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I recall hearing that it was an Horaas Shaa, a unique ruling just got that time. Perhaps, it can be understood that since the specific method of death was not commanded yet it was not a necessary part of the Hasraah. At that time the punishment consisted of the fact that he will get killed in some way. This is different from an התראת ספק, an unsure ...


Thank you Fred for sourcing it. The majority opinion in the Talmud is that a warning "this carries the death penalty" is sufficient, without specifying what method of execution. As Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's Living Torah puts it: Since it was not specified what must be done to him, they placed him under guard. The death penalty was specified (Exodus ...

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