Sotah 42bסוטה מ״ב ב
The William Davidson Talmudתלמוד מהדורת ויליאם דוידסון
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42bמ״ב ב

שמעו דברי מערכי המלחמה וחזרו במלחמה מה הוא אומר אל ירך לבבכם אל תיראו ואל תחפזו ואל תערצו כנגד ארבעה דברים שעובדי כוכבים עושין מגיפין ומריעין צווחין ורומסין

Hear my words, the regulations of war, and consider who is fit to participate in the battle. And return home, all of you who are exempt from combat. What does he say on the battlefield? “Let not your heart faint; fear not, nor be alarmed, and do not be terrified of them” (Deuteronomy 20:3). These four cautions correspond to four actions done by the nations of the world: They clash their weapons, and they blast horns, they shout, and they trample heavily with their horses to frighten their adversaries.

פלשתים באו בנצחונו של גלית כו' גלית אמר רבי יוחנן שעמד בגילוי פנים לפני הקב"ה שנאמר (שמואל א יז, ח) ברו לכם איש וירד אלי ואין איש אלא הקב"ה שנא' (שמות טו, ג) ה' איש מלחמה אמר הקב"ה הריני מפילו על יד בן איש שנא' (שמואל א יז, יב) ודוד בן איש אפרתי הזה

The mishna recorded the particulars of the priest’s address: The Philistines came championed by Goliath. The Gemara describes the battle between David and Goliath. What is implied by the name Goliath? Rabbi Yoḥanan says: The verse indicates that he stood before the Holy One, Blessed be He, with brazenness [gilui panim], as it is stated: “Choose yourselves a man [ish], and let him come down to me” (I Samuel 17:8), and man [ish] is referring to none other than the Holy One, Blessed be He, as it is stated: “The Lord is a man [ish] of war” (Exodus 15:3). The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: I will hereby fell him by the son of a man [ben ish], as it is stated: “Now David was the son of that man [ben ish] of Ephrath” (I Samuel 17:12).

א"ר יוחנן משום רבי מאיר בשלשה מקומות לכדו פיו לאותו רשע אחד ברו לכם איש וירד אלי ואידך אם יוכל להלחם אתי והכני וגו' ואידך דקאמר ליה לדוד (שמואל א יז, מג) הכלב אנכי כי אתה בא אלי במקלות דוד נמי אמר ליה (שמואל א יז, מה) אתה בא אלי בחרב בחנית ובכידון הדר אמר ליה ואנכי בא אליך בשם ה' צבאות אלהי (ישראל) מערכות ישראל אשר חרפת

Rabbi Yoḥanan said in the name of Rabbi Meir: In three instances, his own mouth ensnared that wicked one and unwittingly foretold his own downfall. One time he said: “Choose yourselves a man, and let him come down to me,” describing himself at the bottom. And another time, he said: “If he is able to fight with me and kill me then will we be your servants; but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall you be our servants, and serve us” (I Samuel 17:9). There, he supposed that his opponent would defeat him, before supposing that he, Goliath, would be victorious. Finally, the other time was when he said to David (I Samuel 17:43): “Am I a dog, that you come to me with staves?” The Gemara asks: But didn’t David also speak in this manner? David also said to him: “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin” (I Samuel 17:45). The Gemara answers: David then said to him, immediately afterward: “But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” (I Samuel 17:45).

(שמואל א יז, טז) ויגש הפלשתי השכם והערב אמר ר' יוחנן כדי לבטלן מק"ש שחרית וערבית (שמואל א יז, טז) ויתיצב ארבעים יום א"ר יוחנן כנגד ארבעים יום שנתנה בהן תורה

The verse says: “And the Philistine drew near morning and evening” (I Samuel 17:16). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: He did this specifically in order to prevent them from completing the recitation of Shema in the required times of morning and evening. “And Goliath presented himself forty days” (I Samuel 17:16). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: These days correspond to the forty days over which the Torah was given, as he wanted to do away with it.

(שמואל א יז, ד) ויצא איש הבינים ממחנות פלשתים וגו' מאי בינים אמר רב שמבונה מכל מום ושמואל אמר בינוני שבאחיו דבי רבי שילא אמר שהוא עשוי כבנין רבי יוחנן אמר בר מאה פפי וחדא נאנאי

The verse introduces Goliath: “And a champion [ish habeinayim] went out from the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath” (I Samuel 17:4). The Gemara asks: What is indicated by the term beinayim? Rav said: The word is related to the root beit, nun, heh, meaning build, and means that he is built [muvneh] perfectly and free of any blemish. And Shmuel said: The word is related to the word bein, meaning between, and means that he was the middle [beinoni] among his brothers. A Sage from the school of Rabbi Sheila said: The word is related to the root beit, nun, heh, meaning build, and means that he was made strong as a building [binyan]. Rabbi Yoḥanan said: The word is related to the word bein, meaning between, and means that he was born from among many, as follows: He was the son of one hundred fathers [pappi] and one dog [nanai], as his mother engaged in sexual intercourse with one hundred men and a dog, and he was fathered from among them.

וגלית שמו מגת תני רב יוסף שהכל דשין את אמו כגת כתיב מערות וקרינן מערכות תני רב יוסף שהכל הערו באמו

The verse recounts that he was “named Goliath, of Gath” (I Samuel 17:4). Rav Yosef taught: This is because everyone would thresh his mother by cohabiting with her like people do in a winepress [gat], where everyone tramples. It is written that Goliath came from “the caves [me’arot] of the Philistines” (I Samuel 17:23), but we read, according to the Masoretic text: He came from among “the ranks [ma’arkhot] of the Philistines.” What is meant by the written term me’arot? Rav Yosef taught: The word is related to the word he’era, meaning penetrated, and implies that everyone penetrated [he’eru], i.e., engaged in sexual intercourse with, his mother.

כתיב (שמואל ב כא, טז) הרפה וכתיב ערפה רב ושמואל חד אמר הרפה שמה ולמה נקרא שמה ערפה שהכל עורפין אותה מאחריה וחד אמר ערפה שמה ולמה נקרא שמה הרפה שהכל דשין אותה כהריפות וכן הוא אומר (שמואל ב יז, יט) ותקח האשה ותפרוש המסך על פני הבאר ותשטח עליה הריפות ואי בעית אימא מהכא (משלי כז, כב) אם תכתש את האויל במכתש בתוך הריפות בעלי

It is written that Goliath’s mother was: “Harafa” (II Samuel 21:16), and in another place it is written: “Orpah” (Ruth 1:4), and the Gemara will soon explain that this was the same woman. Rav and Shmuel engaged in a dispute concerning this matter. One of them said: Her name was Harafa, and why is she called by the name Orpah? It is because everyone came at her from behind [orfin] her, i.e., sodomized her. And one of them said: Her name was Orpah, and why is she called by the name Harafa? It is because everyone threshed her like groats [harifot], i.e., engaged in sexual intercourse with her, and so it says that this word means groats: “And the woman took and spread the covering over the well’s mouth, and strewed groats [harifot] thereon” (II Samuel 17:19). And if you wish, you can say from here: “Though you should crush a fool in a mortar with a pestle among groats [harifot], yet will not his foolishness depart from him” (Proverbs 27:22).

(שמואל ב כא, כב) ואת ארבעת אלה יולדו להרפה בגת ויפלו ביד דוד וביד עבדיו מאי נינהו אמר רב חסדא סף ומדון גלית וישבי בנוב

The Gemara continues its discussion of the battle of David and Goliath. “These four were born to Harafa in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants” (II Samuel 21:22). The Gemara asks: What are the names of the four siblings mentioned here? Rav Ḥisda said: They are Saph, and Madon, Goliath, and Ishbi in Nob (see II Samuel 21:16–20).

ויפלו ביד דוד וביד עבדיו דכתיב (רות א, יד) ותשק ערפה לחמותה ורות דבקה בה אמר רבי יצחק אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא יבואו בני הנשוקה ויפלו ביד בני הדבוקה דרש רבא בשכר ארבע דמעות שהורידה ערפה על חמותה זכתה ויצאו ממנה ארבעה גבורים שנאמר (רות א, יד) ותשאנה קולן ותבכינה עוד

It says: “And they fell into the hands of David and his servants.” Why? It is because of the acts of their forebears, as it is written: “And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, and Ruth cleaved to her” (Ruth 1:14). Rabbi Yitzḥak says: The Holy One, Blessed be He, said: The children of the one who kissed, referring to the four giants descended from Orpah, will come and fall into the hand of the children of the one who cleaved, referring to David, who was descended from Ruth. Rava taught: As a reward for the four tears that Orpah shed in sadness over her mother-in-law, she merited four mighty warriors descended from her, as it is stated: “And they lifted up their voice and wept again” (Ruth 1:14).

כתיב חץ חניתו וקרינן עץ חניתו אמר רבי אלעזר עדיין לא הגיענו לחצי שבחו של אותו רשע מכאן שאסור לספר בשבחן של רשעים ולא לפתח ביה כלל לאודועי שבחיה דדוד

It is written about Goliath: “And the half [ḥetz] of his spear was like a weaver’s beam” (I Samuel 17:7), and we read, according to the Masoretic tradition: “And the shaft [etz] of his spear.” Rabbi Elazar says: The written version of the text demonstrates that we have not yet reached half [ḥetzi] of the praise of that wicked man. Only half of his spear was as long as a weaver’s beam, but the Masoretic reading offers a less impressive description. It is learned from here that it is prohibited to relate the praise of wicked people. The Gemara asks: If so, then the verse should not begin by praising him at all. The Gemara answers: It was necessary in this case in order to relate the praise of David, who defeated Goliath.

בני עמון באו בנצחונו של שובך כו' כתיב שובך וכתיב שופך רב ושמואל חד אמר שופך שמו ולמה נקרא שמו שובך שעשוי כשובך וחד אמר שובך שמו ולמה נקרא שמו שופך שכל הרואה אותו נשפך לפניו כקיתון

§ According to the mishna, the priest would say: The Ammonites came championed by Shobach (see II Samuel, chapter 10). In one account, his name is written: “Shobach” (II Samuel 10:18), and in another place it is written: “Shophach” (I Chronicles 19:18). Rav and Shmuel engaged in a dispute concerning this matter. One of them said: His name was Shophach, and why is he called by the name Shobach? It is because he was built like a dovecote [shovakh], as he was exceptionally tall. And one of them said: His name was Shobach, and why is he called by the name Shophach? It is because anyone who would see him would become terrified and his courage would be spilled [nishpakh] before him like water from a jug.

(ירמיהו ה, טז) אשפתו כקבר פתוח כולם גבורים רב ושמואל ואמרי לה רבי אמי ורבי אסי חד אמר בשעה שזורקין חץ עושין אשפתות אשפתות של חללים ושמא תאמר שאומנין בקרב ת"ל כולם גבורים וחד אמר בשעה שעושין צורכיהן עושין אשפתות אשפתות של זבל ושמא תאמר מפני שחולי מעיים הם תלמוד לומר כולם גבורים

The Gemara records a dispute concerning the enemy forces of Nebuchadnezzar. The prophet states: “Their quiver [ashpato] is an open sepulcher, they are all mighty men” (Jeremiah 5:16). Rav and Shmuel, and some say Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi, engaged in a dispute concerning the implication of the verse. One of them said: When they shoot an arrow, they produce heaps and heaps [ashpatot ashpatot] of corpses. And lest you say that they are skilled in the arts of battle but they are not particularly strong, the verse states: “They are all mighty men.” And one of them said: When they perform their needs, i.e., relieve themselves, they produce heaps and heaps [ashpatot ashpatot] of excrement, which indicates they eat heartily, like mighty men. And lest you say it is because they are ill in their intestines, the verse states: “They are all mighty men” and are not ill.

אמר רב מרי שמע מינה האי מאן דנפיש זיבליה חולי מעיים הוא למאי נפקא מינה ליטרח בנפשיה

Rav Mari said: Learn from this exchange that if there is one whose excrement is abundant, he is ill in his intestines. The Gemara asks: What difference is there whether or not he is ill in his intestines? The Gemara answers: It is so that one who suffers these symptoms will tend to himself medically.

(משלי יב, כה) דאגה בלב איש ישחנה ר' אמי ורבי אסי חד אמר ישחנה מדעתו וחד אמר ישיחנה לאחרים

In a similar vein, one is urged to relieve his distress. The verse states: “If there is a care in the heart of a man, let him bend it [yashḥena]” (Proverbs 12:25). Rabbi Ami and Rabbi Asi dispute the verse’s meaning. One said: He should force it [yasḥena] out of his mind. He should remove his worries from his thoughts. And one said: It means he should tell [yesiḥena] his troubles to others, which will relieve his anxiety.

ואתם אי אתם כן כו' וכל כך למה מפני שהשם וכל כינויו

The mishna recounts the priest’s address: But you are not like them, because, as the verse states: “For the Lord your God is He that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deuteronomy 20:4). And why does the verse elaborate so much in spelling out the nature of God’s attendance in battle? It is because the ineffable name of God and all of His appellations that are written on the tablets