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The following has already been translated, but upon closer examination, something seems amiss:

אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית ... כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית בְּזָדוֹן הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶהֱרֶגֶת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבָּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל תַּקָּלָה עַל יָדֶיהָ כִּבְהֵמָה

At first, the Israelite seems to be the one willfully or even maliciously (בְּזָדוֹן) coming at / entering at / following / pursuing the Gentile woman (הַבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית and שֶׁבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית : this is repeated twice); but, at the end, it is the Gentile woman that's being depicted as a wild beast (כִּבְהֵמָה) on the prowl, preying upon, ensnaring (תַּקָּלָה, meaning also hurdle or stumbling block), or coming at the Israelite (שֶׁבָּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל) with her own hands (עַל יָדֶיהָ) acting as the paws of an attacking animal; in other words, it would appear as she's the one in pursuit of the prey here, in the latter part of the text, if my understanding is correct.

Then again, the text could be simply saying that by her hands (עַל יָדֶיהָ) a calamity (תַּקָּלָה) came upon the Israelite[s] (שֶׁבָּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל תַּקָּלָה); but, in that case, the word beast (כִּבְהֵמָה) would be left hanging in midair, as it were, forcing the translator to conclude that either Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:15, or Deuteronomy 27:21 might be referenced; however, the only passages explicitly mentioned here are Numbers 31:16-17, which have very little, if anything, to do with the topic of bestiality.

Could anyone with working knowledge of Hebrew help me out here ?

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Your second option is correct. Rambam is comparing the non-Jewish woman to an object of bestiality.

His language is taken from Mishnah Sanhedrin 7:4:

A man who engages in intercourse with a male or with an animal, and a woman who engages in intercourse with an animal. If the person sinned, how did the animal sin? Rather, because a calamity was caused to a person by it, therefore the verse states that it should be stoned.

Also, the language of בא על does not (to my mind) have any clear connotations of ‘pursuit’. It is simply the technical term for engaging in sexual intercourse.

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  • One could indeed parse it as such; but, as mentioned in my comment on the other answer, it would only seem to create yet another conundrum; unless, of course, I am missing something obvious. – Lucian Aug 30 '20 at 20:43
  • It's comparing because תקלה באה על ידה no more. It's not a form of bestiality at all.as the behema she has no prohibition. That's all – kouty Sep 21 '20 at 15:57
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The Mishnah in Sanhedrin (54a in the Babylonian Talmud) states:

הבא על הזכור ועל הבהמה והאשה המביאה את הבהמה בסקילה אם אדם חטא בהמה מה חטאה אלא לפי שבאה לאדם תקלה על ידה לפיכך אמר הכתוב תסקל ד"א שלא תהא בהמה עוברת בשוק ויאמרו זו היא שנסקל פלוני על ידה

HE WHO COMMITS SODOMY WITH A MALE OR A BEAST, AND A WOMAN THAT COMMITS BESTIALITY ARE STONED. IF THE MAN HAS SINNED, WHEREIN HAS THE ANIMAL OFFENDED? BUT BECAUSE MAN WAS ENTICED TO SIN THEREBY, SCRIPTURE ORDERED THAT IT SHOULD BE STONED. ANOTHER REASON IS THAT THE ANIMAL SHOULD NOT PASS THROUGH THE STREETS, WHILST PEOPLE SAY, THIS IS THE ANIMAL ON ACCOUNT OF WHICH SO AND SO WAS STONED.

(Soncino translation, capitals in original)

The Mishnah wonders why the animal gets punished if it is the person that sinned. The Mishnah answers that it's not a punishment per se but merely that something which led to a problem for the person must be eliminated.

When Rambam says ה"ז נהרגת מפני שבא לישראל תקלה על ידיה כבהמה he is applying the same reasoning. Even though the man has sinned, since something bad came about through this woman she has to be executed just like an animal is executed because something bad came about through it.

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  • According to the same reasoning, one should also punish rape victims along with their assailants, which Judaism expressly forbids (Deuteronomy 22:25-27), and the Rambam does not seem to make any exceptions to the aforementioned rule when explicitly discussing it in an earlier chapter either, which is why I asked the question in the first place. – Lucian Aug 30 '20 at 20:41
  • @Lucian There is a difference between intimate sexuality and non-intimate sexuality. In the case of the rape victim the Torah explicitly states its reasoning, "For as one who arises on another and murders him, so is this matter." If one murders another, there is no intimacy between the murderer and his victim, so too in the case of rape. Whereas in the case of Jew having relations with a non-Jew, we are talking about an intimate sexual relationship, in which case the Jew was drawn to the non-Jewess by the non-Jewess, so she is culpable. – The GRAPKE Sep 21 '20 at 4:08
  • @TheGRAPKE: My use of the word intimacy carries with itself no such (emotional) connotations; it is simply a stylistic choice. At any rate, are you saying that the Hebrew verb (שֶׁבָּא) employed within this passage (usually) implies the relation to have been mutual, hence the need of explicitly mentioning otherwise if such is not the case (as in Deuteronomy 22:25-27) ? And that, therefore, the passage from the Ramabam can be safely presumed to exclude such cases, when the relation was not mutual ? – Lucian Sep 21 '20 at 4:28
  • @Lucian Yes, this is what I am saying. So it comes out that in a case of rape then the Rambam would not apply (and so should be obvious, because to say otherwise would be absurd). – The GRAPKE Sep 21 '20 at 5:01
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    @TheGRAPKE: Are you absolutely sure you're not simply making ancient writers and their texts fit modern expectations or presuppositions of morality ? Because I don't want to read anything into the text, either one way, or the other. – Lucian Sep 21 '20 at 5:07

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