The Witness of Two or More in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible

  • Giovanna Czander Dominican College, Orangeburg, NY
Keywords: Witness, Trial, Torah, Hebrew Bible, Mt 18:20


Within the broader field of the laws of testimony in the Torah[1], the requirement of "two or three" witnesses in order to establish the truth of a claim appears three times (Deut 19:15-19; 17:6; Num 35:30). I argue that this requirement stemmed from the legal realm and developed a theological meaning. This goal will be achieved by briefly illustrating the development of the concept of witnesses and the requirement of "two or three" from the first five books to Second Isaiah. The theological meaning developed from the legal meaning of the requirement of two or three witnesses may offer insight with regards to the future of the Center for Unity and Peace[2].


The article is organized into three parts: 1) Premise: Witnesses in the Torah 2) The legal requirement of two or three witnesses; 3) Theological developments in the concept of "witness" in Second Isaiah. The conclusion will offer a hypothesis on the connection between this requirement of two or three and Mt 18:20.



[1] The laws of testimony in the Bible address the following topics: 1) False accusation (Exod 23:1,7; Deut 22:13-21)  2) False testimony (Exod 23:1) 3) Obligation to testify (Lev 5:1) 4) Required number of witnesses (Deut 17:6; 19:15-16; Num 35:30)  5) Absence of witnesses (Exod 23:7, 9; 22:10; Num 5:13; Deut 21:1-9),

[2] By development, I don't necessarily mean strict "chronological development" but the acquisition of theological meaning in addition to the legal prescriptive meaning.

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