A Basic Principle of Justice

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.”

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deuteronomy 19:15)

“Take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.”

Jesus of Nazareth, King of Kings (Matthew 18:16)


UPDATE: John Calvin’s commentary on Deuteronomy 19:15 is illuminating:

“Since too great credulity would often impel the judges to condemn the guiltless, [God] here applies a remedy to this evil, forbidding that the crime should be punished unless proved by sure testimony. Although He has naturally inscribed this law upon every heart, yet He would have it written down, that its observance amongst the Israelites might be more sacred; for nothing is more dangerous than to expose men’s lives to the tongue of a single individual; but, where the consent of two or three is carefully weighed, any lurking falsehood is for the most part detected. Lest, therefore, any one should be rashly condemned, and so innocence should be oppressed by any light conjectures, or insufficient accusations, or unjust prejudices, God here interferes, and does not allow any to be harshly dealt with, unless duly convicted.”

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