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In American jurisprudence it suffices that the testimony of one witness who is believed is sufficient for a conviction.  The Bible disagrees.  The Bible says the following in Deuteronomy 19:15, as it relates to criminal inquests and prosecutions:

“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 Bible; English Standard Version


California allows the testimony of one witness to convict in a criminal case. The bible calls for two witnesses.

In discussing the application this provision of the bible, Matthew Henry stated: 

“19:15-21 Sentence should never be passed upon the testimony of one witness alone. A false witness should suffer the same punishment which he sought to have inflicted upon the person he accused. Nor could any law be more just. Let all Christians not only be cautious in bearing witness in public, but be careful not to join in private slanders; and let all whose consciences accuse them of crime, without delay flee for refuge to the hope set before them in Jesus Christ.”

A single witness shall not suffice

California law disagrees.  The instruction given in a trial by the Judge to the jury after the close of evidence but prior to deliberations is in direct conflict with Deuteronomy.  

CALCRIM 301. Single Witness’s Testimony

The testimony of only one witness can prove any fact. Before you conclude that the testimony of one witness proves a fact, you should carefully review all the evidence.


God’s law conflicts with man’s law. Man’s law is used in our courts and people are often convicted by witnesses providing false testimony. n

It wasn’t the idea of the law of God that one snitch could send a defendant to death row.  But in the law of man we don’t worry about such things.  A lack of proof via corroboration is one of the central problems with our justice system.  False accusations abound.  Of the people exonerated through DNA evidence, the overwhelming majority were convicted either by false testimony or mistaken eyewitness testimony.  Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to look at the bible’s definition of witnesses necessary to convict.  If one injustice is prevented it may well be worth it.




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