Shimon ben Shataḥ turned to his right. The judges forced their faces to the ground out of fear and said nothing. He turned to his left, and they forced their faces to the ground and said nothing. Shimon ben Shataḥ said to them: You are masters of thoughts, enjoying your private thoughts, and not speaking. May the Master of thoughts, God, come and punish you. Immediately, the angel Gabriel came and struck those judges to the ground, and they died. At that moment, when they saw that the Sanhedrin does not have power to force the king to heed its instructions, the Sages said: A king does not judge others and others do not judge him, and he does not testify and others do not testify concerning him, due to the danger of the matter. The mishna teaches that the king does not perform ḥalitza with his brother’s widow and his brother does not perform ḥalitza with his wife, and Rabbi Yehuda says that he may do so if he wishes. The Gemara challenges Rabbi Yehuda’s opinion: Is that so? But doesn’t Rav Ashi say: Even according to the one who says that with regard to a Nasi who relinquished the honor due him, his honor is relinquished, nevertheless, with regard to a king who relinquished the honor due him, his honor is not relinquished, as it is stated: “You shall set a king over you” (Deuteronomy 17:15), meaning that his fear should be upon you. The preservation of a king’s honor is mandated by the Torah. How could Rabbi Yehuda allow him to waive it? The Gemara answers: A mitzva is different; a king is not disgraced if he relinquishes his honor to perform a mitzva. The mishna teaches: And no one may marry the king’s widow, and Rabbi Yehuda says that a king may marry another king’s widow, as proven by King David, who was promised with regard to King Saul after his death: “And I have given you the house of your master and the wives of your master” (II Samuel 12:8). It is taught in a baraita: The Sages said to Rabbi Yehuda: The meaning of the verse is not that David married Saul’s widows, but that he married women appropriate for him from the house of the king. And who are they? Merab and Michal, the daughters of Saul. The Gemara relates a discussion about David’s marriage to Merab and Michal from a baraita (Tosefta, Sota 11:9): Rabbi Yosei’s students asked him: How did David marry two sisters while they were both alive? Rabbi Yosei said to them: He married Michal only after the death of Merab, which is permitted. Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa says a different explanation: His betrothal to Merab was in error and therefore void from the outset, and so Michal was permitted to him. This is as it is stated in the words of King David to Saul’s son Ish-bosheth: “Deliver me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to me for one hundred foreskins of the Philistines” (II Samuel 3:14). The Gemara asks: What is the biblical derivation here? How does Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa learn from this verse that King David’s betrothal to Merab was in error? Rav Pappa says: In the verse, David indicates: Michal is my wife but Merab is not my wife. The Gemara asks: What caused the betrothal between David and Merab to be a mistaken betrothal? The Gemara responds: As it is written about Israel’s war against the Philistines and Goliath: “And it shall be that the man who kills him, the king will enrich him with great riches and will give him his daughter, and make his father’s house free in Israel” (I Samuel 17:25). David went and killed Goliath. King Saul said to him: You have a loan in my possession, as I owe you the great wealth that I promised, though David had not given him an actual monetary loan. And the halakha is that with regard to one who betroths a woman by forgiving a loan, she is not betrothed, and therefore David’s betrothal of Merab did not take effect. Saul went and gave Merab to Adriel, as it is written: “But it came to pass at the time when Merab, Saul’s daughter, should have been given to David, that she was given to Adriel the Meholathite as a wife” (I Samuel 18:19). Saul said to David: If you want me to give you Michal, go bring me one hundred foreskins of the Philistines (see I Samuel 18:25–27). David went and brought Saul two hundred foreskins. Saul said to him: Even though you brought the foreskins, the betrothal is not valid, as you, David, have a loan and one peruta in my possession, i.e., the wealth Saul owed him for slaying Goliath as well as the item of lesser monetary value, the foreskins of the Philistines. Saul and David had a halakhic dispute on this point: Saul reasoned that in the case of one who betroths a woman by forgiving a loan and giving her one peruta, his mind is focused on the loan and not on the additional peruta, and therefore the betrothal is not valid. And David reasoned that in the case of one who betroths a woman by forgiving a loan and giving her one peruta, his mind is focused on the peruta and therefore the betrothal is valid. And if you wish, say instead: Everyone reasons that in the case of one who betroths a woman by forgiving a loan and giving her one peruta, his mind is focused on the peruta. Saul reasoned that foreskins of Philistines are not fit for any purpose and as such are worth not even one peruta, and that consequently the betrothal did not take effect. And David reasoned that they are fit for dogs and cats as food and as such are worth at least one peruta, and therefore the betrothal takes effect. The Gemara asks: And according to Rabbi Yosei, who explains that David married Michal after the death of Merab, with regard to this verse: “Deliver me my wife Michal” (II Samuel 3:14), what does he derive from it? The Gemara answers: Rabbi Yosei conforms to his standard line of reasoning, as it is taught in a baraita (Tosefta, Sota 11:8): Rabbi Yosei would derive meaning from mixed verses that seem contradictory. The Tosefta continues. It is written: “But the king took the two sons of Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, whom she bore unto Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth, and the five sons of Michal, daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel, son of Barzillai the Meholathite” (II Samuel 21:8). But did Saul give Michal to Adriel? But didn’t he give her to Palti, son of Laish, as it is written: “Now Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti, son of Laish” (I Samuel 25:44)? The Tosefta continues: The first verse does not mean, then, that Michal married Adriel. Rather, the verse compares Merab’s betrothal to Adriel to Michal’s betrothal to Palti: Just as Michal’s betrothal to Palti was effected in transgression, according to all opinions, since she was already married to David, so, too, Merab’s betrothal to Adriel was effected in transgression, since according to halakha she was betrothed to David. The Gemara asks: And according to Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa as well, isn’t it written: “And the five sons of Michal, daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel” (II Samuel 21:8). Rabbi Yehoshua ben Korḥa could have said to you to understand it this way: And did Michal give birth to these children? But didn’t Merab give birth to them for Adriel? Rather, Merab gave birth to them and died, and Michal raised them in her house. Therefore, the children were called by her name, to teach you that with regard to anyone who raises an orphan in his house, the verse ascribes him credit as if he gave birth to him. The Gemara presents a mnemonic for the following discussion: Ḥanina called; Yoḥanan and his wife; Elazar and redemption; and Shmuel in my studies. Rabbi Ḥanina says: Proof for the aforementioned statement can be derived from here: “And the neighbors gave him a name, saying: There is a son born to Naomi” (Ruth 4:17). And did Naomi give birth to the son? But didn’t Ruth give birth to him? Rather, Ruth gave birth and Naomi raised him. Therefore, he was called by her name: “A son born to Naomi.” Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Proof for the aforementioned statement can be derived from here: “And his wife Hajehudijah gave birth to Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Soco, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah, and these are the sons of Bithiah, daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took” (I Chronicles 4:18). Mered is Caleb, and why was his name called Mered? Because he rebelled [marad] against the counsel of the spies. And according to the midrash, Jered, Heber, and Jekuthiel all refer to Moses our teacher. And did Bithiah give birth to Moses? But didn’t Jochebed give birth to him? Rather, Jochebed gave birth to him and Bithiah raised him. Therefore, he was called by her name as though she had given birth to him. Rabbi Elazar says: Proof for the aforementioned statement can be derived from here: “You have with Your arm redeemed your people, the children of Jacob and Joseph, Selah” (Psalms 77:16). And did Joseph sire all of the children of Israel? But didn’t Jacob sire them? Rather, Jacob sired them and Joseph sustained them financially. Therefore, they were called by his name; all of Israel were called the children of Joseph. Rabbi Shmuel bar Naḥmani says that Rabbi Yonatan says: Anyone who teaches another person’s son Torah, the verse ascribes him credit as if he sired him, as it is stated: “Now these are the generations of Aaron and Moses” (Numbers 3:1), and it is written immediately afterward: “And these are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadav the firstborn and Avihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar” (Numbers 3:2), but it does not mention the names of Moses’ children. This serves to say to you that Aaron sired his children, but Moses taught them Torah. Therefore, the children were also called by his name. The Gemara cites another derivation connected to child-rearing: “Therefore, so says the Lord to the house of Jacob, who redeemed Abraham; Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale” (Isaiah 29:22). But where have we found any indication about Jacob that he redeemed Abraham? Rav Yehuda says: It means that he redeemed him from the suffering of raising children, in that Abraham did not have twelve tribes and the resultant hardships involved in raising them, as Jacob did, as Jacob assumed the burden of raising the tribes of Israel. And this is as it is written: “Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale,” meaning: “Jacob shall not now be ashamed” before his father, and “neither shall his face now wax pale” before his father’s father, since he took upon himself the role that they bore as well. The Gemara cites a tradition with regard to Palti, son of Laish: It is written in one place “Palti” (I Samuel 25:44), and it is written in another place “Paltiel” (II Samuel 3:15). Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Palti was his real name, and why was his name called Paltiel? To teach that God [El ] saved [pelato] him from the sin, by giving him the insight that he may not touch Michal, understanding that she was still David’s wife and therefore forbidden to him. What did he do? He embedded a sword in the bed between him and her, and said: Anyone who engages in this matter, i.e., sexual intercourse, should be stabbed by this sword. The Gemara challenges this: But isn’t it written: “And her husband went with her, weeping as he went, and followed her to Bahurim” (II Samuel 3:16), referring to Palti as Michal’s husband? The Gemara responds: This means that he became like a husband for her through his affection and concern for her. The Gemara counters: But isn’t it written in that very verse: “weeping as he went”? If from the outset he thought that she was David’s wife, why was he crying? The Gemara responds: He was weeping about the mitzva that left him, as from now on, he would receive no reward for restraining his desire. The end of the verse says that they went “to Bahurim,” meaning that they both became like young men [baḥurim] in that they did not taste sexual intercourse at all. Rabbi Yoḥanan says: Joseph’s power is the humility of Boaz, as Joseph is praised for showing strength with regard to an accomplishment that was insignificant for Boaz (see Genesis, chapter 39). Likewise, Boaz’s power is the humility of Palti, son of Laish, as Palti’s capacity for restraint was greater still. Joseph’s power is the humility of Boaz, as it is written about Boaz: “And it came to pass at midnight that the man was startled and turned himself, and behold, a woman lay at his feet” (Ruth 3:8). What is the meaning of “and turned himself [vayyilafet]”? Rav says: The meaning is that his flesh became like the heads of turnips [lefatot], his sexual organ hardening out of arousal, but even though Ruth was not married he refrained from engaging in intercourse with her; while Joseph had to exert more effort, despite the fact that Potiphar’s wife was married.