This article, following a short methodological introduction, presents an analysis of the Talmudic discussion about the decapitation penalty. This short Talmudic passage has been commented upon by many prominent scholars. However, this article suggests a different reading, one based upon posing an additional interpretive question: “what is the author doing in composing the passage in this particular way?” The valuable insights of past scholars are not dismissed by my reading, but they are placed in a different context and hence possess different meanings. At the heart of my analysis is my ambition to articulate the central issue of the particular discourse in which these Talmudic sources participate. I add an explanation of the parallel Talmudic sources that explicate why each of the source’s authors chooses to present the shared tradition in his own particular way. I demonstrate the benefits of adding this interpretive question and the techniques for answering it.