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The Mishna (according to the Gemara) says that kings of the house of Yehuda (basically, the good kings) and all kings before King Yannai would be judged, and the Radvaz writes that (in theory), a king could be sent to exile.

My question is what would happen if a king killed someone on purpose. Practically, it would be almost impossible for anyone to do anything about it (you and which army?) but in theory, if the Sanhedrin had physical power, would it be allowed to execute a king?

On one hand, I haven't seen (though Lo Rayinu Einu Raya) anywhere which says that a king is exempt from punishment, but on the other hand, the Mishna says that there's a Biblical command to fear a king.

What about lashes?

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There are several points in this. First, a king can condemn a person as a mored bemalchus as David hamelech did to Uriah. Note that he was condemned by the navi for abuse of authority hand not for murder

Achav was condemned by the navi and sentenced to death by Hashem, not by bais din. However, this may only be because of a lack of authority by the court.

I think that this is dealt with in Sanhedrin Capter 2 Mishna 1

A king must not judge, and he is not judged; he must not be a witness, nor be witnessed against.

However the gemara explains this as not applying to Malchus Bais David

"A king must not judge," etc. Said R. Joseph: This is concerning the kings of Israel; but the kings of the house of David are judged and judge. As it is written [Jer. xxi. 12]: "O house of David, thus said the Lord: Exercise justice on every morning." We see that they did judge; and if they were not to be judged, how could they judge?--as is said above by Resh Lakish. And what is the reason it is prohibited to the kings of Israel? Because an unfortunate thing happened as follows: The slave of King Janai murdered a person; and Simeon b. Cheta'h said to the sages: Notwithstanding that he is the slave of the king, he must be tried. They sent to the king: Your slave has killed a man. And Janai sent his slave to them to be tried. However, they sent to him: You also must appear before the court. As it is written [Ex. xxi. 29]: "Warning has been given to its owner"--which means the owner of the ox must appear at the time the ox is tried. He then came and took a seat. Said Simeon b. Cheta'h: King Janai, arise, so that the witnesses shall testify while you stand; yet not for us do you rise, but for Him who said a word, and the world was created. As it reads [Deut. xix. 17]: "Stand before the Lord." And the king answered: It must not be as you say, but as the majority of your colleagues shall decide. Simeon then turned to his right, but his colleagues cast their eyes upon the floor without any answer; and the same did his colleagues at his left. Simeon then exclaimed: You are all troubled in mind (disconcerted)! May the One who rules minds take revenge upon you. Gabriel came then and smote them to the floor, that they died. And at that time it was enacted that a king should neither judge nor be judged, neither be a witness nor be witnessed against.

  • First, a king can condemn a person as a mored bemalchus as David hamelech did to Uriah. Note that he was condemned by the navi for abuse of authority hand not for murder - Yes, that's one of his rights. But he's not allowed to kill for fun. – Shmuel Brin Mar 1 '17 at 19:00
  • @ShmuelBrin Of course not. However, I was pointing out that he can declare that a person is mored bemalchus (even if false) and the person has no recourse. The OP said on purpose, he did not say for fun. The question involved punishing the king, not what he is or is not allowed to do. In any case, the mishna would imply that there is no way to actually punish him. – sabbahillel Mar 1 '17 at 19:04
  • * I was pointing out that he can declare that a person is mored bemalchus (even if false) and the person has no recourse* Is it true (another question)? Remember that Uriah was Mored BeMalchus (Machlokes Rashi and Tosfos exactly what he did wrong). – Shmuel Brin Mar 1 '17 at 19:37
  • @ShmuelBrin The point is that when he declares that the person was mored bemalcus, he cannot be punished by bais din because of the declaration. Uriah was mored bemalchus let Dovid off bidai shamayim. – sabbahillel Mar 1 '17 at 19:40
  • Although, back to the original point, killing someone wasn't exact. What if he served idols, committed adultery, or ate pig (and would be Chayav Malkos). There aren't any exemptions there. – Shmuel Brin Mar 1 '17 at 19:42

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