Sanhedrin, Chapter Ten, Mishnah Two

 

Introduction

This mishnah discusses seven individual Biblical characters, three kings and four commoners, who do not have a place in the world to come. 

  

Mishnah Two

Three kings and four commoners have no portion in the world to come:

1)                     The three kings are Jeroboam, Ahab, and Manasseh.  

a)                                           Rabbi Judah says: “Manasseh has a portion in the world to come, for it says, “He prayed to him, and He granted his prayer, and heard his plea and he restored him to Jerusalem, to his kingdom” (II Chronicles 33:13).  

b)                                          They [the sages] said to him:  “They restored him to his kingdom, but not to [his portion in] the world to come.”

2)                     The four commoners are: Bilaam, Doeg, Ahitophel, and Gehazi.

 

Explanation

Section one:  The mishnah lists three wicked Jewish kings who have lost their portions in the world to come:  Jeroboam (see I Kings 13:34, 14:10), Ahab (see I Kings 21:21-22) and Manasseh (see II Kings 21:2-3).  All of these Kings encouraged idol worship and shed the blood of God’s true prophets.  For these sins God specifically warns them that they and their seed will be totally cut off from Israel.  Rabbi Judah argues that Manasseh repented and was restored at the end of his days.  The Sages retort that his restoration was political but did not restore his place in the world to come. Implied in their argument is that no matter how heinous the crime, repentance even at the end of one’s days can restore one’s place in the world to come. 

Section two:  The four non-Kings mentioned in the Torah who do not receive a portion in the world to come are:  1) Bilaam, the prophet who attempted to curse Israel (Numbers 22-24); 2) Doeg, who informed on David to Saul and caused the death of the priests of Nob (I Samuel 22:9-22); 3)  Ahitophel, who advised Absolom against David and subsequently hung himself (II Samuel 17:1-23); 4)  Gehazi, Elisha’s servant (see II Kings 5:20-27).

 

Questions for Further Thought:

·                      Can you think of Biblical characters who you would have thought should have appeared on this list but do not?

 

 

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