Pastor's Blog

Five Times Received | Forty Stripes Saved One

In Second Corinthians 11:24, Paul speaks concerning the way he was treated by his former colleagues, “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” This was a Jewish method of punishment, applied to Paul on five different occasions.
Deuteronomy 25:2,3 refers to this method when it specifies how the wicked man should be punished: “And it shall be, if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten, that the judge shall cause him to lie down, and to be beaten before his face, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty stripes he may give him, and not exceed…”.  This was one of the most vicious treatments of the ancient world. The tortured person’s clothing was completely removed so he appeared before his persecutors naked. His arms were tied so he could not defend himself. Then the torturer would begin to lash the prisoner’s bare body with a whip made of three long cords, one from calf hide and the other two from donkey hide. Pieces of glass, bone, and metal were often attached to the end of the cords to make the lashing more memorable. The torturer would hit so hard that the pieces of glass, bone, and metal would lodge into the victim’s skin. Then as the cords were jerked backward for the next lash of the whip, those pieces of glass, bone, and metal would rip out significant amounts of flesh. This left horrid scars on the victim’s body — permanently.
The first third of these lashes were given across the prisoner’s upper chest and face, while the remaining two-thirds of lashes were applied to his back, buttocks, and legs.  Meanwhile, the victim was forced to bend over to make it easier for the torturer to hit his body. Blood flew everywhere as the cords whipped wildly through the air, making snapping noises as they struck the victim again and again.
But let’s think a little deeper. If the whip was made of three cords and Paul received thirty-nine lashes each time, this means he received 117 lashes at each beating! And he went through this grueling exercise on five different occasions, which means 585 lashes were laid across Paul’s body.
Just think about it.  He went through this, got up, put his clothes back on, and continued following his God - given passion until his mission was complete.
Copied from Sparkling Gems by Rick Renner
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Cleddie and GayNell

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