I'm reading Radak's explanation to Melachim (Kings) I 8:43. He explains that King Shlomo (Solomon) requests G-d to fulfill whatever a Gentile requests (Rad"ak explains whether he deserves it or not) whereas, for Jews Shlomo says that G-d should fulfill their requests according to what is in their heart (i.e. if they are worthy of receiving their request.)

Rada"k explains that the reason is so that the Gentiles should know that G-d's name is called upon the Temple and that will give them a reason to revere G-d in the same way that Jews do.

There are some things that puzzle me about this explanation:

  • Isn't the fact that the Gentile appeared to pray at the Temple already a recognition that G-d's presence is there?
  • What does Rada"k mean by stating that they will rever G-d like B'nai Yisra'el does? In what way is it similar? Isn't the main way that Jews demonstrate reverence by performing G-d's mitzvoth? Is Rada"k implying that they will be more motivated to observe their 7 mitzvoth?
  • Isn't common behavior that when someone knows that he can get a "freebie" from someone who is willing to give it, that person will expect a freebie the next time? I.e., if the Gentile senses that G-d is granting his wishes freely even if his behavior doesn't warrant it, wouldn't he be likely to just expect G-d to answer every request al the time without changing his behavior? Shouldn't there be some limit to G-d granting a Gentile's requests all the time?
  • @AlBerko If you click the link, you will see the Rada"k on the exact verse that I listed in the link text. Inform me if there is still a problem. – DanF Nov 15 at 17:58

I would assume he means the same thing as Rashi who speaks this out more clearly:

ככל אשר יקרא אליך הנכרי . ובישראל הוא אומר ( לעיל פסוק לט ) : ונתת לאיש ככל דרכיו , לפי שישראל מכיר בהקב''ה , ויודע שהיכולת בידו , ואם אין תפלתו נשמעת , תולה את הדבר בעצמו ובחטאו , אבל עובד גילולים קורא תגר , ואומר : בית ששמו הולך לסוף העולם , נתייגעתי לכמה דרכים ובאתי והתפללתי בו , ולא מצאתי בו ממש , כשם שאין ממש בעבודת גלולים , לפיכך ככל אשר יקרא אליך הנכרי , אבל ישראל , אם אתה רואה שהוא משחית בממונו את חבירו , אל תתן לו :

The fact that the Akum came doesn't preclude him from feeling bitterness and disillusion with Hashem after not receiving what he prayed for.

While it may be true that getting a freebee is not so productive, he will be better off than not having received it.

Rashi translation

According to all that the stranger called to you for: And by the [request of] the Jew he says (v. 39), “and give to every man according to his ways” [indicating that he may occasionally be refused,] that is because the Jew recognizes and accepts God, the Holy One, may He be blessed, and he knows that He has the ability in His power to respond [favorably to his request, if God so wished;] and if his prayers will not be heard [and fulfilled], he will blame the matter on himself and his sins. But [if] the non-Jew would [experience the same frustrations he would] say, a house whose name and fame reaches to the ends of the world, and I have exhausted myself [traveling] on many roads, and I [finally] came [to this house] and prayed in it and I find no substance [nor significance] in it, just as there is no substance in idol worshipping. Therefore, [I beg You, said Solomon,] “according to all that the stranger called to you for,” but [as for] the Jew, if you see that he uses his wealth to destroy his friend, [then] do not give him [any].

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