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David was a murderer and an adulterer. Both crimes were punishable by death by the law.

Solomon had ... how many wives and concubines? I don't even remember.

Why neither David nor Solomon were stoned to death? Was there any provision in the law for special cases when the one who commits a crime is the king of Israel?

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The punishments had been defined, but they were very rarely fulfilled. I can't remember a single passage where an adulterer was stoned, even though there's a lot of adultery reported. –  dancek Sep 25 '11 at 14:50
Who would condemn the king, appointed by God, to death? If God appoints someone, it would seem that God is the only one to judge that person. –  James Black Sep 25 '11 at 16:14
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5 Answers

up vote 14 down vote accepted

Solomon married his concubines, so he wasn't practicing adultery - just polygamy, which was not forbidden.

David murdered Uriah, but did it by proxy. He did not kill Uriah, rather he set up a situation in which he would fall in battle. Beyond that, yes David "killed his ten thousands," but did so in battle, and thus it isn't murder. And as Caleb pointed out, God punished David.

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Thanks. I think you've nailed it. –  brilliant Jan 16 '12 at 13:57
Tagging onto your previous post, is the conclusion of this post that the "stoned to death" punishment is applicable only for direct (non-proxied) murders? –  Pacerier Jun 2 '12 at 20:16
@Pacerier I think there is a distinction between a legal penalty (which is ultimately enforced by man) and divine retribution. You'd have to raise the question the question with a Rabbinic lawyer to get a full answer. –  Affable Geek Jun 5 '12 at 15:47
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Yes, there was a special provision. God personally enacted a punishment.

In the case of David, God caused his son to die and did not permit him to be the one to build the temple.

2 Samuel 12:14 (ESV)
Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.

1 Chronicles 28:3 (ESV)
But God said to me, ‘You may not build a house for my name, for you are a man of war and have shed blood.’

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What about Solomon? –  El'endia Starman Sep 25 '11 at 18:46
@El'endia: Solomon lost his legacy. Israel was at its strongest ever under his reign, but after his death the kingdom was split and slowly began its decline. –  Mason Wheeler Sep 25 '11 at 18:56
Ended his days in domestic misery? [citation needed] –  Caleb Sep 25 '11 at 18:56
@Caleb - Thank you Caleb, but I was talking about provision in the law, while what you are talking about is merely how God dealt with David about his crimes that took place long after the law had been given. My point was is there any such provisions in the law like "However, if the sinning one is your king, he shall not be put to death. His punishment will be enacted on him from above at the right time" or something like that. –  brilliant Sep 25 '11 at 21:34
@brilliant I see what you're getting at. This might take quite a bit of research. I don't think there is a scriptural reference to exactly how that would work, and I don't know that even in the civil laws of the time if there would have been such provisions. It wasn't a democracy! The scripture we do have helps people that live under even the worst dictators rest in peace knowing that justice will be done even to kings. –  Caleb Sep 26 '11 at 6:20
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I think this is an excellent question. The Lord was waiting for DAVID to come forward and expose himself to the Law. He didn't and so the sin of fornication was repeated by his children through what happened with Tamar and Ammon. Had he been honest about HIS sin, then he would have been able to correct the sin of his son. He didn't and look what happened!

The child of this marriage turned to evil by letting sex and co-dependency control him. That's why Solomon enslaved his own country men and set up idols. How seriously are you going to take God as the ruler for your life when your own father ignores the basic 10 commandments? David has the duty to expose himself to punishment. He didn't so God took away that child to prevent him from being raised with shame and abuse. David then had the opportunity to admit and repent of his sin. He didn't. The rest if Biblical history.

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Is not Psalm 51 David's prayer of repentance? –  Narnian Jan 22 '13 at 22:54
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This question isn't really a Christian doctrinal question, I think. But, the most obvious answer here is that they were both kings. And the literal letter of God's law is always enacted by people (like the King's army or guards), who are generally under the rule of the king -- notably as a sort of proxy for God in the case of the Jews.

So, the king probably has guards, for one. And these guards probably don't question the king's actions or authority. The people, therefore, are not likely going to form a clan and go up against the king's armed guards because he slept around. They'd just be slaughtered.

I.e., no one's going to stone the king unless God explicitly tells the people to do so via a prophet, even if the king should rightfully be stoned according to the letter of the law! And even then, the king's guards probably need to be in cahoots with the rebels, so to speak, before the people will actually take action -- or at least any successful action.

So, regardless of whether there was a good or strictly legal reason that David and Solomon shouldn't have been stoned, there's no practical reason they would have been. And there are plenty of practical de-motivators at work.

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The king of Israel is also in a somewhat special position as noted in David's behavior toward Saul (1 Sam. 24:5-7--David regretted cutting off a corner of the king's robe, killing the king would be a graver issue--and 1 Sam. 26:9-11). –  Paul A. Clayton Jan 23 '13 at 3:04
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There needed to be two or three witnesses for such a one to be pronounced guilty and sentenced to death; one witness was not enough for the death penalty

Numbers 35:30

Whoever kills a person, the murderer shall be put to death on the testimony of witnesses; but one witness is not sufficient testimony against a person for the death penalty (nkjv).

Deuteronomy 17:6

Whoever is deserving of death shall be put to death on the testimony of two or three witnesses; he shall not be put to death on the testimony of one witness (nkjv).

Deuteronomy 19:15

"One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established (nkjv).

Who would be the witnesses in the case of David?

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Perhaps, no two witnesses in case of David, but what about the case of Solomon? I guess there were numerous witnesses who could prove that he had many concubines. –  brilliant Dec 14 '13 at 1:28
I thought you already established that Solomon had married his concubines and therefore was not living contrary to the Law of God. –  Sarah Dec 14 '13 at 1:56
"He had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines" (1 Kings 11:3) - Did he really marry 300 concubines? What's the difference between wives and concubines? How marriage was understood at that time if besides marrying wives one was also suppose to marry his concubines? –  brilliant Dec 14 '13 at 8:23
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