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169. Atonement for Sins
9 If a man says:
--"I will sin and repent, I will sin and repent!"
he will be given no chance to repent.
(If he says):
--"I will sin and the Day of Atonement [yom Kippur] will make atonement!"
the Day of Atonement does not make atonement.
The Day of Atonement (only) makes atonement
for a man's offense towards God;
but for offense between a man and his neighbor,
the Day of Atonement does not make atonement,
until he has appeased his neighbor."
  --- Mishna, Yoma 8.9

170. Life or Death?
  Our rabbis taught:
If one is sick and inclines toward death, he is told:
--"Confess! For all who are (condemned) to die confess!"
A man going to market is to imagine that he has been handed over to an officer.
(If he has) a pain in his head, he is to imagine that he has been put in chains.
When he goes up to bed, he is to imagine that he has ascended the scaffold for judgment; for all who ascend the scaffold are judged.
If he has great advocates, he is saved;
if not, he is not saved.
And these are a man's advocates: repentance and good deeds!
And even if 999 argue his guilt, if one argues his acquittal he is saved.
For it is written:
"If a man has an angel with him, an advocate,
one in a thousand to show him what is right,
then he is gracious to him and says:
save him from going down to the Pit...
" (Job 33:23-24)
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Shabbath 32a

171. Composition of a Court
6 The Great Sanhedrin was (composed) of seventy-one (elders)
and a lesser (sanhedrin was made up of) twenty-three...
lest a court [beth din] be equally divided.
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 1.6

172. Cases for the Supreme Court
5 A tribe, a false prophet and a high priest are not to be tried,
except before the court of seventy-one (cf. Deut 17:48, 16:20).
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 1.5

173. Capital & Non-capital Cases
1 What (is the difference) between property cases [dinei mammonoth] and capital cases [dinei nephashoth]?
--(1) Property cases (are decided) by three (judges)
and capital cases by twenty-three.
--(2) Property cases may open (with arguments) for acquittal or conviction,
but capital cases must open (with arguments) for acquittal
and cannot begin (with arguments) for conviction.
--(3) (In) property cases (the verdict) may be reached by a majority of one ---
whether it be for acquittal or for conviction---,
but (in) capital cases it takes a majority of one to acquit
but a majority of two to convict.
--(4) (In) property cases (the verdict) may be reversed---
whether it be for acquittal or for conviction---,
and (in) capital cases (a conviction) may be reversed to acquit
but (an acquittal) may not be reversed to convict.
--(5) (In) property cases, all may argue for either acquittal or conviction,
and (in) capital cases everyone may argue for acquittal
but not everyone may argue for conviction.
--(6) (In) property cases one who argued to convict may argue for acquittal
and one who argued to acquit may (later) argue for conviction;
and (in) capital cases one who argued to convict may argue for acquittal
but one who argued to acquit may not (later) argue for conviction.
--(7) Property cases may be judged by day and end by night;
capital cases must be judged by day and end by day.
--(8) Property cases may end on the same day
whether (the verdict) is to acquit or to convict;
capital cases may end with acquittal in one day,
but with conviction (only) on the following day.
Therefore (capital cases) are not to be tried on the eve of the Sabbath or on the eve of a feast day [yom tob].
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 4.1

174. Court Protocol
3 The Sanhedrin sat in a semi-circle* so that they might see each other.
And two of the judges' scribes stood before them,
one on the right and one on the left.
And they recorded the words for acquittal and the words for conviction.
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 4.3
* lit.: "was like half a threshing floor."

175. Warning to Witnesses
5 How did they warn witnesses in capital cases?
They brought them in and warned them, (saying):
--"Now, lest you tell an opinion or hearsay
or testify to what (another) witnesses said,
or testify:
--'We heard (it) from a trustworthy man!'
or if you do not (already) know that we will test you
with questions and cross-examination:
Be aware that capital cases are not like property cases.
In property cases one may pay money and (thereby) make atonement,
but in capital cases the blood (of the accused)
and the blood of his seed until the end of the world
are dependent on this (testimony)...
Therefore, the human being (Adam) was created alone, to teach you
that anyone who who destroys one soul from Israel
is reckoned by scripture as if he destroyed the whole world;
and anyone who saves one soul from Israel,
is reckoned by scripture as if he had saved the whole world..."
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 4.5

176. Offenders Sentenced to Stoning
4 These are the ones who are to be stoned:
--(1) one who has intercourse with his mother or his father's wife, his daughter-in-law, a male or a beast;
--(2) a woman who copulates with a beast;
--(3) the blasphemer and the idol-worshipper...;
--(4) one who desecrates the Sabbath;
--(5) one who curses his father or his mother;
--(6) one who has intercourse with a girl who is betrothed,
--(7) the instigator (to apostasy) [mesith] and the imposter [maddich; cf. Deut 13],
--(8) the sorcerer, and
--(9) the disobedient or rebellious son.
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 7.4

177. What constitutes Blasphemy?
5 The blasphemer is not (found) guilty until he pronounces the Name (YHWH).
Rabbi Joshua ben Karcha said:
On the day (of trial) they examined the witnesses with a substitute name:
-- (e.g.) "May 'Jose' smite Jose!"
The trial did not end in a death sentence on the strength of the substitute,
but they sent every witness outside
and examined the main one among them, telling him:
--"Say exactly what you heard!"
(When) he said (it), the judges rose to their feet and tore (their garments)---
and did not mend (them).
And the second said:
--"I too (heard) what he (did)!"
And the third said:
--"I too (heard) what he (did)!"
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 7.5

178. Sabbath Violators Stoned
8 One who profanes the Sabbath in a matter where he is conscious of guilt is sentenced to be cut off (by stoning); and to a sin offering, where it was an error.
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 7.8

179. Hidden Witnesses
10 The instigator [mesith] is a layman who stirs up and instigates (another) layman by saying to him:
--"The one to be worshipped is in such-and-such a place;
thus he eats, thus he drinks, thus he benefits, thus he afflicts."
Of all who are liable to death sentences as specified in the Torah,
there may be no hidden (witnesses) against them except in this case.
  ---- Mishna, Sanhedrin 7.10

180. Prelude to Stoning
1 When the judgment is pronounced, they take him outside 
and stone him.
The place (lit.: "house") of stoning is outside the House of Judgment,
as it is said:
--"Bring forth him who has cursed.." (Lev 24:14).
A man stood at the door of the House of Judgment 
with a cloth in his hand
(and) at a distance, but within sight of him (was a man on) a horse.
If someone said (to the court):
--"I have an argument for his acquittal!"
the former would wave the cloth
and the horse would race to stop him (from being stoned).
Even if (the convict) himself says:
--"I have an argument for my acquittal!"
they must bring him back---even four or five times---
providing there is any substance in his words.
If they then find him innocent, they set him free;
but if not, he goes forth to be stoned.
And a herald goes before him (shouting):
--"So-and-so the son of so-and-so is going forth to be stoned,
because he committed such-and-such a transgression!
And so-and-so and so-and-so are witnesses against him.
Let anyone who knows anything to acquit him come
and argue on his behalf!"
2 When he was about 10 cubits [= 15 feet] from the place of stoning,
they said to him:
--"Make your confession!
For it is a customary practice [lit.: "way"]
for those who must die to make a confession.
For everyone who confesses has a portion in the world to come."...
And if he does not know how to make confession, they tell him:
--"Say: May my death atone for all my sins!"
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 6.1-2

181. Stoning & Hanging
4a The place of stoning was the height of two men.
One of the witnesses knocked (the convict) down on his back [lit.: "loins"].
If he turned over on his chest [lit: "heart"],
the witness turned him on his back.
If he died right away, that was enough;
but if not, the second (witness) took a stone and dropped it on his chest.
If he died right away, that was enough;
but if not he was stoned by all Israelites (present)....
4b --"All who were stoned were (then) hanged."
These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer (ben Hyrcanus).
But the sages said:
--"No one is hanged except the blasphemer and idol worshippers."
--"They hanged a man facing the people and a woman facing the tree."
These are the words of Rabbi Eliezer (ben Hyrcanus).
But the sages said:
--"The man was hanged but the woman was not."...
4c How did they hang someone (who had been stoned)?
They put the post in the ground and a bar went (out) from it.
One of the (victim's) hands was tied to the other and he was hanged.
Rabbi Josť (ben Halaphta) said:
--"The post was leaned against a wall
and they hanged (the corpse) on it the way butchers do;
and they untied him on the same day.
For if (the body) remained there overnight,
a negative command would thereby be transgressed, as it is said:
--'His body shall not remain all night on the tree,
but you shall be sure to bury him on the same day.
For he who is hanged is a curse of God'
(Deut 21:23).
That is to say: Why was this one hanged?
Because he blasphemed the Name
and the Name of Heaven was profaned."
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 6.4

182. Parable of the Twins
  It has been taught:
Rabbi Meir explained (the passage,
"he who is hanged is a curse of God" by proposing a parable [mashal]:
--"To what is the matter likened?
To two twin brothers (who dwelt) in one city.
One was appointed king and other took to banditry [lestioth].
The king gave an order and they hanged (the bandit).
But all who saw (the bandit) said:
--'The king is hanged!'
So the king gave an order and they took (his twin) down,"
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 46b

183. Death by Strangulation
1 These are the ones who are to be strangled:
--(1) he who strikes his father or his mother;
--(2) he who steals a soul from Israel [cf. Deut 24:7]
--(3) an elder who rebels against a decree of the court; and
--(4) a false prophet and one who prophesies in the name of a foreign cult.
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 11.1

184. The Rebellious Elder
4 (The rebellious elder) is not sentenced to death
either by the court in his own city or by the court in Jabneh,
but they brought him to the Great Court in Jerusalem.
--"And they kept him under guard until the Feast,** as it is said:
'And all the people shall hear and be afraid
and act with presumption no more'
(Deut 17:13)."
(These are) the words of Rabbi Aqiba.
Rabbi Judah (ben El'ai) says:
--"They must not delay his judgment, but put him to death at once."
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 11.4

185. The False Prophet
5 The false prophet (is) one who prophesies what he has not heard
or what has not been told him (by God).
His death is at the hands of men [i.e., by strangulation].
But one who suppresses his own prophecy,
or who ignores the words of a prophet,
or the prophet who sins against his own words:
his death is at the hands of Heaven, as it is said:
--"I will require it of him" (Deut 18:19).
6 One who prophesies in the name of a foreign cult and says:
--"Thus says the cult of the stars" (is to be strangled),
even if he conformed to tradition [halakah]
in declaring the unclean "unclean" and the clean "clean."
  --- Mishna, Sanhedrin 11.5-6

186. Executions Suspended
  Now Rab Joseph said---and it is likewise taught in the school of Hezekiah:
--"Though the Sanhedrin was suspended from the day the Sanctuary burned, the four (means) of execution were not suspended."
Not suspended? They were too suspended!
But sentencing to the four (means) of execution was not suspended.
  --- Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 37b

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