The punishments had been defined, but they were very rarely fulfilled. I can't remember a single passage where an adulterer was stoned, even though there's a lot of adultery reported.
David murdered Uriah, but did it by proxy. He did not kill Uriah, rather he set up a situation in which he would fall in battle. Beyond that, yes David "killed his ten thousands," but did so in battle, and thus it isn't murder. And as Caleb pointed out, God punished David.
Yes, there was a special provision. God personally enacted a punishment.
In the case of David, God caused his son to die and did not permit him to be the one to build the temple.
This question isn't really a Christian doctrinal question, I think. But, the most obvious answer here is that they were both kings. And the literal letter of God's law is always enacted by people (like the King's army or guards), who are generally under the rule of the king -- notably as a sort of proxy for God in the case of the Jews.
So, the king probably has guards, for one. And these guards probably don't question the king's actions or authority. The people, therefore, are not likely going to form a clan and go up against the king's armed guards because he slept around. They'd just be slaughtered.
I.e., no one's going to stone the king unless God explicitly tells the people to do so via a prophet, even if the king should rightfully be stoned according to the letter of the law! And even then, the king's guards probably need to be in cahoots with the rebels, so to speak, before the people will actually take action -- or at least any successful action.
So, regardless of whether there was a good or strictly legal reason that David and Solomon shouldn't have been stoned, there's no practical reason they would have been. And there are plenty of practical de-motivators at work.
None of these answers address the apparent conflict of a just king who is above the law and not accountable to its penalties- even to God. They also seem to underestimate the commitment of the Hebrew people to justice and impartiality of the law (we can't conclude that the courts contemporary to David's rule were corrupt), and disregard that the law was both a spiritual agreement with God and a legally binding criminal code within their society.
The answer in David's case is that the law condemned his actions as worthy of death, but did not allow for his execution. We can't just go around stoning people and claim that it's justified by the law. A legal system is unjust that does not permit due process and allows judgement and sentencing of death to be carried out without a trial. Thus, God gave specific instructions concerning a sentence of death in the Torah. The traditional interpretation (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 2a-b) of those instructions maintain that even an ox that is worthy of the death penalty (eg. for killing a person) should be tried by a court of 23 judges.
According to this Judaism.SE question, in order to be eligible under the law for the death penalty on either charge, David would have had to continue in his sin after being confronted by more than one witness that could testify in a court of 23 judges that he saw David persist in his sin after being confronted. This is the very reason for the observation in a previous answer that "not many people were put to death." According to the linked question, a court was considered murderous if it executed a person more frequently than 7 years (some accounts say 70 years).
Nathan, filled with the word of God, convinced David with a parable that he is worthy of death. David does not continue in his sin. He repents Uriah's murder and legitimizes his relationship with Bathsheba, and so he is not eligible to be sentenced to death for his sins (crimes).
DaveB wrote:Thanks for the links Randy - though I did not find the answers 'satisfying'.
If I were about to be executed, I would repent also. Did the Law mention repentance in relation to capital crimes?
Undeniably, the law gave David the right to bring Uriah before the Sanhedrin and demand his execution. Nevertheless, David worried (for good reason) that the people would question the integrity of a king who ordered a man’s death and immediately married his widow, and David sought to avoid the public appearance of conspiracy and impropriety when he married Bathsheba.10 Therefore, rather than demanding Uriah’s execution from the Sanhedrin, David instructed his general, Joab, to arrange Uriah’s death in battle.11
It is clear, therefore, that David was neither an adulterer nor a murderer. Indeed, when the prophet Nathan presented David with the parable of the rich man who stole the poor man’s sheep, he alluded to theft but to neither murder nor adultery.12 Had David been truly guilty of murdering Uriah, what possible explanation could there have been for the prophet to employ a parable that implied theft but not murder?
What was David’s crime? Some say David erred by arranging Uriah’s death himself and circumventing the formal process of indictment and sentencing. Although David had the authority to invoke the death penalty, he should have gone to the Sanhedrin and confirmed that Uriah’s actions constituted an act of rebellion before executing justice.13 According to this, it was David’s desire to avoid the appearance of wrongdoing that, ironically, resulted in his real transgression.
DaveB wrote:Perhaps the absolute last possible answer I could have imagined in a feverish drug-induced pathological break with reality.
Maybe I overstated? But still, that explanation seems way off-base. What do you think?
Geoffrey wrote:In a nutshell, the death penalty in the Law is an illustration of the fact that sin causes spiritual death, and a foreshadowing that only the death of Christ can atone for sin.
DaveB wrote:Geoffrey wrote:In a nutshell, the death penalty in the Law is an illustration of the fact that sin causes spiritual death, and a foreshadowing that only the death of Christ can atone for sin.
That is a lot to think about - I'd not thought of it in those terms. You may very well be correct but if so, a lot of interpretive principles that I've taken for granted will have to be re-thought.
Excellent point re: eyes first.
But now I've read Paidion's response and I'm back to the OP.
Geoffrey wrote:We readers are barbaric and moronic,
Geoffrey wrote:Rather, I'm denying that anyone was stoned in accordance with the Law (since the Law does not demand literal stoning, even as Christ does not demand literal amputations).
Lev 20:10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death.
Jn 8:5 Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”
Paidion wrote:There is no doubt that the Mosaic Law was carried out literally, and people were stoned to death.
Leviticus 24:23 Then Moses spoke to the children of Israel; and they took outside the camp him who had cursed, and stoned him with stones. So the children of Israel did as the LORD commanded Moses.
Numbers 15:36 So, as the LORD commanded Moses, all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him with stones, and he died.
Joshua 7:25 And Joshua said, "Why have you troubled us? The LORD will trouble you this day." So all Israel stoned him with stones; and they burned them with fire after they had stoned them with stones.
1 Kings 12:18 Then King Rehoboam sent Adoram, who was in charge of the revenue; but all Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem.
1 Kings 21:13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, "Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!" Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died.
2 Chronicles 10:18 Then King Rehoboam sent Hadoram, who was in charge of revenue; but the children of Israel stoned him with stones, and he died. Therefore King Rehoboam mounted his chariot in haste to flee to Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 24:21 So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD.
Geoffrey wrote:…also deal with special commands given to Moses.
Geoffrey wrote:Sometimes God strikes someone down. Sometimes God says, "Hey, that fellow right there: kill him." But never, and I mean never, a clear-cut example of an execution done according to the Law.
davo wrote:Geoffrey wrote:…also deal with special commands given to Moses.
QED… such then qualifies as “the law of Moses”.
davo wrote:Geoffrey wrote:Sometimes God strikes someone down. Sometimes God says, "Hey, that fellow right there: kill him." But never, and I mean never, a clear-cut example of an execution done according to the Law.
That might then show you God’s overriding *law* was MERCY… mercy trumps condemnation every time.
Again I reference back to Jn 8:5 above… Jesus did NOT challenge their statement regarding Moses with the likes of “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God” which he had used elsewhere, IF what they were saying was false.
DaveB wrote:Could it be that the Law was an effective prophylactic, thus ensuring that we do not read about hordes of people being stoned for coveting their neighbor's ass?
Geoffrey wrote:Jesus didn't tell them that they were mistaken because He knew well and good that the scribes and Pharisees knew the true interpretation of the Law on this point.
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