The Talmud, by Joseph Barclay, , at sacred-texts.com
1. "Judgments in money matters (require) three judges. This party chooses for himself one, and the other party chooses for himself one. And both parties choose another." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "the two judges choose for themselves the other." "This one may declare the judge of that one illegal. And that one may declare the judge of this one illegal." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "it is only when witness can be brought against them that they are related or unlawful." "But if they be righteous or experienced, they must not be declared illegal." "This one may declare illegal the witness of that one. And that one may declare illegal the witness of this
one." The words of R. Meier. But the Sages say, "it is only when witness can be brought against them that they are related or unlawful, but if they be righteous they must not be declared illegal."
2. One said to the other, "I trust my father," "I trust thy father," "I trust three cowherds." R. Meier said, "he may change his mind." But the Sages say, "he must not change." If he must give an oath to his companion, and he said to him, "vow to me by the life of thy head?" R. Meier said, "he may change his mind." But the Sages say, "he must not change his mind."
3. And these are illegal (as judges or witnesses), one who played at cards, or lent on usury, or bet on the flight of doves, or trades in the Sabbatical year. R. Simon said, "at first they were called gatherers on the Sabbatical year; when they were forced by Gentiles to cultivate the ground, they changed to call them traders on the Sabbatical year." R. Judah said, "it is only when they have no other occupation but this one alone: but if they have another occupation, they are allowed."
4. And these are related, his father and his brother, and the brethren of his father, and the brethren of his mother, and the husband of his sister, and the husband of his father's sister, and the husband of his mother's sister. And the husband of his mother and his father-in-law, and his brother-in-law, they, their children, and their sons-in-law, and his step-son alone. R. José said, "this was the teaching of R. Akiba; but the first teaching was, his uncle and the son of his uncle, and all suitable for inheritance, and every one related to him at the present time." "One was related and became estranged?" "He is lawful." R. Judah said, "even if his daughter died, and he has children left by her, they are related."
5. "Who is a friend? and who is an enemy?" "A friend is the bridegroom's best man, an enemy is every one who has not spoken with him three days in malice." The Sages replied to him, "Israelites are not so suspicious."
6. "How are witnesses examined?" "They are brought
in and intimidated; and all other men are driven out. And the chief of the witnesses is left, and they say to him, "tell us how do you know that this man is indebted to that man?" If the witness said, "he told me that I am indebted to him""such a man told me that he is indebted to him,"he has said nothing, till he shall say, "he acknowledged in our presence that he owed him two hundred zuz." And afterwards the second witness is brought in, and examined. If their statements were found agreeing, the judges held a conversation. Two of them said "he is clear," and one said "he is indebted?" "He is cleared." "Two said, he is indebted, and one said, he is clear?" "He is indebted." "One said he is clear, and one said he is indebted? And even if two pronounced him clear or indebted, and one said, 'I don't know?'" "The judges must be increased."
7. The matter is finished. They bring in the plaintiff and defendant. The chief judge says, "thou, such a one, art clear; thou such an one, art indebted." "And whence know we that one of the judges on going out should not say, 'I was for clearing him, but my colleagues pronounced him indebted, but what shall I do when my colleagues are too many for me?'" "Of this man it is said, 'Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people;' 1 and it is said, 'A talebearer revealeth secrets.'" 2
8. At any time the one condemned may bring evidence and annul the judgment. The judges said to him, "bring all your evidence within thirty days from this date." If he brought them within thirty days, it is annulled, if after thirty days, it is not annulled. Rabban Simon the son of Gamaliel said, "what shall he do if he did not find them within thirty days, but found them after thirty days?" "The judges said to him, 'bring witnesses;' and he said, 'I have no witnesses:' they said, 'bring evidence;' and he said, I have no evidence:' but afterwards he found evidence, and found witnesses?" "They are nothing." Rabban Simon the son of Gamaliel said, "what shall he do if he did not know
that he had witnesses, and found witnesses; he did not know that he had evidence, and found evidence?" "They said to him, 'bring witnesses;' he said, 'I have no witnesses.' 'Bring evidence,' and he said, 'I have no evidence.'" "He saw that he will be pronounced indebted in judgment," and he said, "approach such an one, and such an one, and bear witness for me," or "he pulled out evidence from his pocket?" "It is nothing."
182:1 Lev. xix. 16.
182:2 Prov. xi. 13.