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The following story appears in the Babylonian Talmud on Shabbat 127b:

Our Rabbis taught: He who judges his neighbour in the scale of merit is himself judged favourably. Thus a story is told of a certain man who descended from Upper Galilee and was engaged by an individual in the South for three years. On the eve of the Day of Atonement he requested him, 'Give me my wages that I may go and support my wife and children.' 'I have no money,' answered he. 'Give me produce,' he demanded; 'I have none,' he replied. 'Give me land.' — 'I have none.' 'Give me cattle.' — 'I have none. 'Give me pillows and bedding.' — 'I have none.' [So] he slung his things behind him and went home with a sorrowful heart. After the Festival his employer took his wages in his hand together with three laden asses, one bearing food, another drink, and the third various sweetmeats, and went to his house. After they had eaten and drunk, he gave him his wages. Said he to him, 'When you asked me, "Give me my wages," and I answered you, "I have no money," of what did you suspect me?' 'I thought, Perhaps you came across cheap merchandise and had purchased it therewith.' 'And when you requested me, "Give me cattle," and I answered, "I have no cattle," of what did you suspect me?' 'I thought, they may be hired to others.' 'When you asked me, "Give me land," and I told you, "I have no land," of what did you suspect me?' 'I thought, perhaps it is leased to others.' 'And when I told you, "I have no produce," of what did you suspect me?' 'I thought, Perhaps they are not tithed.' 'And when I told you, "I have no pillows or bedding," of what did you suspect me?' 'I thought, perhaps he has sanctified all his property to Heaven.' 'By the [Temple] service!' exclaimed he, 'it was even so; I vowed away all my property because of my son Hyrcanus, who would not occupy himself with the Torah, but when I went to my companions in the South they absolved me of all my vows. And as for you, just as you judged me favourably, so may the Omnipresent judge you favourably.'

(Soncino translation)

When the interaction first occurred the order of requests was:

  1. Money
  2. Produce
  3. Land
  4. Cattle
  5. Pillows and bedding

Yet when the guy later paid up the wages and asked the employee what his reactions were, the order is different:

  1. Money
  2. Cattle
  3. Land
  4. Produce
  5. Pillows and bedding

The first and last remain the same but the middle three have had their order reversed. Is there a reason for this? Have any commentaries addressed this?

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