Jerusalem During the Period of Conquest and Settlement (part III)

  • Rav Yitzchak Levy
The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Jerusalem in the Bible
Yeshivat Har Etzion

Shiur #22:

Jerusalem During the Period of Conquest and Settlement (part III)

By Rav Yitzchak Levi



In the previous shiur we examined the tribal affiliation of Jerusalem and the textual descriptions of its borders.  In this shiur we shall aim to complete the description of the border between Binyamin and Yehuda according to Chazal, and to understand its significance.  Thereafter we shall address the question of why Bnei Yisrael did not conquer Jerusalem until the time of King David.


A.        The border between Yehuda and Binyamin according to Chazal


The sources [1]

The Gemara (Yoma 12a) records a debate among the Tannaim concerning the division of Jerusalem among the tribes:

"Your inheritance may contract the ritual impurity of plague, while Jerusalem does not contract the ritual impurity of the plague" (Rashi: For they have no possession there; he held that it was not divided between the tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin; rather, all the tribes had an equal share in it.] Rabbi Yehuda said: I heard this said only of the site of the Temple (Rashi: That when David purchased the threshing floor from Aravna the Jebusite, he raised the money from all the tribes]...  What, then, is their argument? The Tanna concerned maintained that Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes, while Rabbi Yehuda maintained that Jerusalem was divided among the tribes.

And it is like this [other] dispute amongst the Tannaim.  What fell to the portion of Yehuda? The Temple Mount, the chambers, and the courtyards.  And what fell to the portion of Binyamin? The vestibule (ulam) and the main hall (heikhal) and the area of the Holy of Holies.  And a strip protruded from the portion of Yehuda into the portion of Binyamin, and there the altar was built.  And the righteous Binyamin was distressed over it and longed every day to annex it, as it is written, "He shall dwell between his shoulders" (Ibid.)….

So this Tanna maintained that Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes, as we learn: Houses are not rented out in Jerusalem, because it [the city] is not theirs."

            - Sifri Devarim piska 352:

What is meant by, "The scepter shall not depart from Yehuda" (Bereishit 49:10)? This refers to the Chamber of Hewn Stone, which was located in the portion of Yehuda, as it is written: "And He forsook the tent of Yosef, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim; but He chose the Tribe of Yehuda, Mount Zion which He loved" (Tehillim 78:67) – but the Temple was built in the portion of Binyamin.

- Zevachim 53b: The south-eastern corner (of the altar) had no base.  What was the reason for this? Rabbi Elazar said: [It was] because it was not located within the portion of the "carnivore" [Rashi: This refers to Binyamin, as it is written – "a ravenous (or 'carnivorous') wolf (Bereishit 49:27), as Rav Shemuel, son of Rav Yitzchak taught: The altar consumes within the portion of Yehuda one ama.

The literal text (Yehoshua 15:18) clearly supports Rabbi Yehuda's view that Jerusalem was divided among the tribes.  But nowhere in the text is there even a hint of the detailed description of the division of Mount Moriah between Yehuda and Binyamin [2].  In light of this, we propose that Chazal are not presuming to describe the physical, practical division of the border, but rather its qualitative boundary between the two tribes [3].

Yehuda's portion includes the Temple Mount, the chambers and the courtyards – in fact, all of the Temple Mount with the exception of the Sanctuary itself.  The chambers include, inter alia, the Chamber of Hewn Stone – the seat of the Sanhedrin – and, as the Sifri explains, this is a function of Yehuda's role of leadership and royalty, one of the most prominent expressions of which is the law.  The strip that protrudes from the portion of Yehuda also housed the south-eastern corner of the copper altar, and this corner had no base.

Binyamin's portion housed the Sanctuary itself – the vestibule, the main Sanctuary hall, and the Holy of Holies – in fact, all of the sanctified areas within the Temple Mount bounds (except for the south-eastern corner of the altar), for this was the portion of the Divine Presence.


2.  Significance of the different opinions


As stated, the opinion that Jerusalem was divided between the tribes matches the literal sources in Sefer Yehoshua.  On the basis of our conclusions from the previous shiur, it is possible either that the entire city fell within the portion of Binyamin (as we attempted to prove there), or that it was divided between Yehuda and Binyamin.

In contrast, the view that maintains that Jerusalem was not divided between the tribes has no support in the verses describing the borders of Yehuda and Binyamin.  Indeed, some of the early commentators explain that this view refers to the period of David, who conquered the city and turned it into a city for all of Israel.  In other words, during the periods of Yehoshua and the Judges, the city was indeed divided between the tribes, but once it was established as the capital and as the place of the Temple, it was "nationalized," as it were; Yehuda and Binyamin lost their "ownership" of it in favor of all of Israel.  It is interesting that according to this view, Jerusalem was never actually divided [4]. As we have explained previously, it was a Jebusite city up until the time of David, and from that time onwards it was the royal capital of all of Israel, with no tribal affiliation at all.

The spiritual significance of this conclusion is that there is no room for the concept of private ownership in Jerusalem, for it belongs to all of Israel.  This idea is in fact set down in halakha, and it has widespread ramifications [5], all related to the idea that no private acquisition exists in relation to Jerusalem, on either the individual or the tribal level.  Jerusalem lies outside of the usual halakhic framework of inheritance and possession; it exists above such considerations and belongs to all of Israel, not to parts of the nation.

The spiritual significance of the internal division, in the area of the Temple Mount – as detailed in the Beraita in Yoma – is that Mount Moriah belongs both to Yehuda – representing national sovereignty, and to Binyamin – representing the Divine Presence.  As stated, we regard this source not as an explanation of the description of the border between Yehuda and Binyamin in Sefer Yehoshua, but rather as an attempt to explain the significance of this border in Jerusalem and on Mount Moriah in a manner that reflects the qualities of each of these two tribes.

It would seem that the main idea that Chazal are expressing in this description is that the earthly royalty – the national sovereignty – cannot be cut off from the Temple.  The strip that protrudes from the portion of Yehuda symbolizes the fact that his royalty emerges from his connection with the Sanctuary; it dare not become an independent reign severed from the sanctity that gives it life and power.

This fundamental theme manifests itself in a great many phenomena during the course of David's life.  David's first act as king in Jerusalem, following the conquest of the city and his victory over the Philistines, is to bring up the Ark from Kiryat Ye'arim to Jerusalem (II Shemuel 6; I Divrei Ha-yamim 13:6-15).  The Ark remains in Jerusalem even during Avshalom's rebellion:

"And behold – Tzadok, too, came and all the Levites with him, carrying the Ark of God's Covenant, and the set down the Ark… And the King said to Tzadok, 'Take God's Ark back to the city.  If I find favor in God's eyes then He will bring me back and show me it and its habitation.  But if He says: I have no delight in you – then here I am; let Him do as He sees fit.'" (II Shemuel 15:24-26)

In other words, the city of royalty is connected to the place of the Sanctuary, and they may not be parted.  The person who merits the status of king will remain in Jerusalem, along with the Ark [6].

The same trend continues to manifest itself during the period of Shelomo.  The site of the royal palace, at the foot of God's Temple, conveys, on the simplest level, the idea that the kingship of Israel receives its authority and validity from its role as representing and revealing God's Kingship in the world.  Indeed, we are told, concerning Shelomo, that he "sat upon GOD'S THRONE AS KING" (I Divrei Ha-yamim 29:23).

One interesting expression of the above is the law that "No-one is permitted to sit in the azara except for the kings of the House of David" (Yoma 25a).  The early commentators explain that the reason for this is that the kings of the House of David – and only they – represent the Kingship of God.

Another aspect of the significance of the division between Yehuda and Binyamin arises from the distribution of the sanctified areas of the mountain between them.  As stated, aside from Yehuda's claim to the altar, the entire Sanctuary is located within the portion of Binyamin.  The altar represents man's service of God; Yehuda's connection to the altar is related to his human essence as a ba'al teshuva – a penitent.  Binyamin, on the other hand, represents the Divine Presence – the imbuing of the material world with Godly reality – and it is therefore appropriate that the Sanctuary – the place where the Divine Presence rests – is located in his portion [7].

In conclusion, we may point out that the division of Mount Moriah between Yehuda and Binyamin also represents the cooperation of all the tribes of Israel in the Temple endeavor.  In this context, the Tribes of Yehuda and Binyamin represent not only themselves with their respective unique qualities, but also, more generally, the children of Leah (Yehuda) and the children of Rachel (Binyamin) [8].


B.        Why did Bnei Yisrael not conquer Jerusalem from the time of Yehoshua up until the time of David? [9]


As we explained in the two previous shiurim, it is difficult to find any satisfying answer to this question in the literal text.  We suggested two possible reasons for this:

1.            The city was well fortified and difficult to attack.  This possibility seems unlikely, in light of Shoftim 1:8 with its account of the Tribe of Yehuda capturing the city, smiting it with the sword and setting it on fire.

2.            Since it was a border (i.e., relatively remote) city, it was convenient for the Tribe of Binyamin to ignore it and to refrain from conquering it.  This possibility seems even weaker, since the Torah commands that the land be conquered and settled.

It should also be noted that, on the basis of the information that we glean from the letters of El-Amarna, Jerusalem was an important city at the time.

We also quoted the opinion of the Radak, who explains that tradition had it that the city would be conquered by virtue and power of the person who would rule over all of Israel.  We analyzed the significance of this explanation at length, but it has no direct support in the literal text.  Chazal propose other reasons – likewise not based on the literal text – for refraining to conquer the city and the spiritual significance of this situation; we shall discuss two of them here.


1.  Avraham's oath to Avimelekh


In Bereishit 21:22-32 the Torah narrates the meeting between Avraham and Avimelekh and the covenant that was forged between them.  The story begins as follows: "And it was, at that time, that Avimelekh and Pikhol, commander of his army, said to Avraham, saying: God is with you in all that you do.  Now, promise me by God – behold, lest you lie to me or to my sons or grandsons.  Like the kindness that I have shown to you, so shall you show to me and to the land in which you have dwelt.  And Avraham said, I swear."

The Radak, in his commentary on Yehoshua 15:63 – "But the Jebusites, inhabitants of Jerusalem, the children of Yehuda were not able [the text actually reads, "Will not be able," but it is read, "Were not able"] to drive out, and the Jebusites lived with the children of Yehuda in Jerusalem to this day" – refers to the question of the tenses (were able/will be able] and its connection to the oath made to Avimelekh:

It is written, "Will not be able," for even in the future they would not be able to, until the advent of David.  And it is read, "They could not" - because then they were unable to drive them out, at the time of the conquest of the land.  And our Sages, of blessed memory, said: They were able, but they were not permitted – because of the oath that Avraham made to Avimelekh.  And this "Jebusite" was not the Jebusites of the seven [Canaanite] nations, but rather a single person whose name was Yevus, and he was of the Philistines – from the seed of Avimelekh.  And the place was named after him, Yevus.  And the people of that family, who dwelled in Jerusalem, were called Yevusi – i.e., related to Yevus.  Thus, Aravna the Yevusi – who was king of that place.  And the fortress of that place was Zion, which is in Jerusalem.  Until [the time of] David that place was not conquered.  To the view of the Sages, it was not conquered because of the oath.  David removed the "blind and the lame" – which were bronze forms, with the words of the oath inscribed on them, and then he conquered that fortress.  Thereafter David purchased the city of the Yevusi for Israel in a transaction of gold, with a document, as an eternal purchase, as it is written, "And David gave Aravna for the place…."  Further, [our Sages] taught that the oath was "to me and my son and my grandson," and when the children of Yehuda conquered Jerusalem, the grandson of Avimelekh was still alive.  So they could not yet conquer the fortress because of the oath.  But in the days of David, the grandson was no longer alive.  More is written about this in Sefer Shemuel. 

But according to the literal text, the fortress was strong and the children of Yehuda were not able to drive them out.  Perhaps there was some Divine reason that this fortress would not be conquered until the reign of David, King of Israel – in order that it would be named after him, since he was the head of the Kingdom of Israel.

And concerning that which is written, "Until this day" – this is what Yehoshua wrote, for he wrote his book according to the tradition that he had received.  In his days they were not driven out from Jerusalem, and in the days of David we still find them there.  [10]"

Several aspects of the Radak's commentary are innovative:

- The very idea that the children of Yehuda were not permitted to conquer Jerusalem because of Avraham's oath to Avimelekh.

- The "Yevusim" who dwelled in Jerusalem were not the Jebusites known to us as one of the seven Canaanite tribes (as the literal text would seem to suggest), but rather people descended from Yevus, a Philistine descendant of Avimelekh – and therefore the oath made to Avimelekh applied to them.

- At the time when the area was conquered by Yehuda, the grandson of Avimelekh was still alive [11], and the oath, which was "to me and my son and my grandson," was still valid.  Only in the days of David was the grandson already dead, such that it was possible to conquer the city.

Finally, the Radak adds other reasons, which we have already discussed, for the failure to conquer the place.

But the Gemara in Chullin 60b [12] would seem to present a difficulty with this view:

"And the blind, who lived in Chatzerim, as far as Aza; Kaftorim, who came from Kaftor, annihilated them and dwelled in their place" (Devarim 2:23).  What do we learn from this? Because Avimelekh made Avraham swear, "Lest you deal falsely with me or my son or my grandson" (Bereishit 21:23).  [Rashi: these generations were not yet over], therefore the Holy One said: Let the Kaftorim come and conquer [the land] from the Avim, who are Philistines, and let Israel come and conquer it from the Kaftorim.

In other words, the oath to Avimelekh expired by virtue of the fact that the Kaftorim, who were not of Philistine descent, took the land from the Avim – who themselves were Philistines; now Israel could take the land from the Kaftorim, towards whom they had no commitment [13].  Our conclusion seems to be that the Kaftorim annihilated only the Avim who dwelled in Chatzerim as far as Aza, but the descendants of Avimelekh who lived in other places – including Yevus – were not killed, and concerning them the oath was still valid.

A different view of the time when the oath was nullified appears in Massekhet Sota (9b-10a) in relation to Shimshon:

"He shall begin (yachel) to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines" (Shoftim 13:5) – Rabbi Chama said in the name of Rabbi Chanina: [This terminology is used to hint that] the oath of Avimelekh was broken (huchal) [Rashi: it was nullified; as in "he shall not break [yachel] his word" – Devarim 30:3], because they violated the oath first, as it is written, "Lest you deal falsely with me or my son or my grandson…" "And Shimshon went and caught three hundred foxes" (Shoftim 15:4) – Why specifically foxes? Rabbi Ibu bar Negdi said in the name of Rabbi Hiya bar Abba: Shimshon said: Let the one who looks back take vengeance on the Philistines, who violated their oath."

According to this Midrash, the oath to Avimelekh was nullified already in the days of Shimshon (who lived some eighty years before David); not because Avimelekh's grandson had died (as Rashi and the Radak propose), but because of the violation of the oath by the Philistines.  But from that time until the time of David, Bnei Yisrael did not try to conquer Jerusalem from the hands of the Yevusi.  [14]


2.  Avraham's oath to the children of Chet


A different understanding of the delay in conquering Jerusalem throughout the period of Yehoshua and the Judges is based on Avraham's oath to the children of Chet, as recounted in Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer (chapter 36):

"[Avraham] ran to bring a calf, but the calf ran away from him and entered the Cave of Makhpela.  He entered after it, and found Adam and Chava lying their upon their beds, sleeping, with lit candles over them, and a good fragrance around them.  Therefore he desired the Cave of Makhpela as a burial possession.  He told the children of Yevusi that he wanted to purchase the Cave of Makhpela from them in a good transaction, for gold and a binding document, as a burial possession.  But were these Yevusim? Were they not Chitim?! [Yes, but] they were called Yevusim after the city, Yevus.  The people did not accept his offer.  He began to bow and prostrate himself before them, as it is written, 'Avraham bowed himself before the people of the land' (Bereishit 23:12).  They said to him, 'We know that the Holy One is destined to give you and your descendants all of this land.  Make an oath to us that Israel will not inherit the city Yevus except by the will of the children of Yevus.' Thereafter he purchased the Cave of Makhpela in a transaction of gold and a permanent document, as a permanent possession.

What did the people of Yevus do? They made images of bronze and placed them in the city square, and inscribed Avraham's oath upon them.  When Israel came to the land they wished to enter the city of the Yevusi, but were unable to enter because of the sign of the covenant of Avraham's oath, as it is written: 'But the Yevusi, inhabitants of Jerusalem, [the children of Yehuda were unable to drive out].'  When David reigned and he wanted to enter the city, they would not let him, as it is written, 'They said to David, saying: You shall not come in here…' (II Shemuel 5:6).  Were Israel then not as numerous as the sand of the sea?! But because of the covenant of Avraham's oath… And thereafter [David] purchased the city of the Yevusi for Israel, in a binding document for an eternal possession.' [15]

According to this Midrash, when Avraham sought to purchase the Cave of Makhpela, the Chittim made the sale conditional on him swearing, in return for this transaction, that his descendants would not conquer the city of Yevus except with the approval of the Yevusim.  When David came to conquer the city, the Yevusim placed in the city square some bronze images upon which Avraham's oath was inscribed, and they did not allow him to enter.  Ultimately David solved the problem by purchasing the city from the Yevusim [16].

We may explain Avraham's readiness to relinquish the conquest of the city in terms of his desire to be buried alongside Adam, and to succeed him.  To realize this goal – to start connecting himself to the beginning of the world, to the entrance to the Garden of Eden [17] – Avraham was even prepared to relinquish the future hold of his descendants on Jerusalem.  The solution that David found was to purchase the city: This purchase was based on the agreement of the other party to the sale, and the problem of entry to the city was therefore solved only by virtue of the agreement of its inhabitants – i.e., through the fulfillment of the conditions of the oath.


Appendix: How could Avraham swear to Avimelekh?


In conclusion, let us briefly consider the question of how Avraham could have sworn to Avimelekh as he did.  We find two approaches to this question:

The Chizkuni (commenting on Bereishit 21:22) explains that Avraham could swear to Avimelekh for three generations – "To me, to my son and to my grandson" – because in the Covenant Between the Parts he himself had been promised that only "the fourth generation will return here" (Bereishit 15:16):

"And it was at that time" – when Sara gave birth, and the kings of the land said: The Holy One will surely fulfill His oath, as He said to Avraham, "To your seed I have given this land, from the river of Egypt…" (Bereishit 15:18).  Therefore Avimelekh asked of him: "Lest you deal falsely with me and my son and my grandson" (Ibid. 21:23): but Avimelekh could ask no more, for the Holy One had told Avraham, "The fourth generation shall return here" (Ibid. 15:16).  In other words, after the fourth generation of Emorites, your children will return and conquer this land.  And therefore when Avimelekh II arose, in the days of Yitzchak, he said: "Let us make a covenant between us, between us and you" (Ibid. 26:28), but did not ask him "and my son and my grandson," because it had already been said, "The fourth generation shall return here."

In contrast, several other opinions among Chazal and the Rishonim view the oath as a very serious mistake with far-reaching ramifications.  Thus, for example, we read in Bereishit Rabba (54,4):

"Avraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Avimelekh… And Avimelekh said to Avraham, What are these seven sheep?" The Holy One said to Avraham: Since you gave seven sheep against My will, by your life – I shall postpone the joy of your children for seven generations.

You gave him seven sheep against My will – by your life, seven righteous men of your descendants shall correspondingly be put to death.  These are they: Chofni and Pinchas, Shimshon, Shaul and his three sons.

You gave him seven sheep against My will – correspondingly, his descendants will destroy seven of your descendants' Sanctuaries.  These are they: the Tent of Meeting, and Gilgal, and Nov, and Giv'on, and Shilo, and both Temples.

You gave him seven sheep against My will – correspondingly, My Ark shall remain in Philistine hands for seven months.  As it is written, "He delivered His strength into captivity" (Tehillim 78:61) – this refers to the Ark of the Covenant; and it is written, "And the Ark of God was in the fields of the Philistines for seven months (I Shemuel 6:1)."

The Midrash Tanna De-Vei Eliyahu Rabba, and the Rashbam, discern a direct connection between the act of the Akeida and the forging of the covenant with Avimelekh:

A person should take care not to go into partnership with idolaters, nor to forge a covenant with them.  For we find, concerning Avraham our patriarch, that he made a partnership with Avimelekh and ended up forging a covenant with him… and when he forged the covenant with him, the ministering angels gathered before the Holy One, blessed be He, and said: "Why is Avraham forging a covenant with an idolater?" The Holy One told them: "His only son, whom I granted to him at the age of 100 – I shall tell him to offer him up as a burnt offering.  If he offers him – well and good; then you will know that his intentions were good – he wanted peaceful relations [with Avimelekh].  If not, then your claim is correct." As it is written, "And it was after these things that God tested Avraham… and Avraham put forth his hand and took the knife, to slaughter his son" (Bereishit 22:10).  From here they said: There is no nation in the world that does not subjugate and afflict Israel for longer than a few hundred years – only because Avraham forged a covenant with an idolater."  (Tanna De-Vei Eliyahu Rabba, chapter 7).

"And it was after these things" (Bereishit 22:1) – Every place where it is written, "After these things," the text is referring back to the preceding account… Here too: "After these things" – that Avraham forged a covenant with Avimelekh, him and his son and his grandson of Avraham.  And he gave him seven sheep, and God was angry with him for this – because the land of the Philistines was included within the boundaries of Israel, and the Holy One commanded, "You shall not leave any of them alive" (Devarim 20:16).  Also in Yehoshua, lots were cast for the five lords of the Philistines (Yehoshua 13:3; 16:45-47).  Therefore "God tested Avraham" – He vexed him and brought him sorrow, as it is written, "If one ventures a word to you, will you be grieved?" (Iyov 4:2), "For their testing of God" (Shemot 17:7), "Masa and Meriva" (Ibid.), "Examine me, Lord, and prove me" (Tehillim 26:2).  In other words: You were so proud of the son whom I gave you that you forged a covenant between your sons and their sons.  Now go and offer him up as a burnt offering, and let us see what your oath is worth" (Rashbam on Bereishit 22:1).

We have now completed our study of Jerusalem during the period of the conquest and settlement.  We shall now move on to the period of David, when – for the first time – the city was chosen to serve as the site of Israelite sovereignty for all generations.



[1] Several parallel sources address this issue; we shall not be able to cover all of them and all of their ramifications within the framework of this shiur.

[2] It is likewise altogether unrelated to the two opinions that were examined in the previous shiur concerning the route of the boundary.

[3] Some of the sources convey the impression that the division in the region of Mount Moriah is independent of the debate between the Tannaim as to whether Jerusalem was divided between the tribes; we shall not elaborate further here.

[4] This, indeed, is the opinion of Rabbi M.D. Gross, "Luach Yerushalayim' 5703, p. 125.

[5] This is a very broad subject; we shall illustrate with just one example: The Gemara in Bava Kama 82b (as later codified by the Rambam in his Laws of the Temple, chapter 7, law 14) teaches that "ten things are said of Jerusalem," and the reason that is common to several of them is that "Jerusalem was not divided between the tribes": A house in it is not absolute, as it is written, … the house that is in the walled city shall become the permanent property of its buyer, throughout his generations (Vayikra 25:30), and the reason is that Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes.  And the law of the heifer whose neck is broken [in the case of an unsolved murder committed outside of the city] is not practiced there, as it is written, "If a corpse be found upon the land which the Lord your God gives you to inherit" (Devarim 21:1) – for Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes.  Nor does Jerusalem ever become a "destroyed city," as it is written, "your cities" (Devarim 13:13) – while Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes.  And it does not contract the ritual impurity of the plague, as it is written, "I shall place the plague of tzara'at upon a house in the land of your possession" (Vayikra 14:34) – but Jerusalem was not divided among the tribes. Likewise the Tosefta (Ma'aser Sheni chapter 1, law 12) writes that "Houses are not rented out in Jerusalem because they are of [all] the tribes."  Rabbi S. Lieberman explains: "In other words, the houses belong to all of Israel, since Jerusalem is not divided among the tribes."

[6] We shall hopefully elaborate on each of these matters when we discuss the period of David and Shelomo.

[7] Rav Moshe Odes takes this direction in his article, "The Human and Divine Aspects of the Copper Altar," Ma'alin ba-Kodesh 13, pp. 112-113 [Heb.].

[8] The reader is encouraged to refer back to shiur no. 17, where we discussed the joint connection of these two tribes to the Divine Presence.

[9] We have mentioned in the past that this assertion is not universally accepted among the early commentators; according to some, there was a partial Israelite presence in the city, some held, in the period of Yehoshua and others during the period of the Judges.

[10] Rashi offers a similar explanation in his commentary on Yehoshua 15:63, and on Shoftim 1:21.

[11] This relies on the assumption that Avimelekh and his descendants lived to a tremendous old age…

[12] These sources are quoted at length in Hadar Olam, by Rabbi Eitan Shendorfi, Jerusalem 5758, p. 128 onwards.

[13] A similar situation exists in relation to the lands of Amon and Moav.  The command not to conquer their lands (Devarim 2:9,19) was nullified with their conquest by Sichon, King of the Emorites.  As Rav Papa puts it: "Amon and Moav were purified by Sichon" (Gittin 38a).

[14] The debate between the midrashim turns on a more fundamental issue: the exact identity of the Philistines (the connection between the Philistines in the days of Avraham and the Philistines in the days of the Judges).

[15] We quoted this Midrash in shiur no. 2, in relation to the mention of Hebron before Jerusalem in the process of entering the land.

[16] This Midrash does not sit well with the literal text, which teaches that the city of Jerusalem was conquered, and only Mount Moriah was purchased with money from Aravna.

[17] See Torah Sheleima, comments on Parashat Vayishlach, chapter 33 ot 64, in the name of Rabbeinu Sa'adya; see also the Alshikh on Bereishit 23:2.


Translated by Kaeren Fish