As we have learned, the Mishna (90b) includes a list of the kings – as well as ordinary individuals – whose activities caused them to lose their share in the World-to-Come.
The Gemara on today’s daf asks who made up these lists?
In response, Rav Ashi explains that the lists were compiled by the Anshei Knesset HaGedola – members of the Great Assembly.
The question of who made up these lists can be understood as follows. The other teachings in the Mishna relate to issues that can be derived by study or logic, so there is no need to ask who established them. Regarding an individual’s rights to the World-to-Come, however, how could any human being be certain of who is deserving to merit this. Rav Yissachar ber Ilenberg in his Sefer Be’er Sheva explains that Rav Ashi’s response was that the last group of prophets – the Anshei Knesset HaGedola – who knew this based on their prophecy, were the ones who were able to compile these lists.
The Gemara continues by quoting Rav Yehuda in the name of Rav who taught that they wanted to include another king in the list of those who did not merit the World-to-Come. Somewhat surprisingly, they wanted to exclude King Solomon (see I Melakhim chapter 11). The Gemara relates that –
His father, King David came to appeal their decision, but they paid no attention to him.
A heavenly fire came and singed their safsalim – the benches that the Anshei Knesset HaGedola were sitting on – but they paid no attention
A bat kol – a heavenly voice – defended King Solomon’s honor, quoting the pasuk in Mishle (22:29) that indicated that the one who built God’s Temple quickly, giving it priority over his own palace, deserved recognition, but they paid no attention.
Finally the Heavenly voice quoted the passage in Iyyov (34:33), indicating that the decision of who is invited into the World-to-Come is one made by God and not by human beings.