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Megillah 11b:7מגילה י״א ב:ז
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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11bי״א ב

(סימן שסד"ך) ותו ליכא והא איכא שלמה לא סליק מלכותיה

After mentioning three kings who ruled over the world, the Gemara presents a mnemonic for the names of other kings that will be discussed below: Shin, Solomon, i.e., Shlomo; samekh, Sennacherib; dalet, Darius; kaf, Cyrus, i.e., Koresh. The Gemara asks: But is there no other king besides those previously mentioned who ruled over the entire world? But there is King Solomon who ruled over the world and should be added to the list. The Gemara answers: Solomon did not complete his kingship, as he left the throne during his lifetime, and therefore, his name doesn’t appear on the list.

הניחא למ"ד מלך והדיוט אלא למ"ד מלך והדיוט ומלך מאי איכא למימר שלמה מילתא אחריתי הוה ביה שמלך על העליונים ועל התחתונים שנאמר (דברי הימים א כט, כג) וישב שלמה על כסא ה'

The Gemara asks: This works out well according to the one who said that Solomon was first a king and then a commoner, never returning to the throne. But according to the one who said that he was first a king and then a commoner, and then afterward he returned again to be a king, what can be said to explain why he is not mentioned in the list of kings who ruled over the entire world? The Gemara answers: There was something else about Solomon that makes it impossible to compare him to the others, for he ruled over the inhabitants of the heavenly worlds, i.e., demons and spirits, as well as the human inhabitants of the earthly worlds, as it is stated: “Then Solomon sat upon the throne of the Lord as king” (I Chronicles 29:23), which indicates that his reign extended even to the heavenly worlds, with King Solomon sitting upon the throne of the Lord, and therefore he cannot be compared to the others, who merely ruled on earth.

והא הוה סנחריב דכתיב (ישעיהו לו, כ) מי בכל אלהי הארצות האלה אשר הצילו את ארצם מידי הא איכא ירושלים דלא כבשה

The Gemara asks further: But there was Sennacherib, who ruled over the entire world, as it is written: “Who are they among all the gods of these countries, that have delivered their country out of my hand that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of my hand?” (Isaiah 36:20). The Gemara answers: There is Jerusalem that he did not conquer, as indicated in the verse.

והא איכא דריוש דכתיב (דניאל ו, כו) דריוש מלכא כתב לכל עממיא אומיא ולישניא די דיירין בכל ארעא שלמכון יסגא הא איכא שבע דלא מלך עלייהו דכתיב (דניאל ו, ב) שפר קדם דריוש והקים על מלכותא לאחשדרפניא מאה ועשרין

The Gemara continues to ask: But there is Darius, as it is stated: “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you” (Daniel 6:26). The Gemara answers: There are the seven provinces over which he did not rule, as it is written: “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom a hundred and twenty satraps” (Daniel 6:2). It is apparent from here that Darius did not rule over the entire world, for his son Ahasuerus ruled over a hundred and twenty-seven provinces, an additional seven.

והא איכא כורש דכתיב (עזרא א, ב) כה אמר כורש מלך פרס כל ממלכות הארץ נתן לי ה' התם אשתבוחי הוא דקא משתבח בנפשיה:

The Gemara raises another question: But there is Cyrus, as it is written: “Thus says Cyrus, king of Persia: The Lord, God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth” (Ezra 1:2). The Gemara answers: This is not proof that he ruled the world, for there he was merely boasting about himself, although in fact there was no truth to his words.

(אסתר א, ב) בימים ההם כשבת המלך וכתיב בתריה בשנת שלש למלכו אמר רבא מאי כשבת לאחר שנתיישבה דעתו אמר בלשצר חשב וטעה אנא חשיבנא ולא טעינא

§ The second verse in Esther states: “In those days when the king Ahasuerus sat on the throne of his kingdom” (Esther 1:2), implying that the events to follow took place during the first year of his reign; and one verse afterward it is written: “In the third year of his reign” (Esther 1:3), indicating that it was the third year, not the first. Rava said: There is no contradiction. What is the meaning of “when he sat” [keshevet]? It is intended to indicate that he acted not immediately upon his rise to the throne, but rather after his mind was settled [shenityasheva], and he overcame his anxiety and worry with regard to the redemption of the Jewish people. He said to himself as follows: Belshazzar, the king of Babylonia, calculated and erred with regard to the Jewish people’s redemption. I too will calculate, but I will not err.

מאי היא דכתיב (ירמיהו כט, י) כי לפי מלאת לבבל שבעים שנה אפקוד אתכם וכתיב (דניאל ט, ב) למלאות לחרבות ירושלם שבעים שנה חשוב ארבעין וחמש דנבוכדנצר ועשרים ותלת דאויל מרודך ותרתי דידיה הא שבעים אפיק מאני דבי מקדשא ואשתמש בהו

The Gemara explains: What is this calculation? As it is written with regard to Jeremiah’s prophecy of a return to Eretz Yisrael: “After seventy years are accomplished for Babylonia I will remember you and perform My good word toward you, enabling you to return to this place” (Jeremiah 29:10), and elsewhere it is written in a slightly different formulation: “In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, meditated in the books, over the number of the years, which the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish for the desolations of Jerusalem seventy years” (Daniel 9:2). He, Belshazzar, calculated as follows: Forty-five years of Nebuchadnezzar, and twenty-three of Evil-merodach, and two of his own, for a total of seventy years that had passed without redemption. He was therefore certain that Jeremiah’s prophecy would no longer be fulfilled, and he therefore said: I will take out the vessels of the Holy Temple and use them.

ונבוכדנצר מנלן דארבעין וחמש שנין מלך דאמר מר גלו בשבע גלו בשמונה גלו בשמונה עשרה גלו בתשע עשרה

The Gemara asks: From where do we derive that Nebuchadnezzar reigned for forty-five years? As the Master said: They were exiled in the seventh year; they were exiled in the eighth year; they were exiled in the eighteenth year; and they were exiled in the nineteenth year.

גלו בשבע לכיבוש יהויקים גלות יהויכין שהיא שמונה לנבוכדנצר גלו בשמונה עשרה לכיבוש יהויקים גלות צדקיהו שהיא תשע עשרה לנבוכדנצר דאמר מר שנה ראשונה כיבש נינוה שניה כיבש יהויקים וכתיב (ירמיהו נב, לא) ויהי בשלשים ושבע שנה לגלות יהויכין מלך יהודה בשנים עשר חדש בעשרים וחמשה לחדש נשא אויל מרודך מלך בבל [בשנת מלכותו] את ראש יהויכין מלך יהודה ויוצא אותו מבית הכלא

The Gemara explains: They were exiled in the seventh year after Nebuchadnezzar’s subjugation of Jehoiakim, in what was known as the exile of Jehoiachin, which was actually the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Then later they were exiled a second time in the eighteenth year after the subjugation of Jehoiakim, in what was known as the exile of Zedekiah, which was actually in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, as the Master said: In the first year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Nineveh; in his second year he conquered Jehoiakim. And it is written: “And it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin, king of Judea, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-merodach, king of Babylonia, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judea, and brought him out of prison” (Jeremiah 52:31).

תמני ותלתין ושבע הרי ארבעין וחמש דנבוכדנצר ועשרין ותלת דאויל מרודך גמרא ותרתי דידיה הא שבעין אמר השתא ודאי תו לא מיפרקי אפיק מאני דבי מקדשא ואשתמש בהו

The Gemara calculates: Since Evil-merodach acted in the first year of his reign, immediately after coming to power, it turns out that Nebuchadnezzar ruled for eight years before he sent Jehoiachin into exile, and thirty-seven years during which Jehoiachin was in prison. This equals forty-five years of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. And the twenty-three years of Evil-merodach are known through tradition. And together with the two years of Belshazzar, this brings the count of the years of exile to seventy. At that point Belshazzar said to himself: Now for sure they will not be redeemed. Therefore, I will take out the vessels of the Holy Temple and use them.

היינו דקאמר ליה דניאל (דניאל ה, כג) ועל מרי שמיא התרוממת ולמאניא די בייתיה היתיו קדמך וכתיב (דניאל ה, ל) ביה בליליא קטיל בלשאצר מלכא [כשדאי] וכתיב (דניאל ו, א) ודריוש מדאה קבל מלכותא כבר שנין שתין ותרתין

This is that which Daniel said to him with regard to his impending punishment for using the Temple’s vessels: “But you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His House before you” (Daniel 5:23). And it is written further in the chapter: “In that night Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans, was slain” (Daniel 5:30). This was the description of Belshazzar’s mistaken calculation. And it states after the fall of Belshazzar: “And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old” (Daniel 6:1).

אמר איהו מיטעא טעי אנא חשיבנא ולא טעינא מי כתיב למלכות בבל לבבל כתיב מאי לבבל לגלות בבל כמה בצירן תמני חשיב ועייל חילופייהו חדא דבלשצר וחמש דדריוש וכורש ותרתי דידיה הא שבעין כיון דחזי דמלו שבעין ולא איפרוק אמר השתא ודאי תו לא מיפרקי אפיק מאני דבי מקדשא ואשתמש בהו בא שטן וריקד ביניהן והרג את ושתי

Ahasuerus said: He, Belshazzar, erred. I too will calculate, but I will not err, thinking he understood the source of Belshazzar’s mistake. Is it written: “Seventy years for the kingdom of Babylonia”? It is written: “Seventy years for Babylonia.” What is meant by “for Babylonia”? These words are referring to the seventy years for the exile of Babylonia. How many years are still lacking from the seventy years? Eight years. He calculated, and inserted in their stead one year of Belshazzar, and five years of Darius and Cyrus, and two years of his own, bringing the total to seventy. Once he saw that seventy years had been completed, and the Jewish people were still not redeemed, he said: Now for sure they will not be redeemed. Therefore, I will take out the vessels of the Temple and use them. What happened to him? As a punishment for what he did, the Satan came and danced among them, and brought confusion to his celebration until he killed Vashti.

והא שפיר חשיב איהו נמי מיטעא טעי דאיבעי ליה למימני מחרבות ירושלים

The Gemara asks: But he calculated properly; why then did this happen? The Gemara answers: He too erred in his calculation, for he should have counted from the destruction of Jerusalem at the time of the exile of Zedekiah and not from the first exile of Jehoiachin.

סוף סוף כמה בצירן (חדיסר) איהו כמה מלך ארביסר בארביסר דידיה איבעי ליה למיבני בית המקדש אלמה כתיב (עזרא ד, כד) באדין בטילת עבידת בית אלהא די בירושלם אמר רבא שנים מקוטעות הוו

The Gemara asks: Ultimately, how many years were lacking? Eleven, for the exile of Zedekiah took place eleven years after that of Jehoiachin. How many years did Ahasuerus reign as king? Fourteen. Indeed, in his fourteenth year, then, the Temple should have been built. If so, why is it written: “Then the work of the House of God, which is in Jerusalem, ceased; so it ceased until the second year of the reign of Darius, king of Persia” (Ezra 4:24), which indicates that the Temple was not built during the entire reign of Ahasuerus? Rava said: The years reckoned were partial years. To complete the seventy years, it was necessary to wait until the second year of the rule of Darius II, when indeed the Temple was built.