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Deuteronomy 17

Deuteronomy 17:6

6. At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

6. In ore duorum vel trium testium interficietur qui moriturus est, non interficietur in ore unius testis.

Deuteronomy 19

Deuteronomy 19:15

15. One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

15. Non stabit testis unus contra quenquam in quacunque iniquitate, et in quoeunque peccato quod peccaverit: in ore duorum testium vel in ore trium testium stabit verbum.

 

As His severity in exacting punishment, where murder has been unquestionably committed, shows how highly God rates the life of men, so the qualification, which we find here, declares, that he takes equal care for the preservation of innocent blood. For, since too great credulity would often impel the judges to condemn the guiltless, He here applies a remedy to this evil, forbidding that the crime should be punished unless proved by sure testimony. Although He has naturally inscribed this law upon every heart, yet he would have it written down, that its observance amongst the Israelites might be more sacred; for nothing is more dangerous than to expose men’s lives to the tongue of a single individual; but, where the consent of two or three is carefully weighed, any lurking falsehood is for the most part detected.

Lest, therefore, any one should be rashly condemned, and so innocence should be oppressed by any light conjectures, or insufficient accusations, or unjust prejudices, God here interferes, and does not allow any to be harshly dealt with, unless duly convicted.

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