I can think of several said with proper intentions - for instance, Miriam (Bamidbar ch. 12) wasn’t trying to harm Moshe with her speech; likewise those who told Gedaliah that he was to be killed by Yishmael (Yirmiya 40:14) were trying to save him.

Are there any instances in Tanach of people who spoke Lashon Hara about other people (to the exclusion of ex. the Meraglim) purely to harm the one about whom the Lashon Hara was said?

  • 1
    Lots of David's enemies (Doeg, the Zifim, ...), no? – Meir Sep 16 at 14:02
  • @Meir I’m not convinced about the Zifim; Rashi sounds like they thought they were doing the right thing by handing him over, but Doeg surely is an answer. How did I forget about them? – DonielF Sep 16 at 14:07
  • Re the Lashon Hara that Miriam spoke, isn't there a Midrash that explains that Miriam relayed the fact that Tzippora didn't have relations with Moshe, and she relayed that story. Of what good use was that? – DanF Sep 16 at 14:29
  • @DanF See Rashi on those Pesukim - ומה מרים שלא נתכונה לגנותו. She was wrong and was punished accordingly, but she didn’t intend to harm him in doing so. – DonielF Sep 16 at 14:30
  • @DonielF Doeg also thought he was doing the right thing as he thought David was Moreid Bemalchus and convinced of his ill lineage. It seems that the reason why he is enumerated in Chelek as not going to Olam Haba is for having never accepted higher authority of Shmuels Psak that Dovid was Kosher and annointed justifiably as King unlike say Yonasan who accepted Dovid in spite of losing the throne – user15464 Sep 16 at 20:51

In 2 Samuel 16, when David flees Jerusalem after Avshalom's conspiracy, Ziba the slave comes to David with provisions, and claims Mephibosheth that has broken faith with David to join Avshalom. David responds by giving all that belonged to Mephibosheth to his slave Tziva instead. Finally, in 2 Samuel 19,28 when David returns to Jerusalem, Mephibosheth tells David that Tziva had been lying וירגל בעבדך אל אדני (. David responds by saying "You and Tziva shall divide the land."

the Gemara Yuma 22b says:
לרב נמי דאמר קבל דוד לשון הרע הא איפרעו מיניה דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב בשעה שאמר לו דוד למפיבושת (שמואל ב יט, ל) אמרתי אתה וציבא תחלקו את השדה יצאה בת קול ואמרה לו רחבעם וירבעם יחלקו את המלכות
When tziva the slave said to David Lashon Hara about Mefiboshes and David accepted and said they should divide Mefiboshes' estate, as a punishment heavenly voice came out and said "Rechavam and Yeravam should divide the kingdom" (that was supposed to be solely under Monarchy of Davids lineage Rechavam).

A slave is obligated tokeep Mitvos Lo taase including not saying Lashon Hara just like a woman (Yevamos 48a), and David was obligated not to listen to Lashon Hara.


Ezra 4 describes the slander of the returnees to Yehudah which their enemies sent to the Persian kings, leading to delays in rebuilding the Second Temple.

  • 1
    It’s my understanding they weren’t Jewish (or fully Jewish), so they weren’t obligated in Lashon Hara anyway. I’m looking for people who actually violated the prohibition. – DonielF Sep 16 at 14:20
  • 1
    @DonielF It seems that until the times of the Mishnah the Shomronim / Kutim were treated as Jews – Joel K Sep 16 at 14:30
  • @donielf you are right as Tosfos says in Chullin 3a כותיים לא נתגיירו לגמרי כדכתיב במלכים (ב יז) את ה' היו יראים ואת אלהיהם היו עובדים ומאן דאמר גרי אמת הן קסבר דשוב נתגיירו לגמרי The Passuk states clearly the Kutim only converted for fear of lions and weren't genuine converts, so the opinion in the Mishna that Holds they were genuine, this only happened at a later date when they decided to fully convert (almost certainly in the time of the Tanaim as in the days of Ezra they were clearly enemies of the Jews and Judaism halting the building of the Bais Hamikdash) – user15464 Sep 16 at 21:13
  • @user15464 I went back through the sugya; it’s a Machlokes Tana’im toward the beginning of Maseches Geirim. – DonielF Sep 16 at 21:46
  • @DonielF tosfos agrees with you its a machlokes he just says that the machlokes tannaim came about after tanach because at the time of tanach (your question right) all Tannaim would agree the kutim weren't genuine see 2 Malachim 17 explicitely stating they weren't genuine Jews, its just the later generations became genuine according to one opinion and according to the other opinion remained goyim – user15464 Sep 16 at 22:03

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .