[10a - 54 lines; 10b - 54 lines]

We recommend reading the book "Samson's Struggle" (Rabbi Gershon Weiss in collaboration with Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan; Kol HaYeshiva Publications 1984) to gain a deeper appreciation for the Gemara's perspective on Shimshon and his life and times.

1)[line 1]הוחל שבועתו של אבימלךHUCHAL SHEVU'ASO SHEL AVIMELECH- the covenant between Avraham Avinu's family and the descendents of Avimelech (Bereishis 21:32), the King of the Pelishtim, was annulled [since the Pelishtim broke their oath]

2)[line 4]באמתוAMASO- his male organ

3)[line 5]"ויקרא שמשון אל ה' ויאמר; ה' א-לקים זכרני נא וחזקני נא אך הפעם הזה הא-לקים, ואנקמה נקם אחת משתי עיני מפלשתים""VA'YIKRA SHIMSHON EL HASH-M VA'YOMAR; 'HASH-M -ELOKIM, ZACHRENI NA V'CHAZEKENI NA ACH HA'PA'AM HA'ZEH, HA'E-LOKIM, V'INAKEMAH NEKAM ACHAS MI'SHESEI EINAI MI'PELISHTIM'" - "And Shimshon cried out to G-d and he said, 'HaSh-m, G-d, remember me now and give me strength just this once, O G-d, so that I will avenge one of my two eyes from the Pelishtim'" (Shoftim 16:28) (SHIMSHON'S FINAL PRAYER)

(a)After capturing Shimshon, the Pelishtim poked out his eyes and abused him (see Background to Sotah 9:40, 43).

(b)His hair had begun to grow again, so he prayed to HaSh-m to give him one more opportunity. HaSh-m answered his prayer and restored to Shimshon his strength. Shimshon succeeded in killing three thousand of the enemy, even as he died together with them, as he knew he would. (See Background to Yevamos 118:1, and Background to Kesuvos 23:11.)

4)[line 11]"וילך שמשון וילכד שלש מאות שועלים ויקח לפדים ויפן זנב אל זנב וישם לפיד אחד בין שני הזנבות בתוך""VA'YELECH SHIMSHON VA'YILKOD SHELOSH ME'OS SHU'ALIM, VA'YIKACH LAPIDIM VA'YIFEN ZANAV EL ZANAV VA'YASEM LAPID ECHAD BEIN SHNEI HA'ZENAVOS BA'TAVECH" - "And Shimshon captured three hundred foxes, and, taking fire-brands, he tied them (the foxes) tail to tail and placed one fire-brand in the middle between the two tails" (Shoftim 15:4) (SHIMSHON'S REVENGE)

See Background to Moed Katan 18:43.

5)[line 16]"וישכב שמשון עד חצי הלילה ויקם בחצי הלילה ויחז בדלתות שער העיר ובשתי המזזות ויסעם עם הבריח וישם על כתפיו ויעלם אל ראש ההר אשר על פני חברון""VA'YISHKAV SHIMSHON AD CHATZI HA'LAILAH, VA'YAKAM BA'CHATZI HA'LAILAH VA'YE'ECHOZ B'DALSEI SHA'AR HA'IR UVI'SHTEI HA'MEZUZOS VA'YISA'EM IM HA'BERI'ACH, VA'YASEM AL KESEIFAV, VA'YA'ALEM EL ROSH HA'HAR ASHER AL PENEI CHEVRON" - "And Shimshon lay down until midnight; at midnight he arose and, seizing the doors of the city gates and the two door-posts, he tore them out together with the bolt. Then, placing them on his shoulders, he carried them up the mountain facing Chevron" (Shoftim 16:3) (SHIMSHON AND THE CITY GATES)

(a)Following the episode with the jaw-bone of a donkey (see Background to Sotah 9:43), Shimshon went to Azah, where he met a Philistine woman with whom he had relations. News soon spread of Shimshon's arrival. The Pelishtim - not knowing exactly where he was - surrounded the city, waiting for him to exit in the morning, so that they could kill him.

(b)Shimshon, anticipating precisely such a scenario, outwitted them, as the verse describes.

6a)[line 21]קמי דשתי חמרא חמראKAMEI D'SHASEI CHAMRA, CHAMRA- before a wine drinker, serve wine

b)[line 22]קמי רפוקא (גרידיא דובלא) גירדא דיבלאKAMEI D'REFUKA, (GERIDIYA DUVLA) [GIRDA D'YAVLA]- before a gardener, serve scraped roots of cynodon (a type of edible grass)

7)[line 23]"אם נפתה לבי על אשה ועל פתח רעי ארבתי""IM NIFTAH LIBI AL ISHAH V'AL PESACH RE'I ARAVTI"- "If my heart has been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbor's door" (Iyov 31:9).

8)[line 24]"תטחן לאחר אשתי ועליה יכרעון אחרין""TITCHAN L'ACHER ISHTI V'ALEHA YICHRE'UN ACHERIN"- "Then let my wife grind for another, and let others bow down upon her" (Iyov 31:10).

9)[line 24]איהו (בי קארי) [בקארי] ואיתתיה (בי בוציני) [בבוציני]IHU (BEI KAREI) [V'KAREI] V'ITESEI (BEI BUTZINEI) [V'VUTZINEI]- (lit. he with large gourds and his wife with small gourds) both the husband and the wife have the same evil intentions, but hers are to a lesser degree

10)[line 27]מעין שמוME'EIN SHEMO- similar to His Holy Name

11)[line 29]חיגרCHIGER- lame

12)[line 29]"... וילך שפי""... VA'YELECH SHEFI"- "[And Bil'am said to Balak, 'Stand by your burnt offering, and I will go; perhaps HaSh-m will come to meet me; and whatever He shows me I will tell you.'] And he went away limping" (Bamidbar 23:3) - RASHI explains that the word "Shefi" has the connotation of "limping" due to a dislocation (O.F. esloisseiz - dislocated).

13a)[line 29]שמשון חיגר בשתי רגליו היהSHIMSHON, CHIGER BI'SHTEI RAGLAV HAYAH- Shimshon was lame in both legs, similar to a snake (see next entry) which must slither on its belly. The snake lies in wait at the side of a road and bites the legs of a horse, causing its rider to fall off. The MAHARSHA explains that the Gemara is referring to the incident at the end of Shimshon's life, when he was caught and chained by the Pelishtim in their house of idol worship. During their festival, where thousands crowded into the house, Shimshon begged HaSh-m to strengthen him once again so that he could take revenge against his captors. HaSh-m complied, and he was able to kill more Pelishtim at that time than during the rest of his reign as Shofet. He died with those in the house, along with many more who were "riding" on the roof (Shoftim 16:23-30).

b)[line 30]"שפיפן עלי ארח""SHEFIFON ALEI ORACH"- "[Dan shall be a serpent by the way,] an adder in the path, [that bites the heels of a horse, so that his rider shall fall backward]" (Bereishis 49:17).

14)[line 30]מעין דוגמא של מעלהME'EIN DUGMA SHEL MA'ALAH- with a semblance of the Divine; they were created with exceptional qualities not found among other people

15)[line 33]כדבעינן למימר קמןKED'BA'INAN L'MEIMAR KAMAN- as we shall say below (at the end of Daf 10b)

16)[line 33]"ויאמר שאול לנשא כליו שלף חרבך ודקרני בה פן יבואו הערלים האלה ודקרני והתעללו בי ולא אבה נשא כליו כי ירא מאד ויקח שאול את החרב ויפל עליה""VA'YOMER SHAUL L'NOSEI KELAV, 'SHELOF CHARBECHA V'DAKRENI VAH, PEN YAVO'U HA'ARELIM HA'ELEH U'DEKARUNI V'HIS'ALELU VI'; V'LO AVAH NOSEI CHELAV KI YAREI ME'OD, VA'YIKACH SHAUL ES HA'CHEREV VA'YIPOL ALEHA" - "And Shaul said to his armor-bearer, 'Draw your sword and pierce me with it, lest these uncircumcised ones come and torture me.' But the armor-bearer refused because he was afraid (to kill the anointed one of HaSh-m); so Shaul took his sword and fell on it" (Shmuel I 31:4) (SHAUL'S SUICIDE)

(a)The battle with the Pelishtim on Mount Gilboa was going badly for Yisrael, and many of Shaul's soldiers fell. The enemy killed Shaul's three sons, including David's close friend Yonasan, and were hot on the heels of Shaul himself. That was when Shaul decided to die rather than fall into the hands of the Pelishtim for fear that the tortures might cause him to sin.

(b)The armor-bearer followed his king's example. He, too, fell on his sword. When the men of Yisrael who lived in the vicinity of the battle saw that the army of Yisrael was routed, they fled, leaving the towns empty. The Pelishtim lost no time in inhabiting them.

(c)The following day, when the Pelishtim came to strip the corpses of the Jewish soldiers, they came upon the corpses of Shaul and his three sons. Cutting off Shaul's head, they stripped his body and placed his clothes in the House of Ashtaros (their idol), and they hanged his body on the wall of Beis Shan. When the men of Yavesh Gil'ad heard this, the local soldiers mounted their horses and rode through the night until they reached Beis Shan. Upon arrival, they snatched the bodies from the wall and dashed back with them to Yavesh Gil'ad, where the men of the city burned either the bodies (because they had turned wormy) or their property (as Chazal require to be done to Avodah Zarah).

17)[line 34]"ואת בני צדקיהו שחטו לעיניו ואת עיני צדקיהו עור ואסרהו בנחשתים ויבאהו בבל""V'ES BNEI TZIDKIYAHU SHACHATU L'EINAV V'ES EINEI TZIDKIYAHU IVER, VA'YA'ASREHU BA'NECHUSHTAYIM VA'YEVI'EM BAVEL" - "And the sons of Tzidkiyahu they slaughtered before his eyes, and the eyes of Tzidkiyahu they blinded, and they bound him with fetters and took him to Bavel" (Melachim II 25:7) (TZIDKIYAHU'S CRUEL TREATMENT)

(a)Tzidkiyahu was captured and brought before Nevuchadnetzar in Rivlah, where he was reminded of the oath that he had made to the King of Bavel and which he had promptly violated. Nevuchadnetzar now made him pay for that. Tzidkiyahu requested of Nevuchadnetzar that he kill him first so that he should not see the death of his ten children, but Nevuchadnetzar instead chose to fulfill the request of Tzidkiyahu's children, who asked him to kill them first so that they should not witness the blood of their father being spilled.

(b)The Midrash relates that after gouging Tzidkiyahu's eyes, Nevuchadnetzar threw them into the oven and took him to Yerushalayim before taking him to Bavel. On the way to Bavel, Tzidkiyahu cried out bitterly and said, "Come and see everybody, how Yirmeyahu prophesied that [if I did not surrender to the Babylonians] I would go to Bavel and die in Bavel, but I would never see Bavel. I ignored his warning, and now I am going to Bavel, but my eyes will not see it."

18)[line 35]שאחזתו פדגראSHE'ACHAZTO PODAGRA- he was afflicted with gout in the feet

19)[line 37]מיחש הוה חש ביהMEICHASH HAVAH CHASH BEI- he himself suffered from this

20)[line 39]אנגריאANAGARYA- hard work

21)[line 42]שנתגנה בהSHE'NISGANEH BAH- whose reputation was sullied there

22a)[line 45]ורדוניא ובי באריVARDONIYA U'VEI BERAI- towns in Bavel near each other, that are located on a slope

b)[line 45]ושוקא דנרשV'SHUKA D'NARASH- the marketplace of Narse, a town in Bavel

23)[line 52]פונדקPUNDAK- an inn

24)[line 53]"ויטע אהלי אפדנו""VA'YITA OHALEI APADNO"- "And he shall plant the tents of his palace [between the seas and the holy mountain of beauty; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him]" (Daniel 11:45) - This verse, which refers to a battle and conquest at the End of Days, describes pitching tents with the word for "planting."


25)[line 1]ויקריאVA'YAKRI- and he caused others to call [in the Name of HaSh-m]

26)[line 14]"היא מוצאת""HI MUTZEIS..."- "When she was brought out [to be executed], she sent to her father-in-law, saying, 'By the man to whom these belong, am I with child.' And she said, 'Discern, I beg you, to whom these belong, the signet, the robe and the staff'" (Bereishis 38:25).

27)[line 15]לאחר שנמצאו סימניהL'ACHAR SHE'NIMTZE'U SIMANEHA- after her signs [of her innocence, i.e. Yehudah's possessions that he gave her as collateral] were found

28)[line 17]"למנצח על יונת אלם רחוקים לדוד מכתם באחז אותו פלשתים בגת""LA'MENATZE'ACH AL YONAS ELEM RECHOKIM L'DAVID MICHTAM, BE'ECHOZ OSO FELISHTIM B'GAS"- "For the conductor, regarding the distant dove of silence, by David, a Michtam, when the Pelishtim held him in Gas" (Tehilim 56:1).

29)[line 20]מך ותםMACH V'TAM- humble and flawless in his ways

30)[line 21]מכתו תמהMAKASO TAMAH- the place where he was meant to have a wound (the place of his Bris Milah) was flawless; he was born without a foreskin

31)[line 25]ותימא ליה מימרV'SEIMA LEI MEIMAR- and why did she not state explicitly [that he was her suitor]

32)[line 30]ואל ילבין פני חבירוV'AL YALBIN PENEI CHAVERO- and he should not shame his friend

33)[line 41]ממני יצאו כבושיםMIMENI YATZ'U KEVUSHIM- hidden things (decrees from HaSh-m) have come from Me

34)[line 45]"וכאבשלום לא היה איש יפה בכל ישראל להלל מאד; מכף רגלו ועד קדקדו לא היה בו מום. ובגלחו את ראשו, והיה מקץ ימים לימים אשר יגלח כי כבד עליו וגלחו; ושקל את שער ראשו מאתים שקלים באבן המלך... וַיִּקָּרֵא אבשלום לפני עבדי דוד; ואבשלום רכב על הפרד ויבא הפרד תחת שׂוֹבֶךְ האלה הגדולה ויחזק ראשו באלה וַיֻּתַּן בין השמים ובין הארץ, והפרד אשר תחתיו עבר""UCH'AVSHALOM LO HAYAH ISH YAFEH B'CHOL YISRAEL, L'HALEL ME'OD; MI'KAF RAGLO V'AD KODKODO LO HAYAH BO MUM. UV'GALCHO ES ROSHO, V'HAYAH MI'KETZ YAMIM LA'YAMIM ASHER YEGALE'ACH KI CHAVED ALAV, V'GILCHO; V'SHAKAL ES SE'AR ROSHO MASAYIM SHEKALIM B'EVEN HA'MELECH… VA'YIKAREI AVSHALOM LIFNEI AVDEI DAVID; V'AVSHALOM ROCHEV AL HA'PERED TACHAS SOVECH HA'ELAH HA'GEDOLAH. VA'YECHEZAK ROSHO BA'ELAH, VA'YUTAN BEIN HA'SHAMAYIM U'VEIN HA'ARETZ, VEHA'PERED ASHER TACHTAV AVAR" - "Now there was not a man in the whole of Yisrael as praiseworthy in his beauty as Avshalom, from whose soles of his feet up to the top of his head there was not a blemish. And when he barbered his hair, which he would do from year to year, because it became heavy on him, he would barber it, and when he weighed the hair of his head it weighed two hundred Shekalim by the king's weight... And Avshalom chanced upon the servants of David; and Avshalom was riding on a mule, underneath the branch of a thick elm-tree. And the hair of his head became entangled in the elm and he was left suspended between the heaven and the earth, while the mule underneath him moved on" (Shmuel II 14:25-26, 18:9) (AVSHALOM'S BEAUTY)

(a)The next chapter (15) deals with Avshalom's rebellion, the direct result of his pride in his good looks. He had particularly beautiful hair, which may well have been what caused him to declare himself a permanent Nazir (who is permitted to shave a little from time to time to lighten the load of his hair). About Avshalom it surely may be said that not only did pride come before his fall but that it caused it. In addition, it was his hair that trapped him.

(b)See Background to Sotah 9:36.

35)[line 48]שקל ספסירא בעא למיפסקיהSHAKAL SAFSIRA, BA'A L'MIFSEKEI- he drew his sword and was about to cut [his hair]

36)[line 49]נבקע שאול מתחתיוNIVKA SHE'OL MI'TACHTAV- the depths of Gehinom opened up under him

37)[line 49]"וירגז המלך ויעל על עלית השער ויבך וכה אמר בלכתו בני אבשלום בני בני אבשלום מי יתן מותי אני תחתיך אבשלום בני בני... והמלך לאט את פניו ויזעק המלך קול גדול בני אבשלום אבשלום בני בני""VA'YIRGAZ HA'MELECH, VA'YA'AL AL ALIYAS HA'SHA'AR VA'YEVK; V'CHOH AMAR B'LECHTO, 'B'NI AVSHALOM B'NI B'NI AVSHALOM, MI YITEN MUSI ANI TACHTECHA AVSHALOM B'NI B'NI!'... VEHA'MELECH LA'AT ES PANAV VA'YIZ'AK HA'MELECH KOL GADOL, B'NI AVSHALOM AVSHALOM B'NI B'NI" - "And the king trembled, and he climbed up to the attic above the gate and he wept. And this is what he said as he went: 'My son Avshalom, my son, my son Avshalom, how I wish that I could have died instead of you Avshalom, my son, my son!"... And the king hid his face and he cried out in a loud voice, 'My son Avshalom, my son my son'" (Shmuel II 19:1, 19:5) (DAVID'S REACTION TO HIS REBEL SON'S DEATH)

(a)After Achima'atz informed David of the victory over Avshalom's army, it was the Kushi who, thinking that the news would gladden David's heart, excitedly told him "the good news" of Avshalom's death (see Pesachim 118b).

(b)David's reaction under the circumstances seems strange. Eight times he mentioned his son's name. The first seven times took him out of the seven levels of Gehinom, and the eighth brought him into the gates of Gan Eden, as the Gemara explains. It is well-known that a son's good deeds can take his father out of Gehinom, but it is most unusual for a father to do so for a son.

(c)Needless to say, the bitter cries of David dampened the aura of victory, and an aura of mourning pervaded the camp. It was with great difficulty that Yo'av, David's general, succeeded in convincing him that his attitude was unfair to those who had served him loyally. Only then did David rise up from the floor and sit at the gate.

38)[line 51]לאטLA'AT- covered (as a mourner)

39)[line 53]"ואבשלום לקח ויצב לו בחיו את מצבת אשר בעמק המלך כי אמר אין לי בן בעבור הזכיר שמי ויקרא למצבת על שמו ויקרא לה יד אבשלום עד היום הזה""V'AVSHALOM LAKACH, VA'YATZEV LO V'CHAYAV ES MATZEVES ASHER B'EMEK HA'MELECH, KI AMAR 'EIN LI BEN BA'AVUR HAZKIR SHEMI'; VA'YIKRA LA'MATZEVES AL SHEMO, VA'YIKRA LAH YAD AVSHALOM AD HA'YOM HA'ZEH" - "And Avshalom took the idea of erecting for himself a monument in his lifetime, the monument that is in the Valley of the King; 'because,' he said, 'I have no son to perpetuate my name'; and he called the monument by his name, and it became known as 'Yad Avshalom' until this day" (Shmuel II 18:18) (AVSHALOM'S MONUMENT)

See Background to Sotah 9:35.