1 Samuel 14:32-33 (NASB)

32 "The people [a]rushed greedily upon the spoil, and took sheep and oxen and calves, and slew them on the ground; and the people ate them with the blood. 33 Then they told Saul, saying, “Behold, the people are sinning against the Lord by eating with the blood.” And he said, “You have acted treacherously; roll a great stone to me today.”

The Mosaic Law says:

Leviticus 17:10-12 (NET Bible)

Prohibition against Eating Blood

10 “‘Any man[a] from the house of Israel or from the resident foreigners who live[b] in their[c] midst who eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats the blood, and I will cut him off from the midst of his people,[d] 11 for the life of every living thing[e] is in the blood.[f] So I myself have assigned it to you[g] on the altar to make atonement for your lives, for the blood makes atonement by means of the life.[h] 12 Therefore, I have said to the Israelites: No person among you is to eat blood,[i] and no resident foreigner[j] who lives among you is to eat blood.

  • What evidence do you have that it was a capital offence, deserving execution ? Being cut off from the society of Israel is not the same as being executed.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 2:13

2 Answers 2


Although they may have transgressed the prohibition, they weren't necessarily condemned to death.

From the perspective of Rabbinic Judaism this isn't much of a question; the requirements to enforce the death penalty were so strict so as to make capital punishment almost entirely theoretical.

The Mishna (Makkoth 1:10) states:

A Sanhedrin that puts a man to death once in seven years is called a murderous one. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says, 'Or even once in 70 years.' Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiba said, 'If we had been in the Sanhedrin, no death sentence would ever have been passed'; Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel said: 'If so, they would have multiplied murderers in Israel.'

The Talmud in Makkoth 7b lays out the very specific requirements that must be met to enforce capital punishment.

So yeah, even if they ate blood it is most likely that they still weren't put to death...


On second thought, @NigelJ is correct: The punishment here is כרת ("Kareth", meaning "cutting off" ) not מיתה, which is death by rabbinical court.

Kareth is defined as either dying young (before the age of 60), dying without children, or the soul being spiritually "cut off" from your people after death.(1)

  • I appreciate the support but could I suggest you combine this (what may be termed 'comment') with your other answer.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 10:33
  • 2
    I would, but the second answer makes the first a non starter; the question itself is erroneous.
    – Big Mouth
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 13:51

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