From what I have learned, different sins which are punished via the court system deserve different types of death penalties. In Parshat Yitro (19:12-13), the text indicates that one who touches the mountain is liable to a death penalty:
וְהִגְבַּלְתָּ אֶת־הָעָם סָבִיב לֵאמֹר הִשָּׁמְרוּ לָכֶם עֲלוֹת בָּהָר וּנְגֹעַ בְּקָצֵהוּ כָּל־הַנֹּגֵעַ בָּהָר מוֹת יוּמָת׃
לֹא־תִגַּע בּוֹ יָד כִּי־סָקוֹל יִסָּקֵל אוֹ־יָרֹה יִיָּרֶה אִם־בְּהֵמָה אִם־אִישׁ לֹא יִחְיֶה בִּמְשֹׁךְ הַיֹּבֵל הֵמָּה יַעֲלוּ בָהָר׃
You shall set bounds for the people round about, saying, ‘Beware of going up the mountain or touching the border of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death:
no hand shall touch it, but he shall be either stoned or shot; beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast, they may go up on the mountain.”
(it uses the language of מ֥וֹת יוּמָֽת) and it lists two different options according to those who see the "אוֹ" is "or" and not "if"* . Do the two options indicate that there were 2 different crimes/transgressions committed or is this simply because pre-matan Torah, any death penalty would do the trick? Might it then also mean that pre-matan Torah, "mot yumat" does not invoke a full judicial process?
- the Da'at Z'keinim explores this here
או ירה יירה, “or shot through with arrows;” according to our author as distinct from Ibn Ezra and Rashbam, the meaning of the word או here is not “or,” but “if” is that the guilty party must be thrown from a height after having been pushed. Alternately, “if throwing the victim down from a height has not killed him he must be shot subsequently to insure that he does not have to die a slow death.