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What the scriptures say about
TWO or THREE (2 or 3), WITNESS

Easton's Bible Dictionary | Smith's Bible Dictionary | International Standard Bible Encyclopedia | Thompson Chain Reference

2 or 3 in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind

Select Cross Reference Bible links
Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15 (2 or 3 witnesses)
2 Kings 9:32 (2 or 3 eunuchs overthrow Jezebel)
Isaiah 17:6 (2 or 3 olives remain after gleanings when an olive tree is beaten)

Matthew 18:16, 18:20 (2 or 3 witnesses)
1 Corinthians 14:27,29 (2 or 3 speak in church)
2 Corinthians 13:1, 1 Timothy 5:19, Hebrews 10:28 (2 or 3 witnesses)

WITNESS in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind
Genesis 21:30, 31:44,48,50,52 (covenant, stone pillar and heap for God to witness)
Exodus 23:1 (malicious witness)
Numbers 5:13 (when there is no witness), 35:30 (no death penalty on 1 witness' testamony)
WITNESSES in scriptures [BibleGateway Search]   Site search: FreeFind
Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 4:26, 17:6-7, 19:15, 30:19 (heavens and earth)
Joshua 24:22; Ruth 4:9-11; Job 10:17; Psalms 27:12, 35:11; more...

WITNESS [Easton's Bible Dictionary]

More than one witness was required in criminal cases
  (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15).
They were the first to execute the sentence on the condemned
  (Deuteronomy 13:9; 17:7; 1 Kings 21:13; Matthew 27:1; Acts 7:57,58).
False witnesses were liable to punishment
  (Deuteronomy 19:16-21).
It was also an offence to refuse to bear witness
  (Leviticus 5:1).

Witness of the Spirit

(Romans 8:16), the consciousness of the gracious operation of the Spirit on the mind, "a certitude of the Spirit's presence and work continually asserted within us", manifested "in his comforting us, his stirring us up to prayer, his reproof of our sins, his drawing us to works of love, to bear testimony before the world," etc.

WITNESS [Smith's Bible Dictionary]

Among people with whom writing is not common the evidence of a transaction is given by some tangible memorial or significant ceremony:
Abraham gave seven ewe-lambs to Abimelech as an evidence of his property in the well of Beersheba.

Jacob raised a heap of stones, "the heap of witness." as a boundary-mark between himself and Laban. (Genesis 21:30; 31:47,52)

The tribes of Reuben and Gad raised an "altar" as a witness to the covenant between themselves and the rest of the nation.

Joshua set up a stone as an evidence of the allegiance promised by Israel to God. (Joshua 22:10,26,34; 24:26,27)

But written evidence was by no means unknown to the Jews. Divorce was to be proved by a written document. ( 24:1,3) In civil contracts, at least in later times documentary evidence was required and carefully preserved. (Isaiah 8:16; Jeremiah 32:10-16)

On the whole the law was very careful to provide and enforce evidence for all its infractions and all transactions bearing on them. Among special provisions with respect to evidence are the following:

Two witnesses at least are required to establish any charge.
  (Numbers 35:30; 17:6; John 8:17; 2 Corinthians 13:1) comp. 1Tim 5:19
In the case of the suspected wife, evidence besides the husbandís was desired.
  (Numbers 5:13)
The witness who withheld the truth was censured.
  (Leviticus 5:1)
False witness was punished with the penalty due to the offence which it sought to establish.

Slanderous reports and officious witness are discouraged.
  (Exodus 20:16; 23:1; Leviticus 18:16,18) etc.
The witnesses were the first executioners.
  (Deuteronomy 15:9; 17:7; Acts 7:58)
In case of an animal left in charge and torn by wild beasts, the keeper was to bring the carcass in proof of the fact and disproof of his own criminality.
  (Exodus 22:13)

According to Josephus, women and slaves were not admitted to bear testimony. In the New Testament the original notion of a witness is exhibited in the special form of one who attests his belief in the gospel by personal suffering. Hence it is that the use of the ecclesiastical term "martyr", the Greek word for "witness," has arisen.

WITNESS [International Standard Bible Encyclopedia]

wit'-nes (nouns `edh, and `edhah, and verb `anah; martus, with all derivative words and their compounds):

The word "witness" is used of inanimate things, e.g. the heap of stones testifying to the covenant between Jacob and Laban (Genesis 31:44-54), and the Song of Moses. (Deuteronomy 31:19,21). The main use of the word is forensic, and from this use all other applications are naturally derived. Important legal agreements required the attestation of witnesses, as in the case of the purchase of property, or a betrothal (Ruth 4:1-11, where we are told that the ancient form of attestation was by a man drawing off his shoe and giving it to his neighbor).

The Mosaic Law insisted on the absolute necessity of witnesses in all cases which came before a judge, especially in criminal cases. Not only in criminal cases, but in all cases, it was necessary to have at least two witnesses to make good an accusation against a person (Deuteronomy 17:6; 19:15; compare Numbers 35:30; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19). According to the Talmud (Pesachim 113b), if in a case of immorality only one witness came forward to accuse anyone, it was regarded as sinful on the part of that witness.

On the other hand, anyone who, being present at the adjuration (Leviticus 5:1 the Revised Version (British and American)), refused to come forward as a witness when he had testimony to bear, was considered to have sinned (Proverbs 29:24). Among those not qualified to be witnesses were the near relations of the accuser or the accused, friends and enemies, gamesters, usurers, tax-gatherers, heathen, slaves, women and those not of age (Sanhedhrin 3 3, 4; Ro'sh Ha-shanah 1 7; Babha' Kamma' 88a; compare Ant,IV , viii, 15). No one could be a witness who had been paid to render this service (Bekhoroth 4 6). In cases of capital punishment there was an elaborate system of warning and cautioning witnesses. Each witness had to be heard separately (Sanhedhrin 5; compare 3 5). If they contradicted one another on important points their witness was invalidated (Sanhedhrin 5).

No oath was required from witnesses. The meaning of Leviticus 5:1 was not that witnesses had to take an oath, as some think; it describes the solemn adjuration of the judge to all those with knowledge of the case to come forward as witnesses (see OATH ). When a criminal was to be put to death, the witnesses against him were to take the foremost share in bringing about his death (Deuteronomy 17:7; compare Acts 7:58), in order to prove their own belief in their testimony. In the case of a person condemned to be stoned, all the witnesses had to lay their hands on the head of the condemned (Leviticus 24:14). "False witnessing" was prohibited in the Decalogue (Exodus 20:16); against it the lexicon talionis was enforced, i.e. it was done to the witness as he meant to do to the accused (Deuteronomy 19:16-21). The Sadducees held that only when the falsely accused had been executed, the false witnesses should be put to death; the Pharisees, that false witnesses were liable to be executed the moment the death sentence had been passed on the falsely accused (Makkoth 17). In spite of prohibitions, false witnessing was a very common crime among the people (Psalms 27:12; 35:11; Proverbs 6:19; 12:17; 14:5; 19:5; 24:28; Matthew 26:60; Acts 6:13).

In Acts 22:20; Revelation 2:13; 17:6 the word martus, "witness", seems to be beginning to acquire the meaning of "martyr," as in the King James Version, although the Revised Version (British and American) translates "witness" in the first two passages, retaining "martyr" only in the third with "witness" in the m. For "Tabernacle of Witness" see TABERNACLE, A .

Paul Levertoff

TWO or THREE [Thompson Chain Reference] WITNESS, WITNESSES
Three-fold Duty of Life

    "Appropriation" (taking)
        Cup of Salvation
            Psalms 116:13
            Proverbs 4:13
        Divine Strength
            Isaiah 27:5
        All of Life's opportunities
            Luke 19:13
        The Water of Life
            Revelation 22:17
    "Formation" (making)
        After the Divine Plan
            Exodus 25:40
        A Perfect Example
            John 13:15
        Life to be Transformed, not conformed
            Romans 12:2
            2 Corinthians 3:18
        Danger of Old Ideals
            1 Peter 1:14
            1 Peter 1:15
    "Donation" (giving)
        With a Free Hand
            Matthew 10:8
        Give or Lose
            Matthew 16:25
        The Blessedness of
            Acts 20:35
        As Stewards
            1 Peter 4:10
        SEE Benevolence
        SEE Liberality
        SEE Giving


    Christ - a Witness to the Truth
        Isaiah 55:4
        John 3:11
        John 3:32
        John 8:14
        John 18:37
        1 Timothy 6:13
        Revelation 1:5
        The Saviour
            SEE Saviour, Christ Our
        Sufferings of
            SEE Sufferings of Christ
    Divine, The Father Bears Witness
        Matthew 3:17
        Matthew 17:5
        John 5:32
        John 5:37
        John 8:18
        1 John 5:9
        SEE Son 
    Of the Spirit
        (Bearing Witness to the Spiritual Adoption of Believers)
        Romans 8:16
        Galatians 4:6
        1 John 3:24
        1 John 4:13
        1 John 5:6
        SEE Spiritual; Adoption
        SEE Assurance

Witnesses, False

    Warnings against
        Exodus 20:16
        Exodus 23:1
        Deuteronomy 19:16
        Proverbs 6:19
        Proverbs 12:17
        Proverbs 19:9
        Proverbs 24:28
        Proverbs 25:18
        Matthew 19:18
        Romans 13:9
        SEE Slander
    Examples of
        Matthew 28:15
        Mark 14:56
        Acts 6:11
        Acts 17:6
        Acts 25:7
        SEE Perjury
        SEE Falsehood
        SEE Lying, Examples of

Witnessing to the Truth

        Isaiah 43:10
        John 15:27
        Acts 1:8
        Acts 5:20
        Acts 5:21
        Acts 18:9
        Acts 18:10
        Acts 22:14
        Acts 22:15
        Titus 2:15
        SEE Confessing Christ
    Examples of
        John 1:15
        Acts 2:32
        Acts 4:33
        Acts 16:32
        Acts 26:22
        SEE Confessing Christ
    Living Witnesses
        Mark 2:12
        Mark 5:15
        John 9:8
        John 9:9
        John 12:9
        Acts 4:14
    Divine Help in
        SEE Inspiration