Sanhedrin 39b:4סנהדרין ל״ט ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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39bל״ט ב

(במדבר כג, ט) ובגוים לא יתחשב

“It is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations” (Numbers 23:9), teaching that where the verse mentions “the nations,” the Jewish people are not included.

רבי אלעזר רמי כתיב (תהלים קמה, ט) טוב ה' לכל וכתיב (איכה ג, כה) טוב ה' לקוויו משל לאדם שיש לו פרדס כשהוא משקה משקה את כולו כשהוא עודר אינו עודר אלא טובים שבהם:

The Gemara cites a related statement: Rabbi Elazar raises a contradiction: It is written in one verse: “The Lord is good to all and His compassion is over all His works” (Psalms 145:9), and it is written in a different verse: “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul that seeks Him” (Lamentations 3:25). He explains: This can be compared to a person who has an orchard. When he waters it, he waters all of it. Perforce, the water reaches all parts of the orchard, and he cannot discriminate between trees. This is the meaning of the verse: “The Lord is good to all.” By contrast, when he hoes around the trees, he hoes only around the good trees among them. Similarly, when God bestows goodness to the world, all receive it. When He protects people from harm, not all are protected.

לפיכך כל א' וא' כו': (מלכים א כב, לו) ויעבר הרנה במחנה א"ר אחא בר חנינא (משלי יא, י) באבוד רשעים רנה באבוד אחאב בן עמרי רנה

§ The mishna teaches: Therefore, since all humanity descends from one person, each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me. The mishna then teaches that the court says to the witnesses: And perhaps you will say: Why would we want to be responsible for the blood of this person? But be aware, as is it not already stated: “When the wicked perish, there is song” (Proverbs 11:10)? The Gemara teaches: A separate verse relates that after the evil king Ahab was killed: “And the song went throughout the camp” (I Kings 22:36). Rabbi Aḥa bar Ḥanina says: The fact that the verse states “the song,” and not a song, indicates that it is referring to a song mentioned elsewhere. Accordingly, the verse: “When the wicked perish, there is song,” alludes to this episode: When Ahab ben Omri perished, there was song.

ומי חדי קודשא בריך הוא במפלתן של רשעים הכתיב (דברי הימים ב כ, כא) בצאת לפני החלוץ ואומרים הודו לה' כי לעולם חסדו ואמר רבי יונתן מפני מה לא נאמר בהודאה זו כי טוב לפי שאין הקדוש ברוך הוא שמח במפלתן של רשעים

The Gemara asks: But is the Holy One, Blessed be He, gladdened by the downfall of the wicked? Isn’t it written in the verse describing the victory of the Jewish people in battle: “He appointed them that should sing unto the Lord, and praise in the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and say: Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (II Chronicles 20:21). And Rabbi Yonatan says: For what reason is it not stated in this praise: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever,” as is stated elsewhere, e.g., Psalms 118:1? This is because the Holy One, Blessed be He, is not gladdened by the downfall of the wicked.

דאמר ר' שמואל בר נחמן אמר ר' יונתן מאי דכתיב (שמות יד, כ) ולא קרב זה אל זה כל הלילה באותה שעה בקשו מלאכי השרת לומר שירה לפני הקב"ה אמר להן הקב"ה מעשה ידי טובעין בים ואתם אומרים שירה לפני

The Gemara comments: As Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥman says that Rabbi Yonatan says: What is the meaning of that which is written in the passage describing the splitting of the Red Sea: “And the one came not near the other all the night” (Exodus 14:20)? At that time the ministering angels desired to recite a song before the Holy One, Blessed be He. The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to them: My handiwork, i.e., the Egyptians, are drowning in the sea, and you are reciting a song before Me? Apparently, God is not gladdened by the downfall of the wicked.

אמר ר' יוסי בר חנינא הוא אינו שש אבל אחרים משיש דיקא נמי דכתיב (דברים כח, סג) ישיש ולא כתיב ישוש שמע מינה

Rabbi Yosei bar Ḥanina says: He, i.e., God, does not rejoice in their downfall, but He does cause others to feel joy. The Gemara comments: Accordingly, the language of the verse is also precise, as it is written: “And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will cause rejoicing [yasis] over you to cause you to perish” (Deuteronomy 28:63), and it is not written: Will have joy [yasus]. The term “yasis” connotes causing joy to others, not that God will experience joy Himself. The Gemara affirms: Conclude from this inference that it is so.

(מלכים א כב, לח) והזונות רחצו וגו' אמר רבי (אליעזר) למרק שתי חזיונות אחת של מיכיהו ואחת של אליהו במיכיהו כתיב (מלכים א כב, כח) אם שוב תשוב בשלום לא דיבר ה' בי באליהו כתיב (מלכים א כא, יט) במקום אשר לקקו הכלבים את דם נבות

Apropos the death of Ahab, the Gemara cites another verse from that passage. The verse states: “And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood; and the harlots also washed themselves there, according to the word of the Lord that He spoke” (I Kings 22:38). Rabbi Elazar says: “The harlots [hazzonot]” can be read as visions [ḥezyonot], and the verse means: To cleanse, i.e., to fulfill, two visions, one of Micaiah and one of Elijah. This fulfills a vision of Micaiah, as it is written: “If you return at all in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me” (I Kings 22:28). Once Ahab died, Micaiah’s vision was fulfilled. This also fulfills a vision of Elijah, as it is written: “In the place where the dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall the dogs lick your blood, even yours” (I Kings 21:19).

רבא אמר זונות ממש אחאב איש מצונן היה ועשתה לו איזבל שתי צורי זונות במרכבתו כדי שיראה אותן ויתחמם

Rava says: The verse is speaking of actual harlots. Ahab was a frigid man, who did not lust for women. And Jezebel, his wife, fashioned two forms of harlots for him in his chariot, in order that he see them while traveling and become aroused. Accordingly, one would understand the verse as stating that the harlots were washed, not that they washed themselves.

(מלכים א כב, לד) ואיש משך בקשת לתומו ויכה ר' אלעזר אמר לפי תומו רבא אמר לתמם שתי חזיונות אחת של מיכיהו ואחת של אליהו:

The verse describing the death of Ahab states: “And a certain man drew a bow offhandedly [letummo] and smote the king of Israel” (I Kings 22:34). Rabbi Elazar says:Letummo” should be understood as offhandedly [lefi tummo], without aiming for Ahab. Rava says: This alludes to the fact that the killing of Ahab served to make whole [letammem] two visions, one of Micaiah and one of Elijah.

סימן קר"א וזכ"ה באדו"ם: כתיב (מלכים א יח, ג) ויקרא אחאב אל עובדיהו אשר על הבית ועובדיה היה ירא ה' מאד מאי קאמר קרא

§ Before continuing its discussion of Ahab, the Gemara records a mnemonic for the forthcoming statements: Called; and merited; of Edom. It is written: “And Ahab called Obadiah, who was over the household; now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly” (I Kings 18:3). The Gemara asks: What is the verse saying? What is the connection between Obadiah’s fear of the Lord and the call of Ahab?

א"ר יצחק א"ל ביעקב כתיב (בראשית ל, כז) נחשתי ויברכני ה' בגללך ביוסף כתיב (בראשית לט, ה) ויברך ה' את בית המצרי בגלל יוסף ביתא דההוא גברא לא הוה מיבריך שמא לא ירא אלהים אתה יצתה בת קול ואמרה ועובדיה היה ירא את ה' מאד אבל ביתו של אחאב אינו מזומן לברכה

Rabbi Yitzḥak says that Ahab said to Obadiah: It is written with regard to Jacob: “And Laban said to him: If now I have found favor in your eyes, I have observed the signs, and the Lord has blessed me for your sake” (Genesis 30:27). It is written with regard to Joseph: “The Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake” (Genesis 39:5). The house of that man, i.e., my house, was not blessed. Perhaps you do not fear God? Immediately, a Divine Voice emerged and said: “Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly,” but the house of Ahab is not fit for blessing like the houses of those masters.

א"ר אבא גדול שנאמר בעובדיהו יותר ממה שנאמר באברהם דאילו באברהם לא כתיב מאד ובעובדיהו כתיב מאד

Rabbi Abba says: The praise that is stated with regard to Obadiah is greater than that which is stated with regard to Abraham. As with regard to Abraham the verse states: “For now I know that you fear God” (Genesis 22:12), and the term “greatly” is not written, and about Obadiah the term “greatly” is written.

א"ר יצחק מפני מה זכה עובדיהו לנביאות מפני שהחביא מאה נביאים במערה שנאמר (מלכים א יח, ד) ויהי בהכרית איזבל את נביאי ה' ויקח עובדיהו מאה נביאים ויחביאם חמשים איש במערה וגו' מאי שנא חמשים איש א"ר אלעזר מיעקב למד שנאמר (בראשית לב, ט) והיה המחנה הנשאר לפליטה רבי אבהו אמר לפי שאין מערה מחזקת יותר מחמשים

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: For what reason did Obadiah merit prophecy? It is because he concealed one hundred prophets in a cave, as it is stated: “It was so, when Jezebel cut off the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah took one hundred prophets, and hid them, fifty men in a cave, and fed them with bread and water” (I Kings 18:4). The Gemara asks: What is different, i.e., why did he decide, to conceal fifty men in each of two caves and not conceal them all together in one cave? Rabbi Elazar says: He learned from the behavior of Jacob to do so, as it is stated: “And he said: If Esau comes to the one camp and smites it, then the camp that is left shall escape” (Genesis 32:9). Obadiah learned from this to divide the prophets and thereby lessen the danger. Rabbi Abbahu says: It is because there is no cave big enough to contain more than fifty people.

(עובדיה א, א) חזון עובדיהו כה אמר ה' אלהים לאדום וגו' מאי שנא עובדיה לאדום

The verse states: “The vision of Obadiah. So says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a message from the Lord, and an ambassador is sent among the nations: Arise, and let us rise up against her in battle” (Obadiah 1:1). The Gemara asks: What is different, i.e., what is the reason, that specifically Obadiah prophesied concerning Edom?

אמר רבי יצחק אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא יבא עובדיהו הדר בין שני רשעים ולא למד ממעשיהם וינבא על עשו הרשע שדר בין שני צדיקים ולא למד ממעשיהם אמר אפרים מקשאה תלמידו של רבי מאיר משום רבי מאיר עובדיה גר אדומי היה והיינו דאמרי אינשי מיניה וביה אבא ניזיל ביה נרגא

Rabbi Yitzḥak says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: Let Obadiah come, who dwells among two wicked ones, Ahab and Jezebel, but did not learn from their actions; and he will prophesy concerning Esau the wicked, the progenitor of Edom, who dwelled among two righteous ones, Isaac and Rebekkah, but did not learn from their actions. Efrayim Miksha’a, a student of Rabbi Meir, said in the name of Rabbi Meir: Obadiah was an Edomite convert. Consequently, he prophesied with regard to Edom. And this is as people say: From and within the forest comes the ax to it, as the handle for the ax that chops the tree is from the forest itself.

(שמואל ב ח, ב) ויך את מואב וימדדם בחבל השכב אותם ארצה אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחי היינו דאמרי אינשי מיניה וביה אבא ליזיל ביה נרגא כי אתא רב דימי אמר ירך מתוכה מסרחת

The verse states concerning King David: “And he smote Moab and measured them with the line, making them lie down on the ground and he measured two lines to put to death” (II Samuel 8:2). Rabbi Yoḥanan says in the name of Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai: This is as people say: From and within the forest comes the ax to it, as King David was a descendant of Ruth the Moabite. When Rav Dimi came from Eretz Yisrael he stated something similar to this: A thigh rots from within, i.e., when a piece of meat rots, the rotting begins from the inner part of it. Here too, the punishment is administered by one descended from that very nation.

(מלכים ב ג, כז) ויקח את בנו הבכור אשר ימלך תחתיו ויעלהו עולה על החומה רב ושמואל חד אמר לשם שמים וחד אמר לשם ע"ז

§ The Gemara cites a verse concerning the king of Moab: “Then he took his eldest son, who should have reigned in his stead, and sacrificed him for a burnt offering upon the wall; and there was great indignation against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land” (II Kings 3:27). Rav and Shmuel engage in a dispute concerning this. One says: The king sacrificed his son for the sake of Heaven, and one says: The king sacrificed his son for the sake of idol worship.

בשלמא למאן דאמר לשם שמים היינו דכתיב (מלכים ב ג, כז) ויהי קצף גדול על ישראל אלא למאן דאמר לשם ע"ז אמאי ויהי קצף

The Gemara asks: Granted, according to the one who says that he sacrificed him for the sake of Heaven, this is as it is written: “And there was great indignation against Israel,” as the gentile attempted to honor God according to his understanding, while the Jewish people were straying from worshipping God, leading to God’s anger against them. But according to the one who says that he sacrificed him for the sake of idol worship, why would the verse state: “And there was…indignation”?

כדר' יהושע בן לוי דריב"ל רמי כתיב (יחזקאל ה, ז) וכמשפטי הגוים אשר סביבותיכם לא עשיתם וכתיב (יחזקאל יא, יב) וכמשפטי הגוים אשר סביבותיכם עשיתם כמתוקנין שבהם לא עשיתם כמקולקלין שבהם עשיתם

The Gemara answers: This can be understood in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. As Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi raises a contradiction: It is written concerning the Jewish people: “You have not walked in My statutes, neither have you kept My ordinances; nor have you done according to the statutes of the nations that are round about you” (Ezekiel 5:7), and it is also written: “You have done according to the statutes of the nations that are round about you” (Ezekiel 11:12). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi explains: You did not act like the proper ones among the nations, but you did act like the flawed ones among them. Here as well, the Jewish people learned from the king of Moab to engage in human sacrifice.

(מלכים ב ג, כז) ויסעו מעליו וישובו לארץ אמר רבי חנינא בר פפא באותה שעה ירדו רשעיהן של ישראל למדריגה התחתונה

The Gemara discusses the end of that verse: “And they departed from him and returned to their own land [la’aretz]” (II Kings 3:27). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: At that time the enemies of the Jewish people, a euphemism for the Jewish people themselves, descended to the lowest level. He interprets “la’aretz” to mean: To the earth, teaching that the Jewish people were as low as the dust of the earth.

(מלכים א א, ד) והנערה יפה עד מאד א"ר חנינא בר פפא עדיין לא הגיעה לחצי יופי של שרה דכתיב עד מאד ולא מאד בכלל:

The chapter closes with the explication of a verse stated with regard to Abishag, who attended King David before his death: “And the damsel was very fair [yafa ad me’od ]” (I Kings 1:4). Rabbi Ḥanina bar Pappa says: She still did not reach half the beauty of Sarah, as it is written:Ad me’od,” which can be translated as “up to very fair,” but not including the praise of “very fair.” By contrast, it is written concerning Sarah: “She was very fair” (Genesis 12:14).



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