Chapter 23כ״ג
1 א

הֲלָכָה מִי שֶׁהָיָה נִרְדָּף מִן הַגּוֹיִם אוֹ מִן הַלִּסְטִים מַהוּ שֶׁיְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת, כָּךְ שָׁנוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ מִי שֶׁהָיָה נִרְדָּף מִן הַגּוֹיִם אוֹ מִן הַלִּסְטִים מְחַלֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת בִּשְׁבִיל לְמַלֵּט אֶת נַפְשׁוֹ, וְכָךְ אָנוּ מוֹצְאִין בְּדָוִד כְּשֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ שָׁאוּל לְהָרְגוֹ, בָּרַח מִמֶּנּוּ וְנִמְלַט. אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁבָּאוּ לִגְדוֹלֵי צִפּוֹרִי כְּתָבִים רָעִים מִן הַמַּלְכוּת, הָלְכוּ וְאָמְרוּ לְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן פַּרְטָא, רַבִּי, כְּתָבִים רָעִים בָּאוּ לָנוּ מִן הַמַּלְכוּת, מָה אַתָּה אוֹמֵר, נִבְרַח, וְהָיָה מִתְיָרֵא לוֹמַר לָהֶם בִּרְחוּ, וְאָמַר לָהֶם בְּרֶמֶז, וְלִי אַתֶּם שׁוֹאֲלִים, לְכוּ וְשַׁאֲלוּ אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת משֶׁה וְאֶת דָּוִד, מַה כְּתִיב בְּיַעֲקֹב (הושע יב, יג): וַיִּבְרַח יַעֲקֹב, וְכֵן בְּמשֶׁה (שמות ב, טו): וַיִּבְרַח משֶׁה, וְכֵן בְּדָוִד (שמואל א יט, יח): וְדָוִד בָּרַח וַיִּמָּלֵט, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (ישעיה כו, כ): לֵךְ עַמִּי בֹּא בַחֲדָרֶיךָ, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וְכָאֵלּוּ כָּל גְּדוֹלֵי עוֹלָם יָרְאוּ וּבָרְחוּ מִן שׂוֹנְאֵיהֶם, כָּל אוֹתָן אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה שֶׁעֲשִׂיתֶם בַּמִּדְבָּר לֹא הִנַּחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם לִבְרֹחַ, אֶלָּא הָיִיתִי מַפִּיל שׂוֹנְאֵיכֶם לִפְנֵיכֶם בַּמֶּה שֶׁהָיִיתִי עִמָּכֶם, וְלֹא עוֹד אֶלָּא כַּמָּה נְחָשִׁים וְכַמָּה שְׂרָפִים וְכַמָּה עַקְרַבִּים הָיוּ שָׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ח, טו): נָחָשׁ שָׂרָף וְעַקְרָב, וְלֹא הִנַּחְתִּי אוֹתָם לְהַזִּיק אֶתְכֶם, לְכָךְ אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה כְּתֹב אֶת הַמַּסָּעוֹת שֶׁנָּסְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּמִּדְבָּר, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּהְיוּ יוֹדְעִים מַה נִסִּים שֶׁעָשִׂיתִי לָהֶם, מִנַיִן, מִמַּה שֶּׁקָּרִינוּ בָּעִנְיָן (במדבר לג, א): אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי.

A Halakha: Is one who is pursued by non-Jews or bandits allowed to transgress the laws of Sabbath? Our Rabbis taught: One who is pursued by non-Jews or bandits is permitted to transgress the laws of Sabbath, in order to save his life. Thus we also find with David: When Saul attempted to kill him, he fled and escaped. Our Rabbis said: It once happened that they came to the [Jewish] leadership in Sepphoris with harsh orders from the [Roman] government. They went and said to R. Elazar b. Parta: O Rabbi! We have received harsh orders from the government. What do you say we should do, should we flee? He feared telling them to flee explicitly, so he hinted to them: "Why are you asking me? Go and ask Yaakov, Moshe, and David". What does it say about Yaakov? (Hosea 12): "And Jacob fled." Also about Moshe, (Exodus 2): "Moshe fled." And also about David, (I Samuel 19): "David fled and escaped." It also says (Isaiah 26): "Go my people, enter your rooms." The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: Such great ones were fearful and fled from those who hated them, yet for those forty years that you were in the desert, I did not let them flee. Instead I felled all their haters before them, in that I myself that was with them. Not only that, but there were all kinds of snakes, serafim, and scorpions there: (Deuteronomy 8): "Snakes, sefarim, and scorpions", yet I did not allow them to hurt you. Therefore The Holy One Blessed Be He said to Moshe: Record the journeys that Israel undertook in the desert, it order that they should know what kind of miracles I performed from them. How [will they know]? From all that they read regarding "These are the journeys".

2 ב

זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (תהלים עז, כא): נָחִיתָ כַצֹּאן עַמֶּךָ בְּיַד משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן, מַה נָחִיתָ, נוֹטָרִיקוֹן הוּא, נָחִיתָ, רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר נִ'סִּים עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּהֶם, חַ'יִּים נָתַתָּ לָהֶם, יָ'ם קָרַעְתָּ לָהֶם, תּ'וֹרָה נָתַתָּ לָהֶם, וְעַל יְדֵי מִי עַל יְדֵי משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן. דָּבָר אַחֵר, נָחִיתָ, רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אָמַר נִ'פְלָאוֹת עָשִׂיתָ לָהֶם, חֵ'רוּת נָתַתָּ לָהֶם, יְ'מִינְךָ הוֹשִׁיעַ אוֹתָם, תְּ'לוּי רֹאשׁ נָתַתָּ לָהֶם, עַל יְדֵי משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן. וְרַבּוֹתֵינוּ אוֹמְרִים, נָחִיתָ, נְ'בִיאִים הֶעֱמַדְתָּ מֵהֶם, חֲ'סִידִים הֶעֱמַדְתָּ מֵהֶם, יְ'שָׁרִים הֶעֱמַדְתָּ מֵהֶם, תְּ'מִימִים הֶעֱמַדְתָּ מֵהֶם, עַל יְדֵי משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן. דָּבָר אַחֵר, נָחִית, רַבִּי עֲקִיבָא אוֹמֵר, נ'וֹרָאוֹת עָשִׂיתָ בְשׂוֹנְאֵיהֶם, חֲ'רוֹן אַף שָׁלַחְתָּ בָּהֶם, יָ'דְךָ הֻלְחַמָּה אוֹתָם, תְּ'הוֹמוֹת כִּסִּיתָ עֲלֵיהֶם, עַל יְדֵי מִי עַל יְדֵי משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן. דָּבָר אַחֵר, נָחִיתָ כַצֹּאן עַמֶּךָ, מַהוּ כַּצֹּאן, אֶלָּא מַה הַצֹּאן הַזֶּה אֵין מַכְנִיסִין אוֹתָהּ לְצֵל הַקּוֹרָה, כָּךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה שֶׁעָשׂוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר לֹא נִכְנְסוּ לְצֵל הַקּוֹרָה, לְכָךְ נִמְשְׁלוּ כַּצֹּאן. דָּבָר אַחֵר, נָחִיתָ כַצֹּאן עַמֶּךָ, מַה הַצֹּאן אֵין כּוֹנְסִין לָהּ אוֹצָרוֹת אֶלָּא רוֹעִים אוֹתָהּ בַּמִּדְבָּר, כָּךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה שֶׁהָיוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר נִזּוֹנוּ בְּלֹא אוֹצָרוֹת, לְכָךְ נִמְשְׁלוּ כַּצֹּאן. דָּבָר אַחֵר, נָחִיתָ כַצֹּאן, מַה הַצֹּאן כָּל הֵיכָן שֶׁהָרוֹעֶה מַנְהִיגָהּ הִיא נִמְשֶׁכֶת אַחֲרָיו, כָּךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּל מָקוֹם שֶׁהָיוּ משֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן מַסִּיעִים אוֹתָם הָיוּ נוֹסְעִים אַחֲרֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: נָחִיתָ כַצֹאן עַמֶּךָ.

2 This is what is stated in the verse (Psalms 77:21), "You led (nachita) Your people like a flock through Moshe and Aharon." What is [the meaning of] nachita? It is the expression of an acrostic: Rabbi Eliezer says, "You did Nissim (miracles) for them; You gave them Chaim (life); You split the Yam Suf (Reed Sea) for them; You gave them the Torah through Moshe and Aharon." Rabbi Yehoshua says, "You did Niflaot (wonders) for them; You gave them Cherut (freedom); Yamincha (Your right hand) delivered them; You gave them Tilluy rosh (holding the head high) through Moshe and Aharon." Our masters said, "Nevi'im (prophets) did You raise up from them; Hasidim (saints) did You raise up from them; Yesharim (upright ones) did You raise up from them; Temimim (unblemished ones) did You raise up from them through Moses and Aharon." Another interpretation [of] nachita: Rabbi Akiva says, "You did Noraot (dreadful things) to their enemies; You sentCharon af (waxing anger) against them and You fought against them; You covered them with Tehomot (depths) through Moshe and Aharon. Another interpretation of (Psalms 77:21), "You led Your people like a flock": What is [the meaning of] flock? Just like one does not bring a flock under the shade of a roof (indoors), so too Israel when they were in the wilderness were not brought under the shade of a roof for forty years. Hence they were compared to a flock. Another interpretation of (Psalms 77:21), "You led Your people like a flock": Just like a flock does not have storerooms collected for them but rather only graze from the wilderness, so too Israel for the forty years that they were in the wilderness were fed without storehouses. . Hence they were compared to a flock. Another interpretation of (Psalms 77:21), "You led Your people like a flock": And just like a flock follows to anywhere that the shepherd leads them, so too Israel journeyed to any place that Moshe and Aharon took them, as it is stated, "These are the journeys of the Children of Israel" - in order to fulfill that which is stated, "You led Your people like a flock through Moshe and Aharon."

3 ג

אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי, מָשָׁל לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה בְּנוֹ חוֹלֶה הוֹלִיכוֹ לְמָקוֹם אֶחָד לְרַפְּאוֹתוֹ, כְּשֶׁחָזְרוּ הִתְחִיל אָבִיו מוֹנֶה כָּל הַמַּסָּעוֹת, וְאוֹמֵר כָּאן יָשַׁנְּנוּ, כָּאן הוֹקַרְנוּ, כָּאן חָשַׁשְׁתָּ אֶת רֹאשְׁךָ. כָּךְ אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה, מְנֵה לָהֶם כָּל הַמְּקוֹמוֹת הֵיכָן הִכְעִיסוּנִי, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי.

3 (Numbers 33:1) "These are the stages of the Children of Israel": [The matter] is comparable to a king whose son was ill. He brought him to a certain place to heal him. When they returned, his father began recounting the stages, “Here we slept. Here we cooled off. Here you had a headache.” Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moshe, "Recount to them all the places where they provoked Me." It is therefore stated (in Numbers 33:1), "These are the stages...."

4 ד

דָּבָר אַחֵר, אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי, לָמָּה זָכוּ לִכָּתֵב בַתּוֹרָה כָּל הַמַּסָּעוֹת הָאֵלּוּ, עַל שֶׁקִּבְּלוּ אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְעָתִיד הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִתֵּן שְׂכָרָן, דִּכְתִיב (ישעיה לה, א ב): יְשֻׂשׂוּם מִדְבָּר וְצִיָּה וְתָגֵל עֲרָבָה וְתִפְרַח כַּחֲבַצָּלֶת, פָּרֹחַ תִּפְרַח וְתָגֵל וגו', וּמַה מִּדְבָּר עַל שֶׁקִּבֵּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, כָּךְ, הַמְקַבֵּל תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים לְתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה. אַתְּ מוֹצֵא עָתִיד הַמִּדְבָּר לִהְיוֹת יִשּׁוּב וְהַיִּשּׁוּב עָתִיד לִהְיוֹת מִדְבָּר, וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁעָתִיד הַיִּשּׁוּב לִהְיוֹת מִדְבָּר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלאכי א, ג): וְאֶת עֵשָׂו שָׂנֵאתִי וָאָשִׂים אֶת הָרָיו שְׁמָמָה, וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהַמִּדְבָּר עָתִיד לִהְיוֹת יִשּׁוּב, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מא, יח): אָשִׂים מִדְבָּר לַאֲגַם מַיִם. אַתְּ מוֹצֵא עַכְשָׁו אֵין אִילָנוֹת בַּמִּדְבָּר וְעָתִיד לִהְיוֹת שָׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מא, יט): אֶתֵּן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֶרֶז שִׁטָּה וַהֲדַס וְעֵץ, וְעַכְשָׁו אֵין דֶּרֶךְ בַּמִּדְבָּר שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ חוֹל, וְעָתִיד לִהְיוֹת שָׁם דֶּרֶךְ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה מג, יט): אַף אָשִׂים בַּמִּדְבָּר דֶּרֶךְ בִּישִׁמוֹן נְהָרוֹת, וְאוֹמֵר (ישעיה לה, ח): וְהָיָה שָׁם מַסְלוּל וָדֶרֶךְ וְדֶרֶךְ הַקֹּדֶשׁ יִקָּרֵא לָהּ לֹא יַעַבְרֶנּוּ טָמֵא וְהוּא לָמוֹ הֹלֵךְ דֶּרֶךְ וֶאֱוִילִים לֹא יִתְעוּ.

4 Another interpretation: Why did all these stages (places) merit to be written in the Torah? Since they received (accommodated) Israel, the Holy One, blessed be He, will give them their reward in the future. It is so stated (in Isaiah 35:1-2), "The arid desert shall be glad.... It shall blossom abundantly, it shall also exult...." And if the desert [will receive] such for receiving Israel; one who receives a Torah scholar into his home, all the more so [will he be rewarded]. You find that in the future the desert will be a settlement and a settlement will be a desert. And where is it shown a settlement will be a desert in the future? It is so stated (Malachi 1:3), "And I have hated Esav and will make his hills a desolation." And where is it shown a desert will be a settlement in the future? It is so stated (Isaiah 41:8), "I will make a desert into a lake of water." Now there are no trees in the desert, but there will be trees there in the future, as stated (Isaiah 41:19), "I will put cedar and acacia in the desert...." Now there is no path there, as it is all sand. But there will be a path there in the future, as stated (Isaiah 43:19), "I will place a path in the desert […]." And it states (Isaiah 35:8), "And there will be a highway there, and it shall be called the Sacred Way [...]."

5 ה

צַו אֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵיהֶם כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן זֹאת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תִּפֹּל לָכֶם בְּנַחֲלָה (במדבר לד, ב), מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהֶרְאָה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה כָּל מַה שֶּׁהָיָה וְעָתִיד לִהְיוֹת, הֶרְאָה לוֹ מִדָּן עוֹמֵד שִׁמְשׁוֹן, וּבָרָק בֶּן אֲבִינֹעַם מִנַּפְתָּלִי, וְכֵן כָּל דּוֹר וָדוֹר וְדוֹרְשָׁיו, דּוֹר דּוֹר וְשׁוֹפְטָיו, דּוֹר דּוֹר וּמַנְהִיגָיו, דּוֹר דּוֹר וּפוֹשְׁעָיו, דּוֹר דּוֹר וְצַדִּיקָיו, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לד, ד): וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֵלָיו זֹאת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב לֵאמֹר לְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתְּנֶנָה הֶרְאִיתִיךָ בְעֵינֶיךָ, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהֶרְאָהוּ גֵּיהִנֹּם, אָמַר משֶׁה מִי נִדּוֹנִין בּוֹ, אָמַר לוֹ הָרְשָׁעִים וְהַפּוֹשְׁעִים בִּי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה סו, כד): וְיָצְאוּ וְרָאוּ בְּפִגְרֵי הָאֲנָשִׁים וגו', הִתְחִיל משֶׁה מִתְיָרֵא מִן גֵּיהִנֹּם, אָמַר לוֹ: הֶרְאִיתִיךָ בְעֵינֶיךָ וְשָׁמָּה לֹא תַעֲבֹר, וּמַהוּ זֹאת הָאָרֶץ לֵאמֹר, אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה לֵךְ אֱמֹר לָהֶם לְאַבְרָהָם לְיִצְחָק וּלְיַעֲקֹב שְׁבוּעָה שֶׁנִּשְׁבַּעְתִּי לָכֶם קִיַּמְתִּי לִבְנֵיכֶם, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר לֵאמֹר.

5 (Numb. 34:1–2) “Then the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, ‘Command the Children of Israel [and say unto them], “When you come into the Land of Canaan, this is the land [...].”’”: [“This is the land”]4These words occur also in Deut. 34:4 (cited below). The midrash, therefore, interprets the two passages together. What follows in Numb. 34:3ff. describes what Israel is about to receive, while Deut. 34:4 (cited below) speaks of the promise to Israel’s future seed and adds that Moses shall see it. teaches that the Holy One, blessed be He, showed Moses all that had been and all that was going to be. He showed him Samson arising from Dan, and Barak ben Avinoam [arising] from Naphtali. So also it was for every generation with its expounders, every generation with its judges, every generation with its leaders, every generation with its sages, every generation with its sinners, every generation with its righteous, as stated (in Deut. 34:4,) “This is the land which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob [...].” [This] teaches that He showed him gehinnom. Moses said in front of Him, “Master of the world, who is sentenced to it?” He said to him, “The wicked and those that rebel against Me, as stated (in Is. 66:24), “And they went out and saw the corpses of the people....” Moses began to fear. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him (as in Deut. 34:4), “I have shown it to your eyes, but you will not pass there.” And what is the meaning of, “This is the land […] saying?” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses, “Go and tell them – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – that the oath that I swore to them I have fulfilled for their children.” It is therefore stated (in Deut. 34:4), “saying.”5The Hebrew here can imply the giving of one’s solemn word.

6 ו

זֹאת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תִּפֹּל לָכֶם בְּנַחֲלָה, וְכִי הָאָרֶץ נוֹפֶלֶת, וַהֲלוֹא כְתִיב (קהלת א, ד): וְהָאָרֶץ לְעוֹלָם עֹמָדֶת, אֶלָּא כְּשֶׁבָּאוּ הַמְרַגְּלִים וְהוֹצִיאוּ דִּבָּה עַל הָאָרֶץ, כָּעַס עֲלֵיהֶם משֶׁה, אָמְרוּ לוֹ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ אִלּוּ הָיוּ הַמְרַגְּלִים שְׁנַיִם שְׁלשָׁה, בְּדִין הוּא שֶׁנַּאֲמִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יט, טו): עַל פִּי שְׁנֵי עֵדִים אוֹ שְׁלשָׁה עֵדִים, הֲרֵי הֵן עֲשָׂרָה, (דברים א, כח): אָנָה אֲנַחְנוּ עֹלִים אַחֵינוּ הֵמַסּוּ אֶת לְבָבֵנוּ לֵאמֹר עַם גָּדוֹל וָרָם מִמֶּנּוּ, כִּבְיָכוֹל אֵין בַּעַל הַבַּיִת יָכוֹל לְהוֹצִיא כֵלָיו מִשָּׁם, מֶה עָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נָטַל שַׂר הָאָרֶץ וּכְפָתוֹ וְהִפִּילוֹ לִפְנֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים א, כא): רְאֵה נָתַן ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ אֶת הָאָרֶץ, וְכִי לִפְנֵיהֶם הָיְתָה, אֶלָּא שֶׁהִפִּיל שָׂרָהּ וְאָמַר לָהֶם (דברים א, כא): עֲלֵה רֵשׁ אַל תִּירָא וְאַל תֵּחָת, לֹא מִן הַנְּפִילִים וְלֹא מִן עַם רָב. כְּתִיב (יחזקאל מה, א): וּבְהַפִּילְכֶם אֶת הָאָרֶץ, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (תהלים טז, ו): חֲבָלִים נָפְלוּ לִי בַּנְעִמִים אַף נַחֲלָת שָׁפְרָה עָלָי, חֲבָלִים נָפְלוּ לִי, אֵלּוּ שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁבָטִים, לְפִי שֶׁנִּתְחַלְּקָה הָאָרֶץ לִשְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁבָטִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יחזקאל מז, יג): גֵּה גְבוּל אֲשֶׁר תִּתְנַחֲלוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ לִשְׁנֵי עָשָׂר שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. בַּנְעִמִים, בִּזְכוּת הַתּוֹרָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי כב, יח): כִּי נָעִים כִּי תִשְׁמְרֵם בְּבִטְנֶךָ יִכֹּנוּ יַחְדָּו עַל שְׂפָתֶיךָ, יֵשׁ אָדָם שֶׁהוּא נָאֶה וּלְבוּשׁוֹ כָּעוּר, הוּא כָּעוּר וּלְבוּשׁוֹ נָאֶה, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל הֵם נָאִים לָאָרֶץ וְהָאָרֶץ נָאָה לָהֶם, לְכָךְ כְּתִיב: אַף נַחֲלָת שָׁפְרָה עָלָי. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (איוב כט, יד): צֶדֶק לָבַשְׁתִּי וַיִּלְבָּשֵׁנִי. כְּתִיב (יהושע ז, יט): וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶל עָכָן בְּנִי שִׂים נָא כָבוֹד לַה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. אָמַר לוֹ עָכָן בִּשְׁבִיל דָּבָר זֶה שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹמֵר אֲנִי מֵת, כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה עָכָן כָּךְ אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ עַכְשָׁו אֲנִי נִלְכַּד בַּגּוֹרָל, אֵינִי מַאֲמִין וְנֶחְשָׁב כַּזְּבָן לִפְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה אָמַר לוֹ עָכָן לָמָּה תַפִּיל גּוֹרָלוֹת בֵּינִי וּבֵין בְּנֵי בֵיתִי, אֲנִי אַפִּיל הַגּוֹרָל בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין פִּינְחָס, אִם לֹא יַעֲלֶה הַגּוֹרָל עַל שְׁנֵיכֶם אַף אֲנִי מַאֲמִין, בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה אָמַר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: בְּנִי שִׂים נָא כָבוֹד לַה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל תֵּן לוֹ תּוֹדָה וְהַגֶּד נָא לִי מֶה עָשִׂיתָ אַל תְּכַחֵד מִמֶּנִּי, אָמַר לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ אַף אַתָּה הַגֶּד נָא לִי מֶה עָשִׂיתָ. מִיָּד נָפַל מַחְלֹקֶת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל וְעָמְדוּ שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה בִּמְרִיבָה וְהָרְגוּ מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כִּתּוֹת כִּתּוֹת, כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאָה עָכָן כָּךְ, אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ כָּל הַמְקַיֵּם נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל כְּאִלּוּ קִיֵּם עוֹלָם מָלֵא, וַאֲנִי עַל יָדִי נֶהֶרְגוּ כַּמָּה אֲנָשִׁים מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, אֲנִי חוֹטֵא וּמַחְטִיא, מוּטָב אֲנִי אוֹדֶה לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְלִפְנֵי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְאַל תָּבוֹא תַּקָּלָה עַל יָדִי, מֶה עָשָׂה עָכָן עָמַד וְהִשְׁמִיעַ קוֹלוֹ לְכָל הַקָּהָל, וְהַסּוּ כָּל הַקָּהָל לְפָנָיו, וְאָמַר לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ (יהושע ז, כ): אָמְנָה אָנֹכִי חָטָאתִי לַה' אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְכָזֹאת וְכָזֹאת עָשִׂיתִי לֹא זֹאת בִּלְבָד אֶלָּא כְּבָר מָעַלְתִּי בַּאֲחֵרוֹת, אָמַר לוֹ יְהוֹשֻׁעַ: וַאֲנִי כָּךְ הָיִיתִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁהַדָּבָר תָּלוּי בְּךָ אֶלָּא הַגֶּד נָא וְאַל תְּכַחֵד מִמֶּנִּי, אָמַר לוֹ (יהושע ז, כא): וָאֵרֶא בַשָּׁלָל. אָמַר הִסְתַּכַּלְתִּי מַה שֶּׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה (דברים כ, יד): וְאָכַלְתָּ אֶת שְׁלַל אֹיְבֶיךָ, (יהושע ז, כא): אַדֶּרֶת שִׁנְעָר אַחַת טוֹבָה וּמָאתַיִם שְׁקָלִים כֶּסֶף וּלְשׁוֹן זָהָב אֶחָד חֲמִשִּׁים שְׁקָלִים מִשְׁקָלוֹ וָאֶחְמְדֵם וָאֶקָּחֵם, וְאַל תֹּאמַר שֶׁאֲנִי עָנִי וְהָיִיתִי צָרִיךְ, שֶׁאֵין בַּשֵּׁבֶט עָשִׁיר מִמֶּנִּי, מִיָּד (יהושע ז, כב): וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מַלְאָכִים וַיָּרֻצוּ הָאֹהֱלָה וְהִנֵּה טְמוּנָה בְּאָהֳלוֹ וְהַכֶּסֶף [טמון] תַּחְתֶּיהָ. מִפְּנֵי מָה שָׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹא יִגְנְבוּ אוֹתָם שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה וְלֹא יוֹסִיפוּ בְּמַחְלֹקֶת, לְפִיכָךְ שָׁלַח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מְהֵרָה (יהושע ז, כג): וַיְבִאוּם אֶל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ וְאֶל כָּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיַּצִּקֻם לִפְנֵי ה', מַהוּ וַיַּצִּקֻם, שֶׁחֲבָטָן לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם וְאָמַר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם בִּשְׁבִיל אֵלּוּ כָּעַסְתָּ עַל בָּנֶיךָ, הֲרֵי הֵם נְתוּנִים לְפָנֶיךָ, מִיָּד (יהושע ז, כד): וַיִּקַּח יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אֶת עָכָן בֶּן זֶרַח וְאֶת הַכֶּסֶף וְאֶת לְשׁוֹן הַזָּהָב וְאֶת בָּנָיו וְאֶת בְּנֹתָיו כְּדֵי לְרַדּוֹתָן, (יהושע ז, כד): וְאֶת שׁוֹרוֹ וְאֶת חֲמֹרוֹ וְאֶת צֹאנוֹ וְאֶת אָהֳלוֹ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ לִשְׂרֵפָה, (יהושע ז, כד): וְכָל יִשְׂרָאֵל עִמּוֹ לִרְאוֹת בְּדִינוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹא יִהְיוּ רְגִילִים לַעֲשׂוֹת, (יהושע ז, כד כה): וַיַּעֲלוּ אֹתָם עֵמֶק עָכוֹר, וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוֹשֻׁע מֶה עֲכַרְתָּנוּ יַעְכָּרְךָ ה' בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה, בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה אַתָּה עָכוּר וְאִי אַתָּה עָכוּר לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, וְיֵשׁ לְךָ חֵלֶק בּוֹ, (יהושע ז, כה): וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתוֹ כָל יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶבֶן הוּא לְבַדוֹ, (יהושע ז, כה): וַיִּשְׂרְפוּ אֹתָם בָּאֵשׁ בְּמָמוֹנוֹ הַכָּתוּב מְדַבֵּר, שֶׁכֵּן נֶאֱמַר לוֹ מִפִּי הַגְּבוּרָה (יהושע ז, טו): וְהָיָה הַנִּלְכָּד בַּחֵרֶם יִשָֹּׂרֵף בָּאֵשׁ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ, אִם כֵּן מַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר וַיִּרְגְּמוּ אֹתוֹ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ, מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהוֹדָה עָכָן שֶׁבְּשַׁבָּת גָּנַב וְהוֹצִיאָם מִירִיחוֹ וְהִטְמִין בְּתוֹךְ אָהֳלוֹ, וְנִסְקַל עַל חִלּוּל שַׁבָּת, וְנִשְׂרַף עַל שֶׁמָּעַל בַּחֵרֶם, וּמִנַּיִן אַתְּ מוֹצֵא שֶׁכֵּן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אָמַר לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ (יהושע ו, ב ד): רְאֵה נָתַתִּי בְיָדְךָ אֶת יְרִיחוֹ וְאֶת מַלְכָּהּ גִּבּוֹרֵי הֶחָיִל, וְסַבֹּתֶם אֶת הָעִיר כֹּל אַנְשֵׁי הַמִּלְחָמָה הַקֵּיף אֶת הָעִיר פַּעַם אֶחָת כֹּה תַעֲשֶׂה שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, וְשִׁבְעָה כֹהֲנִים יִשְׂאוּ שִׁבְעָה שׁוֹפְרוֹת הַיּוֹבְלִים וגו', לְלַמֶּדְךָ שֶׁבְּשַׁבָּת נִכְבְּשָׁה חוֹמַת הָעִיר, דָּבָר זֶה עָשָׂה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מִדַּעְתּוֹ וְהִסְכִּים הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל יָדוֹ, אָמַר יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַשַּׁבָּת קֹדֶשׁ, דִּכְתִיב (שמות לא, יד): וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת כִּי קֹדֶשׁ הִוא לָכֶם, וְכָל מַה שֶּׁכָּבַשְׁנוּ יְהֵא קֹדֶשׁ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע ו, יט): וְכֹל כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב וּכְלֵי נְחשֶׁת וּבַרְזֶל קֹדֶשׁ הוּא לַה' אוֹצַר ה' יָבוֹֹא, וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהִסְכִּימוּ עַל יָדוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יהושע ו, יז): וְהָיְתָה הָעִיר חֵרֶם הִיא וְכָל אֲשֶׁר בָּהּ לַה', בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה (יהושע ז, כו): וַיָּשָׁב ה' מֵחֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עָלָיו נֶאֱמַר (משלי טז, יד): חֲמַת מֶלֶךְ מַלְאֲכֵי מָוֶת וְאִישׁ חָכָם יְכַפְּרֶנָה, זֶה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ שֶׁהֵשִׁיב חֲרוֹן אַף ה' מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל.

6 (Numb. 34:2) “This is the land that shall fall to you as your portion”: And does the land fall? But is it not written (in Eccl. 1:4), “but the land stands forever?” It is simply that when the spies came and put out slander on the land, Moses got angry. [Then] all of Israel said, “Moses, our teacher, if these spies were two [or] three, it would be correct for us to trust [them], as stated (Deut. 17:6), ‘By the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ And behold, they are ten, (as in Deut. 1:28), ‘To where shall we go up; our kinsmen have taken the heart out of us, saying, “We saw there a people stronger and taller than we.”’” As it were, [they were complaining that] the Master of the house is not able to remove his vessels (the inhabitants) from there. What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He took the ministering angel of the land and bound him and put him down in front of them, as stated (Deut. 1:21), “See the Lord, your God, has placed in front of you....” And was [the land] in front of them? It is simply that He put down its ministering angel. And He said to them (in Deut. 1:21, cont.), “Go up and possess..., do not fear and do not tremble,” not from the Nephilim and not from the numerous people. (Ezek. 45:1) “When you allot the land as an inheritance....”: This text is related (to Ps. 16:6), “Portions of land fell to me in pleasantness, even a beautiful inheritance for me.” “Portions of land fell to me”: These are the twelve tribes, since the land was divided to the twelve tribes, as stated (in Ezek. 47:13), “Thus said the Lord God, ‘These shall be the boundaries of the land that you shall allot to the twelve tribes of Israel.’” “In pleasantness,” in the merit of the Torah, about which it is stated (in Prov. 22:18), “As it is pleasant that you should store them in your belly [...].” There is a man who is handsome but his clothing is ugly, and one who is ugly but his clothing handsome. But [regarding] Israel, they adorn the land and the Land adorns them. Hence it is stated (in Ps. 16:6), “Even a beautiful inheritance for me.” And so too is it stated (in Job 29:14), “I clothed myself in righteousness and it clothed me.” It is written (in Josh. 7:19), “Then Joshua said unto Achan, ‘My son, please give glory to the Lord God of Israel [and make a confession to Him; please tell me what you have done, do not hide it from me.]’” Achan said to him, “Am I to die because of this thing that you are saying?” When Achan saw [the situation], he said in his heart, “Now I shall be entrapped by the lot. Then I shall be found untrue (rt.: 'mn) and deemed a liar before Joshua.” At that moment Achan said to Joshua, “Why are you casting lots between me and my house? Let me cast lots between you and Phinehas! If the lot does not come up for both of you, I also shall believe (rt.: 'mn) [in it].” At that moment (according to Josh. 7:19) Joshua said to Achan, “My son, please give glory to the Lord God of Israel and make a confession to Him. Please tell me what you have done.” Achan said to him, “You also tell me what you have done.” Immediately discord broke out in Israel, so that [Achan's] tribe of Judah arose in strife and killed one group in Israel after another. When Achan saw this, he said in his heart, “If anyone saves a single life in Israel, it is as though he had saved the entire world; yet in my case, it has been through me that several people in Israel have been killed. I am a sinner and one who causes [others] to sin. It is better [for me] to confess my transgression before the Holy One, blessed be He, and before Joshua, so that no calamity come about through me.” What did Achan do? He arose and made his voice heard, so that the whole congregation turned to him. He said to Joshua (in vs. 20), “’(Truly) I am the one who sinned before the Lord God of Israel; thus and so (literally, like this and like this) is what I have done.’ So it was not this alone, but I have already misappropriated other [things].”6See Gen. R. 85:14, according to which Achan had acted dishonestly in the person of his great grandfather, Zerah, the son of Judah by Tamar. Joshua said to him, “Indeed I also knew that you were responsible for the situation; (Josh. 7:19,) ‘please tell me what you have done. Do not hide it from me.’” (Vs. 21) “I saw among the spoils”: [He said,] “I have seen what is written in the Torah (in Deut. 20:14), ‘you may eat the spoils of your enemies.’” (Josh. 7:21, cont.) “A fine shinar mantle”: [He continued,] “Now do not say that I am poor and in need, for there is no one in the tribe [of Judah] wealthier than I. Immediately (there follows vs. 22), “Then Joshua sent messengers, and they ran to the tent and behold buried in his tent was the silver […].” For what reason did Joshua send them? So that the tribe of Judah would not steal them (i.e., the stolen articles) and continue in the discord. Joshua therefore sent quickly, and (according to vs. 23) “they brought them unto Joshua and unto all the Children of Israel; and they spread them out before the Lord.” What is the significance of “and they spread them out?” Joshua said in front of the Holy One, blessed be He, “Master of the world, is it because of these that You have been angry with Your children? Here they are set before you.” Immediately [we read] (in vs. 24), “Then Joshua took Achan ben Zerah, the silver, the mantle, and the wedge of gold, together with his sons and his daughters,” [the latter] in order to teach them a lesson; “his ox, his ass, […] and his tent,” for burning. (Vs. 24, cont.) “And all Israel [Joshua took] with him,” to see his punishment so that they would not become accustomed to acting in this way. (Vs. 24, cont.) “And they brought them up to the Valley of Achor (akhor; rt.: 'kr).” (Vs. 25) “Then Joshua said, ‘Just as you have afflicted (rt.: 'kr) us, [may the Lord afflict (rt.: 'kr) you] this day:’”7Without the bracketed words, the verse would read: HOW YOU HAVE AFFLICTED US THIS DAY! This day [only] is he to be afflicted ('akhur; rt.: 'kr), but he will have a share in the world to come. (Vs. 25, cont.) “Then all Israel pelted him with stones,” him alone; “and they burned them with fire”: The text is speaking of his wealth, for so it had been told [Joshua] by the Almighty (in vs. 15), “And it shall come to pass that the one who has been seized with what has been proscribed shall be burned with fire....” If so, what do we learn from the verse (vs. 15, cont.), “him, and all that he has?” [This passage] is only to teach you that Achan had confessed that he had stolen them on the Sabbath, when he took them out of Jericho and buried them in the midst of his tent. Thus he was stoned for profaning the Sabbath and burned because he had transgressed the ban. And where is it shown? You find that the Holy One, blessed be He, said so to Joshua (in Josh. 6:2–4), “See, I have given Jericho into your hands, along with its king and the mighty warriors. So you shall go around the city with all the men of war to encompass the city one time, thus shall you do for six days. [… but on the seventh day you shall go around the city seven times].” [This passage serves] to teach you that Jericho was conquered on the Sabbath. Now Joshua did this thing on his own, and the Holy One, blessed be He, gave his consent. Joshua said (to himself), “The Sabbath is holy, as stated (in Exod. 31:14), ‘You shall keep the Sabbath, because it is holy for you.’ And whatever we conquer shall be holy.” It is so stated (in Josh. 6:19), “But all the silver and gold, and the vessels of bronze and iron, are holy to the Lord.” And where is it shown that he received consent? Where it is stated (in Josh. 6:17), “The city and everything in it are to be proscribed for the Lord.” At that time (according to Josh. 7:26) “the Lord turned from His burning anger.” Concerning [this matter], it is stated (in Prov. 16:14), “The king's anger is like messengers of death, and whoever is wise will appease it.” This refers to Joshua, who caused the burning anger of the Lord to turn away from Israel.

7 ז

כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן (במדבר לד, ב), הֲלָכָה עַד שֶׁלֹא נִכְנְסוּ לָאָרֶץ כֵּיצַד הָיוּ מְבָרְכִין עַל הַמָּזוֹן, שָׁנוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ עַד שֶׁלֹא נִכְנְסוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל הָיוּ מְבָרְכִין בְּרָכָה אַחַת הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל, מִשֶּׁנִּכְנְסוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, הָיוּ מְבָרְכִין עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן. מִשֶּׁחָרְבָה, הוֹסִיפוּ בּוֹנֵה יְרוּשָׁלָיִם, מִשֶּׁנִּקְבְּרוּ הֲרוּגֵי בֵּיתָר, הוֹסִיפוּ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב, הַטּוֹב שֶׁלֹא הִסְרִיחוּ וְהַמֵּטִיב שֶׁנִּתְּנוּ לִקְבוּרָה. וְאֵין לְךָ חֲבִיבָה מִכֻּלָּם יוֹתֵר מִבִּרְכַּת עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן, שֶׁכָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמֵינוּ זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה כָּל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מַזְכִּיר בְּבִרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָה וּבְרִית וְתוֹרָה וְחַיִּים, לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חֲבִיבָה עָלַי אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל יוֹתֵר מִן הַכֹּל, לָמָּה, שֶׁאֲנִי תַּרְתִּי אוֹתָהּ, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (יחזקאל כ, ו): בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא נָשָׂאתִי יָדִי לָהֶם לְהוֹצִיאָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם אֶל אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תַּרְתִּי לָהֶם זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ צְבִי הִיא לְכָל הָאֲרָצוֹת, וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר (ירמיה ג, יט): וְאֶתֶּן לָךְ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָה נַחֲלַת צְבִי צִבְאוֹת גּוֹיִם. אַתְּ מוֹצֵא כְּשֶׁהָרַג יְהוֹשֻׁעַ אוֹתָם הַמְּלָכִים אָמַר רַבִּי יַנַּאי הַכֹּהֵן שִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁנַיִם הָיוּ שָׁם, שְׁלשִׁים וְאֶחָד בִּירִיחוֹ שְׁלשִׁים וְאֶחָד בִּימֵי סִיסְרָא כְּשֶׁהָלַךְ לְהִלָּחֵם עִם יִשְׂרָאֵל נֶהֶרְגוּ אַף הֵם עִמּוֹ, לָמָּה, שֶׁהָיוּ מִתְאַוִּים לִשְׁתּוֹת מַיִם מִן אֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבִקְּשׁוּ מִן סִיסְרָא וְאָמְרוּ לוֹ בְּבַקָּשָׁה מִמְּךָ נָבוֹא עִמְּךָ לַמִּלְחָמָה, כָּל מֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה מְבַקֵּשׁ לַמִּלְחָמָה הָיָה מְשַׁלֵּם וְשׂוֹכֵר פּוֹעֲלִים בְּכֶסֶף שֶׁיַּעַזְרוּ אוֹתוֹ, אָמְרוּ לְסִיסְרָא אֵין אָנוּ מְבַקְּשִׁין מִמְּךָ כְּלוּם אֶלָּא נָבוֹא עִמְּךָ בְּחִנָּם, שֶׁאָנוּ מִתְאַוִּים לְמַלְאוֹת כְּרֵסֵינוּ מִן מַיִם שֶׁל אוֹתָהּ הָאָרֶץ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שופטים ה, יט): בָּאוּ מְלָכִים נִלְחָמוּ אָז נִלְחֲמוּ מַלְכֵי כְנַעַן בְּתַעְנַךְ עַל מֵי מְגִדּוֹ בֶּצַע כֶּסֶף לֹא לָקָחוּ. לְהוֹדִיעֲךָ שֶׁאֵין חֲבִיבָה כְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל. אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְמשֶׁה, הֵן הָאָרֶץ חֲבִיבָה עָלַי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יא, יב): אֶרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ דֹּרֵשׁ אֹתָהּ תָּמִיד. וְיִשְׂרָאֵל חֲבִיבִין עָלַי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ז, ח): כִּי מֵאַהֲבַת ה' אֶתְכֶם. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֲנִי אַכְנִיס אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהֵן חֲבִיבִין עָלַי, לְאֶרֶץ שֶׁחֲבִיבָה עָלַי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן,

7 (Numb. 34:2) “When you come into the land of Canaan”: A legal teaching: Before Israel entered the land, how did they say the blessing over the food? Thus have our masters taught: Before they entered the land, they used to only say a single blessing, “who sustains all.”8Cf. Philip Birnbaum, Daily Prayer Book (Hebrew Publishing Co., 1949), p. 759/760. After they had entered the land, they ordained the blessing, “for the land and for the food.”9Birnbaum, p. 763/764. After Jerusalem was destroyed, they added “builder of Jerusalem.”10See Birnbaum, p. 765/766. The prayer also occurs as the fourteenth blessing in the ShemonehEsreh (Birnbaum, p. 89/90), as well as in other contexts. For the various versions of the prayer, see Joseph Heinemann, Prayer in the Talmud, trans. Richard S. Sarason (“Studia Judaica, IX; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1977), pp. 48-50, 70-76. After those slain at Bethther11During the Bar Cochba war, 132-135. were buried, they added “who is good and does what is good.”12Cf. Birnbaum, p. 765/766.Who is good,” because they did not decay; and “who does what is good,” because they were given burials. None of them, however, is more dear to you than the blessing of the land. The sages [therefore] said, “Whoever does not mention ‘for the land and for the food; a desirable, good, and spacious land; the covenant [of circumcision]; Torah; life; and food’13A Desirable, Good, and Spacious Land plus the elements that follow all form part of a single prayer to be found in Birnbaum, p. 761/762. has not satisfied his obligation.”14See Ber. 48b-49a. The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “The land of Israel is more dear to Me than everything. I am the one who sought it out, as stated (in Ezek. 20:6), ‘On that day I swore (literally, raised My hand) to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt unto a land which I had sought out for them […].’” And similarly it states (in Jer. 3:19), “And I gave you a desirable land – the fairest heritage of all the nations.” You find [the same love for the land], when Joshua slew those kings. R. Jannay the Priest said, “There were sixty-two kings, thirty-one at Jericho and thirty one in the days of Sisera. When he went to fight with Israel they also were slain along with him. Why? Because they yearned to drink water from the waters of Israel. They made a request of Sisera and said to him, ‘If you please, let us come with you to war.’ And every king that requested to go to war sent and hired other workers with silver, so that they would help him. They said to Sisera, ‘We do not request anything from you, but rather we will come for free, because we yearn to fill our stomachs with water from that land.’ Thus it is stated (in Jud. 5:19), ‘The kings came, they fought; [...] on account of15Heb.: ‘al. The more usual translation here is BY. the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of silver.’ [This verse serves] to inform you that nothing was more beloved than the land of Israel.” The Holy One, blessed be He, had said to Moses, “This land is dear to Me, as stated (in Deut. 11:12), ‘A land for which the Lord your God always cares.’ Israel also is dear to Me, as stated (in Deut. 7:8), ‘Because the Lord loves you….’” The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “I will bring Israel, who are beloved to Me, into a land that is beloved to Me, as stated (in Numb. 34:2), “when you come into the land of Canaan.”

8 ח

כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן, זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (במדבר כג, יט): לֹא אִישׁ אֵל וִיכַזֵּב. דָּבָר אַחֵר, לֹא אִישׁ אֵל, [לא] אִישׁ עוֹשֶׂה לָאֵל שֶׁיְכַזֵּב, לֹא בֶּן עַמְרָם עָשָׂה אוֹתוֹ לְהִנָּחֵם, הוּא שֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר (דברים ט, יד): הֶרֶף מִמֶּנִּי וְאַשְׁמִידֵם. עָמַד בֶּן עַמְרָם וְעָשָׂה אוֹתוֹ לְהִתְנַחֵם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לב, יד): וַיִּנָּחֶם ה' עַל הָרָעָה. דָּבָר אַחֵר, לֹא אִישׁ אֵל וִיכַזֵּב, כְּשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר לְהָבִיא טוֹבָה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁדּוֹר חַיָּב אֵינוֹ מְאַחֵר, וּכְשֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר לְהָבִיא רָעָה, חוֹזֵר בּוֹ (במדבר כג, יט): הַהוּא אָמַר וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה, תֵּדַע אָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם (בראשית טו, ה): הַבֶּט נָא הַשָּׁמַיְמָה וּסְפֹר הַכּוֹכָבִים אִם תּוּכַל לִסְפֹּר אֹתָם וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ כֹּה יִהְיֶה זַרְעֶךָ, וְעָשָׂה כֵן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים א, י): ה' אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הִרְבָּה אֶתְכֶם וְהִנְכֶם הַיּוֹם כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם לָרֹב, אָמַר לוֹ (בראשית טו, יג): יָדֹעַ תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ וגו', וְלֹא עָשׂוּ אֶלָּא מָאתַיִם וְעֶשֶׂר שָׁנִים, הֱוֵי: לֹא אִישׁ אֵל וִיכַזֵּב, בְּטוֹבָה, אֲבָל בְּרָעָה הַהוּא אָמַר וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה, אָמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל (הושע א, ט): כִּי אַתֶּם לֹא עַמִּי, וְחָזַר וְאָמַר (הושע ב, כה): וְאָמַרְתִּי לְלֹא עַמִּי עַמִּי אַתָּה. הַהוּא אָמַר וְלֹא יַעֲשֶׂה, אָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם (בראשית כו, ג): כִּי לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן, וְלֹא חָזַר בּוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן, וְהִכְנִיסָם לָאָרֶץ.

8 (Numbers 34:2) When you come to the Land of Israel: This is what is stated in the verse (in Numbers 23:19), "God is not a man to be deceitful," [meaning] a man will not make God deceitful; "nor the son of" Amram (this is a play on words, as the verse reads, the son of man, "Adam") to make Him "change His mind." As [only after God] said, "Let Me go and I will destroy them," did the son of Amram stand and make Him change His mind, as stated (Exodus 32:14), "And the Lord rescinded the evil that He was saying to do to His people." Another interpretation (of Numbers 23:19): "God is not a man to be deceitful," with the good. When He speaks to bring good – even if the generation is liable – He does not delay [it]. But when He speaks to bring evil, He does go back on it, as it is stated (Numbers 23:19), "He said it but does not do [it]." You should know that He said to Avraham (Genesis 15:5), "Look toward heaven and count the stars [...]." And He did it, as stated (Deuteronomy 1:10), "The Lord, your God, multiplied you, and behold you are today...." [But when] He said to Avraham (Genesis 15:13), "Know well that your offspring shall be strangers [... four hundred years]," they only did two hundred and ten years. That is [the meaning of], "God is not a man to be deceitful" – with the good. But with the evil, "He said it but does not do [it]." [In this vein,] He said to Israel, "As you are not My people" (Hosea 1:9). But He went back and said, "And I will say to Not My People, 'You are My people'" (Hosea 2: 25). That is [the meaning of], "He said it but does not do [it]." He said to Avraham, "As I will give [the land] to you and your offspring" (Genesis 26:3), and He did not go back [on it]. As it is stated (Numbers 34:2), "when you come to the Land of Canaan," and He brought them into the Land.

9 ט

כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים (במדבר לג, נב): וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת כָּל ישְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵיכֶם. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (איוב לה, יא): מַלְּפֵנוּ מִבַּהֲמוֹת אָרֶץ וּמֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יְחַכְּמֵנוּ, מַלְּפֵנוּ מִבַּהֲמוֹת אָרֶץ, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִמְּדוּ מִפָּרוֹ שֶׁל אֵלִיָּהוּ, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאָמַר אֵלִיָּהוּ לְעוֹבְדֵי הַבַּעַל (מלכים א יח, כה): בַּחֲרוּ לָכֶם הַפָּר הָאֶחָד וַעֲשׂוּ רִאשׁוֹנָה כִּי אַתֶּם הָרַבִּים, נִתְקַבְּצוּ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת וַחֲמִשִּׁים נְבִיאֵי הַבַּעַל וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת וַחֲמִשִּׁים נְבִיאֵי הָאֲשֵׁרָה, וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לָזוּז אֶת רַגְלָיו מִן הָאָרֶץ, רְאֵה מַה כְּתִיב שָׁם (מלכים א יח, כג): וְיִתְּנוּ לָנוּ שְׁנַיִם פָּרִים וְיִבְחֲרוּ לָהֶם הַפָּר הָאֶחָד וִינַתְּחֻהוּ וְיָשִׂימוּ עַל הָעֵצִים וְאֵשׁ לֹא יָשִׂימוּ וַאֲנִי אֶעֱשֶׂה אֶת הַפָּר הָאֶחָד וַאֲנַתְּחֵהוּ (מלכים א יח, כג): וְאֵשׁ לֹא אָשִׂים. מֶה עָשָׂה אֵלִיָּהוּ, אָמַר לָהֶם בַּחֲרוּ שְׁנֵי פָּרִים תְּאוֹמִים מֵאֵם אַחַת, הַגְּדֵלִים עַל מִרְעֶה אֶחָד וְהַטִּילוּ עֲלֵיהֶם גּוֹרָלוֹת אֶחָד לַשֵּׁם וְאֶחָד לְשֵׁם הַבַּעַל. וּבָחֲרוּ לָהֶם הַפָּר הָאֶחָד, וּפָרוֹ שֶׁל אֵלִיָּהוּ מִיָּד נִמְשַׁךְ אַחֲרָיו, וְהַפָּר שֶׁעָלָה לְשֵׁם הַבַּעַל נִתְקַבְּצוּ כָּל נְבִיאֵי הַבַּעַל וּנְבִיאֵי הָאֲשֵׁרָה וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לָזוּז אֶת רַגְלוֹ. עַד שֶׁפָּתַח אֵלִיָּהוּ וְאָמַר לוֹ לֵךְ עִמָּהֶם, הֵשִׁיב הַפָּר וְאָמַר לוֹ לְעֵינֵי כָל הָעָם, אֲנִי וַחֲבֵרִי יָצָאנוּ מִבֶּטֶן אַחַת, מִפָּרָה אַחַת, וְגָדַלְנוּ בְּמִרְעֶה אֶחָד, וְהוּא עָלָה בְּחֶלְקוֹ שֶׁל מָקוֹם וּשְׁמוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִתְקַדֵּשׁ עָלָיו, וַאֲנִי עָלִיתִי בְּחֵלֶק הַבַּעַל לְהַכְעִיס אֶת בּוֹרְאִי. אָמַר לוֹ אֵלִיָּהוּ פָּר פָּר אַל תִּירָא לֵךְ עִמָּהֶם וְאַל יִמְצְאוּ עֲלִילָה, שֶׁכְּשֵׁם שֶׁשְּׁמוֹ שֶׁל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מִתְקַדֵּשׁ עַל אוֹתוֹ שֶׁעִמִּי, כָּךְ מִתְקַדֵּשׁ עָלֶיךָ. אָמַר לוֹ וְכָךְ אַתָּה מְיַעֲצֵנִי, שְׁבוּעָה אֵינִי זָז מִכָּאן עַד שֶׁתִּמְסְרֵנִי בְּיָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א יח, כו): וַיִּקְחוּ אֶת הַפָּר אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָהֶם, וּמִי נָתַן לָהֶם, אֵלִיָּהוּ, וְאַתָּה לָמֵד מֵאֵלִיָּהוּ שֶׁאָמַר לָהֶם וְיִתְּנוּ לָנוּ שְׁנַיִם פָּרִים. וְעוֹד אָמַר לָהֶם (מלכים א יח, כה): בַּחֲרוּ לָכֶם הַפָּר הָאֶחָד וַעֲשׂוּ רִאשֹׁנָה, וּלְבַסוֹף כְּתִיב וַיִּקְּחוּ אֶת הַפָּר אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָהֶם, לְכָךְ כְּתִיב מַלְפֵנוּ מִבַּהֲמוֹת אָרֶץ. וּמֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יְחַכְּמֵנוּ, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִמְּדוּ מִן הָעוֹרְבִים שֶׁהָיוּ מְכַלְכְּלִין אֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א יז, ד): וְאֶת הָעֹרְבִים צִוִּיתִי לְכַלְכְּלֶךָ שָׁם. וּמֵהֵיכָן הָיוּ מְבִיאִין לוֹ לֶחֶם וּבָשָׂר בַּבֹּקֶר וְלֶחֶם וּבָשָׂר בָּעֶרֶב, מִשֻּׁלְחָנוֹ שֶׁל יְהוֹשָׁפָט, וְלֹא הָיוּ רוֹצִים אוֹתָם עוֹרְבִים לִכָּנֵס בְּבֵיתוֹ שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ רָשָׁע אַחְאָב לְהוֹצִיא מִשֻּׁלְחָנוֹ כְּלוּם בִּשְׁבִיל אוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָיָה בְּבֵיתוֹ עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים. הֱוֵי מֵעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם יְחַכְּמֵנוּ. אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לִמְּדוּ מִפָּרוֹ שֶׁל אֵלִיָּהוּ וּמִן הָעוֹרְבִים וְאַל תִּפְנוּ אֶל הָאֱלִילִים לְהִסְתַּכֵּל בָּם, מִנַּיִן מִמַּה שֶּׁקָּרְאוּ בָּעִנְיָן: וְהוֹרַשְׁתֶּם אֶת כָּל ישְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ מִפְּנֵיכֶם.

9 (Numb. 34:2) “When you come into the land”: (Numb. 33:52) “You shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land from before you.” This text is related (to Job 35:11), “Who teaches us through the beasts of earth [...].”16The midrash understands the verse in this sense, although a more usual translation WOULD BE WHO TEACHES US MORE THAN THE BEASTS OF THE EARTH. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “Learn from the bull of Elijah; for in the hour that (in I Kings 18:25) ‘Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first,”’ at that very hour the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and the four hundred (and fifty) prophets of Asherah gathered together and were unable to budge its foot from the ground.” Look at what is written there (in vs. 23), “Let them give us two bulls […].” What did Elijah do? He said to them, “Choose two bulls for yourselves, twins from the same mother, who grew up in the same pasture, and cast lots over them, one for the name (i.e., the Holy One, blessed be He,) and one for the name of Baal.” And [so] they choose one bull for themselves. Now Elijah's immediately followed him; but as for that bull which had been assigned to the name of Baal, all those prophets of Baal plus the prophets of Asherah assembled to move [even] its foot from the ground, and were unable to do so, until Elijah began to say [to it] for them, “Go with them.” The bull answered and spoke to Elijah before the eyes of all the people and said to him, “My colleague and I came out of the same womb, out of the same mother, and we grew up in the same pasture. That one was assigned to the portion of the Holy One, blessed be He, and the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, is sanctified through him. So have I been assigned to the portion of Baal to provoke my Creator?” Elijah said to him, “Bull, bull, go with them and do not let them find an excuse. Just as the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, is being sanctified through this one with me, so will it be sanctified through you.” He said to him, “Now that you have given me this advice, I swear that I will not move from here until you deliver me into their hand.” Thus it is stated (in vs. 26), “and they took the bull that he gave to them.” And who gave it to them? Elijah. You also learn that Elijah said to them (in vs. 23), “Let them give us two bulls,” and he also said to them (in vs. 25), “Choose one bull for yourselves.” Then at the end [of the verse] is written (ibid. cont.), “and they took the bull which he had given them.” It is therefore stated (in Job 35:11), “Who teaches us through the beasts of [the] earth.” (Ibid., cont.) “And He makes us wise through the birds of the heavens:”17The midrash understands the verse in this sense, although a more usual translation would be AND HE MAKES US WISER THAN THE BIRDS OF THE HEAVENS. The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “Learn [a lesson] from the ravens who fed Elijah, of whom it is stated (in I Kings 17:4), ‘and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ From where did they bring him [it]? From Jehoshaphat's table, because those ravens did not want to enter Ahab's house to take anything from his table for this righteous man. [They would not go there] because his house was full of idolatry.” Ergo (in Job 35:11), “He makes us wise through the birds of the heavens.” The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Israel, “Learn from the bull pf Elijah and from the ravens, and do not turn unto idols to look at them.” Where is it shown? From what they read on the matter (in Numb. 33:52), “You shall dispossess all the inhabitants of the land.”

10 י

כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן. זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (ירמיה ב, לא): הַדּוֹר אַתֶּם רְאוּ דְּבַר ה' הֲמִדְבָּר הָיִיתִי לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, אַל תְּהִי קוֹרֵא הֲמִדְבָּר, אֶלָּא הַמְדַבֵּר הָיִיתִי לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, (ירמיה ב, לא): מַאְפֵּלְיָה, מַהוּ מַאְפֵּלְיָה, שֶׁמָּא אָמַרְתִּי לְהַכְנִיס אֶתְכֶם לָאָרֶץ וְהִלְקַשְׁתִּי אֶתְכֶם, שֶׁאֵין מַאְפֵּלְיָה אֶלָּא לְשׁוֹן הַלְקָשָׁה, כְּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות ט, לב): וְהַחִטָּה וְהַכֻּסֶּמֶת לֹא נֻכּוּ וגו'. הֲרֵי אַתֶּם נִכְנָסִים לְתוֹכָהּ. כִּי אַתֶּם בָּאִים אֶל הָאָרֶץ כְּנָעַן, מַהוּ כְּנָעַן, אֶרֶץ שֶׁל פְּרַקְמַטְיָא שֶׁבָּהּ סְחוֹרָה, כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאַתָּה אוֹמֵר (ישעיה כג, ח): אֲשֶׁר סֹחֲרֶיהָ שָׂרִים כִּנְעָנֶיהָ נִכְבַּדֵּי אָרֶץ.

10 (Numb. 34:2) “When you come into the land of Canaan”: This text is related (to Jer. 2:31), “You, O generation, understand the word of the Lord! Have I been a desert (hmdbr, voweled as (hamidbar) to Israel…?” Do not read “a desert,” but “I was the Speaker (hmdbr, voweled as hamedabber)” to Israel. (Ibid., cont.) “[Or a land] of utter darkness (ma'pelyah)”: What is the meaning of “ma'pelyah (rt.: 'pl)?” Did I, perhaps, promise you to bring you into the land and [then] delay you? After all, ma'pelyah can only mean "delay," as stated (in Exod. 9:32), “But the wheat and the spelt were not hurt [because they ripen late] (i.e., are delayed, rt.: 'pl).”18Tanh. (Buber), Numb. 1:2. See, you will be entering into its midst, “When (according to Numb. 34:2) you come into the land of Canaan (kena'an).” What is the meaning of (kena'an? A land of business,19Gk.: pragmateia. a land of trade. [The usage is] just as you say (in Is. 23:8 with reference to Tyre), “[…] whose traders (kena'anim)20Here the word usually translated CANAAN (Kena‘an) occurs in the sense of trader, as in Hos. 12:8. the world honored.”

11 יא

זֹאת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תִּפֹּל לָכֶם בְּנַחֲלָה (במדבר לד, ב), מַהוּ לָכֶם, לָכֶם הִיא רְאוּיָה, מָשָׁל לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיוּ לוֹ עֲבָדִים וּשְׁפָחוֹת, וְהָיָה מַשִֹּׂיא לַעֲבָדָיו שְׁפָחוֹת מִן אוּסְיָא אַחֶרֶת, וּלְשִׁפְחוֹתָיו עֲבָדִים מִן אוּסְיָא אַחֶרֶת, עָמַד הַמֶּלֶךְ וְחָשַׁב בְּדַעְתּוֹ, אָמַר, הָעֲבָדִים שֶׁלִּי וְהַשְּׁפָחוֹת שֶׁלִּי, מוּטָב שֶׁאַשִֹּׂיא עֲבָדַי לְשִׁפְחוֹתַי, שֶׁלִּי לְשֶׁלִּי. כָּךְ כִּבְיָכוֹל אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, הָאָרֶץ שֶׁלִּי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים כד, א): לַה' הָאָרֶץ, וְאוֹמֵר (ויקרא כה, כג): כִּי לִי הָאָרֶץ, וְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁלִּי הֵם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא כה, נה): כִּי לִי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבָדִים, מוּטָב שֶׁאַנְחִיל אַרְצִי לַעֲבָדַי, שֶׁלִּי לְשֶׁלִּי. לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: זֹאת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר תִּפֹּל לָכֶם בְּנַחֲלָה.

11 (Numb. 34:2) “This is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance”: What is the meaning of “to you?” To you it is fitting. [The matter] is comparable to a king who had male and female slaves and would have his male slaves marry female slaves from another estate and his female slaves [marry] male salves from a different estate.21Gk.: ousia. Although this word commonly means “substance” or “essence,” it also came to mean “estate,” at least from Ptolemaic times. See James Hope Moulton and George Milligan, The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament Illustrated from the Papyri and Other Non-Literary Sources (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1960) The king stopped and reflected. He said, “The male slaves are mine and the female slaves are mine. It would be better for me to marry my male slaves ('avadim) to my female slaves, my own to my own.” Similarly the Holy One, blessed be He, said, “The land is Mine, as stated (in Ps. 24:1), ‘The land is the Lord's and all that is in it.’ And it states (in Lev. 25:23), “for the land is Mine.” Moreover Israel is Mine, as stated (in Lev. 25:55), ‘For to Me the Children of Israel are servants ('avadim).’ [It is] better for Me to bequeath My land to my servants who belong to Me, My own to My own.” It is therefore stated (in Numb. 34:2), “this is the land that shall fall to you.”

12 יב

זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (תהלים קיא, ו): כֹּחַ מַעֲשָׂיו הִגִּיד לְעַמּוֹ, אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, יָכוֹל הָיִיתִי לִבְראוֹת לָכֶם אֶרֶץ חֲדָשָׁה, אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל לְהַרְאוֹת לָכֶם אֶת כֹּחִי אֲנִי הוֹרֵג אֶת שׂוֹנְאֵיכֶם מִפְּנֵיכֶם וְנוֹתֵן לָכֶם אֶת אַרְצָם, לְקַיֵּם מַה שֶּׁנֶּאֱמַר: כֹּחַ מַעֲשָׂיו הִגִּיד לְעַמּוֹ לָתֵת לָהֶם נַחֲלַת גּוֹיִם.

This is as the verse says (Psalms 111:6) "He revealed the strength of His deeds to His people, [in giving them the heritage of nations]". The Holy Blessed One said to Israel, "I could have created for you a new land; but, for the sake of showing you My strength, I will kill your enemies before you and give you their land; in order to fulfill what is written, "He revealed the strength of His deeds to His people, in giving them the heritage of nations" (ibid).

13 יג

וְהִקְרִיתֶם לָכֶם עָרִים (במדבר לה, יא), זֶה שֶׁאָמַר הַכָּתוּב (תהלים כה, ח): טוֹב וְיָשָׁר ה' עַל כֵּן יוֹרֶה חַטָּאִים בַּדָּרֶךְ. (תהלים כה, ו): זְכֹר רַחֲמֶיךָ ה' וַחֲסָדֶיךָ, אָמַר דָּוִד רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם אִלּוּלֵי חֲסָדֶיךָ שֶׁקָּדְמוּ לְאָדָם הָרִאשׁוֹן לֹא הָיָה לוֹ עֲמִידָה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ב, יז): כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְךָ מִמֶּנּוּ מוֹת תָּמוּת. וְלֹא עָשִׂיתָ לוֹ כֵן אֶלָּא הוֹצֵאתָ אוֹתוֹ מִגַּן עֵדֶן וְחָיָה תְּשַׁע מֵאוֹת וּשְׁלשִׁים שָׁנָה, וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת. מֶה עָשִׂיתָ לוֹ, גֵּרַשְׁתָּ אוֹתוֹ מִגַּן עֵדֶן, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (בראשית ג, כד): וַיְגָרֶשׁ אֶת הָאָדָם. וְלָמָּה נִתְגָּרֵשׁ עַל שֶׁהֵבִיא מִיתָה עַל הַדּוֹרוֹת וְהָיָה חַיָּב לָמוּת מִיָּד, אֶלָּא שֶׁרִחַמְתָּ עָלָיו וְגֵרַשְׁתּוֹ, כְּדֶרֶךְ הָרוֹצֵחַ בִּשְׁגָגָה שֶׁגּוֹלֶה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ לְעָרֵי מִקְלָט, לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: זְכֹר רַחֲמֶיךָ ה' וַחֲסָדֶיךָ וגו', כֵּיוָן שֶׁעָמַד משֶׁה וְאָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְהִקְרִיתֶם לָכֶם עָרִים, אָמַר משֶׁה רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם, זֶה שֶׁהָרַג נֶפֶשׁ בִּשְׁגָגָה בַּצָּפוֹן אוֹ בַּדָּרוֹם, מִנַּיִן יוֹדֵעַ הֵיכָן עָרֵי מִקְלָט שֶׁיְהֵא בּוֹרֵחַ לְשָׁם, אָמַר לוֹ (דברים יט, ג): תָּכִין לְךָ הַדֶּרֶךְ, תְּכַוֵּן לְךָ הַדֶּרֶךְ שֶׁלֹא יִהְיוּ טוֹעִים וְיִמְצָא אוֹתוֹ גּוֹאֵל הַדָּם וְיַהַרְגֵּהוּ (דברים יט, ו): וְלוֹ אֵין מִשְׁפַּט מָוֶת. עוֹד אָמַר לוֹ, הֵיאַךְ, אָמַר לוֹ הַעֲמֵד לָהֶם אִיסְטְלָיוֹת מְכֻוָּנוֹת לְעָרֵי מִקְלָט, שֶׁיְהֵא יוֹדֵעַ לֵילֵךְ שָׁם, וּבְכָל אִיסְטְלָיוֹת רְשֹׁם עָלֶיהָ רוֹצֵחַ לְעָרֵי מִקְלָט, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר תָּכִין לְךָ הַדֶּרֶךְ. לְכָךְ אָמַר דָּוִד: טוֹב וְיָשָׁר ה' עַל כֵּן יוֹרֶה חַטָּאִים בַּדָּרֶךְ. אִם לְרוֹצְחָנִין עֲשֵׂה שְׁבִיל וְדֶרֶךְ שֶׁיִּבְרְחוּ וְיִנָּצְלוּ, לַצַּדִּיקִים עַל אַחַת כַּמָּה וְכַמָּה, (תהלים כה, ט): יַדְרֵךְ עֲנָוִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וִילַמֵּד עֲנָוִים דַּרְכּוֹ. (במדבר לה, יא): וְנָס שָׁמָּה רֹצֵחַ מַכֵּה נֶפֶשׁ בִּשְׁגָגָה, וְלֹא בְזָדוֹן, וְאִם יַהֲרֹג בְּזָדוֹן וְיֹאמַר בִּשְׁגָגָה הָרַגְתִּי וִיהֵא בּוֹרֵחַ לְעָרֵי מִקְלָט, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֲפִלּוּ בּוֹרֵחַ וְנִכְנַס בַּמִּזְבֵּחַ שֶׁלִּי הִרְגּוּ אוֹתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות כא, יד): וְכִי יָזִד אִישׁ עַל רֵעֵהוּ וגו', וּמִי הָיָה זֶה שֶׁבָּרַח לַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְנֶהֱרַג, יוֹאָב, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א ב, כח): וְהַשְּׁמֻעָה בָּאָה עַד יוֹאָב וגו' אֶל אֹהֶל ה', וְאוֹמֵר (שמואל ב כג, ח): תַּחְכְּמֹנִי רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁלִשִׁי, לֹא הָיָה יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה וְכִי יָזִד אִישׁ עַל רֵעֵהוּ וגו', שֶׁהָלַךְ וְהֶחֱזִיק בְּקֶרֶן הַמִּזְבֵּחַ. אֶלָּא אָמַר הֲרוּגֵי בֵּית דִּין אֵין נִקְבָּרִין בְּקִבְרוֹת אֲבוֹתֵיהֶם אֶלָּא הֵם לְעַצְמָן, מוּטָב לִי שֶׁאָמוּת כָּאן וְאֶקָּבֵר בְּקִבְרוֹת אֲבוֹתַי (מלכים א ב, ל לא): וַיָּשֶׁב בְּנָיָהוּ אֶת הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּבָר לֵאמֹר כֹּה דִּבֶּר יוֹאָב וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ עֲשֵׂה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר וּפְגַע בּוֹ וּקְבַרְתּוֹ וַהֲסִירֹתָ דְּמֵי חִנָּם אֲשֶׁר שָׁפַךְ יוֹאָב מֵעָלַי וּמֵעַל בֵּית אָבִי, וְלָמָּה נֶהֱרַג, שֶׁכֵּן צִוָּהוּ דָּוִד אָבִיו (מלכים א ב, ה): וְגַם אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לִי יוֹאָב בֶּן צְרוּיָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לִשְׁנֵי שָׂרֵי צִבְאוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְאַבְנֵר בֶּן נֵר וְלַעֲמָשָׂא בֶן יֶתֶר וַיַּהַרְגֵּם. מֶה עָשָׂה לוֹ אַתְּ מוֹצֵא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁכָּתַב דָּוִד לְיוֹאָב (שמואל ב יא, טו): הָבוּ אֶת אוּרִיָּה אֶל מוּל פְּנֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה הַחֲזָקָה וְשַׁבְתֶּם מֵאַחֲרָיו וְנִכָּה וָמֵת, עָשָׂה כָּךְ וְנֶהֱרַג, נִתְקַבְּצוּ כָּל רָאשֵׁי הַחַיָּלִים עַל יוֹאָב לְהָרְגוֹ, שֶׁהָיָה רֹאשׁ הַגִּבּוֹרִים, שֶׁכָּךְ כְּתִיב בּוֹ (שמואל ב כג, לט): אוּרִיָּה הַחִתִּי כֹּל שְׁלשִׁים וְשִׁבְעָה, הֶרְאָה לָהֶם אֶת הַכְּתָב, לְפִיכָךְ כְּתִיב אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לִי יוֹאָב בֶּן צְרוּיָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וגו', הָיוּ סְבוּרִין כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁדָּוִד צִוָּהוּ לְהָרְגוֹ, שֶׁהָיָה אַבְנֵר בֶּן דּוֹדוֹ שֶׁל שָׁאוּל, לְפִיכָךְ כְּתִיב (שמואל ב ג, כט): וְאַל יִכָּרֵת מִבֵּית יוֹאָב זָב וּמְצֹרָע. עָמַד דָּוִד וְקִלֵּל אֶת יוֹאָב וְיָדְעוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁלֹא הָיָה מִדָּוִד, וְנִתְפַּיְסוּ. וְצִוָּה לִשְׁלֹמֹה בְּנוֹ שֶׁיַּהֲרֹג אוֹתוֹ, שֶׁהָיָה יוֹאָב בֶּן אֲחוֹתוֹ שֶׁל דָּוִד וְהָיָה מְבַקֵּשׁ לַהֲבִיאוֹ לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא, כֵּיוָן שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ שְׁלֹמֹה לַהֲרֹג אוֹתוֹ אָמַר יוֹאָב לִבְנָיָהוּ לֵךְ אֱמֹר לִשְׁלֹמֹה אַל תְּדִינֵנִי בִּשְׁנֵי דִינִין, אִם תַּהַרְגֵנִי טֹל מֵעָלַי הַקְּלָלוֹת שֶׁקִּלְּלַנִי דָּוִד אָבִיךָ, אִם לָאו הַנַּח אוֹתִי בַּקְּלָלוֹת. מִיָּד וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ עֲשֵׂה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר וּפְגַע בּוֹ וּקְבַרְתּוֹ. אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוּדָה כָּל הַקְּלָלוֹת שֶׁקִּלֵּל דָּוִד אֶת יוֹאָב נִתְקַיְּמוּ בְּזַרְעוֹ שֶׁל דָּוִד, זָב, מֵרְחַבְעָם בֶּן שְׁלֹמֹה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים א יב, יח): וְהַמֶּלֶךְ רְחַבְעָם הִתְאַמֵּץ לַעֲלוֹת הַמֶּרְכָּבָה, וּכְתִיב בְּזָב (ויקרא טו, ט): וְכָל הַמֶּרְכָּב אֲשֶׁר יִרְכַּב עָלָיו הַזָּב יִטְמָא. מְצֹרָע, מֵעֻזִיָּהוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים ב כו, כא): וַיְהִי עֻזִּיָּהוּ הַמֶּלֶךְ מְצֹרָע עַד יוֹם מוֹתוֹ וַיֵּשֶׁב בֵּית הַחָפְשִׁית. וּמַחֲזִיק בַּפֶּלֶךְ, מֵאָסָא, דִּכְתִיב (מלכים א טו, כג): רַק לְעֵת זִקְנָתוֹ חָלָה אֶת רַגְלָיו, שֶׁאֲחָזַתּוּ פֹּלַאגְרָה. (שמואל ב ג, כט): וְנֹפֵל בַּחֶרֶב, מִיֹּאשִׁיָּהוּ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברי הימים ב לה, כג): וַיֹּרוּ הַיֹּרִים לַמֶּלֶךְ יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ, וְאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב נָעֲצוּ בוֹ לוּלְיָנוֹת שֶׁל בַּרְזֶל עַד שֶׁעֲשָׂאוּהוּ כִּכְבָרָה. וַחֲסַר לָחֶם, מִיְּהוֹיָכִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב כה, ל): וַאֲרֻחָתוֹ אֲרֻחַת תָּמִיד נִתְּנָה לּוֹ מֵאֵת הַמֶּלֶךְ דְּבַר יוֹם בְּיוֹמוֹ כֹּל יְמֵי חַיָּו, מִשֻׁלְחָנוֹ שֶׁל אֱוִיל מְרֹדַךְ, אַתְּ מוֹצֵא כָּל זְמַן שֶׁהָיָה יְהוֹיָדָע קַיָּם הָיָה יוֹאָשׁ עוֹשֶׂה רְצוֹן בּוֹרְאוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב יב, ג): וַיַּעַשׂ יְהוֹאָשׁ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֵי ה' כָּל יָמָיו אֲשֶׁר הוֹרָהוּ יְהוֹיָדָע הַכֹּהֵן (דברי הימים ב כד, יז): וְאַחֲרֵי מוֹת יְהוֹיָדָע בָּאוּ שָׂרֵי יְהוּדָה וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַמֶּלֶךְ, אָז שָׁמַע הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲלֵיהֶם, שֶׁקִּבֵּל עָלָיו לַעֲשׂוֹת אֱלוֹהַּ. לְפִיכָךְ (דברי הימים ב כד, כד): וְאֶת יוֹאָשׁ עָשׂוּ שְׁפָטִים. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה נֶהֱרַג אַבְנֵר, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁעָשָׂה דָּמָן שֶׁל נְעָרִים שְׂחֹק, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל ב ב, יד): וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְנֵר אֶל יוֹאָב יָקוּמוּ נָא הַנְּעָרִים וִישַׂחֲקוּ לְפָנֵינוּ וגו', רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי אָמַר עַל שֶׁהִקְדִּים שְׁמוֹ לִשְׁמוֹ שֶׁל דָּוִד, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל ב ג, יב): וַיִּשְׁלַח אַבְנֵר מַלְאָכִים אֶל דָּוִד תַּחְתָּו לֵאמֹר לְמִי אָרֶץ. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים עַל שֶׁלֹא הִנִּיחַ לְשָׁאוּל לְהִתְפַּיֵּס מִדָּוִד, וְהָיָה סִפֵּק בְּיָדוֹ לִמְחוֹת בְּנוֹב עִיר הַכֹּהֲנִים וְלֹא מִחָה.

"And you shall provide yourselves with cities" (Numbers 35:11), this is what the verse says, "Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He shows sinners the way." (Psalms 25:8) "Remember Your mercy, O God, and your lovingkindness." (Psalms 25:6). David said, Master of the Universe, were it not for the fact that Your lovingkindness preceded the First Man, he would not have been able to stand, as it says "For the day you eat of it [the tree of knowledge of good and evil] you will surely die" (Genesis 2:17). And You did not do this; rather, You brought him out from the Garden of Eden and he lived for 930 years(!) and only after that did he die. Why did you do that to him, to drive him out from the Garden of Eden, as it says (Genesis 3:24) "and He drove out the man"? Why was he driven out, since he brought death upon the generations, and he was sentenced to immediate death? Rather, You had mercy upon him and drove him off, just as the accidental killer is exiled to a city of refuge. Thus it says, "Remember Your mercy, O God, and Your lovingkindness, etc." Once Moshe stood and the Holy Blessed One told him, "Provide yourselves with cities...", Moshe said "Master of the Universe, this one killed by accident in the south or the north; how will he know where the city of refuge is, that he may flee to it?" God replied, "'Set for yourselves the path... [i.e. to the cities of refuge]' (Deuteronomy 19:3), orient for yourselves the path so that you will not be mistaken and find the blood avenger and he will kill you "and there will be for him no death penalty" (Deuteronomy 19:6)." He [Moshe] said again, "How?" He [God] said to him, set up for yourselves signs [istlayot] pointing to the cities of refuge, that they will know where to travel. And on every sign write "Killer to the city of refuge", as it says "prepare for yourselves the way". Thus said David, "Good and upright is the Lord, therefore He shows sinners the way." If for killers He makes a path and a road for them to flee by and be saved, all the more so for righteous! "He guides the humble in justice, and teaches the humble His way" (Psalms 25:9). "And the killer shall flee there who has killed a soul by accident" -- but not on purpose. If he kills on purpose and he says "I accidentally killed" and flees to the cities of refuge, the Holy Blessed One says, even if he flees and enters to My altar, you shall kill him, as it says (Exodus 21:14) "And if a person schemes, etc [against another, and kills him treacherously, you shall take him from My very altar to be put to death]". And who was it who fled to the altar and was killed? Yoav, as it says (I Kings 2:28) "When the news reached Joab, he fled to the Tent of the LORD [and grasped the horns of the altar]...". And it says (II Samuel 23:8) "Tahchemonite, the chief officer" -- he did not know that it is written in the Torah "And if a person schemes, etc" that he went and grasped the horns of the altar. Rather it says "Those killed by the court are not buried in the graves of their fathers, rather they alone; it is better for me that I die here and be buried in the graves of my fathers". (I Kings 3:30-31) "Benaiah reported back to the king that Joab had answered thus and thus, and the king said, 'Do just as he said; strike him down and bury him, and remove guilt from me and my father’s house for the blood of the innocent that Joab has shed.'" And why was he killed? For so David his [Shlomo's] father had commanded him -- "Further, you know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me, what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s forces, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether: he killed them" (I Kings 2:5). What did he do to him...

14 יד

וְהִקְרִיתֶם לָכֶם עָרִים, וּכְתִיב (במדבר לה, יג יד): שֵׁשׁ עָרֵי מִקְלָט, אֵת שְׁלשׁ הֶעָרִים, שָׁלשׁ שֶׁבְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמַעֲרָב, וְשָׁלשׁ שֶׁבְּעֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן בְּמִזְרָח, בְּנֵי רְאוּבֵן וּבְנֵי גָד וַחֲצִי שֵׁבֶט הַמְנַשֶּׁה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד, מג): אֶת בֶּצֶר בַּמִּדְבָּר בְּאֶרֶץ הַמִּישֹׁר לָראוּבֵנִי וְאֶת רָאמֹת בַּגִּלְעָד לַגָּדִי וְאֶת גּוֹלָן בַּבָּשָׁן לַמְנַשִּׁי, הֲרֵי שָׁלשׁ בַּמִּזְרָח וְשָׁלשׁ בַּמַּעֲרָב, חֶבְרוֹן מִשֶּׁל יְהוּדָה וּשְׁכֶם בְּהַר אֶפְרַיִם, זֶהוּ נַפּוֹלִין וְקֶדֶשׁ בַּגָּלִיל מִשֵּׁבֶט נַפְתָּלִי. משֶׁה חִלֵּק לִרְאוּבֵן וּלְגָד וְלַחֲצִי שֵׁבֶט הַמְנַשֶּׁה וְהִבְדִּיל מֵהֶם שָׁלשׁ עָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ד, מא): אָז יַבְדִּיל משֶׁה שָׁלשׁ עָרִים, אֲבָל יְהוֹשֻׁעַ חִלֵּק לְכָל הַשְּׁבָטִים וְנָתַן לְשֵׁבֶט הַלֵּוִי אַרְבָּעִים וּשְׁמֹנֶה עִיר וְנָטְלוּ הַכֹּהֲנִים שְׁלשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה, וְהַשְּׁאָר לַלְוִיִם, שָׁלשׁ עָרֵי מִקְלָט נָטְלוּ בְּגוֹרָלָם, וְשֵׁבֶט הַלֵּוִי לֹא נָטְלוּ בָּאָרֶץ, לָמָּה (דברים יח, א): אִשֵּׁי ה' וְנַחֲלָתוֹ יֹאכֵלוּן, אַתָּה מוֹצֵא סַנְחֵרִיב הִגְלָה אוֹתָן שָׁלשׁ גָּלֻיּוֹת, גָּלוּת רִאשׁוֹנָה הִגְלָה לָראוּבֵנִי וְלַגָּדִי וְלַחֲצִי שֵׁבֶט הַמְנַשֶּׁה, וְהַשְּׁנִיָּה שֵׁבֶט זְבֻלוּן וְשֵׁבֶט נַפְתָּלִי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ח, כג): כָּעֵת הָרִאשׁוֹן הֵקַל אַרְצָה זְבֻלוּן וְאַרְצָה נַפְתָּלִי, הַשְּׁלִישִׁית הִגְלָה לִשְׁאָר שְׁבָטִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ח, כג): וְהָאַחֲרוֹן הִכְבִּיד, הִכְבִּידָן כִּבְמַכְבֵּד. נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר אַף הוּא הֶגְלָן בְּשְׁלשׁ גָּלֻיּוֹת מִן שֵׁבֶט יְהוּדָה וּבִנְיָמִין, בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה הִגְלָה יְהוֹיָקִים, וּבַשְּׁנִיָּה יְהוֹיָכִין, מֶה עָשָׂה קָשַׁר אוֹתוֹ בְּקוֹרָכִין שֶׁלּוֹ מְיֻקָּר, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כִּי הִנְנִי מְשַׁלֵּחֲךָ כַּגְּבִירָה, מַה הַגְּבִירָה הַזֹּאת אָדָם מְיַקֵּר אוֹתָהּ, כָּךְ עָשָׂה לוֹ נְבוּזַרְאֲדָן הֶגְלָה לְצִדְקִיָהוּ, וַהֲרֵי שָׁלשׁ גָּלֻיּוֹת. וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁהָיָה סַנְחֵרִיב קוֹזְמוֹקְרָטוֹר, שֶׁהָיָה מַגְלֶה אֵלּוּ לְכָאן וְאֵלּוּ לְכָאן, וְהֶגְלָה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבָבֶל וְהֵבִיא אֵלּוּ שֶׁבְּבָבֶל לְכָאן, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה עַל יְדֵי עֲוֹנוֹת גָּלוּ וְנִתְפַּזְּרוּ בְּשַׁעֲרֵי הָאָרֶץ, אֲבָל לֶעָתִיד לָבוֹא (דברים ל, ד): אִם יִהְיֶה נִדַּחֲךָ בִּקְצֵה הַשָּׁמָיִם מִשָּׁם יְקַבֶּצְךָ ה' אֱלֹהֶיךָ וּמִשָּׁם יִקָּחֶךָ, (ישעיה יא, יב): וּנְפֻצוֹת יְהוּדָה יְקַבֵּץ מֵאַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת הָאָרֶץ, וְכֵן יְשַׁעְיָה אוֹמֵר (דברים לה, י): וּפְדוּיֵי ה' יְשֻׁבוּן וּבָאוּ צִיּוֹן בְּרִנָה וְשִׂמְחַת עוֹלָם עַל רֹאשָׁם שָׂשׂוֹן וְשִׂמְחָה יַשִֹּׂיגוּ וְנָסוּ יָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה.

14 (Numb. 35:11) “You shall provide yourselves with cities”: And it is written (in Numb. 35:13-14), “six cities of refuge shall there be for you. The three cities.” The three in the Land of Israel were in the West; and the three were across the Jordan in the East [in the Land of] the Children of Reuben, of the Children of Gad and half the tribe of Manasseh, as stated (in Deut. 4:43), “Bezer, in the desert [...].” R. Johanan said, (ibid.,) “’Bezer, in the desert [...],’ see, there were three in the East. And the three in the West were in Hevron of Judah, and Shechem of Ephraim, which is Napolin (Nablus), and Kadesh in the Galilee from the tribe of Naphtali.” Moses apportioned [land] for the Reubenites, the Gadites and for the half tribe of Manasseh, and he set aside three cities from them, as stated (in Deut. 4:41), “Then Moses set aside three cities.” But Joshua apportioned [land] to all of the tribes, and gave forty-eight cities to the Levites; the priests took thirteen, and the rest went to the [other] Levites, and the three cities of refuge came into their lot. And the tribe of Levi did not take a portion in the land, as stated (Josh. 12:33), “But no [portion] was assigned by Moses to the tribe of Levi.” Why? [Because (as in Deut. 18:1),] “the Lord’s fire offerings and His portion shall they eat.” You find that Sennacherib exiled Israel in three exiles.31Cf. Lam. R. Proem 5. First, he exiled the Reubenites, the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Second, [came] the tribe of Zebulon and the tribe of Naphtali, as stated (in Is. 8:23), “in the former time he abased the land of Zebulon and the land of Naphtali.” Third, he exiled the rest of the tribes, as stated (ibid., cont.), “and later he afflicted (hikhbid).”32Translations of this verse vary, but the translation given here fits the sense of the midrash. He swept (hikhbid) them as [with] a broom (makhbed). Nebuchadnezzar also carried out three exiles with the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In the first he exiled Jehoiakim [and] in the second, Jehoiachin. What did he do? He bound him in his carriage33Lat.: carruca; Gk.: karrouchion. and [there] he became dear to him.34Buber suggests a translation such as, “and it was his favorite.” Thus it is stated, “Behold, I am sending you away like a queen mother.”35The text is not in Scripture, but cf. Jer. 29:2. Just as one honors the queen mother, so did Nebuzaradan act toward him. [Then] Nebuzaradan exiled Zedekiah, for a total of three exiles. From where do we know that Nebuchadnezzar was a world emperor? As he exiled these to here and those to there, and he exiled Israel to Babylon, and those in Babylon to the Land of Israel. The Holy One, blessed be He, said, “In this world Israel has gone into exile and spread among the gates of the world, because of iniquities; but in the future to come (according to Deut. 30:4), “If your banishment is to the end of the heavens, from there will the Lord your God gather you, even from there will He bring you back.” It also says (in Is. 11:12), “and he shall gather the dispersed of Judah […].” And it says (in Is. 31:11), “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing. Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness, while sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”