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Tractate Sanhedrin, Herbert Danby tr. [1919], at


(2) The Members of a Beguiled City.

M.X. 4. The members of a beguiled city, 2--as it is written: THERE SHALL GO FORTH FROM THY MIDST MEN, SONS OF BELIAL, AND THEY SHALL BEGUILE THE INHABITANTS OF THEIR TOWN; 3--these are not slain unless the beguilers are from the same town, and unless the majority are beguiled. Also, the beguilers must be men. If they be women or children, 4 or come from outside of the town, those who have been beguiled must be regarded as single offenders needing two witnesses, and every offender must receive the legal warning. The punishment is more severe in the case of individuals than in that of multitudes: for individuals are liable to stoning, so that their property is not confiscate; whereas multitudes suffer (only) from the sword, and therefore their property is confiscate.

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M.5. THOU SHALT SMITE THE PEOPLE OF THAT CITY WITH THE SWORD; but an ass or camel caravan passing through from place to place--such are to be set free. 1 UTTERLY DESTROY IT, AND ALL THAT IS IN IT, AND ITS BEASTS, WITH THE SWORD; therefore they have said that the goods of the righteous in it are lost, but what is outside is saved; whereas that of the wicked, inside or outside, is lost.

T. XIV. 1. "A beguiled city": there never was, and never will be, such; then why is it contained in Scripture? To teach, "Study and receive the reward."

Three places in Israel cannot at the same time be adjudged "beguiled cities," lest the land of Israel be destroyed; but only one or two (at one time). R. Shimeon says: Not even two (together), but only one in Judæa and one in Galilee. On the frontier even a single town cannot be so condemned, lest the heathen break through and destroy the land of Israel.

When the heavier penalty 2 falls on the men of a beguiled city, a lighter penalty falls on their property and the city; and when the lighter penalty falls on the men of a beguiled city, a heavier penalty falls on their property and the city. For when they are to be stoned, their property and the

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city are not destroyed; but when they are to be slain by the sword, their property and the city are to be destroyed.

2. If a caravan of asses or camels, going from place to place, lodge in the midst of the town, and are beguiled together with it, they are to die by the sword, and their property and the city are to be destroyed. 1 If they have not delayed thirty days, they are to be stoned 2 and their property and the city are not to be destroyed. In every case, those who beguile the city are to be stoned, 3 and their property and the city are to be destroyed. 4

If women and not men, or minors and not those of full age have beguiled the city, can it be (properly) a beguiled city? Scripture says: THE INHABITANTS OF THEIR TOWN;--the matter deals with "the inhabitants" of their city, and not with any of these.

3. Those under age, the children of the men of the beguiled city, who have been beguiled with it, are not to be slain; but R. Eliezer says that they are to be slain. R. Akiba said to him: I argue from: HE WILL SHOW THEE MERCY, AND HAVE COMPASSION UPON THEE AND MULTIPLY THEE. 5 If to shew mercy to those who are of age it is said: THOU SHALT SURELY SMITE; 6 and if to show mercy to the beasts it is said, UTTERLY DESTROY IT AND ALL THAT IS THEREIN AND ITS BEASTS; 6 I maintain that the words, AND HE WILL SHOW THEE MERCY, must refer to those in the city who are under age.

R. Eliezer says: Even those who are of age are not slain except at the mouth of witnesses and

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after the legal warning. And I argue that the purpose of AND HE WILL SHOW THEE MERCY is lest the judges say, "If we adjudge this to be a beguiled city, to-morrow the brethren and the neighbours of those who have been condemned will preserve hatred in their hearts against us." But thus saith the Almighty: Behold, I will cause them to have mercy and to bear my love in their hearts, so that they shall say, "We have naught against you in our hearts, for ye have uttered a true judgment."

And the friends of the dead do not make (open) lamentation: they mourn, but only in their hearts.

4. The property of the righteous that is in the city is lost, but what is outside escapes; while that of the wicked both within and without is lost. R. Eliezer says, "This is illustrated by the instance of Lot. He was in Sodom only for the sake of his property, yet he left the town empty-handed, as it is written: ESCAPE THITHER IN HASTE, 1 as if to say " Let it suffice thee that thou escape with thy life." Said R. Shimeon: Why is it said, "The property of the righteous that is therein is lost "? Because it is the property of the righteous which makes them dwell among the ungodly. And is it not an example of the a fortiori argument? If mere property, which cannot hear or see or speak, is condemned by the Almighty to be burnt because it makes the righteous live among the ungodly, much more ought the man to be burnt who turns away his fellow from the way of life to the way of death.

M. X. 6a. ALL THE SPOIL THEREOF THOU SHALT GATHER INTO THE MIDST OF THE MARKETPLACE 2; if it have no market-place they must make one. If the market-place is outside, they

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M.bring it inside, for it is written: INTO THE MIDST (OF) ITS MARKET-PLACE.

AND THOU SHALT BURN THE WHOLE CITY AND ALL ITS SPOIL WITH FIRE; its spoil, but not spoil belonging to Heaven. Therefore the holy things in it are redeemed, 1 the heave-offerings allowed to rot, and the Second Tithe and the Scriptures stored away. 2

T. XIV. 5. Offerings intended for the altar shall die, but those for the Temple repairs are to be redeemed. R. Shimeon says: ITS CATTLE excludes the firstborn of cattle, and the tithes; and ITS SPOIL excludes money belonging to the Temple or the money for the Second Tithe. 3 What is immovable, whether holy or not holy, is not to be destroyed, for it is said, THOU SHALT GATHER, thus excluding what is immovable. But in the other city (i.e. Jericho) 4 everything, whether immovable or not, was destroyed.

X. 6b. A WHOLE OFFERING TO THE LORD THY M. GOD; R. Shimeon said: ("It is as if God said:) When you exercise judgment in a beguiled city, I will consider it as though you offer me a whole offering." AND IT SHALL BE A PERPETUAL HEAP AND SHALL NEVER AGAIN BE BUILT UPON;--you may not even make gardens or parks,--so R. Jose the Galilæan; but R. Akiba says: AND SHALL NEVER AGAIN BE BUILT UPON, means that it shall

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M.not be built as it was before; but gardens and parks may be made of it.

THOU SHALT KEEP NAUGHT OF THE ACCURSED THING, THAT THE LORD MAY TURN FROM THE HEAT OF HIS WRATH AND SHOW THEE MERCY AND KINDNESS AND INCREASE THEE;--the whole time that the ungodly is in the world, the HEAT OF WRATH is in the world; when the ungodly is perished from the world, the HEAT OF WRATH is taken from the world.

T. XIV. 6. If they slay the men, and burn the clothing, and hamstring the cattle (is this according to the Law?) 1 R. Meir says, "Where it is customary to destroy by shedding blood, you shed blood; where it is by burning, you burn; and where by hamstringing, you hamstring."

A man is not put to death by means of arrows or spears, and not with the point of the sword but with its edge, as it is written: WITH THE EDGE OF THE SWORD. 2

AND IT SHALL BE A PERPETUAL HEAP, AND SHALL NO MORE BE BUILT; 3--they shall not even make it into gardens or parks,--so R. Jose the Galilæan; but R. Akiba says: IT SHALL NO MORE BE BUILT, that is, in the form that it was before it shall not be built up; but it may be made into gardens and parks.

AND IT SHALL BE A PERPETUAL HEAP, as it was in the days of Joshua. R. Jose and R. Jehoshua, the son of Karha, say: Behold it says, CURSED Is THE MAN BEFORE THE LORD WHO SHALL RISE AND BUILD THIS CITY, JERICHO; 4 but do we not know

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that Jericho is now there? The command was that it should not be rebuilt and called by the name of another city; and that another city should not be built and called by the name of Jericho.

7. WITH THE LOSS OF HIS FIRSTBORN SHALL HE LAY THE FOUNDATION THEREOF, AND WITH THE LOSS OF HIS YOUNGEST SON SHALL HE SET UP THE GATES THEREOF; 1 and so it says: IN HIS DAYS DID HIEL THE BETHELITE BUILD JERICHO. 2 But did not Hiel belong to the kingdom of Jehoshaphat, 3 and was not Jericho in the district of Benjamin? 4 Then why is the matter connected with Ahab? 5 To teach that guilt is connected with him who is guilty. 8. Similarly it is written: AND JONATHAN THE SON OF GERSHOM THE SON OF MANASSEH. 6 But was he the son of Manasseh? Was he not the son of Moses? 7 Then why is the matter connected with Manasseh? To teach that guilt is connected with him who is guilty. 9. WITH THE LOSS OF ABIRAM HIS FIRSTBORN HE LAID THE FOUNDATION THEREOF, AND WITH THE LOSS OF SEGUB HIS YOUNGEST SON HE SET UP THE GATES THEREOF. In the case of Abiram, (Hiel) had no warning from which to learn; 8 but in the case of Segub, the wicked man had such a warning. But they sought to increase their wealth. Why? Because a curse rested on them, so that they continually decreased, as Scripture says, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD WHICH HE SPAKE BY THE HAND OF JOSHUA THE SON OF NUN. 9

10. R. Shimeon, the son of Eleazar, says: He did not build the old Jericho, but another one; and

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after it was built he was allowed to inhabit it, for it is said: AND THE SONS OF THE PROPHETS WHICH WERE IN JERICHO DREW NEAR TO ELISHA. 1 Therefore it is not possible for the court to say, "We are condemning a place as a beguiled city, and so destroying the land of Israel"; 2 but as there is joy in the presence of the Almighty at the continuance of the righteous, so there is joy in the presence of the Almighty at the destruction of the wicked, as it is written: WHEN THE WICKED PERISH, THERE IS REJOICING. 3

11. Whatsoever is left of a beguiled city and its inhabitants, together with the fruits, or any idol pedestal and what is on it, a merkolis 4 and what is on it, or anything to which the prohibitions 5 dealing with idolatry apply, is forbidden, and no benefit may be derived from it.


129:1 Isa. 27. 13.

129:2 Bomberg text adds "have no share in the world to come," wrongly assimilating the section to the preceding paragraphs. The Mishnah here takes up the second head announced for treatment in M. IX. 1b (p. 125). Cf. Introduction, p. viii, n. 2.

129:3 Deut. 13. 13.

129:4 All, except C, here add: "or if only a minority be beguiled."

130:1 This is the preferable reading. Another reading: "These may save it [i.e. the town]" is found in C and the Bomberg text; this has to be explained as meaning that the passers-by, being temporarily members of the city, and remaining (so we have to take for granted) unbeguiled, help to make the unbeguiled a majority; in which case the place is no longer a beguiled city. The beguiled minority will then be classed as individual idolators, subject to the penalty of stoning.

130:2 See Mishnah VII. 1.; stoning is first and slaying by the sword (decapitation) third in order of severity; see also previous note.

131:1 The Erfurt MS. adds: "And if they delayed thirty days they are to die by the sword and their property and the city are to be destroyed."

131:2 Erfurt MS.: "die by the sword."

131:3 In accordance with M. VII. 10b.

131:4 Erfurt MS. adds: "If women and those under age have beguiled it, they are to die by the sword, and their property and the city are not to be destroyed."

131:5 Deut. 13. 17.

131:6 Deut. 13. 15.

132:1 Gen. 19. 22.

132:2 Deut. 13. 16.

133:1 Cf. Lev. 27. 30.

133:2 They are too sacred to destroy; therefore they are buried to preserve them from any sacrilegious use.

133:3 See note on Mishnah, I. 3.

133:4 Jericho is regarded as an historical example of a " beguiled city."

134:1 Because Josh. 6. 21 says, "They utterly destroyed all . with the edge of the sword" . . . and v. 24, "and they burnt the city with fire and all that was therein."

134:2 Deut. 13. 15.

134:3 Deut. 13. 16.

134:4 Josh. 6. 26.

135:1 1 Kings 16. 34.

135:2 Josh. 6. 26.

135:3 As a native of Bethel.

135:4 Josh. 18. 21.

135:5 Given in the list of Ahab's misdoings.

135:6 Judges 18. 30. R.V. and R.V. mg.

135:7 Exod. 18. 3.

135:8 Until Abiram was killed Hiel might be presumed ignorant of the prohibition laid on building Jericho.

135:9 1 Kings 16. 34.

136:1 2 Kings 2. 5; showing that people lived in Jericho shortly after the time of Hiel.

136:2 Since the case of Jericho is evidence that a condemned " beguiled city " may be rebuilt.

136:3 Prov. 10. 11.

136:4 See Mishnah VII. 6.

136:5 Detailed in Mishnah Aboda Zara.

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