MIDRASH RABBAH

Ruth

Midrash Rabbah - Ruth Prologue IV

4. R. Judah b. R. Simon introduced his exposition with the verse And he said: I will hide My face from them (Deut. XXXII, 20). Israel could be compared with a king's son who goes into the market place, and smites people, but he himself is not smitten.3 He insults, but is not insulted, and he goes up to his father arrogantly. His father says to him, ‘What do you think? That you are respected on account of yourself? It is only on account of the respect given to me that you are respected.’ What did his father do? He renounced him, with the result that no one took any notice of him. So when Israel went out of Egypt, their terror fell upon all the nations, as it is said, The people have heard, they tremble; pangs have taken hold of the inhabitants of Philistia. Then were the chiefs of Edom affrighted; the mighty men of Moab, trembling hath taken hold of them. All the inhabitants of Canaan are melted away. Terror and dread falleth upon them (Ex. XV, 14- I6). But when they were guilty of transgressions and evil deeds, the Holy One, blessed be He, said, ‘What do you think? That you are respected on account of yourselves? Indeed ye are respected only on account of the respect which is due to Me.’ What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He turned away from them a little, and the Amalekites came and attacked Israel, as it is said, Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim (Ex. XVII, 8). And then the Canaanites came and fought with Israel, as it is said, And the Canaanite ... heard, etc. (Num. XXI, 1). The Holy One, blessed be He, said, ‘Ye have no genuine faith. Ye have no faith in your own words.l Ye are froward, as it is said, For they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faithfulness--emun (Deut. XXXII, 20). This is written defectively as amen.2 When the prophets blessed them, not one of them opened his lips to utter amen until Jeremiah uttered it, as it is said, Then answered I and said: Amen, O Lord (Jer. XI, 5).3 In that moment the Holy One, blessed be He, said, ' Ye are froward, ye are troublesome, ye are rebellious. Yet to destroy them is impossible, to take them back to Egypt is impossible, to change them for another nation is impossible, etc.’4

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