At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he
that is worthy of death be put to death
The idolater found guilty was to be stoned; two witnesses were sufficient to prove a fact, if three the better, but, on the testimony of one, sentence might not be pronounced. Aben Ezra observes, that some say, if two witnesses contradict two other, a third turns the scale and determines the matter; and others say, that two who are wise men will do, and three of others; and because it is said "at the mouth" of these witnesses, it is concluded, that a testimony should be verbal and not written; should not be recorded, neither in pecuniary cases nor in capital ones, but from the mouth of the witnesses, as it is said "at the mouth" at their mouth, and not from their handwriting F5:
[but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death;
so careful is the Lord of the lives of men, that none should be taken away but upon full and sufficient evidence, even in cases in which his own glory and honour is so much concerned.
F5 Maimon. Hilchot Eduth, c. 3. sect. 4.