The Talmud in Gittin 88a says that Israel was only destroyed once it had seven courts that worshipped idols: Jeroboam son of Nebat's, Baasa son of Ahija's, Ahab son of Omri's, Jehu son of Nimshi's, Pekah son of Remalia's, Menahem son of Gadi's, and Hosea son of Elah's.

Rashi explains how the Talmud arrived at this number. Each 'court' coincides with each family of the Northern Kings, of which there were technically nine, but he excludes Shallum son of Jabesh, Zecharia, and Zimri, who did not rule for a full year.

Zecharia was the last king in the line of Jehu, (Kings II 15:8-10). Based on Rashi's own premise, There would be no reason to mention Zecharia's court, he would have been part of Jehu's!

Why did Rashi feel the need to exclude Zecharia from the Idolatrous courts?

עיון יעקב‏ says that Zecharia was worse than any of the other kings in Jehu's line, based on 15:9's extra phrase, כאשר עשו אבתיו‏, as his father's did. So I guess he made a new court to accomodate his wickedness, but it didn't last a year. However, this doesn't sit so well with me, because it seems that if this were the case, Rashi should have said something about this somewhere, though, instead of just assuming we knew.

Do any other sources discuss this and bring an alternative explanation?


1 Answer 1


Rabbi Yitzchak Danzig wrote in Beit Yitzchak, pg. 53:

"...גם הראיה שהביאו הלומדים מזכריה מלך ישראל שנחשב בני רבעים ליהוא והנודע ביהודה הסכים לדבריהם, פליאה נשגבה בעיני שנעלם מהם הגמ' מגיטין...דאמרינן שם אמר ריב"ל...ופירש"י ז' בתי דינין...הרי שלא חשבו בגמ' את זכריה שיהא הוא נחשב לבני רבעים ליהוא מלך ישראל וע"כ מה שנאמר ליהוא הוא נחשב לבני רבעים ישבו לך על כסא ישראל לא על זכריה נאמר כי הוא לא נחשב למלך על כסא מלכי ישראל רק הכונה על ירבעם אביו של זכריה שהוא דור הרביעי ובו נתקיים הנבואה בני רבעים ישבו לך על כסא ישראל ויהוא בכלל הדורות, והנה מלך יהוא הוא ראשון למספר הדורות ואחריו יהואחז הוא השני למספר ואחריו יואש בנו והוא השלישי למספר ואחריו ירבעם בנו והוא הרביעי למספר הדורות..."

Translation: "Also the proof they brought those that learn from Zecharyah king of Israel who was considered a fourth generation to Yehu and the Nodah B'yehudah agreed with what they said, I find this to be quite wondrous in my eyes how they missed the gemara from Gittin...as it is said there Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said...and Rashi explains seven courts...from here we see that the gemara didn't consider Zecharyah to be the fourth generation of Yehu king of Israel and therefore that which is said to Yehu that also those of the fourth generation will sit upon the throne of Israel not about Zecharyah was this said for he wasn't considered to be a king upon the throne of the kings of Israel only about Yerov'am father of Zecharyah was this said who was the fourth generation and in him the prophecy was fulfilled that four generations of your descendants shall occupy the throne of Israel and Yehu is part of the generations, as such King Yehu he was the first to the counting of the generations and after him Yehoachaz the second of the count and after him his son Yoash and he was the third of the count and after him his son Yerov'am and he was the fourth of the counting of the generations..."

So according to Rabbi Danzig, Rashi meant that Zecharyah wasn't really considered a king or part of Yehu's royal lineage and as such, excluded him.

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