Noahide Law as International Law

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Crime between a Noahide and an Jew

Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein writes:[1]

In Jewish law, besides decapitation, three additional commands are listed here: execution by strangulation, by burning, and by stoning, depending on the crime. But all Noahic executions are by decapitation, according to the decision of Maimonides, Code, "Laws on Kings" 9:7 and 10:5. However, Maimonides there lists two exceptions: for a Noahite's adultery with (a) any naara meurasa (a Jewish maiden who has gone through only the first half of the marriage ceremony ) the penalty is stoning, just as in Israelite law; for a Noahite's adultery with (b) a Jewish maiden who has gone through both halves of the wedding ceremony but who has not consummated her marriage the penalty is strangulation, just as in Israelite law. Under strictly Noahide procedure, neither (a) nor (b) would be considered a case of adultery since it is with the consummation of her marriage that a Noahite becomes a married woman, and consequently subject only then to adultery charges. Since it is only by a Israelite yardstick that (a) and (b) are cases of adultery, therefore the penalties must be Israelite. (Cf. Sanhedrin 57b.) However, it may well be that only in a Jewish court would the offenders in cases (a) and (b) be punishable, and that in a Noahic court the woman involved would not be considered married. For otherwise one would have to assume that Noahic courts must be expert in Israelite law and be capable of handling all the technicalities involved in declaring any Jewess a married woman. However, the indications from Sanhedrin 59a are that Noahites must have an acquaintance with only Noahide law. Because of this possibility, execution by strangulation and stoning are omitted here.
  1. Lichtenstein, Aaron. "The Seven Laws of Noah". New York: The Rabbi Jacob Joseph School Press and Z. Berman Books, 2d ed. 1986