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If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.
Hanging the body exhibited the person to public humiliation. The criminal was under the curse of God… the judgment that takes a person's life out of the covenant community as a perpetrator of the worst kind of sin and displays that judgment by the humiliation of hanging his body in public shows that that person is under God's curse. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Vol. 3, pp. 134-135)
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
When someone is convicted of a crime punishable by death and is executed, and you hang him on a tree, his corpse must not remain all night upon the tree; you shall bury him that same day, for anyone hung on a tree is under God's curse. You must not defile the land that the LORD your God is giving you for possession. Deut 21:22-23, NRSV)
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Originally posted by Nygdan
So that all makes sense, but what is going on with john the baptist?
and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus
It's not typical that second cousins all meet the same fate, and it's not typical that all prophets meet the same fate. Why should these two?
So no, I doubt there would be much confusion even if John the Baptist were to have been crucified as well.
the Essene community who composed the Dead Sea Scrolls, reads,
If a man informs against his people, delivers his people up to a foreign nation and betrays his people, you shall hang him on a tree so that he dies
In other words, crucifixion was a punishment for slaves and traitors.
Those who deserved the curse ("all who do not abide by all things written in the book of the law, and do them", Galatians 3:10) are spared because the Messiah, God's representative, has taken the curse on himself.
When it is found that a suicide by hanging has taken place, the body must quickly be identified. The relatives who have been informed do not remove the body, but hire strangers who are unrelated to take the body down. These people are provided with a sheep to be used in a sacrificial ritual of cleansing from any evil influence. The intestines of the slaughtered sheep would be smeared on any who make contact with the body, as well as on the desecrated area. The disposal of the body is performed without honour. Mourning is not expected. Normal funeral rituals are prohibited.
I think it has prophetic undertones to it.