60. One day, the friends were sitting and contending with each other, MEANING THEY WERE HAVING A DISCUSSION AMONG THEMSELVES. Rabbi Elazar, Rabbi Aba, Rabbi Chiya, Rabbi Yosi and the rest of the friends were present. They said that it is written: "Do not harass Moab, nor contend with them in battle..." (Devarim 2:9). That was for the sake of Ruth and Naamah, who were destined to come from their midst. AND IF SO, Tziporah, the wife of Moses who came from Midian, and Jethro and his offspring, who came out of Midian, who were all truly just, most certainly SHOULD HAVE PROTECTED MIDIAN. Furthermore, Moses grew up in Midian and still, the Holy One, blessed be He, told him, "Execute the vengeance of the children of Yisrael on the Midianites" (Bemidbar 31:2), YET MOSES' MERIT DID NOT PROTECT THEM. Therefore, there is an inappropriate bias in this matter, since Midian appeared worthier to be saved than Moab.
61. Rabbi Shimon said, There is no comparison between he who is going to gather the figs and he who already gathered them, SINCE RUTH AND NAAMAH HAD NOT YET COME OUT FROM AMON AND MOAB, WHICH IS NOT THE CASE WITH TZIPORAH, WHO HAD ALREADY EMERGED FROM MIDIAN. Rabbi Elazar said to him, Although they already gathered THE FIGS, it is still a merit AND THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SAVED DUE TO THEIR MERIT. He said to him, Whoever has not collected the figs yet constantly guards that fig tree, so that it should not get any harm for the sake of the figs that are still to grow. He abandons the tree and does not watch it after collecting the figs.