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Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 20

Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

1Now there chanced to be there a base man, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite; and he blew a 'shofar' and declared, "We have no portion of David, neither have we an inheritence in the son of Jesse; every man to his tents, O' Israel."   אוְשָׁ֨ם נִקְרָ֜א אִ֣ישׁ בְּלִיַּ֗עַל וּשְׁמ֛וֹ שֶׁ֥בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִ֖י אִ֣ישׁ יְמִינִ֑י וַיִּתְקַ֣ע בַּשּׁוֹפָ֗ר וַ֠יֹּאמֶר אֵֽין־לָ֨נוּ חֵ֜לֶק בְּדָוִ֗ד וְלֹ֚א נַֽחֲלָה־לָ֙נוּ֙ בְּבֶן־יִשַׁ֔י אִ֥ישׁ לְאֹהָלָ֖יו יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
there chanced: Heb. נקרא, was summoned there; similar to הקדיש קרואיו“bid his summoned” of Zeph. 1:7, and: ויקרא אבשלום לכל בני מלך“and Absalom invited all the son’s of the king” of II Sam. 13:23. It is synonymous with זימון, an invitation.  
2And all the men of Israel went up from after David, following Sheba the son of Bichri, but the men of Judah cleaved to their king from the Jordan until Jerusalem.   בוַיַּ֜עַל כָּל־אִ֚ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ מֵאַחֲרֵ֣י דָוִ֔ד אַחֲרֵ֖י שֶׁ֣בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִ֑י וְאִ֚ישׁ יְהוּדָה֙ דָּבְק֣וּ בְמַלְכָּ֔ם מִן־הַיַּרְדֵּ֖ן וְעַד־יְרוּשָׁלָֽםִ:
3And David came to his house in Jerusalem, and the king took the ten women [who were his] concubines, whom he had left to keep the house, and he put them in a guard-house where he sustained them, but he came not upon them. And they remained bound as widows [with husband yet] alive until the day of their death.   גוַיָּבֹ֨א דָוִ֣ד אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ֘ יְרֽוּשָׁלִַם֒ וַיִּקַּ֣ח הַמֶּ֡לֶךְ אֵ֣ת עֶֽשֶׂר־נָשִׁ֣ים | פִּלַגְשִׁ֡ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר הִנִּיחַ֩ לִשְׁמֹ֨ר הַבַּ֜יִת וַֽיִּתְּנֵ֚ם בֵּית־מִשְׁמֶ֙רֶת֙ וַֽיְכַלְכְּלֵ֔ם וַאֲלֵיהֶ֖ם לֹא־בָ֑א וַתִּהְיֶ֧ינָה צְרֻר֛וֹת עַד־י֥וֹם מֻתָ֖ן אַלְמְנ֥וּת חַיּֽוּת:
4And the king said to Amasa, "Call together for me the men of Judah [within] three days, then be here present."   דוַיֹּ֚אמֶר הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֶל־עֲמָשָֹ֔א הַזְעֶק־לִ֥י אֶת־אִישׁ־יְהוּדָ֖ה שְׁל֣שֶׁת יָמִ֑ים וְאַתָּ֖ה פֹּ֥ה עֲמֹֽד:
call together for me the men of Judah: So that they be here within three days.  
then be here present: After the three days be sure to remain here before mefor David desired to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.  
5And Amasa went to call together the men of Judah, but he tarried past the set time which he had appointed him.   הוַיֵּ֥לֶךְ עֲמָשָֹ֖א לְהַזְעִ֣יק אֶת־יְהוּדָ֑ה וַיּ֕וֹחֶר (כתיב וַיֹּ֕יחֶר) מִן־הַמּוֹעֵ֖ד אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְעָדֽוֹ:
and he tarried past the set time: He found the rabbis beginning a tractate, as is found in Sanhedrin.  
6And David said to Abishai, "Now Sheba the son of Bichri will cause us more harm than did Absalom; [therefore] take you your lord's servants and pursue after him, lest he find for himself fortified cities and save [himself before] our eyes."   ווַיֹּ֚אמֶר דָּוִד֙ אֶל־אֲבִישַׁ֔י עַתָּ֗ה יֵ֧רַֽע לָ֛נוּ שֶׁ֥בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִ֖י מִן־אַבְשָׁל֑וֹם אַ֠תָּה קַ֞ח אֶת־עַבְדֵ֚י אֲדֹנֶ֙יךָ֙ וּרְדֹ֣ף אַחֲרָ֔יו פֶּן־מָ֥צָא ל֛וֹ עָרִ֥ים בְּצֻר֖וֹת וְהִצִּ֥יל עֵינֵֽנוּ:
… take your lord’s servants: Since Amasa has tarried and has not brought the army of Judah, take you from among those that are found around me and pursue him.  
save our eyes: And save himself before our eyes. Now this is an abbreviated verse.  
7And Joab's men went after him with the archers and the slingers and all the warriors; and they went out of Jerusalem to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.   זוַיֵּצְא֚וּ אַֽחֲרָיו֙ אַנְשֵׁ֣י יוֹאָ֔ב וְהַכְּרֵתִ֥י וְהַפְּלֵתִ֖י וְכָל־הַגִּבֹּרִ֑ים וַיֵּֽצְאוּ֙ מִיר֣וּשָׁלַ֔םִ לִרְדֹּ֕ף אַחֲרֵ֖י שֶׁ֥בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִֽי:
8They were by the great stone which is in Gibeon, when Amasa came before them. And Joab was girded with his military coat as apparel, and thereon was a girded sword in its sheath [which was] fastened to his loins and he went forth, and it fell out.   חהֵ֗ם עִם־הָאֶ֚בֶן הַגְּדוֹלָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּגִבְע֔וֹן וַעֲמָשָֹ֖א בָּ֣א לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם וְיוֹאָ֞ב חָג֣וּר | מִדּ֣וֹ לְבֻשׁ֗וּ וְעָלָ֞יו (כתיב וְעָלָ֞ו) חֲג֥וֹר חֶ֙רֶב֙ מְצֻמֶּ֚דֶת עַל־מָתְנָיו֙ בְּתַעְרָ֔הּ וְה֥וּא יָצָ֖א וַתִּפֹּֽל:
fastened to his loins: clinging to his body to the width of his loins and not in a manner that one [customarily] fastens his sword, in order that it should fall easily and not necessitate removal from its sheath…  
and he went forth: towards Amasa.  
and it fell out: i.e., the sword from its sheath, since it was smooth and sharpened and it was not suspended at the side of his hip but [to the] width of his loins. [Thus] almost as soon as he bent toward the ground it fell from its sheath where he grasped it with his right hand without Amasa becoming aware of it.  
9And Joab said to Amasa, "Is all well with you, my brother?" And Joab's right hand took hold of Amasa's beard [as if] to kiss him.   טוַיֹּ֚אמֶר יוֹאָב֙ לַעֲמָשָֹ֔א הֲשָׁל֥וֹם אַתָּ֖ה אָחִ֑י וַתֹּ֜חֶז יַד־יְמִ֥ין יוֹאָ֛ב בִּזְקַ֥ן עֲמָשָֹ֖א לִנְשָׁק־לֽוֹ:
10And Amasa took no heed of the sword that was in Joab's hand; and he struck him with it to the fifth rib and he spilled out his bowels to the ground, and though he did not repeat, he [nevertheless] died. And Joab and Abishai his brother pursued Sheba the son of Bichri.   יוַעֲמָשָֹ֨א לֹֽא־נִשְׁמַ֜ר בַּחֶ֣רֶב | אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּיַד־יוֹאָ֗ב וַיַּכֵּהוּ֩ בָ֨הּ אֶל־הַחֹ֜מֶשׁ וַיִּשְׁפֹּ֨ךְ מֵעָ֥יו אַ֛רְצָה וְלֹא־שָׁ֥נָה ל֖וֹ וַיָּמֹ֑ת וְיוֹאָב֙ וַאֲבִישַׁ֣י אָחִ֔יו רָדַ֕ף אַחֲרֵ֖י שֶׁ֥בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִֽי:
11And one of Joab's young men stood by him and he said, "He that favors Joab, and he that is for David, let him follow Joab."   יאוְאִישׁ֙ עָמַ֣ד עָלָ֔יו מִֽנַּעֲרֵ֖י יוֹאָ֑ב וַיֹּ֗אמֶר מִי֩ אֲשֶׁ֨ר חָפֵ֧ץ בְּיוֹאָ֛ב וּמִ֥י אֲשֶׁר־לְדָוִ֖ד אַחֲרֵ֥י יוֹאָֽב:
12And Amasa was wallowing in blood in the middle of the highway. And the man saw that all the people remained standing, so he veered Amasa off the highway into the field, and he threw a garment over him when he saw that everyone who came upon him stood still.   יבוַעֲמָשָֹ֛א מִתְגֹּלֵ֥ל בַּדָּ֖ם בְּת֣וֹךְ הַֽמְּסִלָּ֑ה וַיַּ֨רְא הָאִ֜ישׁ כִּֽי־עָמַ֣ד כָּל־הָעָ֗ם וַיַּסֵּב֩ אֶת־עֲמָשָֹ֨א מִן־הַֽמְסִלָּ֚ה הַשָּׂדֶה֙ וַיַּשְׁלֵ֚ךְ עָלָיו֙ בֶּ֔גֶד כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר רָאָ֔ה כָּל־הַבָּ֥א עָלָ֖יו וְעָמָֽד:
when he saw that everyone who came upon him stood still: When the man saw that everyone who came upon him remained standing [there].  
13When he was removed from the highway, all the people passed on after Joab to pursue Sheba the son of Bichri.   יגכַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר הֹגָּ֖ה מִן־הַֽמְסִלָּ֑ה עָבַ֚ר כָּל־אִישׁ֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י יוֹאָ֔ב לִרְדֹּ֕ף אַחֲרֵ֖י שֶׁ֥בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִֽי:
when he was removed: Heb. הגה, when he was taken away, similar to: “take away the dross from the silver (הגו סיגים מכסף)” (Prov. 25:4.), and similar to: “take away the wicked from before the king (הגו רשע לפני מלך)” (ibid. 25:5).  
14And he passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, and to Beth Maacah, and all the Berites; and they gathered together and they went after him too.   ידוַֽיַּעֲבֹ֞ר בְּכָל־שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל אָבֵ֛לָה וּבֵ֥ית מַעֲכָ֖ה וְכָל־הַבֵּרִ֑ים וַיִּקָּ֣הֲל֔וּ (כתיב וַיִּקָּ֣לֲה֔וּ) וַיָּבֹ֖אוּ אַף־אַחֲרָֽיו:
And he passed through all the tribes of Israel: Sheba the son of Bichri, in order to persuade them to appoint him king over them.  
the Berites: Heb. הברים. I do not know what it is.  
15And they came and they besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah, and they spilled [dirt to form] a mound against the city and it stood with [only] its inner wall; and all the people that were with Joab were battering to throw down the wall.   טווַיָּבֹ֜אוּ וַיָּצֻ֣רוּ עָלָ֗יו בְּאָבֵ֙לָה֙ בֵּ֣ית הַֽמַּעֲכָ֔ה וַיִּשְׁפְּכ֚וּ סֹֽלְלָה֙ אֶל־הָעִ֔יר וַֽתַּעֲמֹ֖ד בַּחֵ֑ל וְכָל־הָעָם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶת־יוֹאָ֔ב מַשְׁחִיתִ֖ם לְהַפִּ֥יל הַחוֹמָֽה:
with only its inner wall: And it stood surrounded by the army. Others interpret ותעמד בחל as an expression similar to חיל וחומה of Lam. 2:8. They felled the outer wall and it [the city] strengthened itself to stand with [only] its inner wall.  
16And a wise woman called out from within the city, 'Hear, hear; say, I pray you, to Joab: 'Come closer to here so that I may speak to you.'   טזוַתִּקְרָ֛א אִשָּׁ֥ה חֲכָמָ֖ה מִן־הָעִ֑יר שִׁמְע֚וּ שִׁמְעוּ֙ אִמְרוּ־נָ֣א אֶל־יוֹאָ֔ב קְרַ֣ב עַד־הֵ֔נָּה וַאֲדַבְּרָ֖ה אֵלֶֽיךָ:
17And he came near to her, and the woman said, "Are you Joab?" And he said, "I am" And she said to him: 'Hear the words of your handmaid.' And he said: 'I am listening.'   יזוַיִּקְרַ֣ב אֵלֶ֔יהָ וַתֹּ֧אמֶר הָאִשָּׁ֛ה הַאַתָּ֥ה יוֹאָ֖ב וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אָ֑נִי וַתֹּ֣אמֶר ל֗וֹ שְׁמַע֙ דִּבְרֵ֣י אֲמָתֶ֔ךָ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר שֹׁמֵ֥עַ אָנֹֽכִי:
Are you Joab?: [Are you the Joab] regarding whom it is said: Who sits in the assembly of the wise?  
18And she spoke saying: "Surely they should have spoken first [to hear what they have] to say, had they inquired of [the people of] Abel, and so would they have made peace.   יחוַתֹּ֖אמֶר לֵאמֹ֑ר דַּבֵּ֨ר יְדַבְּר֚וּ בָרִֽאשֹׁנָה֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר שָׁא֧וֹל יְשָׁאֲל֛וּ בְּאָבֵ֖ל וְכֵ֥ן הֵתַֽמוּ:
Surely they should have spoken first [to hear what they have] to say: You first should have spoken to them [to see] if they answer you for peace and open up for you, for then you should not have fought against them.  
had they inquired of Abel: Had the men of your army inquired of the peace of this city whose name is Abel.  
so would they have made peace: Immediately the people of the city would have made peace with you.  
19I am of [those] that are peaceful and faithful to Israel; [Why then] do you seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel? Why should you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?"   יטאָנֹכִ֕י שְׁלֻמֵ֖י אֱמוּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אַתָּ֣ה מְבַקֵּ֗שׁ לְהָמִ֨ית עִ֚יר וְאֵם֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לָ֥מָּה תְבַלַּ֖ע נַחֲלַ֥ת יְהֹוָֽה:
peaceful and faithful to Israel: I am from those people of the city who are peaceful and faithful to Israel and to the king. Now there is a Midrash Aggadah that she was Serah the daughter of Asher. I am the one who surrendered one faithful to another faithful [i.e., Jospeh to Moses]. Through me Joseph’s casket was revealed to Moses (See Eccl. R. 9:25); and I was the one who notified Jacob that Joseph was yet alive.  
20And Joab answered: 'Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up, or that I should destroy.   כוַיַּ֥עַן יוֹאָ֖ב וַיֹּאמַ֑ר חָלִ֚ילָה חָלִ֙ילָה֙ לִ֔י אִם־אֲבַלַּ֖ע וְאִם־אַשְׁחִֽית:
far be it, far be it from me: Far be it from me, far be it from the king.  
21The matter is not so; but a man of the hills of Ephraim named Sheba the son of Bichri has lifted his hand against the king, against David; Give us him alone and I will depart from the city.' And the woman said to Joab, "His head shall be thrown to you over the wall."   כאלֹא־כֵ֣ן הַדָּבָ֗ר כִּ֡י אִישׁ֩ מֵהַ֨ר אֶפְרַ֜יִם שֶׁ֧בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִ֣י שְׁמ֗וֹ נָשָֹ֚א יָדוֹ֙ בַּמֶּ֣לֶךְ בְּדָוִ֔ד תְּנֽוּ־אֹת֣וֹ לְבַדּ֔וֹ וְאֵלְכָ֖ה מֵעַ֣ל הָעִ֑יר וַתֹּ֚אמֶר הָֽאִשָּׁה֙ אֶל־יוֹאָ֔ב הִנֵּ֥ה רֹאשׁ֛וֹ מֻשְׁלָ֥ךְ אֵלֶ֖יךָ בְּעַ֥ד הַחוֹמָֽה:
lifted his hand against the king, against David: [Had he rebelled] against a king, even if he were not David, he would be deserving of death. Or against David, who is a great scholar, even if he were not a king, he would be deserving of death. How much more so against the king against David. This is the manner in which it has been expounded in Midrash Koheleth.  
22And the woman came to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it to Joab. And he blew the shofar, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his tents. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king.   כבוַתָּבוֹא֩ הָאִשָּׁ֨ה אֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֜ם בְּחָכְמָתָ֗הּ וַֽיִּכְרְת֞וּ אֶת־רֹ֨אשׁ שֶׁ֚בַע בֶּן־בִּכְרִי֙ וַיַּשְׁלִ֣כוּ אֶל־יוֹאָ֔ב וַיִּתְקַע֙ בַּשֹּׁפָ֔ר וַיָּפֻ֥צוּ מֵֽעַל־הָעִ֖יר אִ֣ישׁ לְאֹהָלָ֑יו וְיוֹאָ֛ב שָׁ֥ב יְרוּשָׁלַ֖םִ אֶל־הַמֶּֽלֶךְ:
And the woman came to the people in her wisdom: We learned in the Tosefta (Terumot ch. 7) that she said to them: Since he and they [the soldiers of the city of Abel] shall be killed, present him to them. If he could conceivably save himself; if he were, for example, on the inside [of the city wall] and you were on the outside, and only you were in a state of danger while he could save himself, one dare not disregard one human life for the sake of another human life by killing him in order to save yourselves. Now, however, that he too will be killed together with you, since the walls have been destroyed and we have no strength to save ourselves it is better that he die alone and you die not with him. R. Simeon stated: This is what she told them: Whosoever rebels against the Davidic dynasty is deserving of death.  
23And Joab was over the entire army of Israel; and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the archers and the slingers.   כגוְיוֹאָ֕ב אֶ֥ל כָּל־הַצָּבָ֖א יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וּבְנָיָה֙ בֶּן־יְה֣וֹיָדָ֔ע עַל־הַכְּרֵתִ֖י (כתיב הַכְּרֵיִ֖) וְעַל־הַפְּלֵתִֽי:
And Joab was over the entire army: Although David had said to Amasa: “I will appoint you as general in Joab’s stead” (Above 19:14), now that Amasa was dead Joab did not move from his position. Now on account of Joab he was obliged to also make mention of his associates.  
24And Adoram was over the tribute; and Jehoshaphat the son of Ahilud was recorder.   כדוַאֲדֹרָ֖ם עַל־הַמַּ֑ס וִיהוֹשָׁפָ֥ט בֶּן־אֲחִיל֖וּד הַמַּזְכִּֽיר:
25And Shvah was scribe; and Zadok and Abiathar were the priests.   כהוּשְׁוָ֖א (כתיב וּשְׁיָ֖א) סֹפֵ֑ר וְצָד֥וֹק וְאֶבְיָתָ֖ר כֹּהֲנִֽים:
26And Ira the Jairite was a chief official to David.   כווְגַ֗ם עִירָא֙ הַיָּ֣אִרִ֔י הָיָ֥ה כֹהֵ֖ן לְדָוִֽד:
Ira the Jairite: Jonathan translates: “Ira the Jairite from [the city of] Tekoah,” and so we find him referred to in this book (below 23:26) as Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite. Now he was called the Jairite because we learned in (T.B.) Men: “Tekoah is famous for oil, since olive oil is [abundantly] found there from which we light the candles.”  
was a chief official: He would give him all his priestly gifts. This is what our Rabbis said. However, the simple meaning of the verse is that he appointed him as an official or judge.  
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