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Tractate Sanhedrin, Herbert Danby tr. [1919], at

Irregular Justice.

M.IX. 6. If any one steal a sacred vessel, or curse by Kosem2 or marry a heathen woman, 3 zealous people may attack them. If a priest minister in an unclean condition, 4 his brother priests do not bring him to the court, but the young attendant priests take him outside the courtyard and break open his brain with clubs. If a stranger serve in

p. 120

M.the Temple, R. Akiba says he is to be strangled, but the majority hold that he is to be left in the hands of Heaven. 1


119:2 Meaning uncertain. The majority of Jewish commentators treat as the name of an idol. A possible interpretation is, that it is an abbreviation of some transliterated unorthodox divine name, such as, for example, κοσμοπλάστης, or a disguised form of the Tetragrammaton. The criminal is then the blasphemer who utters the name "under a pseudonym" (Sanh. VII. 5). Although he cannot be legally stoned, he may become the object of irregular justice.

119:3 On the ground of Numb. 25. 6-15.

119:4 Legally, (Makkoth III. 2), he can only be punished by scourging.

120:1 See Josephus, Bell. VI. ll. 4; V. v. 2; Ant. XV. xi. 5; from which it is to be gathered that the Romans recognized that the Jews could put intruders to death. The well-known Temple barrier inscription discovered in 1871 reads: "No man of another nation to enter within the fence and enclosure round the Temple; and whoever is caught will have himself to blame that his death follows." Cf. J. Armitage Robinson, St. Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians, p. 160.

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