, they would have accused him to the Romans as bucking Roman authority and trying to set up a Jewish kingdom. If he told him not to, they would have accused him of defying Moses, thus discrediting him in the eyes of the Jews.

Instead of falling into the trap, Jesus turns it back on them. They're all in sin in the matter, and he confronts them and puts them to shame.

The passage has absolutely nothing to do with the abolition of the death penalty for adultery.
 
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John never says that the woman committed adultery. She was accused of being caught in the very act, but the man is nowhere to be found.

One fact that gets overlooked in discussion of this passage is that under the Romans, the Jews were not allowed to execute anyone (that's why they had to get the Romans to execute Jesus).

The Jewish leaders were trying set a trap, like always. Why else would they have asked Jesus about it? If he told them to stone her, they would have accused him to the Romans as bucking Roman authority and trying to set up a Jewish kingdom. If he told him not to, they would have accused him of defying Moses, thus discrediting him in the eyes of the Jews.

Instead of falling into the trap, Jesus turns it back on them. They're all in sin in the matter, and he confronts them and puts them to shame.

The passage has absolutely nothing to do with the abolition of the death penalty for adultery.
I don't know, friend. I don't know. I think you're trying to justify a position while not considering the plainness of the text. She was literally caught in the act. The lesson is about sin and forgiveness. Jesus said "I don't condemn you. But stop your sinning." Her guilt was real and evident. Without reading too much into the text, certain things are super clear. Jesus didn't advocate for punishment for her, or even recommend the Romans dealing with her. He couldn't be partial and not want execution for one woman, but uphold the same principle for everyone else. God would surely uphold His justice without favoritism.

A quick search says this about Rome and adultery: A married Roman woman who had intercourse with someone other than her husband had committed adultery under Roman law. According to ancient accounts, if she was caught red-handed, her husband or father had the right to kill the woman." If true, Jesus could have very easily recommended punishment for her by the Romans.

With the coming of Jesus, some things just changed in the way God related to people. It's a mystery, but to me evident. I'm personally so grateful to have a God who has forgiven me in mercy, who didn't strike me down when I was in the depths of darkness. This is one of the best things about Him.

‭‭John‬ ‭8:3‭-‬11‬ ‭
[3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst [4] they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. [5] Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” [6] 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. [7] 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.” [8] And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. [9] But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. [10] Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” [11] She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
 
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I don't know, friend. I don't know. I think you're trying to justify a position while not considering the plainness of the text. She was literally caught in the act. The lesson is about sin and forgiveness. Jesus said "I don't condemn you. But stop your sinning." Her guilt was real and evident. Without reading too much into the text, certain things are super clear. Jesus didn't advocate for punishment for her, or even recommend the Romans dealing with her. He couldn't be partial and not want execution for one woman, but uphold the same principle for everyone else. God would surely uphold His justice without favoritism.

A quick search says this about Rome and adultery: A married Roman woman who had intercourse with someone other than her husband had committed adultery under Roman law. According to ancient accounts, if she was caught red-handed, her husband or father had the right to kill the woman." If true, Jesus could have very easily recommended punishment for her by the Romans.

With the coming of Jesus, some things just changed in the way God related to people. It's a mystery, but to me evident. I'm personally so grateful to have a God who has forgiven me in mercy, who didn't strike me down when I was in the depths of darkness. This is one of the best things about Him.

‭‭John‬ ‭8:3‭-‬11‬ ‭
[3] The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst [4] they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. [5] Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” [6] 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. [7] 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.” [8] And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. [9] But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. [10] Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” [11] She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
Hey, brother. I made one mistake--I said that John never says she committed adultery. About that, I was mistaken. I've edited my post in that regard.

I stand by the rest of what I wrote. Note the plain words of the text: “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.” (Joh 8:5-6)

They were trying to either get Jesus to agree with a lynching or disagree with Moses, "that they might have to accuse him."

However, that's not the whole story. There's the woman's perspective. That's where sin and forgiveness come into play.

If it was a fair trial, and Jesus was a magistrate, and she was guilty, it would have been wrong for him not to punish her. But as the savior of sinners and ruler of his spiritual kingdom, he can forgive her on the basis of his own sacrifice.
 
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Greetings,

The OP stated,
It seems clear that under the Mosaic covenant, adulteresses were executed as soon as there was evidence to convict of their crime (so we get the scene with the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery). Even if immediate execution wasn’t always the case, it was sometimes and that’s all I need to raise this question.

Greetings Pilgrims,

"Consider God's decree in Hosea. If I am not mistaken, it seems that Jesus did, in fact, apply the law perfectly in His response to the Pharisee's trick question. Am I on to something?

Please read this verse in its context for a better understanding.

Hosea 4:14 (KJV)
I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.
It seems clear that under the Mosaic covenant, adulteresses were executed as soon as there was evidence to convict of their crime (so we get the scene with the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery). Even if immediate execution wasn’t always the case, it was sometimes and that’s all I need to raise this question.
Then @RamistThomist (Phil D.) said in post #8 (and I paraphrase), "Not so fast!"

This is my take on the death penalty:
There are a number of places where the death penalty is prescribed, but only in the most extreme cases. Something akin to our degrees of punishment, where there is a gradation and the possibility of mitigating circumstances. Then, there are places that seem to say that this offense requires the death penalty. Period. See places in Scripture where it seems that death is the only possibility. Passages like the following (there are many more).

Exodus 22:19 (KJV)​
Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 24:17 (KJV)​
And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 21:17 (KJV)​
And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 21:12 (KJV)​
He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

There is a third case of the death penalty becoming mandatory for crimes, none of which crimes proscribe the death penalty.

Any guesses what tree I'm barking up now?

HINT: "This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard."

Career Criminals are Not to Live
Even though none of the son's infractions were worthy of the death penalty.
There were no long-term jails in Israel. The rule was Restitution or Execution.
The point of the son is to stress how far this law goes. (E.g., Deuteronomy 13:6)​

Deuteronomy 21:18–21 (NASB95)
18“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them,
19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown.
20“They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
21“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.
Deuteronomy 21:18–21 (YLT)
18‘When a man hath a son apostatizing and rebellious—he is not hearkening to the voice of his father, and to the voice of his mother, and they have chastised him, and he doth not hearken unto them—
19then laid hold on him have his father and his mother, and they have brought him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place,
20and have said unto the elders of his city, Our son—this one—is apostatizing and rebellious; he is not hearkening to our voice—a glutton and drunkard;
21and all the men of his city have stoned him with stones, and he hath died, and thou hast put away the evil out of thy midst, and all Israel do hear and fear.
 
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Hey, brother. I made one mistake--I said that John never says she committed adultery. About that, I was mistaken. I've edited my post in that regard.

I stand by the rest of what I wrote. Note the plain words of the text: “Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.” (Joh 8:5-6)

They were trying to either get Jesus to agree with a lynching or disagree with Moses, "that they might have to accuse him."

However, that's not the whole story. There's the woman's perspective. That's where sin and forgiveness come into play.

If it was a fair trial, and Jesus was a magistrate, and she was guilty, it would have been wrong for him not to punish her. But as the savior of sinners and ruler of his spiritual kingdom, he can forgive her on the basis of his own sacrifice.
You make a good point by stating the motive of the religious leaders, that they might have something to accuse him with. That is very interesting and definitely a focal point I see in the text. I'll have to think on that one some more. Thanks!
 
Greetings,

The OP stated,


Greetings Pilgrims,

"Consider God's decree in Hosea. If I am not mistaken, it seems that Jesus did, in fact, apply the law perfectly in His response to the Pharisee's trick question. Am I on to something?

Please read this verse in its context for a better understanding.

Hosea 4:14 (KJV)
I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.

Then @RamistThomist (Phil D.) said in post #8 (and I paraphrase), "Not so fast!"

This is my take on the death penalty:
There are a number of places where the death penalty is prescribed, but only in the most extreme cases. Something akin to our degrees of punishment, where there is a gradation and the possibility of mitigating circumstances. Then, there are places that seem to say that this offense requires the death penalty. Period. See places in Scripture where it seems that death is the only possibility. Passages like the following (there are many more).

Exodus 22:19 (KJV)​
Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
Leviticus 24:17 (KJV)​
And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 21:17 (KJV)​
And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 21:12 (KJV)​
He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

There is a third case of the death penalty becoming mandatory for crimes, none of which crimes proscribe the death penalty.

Any guesses what tree I'm barking up now?

HINT: "This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard."

Career Criminals are Not to Live
Even though none of the son's infractions were worthy of the death penalty.
There were no long-term jails in Israel. The rule was Restitution or Execution.​

Deuteronomy 21:18–21 (NASB95)
18“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them,
19then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his hometown.
20“They shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.’
21“Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel will hear of it and fear.
Deuteronomy 21:18–21 (YLT)
18‘When a man hath a son apostatizing and rebellious—he is not hearkening to the voice of his father, and to the voice of his mother, and they have chastised him, and he doth not hearken unto them—
19then laid hold on him have his father and his mother, and they have brought him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place,
20and have said unto the elders of his city, Our son—this one—is apostatizing and rebellious; he is not hearkening to our voice—a glutton and drunkard;
21and all the men of his city have stoned him with stones, and he hath died, and thou hast put away the evil out of thy midst, and all Israel do hear and fear.

Your take on the "rebellious son" and the modern-day "career criminal" seems reasonable and has been circling in the back of my mind for a long while. I have been reading up on the Law-Gospel distinction to see if this application of general equity to the civil law is warranted. Again, what you say here makes a lot of sense.
 
Your take on the "rebellious son" and the modern-day "career criminal" seems reasonable and has been circling in the back of my mind for a long while. I have been reading up on the Law-Gospel distinction to see if this application of general equity to the civil law is warranted. Again, what you say here makes a lot of sense.

There is precedent in other passages for the likely purpose of bringing the son into the commandment.
Take the following passage as a typical of this MO. Check out all the adjectives designed to pull at your heartstrings.

Deuteronomy 13:6–11 (ESV)​
6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known,
7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other,
8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.
9 But you shall kill him. Your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people.
10 You shall stone him to death with stones, because he sought to draw you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
11 And all Israel shall hear and fear and never again do any such wickedness as this among you.
 
For what it's worth, even U.S. law will not permit the execution of a pregnant woman - 18 U.S. Code § 3596 - Implementation of a sentence of death:
"(b) Pregnant Woman.—A sentence of death shall not be carried out upon a woman while she is pregnant." (I believe the practice is still to medically examine the woman to determine this before execution).

As for self-defense against a pregnant woman, you are obligated to do whatever is in your power to save your own life and the life of others, including the woman and the unborn child (assuming in your scenario that you are aware she is with child). If your intent is to protect your own life but in doing so the woman is killed and the baby dies, you are not at fault. This can be extracted from passages dealing with unintentional killing such as Deuteronomy 19.5.
If said woman was smart, she would bring herself and all her misdemeanor and felon-committing friends here to friendly Chicago, where they wouldn't even be charged, let alone convicted of any such activity........
 
So here’s my question as best I can put it: would it necessarily be wrong for the government to execute a woman now 6 months pregnant due to adultery?

It seems clear that under the Mosaic covenant, adulteresses were executed as soon as there was evidence to convict of their crime (so we get the scene with the Pharisees and the woman caught in adultery). Even if immediate execution wasn’t always the case, it was sometimes and that’s all I need to raise this question.

Since at least sometimes it was in fact the case that adultery occurred and it was without a doubt just to execute the woman immediately after conviction, then this means that during some of these executions, a child who had been conceived from that act died.

Because of that, it seems to me that one would have to say that this would not necessarily be wrong for a government to do, since if it can do so in the case of a week old infant, it can do so in the case of a 6-month old infant.

That said though, I am unsure here. Perhaps one might argue that a government must wait to execute only if there is an obvious sign of pregnancy. But that seems to raise the question of why ancient Israel didn’t just wait a few months every time a woman was accused of adultery to see if a child was conceived, and if so, to delay the execution. So that answer doesn’t really seem to work here.

I have to imagine that the historic Reformed addressed this question at some point, but I’m unaware of anything specific, although it is certain that at least sometimes a woman was executed who had already conceived, and again, this is all that I need to in order to raise the question. If anyone knows what their practice in this situation was, let me know.
Hi Brandon, I'm on the other side of the Valley. :tumbleweed:

You said: "Even if immediate execution wasn’t always the case, it was sometimes and that’s all I need to raise this question."

There are missing facts that we can assume would change the outcome in certain circumstances. To play advocate on the other side, a 60 year old adulteress woman most likely can't get pregnant any longer. Immediate stoning would be conceivable in that scenario (applying the simplest, harshest interpretation of Mosaic law from our contemporary eyes - I think Jacob has brought up good points of why this reading may not best account for the history and culture of what actually happened on the ground). However, in many cases I would imagine they probably wouldn't be able to determine pregnancy the next day.

As others have already mentioned, even in death penalty cases there were other [equitable] ways out.

Lastly, while black and white law might be conceived in the abstract, it will have to deal with reality. Law always has to be applied appropriately to a certain set of facts and circumstances (hence the adversarial system in the civilized countries to get to the truth of the matter and best apply the law). This is why case law developed in addition to statutory law.
 
Something else I thought about: when Judah learns that his daughter in law is pregnant (ironically, by him), he doesn't wait for the baby to be born. He says burn her now. Of course, even a halfway decent reading of the narrative reveals that is a bad move (on multiple levels). That is another example of how these laws are often embedded in narratives and how they apply turns on how the narrative works.
 
Something else I thought about: when Judah learns that his daughter in law is pregnant (ironically, by him), he doesn't wait for the baby to be born. He says burn her now. Of course, even a halfway decent reading of the narrative reveals that is a bad move (on multiple levels). That is another example of how these laws are often embedded in narratives and how they apply turns on how the narrative works.
Given that Judah created the mess by not following the Law (though not yet given yet still written in his heart) in multiple ways (Gen.38.14 and 38.15-16), I don't put much faith in his judgment regarding the suggested punishment of a pregnant harlot (or his calling her "more righteous" - they both were unfaithful both in word and deed). Both Judah and Tamar appear guilty in this narrative, and it would have been unjust for the unborn child to suffer for it. It is the same reason we oppose the intentional killing of the unborn (commonly called "abortion") in cases of rape, incest, and adultery - one sin does not justify another (or as many of our mothers wisely drilled into us, "two wrongs don't make a right").
 
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