Some argue that it was wrong for God to command that the man who was gathering sticks on the Sabbath in Numbers 15:32-36 be stoned because the punishment was not proportionate to what seems like a relatively minor crime. However, there are several responses to this argument that demonstrate that there is nothing wrong with what God does in Numbers 15:32-36.
32 While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 33 And those who found him gathering sticks brought him to Moses and Aaron and to all the congregation. 34 They put him in custody, because it had not been made clear what should be done to him. 35 And the Lord said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones outside the camp.” 36 And all the congregation brought him outside the camp and stoned him to death with stones, as the Lord commanded Moses.Numbers 16:32-36
The crime of the man was more serious that those who object to Numbers 15:32 believe. The man was not just innocently gathering sticks on the Sabbath. He was deliberately and fragrantly breaking a clear command from God.
Because of this, his punishment was not actually disproportionate to his crime.
Speaking more generally, God has the right to punish sin. The Bible teaches that every single human has sinned and that the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). This means that God would be just to kill any human at any time because of that person’s personal guilt and sin.
However, God does not do this because of his patience and mercy. When God ”does” end the life of a person because of sin, it is always just and fair for God to do this because the person deserves death because of sin.
To read more answers to alleged and apparent contradictions in the Bible, see “Contradictions” in the Bible Answered.
These books are also excellent resources: