“Answer him,” said the ruler.
The accusers asked for three days’ time to prepare their reply, but at the end of the three days they had vanished.
Then came the Egyptians, saying, “’God gave the Israelites favor in the eyes of the Egyptians, and they lent them gold and silver.’ Now return us the gold and silver which our ancestors lent ye.”
Again Gebiah appeared for the sages of Israel.
“Four hundred and thirty years,” said he, “did the children of Israel dwell in Egypt. Come, now, pay us the wages of six hundred thousand men who worked for ye for naught, and we will return the gold and silver.”
Then came the children of Ishmael and Ketura, before Alexander of Mukdon, saying, “The land of Canaan is ours, as it is written, ’These are the generations of Ishmael, the son of Abraham;’ even as it is written, ‘These are the generations of Isaac, the son of Abraham.’ One son is equal to the other; come, give us our share.”
Again Gebiah appeared as counsel for the sages.
“From the Pentateuch, which is your proof, will I confound ye” said he. “Is it not written ’Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, but unto the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts?’ The man who gives his children their inheritance during his life does not design to give it to them again after his death. To Isaac Abraham left all that he had; to his other children he gave gifts, and sent them away.”
PROVERBIAL SAYINGS AND TRADITIONS
Do not to others what you would not have others do to you.
The ass complains of the cold even in July (Tamuz.)
First learn and then teach.
Few are they who see their own faults.
A single light answers as well for a hundred men as for one.
Victuals prepared by many cooks will be neither hot nor cold.
Truth lasts forever, but falsehood must vanish.
This is the punishment of the liar, that when he tells the truth nobody believes him.
Use thy best vase to-day, for to-morrow it may, perchance, be broken.
When Satan cannot come himself he sends wine as a messenger.
Woe to the children banished from their father’s table.
A handful of food will not satisfy the lion, neither can a pit be filled again with its own dust.
Pray to God for mercy until the last shovelful of earth is cast upon thy grave.
Cease not to pray even when the knife is laid upon thy neck.
Open not thy mouth to speak evil.
To be patient is sometimes better than to have much wealth.
The horse fed too liberally with oats becomes unruly.
Happy the pupil whose teacher approves his words.
When the cucumbers are young we may tell whether they will become good for food.
Poverty cometh from God, but not dirt.