David Rubeni

David Rubeni (also called David Leimlein), a fanatical Jew, lived at the end of the 15th and in the first part of the 16th century. It was said that he frequently remained without food for sixty days; professed to come from the east of Tartary; and announced the advent of the Messiah for the year 1500. Accordingly, in 1499 he pretended to have received a divine command to lead the Jews back to the land of their fathers; and when some were preparing to go to the Holy Land, David was under the necessity of declaring that God was displeased with their sins, and had therefore retarded the accomplishment of his promise. Pope Clement VII who favored the Israelites, honored David with much distinction. David went to Lisbon, and there succeeded in bringing back to Judaism Solomon Molcho, who had become a Christian, and who occupied the position of secretary to the king of Portugal. Solomon was both an orator and a scribe, and thus afforded great help to David. The two together happened to be present at Mantua when Charles V passed through the city. Solomon was so imprudent as to ask the emperor for an audience, hoping to convert him to Judaism; but the only result was that he was compelled to mount the funeral pile. David was seized at the same time, and sent to Spain, where he died a few days afterwards. His death did not undeceive the Jews, who believed for a long time that le returned every week to visit his wife, who was in Italy. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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