Death Penalty

Question

A biblically sanctioned death penalty is very hard to carry out due to the large number of conditions that must be met, including two witnesses who warned the violator in advance that his offense is a capital one. Two executions did occur in the Chumash. But were there any other executions performed in accordance with biblical law and carried out by a beit din after that?

2 weeks

Answers

  1. Yes, there were although, as you point out it was extremely rare that a Bet Din was able to implement capital punishment. In fact, it was so difficult that the Mishna teaches, Tractate Makot 7a, A Sanhedrin that executes once in seven years is destructive. Rabbi Eliezer ben Azariah says, “Every seventy years.” Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say, “If we were in a Sanhedrin, no man would ever be executed.”

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