5.3.9.2 Examples of false witness in the time of the Old Testament

When dealing with cases involving the death penalty in Israel at the time of the Old Testament, at least two witnesses had to be summoned to court (Numbers 35: 30). If these accused the defendant using false testimony, he was, given the corresponding verdict, executed despite his innocence (1 Kings 21).

If, however, the court found that a witness had given false testimony, then this witness would receive the punishment which the defendant would have received if he had been found guilty (Deuteronomy 19: 18-19).

In Jewish wisdom literature, bearing false witness is associated with lying in general: "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who speaks lies shall perish" (Proverbs 19: 9).

See also