40 Lashes Meaning

40 Lashes Meaning

Even in the harsh Roman Empire, being given lashes was a horrific punishment. Because it was so awful, it was forbidden to punish citizens this way. The Romans frequently employed lashes to question non-citizens and punish them for crimes they had committed.

One of the frequently asked questions about lashes is, what is the meaning of 40 lashes?

According to the Jews, 40 rashes is the highest number of lashes a criminal could receive. The Jews would only administer 39 lashes to a criminal to avoid unintentionally disobeying this requirement. This technique was stated by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:24. He claims that he was given forty lashes—minus one—by the Jews five times.

On the other hand, the Romans believed that 40 lashes were the number of lashes capable of causing death. For this reason, they introduced the notion of 40-1 lashes.

What Does the Mosaic Law Say About 40 Lashes?

Moses gave the Mosaic Law. It indicates that a criminal should receive forty minus one or 39 lashes. According to the Old Testament, 40 lashes were sufficient to kill a man. The maximum number of lashes a man could receive before the death penalty was announced was 39. 

In actuality, though, 39 lashes were enough to knock someone out and easy enough to kill them. Depending on the specific transgression, the captain or a crew would frequently administer lesser lashes. The law was often only applied to the most severe or egregious offences that did not carry the death penalty.

What Does the Bible Say About 40 Lashes?

You’ll find it amusing that the Bible does not refer to 40 lashes as the death penalty.  Actually, forty lashes were equivalent to death under an old Roman custom or law.

During the Roman era, it was believed that a flogger should kill an individual with forty lashes to inflict a proper punishment. If the flogger failed to kill a criminal using forty lashes, the flogger was supposed to die. This twisted reasoning ensured the flogger did not hesitate to administer the punishment.

Romans came to the strange conclusion that 39 lashes should not be sufficient to kill someone. Therefore, 39 lashes would be the harshest punishment possible in the absence of the death penalty.

Some claim that if Christ survived his forty-first lash, the flogger might have been afraid of the death penalty. According to historians who have done extensive research on flogging, it was firmly held that 39 lashes were sufficient to bring a regular person dangerously close to death without really killing him.

How Many Lashes Did Jesus Receive?

Many websites fail to specify the precise amount of lashes that Jesus received. Some people think it’s unknown just how many.

But according to the majority of texts, Jesus was scourged 39 times. In 2 Corinthians 11:24, St. Paul refers to receiving “forty lashes less one.”

Whipping someone 39 times was a common procedure in those days. According to the traditions of those days, it was against Roman law to sentence a person to a more severe punishment than what had already been determined.

As a result, the individual typically received fewer lashes than the sentence to make up for any potential counting errors.

What Did the Romans Use for Their lashing Punishment?

Romans utilized a flagellum whip for the lashing punishment. The punishment was referred to as verberatio, and the whip used was comparable to the British cat-o’-nine-tails. It had ball bearings and shards that used to hit the skin with the ball striking first. With the barb/shard following it, the skin would immediately swell up and be torn.

The whipping frequently caused the skin to hang and exposed the arteries. This punishment’s structure was abhorrently harsh and cruel.

What are the Different Levels of Flogging According to the Roman Law?

Depending on the seriousness of the crime, there were three categories of flogging. The least severe type of flogging, known as fustigatio, was utilized for less serious offenses. It featured a small bit of lashing given by a lone individual. The Fustigatio was meant to be a reminder against making the same mistake twice.

The second degree of flogging, known as flagellatio, was utilized on those who had committed significant crimes. Flagellatio had a considerably more vital punitive aspect than Fustigatio. It was more than just corrective or preventive in relation to repeating an offence. Flagellatio intended to cause severe suffering to an individual.

Verberatio was the harshest form of lashing that could be used, and it involved several soldiers. Pieces of bone, glass, metal and lead balls were weaved into the whip during this flogging stage. When being lashed, the victim was occasionally fastened to a pole. Sometimes the victim would die from the lashing before being crucified.

Jesus most likely took the verberatio flogging. Instead of being kind and sparing Jesus the lashes, the Roman soldiers intended to extend his suffering and increase the agony of the cross.

Does the Book of Luke Mention Jesus Being Lashed?

In Luke 23:22, the Pilate asserts that Jesus did nothing wrong to the bloodthirsty mob. He claims that, as a result, he would punish him and free him. As the multitude grew irate, Pilate declared Jesus worthy of death.

Many scholars believe that the Greek term translated as “punish,” paideusas, is a broad word for discipline and denotes lashing. Paideusas is typically translated as “punish” or “chastise” in English. The term is rendered in one major English translation according to its underlying meaning: “I will have him flogged.”

After Pilate’s judgment, flogging is not mentioned in Luke.  According to the Bible, the Pilate surrendered Jesus to the crowd’s whims (“delivered Jesus over to their will”) while releasing Barabas, who had been imprisoned for insurrection and murder. “Their will” most likely refers to the lashing Jesus endured, described in Luke, Matthew, and Mark.

Final Take: 40 Lashes Meaning

40 lashes refer to the maximum number of lashes a criminal could receive, according to the Jews. According to the Romans, 40 lashes referred to the number of lashes that could lead to an individual’s death.