Are non-Jews punished for not keeping the 7 Noahide Laws?

If yes:

  • What would the judicial process look like? (ie would they need witnesses who warn/ witness the crime like Jews do)
  • What method of punishment would be administered?
  • Would they be punished for each of the 7, or are some more strict?
  • 1
    Is not one of the Seven Commandments to set up courts to judge those who do not obey the laws?
    – ezra
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 5:18

2 Answers 2


Yes, they are punishable for violating any of these seven mitzvos; none of them are more or less severe than the others. The punishment for each of them is decapitation (Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 9:14).

No warning is needed, but there needs to be at least one male witness and at least one male judge (ibid.). The judge can be either a Jew or a non-Jew (ibid. 10:11).

If he committed the violation in error, he's not punished. "Error" here means that he was unaware that the object is a forbidden one (for example, having relations with a woman under the impression that she's unmarried or is his own wife, when in fact she's married to someone else), but ignorance of the law is no excuse (ibid. 10:1).


Avodah Zara 2b Seems that nowadays they're not punished

דתני רב יוסף (חבקוק ג, ו) עמד וימודד ארץ ראה ויתר גוים מאי ראה ראה ז' מצות שקבלו עליהן בני נח ולא קיימום כיון שלא קיימום עמד והתירן להן

As Rav Yosef teaches: “He stands, and shakes the earth, He sees, and makes the nations tremble” (Habakkuk 3:6). What did God see? He saw the seven mitzvot that the descendants of Noah accepted upon themselves, and He saw that they did not fulfill them. Since they did not fulfill them, He arose and nullified for them.


ראה ויתר גוים - נראה בעיניו וישר להתירן

But if they do the mitzvot they have a praise as who must not to do and do, a littler praise (from the next Gemara)

  • I think this is referring to the general reality that punishment for not keeping Mitzvot led to their property being looted, but it is still incumbent on Gentiles to keep the Mitzvot as the Torah states. and it never changes a as the Rambam said ani maamin shelo tehei haTorah Muchlefes
    – user15464
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 23:44
  • Maybe that is the pshat
    – kouty
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 1:25

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .