Not that I want to bring it up again, but the execution of Tookie Williams has, due to its media attention, rekindled the debate on whether capital punishment is a just penalty for crimes like murder.
Both sides seek to bolster their claims by citing Biblical passages, and it seems the favorite of the opponents of the death penalty is the following: ” … Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord … ” (Romans 12:19).
The verse quotes, (or rather, paraphrases), Deuteronomy 32:35, part of the well-known Ha’azinu.
It is used in the Christian Scriptures as support for the position held by Paul that Christians should not take vengeance against their enemies, and reassuring them that God will do the avenging.
But can this verse be used as a prooftext against the death penalty?
It is my aim, throughout this article, to demonstrate that this verse has nothing to do with the death penalty, and that both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures distinguish between vengeance and state sanctioned punishment of criminals,

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