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1. When the judgment was finished, they brought him forth to stone him. 1 The place of stoning was outside the judgment hall; as is said, "Bring him forth that hath

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cursed." 1 One stood at the door of the judgment-hall with towels in his hand, and another man rode a horse at a distance from him, but so that he might see him. If one said, "I have something to tell for his clearing," this one waved the towels, and the other galloped his horse, and stopped the accused. And even though he himself said, "I have something to tell to clear myself," they brought him back as many as four or five times, only there must be substance in his words. If they found him clear, they freed him; but if not, they took him forth to stone him. And a herald preceded him (crying) "Such an one, the son of such an one, is brought out for stoning, because he committed such a transgression, and so and so are witnesses; let every one who knows aught for clearing him come forth and tell it."

2. When he was ten cubits from the place of stoning, they said to him "confess," as it is the custom of all about to die to confess, since to every one who confesses there is a portion in the world to come. So we find with Achan when Joshua said to him, "My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him." 2 "And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed, I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus I have done." "And from whence know we that his confession made atonement for him?" “As it is said, ‘And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day.’ This day thou art troubled, but thou shalt not be troubled in the world to come.’” And if he did not know how to confess, they told him to say, "let my death be an atonement for all my sins." Rabbi Judah said, "if he knew that he was falsely condemned, he said, 'let my death be an atonement for all my sins, except this one;'" the (Sages) said, "if so, every man will speak thus to make themselves innocent."

3. When he was four cubits from the place of stoning, they stripped off his garments. "If a man, they covered him in front; if a woman, before and behind." The words of Rabbi Judah. But the Sages say "a man was stoned naked, but the woman was not stoned naked."

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4. The place of stoning was two men high. One of the witnesses thrust him down on his loins. If he turned on his heart, the witness must turn him on his loins. If he died with that thrust it was finished; but if not, the second (witness) took the stone, and cast it upon his heart. If he died with that blow, the stoning was finished. But if not, he was stoned by all Israel, as is said, "The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people." 1 "All who were stoned were hung up." The words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the Sages say, "none were hung up, save the blasphemer and the idolater." "The man is to be hung with his face toward the people, but the woman with her face toward the wood." The words of Rabbi Eliezer. But the Sages say, "the man was hung up, but they do not hang up a woman." Rabbi Eleazar said to them, "and did not Simon, the son of Shatach, hang women in Askalon?" They said to him, "he hung up eighty women (witches), and two could not be judged, in one day." "How did they hang him?" "They sunk a beam in the ground, and a transverse beam proceeded from it, and they bound his hands, one over the other, and hung him up" (by them). R. José said, "the beam was inclined against the wall, and he was hung upon it, just as the butchers do." And they loosed him immediately afterwards. "But if he was out all night?" "It was a transgression of a negative command, as is said, 'His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day (for he that is hanged is accursed of God),'" 2 etc. As one says, "wherefore is this one hung?" "Because he blasphemed the NAME, and it follows that the heavenly NAME is profaned."

5. Rabbi Meier said, "when man is sorrowful, 3 what language does the Shekinah 4 make him to utter?" If it be lawful so to speak, "my head makes me ashamed, my arm makes me ashamed." If, to speak after the manner of men,

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[paragraph continues] OMNIPRESENCE is sorrowful, when the blood of the wicked is poured out, how much more sorrowful is He for the blood of the righteous. And not in the case of the condemned alone, but every one who leaves his dead overnight, is a transgressor of a negative command. If they left him for the sake of honour, to bring a coffin and a shroud for him, there is no transgression. But they did not bury him (the condemned) in the sepulchres of his fathers. And there were two burial grounds prepared for the Judgment Hall—one for the stoned and the burned, and one for those beheaded and strangled.

6. When the flesh of the condemned was consumed, they gathered his bones and buried them in their proper place; and his relatives came and asked after the peace of the judges, and the peace of the witnesses, as much as to say, "know there is nothing in our hearts against you, as your judgment was true." And they did not mourn, but were gloomy, since gloominess is only in the heart.


187:1 Before executing a criminal, a quantity of frankincense in a cup of wine was given to him to stupefy him and render him insensible to pain. The compassionate ladies of Jerusalem generally provided this draught at their own cost. This custom was in obedience to Proverbs xxxi. 6, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts."

188:1 Lev. xxiv. 14.

188:2 Joshua vii. 19, 20, 25.

189:1 Deut. xvii. 7.

189:2 Deut. xxi. 23.

189:3 This supposes a man sorrowful, because he is obliged to punish his own son.

189:4 i.e. the Divine Presence. The luminous cloud of glory in the Holy of holies.

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