SECTION XXXXI

 

Ruth 4:18-22

 

Text:

 

:i¨r0m3j‘,#t sh‚1k¨v .#r„3Ÿ .#rÜ7Ÿ ,¨±s0k¨¯ «v3¦«2tºu   jh

:c7s¶bh!Œ*g‘,#t sh‚1k¨v o„7rºu oÜ7r‘,#t sh±1k¨v «i¨r0m3jºu   yh

:v7n0k`*a‘,#t sh‚1k¨v i¨„A0j•bºu i¨ÜA0j•b‘,#t sh±1k¨v «c7s¶bh!Œ*gºu   f

:s2c¨g‘,#t sh‚1k¨v z*g`„c z*g`Üc‘,#t sh±1k¨v «i¨n0k`*aºu   tf

:sÐu7‘,#t sh‚1k¨v h„*AÐhºu hÜ7AÐh‘,#t sh±1k¨v «s2c`gºu   cf

 

Targum:

 

TANAKH

Translation

SEPTUAGINT

Translation

v3¦«2tºu

and these

 

 

,¨±s0k¨¯

generations

 

 

.#rÜ7Ÿ

Peretz

 

 

.#r„3Ÿ

Peretz

 

 

sh‚1k¨v

he fathered

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

:i¨r0m3j

Chetzron

 

 

i¨r0m3jºu

and Chetzron

 

 

sh±1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

oÜ7r

Ram

 

 

o„7rºu

and Ram

 

 

sh‚1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

:c7s¶bh!Œ*g

Aminadav

 

 

«c7s¶bh!Œ*gºu

and Aminadav

 

 

sh±1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

i¨ÜA0j•b

Nachshon

 

 

i¨„A0j•bºu

and Nachshon

 

 

sh‚1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

:v7n0k`*a

Salmah

 

 

«i¨n0k`*aºu

and Salmon

 

 

sh±1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

z*g`Üc

Boaz

 

 

z*g`„c

and Boaz

 

 

sh‚1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

:s2c¨g

Obed

 

 

s2c`gºu

and Obed

 

 

sh±1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

hÜ7AÐh

Ishai

 

 

h„*AÐhºu

and Ishai

 

 

sh‚1k¨v

the father

 

 

‘,#t

 

 

 

:sÐu7

David

 

 

 

 

Peshitta

 

4:18 Now these are the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,

4:19 And Hezron begat Aram, and Aram begat Amminadab,

4:20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Shelab,

4:21 And Shelah begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,

4:22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat King David.


 

Stone’s Translation

 

4:18 Now these are the generations of Perez: Perez begot Hezron;

4:19 and Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab;

4:20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, and Nahshon begot Salmah;

4:21 and Salman begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed;

4:22 and Obed begot Jesse, and Jesse begot David.

 

KJV

 

4:18 Now these [are] the generations of Pharez: Pharez begat Hezron,

4:19 And Hezron begat Ram, and Ram begat Amminadab,

4:20 And Amminadab begat Nahshon, and Nahshon begat Salmon,

4:21 And Salmon begat Boaz, and Boaz begat Obed,

4:22 And Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat David.

 

Septuagint

Ruth 4:18

kai; au|tai aiJ genevsei" Fare" Fare" ejgevnnhsen to;n Esrwn

Ruth 4:19

Esrwn de; ejgevnnhsen to;n Arran kai; Arran ejgevnnhsen to;n Aminadab

Ruth 4:20

kai; Aminadab ejgevnnhsen to;n Naasswn kai; Naasswn ejgevnnhsen to;n Salman

Ruth 4:21

 kai; Salman ejgevnnhsen to;n Boo" kai; Boo" ejgevnnhsen to;n Wbhd

Ruth 4:22

kai; Wbhd ejgevnnhsen to;n Iessai kai; Iessai ejgevnnhsen to;n Dauid

 

Ruth 4:18-22 And these are the generations of Phares: Phares begot Esrom; 19 Esrom then begot Aran, and Aran begot Aminadab; 20 and Aminadab begot Naässon, and Naässon begot Salman; 21 and Salman begot Boöz, and Boöz begot Obed; 22 and Obed begot Jessæ, and Jessæ begot David.

 

 

Peshat Level:

 

Targum

 

4:18 Now this is the genealogy of Perez: Perez begot Hezron.

 

4:19 Hezron begot Ram, and Ram begot Amminadab.

 

4:20 Amminadab begot Nahshon, who was the head of the household of the tribe of Judah, and Nahshon begot Salmah the righteous. He is the Salmah of Beth Lehem of Judah, and Netophah, whose sons abolished the guards which the wicked Jeroboam had set over the highways. They served their father, and were becoming children, like balm.

 

4:21 Salmon begot the judge, Ivtzan, who is identical with the righteous Boaz, because of whose merit the Israelite people were saved from their enemies, and because of whose prayer the famine ceased in the Land of Israel. Boaz begot Oved, who served the Master of the Universe with perfect heart.

 

4:22 Now Oved begot Jesse, who was called Nahash, because no corruption and perversion, for which he might be delivered into the hands of the angel of death, who would take his life from him, were found in him. He lived a long time, until the serpent's counsel to Eve, Adam's wife, to partake of the fruit of the tree, the eating of which resulted in wisdom to distinguish between good and evil, was recalled before God. Because of that counsel, all inhabitants of the earth are mortal, and as a result of that blunder, the righteous Jesse died. He is Jesse, who was the father of David, the king of Israel.

 

Rashi

 

4:18  Now these are the generations of Peretz  Since (Scripture) traced David’s lineage to the name of Ruth the Moabitess, (a proselyte,) (Scripture then) went back and traced his lineage to the name of Judah (the symbol of Jewish royalty).

 

Mishna

 

Avoth Chapter 5         MISHNAH 2. [THERE WERE] TEN GENERATIONS FROM ADAM TO NOAH (Viz., (i) Adam; (ii) Seth; (iii) Enosh; (iv) Kenan; (v) Mahalaleel; (vi) Jered; (vii) Enoch; (viii) Methuselah; (ix) Lamech; (x) Noah; [Bereshit 5:3-29].), IN ORDER TO MAKE KNOWN HOW LONG-EXTENDED IS LONG-SUFFERING WITH HIM; FOR ALL THOSE GENERATIONS WERE REPEATEDLY ACTING PROVOKINGLY, UNTIL HE BROUGHT UPON THEM THE WATERS OF THE FLOOD.

 

[THERE WERE] TEN GENERATIONS FROM NOAH TO ABRAHAM (Viz., (i) Shem; (ii) Arpachshad; (iii) Shelah; (iv) Eber; (v) Peleg; (vi) Reu; (vii) Serug; (viii) Nahor; (ix) Terah; (x) Abraham; [Bereshit 9:10-26].), IN ORDER TO MAKE KNOWN HOW LONG-EXTENDED IS LONG-SUFFERING WITH HIM; FOR ALL THOSE GENERATIONS WERE REPEATEDLY ACTING PROVOKINGLY, UNTIL ABRAHAM, OUR FATHER, CAME AND RECEIVED THE REWARD OF ALL OF THEM.

 

 

 

Gemarah Level:

 

Talmud Babli

 

Yevamoth 76b GEMARA. Whence are these laws inferred? — R. Johanan replied: Scripture stated, And when Sail saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said into Abner, the captain of the host: ‘Abner, whose son is this youth’? And Abner said: ‘As thy soul liveth, O King, I cannot tell’. But did he not know him? Surely it is written, And he loved him greatly; and he became his armour bearer! — He rather made the inquiry concerning his father. But did he not know his father? Surely it is written, And the man was an old man in the days of Saul, stricken in years among them; and Rab or, it might be said, R. Abba, stated that this referred to the father of David, Jesse. who came in with an army and went out with an army! — It is this that Saul meant: Whether he descended from Perez, or from Zerah. If he descended from Perez he would be king, for a king breaks for himself a way and no one can hinder him. If, however, he is descended from Zerah he would only be an important man. What is the reason why he gave instructions that enquiry be made concerning him? — Because it is written, And Saul clad David with his apparel. being of the same size as his, and about Saul it is written, From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. Doeg the Edomite then said to him, ‘Instead of enquiring whether he is fit to be king or not, enquire rather whether he is permitted to enter the assembly or not’! ‘What is the reason’? ‘Because he is descended from Ruth the Moabitess’. Said Abner to him, ‘We learned: An Ammonite, but not an Ammonitess; A Moabite, but not a Moabitess! But in that case a bastard would’ imply: But not a female bastard?’ — ‘It is written mamzer [Which implies] anyone objectionable’. ‘Does then Egyptian exclude the Egyptian woman’? — ‘Here it is different, since the reason for the Scriptural text is explicitly stated: Because they met you not with bread and with water; it is customary for a man to meet [wayfarers]; It is not, however, customary for a woman to meet [them]’.

 

Sotah 37a  … each tribe was unwilling to be the first to enter the sea. Then sprang forward Nahshon the son of Amminadab and descended first into the sea; as it is said: Ephraim compasseth me about with falsehood, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah yet ruleth with God.

 

Baba Bathra 91a  R. Hanan b. Raba said in the name of Rab: Elimelech and Salmon and such a one and the father of Naomi all were the sons of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab. What does he come to teach us [by this statement]? — That even the merit of one's ancestors is of no avail when one leaves the land [of Palestine] for a foreign country.

 

Yevamoth 76b  MISHNAH. AN AMMONITE AND A MOABITE ARE FORBIDDEN AND THEIR PROHIBITION IS FOR EVER , THEIR WOMEN, HOWEVER, ARE PERMITTED AT ONCE. AN EGYPTIAN AND AN EDOMITE ARE FORBIDDEN ONLY UNTIL THE THIRD GENERATION. WHETHER THEY ARE MALES OR FEMALES. R. SIMEON, HOWEVER, PERMITS THEIR WOMEN FORTHWITH. SAID R. SIMEON: THIS LAW MIGHT BE INFERRED A MINORI AD MAJUS: IF WHERE THE MALES ARE FORBIDDEN FOR ALL TIME THE FEMALES ARE PERMITTED FORTHWITH, HOW MUCH MORE SHOULD THE FEMALES BE PERMITTED FORTHWITH WHERE THE MALES ARE FORBIDDEN UNTIL THE THIRD GENERATION ONLY. THEY REPLIED: IF THIS IS AN HALACHAH, WE SHALL ACCEPT IT; BUT IF IT IS ONLY AN INFERENCE, AN OBJECTION CAN BE POINTED OUT. HE REPLIED: NOT SO. [BUT IN FACT] IT IS AN HALACHAH THAT I AM REPORTING.

 

GEMARA. Whence are these laws inferred? — R. Johanan replied: Scripture stated, And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said into Abner, the captain of the host: ‘Abner, whose son is this youth’? And Abner said: ‘As thy soul liveth, O King, I cannot tell’. But did he not know him? Surely it is written, And he loved him greatly; and he became his armour bearer! — He rather made the inquiry concerning his father. But did he not know his father? Surely it is written, And the man was an old man in the days of Saul, stricken in years among them; and Rab or, it might be said, R. Abba, stated that this referred to the father of David, Jesse. who came in with an army and went out with an army! — It is this that Saul meant: Whether he descended from Perez, or from Zerah. If he descended from Perez he would be king, for a king breaks for himself a way and no one can hinder him. If, however, he is descended from Zerah he would only be an important man. What is the reason why he gave instructions that enquiry be made concerning him? — Because it is written, And Saul clad David with his apparel. being of the same size as his, and about Saul it is written, From his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people. Doeg the Edomite then said to him, ‘Instead of enquiring whether he is fit to be king or not, enquire rather whether he is permitted to enter the assembly or not’! ‘What is the reason’? ‘Because he is descended from Ruth the Moabitess’. Said Abner to him, ‘We learned: An Ammonite, but not an Ammonitess; A Moabite, but not a Moabitess! But in that case a bastard would’ imply: But not a female bastard?’ — ‘It is written mamzer [Which implies] anyone objectionable’. ‘Does then Egyptian exclude the Egyptian woman’? — ‘Here it is different, since the reason for the Scriptural text is explicitly stated: Because they met you not with bread and with water; it is customary for a man to meet [wayfarers]; It is not, however, customary for a woman to meet [them]’.           

 

 

 

Midrash Level:

 

Midrash Rabbah

 

Ruth VIII:1 R. Abba b. Kahana opened [his exposition with the verse], Tremble, and sin not (Psalm IV, 5). David said to the Holy One, blessed be He, ' How long will they rage1 against me and say, "Is he not of tainted descent? Is he not a descendant of Ruth the Moavitess?" Commune with. your own heart upon your bed (ib.). Ye also, are ye not descended from two sisters? Look upon your own genealogy and be still (ib.). And Tamar who married your ancestor Judah- is it not a tainted descent? She was but a descendant of Shem the son of Noah. Have you then an honorable descent?’ R. Jacob b. Abijah said: [The meaning of this verse is]: Fight against your [Evil] Inclination and sin not. The Rabbis explain: Anger your Inclination and sin not. THESE ARE THE GENERATIONS OF PEREZ (IV, 18). R. Abba said: Wherever the word eleh  (these are) occurs, it invalidates the preceding; we-eleh (and these are) adds to the preceding. AND HEZRON BEGOT RAM (IV, I9). But was not Jerahmeel the elder son, as it is written, The sons also of Hezzon, there were born unto him: Jerahmeel, and Ram, and Chelubai (I Chron. II. 9)? [Jerahmeel is omitted] because he married a Canaanitish woman in order to adorn himself with her, as it is written, And Jerahmeel had another wife, whose name was Atarah (I Chron. II, 26).

 

 

Bereshit 12:5 The word toledot appears everywhere in the Torah with a deficient spelling (i.e., lacking the letter vav), except for two instances: "These are the chronicles of Peretz," and ["These are the chronicles of the heaven and the earth upon their creation"]. Why are all the others lacking the letter vav? ... Because of the six (vav) things taken from Adam: his radiance, his life, his stature, the fruit of the earth, the fruit of the trees, and the luminaries.... For though the world was created perfect, these were ruined by Adam's sin, and shall be restored only with the coming of [Mashiach,] the descendent of Peretz.

 

The story of man is the journey from toledot to toledot, from the perfect world that G-d created to the restored perfection of the age of Mashiach. In the simply stated words of Rashi, "The toledot of the righteous are their good deeds."

 

Ruth VIII:1 AND RAM BEGOT AMMINADAB; AND AMMINADAB BEGOT NAHSHON, AND NAHSHON BEGOT SALMON (IV, 19, 20). [Why is he called Salmon?] Because up to him they formed ladders (sulamoth) of princes, from him onwards they formed ladders of kings. R. Isaac opened his exposition with the verse Then said I: Lo, I am come (Psalm XL, 8). I ought to have sung a song that I have come, since the word az (lo!) refers to song, as it is said, Then (az) sang Moses (Exodus XV, 1). I was included in the verse An Ammonite and a Moabite shall not come into the assembly of the Lord (Deuteronomy XXIII, 4), but I have come with the roll of a book which is prescribed for me (Psalm loc. cit.). ’ With the roll’ refers to the verse, Concerning whom Thou didst command that they should not enter into Thy congregation (Lam. I, 10). ’In the book,’ as it is said, ’An Ammonite and a Moavite shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord’  (Deuteronomy XXIII, 4). And not only have I been allowed to enter, but in the roll and the book it is written concerning me. ' In the roll ‘-Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David; ’in the book’; And the Lord said: Arise, anoint him; for this is he  (I Sam. XVI, 12). R. Huna said: It is written For God hath appointed me another seed (Genesis IV, 25), that is, seed from another place, referring to the Messiah. R. Berekiah and R. Simon said: We may illustrate with a parable of a king who was traveling from one place to another, when a precious pearl fell from his head. So the king and all his retinue stopped there. All the passers-by asked, ‘What are the king and his retinue doing here?’ They discerned the reason and said, ‘A pearl has fallen from his head.’ What did he do? He gathered all the soil into heaps and brought brooms. He had one heap swept, but did not find it; a second heap, and he did not find it; but in the third, he found it, and they announced, ‘The king has found his pearl!’ So the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Abraham, ’Get thee out  (Genesis XII, 1). It was to thee that I looked forward. What need had I to record the genealogy of Shem, Arpachshad, Shelah, Eber, Peleg, Nahor, and Terah? (I Chron. 1, 24). Only on account of thee, Abram-the same is Abraham’ (ib.); And foundest his heart faithful before Thee (Neh. IX, 8). So said the Holy One, blessed be He, to David, ‘What need had I to record the genealogy of Perez, Hezron, Ram, Amminadab, Nahshon, Salmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse? Only on account of thee; I have found My servant, David.’

 

 

Zohar Level:

 

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 85a There is a tradition concerning King Solomon, that when he first sat on his throne the Moon was in her fulness, as he was the fifteenth in descent from Abraham, the pedigree being Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Perez, Hezron, Ram (Ruth IV, 19), Aminadab, Nahshon, Shalmon, Boaz, Obed, Jesse, David, Solomon. Therefore it is written: “Then Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord” (I Chr. XXIX, 23), and also “six ascents had the throne”, thus being a replica of the Supernal Throne. In the days of Zedekiah, the Moon was in her wane, and the face of Israel was darkened. He was the fifteenth from Solomon, his pedigree being Rehoboam, Abiah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Zedekiah. When Zedekiah came the Moon waned and remained thus, for it is written: “He (the king of Babylon) blinded the eyes of Zedekiah” (Jeremiah LII, 11). Then “He cast down from heaven unto the earth the beauty of Israel” (Lam. II, 1). The earth was removed far from the heaven and became dark. When the Israelites stood by Mount Sinai the Moon began to shine forth, as it is written: “He bowed the heavens and came down” (2 Samuel XXII, 10), meaning that the Sun approached the Moon, and the Moon began to shine, this being expressed in the words: “And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies” (Numbers II, 3). On Mount Sinai was Judah appointed chief in the kingdom. R. Isaac found this expressed in the words: “But Judah still ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints” (Hosea XII, 1), which means, that when God was ruling in His Kingdom on Mount Sinai, Judah was ruling in his; when the Holy One said to Israel: “And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation”, Judah was found faithful and worthy to receive the kingdom, and therefore the Moon began to shine.

 

Soncino Zohar, Shemoth, Section 2, Page 103b A man who has children by his first wife, and brings such a woman into his house, unites himself with a flaming sword, in two ways: first, because two have already entered and been violently ejected, and now he is the third; and, secondly, how can he let his spirit enter into a vessel which has already been used by others, associate himself with her and cleave to her? It is not that he is prohibited to do so, but in doing it he chooses a bad companion to himself R.Levitas, from Kephar Oni, used to jeer and scoff at a person who married a woman of this sort, applying to her the words: “And she shall laugh at the last day” (Proverbs XXX1, 25), meaning, the “last one” who unites himself with such a woman will be a laughing stock. ‘Now we have to turn our attention to a great and noble spot which once was on the earth, being a very root and stock of truth, to wit, Obed the father of Jesse, the grandfather of David. It has been affirmed that he was such a “last one”: how, then, could the root of truth.(David) emanate from such a place? The fact, however, is that Obed worked and laboured at the root of the tree, until it was regenerated and made wholesome: it was therefore that he was called Obed (labourer, also. ”worshipper”), a name which no other man merited to bear. He came, he digged, he hoed round the root of the tree, he pressed out the bitterness from the branches and made wholesome the crown. Then came Jesse, his son, who further improved and invigorated it, and grafted it on to the branches of another stately tree, joining tree with tree so that they were intertwined. And when David came he found the branches entwined and knit together, and was thus enabled to attain dominion over the world. And all these things which came to pass had their cause and beginning in Obed.’ Having spoken thus, the old man wept again and said: ‘Old man, old man, did I not say that thou hadst plunged into the midst of the great sea? Now thou art indeed in the very midst of the mighty waves! Old man, old man, thou hast none to blame but thyself; hadst thou remained silent at the beginning all would have been well with thee, but now thou mayest not, and there is none to take hold of thine hand! Thou art alone. But arise, old man, and take courage! Obed remedied himself because he came out from the evil field in which were bad cisterns. Then came Jesse, his son, who improved and hoed round that tree and digged up that which was evil and that which was bitter likewise. This is a mystery of mysteries, and I know not with certainty whether or no to reveal it. Yet say on, old man.! Yea, I shall certainly speak, if only in order that these two who shall hear me should be made fully cognizant of the other transmigrations of the souls of men. Now, Obed, as I have said, hoed round the root of the tree, so improving it somewhat; and yet, when King David came, he was left only with the lower, feminine tree, and had to receive life from another tree. Now, if he for whom the way was so well prepared had to develop thus, how much more so ordinary persons who undergo transmigration! Thus, then, it was with Perez, and with Boaz likewise. Obed was also thus. With regard to all of these, the tree emerged from the side of evil and was afterwards joined to the side of good, as we read that “Er, the firstborn of Judah, was wicked in the sight of the Lord” (Genesis XXXVIII, 7); so was Onan (Ibid. 9, 10); so also was Mahlon, although his evil was not so great. Thus, in all these there was a tincture of ill, from which, however, good eventually emerged; as it is written of David, their descendant: “goodly to look to”, “and the Lord was with him” (I Sam. XVI, 12, 18). Thus the tree below was purified and remained so, so that “God ruled over the nations” (through the house of David). ‘The grades of Israel took root in the supernal foundation from the beginning: Reuben, Simeon, Levi. But when it comes to Judah it says that Leah, his mother, said: “This time I will praise the lord... and she left off bearing” (Genesis XXIX, 35); concerning which it is written: “Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear” (Isaiah LIV, I). For when Judah was born the Feminine was united with the Masculine. Note: The last 4 lines of the Hebrew text are not translated]

 

 

Other Commentaries:

 

Me’am Lo’ez

 

4:18 And these are the generations of Peretz: Peretz begot Chetz­ron.

 

Having been told that Obed was Ishai’s father and King David’s grandfather, the scripture goes back in time to trace the lineage of Obed from Peretz. the ancestral father of monarchy.

 

It is a rule in scripture that the expression vktu, “and these,” adds to the previous matter. In this case, vktu links the birth of Peretz to judah and Tamar with the birth of Obed to Boaz and Ruth. to teach that both women acted for the sake of heaven.

 

Furthermore, just as the unusual events leading to the marriage of Boaz and Ruth were arranged by God to produce David, so were the unusual events leading to the union of Judah and Tamar, brought about by Him. [For the details of this incident see Genesis ch. 38.]

 

[Ruth merited to bear the royal seed because of her kindness and her devoted cleaving to God]. Tamar merited it because she was willing to suffer death, and with it the loss of the royal seed she knew she was carrying, rather than shame Judah. For she rightly perceived that even the highest purpose does not justify reprehensible actions.

 

According to the Midrash, the monarchy came through women of pagan origins so that the kings would have an element of cruelty from the mother’s side, in addition to compassion from the father’s side. This equipped them with the ability to exact revenge from Israel’s enemies while treating Israel with compassion.

 

The three scriptural episodes leading to the emergence of David involved wondrous ways dependent on split-second timing; had the moment passed, they would have come to nothing. Lot’s daughters sought to conceive from their father because they thought the entire world had been destroyed; had they waited, they would have discovered that it was not so. Judah was about to pass Tamar by and continue on his way when an angel impelled him toward her; and Boaz was about to die when he wed Ruth. All this comes to teach that as soon as the time is ripe, the Messiah will not delay in coming.

 

When Tamar was giving birth to her twin sons, Zerach put out his hand but drew it back, and Peretz was born first. “And she said, ‘Where­fore have you made a breach (peretz) for yourself?’ Therefore his name was called Peretz” (Genesis 38:29).

 

Our sages elaborate: Zerach wanted to come out first but God said, “The Messiah will descend from Peretz—shall Zerach come out first? Let him return to his mother’s womb, so that Peretz will be first.”

 

Peretz bore the seed of the monarchs, who break through to make way for themselves. Of his descendant the Messiah it is thus written: “The breaker (.rup, poretz) shall go up before them; they shall break forth and pass on by the gate and go through it. Their king shall pass before them, and the Lord at their head” (Micah 2:13).

 

Peretz (“breach”) alludes to the moon, which is sometimes “breached” and sometimes “built”; Zerach (“radiance”) alludes to the sun, which shines steadily. Zerach represents the priesthood; Peretz, the monarchy. Just as the moon grows to fullness in fifteen days, so did the monarchy grow to its full splendor in the fifteenth generation from Abraham to Solomon. David (sus, numerically equivalent to 14), the fourteenth generation, is hinted at in the verse (Genesis 39:28): “When [Tamari was giving birth, he gave a hand (sh, numerically equal to 14).”

 

Our sages say: All the ,urus, “generations,” in the scripture are incomplete (missing a letter vav), except for two: “These are the genera­tions of heaven and earth” (Genesis 2:4), and “These are the generations of Peretz.” The first describes the beginning of creation, before the angel of death came into being. At that time the generations were complete. After Adam and Eve sinned, God depleted all the generations in scrip­ture. The generations of Peretz, however, are complete, because he was the forebear of the Messiah, in whose days God “shall swallow up death forever” (Isaiah 25:8).

 

In those days, the sun and moon [which was diminished for “com­plaining” that it and the sun were the same size, and “two kings cannot share the same crown” (Midrash)] will again shine forth with their ori­ginal glory. And the light of the Messiah—which is now hidden because of our sins—will also shine forth in all its glory. The generations of heaven and earth, and the generations of Peretz, will be complete.

 

4:19, 20 And Chetzron begot Ram, and Ram begot Aminadav; and Aminadav begot Nachshon, and Nachshon begot Salmah.

 

Peretz generated a line of tzaddikim who each in turn begot another tzaddzk. The fact that they were righteous is inferred from the doubling of their names, which shows that they had a double existence: they lived in this world and continue to live in the next.

 

Their virtues are hinted at in their names. For example, vnka Salmah. whose name means “garment,” was so called because he clothed [his soul] in a beautiful garment of good deeds. It was his namesake, Salmah the Righteous, who cancelled the watches placed by the king of the Israelite kingdom, Jereboam [to prevent his subjects from making their pilgrimage to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, lest they be won over by the king of Judah (1 Kings 12)].

 

The name Salmah is derived from okx, sulam, ladder, and has the same letters as vnka Shlomo, Solomon. Thus the Midrash says: Until Salmah they made ladders for nessiim (princes), henceforth for kings. That is, the generations from Peretz to Nachshon [leader of the tribe of Judah during the Exodus] ascended one degree after another until they merited kingship. The following generations again ascended in merit until they reached the “top of the ladder” in the person of Solomon, who reigned over both heavenly and earthly beings.

 

4:21 And Salmon begot Boaz, and Boaz begot Obed.

 

[Salmon is a variation of Salmah, mentioned in the previous verse.]

 

Boaz saved Israel from famine and foe, and he was stronger than a king, for of a king it is written, “He shall give strength to his king” (I Samuel 2:10) but Boaz personified strength (zg-uc, in him there is strength). He was also called lbetzan (imct), meaning father of the sheep (itmk ct, av le’tzon), for he was a shepherd of his people.

 

This book contains eighty-five verses, corresponding to the numeri­cal value of zguc, Boaz. All except eight begin with the letter vav, for this Megillah was written for Israel, which circumcises its infants at the age of eight days.

 

Obed, however, was born circumcised.

 

Obed (servant of God) served God with all his heart, thereby fulfill­ing God’s essential demand of a king. As David said, “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands the imaginations of all thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever” (1 Chronicles 28:9).

 

4:22 And Obed begot Ishai, and Ishai begot David.

 

The name hah, lshai, stems from ,uah, existence. For Ishai never sinned, and if Adam’s sin had not brought the decree of death upon mankind, Ishai himself would still exist in this world. It is fitting that “lshai begot David” and established the eternal dynasty of the house of David, which will culminate in the revoking of the death decree during the Messianic era; may it come speedily in our day.

 

In Praise of the Proselyte

 

Ruth suffered poverty and loneliness to cleave to God, and she gave Israel the house of David and the light of the Messiah. From her story we learn compassion and love for the proselyte who leaves his father and mother to shelter under the wings of the Shechinah.

 

Precious are the ohrd, proselytes, for the patriarchs and prophets called themselves ohrd which also means strangers. Abraham said, “I am a stranger and sojourner with you” (Genesis 23:4); Isaac was called a stranger, as God said to him, “Sojourn (rud) in this land” (Genesis 26:3); and the sons of Jacob said, “To sojourn (rudk) in this land have we come (Genesis 47:4). David said, “For I am a stranger with you, a sojourner, as were all my fathers” (Psalms 39:13); “I am a sojourner in the earth” (Psalms 119:19); “For we are strangers before You, and sojourners, as were all our fathers” (1 Chronicles 29:15).

 

Our sages compared the proselyte to the ewe that fled from the field and joined the shepherd’s flock. The shepherd loved the new sheep more than all the rest, for the rest of his flock he had to pay for, but he acquired her without payment. Similarly, God performed many miracles and wonders for Israel before they accepted the Torah, but the convert accepts the Torah without first witnessing miracles.

 

God loves Israel and converts equally, and converts are equal to Jews in all matters. It is a positive precept to “Love therefore the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:19). There­fore we are also commanded: “A stranger shall you not afflict [by reminding him of his past]; neither shall you oppress him [by cheating him]” (Exodus 2:20).

 

Converts are as dear to God as the Sabbath. The Torah warns twenty-eight times to treat converts properly, the same number of times that it warns against desecrating the Sabbath and against worshipping idols.

 

Precious are converts; throughout the scriptures they are likened to Israel. Israel is called ohscg servants, and oh,ran, ministers, as it is writ­ten, “For unto Me the children of Israel are servants; they are My ser­vants whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 25:55); and “You shall be named the priest of the Lord; men shall call you minis­ters of our God” (Isaiah 61:6). Proselytes, too, are called servants and ministers, as it is written. “Also the aliens that join themselves to the Lord, to minister unto Him and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants” (Isaiah 56:6).

 

Israel are beloved, as it is written, “I have loved you, said the Lord” (Malachi 1:2); and proselytes are beloved, as it is written, “He loves the stranger, in giving him bread and clothing” (Deuteronomy 10:18).

 

Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai said: He who loves God is beloved of Him, as it is written, “He loves the stranger.”

 

Of the righteous of Israel it is written, “But they that love Him be as the sun when it goes forth in its might” (Judges 5:31). Who is greater, he who loves the king or he who is beloved of the king? Obviously the lat­ter: everyone loves the king; fortunate is he whom the king loves.

 

Onkelos the proselyte asked Rabbi Eliezer, “Is the entire love God has for the proselyte in that he gives him bread and clothing?” Rabbi Eliezer replied, “Is that a small thing in your eyes? For this Jacob prayed. saying, ‘If God ... will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear (Genesis 28:20). Onkelos then came before Rabbi Yehoshua, who appeased him, thus: “Bread is the Torah, as it is written, ‘Wisdom calls .. . Come, eat of the bread’ (Proverbs 9:1—5). Clothing is Torah, as it is written, ‘You have a mantle (vkna), be you our ruler’ (Isaiah 3:6). Moreover, a convert’s daughter can marry a priest and bear priestly sons who eat the showbread and wear the priestly vestments, and they are entitled to chaflah (a portion of dough that must be separated from all bread baked) and the first-shearing of wool.”

 

Both Israel and proselytes are joined to God by a covenant. Of Israel it is written: “And my covenant shall be in your flesh” (Genesis 17:13). And of the proselyte it is written: “Also the aliens, that join themselves to the Lord. … Every one that holds fast by My covenant” (Isaiah 56:6).

 

The expression iumr, acceptance, is found concerning both Israel and proselytes. Of Israel it is written, “that they may be accepted before the Lord” (Exodus 28:38). Of the converts it is written: “Their burnt offer­ings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon My altar” (Isaiah 56:7).

 

Both are guarded: “Behold, He Who guards Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps” (Psalms 121:4); and “The Lord guards the strangers” (Psalms 146:9).

 

Converts are included in the four groups who answer before God, as described in the verse: “One [the righteous] shall say, “I am the Lord’s; and another [children of the wicked] shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another [the penitent sinners] shall subscribe with his hand to the Lord; and he [the proselyte] shall surname himself by the name of Israel” (Isaiah 44:5).

 

Rabbi Eliezer said: Joining Israel through conversion is considered as doing a kindness for all of Israel, as Saul said to Yithro’s descendants: “For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt”(1 Samuel 15:6). Can anyone possibly do kindness for an entire nation? But because he converted—as we learn from his words, “Blessed be the Lord, Who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians.... Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods” (Exodus 18:10—11)—it is considered as if he did kindness with them all.

 

Precious are the converts, for God adds to their names, as in the case of Yithro. His name was originally r,h, Yether, as it is written, “And he returned to Yether, his father-in-law” (Exodus 4:18); but after he con­verted, a letter was added to make it ur,h, Yithro. This marks high attain­ment, as in the case of Abraham (“Neither shall your name any more be called orct Abram, but your name shall be ovrct Abraham” [Genesis 17:5]) and Joshua (“Moses called gauv, Hosea the son of Nun, gauvh Joshua” [Numbers 13:161). On the other hand, the wicked cause their name to be diminished, as in the case of the false prophet ctjt Echav, of whom it is written, “The Lord make you like Tzidkiyah and like cjt, Echav” (Jeremiah 29:22).

 

A gentile who embraces Judaism is rewarded like a Jew who has toiled at the Torah all his life. Thus Moses said to Yithro, “Come with us, and we will do you good, for the Lord has spoken good concerning Israel” (Numbers 10:29); and while Joshua reserved the fertile lands of Jericho for the tribe (Benjamin) that would lose part of its land to the Temple. in the meantime (for 400 years) the land was given to the descendants of Yithro, who left it after Joshua’s death in search of another scholar to teach them Torah, as it is written, “The children of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up out of the city of palm trees [Jericho]” (Judges 1:16). They found a teacher, Yabetz, and moved near him, as it is written, “And the families of tribal scribes who dwelt with Yabetz: the Tiratites, the Shimatites, and the Sokatites. These are the Kenites that came of Chammat, the father of the house of Rechav” (1 Chronicles 2:55). They are called oh,gr,, Tiratites (from gr,, to sound), for they sounded their prayers; oh,gna Shimatites (from gna, to hear) for their prayers were heard; and oh,fa, Sokatites (from vfa, to protect), for their merits protect Israel.

 

One of the Kenites, Yonadav ben Rechav, had heard a prophet fore­tell the destruction of the Temple, whereupon he ordered his sons not to drink wine, build homes, or plant vineyards. As his descendant was to recall, “We will not drink wine; for Yonadav the son of Rechav our father commanded us, saying: ‘You shall drink no wine, neither you, nor your sons, forever; neither shall you build a house, nor sow seeds, nor plant vineyard, nor have any; but all your days you shall live in tents”’ (Jeremiah 35:6,7). Because they obeyed the instructions of their father, “Therefore thus says the Lord of Hosts, God of Israel; There shall not be cut off unto Yonadav the son of Rechav a man to stand before Me for­ever (Jeremiah 35:19).

 

Said Rabbi Yochanan: Greater is the covenant that God made with the sons of Yithro than that which he made with David, for the covenant with Yithro was unconditional, whereas the covenant with David was not. Thus it is written, “If the children forsake my law. .. . Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with strokes” (Psalms 89:31—33); “but if your children keep My covenant and My testimony that I shall teach them, their children also forever shall sit upon the throne” (Psalms 132:12).

 

Abraham Ibn Ezra

 

 

Malbim

 

"Son of man, for how long will my honor be a shame!" The Yalkut Shimoni, Tehillim 4, relates that scoffers in David's generation ridiculed him, for he was descended from Ruth, the Moabitess. King David responded to them (Tehillim 4:5), "Say in your hearts on your beds and be silent! Did not you come from a prohibited union of two sisters?" The people and the Elders sensed this, and said, "May the ETERNAL grant [that] the woman who is entering your home [be] like Rachel and Le' ah...And may your household be like the House of Peretz, whom Tamar bore to Yehudah." For they understood that all of this “deceit” was necessary in order to bring forth precious souls from the hands of their oppressors.

 

Alshich