(Deut. 21:10:) “When you go out to war [against your enemies, and the Lord your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive].” Our masters have taught (Avot 4:2), “[One] good deed/commandment brings about [another] good deed/commandment, and [one] transgression brings about [another] transgression.” (Deut. 21:11-12:) “And when you see among the captives a woman of pretty form [whom you desire to take for a wife. And you shall bring her into your house,] where she shall shave her head and do her nails,” so that she will not find favor in his eyes.1See Deut. R. 6:4. What is written after that (in vs. 15), “When a man has two wives.” Two [wives] in [one] house [means] strife in the house. And moreover (ibid., cont.) “one loved and the other hated,” or both of them hated. What is written after that (in vs. 18)? “If one has a defiant and rebellious son.” Whenever anyone marries a “woman of pretty form,” there results from it a defiant and rebellious son. Thus we find it so in the case of David, because (as suggested by II Sam. 3:3) he had desired Maacah bat Talmai king of Geshur, while he had gone to war; so Absalom came out of him [in this union. The latter] wanted to kill him and (according to II Sam. 16:22) slept with his ten concubines before the eyes of all Israel and in broad daylight. Also because of him several myriads from Israel were killed. And he created discord in Israel, [through which] were killed Shimei ben Gera (in I Kings 2:46), Sheba ben Bichri (in II Sam. 20:22), Ahithophel (in II Sam. 17:23). And he killed Mephibosheth,2There may be some confusion between Mephibosheth who was a son of Saul that David had killed (in II Sam. 21:8) and the Mephibosheth who was Saul’s grandson and who was falsely accused of betraying David for Absalom (II Sam. 16:3; but cf. 19:24–30). and had Ziba rule over the whole house of Saul (II Sam. 16:4; cf. II Sam. 9:9). It is taught: R. Jose says,3Sanh. 72a. “Is it because a defiant and rebellious son ate half a pound4Gk.: litra. of meat and drank half a log of undiluted wine that the Torah says for him to go out to the court and be [executed by] stoning (cf. Deut. 21:18-21)? It is simply that Torah has foreseen the end of the thinking of a defiant and rebellious son. As in the end he will squander his father's assets with wastrels with whom he eats and drinks, until he seeks what he has been accustomed to and does not find it. Then he goes out to the crossroads, where he kills people and robs5Melastem, from the Gk.: lestes (“robber”). them. So the Torah is saying, ‘Let him die innocent and not die guilty,’ for the death of the wicked benefits them and benefits the world.” And what is written after that (in vs. 22)? “And when someone is guilty of a crime punishable by death and is put to death.” If he is delivered from the one,6I.e., the preventive punishment as A DEFIANT AND REBELLIOUS SON. he is not delivered from the other. [Hence] we have learned “[One] transgression brings about [another] transgression.” [But that one] good deed/commandment brings about [another] good deed/commandment,7In the text of Avot the clauses are reversed. For the correct order, see the beginning of the paragraph. Note also that the word for GOOD DEED (mitswah) also means COMMANDMENT and that the midrash has both meanings in mind. where is it shown (in Scripture)? Where it is stated (in Deut. 22:6-7), “When you come across a bird nest…. You must surely let [the mother] go …, in order that it may be well with you and you may lengthen your life.” What is written after that (in vs. 8)? “When you build a new house, [you shall make a parapet for your roof].]” You will merit to build a house and make a parapet. What is written after that (in vs. 9)? “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed.” You will merit to [possess] a vineyard and to sow a field. What is written after that (in vs. 10)? “You shall not plow with an ox and an ass [together].” You will merit to [possess] oxen and asses. What is written after that (in vs. 11)? “You shall not wear interwoven stuff, [wool and flax together].” You will merit to [possess] nice clothes of wool and of linen. What is written after that (in vs. 12)? “You shall make yourselves tassels.” You shall merit the commandment of tassels. What is written after that (in vs. 13)? “When a man takes a wife.” You shsll merit to [have] a wife and children. Behold, we have learned that [one] good deed/commandment brings about [another] good deed/commandment and one] transgression brings about [another] transgression. Therefore these sections of the Torah are adjacent to one another.