One of the requirements for Bnei Noah is to set up a system of justice. This would seem to include (unless I'm mistaken) criminal penalties, which could mean capital punishment for certain crimes.

What's the Halachah if a Jew is asked to carry out a death sentence imposed by a non-Jewish court? (Assume for simplicity - if there is such a thing - a non-Jewish offender.)

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    Why would it be a problem?
    – Ypnypn
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 19:31
  • 1
    @Ypnypn You generally can't kill people without Beit Din's approval.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 19:51
  • @DoubleAA Still, if the person deserves to die (as been determined by a valid court), why should a Jew be forbidden to enforce the verdict? Why would a non-Jewish court be different than a Jewish one in this respect?
    – Ypnypn
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 19:53
  • @Ypnypn Perhaps they don't have authority to impose capital punishment? Or to impose it on Jews?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 19:56
  • @DoubleAA The question assumes the criminal is not Jewish.
    – Ypnypn
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


Based on this responsa, under the heading טענה ראשונה - הריגת גוי המפר אחת משבע מצוות בני נח it seems that most early Poskim hold that a Jew is not allowed to kill a non-Jew who transgressed one of the Noachide Laws.


  • The Bet Yosef (יורה דעה, סי' קנח) apparently allows it.

The following Rishonim seem to forbid it:

  • Rashi (עבודה זרה יג ע"ב, ד"ה ואין מורידין')
  • Ramban (פירוש הרמב"ן על התורה, בראשית לד, יג.) who says "שאין הדבר מסור ליעקב ובניו לעשות בהם הדין".
  • Rabeinu Yona (פירושו לסנהדרין, נז ע"א)
  • Meiri (בית הבחירה, סנהדרין נז ע"א)
  • Tur (יורה דעה, סי' קנח)
  • Tos. Shantz (תוספות שאנץ, עבודה זרה י ע"א)
  • Ri Hazaken (הובא בספר תמים דעים, סי' רג)

(I did not cross check the references, and relied on the article.)

  • Interesting. I'd love to read through these sources. I'll have to make time for it over Shabbath or something. I appreciate this. Good find.
    – Seth J
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 12:27
  • Also, I'm really curious why the בית יוסף would go against two of his three Pillars here.
    – Seth J
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 12:28
  • Wouldn't this article only apply to a Jew who would have the opportunity to kill his non Jewish neighbor for transgressing a noahide law? The OP is coming from a different angle. If upholding their law would allow or require this.
    – user6591
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 11:10

I would surmise that there is no problem, here. Jews and B'nai No'ach are commanded not to MURDER. It does not state "Do not kill." Furthermore, No'ach himself was told that those who spill a man's blood shall have his blood spilled (Noach 9:6). Thus, if a court found a Ben No'ach guilty of murder, it becomes a mitzvah to carry out the death sentence. It may be questionable if the death sentence was issued by the court for reasons other than murder.

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    מכה אדם יומת in last week's parsha. did you just try and make up your own drasha on a pasuk?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 19:51
  • @DoubleAA Noach 9:6 is the citation Commented May 8, 2014 at 21:08
  • Actually, a Ben Noach according to the Rambam is chayav misah for any of the 7 mitzvos. In that case, it should be OK as long as the court is honest and the punishment valid. Perhaps Dinah Demalchusah Dinah might apply as well. Commented May 8, 2014 at 21:11
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    @sabbahillel ??? He is being medayeik in "murder" vs "kill".
    – Double AA
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 21:12
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    @sabbahillel Perhaps Aseh Doche Lo Taaseh? Perhaps only Jews can enforce the penalty? I don't know. I'd just like something more than our own inferences in pesukim.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 21:27

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