~ What are the distinctions for these two cases?
~ What is the consequence to the land in the second case? Why do you think this is different from the first case?
~ Here we see that the idea that the land, that absorbs the body, somehow absorbs the energy of the intentional killing, is old. How does capital punishment "resolve" this?
1. what is important here is the rationale for the execution of the murderer – that “blood pollutes the land, and the land can have no [cleansing] expiation” except by the shedding of the blood of the murderer.
2. In the Cain and Abel story, Cain is not condemned to death, but is rather banished. This is apparently because Cain was seen as a “manslaughter” rather than a premeditated murderer. Thus his physical death was not demanded. Nonetheless, he is condemned to “social death” in exile, cut off from family and community. It is this form of death that the accidental manslaughterer in Numbers also suffers by being banished to one of the cities of refuge.
~ Is this such an outraging claim? Do you know people who never returned to Germany because of the Shoah?
~ When a horrific murderer, who has killed several victims, is caught and tried, does it seem that the land is watching?
~ Do you believe that the killing of a murderer somehow cleanses the land?
(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:
(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' אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְתֶן לוֹ תוֹדָה וְגוֹ' וַיַּעַן עָכָן אֶת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמַר אָמְנָה אָנֹכִי חָטָאתִי לַה' אֱלֹקֵי 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:
(1) 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) 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.”
~ How is the process described?
~ What is the function of confession, here?
[Achieving atonement, by “getting right” with God, with other human beings and with oneself, is among the goals of any faith. Much of Leviticus is dedicated to defining for the Israelites how to effect atonement through sacrifice. By offering something of value, the offender was able to bring him or herself back into a proper relationship with God. Note that there is the need for confession in cases of sacrifices for sins committed.]
~ This is before Noach. What is the punishments that Lamech is metting out, and for what sins? Are those comparable? What is the thrust of the text regarding the pre-flood generation, if Lamech is one of its leaders?
~ Those are the three times in the Torah that the "lex talionis" aka "the law of the talion" or the "principle of retaliation" appears.
~ How can you see these passages as primitive?
~ How can you see these passages as merciful?
[It restrains the anger of the family of the one who was wronged/killed; it limits the "blood feuds".
Points of general information:
In 451–450 BCE, the Law of Twelve Tables was drafted by a committee of Roman judges. Those laws signaled the end of private justice achieved through blood feuds by confirming compensation as the accepted method of justice in ancient Rome. This indicated the beginning of state-involved justice. The collapse of the Roman Empire led to a reassertion of private justice, and the British tried to curb it again with several codes.
Historically, most felonies were punishable by death, so increasingly cruel methods of execution had to be developed in order to punish those crimes that were considered to be the most serious violations of social norms. For example, traitors were executed by drawing and quartering, and servants who killed their master or mistress were boiled alive. Similarly, those convicted of witchcraft or heresy were burned at the stake. These examples illustrate the difficulty of creating a workable scale of penalties when death is commonly ordered for many varieties of offenders. (From Encyclopedia Britannica)
(יח) כִּֽי־יִהְיֶ֣ה לְאִ֗ישׁ בֵּ֚ן סוֹרֵ֣ר וּמוֹרֶ֔ה אֵינֶ֣נּוּ שֹׁמֵ֔עַ בְּק֥וֹל אָבִ֖יו וּבְק֣וֹל אִמּ֑וֹ וְיסְּר֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ וְלֹ֥א יִשְׁמַ֖ע אֲלֵיהֶֽם׃ (יט) וְתָ֥פְשׂוּ ב֖וֹ אָבִ֣יו וְאִמּ֑וֹ וְהוֹצִ֧יאוּ אֹת֛וֹ אֶל־זִקְנֵ֥י עִיר֖וֹ וְאֶל־שַׁ֥עַר מְקֹמֽוֹ׃ (כ) וְאָמְר֞וּ אֶל־זִקְנֵ֣י עִיר֗וֹ בְּנֵ֤נוּ זֶה֙ סוֹרֵ֣ר וּמֹרֶ֔ה אֵינֶ֥נּוּ שֹׁמֵ֖עַ בְּקֹלֵ֑נוּ זוֹלֵ֖ל וְסֹבֵֽא׃ (כא) וּ֠רְגָמֻהוּ כָּל־אַנְשֵׁ֨י עִיר֤וֹ בָֽאֲבָנִים֙ וָמֵ֔ת וּבִֽעַרְתָּ֥ הָרָ֖ע מִקִּרְבֶּ֑ךָ וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל יִשְׁמְע֥וּ וְיִרָֽאוּ׃ (ס)
~ Part of the rationale for death penalty is the deterrence factor, which appears several times in the Torah.
~ But there are limits even for the application of the law, and kevod hamet, the respect for the dead body, applies to the dead bodies of convicts.
(א) אַרְבַּע מִיתוֹת נִמְסְרוּ לְבֵית דִּין, סְקִילָה, שְׂרֵפָה, הֶרֶג, וָחֶנֶק. רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, שְׂרֵפָה, סְקִילָה, חֶנֶק, וָהֶרֶג. זוֹ מִצְוַת הַנִּסְקָלִין:
(1) Four deaths have been entrusted to the court: stoning, burning, slaying [by the sword] and strangulation. R. Simeon says: “burning, stoning, strangulation and slaying.” That (the previous chapter) is the manner of stoning.
(י) מִי שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ וּבָרַח וּבָא לִפְנֵי אוֹתוֹ בֵית דִּין, אֵין סוֹתְרִים אֶת דִּינוֹ. כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁיַּעַמְדוּ שְׁנַיִם וְיֹאמְרוּ, מְעִידִין אָנוּ בְאִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁנִּגְמַר דִּינוֹ בְּבֵית דִּינוֹ שֶׁל פְּלוֹנִי, וּפְלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי עֵדָיו, הֲרֵי זֶה יֵהָרֵג. סַנְהֶדְרִין נוֹהֶגֶת בָּאָרֶץ וּבְחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ. סַנְהֶדְרִין הַהוֹרֶגֶת אֶחָד בְּשָׁבוּעַ נִקְרֵאת חָבְלָנִית. רַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה אוֹמֵר, אֶחָד לְשִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה. רַבִּי טַרְפוֹן וְרַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמְרִים, אִלּוּ הָיִינוּ בַסַּנְהֶדְרִין לֹא נֶהֱרַג אָדָם מֵעוֹלָם. רַבָּן שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן גַּמְלִיאֵל אוֹמֵר, אַף הֵן מַרְבִּין שׁוֹפְכֵי דָמִים בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל:
(10) If one fled after having been convicted at a court and again comes up before the same court, the [first] judgment is not set aside. Wherever two witnesses stand up and declare, “We testify that so and so was tried and convicted at a certain court and that so and so were the witnesses” the accused is executed. [Trials before] a sanhedrin are customary both in the land [of Israel] and outside it. A sanhedrin that executes once in seven years, is called murderous. Rabbi Eliezer b. Azariah Says: once in seventy years. Rabbi Tarfon and Rabbi Akiva say: “Had we been members of a sanhedrin, no person would ever be put to death. Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel remarked: “They would also multiply murderers in Israel.”
~ What are the opinions of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon versus Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel?
~ What is the question regarding the application of death penalty as deterrence?
(א) הָיוּ בוֹדְקִין אוֹתָן בְּשֶׁבַע חֲקִירוֹת, בְּאֵיזֶה שָׁבוּעַ, בְּאֵיזוֹ שָׁנָה, בְּאֵיזֶה חֹדֶשׁ, בְּכַמָּה בַחֹדֶשׁ, בְּאֵיזֶה יוֹם, בְּאֵיזוֹ שָׁעָה, בְּאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם. רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר בְּאֵיזֶה יוֹם, בְּאֵיזוֹ שָׁעָה, בְּאֵיזֶה מָקוֹם. מַכִּירִין אַתֶּם אוֹתוֹ. הִתְרֵיתֶם בּוֹ. הָעוֹבֵד עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, אֶת מִי עָבַד, וּבַמֶּה עָבָד:
(ב) כָּל הַמַּרְבֶּה בִבְדִיקוֹת, הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. מַעֲשֶׂה וּבָדַק בֶּן זַכַּאי בְּעֻקְצֵי תְאֵנִים. וּמַה בֵּין חֲקִירוֹת לִבְדִיקוֹת. חֲקִירוֹת, אֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה. בְּדִיקוֹת, אֶחָד אוֹמֵר אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ, וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁנַיִם אוֹמְרִים אֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִין, עֵדוּתָן קַיָּמֶת. אֶחָד חֲקִירוֹת וְאֶחָד בְּדִיקוֹת, בִּזְמַן שֶׁמַּכְחִישִׁין זֶה אֶת זֶה, עֵדוּתָן בְּטֵלָה:
(1) They used to examine witnesses with seven inquiries: In what week of years? In what year? In what month? On what date in the month? On what day? In what hour? In what place? Rabbi Yose says: [They only asked:] On what day? In what hour? In what place? [Moreover they asked:] Do you recognize him? Did you warn him? If one had committed idolatry [they asked the witnesses:] What did he worship and how did he worship it?
(2) The more a judge examines the evidence the more he is deserving of praise. Ben Zakkai once checked with regards to the stalks of figs. What is the difference between inquiries and examinations? With regards to inquiries, if one [of the two witnesses] says “I do not know”, their evidence becomes invalid. But if to one of the examinations one answered, “I do not know”, or even if they both answered, “We do not know”, their evidence remains valid. Yet if they contradict each other, whether during the inquiries or examinations, their evidence becomes invalid.
~ These questions are examples of the innumerable stipulations with which the rabbis embroidered the trial procedure for capital crimes. These questions are cleverly designed to test the accuracy of the witnesses’ recall and their awareness of the circumstances surrounding the crime. The
commentators differ as to the aim of the question: “Do you know him?” Some suggest that the witnesses are being tested about their objectivity, and the “him” of the inquiry is the victim. Others believe that the pronoun “him” refers to the accused, additional rabbinic passages discuss the intricate conviction process and expand the rules requiring the accused to have been warned prior to his or her having committed the act.
Many of these rules, and there are scores of them, suggest that the Rabbis were trying, through the intricacy of their procedures, to legislate the death penalty out of existence. Surely one senses a momentum in that direction in this complex of laws, all of which imply that for many of the Rabbis, concerns about the reliability of witnesses, about intent and foreknowledge of the accused, and about the possible biased nature of the court proceedings, were justification enough to abolish the death penalty. That is precisely, as we saw above, the view Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon adopted. (From Life in the Balance)
(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 אֱלֹקִים תָּלוּי וְגוֹ'. כְּלוֹמַר, מִפְּנֵי מָה זֶה תָלוּי, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ אֶת הַשֵּׁם, וְנִמְצָא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְחַלֵּל:
(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:
(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:
(4) 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) R. Meir said: “When a person suffers, what expression does the shechinah (God’s presence) use, as if it were? “My head hurts, my arm hurts.” If the Place suffers 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) 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.
Bartenura: halakha is not like Rabbi Eliezer. The court does not judge two at the same time so as to give time to find exculpatory evidence. The case with Shimon ben Shetach was done out of the pressures of the hour [witchcraft] and is not a precedent, we do not learn anything practical from it.
~ What are the theological underpinings of this Mishnah?
~ What are the assumptions and limitations of the system?
~ How does the system connect to the family of the offender?
A recent study by Professor Michael Radelet and Traci Lacock of the University of Colorado found that 88% of the nation’s leading criminologists do not believe the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime. The study, Do Executions Lower Homicide Rates? The Views of Leading Criminologists, published in the Journal of Criminal Law and Crimonology, concluded, “There is overwhelming consensus among America’s top criminologists that the empirical research conducted on the deterrence question fails to support the threat or use of the death penalty.” A previous study in 1996 had come to similar conclusions.
The criminologists surveyed included - 1) Fellows in the American Society of Criminology (ASC), (2) Winners of the ASC’s Sutherland Award, the highest award given by that organization for contributions to criminological theory, or (3) Presidents of the ASC between 1997 and the present. Those presidents before 1997 had been included in the prior survey. Respondents were asked to base their answers on existing empirical research, not their views on capital punishment.
Nearly 78% of those surveyed said that having the death penalty in a state does not lower the murder rate. In addition, 91% of respondents said politicians support the death penalty in order to appear tough on crime – and 75% said that it distracts legislatures on the state and national level from focusing on real solutions to crime problems. Over all, 94% agreed that there was little emperical evidence to support the deterrent effect of the death penalty. And 90% said the death penalty had little effect overall on the committing of murder. Additionally, 91.6% said that increasing the frequency of executions would not add a deterrent effect, and 87.6% said that speeding up executions wouldn't work either. (source: https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/study-88-criminologists-do-not-believe-death-penalty-effective-deterrent)