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:

When the trial is completed he [the condemned] is led forth to be stoned. The place of stoning was outside of the court, as it is says, “Bring out him that has cursed” (Lev. 24:14). A man was stationed at the door of the court with the handkerchiefs in his hand, and a man on a horse was stationed at a distance yet within sight of him. If one says, ‘I have something [further] to state in his favor’, he [the signaler] waves the handkerchief, and the man on the horse runs and stops them. And even if he [the convict] himself says, ‘I have something to plead in my own favor’, he is brought back, even four or five times, providing, however, that there is substance in his assertion. If then they find him innocent, they discharge him. But if not, he goes forth to be stoned, and a herald precedes him [crying]: so and so, the son of so and so, is going forth to be stoned because he committed such and such an offense, and so and so are his witnesses. Whoever knows anything in his favor, let him come and state it.”

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:

When he is about ten cubits away from the place of stoning, they say to him, ‘confess’, for such is the practice of all who are executed, that they [first] confess, for he who confesses has a portion in the world to come. For so we find in the case of Achan, that Joshua said to him, “My son, pay honor to the Lord, the God of Israel, and make confession to him. [Tell me what you have done, do not hold anything back from me.” And Achan answered Joshua and said, “It is true, I have sinned against the Lord the God of Israel, and this is what I have done” (Josh. 7:19-20). And how do we know that his confessions made atonement for him? As it says, “And Joshua said, “What calamity have you brought upon us! The Lord will bring calamity upon you this day” (Josh. 7:35), [meaning] this day you are a calamity, but you are not to be a calamity in the next world. And if he does not know how to confess, they say to him, “Say, may my death be an expiation for all my sins.” Rabbi Judah said: “If he knows that he is a victim of false evidence, he can say: may my death be an expiation for all my sins but this.” They [the sages] said to him: “If so, everyone will speak likewise in order to clear himself.”

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:

When he is about four cubits distant from the place of stoning, he is stripped of his clothing. A man is covered in front and a woman both in front and behind, according to Rabbi Judah. But the Sages say: “A man is to be stoned naked and a woman is not to be 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 place of stoning was twice a man's height. One of the witnesses pushed him by the hips, [so that] he was overturned on his heart. He was then turned on his back. If that caused his death, he had fulfilled [his duty]; but if not, the second witness took a stone and threw it on his chest. If he died thereby, he had done [his duty]; but if not, he [the criminal] was stoned by all Israel, for it is says: “The hand of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people” (Deut. 17:7). All who are stoned are [afterwards] hanged, according to Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: “Only the blasphemer and the idolater are hanged.” A man is hanged with his face towards the spectators, but a woman with her face towards the gallows, according to Rabbi Eliezer. But the sages say: a man is hanged, but not a woman. Rabbi Eliezer said to them: “But did not Shimon ben Shetah hang women at ashkelon?” They said: “[On that occasion] he hanged eighty women, even though two must not be tried on the same day. How is he hanged? The post is sunk into the ground with a [cross-] piece branching off [at the top] and he brings his hands together one over the other and hangs him up [thereby]. R. Jose said: the post is leaned against the wall, and he hangs him up the way butchers do. He is immediately let down. If he is left [hanging] over night, a negative command is thereby transgressed, for it says, “You shall not let his corpse remain all night upon the tree, but you must bury him the same day because a hanged body is a curse against god” (Deut. 21:23). As if to say why was he hanged? because he cursed the name [of god]; and so the name of Heaven [God] is profaned.

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:

R. Meir said: “When man suffers, what expression does the shechinah (God’s presence) use? “My head is too light (a euphemism for heavy) for me, my arm is too light (a euphemism for heavy) for me.” If god is so grieved over the blood of the wicked that is shed, how much more so over the blood of the righteous! And not only of this one [a criminal did the sages not to leave him overnight] but whosoever lets his dead lie over night transgresses a negative commandment. If he kept him over night for the sake of his honor, to procure for him a coffin or a shroud, he does not transgress. And they did not bury him [the executed person] in his ancestral tomb, but two burial places were prepared by the court, one for those who were decapitated or strangled, and the other for those who were stoned or burned.

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 was completely decomposed, the bones were gathered and buried in their proper place. The relatives then came and greeted the judges and witnesses, as if to say, we have no [ill feelings] against you, for you gave a true judgment. And they observed no mourning rites but grieved [for him], for grief is in the heart alone.