After learning the Sugyah this Shabbos for the 20th time I've noticed that I've been ignoring the context of the story and that it does not focus at all on the majority rule or the importance of heavenly interference, but on the severity of verbal mistreatment
Here's how it goes: the Mishna says:
"Just as there is a prohibition against mistreatment (exploitation) in buying and selling, so is there a prohibition of verbal mistreatment!” Bava_Metzia.58b
Then the Gemmorah expounds:
“R"Y in the name of RaSHB"Y: Greater is the transgression of verbal mistreatment than the transgression of monetary exploitation...
Rabbi Elazar said: Verbal mistreatment affects one’s body, but monetary exploitation only affects one’s money.
Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says: monetary exploitation is given to restitution, but verbal mistreatment is not given to restitution…
Rav Ḥisda says: All the gates of Heaven are apt to be locked, except for the gates of prayer for victims of verbal mistreatment...
Rabbi Ḥelbo says: A person must always be careful about sustaining the honor of his wife, ...
Rava said: Honor your wives so that you will become rich."
And then suddenly:
"If one cut an earthenware oven widthwise into segments and placed sand between each and every segment, Rabbi Eliezer deems it ritually pure.”
The reason the whole story of Tanuro Shel Akhnai that is brought here in B"M is because its last line wraps everything up: after the argument, R"G publicly humiliates and excommunicates R"E to the point when the latter "rent his garments, removed his shoes, dropped from his seat, and sat upon the ground. His eyes shed tears...". R"E waits for an opportunity to appeal to God and when it emerges, God hears his prayers and kills R"G:
"She said to him: Arise, you already killed my brother... R"E said to her: From where did you know that your brother would die? She said to him: This is the tradition that I received from the house of the father of my father: All the gates of Heaven are apt to be locked, except for the gates of prayer for victims of verbal mistreatment.”
And the Gemmorah continues with the mistreatment of a Ger.
For all this time I didn't come across a single source that interprets the story in such a way. Are there sources that see the argument as a lesson on the prohibition of verbal humiliation?