7

וְשָׁלְחוּ זִקְנֵי עִירוֹ וְלָקְחוּ אֹתוֹ מִשָּׁם וְנָתְנוּ אֹתוֹ בְּיַד גֹּאֵל הַדָּם וָמֵת.

The elders of his city must take him [the intentional murderer] and hand him over to the blood avenger, and he shall die.

-Devarim 19:12

This is in the parsha of the unintentional murderer, where after specifying that a person guilty of culpable homicide is allowed to live in a city of refuge (or a Levite city), the Torah then deals with someone who intentionally killed another. Here the verse states that he is handed over to the blood avenger.

Is this literally so? My understanding is that if there are witnesses and a warning (עדים והתראה), then a murderer is sentenced to death, and the witnesses themselves are to be the executioners. Where exactly in halacha is a "blood avenger" given the right to execute a killer? Or is this one of the places where the Oral Torah overrides the simple understanding of the Written Torah?

6

The law is exactly in accordance with the literal meaning of the verse in this case. "ונתנו אותו ביד גואל הדם"

The Rambam codified this ruling in the halacha immediately following the halacha cited in @Danny Schoemann's now deleted response:

רמב"ם הלכות רוצח ושמירת הנפש א:ב
‏ מִצְוָה בְּיַד גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם [לַהֲרֹג אֶת הָרוֹצֵחַ] שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לה-יט) 'גֹּאֵל הַדָּם הוּא יָמִית אֶת הָרֹצֵחַ'.‏

From the previous halacha in the Rambam and from the pasuk it is clear that this is the court giving the job of executioner to the גואל הדם.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .