“Do not despise an Edomite” (Dt.23:8)—
“For he is your brother” (Dt.23:8)—
and brotherhood is praiseworthy.
“Do not despise an Egyptian” (Dt.23:8)—
“Because you were a migrant in his land” (Dt.23:8)—
[therefore, you are in his debt].
Said R. Elazar b. Azariah:
The Egyptians received Israel with ulterior motives;
yet the All-Present endowed them with a reward.
Now, isn’t this a matter of simple logic?
If someone had no intention to earn merit,
yet his deed was meritorious,
Scripture considers him to have earned merit—
if he intended to earn merit,
shouldn’t we expect all the more so that
he be considered to have earned merit?2
R. Shimon says:
Egypt drowned Israel in the waters [of the Nile]
and Edom greeted them with the sword—
yet Scripture forbids them entry
into the Community [of Israel]
for only three generations (Dt.23:4)]!
The Ammonites and Moabites,
however, are forbidden forever,
because they took Balak’s counsel 3
and enticed Israel into sin.
This teaches you that
one who entices a person into sin
does him more harm than his murderer.
For a murderer expels him only from the present eon,
but one who entices a person into sin
expels him from the present eon
as well as the coming eon.