Lying witnesses are neither executed, given lashes, or required to make financial restitution unless both of them were fit to serve as witnesses1 and they were both disqualified through hazamah after the judgment was rendered.

If, however, only one of them was disqualified through hazamah,2 they were both disqualified through hazamah before the judgment was rendered, or after the judgment was rendered, one of them was disqualified3 because of family connections4 or because he was unfit to serve as a witness,5 the witnesses are not punished, even though they are disqualified through hazamah and no longer acceptable to deliver testimony in all matters of Scriptural Law.6


אֵין עֵדִים זוֹמְמִין נֶהֱרָגִין וְלֹא לוֹקִין וְלֹא מְשַׁלְּמִין עַד שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם רְאוּיִין לְעֵדוּת וְיִזּוֹמוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם אַחַר שֶׁנִּגְמַר הַדִּין. אֲבָל אִם הוּזַם אֶחָד מֵהֶן בִּלְבַד אוֹ שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם קֹדֶם גְּמַר דִּין אוֹ אַחַר גְּמַר דִּין וְנִמְצָא אֶחָד מֵהֶן קָרוֹב אוֹ פָּסוּל אֵין נֶעֱנָשִׁין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ וְנִפְסְלוּ לְכָל עֵדוּת שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה:


Although according to Talmudic logic one might differ,7 if the person against whom they testified was executed and then they were disqualified through hazamah, they are not executed.8 This is derived from Deuteronomy 19:19: which speaks of: "what they conspired to do." Implied is that it9 was not already done.10 This rule is part of the Oral Tradition.11

If, however, the person against whom they testified was lashed, they are lashed.12 Similarly, if money was expropriated from one person and given to another, it is returned to its owner13 and the witnesses are required to pay the penalty.14


נֶהֱרַג זֶה שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ הוּזַמּוּ אֵינָן נֶהֱרָגִין מִן הַדִּין. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט יט) "כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַם לַעֲשׂוֹת" וַעֲדַיִן לֹא עָשָׂה. וְדָבָר זֶה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה. אֲבָל אִם לָקָה זֶה שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עָלָיו לוֹקִין. וְכֵן אִם יָצָא הַמָּמוֹן מִיַּד זֶה לְיַד זֶה בְּעֵדוּתָן חוֹזֵר לִבְעָלָיו וּמְשַׁלְּמִין לוֹ:


The following laws apply if there were three or even 100 witnesses. If the witnesses deliver testimony in court one after the other, each one testifying immediately after15 his colleague and several of them were disqualified through hazamah, they do not receive punishment until all of them are disqualified through hazamah.16

If, however, the interval between testimonies was greater than the time it takes a student to greet a teacher, the testimonies are divided and the two who were disqualified through hazamah are punished. The two who testified after there was such an interlude between their testimony and that of the first pair are not punished. This applies even though the entire testimony is disqualified because all of the witnesses are considered as one group17 and when the testimony of part of a group is disqualified, the entire testimony is disqualified.18


הָיוּ הָעֵדִים שְׁלֹשָׁה אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה אִם הֵעִידוּ בְּבֵית דִּין זֶה אַחַר זֶה וְהֵעִיד כָּל אֶחָד מֵהֶן אַחַר חֲבֵרוֹ בְּתוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר וְהוּזַמּוּ מִקְצָתָן אֵין נֶעֱנָשִׁין עַד שֶׁיּוּזַמּוּ כֻּלָּן. אֲבָל אִם הָיָה הֶפְסֵק בֵּין זֶה לָזֶה יֶתֶר מִכְּדֵי דִּבּוּר שֶׁהוּא כְּדֵי שְׁאֵלַת שָׁלוֹם תַּלְמִיד לְרַב. הֲרֵי נֶחְלְקָה הָעֵדוּת וְהַשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁהוּזַמּוּ נֶעֱנָשִׁין וְהַשְּׁנַיִם הָאֲחֵרִים שֶׁהָיָה בֵּין דִּבְרֵיהֶן וְדִבְרֵי הָרִאשׁוֹנִים הֶפְסֵק אֵין נֶעֱנָשִׁין. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁבָּטְלָה הָעֵדוּת כֻּלָּהּ. מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן כַּת אַחַת הוֹאִיל וְנִפְסְלָה מִקְּצָתָהּ נִפְסְלָה כֻּלָּהּ:


When one witness delivers testimony, that testimony is investigated,19 and the second witness states: "I also testify like him," "Yes, this is what happened," or the like, they are both executed, lashed, or subjected to a financial penalty if they are both disqualified through hazamah.20 The rationale is that any witness who says "Yes, this is what happened" after his colleague testified is considered as having testified and responded to cross-examination as his colleague did.

There is no concept of inadvertent transgression with regard to lying witnesses,21 because the transgression does not involve a deed.22 Therefore there is no need for a warning23 as we explained.24


הֵעִיד הָאֶחָד וְנֶחְקְרָה עֵדוּתוֹ וְאָמַר הַשֵּׁנִי אַף אֲנִי כָּמוֹהוּ אוֹ שֶׁאָמַר הֵן כַּיּוֹצֵא בָּזֶה וְהוּזַמּוּ שְׁנֵיהֶן הֲרֵי שְׁנֵיהֶן נֶהֱרָגִין אוֹ לוֹקִין אוֹ מְשַׁלְּמִין. שֶׁכָּל עֵד שֶׁאָמַר אַחַר עֵדוּת חֲבֵרוֹ הֵן הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִי שֶׁנֶּחְקַר וְהֵעִיד כְּמוֹ שֶׁהֵעִיד חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאֵין לְעֵדִים זוֹמְמִין שְׁגָגָה לְפִי שֶׁאֵין בָּהּ מַעֲשֶׂה. לְפִיכָךְ אֵין צְרִיכִים הַתְרָאָה כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:


Just as two witnesses can disqualify 100 witnesses through hazamah if the 100 testify at one time;25 so, too, they can disqualify them through hazamah if they testify as 50 groups, coming two by two.

What is implied? A group of witnesses testified that Reuven killed Shimon in Jerusalem. Two witnesses came and disqualified that group through hazamah. Another group came and delivered that same testimony, that Reuven killed Shimon in Jerusalem and these same two witnesses arose and disqualified that group through hazamah. This happened a third time and a fourth time. Even if it happens 100 times, all the other witnesses are executed on the basis of the testimony of these two.26


כְּשֵׁם שֶׁהַשְּׁנַיִם מְזִימִין אֶת הַמֵּאָה אִם הֵעִידוּ הַמֵּאָה בְּבַת אַחַת. כָּךְ הֵן מְזִימִין אוֹתָן אֲפִלּוּ הָיוּ חֲמִשִּׁים כַּת וּבָאוּ שְׁנַיִם אַחַר שְׁנַיִם. כֵּיצַד. כַּת שֶׁהֵעִידָה עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהָרַג אֶת שִׁמְעוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבָאוּ שְׁנֵי עֵדִים וֶהֱזִימוּהָ. וּבָאת כַּת שְׁנִיָּה וְהֵעִידָה אוֹתָהּ עֵדוּת עַצְמָהּ שֶׁרְאוּבֵן הָרַג שִׁמְעוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וְעָמְדוּ אוֹתָן הַשְּׁנַיִם וֶהֱזִימוּהָ גַּם זוֹ הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה וְכֵן הַשְּׁלִישִׁית וְכֵן הָרְבִיעִית אֲפִלּוּ מֵאָה כֻּלָּן הֵן נֶהֱרָגִין עַל פִּי אֵלּוּ הַשְּׁנַיִם:

Mishneh Torah (Moznaim)

Featuring a modern English translation and a commentary that presents a digest of the centuries of Torah scholarship which have been devoted to the study of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides.


When one group of witnesses testify that Reuven killed Shimon in Jerusalem and a second group come and disqualify the first group through hazamah, the lying witnesses should be executed and Reuven's life saved.27 If a third group come and disqualify the second group through hazamah, the second group and Reuven should be executed28 and the lives of the first group saved.29

If a fourth group come and disqualify the third group through hazamah, the third and the first groups should be executed and the lives of Reuven and the second group saved. Similarly, even if there are 100 groups, each one disqualifying the testimony of the previous through hazamah, one group's testimony is accepted and the other group's testimony is disqualified.


כַּת שֶׁהֵעִידָה עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁהָרַג אֶת שִׁמְעוֹן בִּירוּשָׁלַיִם וּבָאָה כַּת שְׁנִיָּה וְהֵזִימָה אֶת הַכַּת רִאשׁוֹנָה יֵהָרְגוּ הָעֵדִים הַזּוֹמְמִין וְיִנָּצֵל רְאוּבֵן. בָּאָה כַּת שְׁלִישִׁית וְהֵזִימָה אֶת הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה תֵּהָרֵג הַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה וּרְאוּבֵן וְתִנָּצֵל הַכַּת רִאשׁוֹנָה. בָּאָה כַּת רְבִיעִית וְהֵזִימָה אֶת הַכַּת שְׁלִישִׁית תֵּהָרֵג הַכַּת הַשְּׁלִישִׁית וְהָרִאשׁוֹנָה וְיִנָּצֵל רְאוּבֵן וְהַכַּת הַשְּׁנִיָּה. וְכֵן אֲפִלּוּ הֵן מֵאָה כַּת זוֹ מְזִמָּה אֶת זוֹ כַּת נִכְנֶסֶת וְכַת יוֹצֵאת:


When witnesses testify that a person who is trefe30 murdered a person and then the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, the witnesses are not executed.31 The rationale is that even if they had killed him with their hands, they would not be executed, because he is trefe.32

Similarly, if witnesses who were trefe testified concerning a matter punishable by execution by the court and were disqualified through hazamah, they are not executed.33 The rationale is that if their testimony was disqualified through hazamah, and the testimony of the witnesses who testified against them was disqualified through hazamah, those witnesses would not be executed, for they disqualified only a person who was trefe.34


עֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל אִישׁ טְרֵפָה שֶׁהָרַג וְהוּזַמּוּ אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין. שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ הֲרָגוּהוּ בִּידֵיהֶן אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין לְפִי שֶׁהוּא טְרֵפָה. וְכֵן הָעֵדִים שֶׁהָיוּ טְרֵפָה וְהֵעִידוּ בְּדָבָר שֶׁחַיָּבִין עָלָיו מִיתַת בֵּית דִּין וְהוּזַמּוּ אֵין נֶהֱרָגִין. שֶׁאִם יוּזַמּוּ זוֹמְמֵיהֶן אֵין זוֹמְמֵיהֶן נֶהֱרָגִין שֶׁלֹּא הֵזִימוּ אֶלָּא טְרֵפָה:


The following rule applies when witnesses testify against another person and have him convicted in a matter that does not involve lashes, capital punishment, or a financial obligation and then the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah. They are given lashes35 even though they did not conspire to have the defendant lashed or to obligate him financially.

What is implied? Witnesses testified that a priest was a challal,36 e.g., they testified that his mother was divorced or released through chalitzah37 in their presence in this-and-this place on this-and-this date. If the witnesses are disqualified through hazamah, they are punished by lashing.38

Similarly, if they testified that a person inadvertently killed a colleague and they are disqualified through hazamah, they are punished by lashing; they are not exiled.39 And if they testify that a person's ox killed another person and they were disqualified through hazamah, they receive lashes and are not required to pay an atonement fine.40 If they testify that a person was sold as a Hebrew servant41 and they were disqualified through hazamah, they receive lashes. These four rulings are part of the Oral Tradition.


עֵדִים שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל אֶחָד וְהִרְשִׁיעוּהוּ רֶשַׁע שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ לֹא מַלְקוֹת וְלֹא מִיתָה וְלֹא חִיּוּב מָמוֹן וְאַחַר כָּךְ הוּזַמּוּ. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לוֹקִין אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא זָמְמוּ לְהַלְקוֹת זֶה וְלֹא לְחַיְּבוֹ מָמוֹן. כֵּיצַד. הֵעִידוּ עַל כֹּהֵן שֶׁהוּא חָלָל כְּגוֹן שֶׁהֵעִידוּ בְּפָנֵינוּ נִתְגָּרְשָׁה אִמּוֹ אוֹ נֶחְלְצָה בְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי בְּיוֹם פְּלוֹנִי וְהוּזַמּוּ הֲרֵי הֵן לוֹקִין. וְכֵן אִם הֵעִידוּ עַל אָדָם שֶׁהָרַג בִּשְׁגָגָה וְהוּזַמּוּ לוֹקִין וְאֵינָן גּוֹלִין. הֵעִידוּ עַל שׁוֹרוֹ שֶׁל זֶה שֶׁהָרַג הַנֶּפֶשׁ וְהוּזַמּוּ. הֲרֵי הֵן לוֹקִין וְאֵין מְשַׁלְּמִין אֶת הַכֹּפֶר. הֵעִידוּ עָלָיו שֶׁנִּמְכַּר בְּעֶבֶד עִבְרִי וְהוּזַמּוּ לוֹקִין. וְאַרְבָּעָה דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה הֵן:


With regard to the above matters, our Sages received the following tradition: When two people cause a righteous person to be condemned42 and a wicked person to be vindicated through their testimony and two others come and disqualify their testimony through hazamah vindicating the righteous person and condemning the wicked, the first pair of witnesses receive lashes43 even though their condemnation of the righteous person would not have had him subjected to lashes.44

If, however, witnesses testify that a person partook of milk and meat or wore shaatnez, they are punished by lashes, as implied by Deuteronomy 19:19: "You shall requite him as he conspired."45


כָּךְ קִבְּלוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁשְּׁנַיִם שֶׁהִרְשִׁיעוּ אֶת הַצַּדִּיק וְהִצְדִּיקוּ אֶת הָרָשָׁע בְּעֵדוּתָן. וּבָאוּ עֵדִים אֲחֵרִים וֶהֱזִימוּם וְהִצְדִּיקוּ אֶת הַצַּדִּיק וְהִרְשִׁיעוּ אֶת הָרָשָׁע. הֲרֵי עֵדִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים לוֹקִים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא הִרְשִׁיעוּ הַצַּדִּיק לְהַלְקוֹתוֹ. אֲבָל אִם הֵעִידוּ עָלָיו שֶׁאָכַל בָּשָׂר בְּחָלָב אוֹ שֶׁלָּבַשׁ שַׁעַטְנֵז הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לוֹקִין. מִשּׁוּם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט יט) "וַעֲשִׂיתֶם לוֹ כַּאֲשֶׁר זָמַם":


When two witnesses testify that Reuven committed adultery with the daughter of a priest, Reuven was sentenced to death by strangulation and the daughter of the priest was sentenced to be burnt to death,46 and afterwards the witnesses were disqualified through hazamah, they should be executed by strangulation and not burnt to death.47 This is part of the Oral Tradition.


שְׁנַיִם שֶׁהֵעִידוּ עַל רְאוּבֵן שֶׁנָּאַף עִם בַּת כֹּהֵן וְנִגְמַר דִּין רְאוּבֵן לֵיחָנֵק וְדִין הַנּוֹאֶפֶת לִשְׂרֵפָה וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִמְצְאוּ זוֹמְמִין הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ נֶחְנָקִין וְלֹא נִשְׂרָפִין. וְדָבָר זֶה מִפִּי הַקַּבָּלָה: