Since [the teaching that even the slightest sin is punished] is derived from 'Laying one thing to another to find out the account', why do I require 'For all the armour of the armed man in the tumult'? — That [the punishment is] according to measure. But since that is derived from 'For all the armour of the armed man in the tumult', why do I require 'By measure in sending her away thou dost contend with her'? — It is in accord with the teaching of R. Hinena b. Papa; for R. Hinena b. Papa said: The Holy One, blessed be He, does not exact punishment of a nation until the time of its banishment into exile, as it is said: 'By measure in sending her away, etc'. But it is not so; for Raba has said: Why are three cups mentioned in connection with Egypt?6 One which she drank in the days of Moses; one which she drank in the days of Pharaoh-Necho;7 and one which she is destined to drink with her allies! Should you reply that they passed away, and these are different [Egyptians],8 behold it has been taught: R. Judah said: Minyamin, an Egyptian proselyte, was a colleague of mine among the disciples of R. Akiba; and Minyamin, the Egyptian proselyte, told me: 'I am an Egyptian of the first generation,9 and I married an Egyptian woman of the first generation; I will marry my son to an Egyptian woman of the second generation so that my grandson may be permitted to enter the Community'!10 — But if the above statement was made it was made as follows: R. Hinena b. Papa said: The Holy One, blessed be He, does not exact punishment of a king until the time of his banishment into exile, as it is said: 'By measure in sending her away, etc'. Amemar applied this teaching of R. Hinena b. Papa to the following: What means the text: For I the Lord change not; therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed'?11 'I the Lord change not' — I have not smitten a people and repeated it;12 'therefore ye, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed' — that is what is written: I will spend Mine arrows upon them13 — Mine arrows will be spent, but [the sons of Jacob] will not cease.
R. Hamuna said: The Holy One, blessed be He, does not exact punishment of a man until his measure [of guilt] is filled; as it is said: 'In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits, etc'.14 R. Hinena b. Papa expounded: What means the text: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; praise is comely for the upright?15 Read not praise is na'wah ['comely'], but praise is neweh ['a habitation']. This alludes to Moses and David over whose works [in erecting a Sanctuary] their enemies had no power.16 Of [the Temple planned by] David, it is written: Her gates are sunk in the ground.17 With regard to Moses the Master said: After the first Temple was erected, the Tent of Meeting was stored away, its boards, hooks, bars, pillars and sockets. Where [were they stored]? — R. Hisda said in the name of Abimi: Beneath the crypts of the Temple.
Our Rabbis have taught: The suspected woman18 set her eyes on one who was not proper for her; what she sought was not given to her19 and what she possessed was taken from her;20 because whoever sets his eyes on that which is not his is not granted what he seeks and what he possesses is taken from him.
Sotah 9bWe thus find it with the primeval serpent [in the Garden of Eden] which set its eyes on that which was not proper for it; what it sought was not granted to it and what it possessed was taken from it. The Holy One, blessed be He, said: I declared: Let it be king over every animal and beast; but now, Cursed art thou above all cattle and above every beast of the field.1 I declared, let it walk with an erect posture; but now it shall go upon its belly. I declared: Let its food be the same as that of man; but now it shall eat dust. It said: I will kill Adam and marry Eve; but now, I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed.2 Similarly do we find it with Cain, Korah, Balaam, Doeg, Ahitophel, Gehazi, Absalom, Adonijah, Uzziah and Haman, who set their eyes upon that which was not proper for them; what they sought was not granted to them and what they possessed was taken from them.
SHE BEGAN THE TRANSGRESSION WITH THE THIGH etc. Whence is this? Shall I say because it is written: When the Lord doth make thy thigh to fall away and thy belly to swell?3 But it is likewise written: Her belly shall swell and her thigh shall fall away!4 — Abaye said: When [the priest] utters the curse, he first curses the thigh and then curses the belly; but when the water produces its effect it does so in its normal order, viz., the belly first and then the thigh. But also in connection with the curse, it is written: Make thy belly to swell and thy thigh to fall away!5 — That is what the priest informs her, viz., that it affects her belly first and then the thigh so as not to discredit the water of bitterness.6
MISHNAH. SAMSON WENT AFTER [THE DESIRE OF] HIS EYES; THEREFORE THE PHILISTINES PUT OUT HIS EYES, AS IT IS SAID, AND THE PHILISTINES LAID HOLD ON HIM, AND PUT OUT HIS EYES.7 ABSALOM GLORIED IN HIS HAIR; THEREFORE HE WAS HANGED BY HIS HAIR. AND BECAUSE HE COHABITED WITH THE TEN CONCUBINES OF HIS FATHER, THEREFORE HE WAS STABBED WITH TEN LANCES, AS IT IS SAID, AND TEN YOUNG MEN THAT BARE JOAB'S ARMOUR COMPASSED ABOUT.8 AND BECAUSE HE STOLE THREE HEARTS, THE HEART OF HIS FATHER, THE HEART OF THE COURT OF JUSTICE, AND THE HEART OF ISRAEL, AS IT IS SAID, SO ABSALOM STOLE THE HEARTS OF THE MEN OF ISRAEL,9 THEREFORE THREE DARTS WERE THRUST THROUGH HIM, AS IT IS SAID, AND HE TOOK THREE DARTS IN HIS HAND, AND THRUST THEM THROUGH THE HEART OF ABSALOM.10 — IT11 IS THE SAME IN CONNECTION WITH THE GOOD. MIRIAM WAITED A SHORT WHILE FOR MOSES, AS IT IS SAID, AND HIS SISTER STOOD AFAR OFF;12 THEREFORE ISRAEL WAS DELAYED FOR HER SEVEN DAYS IN THE WILDERNESS, AS IT IS SAID, AND THE PEOPLE JOURNEYED NOT TILL MIRIAM WAS BROUGHT IN AGAIN.13 JOSEPH EARNED MERIT BY BURYING HIS FATHER AND THERE WAS NONE AMONG HIS BROTHERS GREATER THAN HE; AS IT IS SAID, AND JOSEPH WENT UP TO BURY HIS FATHER, ETC.,14 AND THERE WENT UP WITH HIM BOTH CHARIOTS AND HORSEMEN.15 WHOM HAVE WE GREATER THAN JOSEPH SINCE NONE OTHER THAN MOSES OCCUPIED HIMSELF WITH HIS BURIAL? MOSES EARNED MERIT THROUGH THE BONES OF JOSEPH AND THERE WAS NONE IN ISRAEL GREATER THAN HE, AS IT IS SAID, AND MOSES TOOK THE BONES OF JOSEPH WITH HIM.16 WHOM HAVE WE GREATER THAN MOSES SINCE NONE OTHER THAN THE OMNIPRESENT OCCUPIED HIMSELF [WITH HIS BURIAL], AS IT IS SAID, AND HE BURIED HIM IN THE VALLEY?17 NOT ONLY CONCERNING MOSES DID THEY SAY THIS, BUT CONCERNING ALL THE RIGHTEOUS, AS IT IS SAID, AND THY RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL GO BEFORE THEE, THE GLORY OF THE LORD SHALL BE THY REARWARD.18
GEMARA. Our Rabbis have taught: Samson rebelled [against God] through his eyes, as it is said: And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me, because she is pleasing in my eyes;19 therefore the Philistines put out his eyes, as it is said: And the Philistines laid hold on him and put out his eyes.20 But it is not so; for behold it is written: But his father and his mother knew not that it was of the Lord!21 — When he went [to choose a wife] he nevertheless followed his own inclinations.22
It has been taught: Rabbi says: The beginning of his [Samson's] degeneration occurred in Gaza; therefore he received his punishment in Gaza. 'The beginning of his [Samson's] degeneration was in Gaza', as it is written: And Samson went to Gaza, and saw there an harlot etc.;23 'therefore he received his punishment in Gaza,' as it is written: And they brought him down to Gaza.24 But behold it is written: And Samson went down to Timnah!25 — Nevertheless the beginning of his degeneration occurred in Gaza.26
And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.27 It has been taught: Rabbi says: If her name had not been called Delilah, she was fit that it should be so called. She weakened28 his strength, she weakened his heart, she weakened his actions. 'She weakened his strength', as it is written: And his strength went from him.29 'She weakened his heart', as it is written: And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart.30 'She weakened his actions' since the Shechinah departed from him, as it is written: But he wist not that the Lord had departed from him.31
'And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart'. How did she know this?32 R. Hanin said in the name of Rab: Words of truth are recognisable. Abaye said: She knew that this righteous man would not utter the Divine Name in vain; when he exclaimed: I have been a Nazirite unto God,33 she said: Now he has certainly spoken the truth.
And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him.34 What means 'and urged him'? R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: At the time of the consummation, she detached herself from him.
Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.35 What means 'any unclean thing'? Furthermore, had she [Samson's mother] up to then eaten unclean things? R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: [She had hitherto eaten] things forbidden to a Nazirite.
To move him in Mahaneh-Dan.41 R. Isaac of the School of R. Ammi said: This teaches that the Shechinah kept ringing in front of him like a bell;42 it is written here to move him [lefa'amo] in Mahaneh-Dan, and it is written elsewhere A golden bell [pa'amon] and a pomegranate.43 Between Zorah and Eshtaol44 — R. Assi said: Zorah and Eshtaol are two great mountains, and Samson uprooted them and ground one against the other.
And he shall begin to save Israel.45 R. Hama b. Hanina said:
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