FOOTNOTE: 40 Lashes minus One
The Bible states that flogging is a form of punishment in Exodus [Ex. 21:20,26], Deuteronomy [8:5; 21:18], and Proverbs [19:18; 23:13–14; 29:17].
According to Biblical law, flogging is not employed as retribution for an offense; therefore, flogging should not cause death. There were defined guidelines for the use of flogging. Flogging, however, was also used in all cases where a defined punishment for an offense was not stated.
(Deut. 25:3). Talmudic Law went even further in defining the punishment by flogging. The maximum number of lashes was 40, so the number was reduced to 39 to avoid the mistake of going over that limit. The culprit was examined before the punishment and during it to make sure that the punishment didn’t cause death which would go against the Bible mandate of ‘not more’ than flogging.