A sanction employed by religious and secular authorities to ensure that a person, especially a witness in court, shall tell the truth. Oaths were part of Israelite culture: the name of God is invoked and divine punishment is expected if the truth is distorted—it is profanation (Exod. 20: 7). The practice continued in NT times (Matt. 23: 16–22), but in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus explained that in the kingdom of God such expedients belied relationships of truth and love (Matt. 5: 34). The epistle of James urges believers to renounce the use of oaths (5: 12).