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Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 21

Shmuel II - II Samuel - Chapter 21

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Chapter 21

1And there was a famine in the days of David for three years, year after year. And David sought the face of the Lord. And the Lord said: "(It is) for Saul, and (also) for his bloody house, because he put to death the Gibeonites."   אוַיְהִ֣י רָעָב֩ בִּימֵ֨י דָוִ֜ד שָׁל֣שׁ שָׁנִ֗ים שָׁנָה֙ אַחֲרֵ֣י שָׁנָ֔ה וַיְבַקֵּ֥שׁ דָּוִ֖ד אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֗ה אֶל־שָׁאוּל֙ וְאֶל־בֵּ֣ית הַדָּמִ֔ים עַל־אֲשֶׁר־הֵמִ֖ית אֶת־הַגִּבְעֹנִֽים:
it is for Saul: [It is] for the wrong [done] to Saul, for he was buried suddenly and secretively since the people of Jabesh Gilead smuggled him out and buried him without eulogizing him in a manner befitting him.  
and (also) for his bloody house: For having killed Nob the priestly city (I Sam. 22:19).  
because he put to death the Gibeonites.: When he [Saul] murdered the priestly city of Nob he killed seven of them [Gibeonites]; two wood cutters and two water drawers, an attendant, a carrier, and a scribe. In this manner it is explained in the Palestinian Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin. But our rabbis (i.e., of T.B.) stated, since he slew the priests who had provided them [the Gibeonites] with food, scripture considers it as though he had slain them. Now do not wonder that the Holy One Blessed be He demands his honor and [simultaneously] demands punishment for his sin, for so it is written: “that have executed his judgment פעלו) (אשר משפטו” (Zeph. 2:3). Where there is found his judgment there can also be found his execution.  
2And the king called the Gibeonites and said to them-now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn to them; but Saul (nevertheless) sought to slay them in his zeal for the sake of the children of Israel and Judah.   בוַיִּקְרָ֥א הַמֶּ֛לֶךְ לַגִּבְעֹנִ֖ים וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֲלֵיהֶ֑ם וְהַגִּבְעֹנִ֞ים לֹ֣א מִבְּנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל הֵ֗מָּה כִּ֚י אִם־מִיֶּ֣תֶר הָאֱמֹרִ֔י וּבְנֵ֚י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ נִשְׁבְּע֣וּ לָהֶ֔ם וַיְבַקֵּ֚שׁ שָׁאוּל֙ לְהַכֹּתָ֔ם בְּקַנֹּאת֥וֹ לִבְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל וִיהוּדָֽה:
and he said to them: Words of appeasement in order that they forgo retaliation and pardon Saul and his household.  
Now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel: That is, they exhibited the characteristic of being merciless [which gave indication] that they are not of the seed of Abraham. As a result David decreed upon them that they may not enter the [Israelite] community. He said: This [Israelite] nation possesses three signs; they are compassionate, they are bashful, and they are benevolent. [Only] whosoever possesses these three virtues is worthy of joining it.  
had sworn to them: In the days of Joshua when they were appointed wood cutters and water drawers for the altar.  
in his zeal for the sake of the children: When he made up his mind [lit., his heart] to cleanse and purify Israel and to provide for their needs, be sought to kill them. Now the קנאה of the verse is meant in a positive sense, similar to: “are you zealous (המקנא) for my sake” (Num. 11:29) or: “my zeal (בקנאתי) for God” (2 Kings 10:16) mentioned in connection with Jehu. This is the simple explanation. According to the Midrashic explanation, however, he commanded only to kill the priests, thus the envy stated here is not for good but for bad. He knew that his kingdom would be discontinued from the day he failed to heed the command of the Holy One Blessed be He concerning the Amalekites and there upon became jealous of them [the priests who had harbored David].  
3And David said to the Gibeonites, "What shall I do for you? And with what shall I make atonement so that you shall bless the inheritance of the Lord?"   גוַיֹּ֚אמֶר דָּוִד֙ אֶל־הַגִּבְעֹנִ֔ים מָ֥ה אֶעֱשֶֹ֖ה לָכֶ֑ם וּבַמָּ֣ה אֲכַפֵּ֔ר וּבָרְכ֖וּ אֶת־נַחֲלַ֥ת יְהֹוָֽה:
bless the inheritance of the Lord: Pray for them.  
4And the Gibeonites said to him, "We have no [matters] of silver and gold with Saul, or with his house, and we [care not] to put to death any man in Israel." And he said, "What do you request [that] I shall do for you?"   דוַיֹּ֧אמְרוּ ל֣וֹ הַגִּבְעֹנִ֗ים אֵֽין־לָ֜נוּ (כתיב לָ֜יּ) כֶּ֚סֶף וְזָהָב֙ עִם־שָׁא֣וּל וְעִם־בֵּית֔וֹ וְאֵֽין־לָ֥נוּ אִ֖ישׁ לְהָמִ֣ית בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֹּ֛אמֶר מָֽה־אַתֶּ֥ם אֹמְרִ֖ים אֱעֱשֶֹ֥ה לָכֶֽם:
We have no matters of silver and gold: Only of lives. He sought to appease them with money but they refused. He said [to himself], Perhaps they are ashamed before one another [to consent to take money]. He therefore went and appealed each one individually but they nevertheless refused to be appeased. It is on account of this that it is written, “I have no matters of silver and gold, etc.” in singular form. This I have seen in the Jerusalem Talmud.  
and we [care not] to put to death: Any of the other people of Israel who have not wronged us.  
5And they said to the king, "The man who consumed us and who plotted [against] us that we be destroyed from remaining within any of Israel's borders.   הוַיֹּֽאמְרוּ֙ אֶל־הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ הָאִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר כִּלָּ֔נוּ וַאֲשֶׁ֖ר דִּמָּה־לָ֑נוּ נִשְׁמַ֕דְנוּ מֵֽהִתְיַצֵּ֖ב בְּכָל־גְּבֻ֥ל יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
and who devised against us that we be destroyed: who planned in his heart, by whom we have been destroyed from remaining etc. i.e., who devised to destroy us.  
devised against us: He devised against us to destroy us.  
6Let there be delivered to us seven men from among his sons, and we will hang them for (the sake of) the Lord in Givath Saul, the chosen of the Lord." And the king said, "I shall deliver (them)."   ויֻתַּן־ (כתיב יֻנתַּן־) לָ֜נוּ שִׁבְעָ֚ה אֲנָשִׁים֙ מִבָּנָ֔יו וְהוֹקַֽעֲנוּם֙ לַֽיהֹוָ֔ה בְּגִבְעַ֥ת שָׁא֖וּל בְּחִ֣יר יְהֹוָ֑ה וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ אֲנִ֥י אֶתֵּֽן:
hang them: Heb. והוקענום, an expression meaning hanging.  
for the sake of: for the Lord’s name, in order to publicize His judgement.  
chosen of the Lord: a heavenly voice came forth and declared: the chosen of the Lord.  
7But the king took pity on Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan the son of Saul, because of the Lord's oath that was between David and Jonathan the son of Saul.   זוַיַּחְמֹ֣ל הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ עַל־מְפִיב֖שֶׁת בֶּן־יְהוֹנָתָ֣ן בֶּן־שָׁא֑וּל עַל־שְׁבֻעַ֚ת יְהֹוָה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בֵּֽינֹתָ֔ם בֵּ֣ין דָּוִ֔ד וּבֵ֖ין יְהוֹנָתָ֥ן בֶּן־שָׁאֽוּל:
took pity: He begged that the ark should not clutch him; for he led them all in front of the ark, and those that the ark clutched [were selected] for death.  
8And the king took the two sons of Rizpah the daughter of Ayah, whom she bore to Saul, Armoni and Mephibosheth; and the five sons of Michal the daughter of Saul, whom she bore to Adriel the son of Barzillai the Meholathite.   חוַיִּקַּ֣ח הַמֶּ֡לֶךְ אֶת־שְׁ֠נֵי בְּנֵ֨י רִצְפָּ֚ה בַת־אַיָּה֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָלְדָ֣ה לְשָׁא֔וּל אֶת־אַרְמֹנִ֖י וְאֶת־מְפִב֑שֶׁת וְאֶת־חֲמֵ֗שֶׁת בְּנֵי֙ מִיכַ֣ל בַּת־שָׁא֔וּל אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָלְדָ֛ה לְעַדְרִיאֵ֥ל בֶּן־בַּרְזִלַּ֖י הַמְּחֹלָתִֽי:
the five sons of Michal: Now did Michal bear them? Did not Merab hear them? We conclude that Merab bore them but Michal raised them and they therefore were called after her name; for one who raises an orphan in his house is as if he had begotten them and he is called after his name.  
9And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before the Lord, and they fell all seven together. And they were put to death in the days of the harvest, in the first (days), at the beginning of the barley harvest.   טוַֽיִּתְּנֵ֞ם בְּיַ֣ד הַגִּבְעֹנִ֗ים וַיֹּקִיעֻ֚ם בָּהָר֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה וַיִּפְּל֥וּ שְׁבַעְתָּ֖ם (כתיב שְׁבַעְתָּ֖ים) יָ֑חַד וְהֵ֨מָּה (כתיב וְהֵם֨) הֻמְת֜וּ בִּימֵ֚י קָצִיר֙ בָּרִ֣אשֹׁנִ֔ים בִּתְחִלַּ֖ת (כתיב תְחִלַּ֖ת) קְצִ֥יר שְׂעֹרִֽים:
at the beginning of the barley harvest: In the days of Nissan.  
10And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took the sackcloth and she spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of the harvest until water was poured upon them from heaven; and she allowed not the birds of the heaven to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night.   יוַתִּקַּ֣ח רִצְפָּה֩ בַת־אַיָּ֨ה אֶת־הַשַּׂ֜ק וַתַּטֵּ֨הוּ לָ֚הּ אֶל־הַצּוּר֙ מִתְּחִלַּ֣ת קָצִ֔יר עַ֛ד נִתַּךְ־מַ֥יִם עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם מִן־הַשָּׁמָ֑יִם וְלֹֽא־נָתְנָה֩ ע֨וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֜יִם לָנ֚וּחַ עֲלֵיהֶם֙ יוֹמָ֔ם וְאֶת־חַיַּ֥ת הַשָּׂדֶ֖ה לָֽיְלָה:
Until water was poured: In the rainy season of Tishrei; for they were not given over for burial. But it is not written: “You shall not allow his body to remain overnight” (Deut. 21:22)? However they said: It is preferable that one letter of the Torah be uprooted so that the Divine Name be publicly hallowed for when passersby would inquire: Who are these? They would say to them: They are princes. And what did they do? They stretched out their hands against those who attached themselves but were [proselytes] not accepted. They would then say: There is no nation that one ought to join like this one.  
11And it was told to David what Rizpah the daughter of Aiah, the concubine of Saul, had done.   יאוַיֻּגַּ֖ד לְדָוִ֑ד אֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשְׂתָ֛ה רִצְפָּ֥ה בַת־אַיָּ֖ה פִּלֶ֥גֶשׁ שָׁאֽוּל:
12And David went and he took the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son from the men of Jabesh- gilead, who had stolen them from the street of Beth-shan, where the Philistines had hanged them, on the day that the Philistines slew Saul in Gilboa.   יבוַיֵּ֣לֶךְ דָּוִ֗ד וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־עַצְמ֚וֹת שָׁאוּל֙ וְאֶת־עַצְמוֹת֙ יְהוֹנָתָ֣ן בְּנ֔וֹ מֵאֵ֕ת בַּעֲלֵ֖י יָבֵ֣ישׁ גִּלְעָ֑ד אֲשֶׁר֩ גָּנְב֨וּ אֹתָ֜ם מֵרְחֹ֣ב בֵּֽית־שַׁ֗ן אֲשֶׁ֨ר תְּלָא֥וּם (כתיב תְּלָוּ֥ם) שָׁ֙מָּה֙ (כתיב שָׁםָ֙) פְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים (כתיב הפְּלִשְׁתִּ֔ים) בְּי֨וֹם הַכּ֧וֹת פְּלִשְׁתִּ֛ים אֶת־שָׁא֖וּל בַּגִּלְבֹּֽעַ:
and he took the bones of Saul: For he was told regarding them [Saul and Jonathan]: It is for Saul, since he was not eulogized properly.  
13And he brought up from there the bones of Saul and the bones of Jonathan his son; and they gathered the bones of those that were hanged.   יגוַיַּ֚עַל מִשָּׁם֙ אֶת־עַצְמ֣וֹת שָׁא֔וּל וְאֶת־עַצְמ֖וֹת יְהוֹנָתָ֣ן בְּנ֑וֹ וַיַּ֣אַסְפ֔וּ אֶת־עַצְמ֖וֹת הַמּוּקָעִֽים:
and they gathered the bones: of the seven who were hanged here.  
14And they buried the bones of Saul and Jonathan his son in the country of Benjamin in Zela, in the sephulcre of Kish his father; and they did all that the king commanded. And God was entreated for the land after that.   ידוַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֶת־עַצְמוֹת־שָׁא֣וּל וִיהוֹנָֽתָן־בְּ֠נוֹ בְּאֶ֨רֶץ בִּנְיָמִ֜ן בְּצֵלָ֗ע בְּקֶ֙בֶר֙ קִ֣ישׁ אָבִ֔יו וַֽיַּעֲשֹ֔וּ כֹּ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֖ה הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּעָתֵ֧ר אֱלֹהִ֛ים לָאָ֖רֶץ אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵֽן:
all that the king commanded them: To eulogize them in all of Israel’s cities.  
15And the Philistines waged war again with Israel; and David went down with his servants and they fought against the Philistines, but David became faint.   טווַתְּהִי־ע֧וֹד מִלְחָמָ֛ה לַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֵּ֨רֶד דָּוִ֜ד וַעֲבָדָ֥יו עִמּ֛וֹ וַיִּלָּחֲמ֥וּ אֶת־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֖ים וַיָּ֥עַף דָּוִֽד:
16And Ishbi, who was one of the sons of Raphah was in Nob; and the weight of his spear was three hundred [shekels] of brass in weight; and he was girded with new armor, and he thought to smite David.   טזוְיִשְׁבִּ֨י (כתיב וְיִשְׁבִּ֨ו) בְּנֹ֜ב אֲשֶׁ֣ר | בִּילִידֵ֣י הָרָפָ֗ה וּמִשְׁקַ֚ל קֵינוֹ֙ שְׁל֚שׁ מֵאוֹת֙ מִשְׁקַ֣ל נְח֔שֶׁת וְה֖וּא חָג֣וּר חֲדָשָׁ֑ה וַיֹּ֖אמֶר לְהַכּ֥וֹת אֶת־דָּוִֽד:
and the weight of his spear: Heb. קינו. It is like the sheath at the end of the handle of the spear which is called arestojjl in French, and is made like the hat. Its parallel is [found in T.B.] Zebachim: “What are the blossoms of the robe like, [they are] like the helmets that are on the heads of infants.” Now קולסות are heajjlmes in French.  
and he was girded: With a new outfit. Now I heard that on that day he was initiated into the wearing of armor. Since it is common for the [newly] initiated to perform [an act of] victory and heroism on the day of their initiation in order to acquire a reputation, he therefore thought to smite David.  
17But Abishai the son of Zeruiah aided him, and he struck the Philistine, and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him saying, "You shall no longer go out with us to battle, so that you extinguish not the lamp of Israel."   יזוַיַּֽעֲזָר־לוֹ֙ אֲבִישַׁ֣י בֶּן־צְרוּיָ֔ה וַיַּ֥ךְ אֶת־הַפְּלִשְׁתִּ֖י וַיְמִתֵ֑הוּ אָ֣ז נִשְׁבְּעוּ֩ אַנְשֵׁי־דָוִ֨ד ל֜וֹ לֵאמֹ֗ר לֹא־תֵצֵ֨א ע֚וֹד אִתָּ֙נוּ֙ לַמִּלְחָמָ֔ה וְלֹ֥א תְכַבֶּ֖ה אֶת־נֵ֥ר יִשְׂרָאֵֽל:
aided him: He aided him through prayer, as is found in the chapter of Chelek [the 10th perek of Sanhedrin].  
18And it came to pass after this, that there was war again at Gob with the Philistines; Then Sibbcai the Hushathite slew Saph, who was one of the sons of Raphah.   יחוַֽיְהִי֙ אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֔ן וַתְּהִי־ע֧וֹד הַמִּלְחָמָ֛ה בְּג֖וֹב עִם־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים אָ֣ז הִכָּ֗ה סִבְּכַי֙ הַחֻ֣שָׁתִ֔י אֶת־סַ֕ף אֲשֶׁ֖ר בִּילִדֵ֥י הָרָפָֽה:
And there was war again: This one preceded them all, but is mentioned here only to connect the deaths of the four sons of Orpah.  
19And there was war again Gob with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jaare-oregim the Beth-lehemite slew Goliath the Gittite, and the staff of his spear was as [thick as] the weavers' beam.   יטוַתְּהִי־ע֧וֹד הַמִּלְחָמָ֛ה בְּג֖וֹב עִם־פְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים וַיַּ֡ךְ אֶלְחָנָן֩ בֶּן־יַעְרֵי֙ אֹרְגִ֜ים בֵּ֣ית הַלַּחְמִ֗י אֵ֚ת גָּלְיָ֣ת הַגִּתִּ֔י וְעֵ֣ץ חֲנִית֔וֹ כִּמְנ֖וֹר אֹרְגִֽים:
Elhanan: David.  
the son of Jaare-oregim: Heb. אורגים, lit. weavers. For his family wove curtains for the Holy Temple which was called Jaar (see I Kings 10:17, and 10:21).  
as the weavers’ beam: As a weaver’s beam which is called esoble in French.  
20And there was again war at Gath, and there was [there] a man of great stature, and the fingers of his hands and the toes of his feet were six and six, totalling twenty four; and he too was born to Orpah.   כוַתְּהִי־ע֥וֹד מִלְחָמָ֖ה בְּגַ֑ת וַיְהִ֣י | אִ֣ישׁ מָד֗וֹן (כתיב מָדֹ֗ין) וְאֶצְבְּעֹ֣ת יָדָיו֩ וְאֶצְבְּעֹ֨ת רַגְלָ֜יו שֵׁ֣שׁ וָשֵׁ֗שׁ עֶשְׂרִ֚ים וְאַרְבַּע֙ מִסְפָּ֔ר וְגַם־ה֖וּא יֻלַּ֥ד לְהָרָפָֽה:
a man of stature: Heb. איש מדין. As its Targum: “A man of measure,” for the root of the word is basically the מ and ד [from מדה, a measure], just as in משאון of Ps. 65:8 [where it is the] ש and א, and מהמון [where it is the] ה and מ. Now in I Chron. 11:23 it is [expressly] written: “a man of measure (איש מדה) ”; that is a man so tall that one [is inclined] to estimate how tall he is.  
six and six totalling twenty-four: Our Rabbis have explained in [T.B.] Bechoroth that it was necessary to state twenty-four so that you should not say that the fingers of his two hands were only six [three on each hand], and the toes of his feet were only six; it therefore mentions twenty-four. Now if it had mentioned twenty-four and not six and six we would say [that he perhaps had] seven on one hand and five on the other. Now what does מספר imply? That all are [to be] counted in the order of fingers on the hand.  
21And he taunted Israel, and Jonathan the son of Shimea, David's brother, smote him.   כאוַיְחָרֵ֖ף אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיַּכֵּ֙הוּ֙ יְה֣וֹנָתָ֔ן בֶּן־שִׁמְעָ֖ה (כתיב שִׁמְעָ֖י) אֲחִ֥י דָוִֽד:
22These four were born to Raphah in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.   כבאֶת־אַרְבַּ֥עַת אֵ֛לֶּה יֻלְּד֥וּ לְהָרָפָ֖ה בְּגַ֑ת וַיִּפְּל֥וּ בְיַד־דָּוִ֖ד וּבְיַ֥ד עֲבָדָֽיו:
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