Does the Bible sanction trial by ordeal? (Numbers 5:1-29)

Discussion in 'OT Historical Books' started by Pergamum, Feb 23, 2019.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    What is the general equity for this, if any in the NT? How should this be applied today?
  2. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Yes, Numbers 5.

    Did the Medieval European practices of trial by ordeal spring from some logical connection/general equity drawn from the Old Testament.
  3. Bill Duncan

    Bill Duncan Puritan Board Freshman

    No, this does not sanction trial by ordeal. Rather, this was an example of the law as a schoolmaster to prevent the Israelites from taking liberties. To protect the woman who had no witness against her but her husbands suspicion, God gave this special trial proceedure where only He could pass judgment against the accused. Like the granting of divorce, God sought to protect the woman from the pagan cultural practice of denying legal protection to the woman.
  4. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    You have given no examples of mediæval European trials by ordeal, but I would note that such trials have been present in many cultures throughout history, including pre-Christian European cultures.

    There was indeed confusion in the mediæval church concerning Old Testament judicial and ceremonial laws. For instance, in England around the year 700, women who had given birth were forbidden to attend mass until the time of purification had been completed (Lev. 12).

    It is possible that mediæval Europeans looked to some Old Testament practices as justification for their own, but to determine that would require a considerable amount of research.
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