Friday, January 8, 2010

A Very Long Response

Saul, the future king of Israel, was looking for the prophet Samuel. The young, handsome man encountered some young ladies and, using as few words as possible, asked them (I Samuel 9:11), “Is the seer here?

The young ladies replied (1 Samuel 9:12-13): “He is. Behold, he is before you. Hasten now, for on this day he has come to the city since the people will have today’s sacrifice in the high place. When you come to the city, you will immediately find him, before he ascends to the high place to eat; for the people will not eat until he comes, since he blesses the sacrifice, and afterwards those that are invited shall eat.

The Talmud wonders about this strange and very lengthy response and concludes that the young maidens prolonged the conversation because Saul was a very good looking (albeit reticent) young man (Babylonian Talmud, Berachos 48b).

International Journal of Humor Research, Vol. 13:3, Sept. 2000, 258-285. Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D. & Bernard H. Stern

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