The most common form of capital punishment prescribed by Biblical law was stoning. It usually took place outside the city (Lev 24:23; Num 15:35, 36; 1 Kings 21:13). The prosecution witnesses (the law required two or more, Deut 17:6) placed their hands on the offender’s head (Lev 24:14) to transfer the guilt of the whole community to the offender. The witnesses then cast the first stones, and the rest of the people followed (Deut 17:7). All this was done to purge out evil from the community (22:21).
TDNT, IV (1967), 267, 268; R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel (1965), 143-163; W. Corswant, A Dictionary of Life in Bible Times (1960), 261; H. E. Goldin, Hebrew Criminal Law and Procedure (1952).