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Babylonian Talmud: Tractate Sanhedrin
R. Johanan said: What is meant by the verse, Many daughters have done valiantly, but thou excellest them all?2 — 'Many daughters', refers to Joseph and Boaz; 'and thou excellest them all', to Palti son of Layish.3
R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Jonathan's name: What is meant by the verse, Grace is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised?4 — 'Grace is deceitful' refers to [the trial of] Joseph; 'and beauty is vain', to Boaz; while 'and a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised', to the case of Palti son of Layish. Another interpretation is: 'Grace is deceitful', refers to the generation of Moses;5 'and beauty is vain' to that of Joshua; 'and she that feareth the Lord shall be praised', to that of Hezekiah.6 Others Say: 'Grace is deceitful', refers to the generations of Moses and Joshua; 'and beauty is vain', to the generation of Hezekiah; while 'she that feareth the Lord shall be praised'. refers to the generation of R. Judah son of R. Ila'i, of whose time it was said that [though the poverty was so great that] six of his disciples had to cover themselves with one garment between them, yet they studied the Torah.7
MISHNAH. IF A DEATH OCCURS IN HIS [THE KING'S] FAMILY, HE MUST NOT GO OUT OF THE DOOR OF HIS PALACE. R. JUDAH SAID: IF HE WISHES TO FOLLOW THE BIER, HE MAY, EVEN AS WE FIND IN THE CASE OF DAVID, WHO FOLLOWED THE BIER OF ABNER, AS IT IS WRITTEN, AND KING DAVID FOLLOWED THE BIER.8 BUT THEY [THE RABBIS] ANSWERED: [THIS IS NO PROOF, FOR] THAT WAS BUT TO PACIFY THE PEOPLE.9 AND WHEN THE MOURNERS' MEAL10 [AFTER THE FUNERAL] IS GIVEN TO HIM, ALL THE PEOPLE RECLINE ON THE GROUND, AND HE SITS ON THE DARGESH.11
GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: Wherever it is customary for women to follow the bier, they may do so; to precede it, they may do so [likewise]. R. Judah said: Women must always precede the bier, for we find that David followed the coffin of Abner, as it is written, And King David followed the bier.12 They [sc. the Rabbis] said to him: That was only to appease the people, and they were indeed appeased, for David went to and fro, from the men to the women and back from the women to the men, as it is written, So all the people and all Israel understood that day that it was not of the king to slay Abner.13
Raba expounded [in a lecture]: What is meant by the verse, And all the people came 'lehabroth' [to cause] David [to eat bread]?14 The original text was, 'lehakroth'15 but we read, 'lehabroth'. At first they intended to destroy him;16 but afterwards, [being appeased,] they gave him to eat [the comforters' meal].
Rab Judah said in Rab's name: Why was Abner punished? — Because he should have protested to Saul17 but did not. R. Isaac, however, said: He did indeed do so, but was not heeded. Both derive their views from the same verse, viz., And the king lamented for Abner and said: Should Abner die as a churl dieth, thy hands were not bound nor thy feet put into fetters.18 The one who says that he did not protest, interprets it thus: Thy hands were not bound nor thy feet put into fetters, why then didst thou not protest? [Therefore,] As a man falleth before the children of iniquity so didst thou fall. The other who maintains that Abner did protest but was not listened to, [holds that] he [David] expressed his astonishment: Should he have died as a churl dieth? Seeing that thou didst indeed protest to Saul, Why, then, didst thou fall as a man falleth before the children of iniquity? But on the view that he did protest, why was he punished? — R. Nahman b. Isaac says: Because he delayed the accession of David's dynasty by two and a half years.19
AND WHEN THE MOURNERS MEAL IS GIVEN TO HIM etc. What is a dargesh? — 'Ulla said: The bed of the domestic genius.20 The Rabbis asked 'Ulla: How can it be that he should be made to sit on it now [as a mourner], when he had never sat on it before? Raba refuted their objection: What is the difficulty? Is this not similar to the eating and drinking, for hitherto we had not given him food and drink, while now, [after the funeral] we do!21 But if there is any objection, it is this: [It was taught] The dargesh need not be lowered22 but must be stood up.23 Thus, should you maintain that the daresh is the bed of the domestic genius, why is there no need to lower it? Surely it has been taught: The mourner in lowering the beds shall lower not only his own couch but all the others he has in the house! — But what is the difficulty? Perhaps it [the dargesh] is in the same category as a bed [sideboard] designed for holding utensils of which, the Tanna taught, that if it is designed for holding utensils, it need not be lowered. If indeed, there is any objection, it is this: [It has been taught:] Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel said: As for the dargesh, its loops are undone, and it collapses of itself. Now if it be the bed of the domestic genius, has it any loops? — But when Rabin came [from Palestine]24 he said: One of the Rabbis named R. Tahlifa. who frequented the leatherworkers' market, told me that dargesh was the name of a bed of skins.25 R. Jeremiah said in R. Johanan's name: A dargesh
Sanhedrin 20bhas the strapwork inside,1 while an ordinary bed has the strapwork fixed over the frame.
An objection is raised: At what time do wooden utensils become susceptible to uncleanness?2 A bed and a cradle when they are rubbed over with fish-skin.3 Now if the ordinary bed has the strapwork over the frame, what need is there to rub over with fish-skin, [seeing that it is covered with the straps]? — Hence, both [a bed and a dargesh have the strappings] inside. But while the straps of a bed go in and out through slits, those of a dargesh go in and out through loops.
R. Jacob said in R. Joshua b. Levi's name: The halachah follows Rabban Simeon b. Gamaliel.
MISHNAH. HE [THE KING] MAY LEAD FORTH [THE HOST] TO A VOLUNTARY WAR7 ON THE DECISION OF A COURT OF SEVENTY-ONE. HE MAY FORCE A WAY THROUGH PRIVATE PROPERTY8 AND NONE MAY OPPOSE HIM. THERE IS NO LIMITATION TO THE KING'S WAY.9 THE PLUNDER TAKEN BY THE PEOPLE [IN WAR] MUST BE GIVEN TO HIM, AND HE RECEIVES THE FIRST CHOICE [WHEN IT IS DIVIDED].
GEMARA. But we have already once learnt it:10 A voluntary war may be declared only by the permission of a court of seventy-one? — As the Tanna deals with all matters pertaining to the king, he also states [the law] concerning the declaration of a voluntary war.
Rab Judah said in Samuel's name: All that is set out in the chapter [dealing with the actions] of a king,11 he is permitted to do. Rab said: That chapter was intended only to inspire them with awe,12 for it is written, Thou shalt in anywise set him king over thee;13 [i.e.,] his awe should be over thee.
[The same point of difference is found among the following] Tannaim; R. Jose said: All that is set out in the Chapter [relating to the king],14 the king is permitted to do. R. Judah said: That section was stated only to inspire them with awe,12 for it is written, Thou shalt in anywise set him king over thee,13 [meaning], that his awe should be over thee. And thus R. Judah said: Three commandments were given to Israel when they entered the land: [i] to appoint a king,15 [ii] to cut off the seed of Amalek,16 and [iii] to build themselves the chosen house.17 While R. Nehorai18 said: This section19 was spoken only in anticipation of their future murmurings,20 as it is written, And shalt say, I will set a king over me etc.21
It has been taught: R. Eliezer22 said: The elders of the generation made a fit request, as it is written, Give us a king to judge us.23 But the am ha-arez24 acted unworthily, at it is written, That we also may be like all the nations and that our king may judge us and go before us.25
It has been taught: R. Jose26 said: Three commandments were given to Israel when they entered the land; [i] to appoint a king; [ii] to cut off the seed of Amalek; [iii] and to build themselves the chosen house [i.e. the Temple] and I do not know which of them has priority. But, when it is said: The hand upon the throne of the Lord, the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation,27 we must infer that they had first to set up a king, for 'throne' implies a king, as it is written, Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king.28 Yet I still do not know which [of the other two] comes first, the building of the chosen Temple or the cutting off of the seed of Amalek. Hence, when it is written, And when He giveth you rest from all your enemies round about etc., and then [Scripture proceeds], Then it shall come to pass that the place which the Lord your God shall choose,29 it is to be inferred that the extermination of Amalek is first. And so it is written of David, And it came to pass when the king dwelt in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from his enemies round about, and the passage continues; that the king said unto Nathan the Prophet: See now, I dwell in a house of cedars etc.30
Resh Lakish said: At first, Solomon reigned over the higher beings,31 as it is written, Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord as king;32 afterwards, [having sinned,] he reigned [only] over the lower,33 as it is written, For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tifsah even to Gaza.34
Rab and Samuel [explain this verse in different ways]: One says, Tifsah was situated at one end of the world35 and Gaza at the other. The other says: Tifsah and Gaza were beside each other,36 and just as he reigned over these, so did he reign over the whole world. But eventually his reign was restricted to Israel, as it is written, I Koheleth have been king over Israel etc.37 Later, his reign was confined to Jerusalem alone, even as it is written, The words of Koheleth, son of David, king in Jerusalem.38 And still later he reigned only over his couch,39 as it is written, Behold it is the litter of Solomon, three-score mighty men are about it etc.40 And finally, he reigned only over his staff as it is written, This was my portion from all my labour.41
Rab and Samuel [explain this differently]: One says: His staff [was all that was left him]; the other: His Gunda.42
Did he regain his first power, or not? Rab and Samuel [differ]: One maintains that he did; the other, that he did not. The one who says that he did not, agrees with the view that Solomon was first a king and then a commoner;43 the other, who says that he did, agrees with the view that he was first king, then commoner and finally king again.
HE MAY FORCE A WAY THROUGH PRIVATE PROPERTY etc.
Our Rabbis taught: Royal treasures44 [must be given] to the king; but of all other spoil, half to the king and half to the people. Abaye said to R. Dimi or, according to others, to Rab Aha: We quite understand it is the natural thing to give royal treasures [wholly] to the king; but where do we learn that of all other spoil he is to receive half? — From the verse,
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