6ו׳
1 א
נִגְמַר הַדִּין, מוֹצִיאִין אוֹתוֹ לְסָקְלוֹ. בֵּית הַסְּקִילָה הָיָה חוּץ לְבֵית דִּין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כד) הוֹצֵא אֶת הַמְקַלֵּל. אֶחָד עוֹמֵד עַל פֶּתַח בֵּית דִּין וְהַסּוּדָרִין בְּיָדוֹ, וְאָדָם אֶחָד רוֹכֵב הַסּוּס רָחוֹק מִמֶּנּוּ כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּהֵא רוֹאֵהוּ. אוֹמֵר אֶחָד יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עָלָיו זְכוּת, הַלָּה מֵנִיף בַּסּוּדָרִין וְהַסּוּס רָץ וּמַעֲמִידוֹ. וַאֲפִלּוּ הוּא אוֹמֵר יֶשׁ לִי לְלַמֵּד עַל עַצְמִי זְכוּת, מַחֲזִירִין אוֹתוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשָּׁה פְעָמִים, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיֵּשׁ מַמָּשׁ בִּדְבָרָיו. מָצְאוּ לוֹ זְכוּת, פְּטָרוּהוּ, וְאִם לָאו, יוֹצֵא לִסָּקֵל. וְכָרוֹז יוֹצֵא לְפָנָיו, אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי בֶּן פְּלוֹנִי יוֹצֵא לִסָּקֵל עַל שֶׁעָבַר עֲבֵרָה פְלוֹנִית, וּפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי עֵדָיו, כָּל מִי שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ לוֹ זְכוּת יָבֹא וִילַמֵּד עָלָיו: Once the verdict is reached, they bring him out to stone him. The stoning area was outside the courthouse, as it says, (Leviticus 24:14) "Bring out he who has cursed." One would stand before the entrance to the courthouse, his scarf in his hand; and another would ride on a horse before them at a distance, in order to see him. [If] one says, "I have an argument for acquittal," then he waves the scarf, and the horse runs to stop him. And even if [the accused] says, "I have an argument for my [own] acquittal," then he is returned; and this may happen even four or five times, so long as there is substance to his words. If he is acquitted, he is dismissed; and if not, he is brought out to be stoned. And an announcer comes out before him and announces, "So-and-so son of so-and-so is being brought out to be stoned for having committed such-and-such transgression, and so-and-so and so-and-so are his witnesses. Anyone who has any knowledge as to his innocence should come and argue for him."
2 ב
הָיָה רָחוֹק מִבֵּית הַסְּקִילָה כְּעֶשֶׂר אַמּוֹת, אוֹמְרִים לוֹ הִתְוַדֵּה, שֶׁכֵּן דֶּרֶךְ הַמּוּמָתִין מִתְוַדִּין, שֶׁכָּל הַמִּתְוַדֶּה יֶשׁ לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. שֶׁכֵּן מָצִינוּ בְעָכָן שֶׁאָמַר לוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, בְּנִי שִׂים נָא כָבוֹד לַה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְתֶן לוֹ תוֹדָה וְגוֹ' וַיַּעַן עָכָן אֶת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמַר אָמְנָה אָנֹכִי חָטָאתִי לַה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָזֹאת וְגוֹ' (יהושע ז). וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁכִּפֶּר לוֹ וִדּוּיוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שם) וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מֶה עֲכַרְתָּנוּ יַעְכָּרְךָ ה' בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה. הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה אַתָּה עָכוּר, וְאִי אַתָּה עָכוּר לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְאִם אֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לְהִתְוַדּוֹת, אוֹמְרִים לוֹ, אֱמֹר תְּהֵא מִיתָתִי כַפָּרָה עַל כָּל עֲוֹנוֹתָי. רַבִּי יְהוּדָה אוֹמֵר, אִם הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהוּא מְזֻמָּם, אוֹמֵר תְּהֵא מִיתָתִי כַּפָּרָה עַל כָּל עֲוֹנוֹתַי חוּץ מֵעָוֹן זֶה. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, אִם כֵּן, יְהוּ כָל אָדָם אוֹמְרִים כָּךְ כְּדֵי לְנַקּוֹת אֶת עַצְמָן: [Once the accused] was about ten cubit from the stoning area, they say to him, "Confess," for such is the way of those sentenced to death to confess, for all who confess have a share in the World to Come. For thus we find with respect to Achan, to whom Joshua said, (Joshua 7:19) "'My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and make confession unto Him.'... And Achan answered Joshua, and said: 'Of a truth I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel.'" And from where [do we know] that his confession atoned for him? As it says, (Joshua 7:25), "And Joshua said: 'Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day,'" today you are troubled, but you are not troubled in the World to Come. And if he does not know how to confess, they say to him: "Say, 'May my death serve as an atonement for all my iniquities.'" Rabbi Yehudah says, if he knows he was [convicted by] false testimony, he says, "May my death serve as an atonement for all my iniquities, excepting this iniquity." [The Sages] said to him, if so, all [sentenced to death] will say this in order to cleanse themselves [i.e. clear their name].
3 ג
הָיָה רָחוֹק מִבֵּית הַסְּקִילָה אַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת, מַפְשִׁיטִין אוֹתוֹ אֶת בְּגָדָיו. הָאִישׁ, מְכַסִּין אוֹתוֹ מִלְּפָנָיו. וְהָאִשָּׁה, מִלְּפָנֶיהָ וּמֵאַחֲרֶיהָ, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי יְהוּדָה. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, הָאִישׁ נִסְקָל עָרֹם וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה נִסְקֶלֶת עֲרֻמָּה: [Once] he was four cubits from the stoning area, they remove his clothing. [If it is] a man, his front is covered; [if it is] a woman, her front and her back are covered, according to Rabbi Yehudah. But the Sages say, a man is stoned naked, but a woman is not stoned naked.
4 ד
בֵּית הַסְּקִילָה הָיָה גָבוֹהַּ שְׁתֵּי קוֹמוֹת. אֶחָד מִן הָעֵדִים דּוֹחֲפוֹ עַל מָתְנָיו. נֶהְפַּךְ עַל לִבּוֹ, הוֹפְכוֹ עַל מָתְנָיו. אִם מֵת בָּהּ, יָצָא. וְאִם לָאו, הַשֵּׁנִי נוֹטֵל אֶת הָאֶבֶן וְנוֹתְנָהּ עַל לִבּוֹ. אִם מֵת בָּהּ, יָצָא. וְאִם לָאו, רְגִימָתוֹ בְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז) יַד הָעֵדִים תִּהְיֶה בּוֹ בָרִאשֹׁנָה לַהֲמִיתוֹ וְיַד כָּל הָעָם בָּאַחֲרֹנָה. כָּל הַנִּסְקָלִין נִתְלִין, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, אֵינוֹ נִתְלֶה אֶלָּא הַמְגַדֵּף וְהָעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה. הָאִישׁ תּוֹלִין אוֹתוֹ פָּנָיו כְּלַפֵּי הָעָם, וְהָאִשָּׁה פָּנֶיהָ כְלַפֵּי הָעֵץ, דִּבְרֵי רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים, הָאִישׁ נִתְלֶה וְאֵין הָאִשָּׁה נִתְלֵית. אָמַר לָהֶן רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, וַהֲלֹא שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן שָׁטָח תָּלָה נָשִׁים בְּאַשְׁקְלוֹן. אָמְרוּ לוֹ, שְׁמֹנִים נָשִׁים תָּלָה, וְאֵין דָּנִין שְׁנַיִם בְּיוֹם אֶחָד. כֵּיצַד תּוֹלִין אוֹתוֹ, מְשַׁקְּעִין אֶת הַקּוֹרָה בָאָרֶץ וְהָעֵץ יוֹצֵא מִמֶּנָּה, וּמַקִּיף שְׁתֵּי יָדָיו זוֹ עַל גַּבֵּי זוֹ וְתוֹלֶה אוֹתוֹ. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר, הַקּוֹרָה מֻטָּה עַל הַכֹּתֶל, וְתוֹלֶה אוֹתוֹ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁהַטַּבָּחִין עוֹשִׂין. וּמַתִּירִין אוֹתוֹ מִיָּד. וְאִם לָן, עוֹבֵר עָלָיו בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא) לֹא תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל הָעֵץ כִּי קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ כִּי קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים תָּלוּי וְגוֹ'. כְּלוֹמַר, מִפְּנֵי מָה זֶה תָלוּי, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֶת הַשֵּׁם, וְנִמְצָא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְחַלֵּל: The stoning area's height was that of two men. One of the witnesses pushes him on his loins. If he is turned on his heart, they turn him [over,] on his loins. If he dies from this, [the court] has discharged [its obligation]. If not, the second [witness] picks up the stone and puts it on his heart. If he dies from this, [the court] has discharged [its obligation]. If not, he is pelted with stones by all of Israel, as it says, (Deuteronomy 17:7) "The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people." All who are stoned are hanged, according to Rabbi Eliezer. But the Sages say, the only [offenders] who are hanged are the blasphemer and the idolator. A man is hanged with his face toward the people, and a woman with her face toward the gallows, according to Rabbi Eliezer. But the Sages say, a man is hanged, but a woman is not hanged. Rabbi Eliezer said to them, Did Shimon ben Shetach not hang women in Ashkelon? They said to him, he hanged eighty women, and we do not [even] judge two [capital cases] in one day! How do they hang him? They sink the beam into the ground, and [a piece of] wood protrudes from it, and one places his hands together, and hangs him. Rabbi Yose says, the beam leans on a wall, and they hang him the way that butchers do. And then they undo him [from the gallows] immediately. If he stayed there overnight, [the court] violates a negative commandment on his account, as it says, (Deuteronomy 21:23), "His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt surely bury him the same day; for he that is hanged is a reproach unto God...." That is to say: why has he been hanged? Because he 'blessed' [i.e. cursed] God, and God's name has become desecrated.
5 ה
אָמַר רַבִּי מֵאִיר, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאָדָם מִצְטַעֵר, שְׁכִינָה מַה הַלָּשׁוֹן אוֹמֶרֶת כִּבְיָכוֹל, קַלַּנִי מֵרֹאשִׁי, קַלַּנִי מִזְּרוֹעִי. אִם כֵּן הַמָּקוֹם מִצְטַעֵר עַל דָּמָם שֶׁל רְשָׁעִים שֶׁנִּשְׁפַּךְ, קַל וָחֹמֶר עַל דָּמָם שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים. וְלֹא זוֹ בִלְבַד, אֶלָּא כָּל הַמֵּלִין אֶת מֵתוֹ, עוֹבֵר בְּלֹא תַעֲשֶׂה. הֱלִינוֹ לִכְבוֹדוֹ לְהָבִיא לוֹ אָרוֹן וְתַכְרִיכִים, אֵינוֹ עוֹבֵר עָלָיו. וְלֹא הָיוּ קוֹבְרִין אוֹתוֹ בְּקִבְרוֹת אֲבוֹתָיו, אֶלָּא שְׁתֵּי בָתֵּי קְבָרוֹת הָיוּ מְתֻקָּנִין לְבֵית דִּין, אַחַת לַנֶּהֱרָגִין וְלַנֶּחֱנָקִין וְאַחַת לַנִּסְקָלִין וְלַנִּשְׂרָפִין: Said Rabbi Meir, when a human being is in distress, what expression does the Divine Presence use, as it were? "My head is in pain, My arm is in pain." If so, the Omnipresent feels distress over the blood of the wicked that is spilled; how much more so [does He] over the blood of the righteous. And furthermore, anyone who leaves a dead body hanging overnight transgresses a negative commandment. But if one leaves a body hanging overnight for the sake of its honor, to bring it a coffin or shroud, he does not transgress [a negative commandment]. And such a body [i.e. that of one stoned to death] would not be buried in the grave of his ancestors. Rather, two grave-sites were set for the courthouse, one for those put to death by decapitation and strangulation, and one for those put to death by stoning and burning.
6 ו
נִתְעַכֵּל הַבָּשָׂר, מְלַקְּטִין אֶת הָעֲצָמוֹת וְקוֹבְרִין אוֹתָן בִּמְקוֹמָן. וְהַקְּרוֹבִים בָּאִים וְשׁוֹאֲלִין בִּשְׁלוֹם הַדַּיָּנִים וּבִשְׁלוֹם הָעֵדִים, כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁאֵין בְּלִבֵּנוּ עֲלֵיכֶם כְּלוּם, שֶׁדִּין אֱמֶת דַּנְתֶּם. וְלֹא הָיוּ מִתְאַבְּלִין, אֲבָל אוֹנְנִין, שֶׁאֵין אֲנִינוּת אֶלָּא בַלֵּב: When the flesh decomposed, they collect the bones and bury them in their proper place. And the relatives come and greet the judges and the witnesses, as if to say, we hold nothing against you, since [we know that] your verdict was just. And they would not [observe rituals of] mourn[ing], but they would grieve, since grief is only in the heart.