1. A. "He shall be a wild ass of a man, [his hand against every man and every man's hand against him, and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen]" (Gen. 16:12):
C. R. Yohanan said, "[The term is used figuratively.] For most people grow up in a settled community, while he grew up in the wilderness."
D. R. Simeon b. Laqish said, " 'A wild ass of a man' is meant literally, for most people plunder property, but he plundered lives."
2. A. "... his hand against every man and every man's hand against him"
B. [Reading the consonants for "every . . . against him" with different vowels, we produce the meaning:] His hand and the hand of his dog were alike. Just as his dog ate carrion, so he ate carrion.
3. A. Said R. Eleazar, "When is it the case that'his hand is against every man and every man's hand against him'?
B. "When he comes concerning whom it is written: 'And whatsoever the children of men, the beasts of the field and the fowl of the heaven dwell, has he given them into your hand' (Dan. 2:38). [Freedman, p. 386, n. 2: In the days of Nebuchadnezzar, whose ruthless policy of conquest aroused the whole world against him.]
C. "That is in line with the following verse of Scripture: 'Of Kedar and of the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar smote' (Jer. 49: 28). His name is spelled, 'Nebuchadrezzar' because he shut them up in the wilderness and killed them. [Freedman, p. 386, n. 4: A play on the name, which, with the present spelling, ends in asar, spelled with an alef, as though it were asar, spelled with an ayin and yielding the meaning, shut up.]"
4. A. [". . . and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen]" (Gen.
B. Here the word-choice is "dwell" while later on it is "he fell" (Gen. 25:18).
C. So long as Abraham was alive, "he [Ishmael] shall dwell." Once he died, "he fell." [His father's merit no longer protected him.]
D. Before he laid hands on the Temple, "he shall dwell." After he laid hands on the Temple, "he fell."
E. In this world "he shall dwell." In the world to come, "he fell."
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