Setting Brushfires 10-03-2019: The Murder of Botham Jean & The Unjust Sentencing Of Amber Guyger
My guest today didn’t show, so I delved into the case of the guilty verdict rendered upon Amber Guyger in the Botham Jean murder. What is just law? What is a just punishment for violating the just law? Who gave us law? Who gave us just punishments? To make America great again, we must return to the foundations, and those are found in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments.
Articles mentioned in this episode:
Genesis 9:6; Num. 35; Deuteronomy 17; Romans 13:1-7; Romans 1:18ff;
The Law, as given to Moses on Mt. Sinai, ordained execution for several offenses: murder (but not accidental killings), striking or cursing a parent, kidnapping, adultery, incest, bestiality, sodomy, rape of a betrothed virgin, witchcraft, incorrigible delinquency, breaking the Sabbath, blasphemy, sacrificing to false gods, oppressing the weak, and other transgressions. (See Exod. 21, 22, 35; Lev. 20 & 24; Deut. 21-24.)
Here are some other principles drawn from the Mosaic Law’s procedures:
Exodus 21:23-25 establishes that punishment must be proportional to the offense. The extreme sanction of death should be considered only in the most serious offenses.
- CERTAINTY OF GUILT
Before a murderer could be executed, two witnesses had to confirm his guilt (Deut. 17:6; Num. 35:30). This was a very high standard of proof. The Bible says nothing of circumstantial evidence.
Numbers 35:22-24 established that capital punishment could not be imposed when the offender did not act intentionally.
- DUE PROCESS
Several provisions of the Law ensured that executions took place only after appropriate judicial procedures (see Num. 35; Deut. 17). The issue was not simply whether the accused was guilty, but whether he also had a fair chance to prove his innocence.
- RELUCTANCE TO EXECUTE
Although the Law may sound bloodthirsty, it was applied with great restraint. In Ezekiel 33:11 God laments, “As sure as I live . . . I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live.” The Lawgiver Himself was reluctant to impose the death penalty, preferring that the wrongdoers repent.Reluctance is not refusal. But it does imply that execution should be a last resort, and, as Ezekiel 33 suggests, repentance or contrition could commute the death sentence.
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