Following on from my question here: Clarification on quotation sources around Sanhedrin 57a

All citations (that I can find through Jewish resources linked in the original question) that claim to refute or debunk the mentioned Sanhedrin 57a tract and the related Gemara - https://www.sefaria.org/Sanhedrin.57a.16?lang=bi&with=Mishneh%20Torah,%20Murderer%20and%20the%20Preservation%20of%20Life&lang2=en "...wherever there is liability for capital punishment, this tanna teaches it; as it is taught in the first clause: With regard to bloodshed, if a gentile murders another gentile, or a gentile murders a Jew, he is liable. If a Jew murders a gentile, he is exempt."

  • seem to indicate leaving the judgement of a Jew who kills a (Noahide) Gentile 'up to the hand of Heaven'.

I've seen it claimed that this means a Beth Din had no jurisdiction over cases involving Gentiles; but in contrast a Gentile can be tried in a Jewish court (and are more liable to receive the death penalty than a Jew involved in the same crime - see citations on Maimonides 42-45 here: https://matzpen.org/english/1981-10-10/the-jewish-religion-and-its-attitude-to-non-jews-appendix-israel-shahak/#fn-208-45) AND we apparently shouldn't hand over a Jew to a Gentile court (if he will lose). I also can't find that some other non-death punishment such as lashes or a fine applies either.

I'm very worried about not being able to properly refute accusations about this from antisemites who cite these passages; especially when some fundamentalist Rabbis use them to promote violence and unequal justice as well.

Is there ANY halachic text specifying that a Jew who murders a (Noahide/righteous, with whom we are not at war/oppressed by, since with idolaters or enemies this is even less likely) Gentile (including when we will in Israel with a Beth Din, etc) IS to be punished in a human court and not just left up to Heaven's hand (ideally even when there is neither 'concern about inciting hatred', nor 'risk of desecration of G-d's name' involved)?

  • Thankyou, but the sefer was aimed at teens? And says 'if he killed a slave or a resident alien', sans specifying murder or manslaughter. It cites Makkot 8b: 'MISHNA: … a Jew is exiled due to his unintentional murder... except for the unintentional murder of a [resident Noahide] gentile' This contradicts the Sefer and it doesn't tell us what that happens in that exception, again implying a lack of court punishment. * Excluding a ger toshav, continuing 'But a resident alien that kills an Israelite - whether volitionally or inadvertently - is killed for it' (See the prev' q 'daadtmet' link)
    – ANH
    Apr 14, 2023 at 17:39
  • And Maimonides is likewise discussing unintentional killing. I'm explicitly asking about murder - not manslaughter - of a righteous/Noahide Gentile with whom we are not at war, which Maimonides again leaves 'in the hand of Heaven'. In contrast, he states that 'When a resident alien kills a Jew unintentionally, he should be executed, even though he acted unintentionally. The rationale is that a person must always take responsibility for his conduct.' (!)
    – ANH
    Apr 14, 2023 at 17:45
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/132336/…
    – rosends
    Apr 14, 2023 at 18:29
  • @rosends Thanks Yeah, so again, 'in the hand of Heaven', according to that question's answers. They mention that 'The Mechilta implies that it is indeed considered murder, and the Ra'avan maintains that it is subsumed under the prohibition of murder', but again, no clear mention of punishment in those sources. Plus saying 'rather such a case should be tried by a non-Jewish court ' and 'a Jew is still accountable to both God and a non-Jewish court, should they pursue to try the Jew for their murder', but again, we apparently can't help hand that Jew over to said Gentile court.
    – ANH
    Apr 14, 2023 at 19:41
  • Also re' manslaughter: '... in accord with the general rule that a man could not be sentenced to death without a previous warning (; Sanh. 57a); and since such forewarning was necessarily lacking in cases of manslaughter, the Israelite guilty thereof was simply exiled, this step being taken to forestall the avenger of blood. The Gemara to the Mishnah cited above (Mak. 8b) holds that an alien was not entitled to the forewarning, and hence should be executed.' jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6585-gentile
    – ANH
    Apr 14, 2023 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


In Bava Metzia 83b we find that Rabbi Elazar assisted the Gentile police in catching Jewish thieves - who were given the death penalty - using circumstantial evidence

The Shitah Mekubetzet cites the Ritva, who explains that although according to Jewish law, a thief does not receive capital punishment, and circumstantial evidence is not enough (without testimony), nevertheless, being that “the law of the Gentile government is law”, he was permitted to assist them

So we see, that if the law stipulates that someone is to be convicted, we are permitted to assist them

  • Thankyou, but it's not clear if Elazar's actions would constitute halacha if/when we live in Israel with a Beth Din, etc (since this is what Sanhedrin 57a is hypothesizing)? Since the tale implies he was under a foreign king's employ. In addition, the way the Ritva reports Asevilli and Joshua's response to this implies that Elazar's actions weren't (and still aren't wholly accepted as halachic. And this is about theft, not murder, which was my specific query. I'd like to think the 'how much more so' clause would apply, but I've found nothing so far.
    – ANH
    Apr 17, 2023 at 10:39

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