273. Rabbi Yehuda opened the discussion with the verse, "Create in me a clean heart, Elohim, and renew a steadfast spirit within me" (Tehilim 51:12). This verse has already been expounded upon, yet the "clean heart" has the same meaning as in the verses, "Give therefore Your servant an understanding heart" (I Melachim 3:9), and "but he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast" (Mishlei 15:15). For that reason, his heart is assuredly clean.
274. " ...And renew a steadfast spirit within me." This is surely the steadfast spirit mentioned in the verse, "And a spirit from Elohim moved over the surface of the waters" (Beresheet 1:2). It has been said that this is the spirit of Messiah, ABOUT WHICH IT IS WRITTEN, "A new spirit will I put within you" (Yechezkel 36:26). David therefore asked, "and renew a steadfast spirit" - THE SPIRIT OF MESSIAH - "within me."
275. For on the Other Side, there is a defiled heart and a spirit of confusion that provokes humans to transgress. This is the Defiled Spirit, called "the spirit of confusion," as it is written, "Hashem has mingled a spirit of confusion in the midst of her" (Yeshayah 19:14). Therefore David requested, "Renew a steadfast spirit within me." HE ASKS, What does "renew" imply? HE ANSWERS, It refers to the renewal of the moon - THAT IS, THE RENEWAL OF THE UNION BETWEEN THE NUKVA AND ZEIR ANPIN. Because at the time that the moon is renewed, it is proven that David, King of Yisrael - SYMBOLIC OF THE NUKVA - is considered alive and well, HAVING ATTAINED MOCHIN OF THE LIGHT OF CHAYAH. Therefore, he asked to be renewed, IMPLYING THE RENEWAL OF THE UNION WITH ZEIR ANPIN.
276. As they were walking together, Rabbi Yosi asks Rabbi Elazar about the verse, "And there came forth a spirit, and stood before Hashem, and said, 'I will persuade him.' And Hashem said to him, 'With what?' And he said, 'I will go out, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And He said, 'You shall persuade him, and prevail also: go out, and do so'" (I Melachim 22:21-22). We have learned that this was the spirit of Navot the Yizraeli. HE ASKS, Could it be that the souls, after ascending and staying above, return to this world? It is astonishing that he said, "I will go out and I will be a lying spirit..."
277. Also, why was Ahab punished for what he did? It was a law decreed by Samuel to Yisrael, as it is written, "And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best olive yards" (I Shmuel 8:14). If Ahab took the vineyard from Navot, he was within his rights. Moreover, Ahab offered him a vineyard or gold in exchange, but he refused. WHY, THEREFORE, WAS HE PUNISHED?
278. Rabbi Elazar replied, This is well asked. Come and behold, we have to look at the assumption that this was Navot's spirit. Could his spirit have risen and stood in the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He, and asked to lie, as it is written, "And there came a spirit ...'I WILL GO OUT, AND I WILL BE A LYING SPIRIT'" (I Melachim 22:22). If he were righteous, how could he have asked to lie in that world, which is the World of Truth? A righteous man will not ask to lie in this world, let alone in that world. And if he were not righteous, how could he have stood in the presence of the Holy One, blessed be He?
279. But surely Navot was not righteous enough to stand before the Holy One, blessed be He. It is another spirit that rules over the world, the spirit that always ascends to stand before the Holy One, blessed be He - NAMELY, THE SATAN. He is the one who leads men astray by lying, FOR HE LIES BY THE HOLY NAME. He is wont to lie and constantly resorts to lies. Therefore he said, "I will go out, and I will be a lying spirit." The Holy One, blessed be He, replied, "Go out, and do so." Get you hence, for it has been explained that "He that tells lies shall not remain in my sight" (Tehilim 101:7). He is therefore assuredly a Lying Spirit.
280. Further, WE HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY HE WAS PUNISHED. IT WAS BECAUSE he killed Navot. If he already took his vineyard, why kill him? It was because he killed him without cause that he was punished. He first killed unjustly and then took his vineyard. Thus, it is written, "Have you killed, and also taken possession?" (I Melachim 21:19). Therefore he was punished. Come and behold, there are innumerable people in the world, whom the Lying Spirit has led astray. He has dominion over the world, using several devices and actions, as we have already explained.
281. King David therefore wished to be guarded from THE LYING SPIRIT and to be removed from impurity, as it is written, "Create in me a clean heart, Elohim, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." This is the steadfast spirit; the other is the Lying Spirit. Thus there are two grades, the one holy, THE STEADFAST SPIRIT, and the other impure, THE LYING SPIRIT.
282. He opened with the verse, "And Hashem utters His voice before His army: for His camp is very great: for he is mighty who executes His word" (Yoel 2:11). This verse has already been explained, yet wherever "and Hashem (Vav-Yud Hei Vav Hei)" is mentioned, IT ALLUDES TO ZEIR ANPIN and His court of Justice, THE NUKVA - HE "utters His voice." This is the voice referred to in the verses, "The voice of words" (Devarim 4:12), and "I am not a man of words" (Shemot 4:10), because the man of words is, "the man of Elohim" (Devarim 33:1); " before His army," refers to Yisrael.