עַבְדֶּךָ. וַיְרַגֵּל בְּעַבְדְּךָ אֶל אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַאדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ כְּמַלְאַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים וַעֲשֵׂה הַטּוֹב בְּעֵינֶיךָ״. ״וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ לָמָּה תְּדַבֵּר עוֹד דְּבָרֶיךָ אָמַרְתִּי אַתָּה וְצִיבָא תַּחְלְקוּ אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה. וַיֹּאמֶר מְפִיבֹשֶׁת אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ גַּם אֶת הַכֹּל יִקָּח אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר בָּא אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּשָׁלוֹם אֶל בֵּיתוֹ״. אָמַר לוֹ: אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי ״מָתַי תָּבֹא בְּשָׁלוֹם״, וְאַתָּה עוֹשֶׂה לִי כָּךְ? לֹא עָלֶיךָ יֵשׁ לִי תַּרְעוֹמוֹת אֶלָּא עַל מִי שֶׁהֱבִיאֲךָ בְּשָׁלוֹם.
your servant. And he slandered your servant to my lord the king; but my lord the king is like an angel of God: Do therefore what is good in your eyes” (II Samuel 19:26–28). “And the king said to him: Why do you speak any more of your matters? I have said: You and Ziba shall divide the estate. And Mephibosheth said to the king: Let him even take all, seeing that my lord the king is come back in peace to his own house” (II Samuel 19:30–31). Mephibosheth said to David as follows: I had hoped for your return, saying: When will he come in peace, and yet you do this to me, giving Ziba half of my estate? It is not against you that I have grievances, but against He who brought you back in peace. Mephibosheth’s own statement substantiates Ziba’s report about him.
הַיְינוּ דִּכְתִיב: ״וּבֶן יְהוֹנָתָן מְרִיב בָּעַל״, וְכִי ״מְרִיב בַּעַל״ שְׁמוֹ? וַהֲלֹא מְפִיבֹשֶׁת שְׁמוֹ! אֶלָּא מִתּוֹךְ שֶׁעָשָׂה מְרִיבָה עִם בְּעָלָיו. יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה לוֹ: נַצָּא בַּר נַצָּא. ״נַצָּא״ — הָא דַּאֲמַרַן. ״בַּר נַצָּא״ — דִּכְתִיב: ״וַיָּבֹא שָׁאוּל עַד עִיר עֲמָלֵק וַיָּרֶב בַּנָּחַל״, אָמַר רַבִּי מָנִי: עַל עִסְקֵי נַחַל.
This is what is written: “And the son of Jonathan was Meriv-Baal” (I Chronicles 8:34). The Gemara asks: And was Meriv-Baal his name? Wasn’t his name Mephibosheth? However, since he entered into a quarrel [meriva] with his Master [ba’al], i.e., God, and complained about God having saved David, a Divine Voice emerged and said to him: Quarrelsome one, the son of a quarrelsome one; you are just like your father, Saul. The Gemara explains: Quarrelsome one; that which we just said that Mephibosheth complained to God about His salvation of David. The son of a quarrelsome one; as it is written: “And Saul came to a city of Amalek and quarreled in the valley” (I Samuel 15:5). And Rabbi Mani said: Saul quarreled with God with regard to matters of the valley, saying: For the murder of even a single person, there is a commandment to break the neck of a heifer in a valley to atone for the crime (see Deuteronomy 21:1–9); why then must all these Amalekites be killed?
אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד לִמְפִיבֹשֶׁת: אַתָּה וְצִיבָא תַּחְלְקוּ אֶת הַשָּׂדֶה, יָצְתָה בַּת קוֹל וְאָמְרָה לוֹ: רְחַבְעָם וְיָרָבְעָם יַחְלְקוּ אֶת הַמְּלוּכָה.
To the matter at hand: Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: When David said to Mephibosheth: You and Ziba shall divide the estate, a Divine Voice emerged and said to him: Rehoboam and Jeroboam shall divide the kingdom.
אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב: אִילְמָלֵי לֹא קִיבֵּל דָּוִד לָשׁוֹן הָרָע לֹא נֶחְלְקָה מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד, וְלֹא עָבְדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה, וְלֹא גָּלִינוּ מֵאַרְצֵנוּ.
Rav Yehuda said that Rav said: Had David not accepted Ziba’s slanderous report about Mephibosheth, the kingdom of the house of David would not have been divided, Israel would not have worshipped idols because of Jeroboam, and we would not have been exiled from our land.
אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹנָתָן: כׇּל הָאוֹמֵר שְׁלֹמֹה חָטָא אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא טוֹעֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וְלֹא הָיָה לְבָבוֹ שָׁלֵם עִם ה׳ אֱלֹהָיו כִּלְבַב דָּוִד אָבִיו״ — כִּלְבַב דָּוִד אָבִיו הוּא דְּלָא הֲוָה, מִיחְטָא נָמֵי לָא חֲטָא.
Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that King Solomon sinned is nothing other than mistaken, as it is stated: “And his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David, his father” (I Kings 11:4). By inference: Solomon’s heart was not equal to the heart of David, his father; however, he also did not sin.
אֶלָּא מָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּים ״וַיְהִי לְעֵת זִקְנַת שְׁלֹמֹה נָשָׁיו הִטּוּ אֶת לְבָבוֹ״ — הַהִיא כְּרַבִּי נָתָן. דְּרַבִּי נָתָן רָמֵי, כְּתִיב: ״וַיְהִי לְעֵת זִקְנַת שְׁלֹמֹה נָשָׁיו הִטּוּ אֶת לְבָבוֹ״, וְהָכְתִיב: ״כִּלְבַב דָּוִד אָבִיו״ — כִּלְבַב דָּוִד אָבִיו הוּא דְּלָא הֲוָה מִיחְטָא נָמֵי לָא חֲטָא! הָכִי קָאָמַר: ״וַיְהִי לְעֵת זִקְנַת שְׁלֹמֹה נָשָׁיו הִטּוּ אֶת לְבָבוֹ לָלֶכֶת אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים״ — וְלֹא הָלַךְ.
However, how then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods” (I Kings 11:4)? That verse is in accordance with the statement of Rabbi Natan; as Rabbi Natan raised a contradiction between the two parts of the verse. On the one hand, it is written: “For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods.” On the other hand, isn’t it written: “And his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father,” indicating that Solomon’s heart was not equal to the heart of David his father; however, he also did not sin? Rather, the verse says as follows: For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart, in an attempt to spur him to go after other gods; however, he did not go after them.
וְהָכְתִיב: ״אָז יִבְנֶה שְׁלֹמֹה בָּמָה לִכְמוֹשׁ שִׁקֻּץ מוֹאָב״ — שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לִבְנוֹת וְלֹא בָּנָה.
The Gemara asks: Isn’t it written: “Then did Solomon build [yivne] an altar for Kemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon” (I Kings 11:7), indicating that Solomon did in fact stray after idols? The Gemara answers: This can be understood to mean that Solomon sought to build an altar for idols but did not build it.
אֶלָּא מֵעַתָּה: ״אָז יִבְנֶה יְהוֹשֻׁעַ מִזְבֵּחַ לַה׳״ — שֶׁבִּקֵּשׁ לִבְנוֹת וְלֹא בָּנָה?! אֶלָּא דִּבְנָה, הָכָא נָמֵי דִּבְנָה!
The Gemara objects: But now if that is the way to understand the future tense verb form yivne, what of another instance where the same form is employed: “Then did Joshua build [yivne] an altar to the Lord God of Israel in Mount Eival” (Joshua 8:30)? There too, would you say that Joshua sought to build an altar but did not build one? Rather, there, in the case of Joshua, it means that he actually built it. Here too, with regard to Solomon, it means that he actually built the altar.
אֶלָּא כִּדְתַנְיָא, רַבִּי יוֹסֵי אוֹמֵר: ״וְאֶת הַבָּמוֹת אֲשֶׁר עַל פְּנֵי יְרוּשָׁלִַים אֲשֶׁר מִימִין לְהַר הַמִּשְׁחָה אֲשֶׁר בָּנָה שְׁלֹמֹה מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְעַשְׁתֹּרֶת שִׁקֻּץ צִידֹנִים וְגוֹ׳״.
Rather, this verse should be understood as it was taught in a baraita that Rabbi Yosei says: The verse states: “And the altars that were before Jerusalem, which were on the right hand of the Mount of Olives, which Solomon the king of Israel had built for Ashtoret the abomination of the Zidonim, and for Kemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milkom the abomination of the children of Ammon, did the king defile” (II Kings 23:13). All these were destroyed by Josiah.
אֶפְשָׁר בָּא אָסָא וְלֹא בִּיעֲרָם, יְהוֹשָׁפָט וְלֹא בִּיעֲרָם, עַד שֶׁבָּא יֹאשִׁיָּה וּבִיעֲרָם? וַהֲלֹא כׇּל עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה שֶׁבְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל אָסָא וִיהוֹשָׁפָט בִּיעֲרוּם! אֶלָּא מַקִּישׁ רִאשׁוֹנִים לָאַחֲרוֹנִים, מָה אַחֲרוֹנִים לֹא עָשׂוּ וְתָלָה בָּהֶן לְשֶׁבַח, אַף רִאשׁוֹנִים לֹא עָשׂוּ וְתָלָה בָּהֶן לִגְנַאי.
The Gemara asks: Is it possible that the righteous king Asa came and did not destroy them, and the righteous king Jehosaphat came and did not destroy them until Josiah came and destroyed them? Didn’t Asa and Jehosaphat destroy all the idolatry in Eretz Yisrael? Rather, the verse juxtaposes the earlier ones, i.e., Solomon, to the later ones, i.e., Josiah. Just as the later ones, Josiah, did not effect the destruction of the altars, as it was done by his predecessors, and nevertheless the verse attributes it to him to praise him as if he had destroyed all those altars, so too, the earlier ones, Solomon, did not effect the construction, and nevertheless the verse attributes it to him to disgrace him as he did not prevent their construction.
וְהָכְתִיב: ״וַיַּעַשׂ שְׁלֹמֹה הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי ה׳״! אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ לִמְחוֹת בְּנָשָׁיו וְלֹא מִיחָה מַעֲלֶה עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב כְּאִלּוּ חָטָא.
The Gemara raises another question. Isn’t it written: “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord” (I Kings 11:6), clearly indicating that Solomon sinned? Rather, since he should have protested against the conduct of his wives, i.e., their involvement in idolatry, but he did not protest, the verse ascribes to him liability as if he had sinned.
אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: נוֹחַ לוֹ לְאוֹתוֹ צַדִּיק שֶׁיְּהֵא שַׁמָּשׁ לְדָבָר אַחֵר, וְאַל יִכָּתֵב בּוֹ ״וַיַּעַשׂ הָרָע בְּעֵינֵי ה׳״.
Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: It would have been preferable for that righteous man, Solomon, to be a servant tasked with drawing water and hewing wood for another matter, i.e., idolatry, and not have the verse write about him: “And he did evil in the sight of the Lord,” even though he did not.
אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנָּשָׂא שְׁלֹמֹה אֶת בַּת פַּרְעֹה, הִכְנִיסָה לוֹ אֶלֶף מִינֵי זֶמֶר, וְאָמְרָה לוֹ כָּךְ עוֹשִׂין לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה פְּלוֹנִית, וְכָךְ עוֹשִׂים לַעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה פְּלוֹנִית, וְלֹא מִיחָה בָּהּ.
Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, she brought to him a thousand musical instruments and said to him: This is the way we do it for this idolatry, and this is the way we do it for that idolatry, and he did not protest that talk.
אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר שְׁמוּאֵל: בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנָּשָׂא שְׁלֹמֹה אֶת בַּת פַּרְעֹה יָרַד גַּבְרִיאֵל וְנָעַץ קָנֶה בַּיָּם וְעָלָה בּוֹ שִׂירְטוֹן, וְעָלָיו נִבְנָה כְּרַךְ גָּדוֹל [שֶׁל רוֹמִי].
Rav Yehuda said that Shmuel said: When Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter, the angel Gabriel descended from heaven and implanted a reed into the sea, and a sandbar grew around it, growing larger each year, and upon it the great city of Rome was built, which became God’s instrument to punish Israel.
בְּמַתְנִיתָא תָּנָא: אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם שֶׁהִכְנִיס יָרָבְעָם שְׁנֵי עֶגְלֵי זָהָב, אֶחָד בְּבֵית אֵל וְאֶחָד בְּדָן, נִבְנָה צְרִיף אֶחָד, וְזֶהוּ אִיטַלְיָאה שֶׁל יָוָן.
It was taught in a baraita: On that very day that Jeroboam introduced two golden calves, one in Beth-El and the other in Dan, a single small hut was constructed, which was the first house constructed there. And that was the inauguration of Italy of Greece.
אָמַר רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי אָמַר רַבִּי יוֹנָתָן: כׇּל הָאוֹמֵר יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ חָטָא — אֵינוֹ אֶלָּא טוֹעֶה, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: ״וַיַּעַשׂ הַיָּשָׁר בְּעֵינֵי ה׳ וַיֵּלֶךְ בְּכׇל דֶּרֶךְ דָּוִד אָבִיו״. אֶלָּא מָה אֲנִי מְקַיֵּים ״וְכָמֹהוּ לֹא הָיָה לְפָנָיו מֶלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר שָׁב וְגוֹ׳״?
Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani said that Rabbi Yonatan said: Anyone who says that Josiah sinned is nothing other than mistaken, as it is stated: “And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand nor to the left” (II Kings 22:2). However, how then do I establish the meaning of the verse: “And like him was there no king before him that returned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the Torah of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him” (II Kings 23:25)? The verse states: Josiah returned to the Lord. Apparently, in his early days he was a sinner, and later he returned to God.
שֶׁכָּל דִּין שֶׁדָּן מִבֶּן שְׁמֹנֶה עַד שְׁמֹנֶה עֶשְׂרֵה הֶחְזִירָן לָהֶן. שֶׁמָּא תֹּאמַר נָטַל מִזֶּה וְנָתַן לָזֶה — תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר ״בְּכָל מְאֹדוֹ״: שֶׁנָּתַן לָהֶם מִשֶּׁלּוֹ.
The Gemara answers: The reference here is not to repentance for actual sins that Josiah committed. Rather, in every judgment that he issued from the age of eight, when he was crowned, until the age of eighteen, he returned the money to the parties whom he judged liable, due to concern that in his youth he may not have judged the cases correctly. And lest you say that he took from this one, whom he exonerated, and gave to that one, whom he found culpable, therefore the verse states: Returned to the Lord with all his might [me’odo], i.e., with all his money. It means that he gave those he judged liable in his youth from his own money.
וּפְלִיגָא דְּרַב, דְּאָמַר רַב: אֵין לְךָ גָּדוֹל בְּבַעֲלֵי תְּשׁוּבָה יוֹתֵר מִיֹּאשִׁיָּהוּ בְּדוֹרוֹ וְאֶחָד בְּדוֹרֵנוּ. וּמַנּוּ? אַבָּא אֲבוּהּ דְּרַבִּי יִרְמְיָה בַּר אַבָּא. וְאָמְרִי לַהּ אַחָא אֲחוּהּ דְּאַבָּא אֲבוּהּ דְּרַב יִרְמְיָה בַּר אַבָּא. דְּאָמַר מָר: רַבִּי אַבָּא וְאַחָא אַחֵי הֲווֹ.
The Gemara notes that Rabbi Yonatan disagrees with Rav, as Rav said: There is no greater penitent than Josiah in his generation, and there is one in our generation. The Gemara asks: And who is the great penitent in Rav’s generation? The Gemara answers: He is Abba, father of Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba, and some say it is Aḥa, brother of Abba, father of Rabbi Yirmeya bar Abba, as the Master said: Rabbi Abba and Aḥa were brothers.
אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף: וְעוֹד אֶחָד בְּדוֹרֵנוּ. וּמַנּוּ? — עוּקְבָן בַּר נְחֶמְיָה רֵישׁ גָּלוּתָא. וְהַיְינוּ ״נָתָן דְּצוּצִיתָא״. אָמַר רַב יוֹסֵף: הֲוָה יָתֵיבְנָא בְּפִירְקָא, וַהֲוָה קָא מְנַמְנַמְנָא, וַחֲזַאי בְּחֶילְמָא דְּקָא פְּשַׁט יְדֵיהּ וְקַבְּלֵיהּ.
Rav Yosef said: And there is another great penitent in our generation. And who is he? He is Okvan, son of Neḥemya the Exilarch. And that is the one also known as Natan detzutzita, i.e., from whose head sparks emerged. Rav Yosef said: I was once sitting at the lecture delivered on the Festival [pirka] and I was dozing. And I saw in a dream how an angel stretched out his hands and received Natan detzutzita, demonstrating that his repentance was accepted.
הדרן עלך במה בהמה