Burning As a Punishment
Burning As A Punishment The rabbins assert that burning among the Jews consisted in pouring - melted lead down the throat; and Lewis, in his Origines Hebraicce, gives the following account of the process: "They set the malefactor in dung up to the knees, and then tied a towel about his neck, which was drawn by the two witnesses till they made his mouth ;gape, into which they poured melted lead down his throat, which consumed the bowels." Such a cruel anode of execution is at variance with the. humane usages of the Hebrews. The practice of burning alive, however, by throwing the criminal into a furnace of fire, is well known to have been common among Oriental nations; and a remarkable example is given in the case of the three companions of Daniel. Another instance is referred to in Jer 29:22. The same barbarity appears to have been not uncommon in the East as late as the 17th century. The Romans inflicted the punishment of burning upon the early Christians in various forms. SEE NERO. Sometimes they were fixed to a stake over a slow fire, until the flesh was consumed from the bones; at other times they were clothed in coats fitted close to the person, besmeared with pitch, sulphur, wax, or some other inflammable substance, and being fastened to a stake, with a cord tied round the chin to keep the head in an erect position, fire was applied, and the martyr expired amid the flames. ' Another form of this horrid punishment, especially in papal times, was to fix the Christian, in a sitting posture, on an iron chair red-hot from a furnace, and so constructed that its arms enclosed the body of the victim. On other occasions the chair was gradually heated by a slow fire kept burning beneath it. SEE PERSECUTIONS.