In Targum Sheni on Esther 1:3, a man named Paltiya ben Yehoyadah (פלטיא/פלטיה בן יהוידע) is mentioned as someone who argued with Nevuchadnetzar when he came to destroy Yerushalayim:

"When Nevuchadnetzar heard these words, he said to his men: "Kill them, for they have transgressed the king's word!"

Answered one of the Jews, whose name was Paltiya ben Yehoyadah, and said: "The flock that was handed by its owner to the shepherd and a wolf came and ate some of the flock, from whom should [the owner] demand [payment for] his flock?"

Nevuchadnetzar answered: "From the shepherd, of course."

Said Paltiya: "Your ears should hear the words that come out of your own mouth!"

"And so the king commanded that King Tzidkiyahu be brought and his iron and bronze shackles be removed, and his torn clothes be replaced." (translation based on Patshegen Haketav, the Hebrew translation of Targum Sheni)

Mentioning his name seemed kind of random to me1, so I was wondering whether there's anymore information about him out there?

1 Although the 'ben Yehoyadah' part might be an echo of two other, better-known, men mentioned in the passage, Benayahu ben Yehoyadah and Zecharaiah ben Yehoyadah (the prophet killed in the Temple). However, while those two were kohanim, the passage states Paltiya was 'of Yisrael' or 'one of the Jews' (per Patshegen Haketav). Edit: In his commentary on Esther "Yonah Dedahava", Rabbi Elchanan Gibli brings a version of the Targum that says Paltiya was a kohen. I have no idea which version is more accurate.


1 Answer 1


As pcoz noted in a comment, פְּלַטְיָהוּ בֶּן בְּנָיָהוּ is mentioned in Yechezkel 11:1 and :13, and in the former place he's described as one of שָׂרֵי הָעָם, the noblemen/princes of the people. So it's likely that the Targum is referring to him, the more so since the Gemara, Kiddushin 72b, also has him intervening personally with Nevuchadnetzar in a different connection.

Now, one problem with that, which the OP mentioned in a comment, is that Yechezkel there describes seeing his death, and this was several years before the destruction of the first Beis Hamikdash. However, the Gemara there tells of Pelatiah's intervention with Nevuchadnetzar after the Destruction and the exile, about where the Jewish exiles vs. their slaves should be settled. Accordingly, Yechezkel is seeing prophetically Pelatiah's future death at an early age, and cries out about it. (The Gemara there cites two opinions why he cried out - the second is that Pelatiah was wicked and didn't deserve a peaceful death - but not necessarily does that opinion have to disagree about the timing of his death, and anyway the Targum might simply be following one opinion.)

Another problem is his patronymic, since in Yechezkel he's called the son of Benayah(u), while the Targum identifies him as the son of Yehoyada. It's plausible, as the OP suggested, that the Targum is thinking of Benayahu not as his father but as his ancestor, and identifying him with the Benayahu ben Yehoyada who was King Shlomo's general (or with an otherwise unrecorded son or descendant of Yehoyada the Kohen Gadol). That could still fit with the Targum calling him חַד מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, one of Yisrael, since (a) that might refer to his national affiliation rather than his tribal one, (b) he might have been descended from Benayahu in the maternal line (and still been distinguished for that), or (c) the version quoted in the OP, that Pelatiah was a kohen, is in fact the correct one.

(Yet another possibility, perhaps, is that Targum Sheni assumes that Benayahu ben Yehoyada wasn't a kohen at all. It is true that he is so called in I Chronicles 27:5, and the commentaries there and to I Kings 2:25 take that literally (and have to contend with how, as a kohen, he was allowed to kill Adoniyahu and others), but perhaps the author of Targum assumed that כהן can mean a high-ranking minister, as in וּבְנֵי דָוִד כֹּהֲנִים הָיוּ of II Samuel 8:18.)

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