When a dead body was found in between two towns, the elders of each had to say, “It wasn’t our hands that shed this blood” (Deut. 21:6-7).
Most people concentrate on the guilt for the crime. The more important question is whether the elders (and for that matter the general body of citizens) feel ashamed that the crime happened at all. “Our hands did not shed the blood” implies, “Don’t blame us!”
Let’s hope that the elders added a further sentence to their statement, “But we are ashamed that such a terrible thing could have happened, whether it was due to us or not – and we are sufficiently humbled by the event that we will do all we can to keep both our cities clean and calm from now on.”