David Taylor dave201 at
Sun Mar 10 00:54:02 EST 2002

Dear members of the list,

I have come across this debate on another mailing list and would like to know your opinion on it, especially whether what [M] is saying is correct.



[P]: This is not what the LORD meant, in this verse.By the Torah, we can see one of the meanings of "shall die".

Deuteronomy 17:12
"The man who acts presumptuously by not listening to the priest
who stands there to serve the LORD your God, nor to the judge,
that man shall die; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel.

Notice that in here "shall die" means that the man who does this act, must 
be put to death. It doesn't mean that the moment the man does not listen to 
the priest, he will have automatic death in that very moment.

[M]: Notice here that the verb “yamot” = “shall die” does not require an object, that is to say the person who shall die does not need another person to make him die, he dies by himself . That’s why God indicated consequently who the subject is: “thus YOU shall purge the evil from Israel” [Deut 17:12 & 22:] , “only the man with her shall die , but YOU shall do nothing to the girl” [ Deut 22:25-26] , “thus YOU shall purge the evil from among you” [Deut 24:7], the object being the person executed of course. We find that this is not the case with Deut 18:20 , where God did not indicate who the subject is , and by itself the verb “yamoot” does not indicate that an object is involved [see the other usages of this verb at the very bottom of this post], unlike the verb “yomeet” = “put to death” which indicates that a subject and an object are involved. [Exodus 19:12, 21:12, 21:15-17].

[P]: Deuteronomy 18:20
'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks
in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'

This is the verse you quoted. But watch what Moses wrote after

Deutoronomy 18:21
*You* may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message
has not been spoken by the LORD?"

You see, M, the point of this is:
1. A man claims to be a prophet, amd makes false prophecies.
2. The Israelites wait to see if they come to be
3. If they don't come to be, then they do what is prescribed in
Deut 19:20; that prophet shall die, which, by deut 17:12 (and the
following verses) means that that false prophet must be put to death.

[M]: Point 3 does not stand because the verb “yamot” is not imperative. Deut 17:12 (and the following verses) modify the tense by introducing a second-person “subject”. To the contrary, Deut 18:22 indicates that no action is required of the Israelites by saying: “you shall not be afraid of him” which renders the death as an act of God:

Deuteronomy 18:22
"When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spokenitpresumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him."

This further supported by the false prophet at Jeremiah’s (Jeremiah 28) time, the Israelites did not kill him, but God did. Also compare this to another verse where the death of the prophet who incites the Israelites to worship of other deities is commanded:

Deuteronomy 13:5
"But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.

Not only the verb “yomet” was used (thus indicating a subject and object) but also this is affirmed by mentioning the subject: “so YOU shall purge the evil from you”.

[P]: Deuteronomy 22:25
"But if in the field the man finds the girl who is engaged,and the man forces her and lies with her, then only the man who
lies with her shall die.

The man must be put to death, as in, he shall die by execution.

Deuteronomy 24:7
"If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief *shall die*; so you shall purge the evil from among you.

The man must be put to death, as in, he shall die by execution.

I hope this made things a bit more clear about the therm "shall die".
A similar therm is "put to death". In fact, the hebrew word used in "shall 
die" and "put to death" is the same: muwth {mooth}.
[M]: This has NOT made things clear because you do not really have a grasp on Hebrew grammar; to the contrary you are confusing things: the Hebrew word for shall die is “yamot” [yod – mem – tav] , that for “put to death” is “yomeet” [yod – vav – mem – tav]. They are NOT the same. There usage is different, as I have already explained. They do share the same root “moot” but that does not mean they are the same.

[P]: This is where we can this word, in the Torah:

Exodus 19:12
"You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying,
'Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the
border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put
to death.

Exodus 21:12
"He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put
to death.

Exodus 21:15
"He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to

Exodus 21:16
"He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death.

Exodus 21:17
"He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

This is the root of "shall die/put to death":

04191 muwth {mooth}
a primitive root; TWOT - 1169; v
AV - die 424, dead 130, slay 100, death 83, surely 50, kill 31, dead man 3, dead body 2, in no wise 2, misc 10; 835
1) to die, kill, have one executed 1a) (Qal) 1a1) to die 1a2) to
die (as penalty), be put to death 1a3) to die, perish (of a nation)
1a4) to die prematurely (by neglect of wise moral conduct) 1b)
(Polel) to kill, put to death, dispatch 1c) (Hiphil) to kill, put to
death 1d) (Hophal) 1d1) to be killed, be put to death 1d1a) to die

In all the verses from the Holy Book I posted above, the hebrew word is the same (you can check it for yourself, M) and the meaning is the same; death by execution. It does not mean automatic death the moment the guilty 
one makes the deed worthy of death by execution.

[M]: It is NOT the same and the meaning is NOT the same. “Yamot” is of the simple imperfect intransitive tense (Qal) and thus does not require a direct object and by default takes the usage indicated by your quote with (1a1), for it to be used in the transitive sense (1a2) the subject and object have to be clearly identified. “Yomet” is also imperfect but of the causative tense (Hiphil, that is the subject causes an act to be performed or a condition to come into being- in this case death) and the hireq-yod occurs for this tense in the middle consonant, in this case meem thus verb becomes (yomeet). Sometimes the vav is not used after the first consonant and instead a qames-hatuph occurs in the first consonant instead as in (Genesis 38:7): “But Er, Judah's firstborn, was evil in the sight of the LORD, so the LORD took his life.” 
Deut 18:20 is of the usage indicated by 1a1 so are the following verses (though those are of the perfect tense):

Genesis 5:5
So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.

Genesis 11:28
Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans.

Genesis 25:8
Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people. 



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