Translation:Mishnah/Seder Nezikin/Tractate Sanhedrin/Chapter 2/4

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Sanhedrin deals primarily with the court and with court cases. The second chapter of Sanhedrin is focused on laws concerning the High Priest and the King.

The fourth mishnah of this chapter explains the powers and responsibilities of the King. Some of these powers are beneficial, while others are limited in their scope.

Hebrew Text[edit]

ומוציא למלחמת הרשות על פי בית דין של שבעים ואחד.
ופורץ לעשות לו דרך, ואין ממחין בידו.
דרך המלך אין לו שעור.
וכל העם בוזזין ונותנין לפניו, והוא נוטל חלק בראש.
לא ירבה לו נשים (דברים יז,יז), אלא שמונה עשרה.
רבי יהודה אומר, מרבה הוא לו ובלבד שלא יהו מסירות את לבו.
רבי שמעון אומר, אפלו אחת ומסירה את לבו, הרי זה לא ישאנה.
אם כן למה נאמר (שם) ולא ירבה לו נשים, אפלו כאביגיל.
(שם יז,טז) לא ירבה לו סוסים, אלא כדי מרכבתו.
(שם יז,יז) וכסף וזהב לא ירבה לו מאד, אלא כדי לתן אפסניא.
וכותב לו ספר תורה לשמו.
יוצא למלחמה, מוציאה עמו.
נכנס, מכניסה עמו.
יושב בדין , היא עמו.
מסב, היא כנגדו, שנאמר (שם יז,טז) והיתה עמו וקרא בו כל ימי חייו.

English Translation[edit]

He [the King] can send people to a war of free choice according to the court of seventy one. He can break through to build a road, and there is no protest. The king's road has no measure. And everything that the nation plunders, they place in front of him, and he takes the first portion. "He cannot amass too many wives" (Deuteronomy 17:17), only 18. Rabbi Yehuda says, he can amass more, until they would turn his heart. Rabbi Shimon says, even if only one would turn his heart, he cannot marry her. If so, why does it say (ibid) "He cannot amass too many wives" - because of Abigail. "He cannot amass too many horses" (ibid, 17:16), only enough for his chariots. "And silver and gold, he cannot amass too much." (ibid, 17:17), only enough to pay his soldiers' wages. He must write a Torah scroll himself. (When) he goes to war, he takes it with him. (When) he enters, it's with him. (When) he sits for judgment, it's with him. (When) he reclines, it's opposite of him, as it is written (ibid 17:16), "and it will be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life."


This is a detailed explanation of the king's powers and responsibilities. An explanation of important terms:
War of free choice - Some wars are required, such as the biblical order to destroy Amalek, but wars that are not required must be declared by a Sanhedrin, not simply by the king or priest or smaller court.
Court of seventy one - This refers to the big Sanhedrin, defined and discussed in Chapter 1, Mishnah 5.
Abigail - See I Samuel 25.