40 – 1 = 39 Lashes

Why is it 39 lashes? instead of 40 lashes!

We reed in the law of Moses this mysterious number of lashes

  • 39 is because the person that was carrying the punishment might have miscounted so 39 is better than 41 in disgrace
  • If have to guess 39 is what is inflected on Jesus according to the Roman punishment… why?
  • The Romans believed that 40 lashes (Scourges) is the maximum number of lashes required to kill a person and that 39 is the default number for such punishment… prolonged punishment
  • If the governor or the commander permits for the 40th lash and the soldier was unable to kill the person then that soldier is to be put to death… so imagine how much force is behind every lash… the soldier is lashing for his own life… hence what is said in Isiah 53:5 see below
  • I recently heard someone saying that Paul the apostle walked with a limb because of receiving the Roman punishment of 39 scourges! this is a mistake that goes against what the scriptures teaches. In fact Paul used his right as a Roman citizen to avoid such punishment… in fact there is no indication that any of the apostles received this form of punishment by the Romans (see below)
  • Jesus was unique in his punishment… scourging is a way of execution and never was it used in combination with the crucifiction (see below). In fact the scourging that Jesus received was intended to save his life


  • Deu 25:1  “If there is a dispute between men and they come into court and the judges decide between them, acquitting the innocent and condemning the guilty, Deu 25:2  then if the guilty man deserves to be beaten, the judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten in his presence with a number of stripes in proportion to his offense. Deu 25:3  Forty stripes may be given him, but not more, lest, if one should go on to beat him with more stripes than these, your brother be degraded in your sight.
  • Isa 53:5  But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.
  • Act 22:25  And when they had tied him up with the thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
  • 2Co 11:21  in reference to dishonour I speak, how that we were weak, and in whatever any one is bold–in foolishness I say it –I also am bold. 2Co 11:22  Hebrews are they? I also! Israelites are they? I also! seed of Abraham are they? I also! 2Co 11:23  ministrants of Christ are they? –as beside myself I speak–I more; in labours more abundantly, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths many times; 
  • Joh 19:1  Then, therefore, did Pilate take Jesus and scourge him, Joh 19:2  and the soldiers having plaited a crown of thorns, did place it on his head, and a purple garment they put around him,Joh 19:3  and said, `Hail! the king of the Jews;’ and they were giving him slaps.Joh 19:4  Pilate, therefore, again went forth without, and saith to them, `Lo, I do bring him to you without, that ye may know that in him I find no fault;’Joh 19:5  Jesus, therefore, came forth without, bearing the thorny crown and the purple garment; and he saith to them, `Lo, the man!’Joh 19:6  When, therefore, the chief priests and the officers did see him, they cried out, saying, `Crucify, crucify;’ Pilate saith to them, `Take ye him–ye, and crucify; for I find no fault in him;’Joh 19:7  the Jews answered him, `We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, for he made himself Son of God.’Joh 19:8  When, therefore, Pilate heard this word, he was the more afraid,Joh 19:9  and entered again to the praetorium, and saith to Jesus, `Whence art thou?’ and Jesus gave him no answer.Joh 19:10  Pilate, therefore, saith to him, `To me dost thou not speak? hast thou not known that I have authority to crucify thee, and I have authority to release thee?’Joh 19:11  Jesus answered, `Thou wouldest have no authority against me, if it were not having been given thee from above; because of this, he who is delivering me up to thee hath greater sin.’Joh 19:12  From this time was Pilate seeking to release him, and the Jews were crying out, saying, `If this one thou mayest release, thou art not a friend of Caesar; every one making himself a king, doth speak against Caesar.’Joh 19:13  Pilate, therefore, having heard this word, brought Jesus without–and he sat down upon the tribunal–to a place called, `Pavement,’ and in Hebrew, Gabbatha;

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5 Responses to 40 – 1 = 39 Lashes

  1. K D V PRASAD says:

    Thank you for brief and appropriate explanation for 40-1 =39

  2. PJC says:

    Regarding the fifth point, that Paul avoided such punishment as a Roman citizen: Paul writes “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.” This is 2Co 11:24, just three verses further down than a passage that was listed. I’m not aware of any reference to Paul having a limp, but it seems evident that the author of this article didn’t bother to read any further than the verses mentioned.

    • Good point PJ,

      Paul did recive the Jewish punishment as a jew but not the Roman punishment 2hich is diffrent… Jews used web and they did 39 out of respect. The Roman Lashes are much brutal, they use steel hooks and the punishment on many occasion will cause blood poisening and might bleed to death… the Jews did not do that…

      Thanks again for the comment

  3. What about Acts 16 verse 23? Paul did receive the 39 lashes

    • Blessings Gabriela, your correct in saying that Paul recieved the 39 lashes, what Paul avoided is the Roman punishment… when he was in prison and was about to be punished he used his citizenship and lawyer like deffence to avoid scorging… Acts 22:25 As they stretched him out to flog him, Paul said to the centurion standing there, “Is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?”… which with him being sent to Roam and eventual execution there

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