Parashah 18: Mishpatim (Rulings)

Parashah 18: Exodus 21:1-24:8

“We will obey every word Yahweh has spoken” (Exodus 24:3).

The Big Ten did did not complete all of the teachings and instructions of Yahweh.  He continued with his mishpatim or rulings.  Mishpat  is a Hebrew noun that means ‘judgment or rights.’  Mishpat deals with the act of sitting as a judge and rendering a proper verdict so that things are in proper relationship.

The mishpatim give more specifics to how Yahweh’s people were to judge cases involving human rights: slavery, murder, personal attacks with people or animals, stealing, witchcraft, foreigners, other gods.  These judgments explain in more detail how we are to ‘love God and our neighbor as ourself.’

1.  Hebrew slaves. 

Slavery in Yahweh’s Kingdom order is not like the slavery that the world embraces.  The Hebrew verb for ‘slave’ comes from avod and means ‘to work;’ the noun ‘slave’ would be  avodah suggesting hard labor.   When the word is used for workers in Isra’el, it means ‘to serve.’    With a slight change in a vowel point, avod becomes eved and means ‘servant.’   In Isra’el a servant was bought for money and not ‘enslaved’ like the Hebrews were in Egypt.  Servanthood was considered a mark of humility.

A Hebrew servant worked six years for his master, but in the seventh year,  he was to be given his freedom.  If he began work as a single man, he was to leave single.  If he began work as a married man, his family would leave with him.  If the slave married and had children while working the six years, the wife and children remained the master’s possession unless the servant desires to stay with his wife and children.  The master would then take the slave to the door post of his home and pierce his ear with an awl.  This man would then remain his servant for the rest of his life.

Selah

Piercing the ear is a symbol of slavery.  Though piercings seem to be nothing more than a modern cultural expression of fashion,  they are really a sign of being enslaved to the world.

A daughter sold into slavery was not allowed to be set free.  If she married her master, but decides she no longer pleases him, her freedom may be purchased though not by a foreigner as she has already been treated unfairly.  If the master has her marry his son, she is to be treated like a daughter; if the son marries another woman, she is to be given food, clothing and marital rights.  If the master fails to provide these three things, she is to be given her freedom.

In the culture of this era, it was sometimes necessary to hire oneself out as a servant in order to live.  Once hired, the servant became the property of their master. Though the rules for marriage and leaving behind a wife and children seem harsh, it may have been the best option if the man was returning into poverty.

There are several instances of servanthood in Scripture.  Jacob worked seven years for Leah and then seven more years for Rachel.  Though he was not sold into servanthood, his father-in-law treated him as a bondservant.  This may be why Jacob wanted to create his own flocks and leave with his family when Laban would not know.  If Laban had his way, Jacob would have remained his servant forever.

Another example is Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian servant who had a child with Abraham.  When he no longer wanted her, he sent her away with provisions for her and her son.

In the days of Jeremiah, Isra’el had  forgotten the mishpatim regarding slaves. “The word came to Jeremiah from Yahweh after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim freedom for the slaves. Everyone was to free their Hebrew slaves, both male and female; no one was to hold a fellow Hebrew in bondage.  So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed that they would free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage. They agreed, and set them free.  But afterward they changed their minds and took back the slaves they had freed and enslaved them again” (Jeremiah 34:8-11).

2. Attacks and murder.

If one person attacks another and a death occurs, the murderer must be put to death.  If the killing was not pre-meditated, but accidental, then Yahweh provides a place for the murderer to flee.  However, if someone kills another after deliberate planning, they are to be put to death.

This is exactly the command given to Noah in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds human blood by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.”  Today there is great controversy over capital punishment.  This is because humanity has forgotten that they are made in the image of God and their lives have value. 

Kidnappers are to be put to death.  It doesn’t matter if the victim has been sold or is still in the kidnapper’s possession, the kidnapper is to die.  Children who attack their parents are to be put to death and whoever curses his father or mother must also die.

If two people fight and one person is injured being confined to bed, then recovers and is able to walk around (even with a cane), the attacker will be free of liability except to compensate his victim for loss of time and take responsibility for his care until recovery is complete.  The parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 is a good example of this mishpat.  It was not the priest or the Levite who obeyed judgment,  but the Samaritan who took care of the man beaten by robbers.

If two men are fighting and a pregnant woman is injured so badly that her unborn child dies, the man must be fined.  He must pay the amount set by the woman’s husband and confirmed by judges.  The amount in is determined by a judge so that the husband doesn’t set an amount too low or too high for the unborn child has great value in the eyes of God.  If any harm happens to the woman after, then it is commanded life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise” (Exodus 21:23-24).  “The eye for eye” judgment was restitution for an unborn baby and the woman whose baby had lost its life, not a command for more cruelty.   Human life is valuable to Yahweh, especially an unborn child. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I [Yeshua] tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.   And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.  If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.  Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42).

Yeshua is not nullifying the mispatim,  he is expounding on them.  Restitution and compensation does not suddenly become obsolete with his words.  Yeshua includes forgiveness and mercy, the character of Yahweh Himself to the rulings.   “Eye for eye and tooth for tooth” was not so that everyone becomes blind and toothless as Tevye says in “Fiddler on the Roof.”  It was due compensation for a wrong committed that needed to be followed by forgiveness.  Yeshua is teaching that there is more than just the basics of these mishpatim, there is heart condition that needs to be dealt with so that anger and bitterness would not grow among the people.

A male or female slave who is beaten with a stick so that he or she dies, the master is to be punished.  If the slave lives for a couple of days, the master is not punished since the slave is his property.   If a master hits his male or female slave’s eye and destroys it, he must let him or her go free in compensation for the eye.  If a tooth of the male or female slave’s mouth is knocked out, he or she is to be set free as compensation for the tooth.

None of these death sentences were arbitrary.  Each case was heard by a judge with a minimum of two witnesses before there would be a guilty verdict.   The sentence would be executed through the proper channels.

According to the mishpatim, human life is more valuable than an animal.  If an ox gores a man or woman to death, the ox is to be stoned and it’s flesh not eaten.  The owner of the ox has no further liability after the animal has been put to death.   If the ox has the habit of goring people and the owner was warned, but did not confine it so that it kept killing men or women, then the ox and the owner are to be killed.  If a ransom is offered for the owner, the death penalty will be commuted.  If the ox gores a son or daughter, the same rules are to be followed.  If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner is to give their master 12 ounces of silver and the ox is to be killed. 

If one person’s ox hurts someone else’s ox so that it dies, the live ox is to be sold and the revenue divided between the two owners.  The dead animal is also to be divided.  If the ox is known to be in the habit of goring, the owner is to pay ox for ox and the dead animal is his.  The compensation is five times for an ox and four times for a sheep.

If an uncovered cistern or well causes the death of an animal, the owner of the well must compensate the owner of the animal, but the dead animal is his.

Selah

The word ‘gore’ means ‘blood that has been shed as a result of violence.’  If someone is gored, they don’t necessarily die.  Change the ox in the mishpatim to a dog.   

3. Restitution

A thief must make restitution.  If he has nothing, then he is to be sold to make restitution for the loss from the theft.  If what he stole is found in his possession, he is to pay double, no matter whether it is an ox, donkey, or sheep.  If a thief is caught breaking into a person’s home and is beaten to death, it is not murder unless it happens after sunrise. 

If a person trusts a neighbor with personal property and they are stolen, then the thief must pay double.  If the thief is not found, then the neighbor must state before Yahweh that he did not steal the property.   If there is a dispute over ownership of property, whether an ox, a donkey, a sheep, clothing, or any missing property, where one person says, ‘this is mine’, both parties are to come before Yahweh, and the one whom He condemns must pay the other one double.

If an animal is let loose to graze in someone else’s field, the owner is to make restitution from the best produce of his own field or vineyard. 

If someone is looking after a neighbor’s property – donkey, ox, sheep or any animal –  and it dies, is injured or disappears, then the neighbor’s oath before Yahweh that he has not stolen the property will settle the matter.  The owner is to accept it without any restitution.  However, if the property was stolen from the neighbor, he must make restitution to the owner.   If there is evidence that the animal was torn to pieces, then no restitution is required.

If someone borrows an animal from their neighbor and it gets injured or dies with the owner not present, he must make restitution.  If the owner was present, he does not need to make restitution.  If the owner hired it out, the loss is covered by the hiring fee.

If you see your enemy’s ox or donkey straying, you must return it to him.  If you see an animal that belongs to someone who hates you lying down helpless under its load, do not pass him by, but help him free it.

We have had many of these issues with our neighbor’s cows.   They break our fences, graze in our front yard leaving huge divots, and break sprinkler heads because of their weight. Though we have tried to work peacefully with our neighbor, there is no desire to fix our damaged property.  Though our judicial system says we can go to court and get restitution, we know that our neighbor will never comply.  Over the years, we have let them know when their cows were on the road or on the railroad tracks and they are always grateful, but never willing to pay restitution for damages done by their personal property.

If a fire is started and spreads to thorns, so that stacked grain, standing grain or a field is destroyed, the person who started the fire must make restitution.  This is why people who start wild fires must make restitution. 

4.  Immoral Behavior

A virgin not engaged to be married who is seduced by a man must be bought with a bride price and take her as his wife.  If her father refuses the man, he must pay a sum equivalent to the bride-price for virgins.

Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death.  This is known as beastiality and is becoming more common in our world.  In Europe, there are beast sex parlors.  Not only is this unhealthy for humans, it is cruelty to animals.

Sorcery uses the occult to control forces in the spiritual realm.  It is nothing more than witchcraft and Yahweh commands that witches, along with sorceresses be put to death.

5.  Food

Because the Israelites were to be Yahweh’s treasured possession, they were not to eat meat torn by wild animals in the countryside.  It was only good for feeding dogs.

“Do not boil a young animal in its mother’s milk” (Exodus 23:19). This command has been interpreted to mean  that Jews are to keep kosher in the sense that milk and meat are not mixed.  This is not what this command is about as Abraham served meat with curds to the three angels and El Shaddai.   This type of ‘cooking’ was part of pagan worship and Yahweh did not want His people imitating the ways of the nations around them. 

6. Justice

One of the Ten Commandments is not to bear false testimony against a neighbor.  More specifically, do not repeat false rumors (or even true ones).   This is known as lashon hara or ‘a wicked tongue.’

Do not join hands with the wicked by offering perjured testimony or follow the crowd when it does what is wrong.  Don’t allow the popular view to sway you into offering testimony for any cause if the effect will be to pervert justice (Exodus 23:2).

Keep away from fraud and do not cause the death of the innocent and righteous; for I will not justify the wicked.  You are not to receive a bribe for it blinds the sight and subverts the righteous.

Do not favor a person’s lawsuit just because he is poor and do not deny anyone justice because he is poor.

The misphatim were correlated by two or three witnesses.  This is why it was important that witnesses were not false nor took bribes.  There was a great consequence for a guilty verdict: death!

7. Loans

Yahweh’s people are not to charge interest when a poor person borrows money.  If a neighbor’s coat is taken as a downpayment/collateral, it is to be returned to him at sundown because it is his only garment.

8.  Sabbath

Six days you are to work, but on the seventh day you are to rest so that your animals, your slaves (servants) and the foreigner visiting with you may be renewed.  The Sabbath was not only for the Israelite to rest, but also for the guests in their home.  Even animals were to be given a day of rest.  This does not mean that the animals were not taken care of, they were just not worked on the Sabbath. 

Six years sow the land, but the seventh year, let it rest and lie fallow so that the poor can eat.  What they leave the wild animals can eat.  Do the same with your olive grove and vineyards.  This is called the shmita or the Sabbath year.  This mishpat was given in order that the land would become refreshed.  The poor were given the corners of the fields and the gleanings of the fields for six years; on the seventh year, they could harvest whatever grew. 

Hebrew Word Pictures

Shmita (Release) – שמיטה – shin, mem, yod, tet, hey

the glory of God, the water, the finished work of the twisting revealed

9. Rules for Loving God

Anyone who sacrifices to any god other than Yahweh is to be completely destroyed.  Do not invoke the names of other gods or even let them be heard crossing your lips.  This is the epitome of idolatry – sacrificing to other gods.    The Israelites were not to worship the gods of the Emorites, Hittites, Perrizites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites nor follow their practices.  They were commanded to demolish all  idols and standing stones.  They were not to make covenants with their enemies or their gods so that Isra’el would remain faithful to Yahweh.

The firstborn of Isra’el’s sons were to be given to Yahweh.  Oxen and sheep were to stay with their mother for seven days and on the eighth day were to be given to Him as well. 

Because Isra’el had been foreigners in Egypt, they were not to oppress a foreigner because they understood how it felt to be oppressed (Exodus 23:9).  Widows and orphans (the fatherless) held a special place in Yahweh’s heart.  If they were abused and He heard their cry, His anger would burn against Isra’el and He would kill them with the sword make their own wives widows and  their children fatherless. 

Pilgrimages to Jerusalem

There were three ‘appointed times’ when the men of Isra’el were to appear before Yahweh Elohim: Passover and Unleavened Bread in first month of the year followed by Shavuot or Feast of Weeks 50 days later.  The third gathering was to be at Sukkot or the Feast of Tabernacles. 

During the festival of Matzah, they were to eat only unleavened bread for seven days.  On Shavuot the best firstfruits of barley were to be brought to the house of Yahweh.  At the end of the year, at the ingathering, the final harvest was to be presented to Yahweh.

The Messenger of Yahweh

Yahweh sends an angel to guard His people and to bring them to the place He has prepared.  They are to listen to what ‘the angel’ says and not rebel against him because he will not forgive any wrongdoings, since Yahweh’s name resides in him.  If they listen to what he says and do everything he tells them, then Yahweh will be an enemy to their enemies and a foe to your foes.

The Hebrew word for ‘angel’  is malak and means ‘messenger.’  Angels fulfill Yahweh’s will in the world.  This is the same ‘angel’ who acted as The Destroyer in Egypt. This is the same ‘angel’ that moved from the front of the Israelites to their rear in order to protect them from the Egyptian army, the Commander of Yahweh’s army (Joshua 5:14).

This ‘angel’ is not a separate entity from Yahweh, but performs the duties of Him, in this case teaching His commands to the Israelites in the wilderness.  According to Malachi 3:1, this ‘angel’ is the messenger of the covenant.

Yeshua is the Word that was with Elohim in the beginning at creation and he is Elohim (John 1:1-2).   He is the voice of Elohim.  The ‘angel’ that the Israelites see and the words that they hear are Yeshua.

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Messiah [Yeshua] does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).

The Israelites must listen to what the ‘angel’ says and do everything he says because he has the name Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh in him;  thus ‘the angel’ and Yahweh are echad (one).   In John 10:30, Yeshua tells the Jews in the Temple area who want to know if he is the Messiah, “I and the Father are one.”   Yeshua came to Isra’el in his Father’s name and his works are his testimony.  “Yeshua answered, … ‘The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me….’” (John 10:25).

Only Yahweh can forgive sins and the ‘angel’ is given the same authority.  Yeshua passes that authority on to his disciples when he breathes on them.  “And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (John 20:22-23).

Deliverance to Sanctification

There are always blessings for obeying the mishpatim of Yahweh.  Deuteronomy outlines these blessings along with the curses for disobedience which bring sin, separation from Elohim and death.  Until Yahweh gave Isra’el His commandments and mishpatim, their salvation was solely on the grace and mercy of Elohim. 

They had put their faith in the blood of the lamb.  They were immersed in the Sea of Suf (Red Sea) when they walked through on dry land.  All of their provisions of food and ater and victories over their enemies were the work of Yahweh.

Many who teach a ‘new covenant’ belief system ignore obedience to the commandments of Yahweh citing old testament law and claim the blessings without obedience because of ‘Jesus’ and the cross.    This is not sound Biblical doctrine.  Isra’el did nothing in and of themselves for deliverance from Egypt nor did they earn it by being ‘good.’  Grace and mercy is the essence of justification in the old testament as well as the new: faith in the blood the lamb, immersion for the forgiveness of sins, and victory over death.  No one can justify themselves before Elohim.  Only with the blood of Messiah can anyone be set free from the law of sin and death.  The work is all done by Yahweh through Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Grace (Kindness and Favor) – chen   חן – chet, noon

the fence, inner room of life

Mercy (Compassion) – rachum – רחום – resh, chet, vav, mem

the first inner room, mighty binding

Sanctify (Consecrated, Holy) – kadosh – קדש – kof, dalet, shin

– what is behind the door is destroyed

Faith (Agreement) – emunah – אמונח – alef, mem, vav, noon, hey

– the first mighty binding to life revealed

Sanctification or becoming consecrated to God,  however,  is the next step in a walk of faith and it involves obedience.  The Israelites washed their clothes and sanctified themselves to stand in the presence of Yahweh.  At the foot of Mt. Sinai, the children of Isra’el along with the foreigners who left Egypt with them were transformed into the nation of Isra’el through the commandments of Elohim.

They would be recognized by the nations through their obedience to His rules that were different from any other nation.  They were to keep the Sabbath, the ‘appointed times,’ follow a dietary law, treat their personal property, slaves and animals, with dignity.  If they served other gods and assimilated into the cultures around them, they would no longer be Yahweh’s chosen people. 

Anyone who teaches Israel’s responsibilities and blessings are different from those who put their faith in Yeshua or were changed at the cross must believe that Yahweh changes or Yeshua isn’t the visible image of the invisible Elohim.  Blessings are still promised for the people of Yahweh when they obey; when they don’t, they lose the blessing and receive a curse.

When we obey Yahweh, He will bless our food and water.  If we listen to Yahweh’s teachings and instructions, He will take sickness away.  Yeshua turned water into wine and multiplied fives loaves of bread and two fish in order to feed a multitude (John 2:1-11; John 6:;1-14).  Yeshua healed those who were sick, lame and leprous.   Imagine Yeshua being rebellious to his Father’s commands and will.   Would the water have changed into wine just because he’s divine.  Yeshua says, “Yes, indeed! I tell you that whoever trusts in me will also do the works I do! Indeed, he will do greater ones, because I am going to the Father” (John 14:12). Why don’t we do greater things?  Is it because we have rebellious hearts; are taught rebellion? 

Sha’ul talks about Passover in 1 Corinthians 11.  He says that if we eat and drink with the wrong heart, we will become sick, weak and die before our time.   Yeshua never instituted a ‘last supper’ or ‘communion,’ he celebrated Passover according to the command of his Father.  Perhaps we need to ‘remember the feast’ as Sha’ul tells the Corinthian non-Jews.  With the unBiblical doctrine that the covenant given at Mt. Sinai was replaced with a completely new one, no one celebrates with a wrong heart.  They just don’t celebrate!

The promised blessing of obedience is children.  Women will not miscarry or be barren.  In order for the promise to Abraham to be fulfilled, women have to have babies.  Through Yahweh’s mercy, babies born in Egypt were not murdered, but allowed to live forming a great nation.  Michal, David’s wife, mocked her husband for dancing before the Ark of the Covenant and paid a great price.  She was barren.  Hannah was barren and prayed to Yahweh and eventually gave birth to Samuel.  Because of her willingness to give her son to Eli, the priest, Samuel became a great prophet.  Women need to obey Yahweh’s rules for monthly cycles (niddah) and childbirth or they may lose the blessing of birth. 

The promise for children who honor their parents is long life.  Why would it be any different for the children of Yahweh, our heavenly Father?  Long life began as eternal in the Garden of Eden.  After Adam sinned, eternal life was reduced to less than 1000 years.   After Noah and the evil that had to be thwarted, a life span was reduced even more.  King David, in Psalm 90,  states that a man’s days are now 70 to 80 years.  To have even the fullness of those years,  we must obey God and live according to His misphatim not because we have to, but because it is the way to love Him, our neighbor and ourselves.

Hornets

“I will send hornets ahead of you to drive out the Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites” (Exodus 23:27-28).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Hornet (Stinging) – tzirah צרעה – tzadik, resh, ayin, hey

to draw toward the person of authority, see and behold

Terror will go before the Israelites and throw the nations into confusion.  Their enemies will turn their backs.  Since hornets destroy livestock, the Hivites, Canaanites and Hittites will be driven out of the land gradually so it does not become desolate and taken over by wild beasts. 

Tzirah in Hebrew means ‘stinging’ and is translated ‘hornet.’   The Hivites, Canaanites, and Hittites will be driven out from the Promised Land by some sort of stinging bug creating a ‘terror.’  In Isra’el there are four species of hornets, bearing a resemblance to the common wasp, but larger in size.  It is extremely fierce and ravenous especially in a hot climate.  It’s sting is dangerous and they attack human beings in a very furious manner.   The attack of a swarm of hornets drives cattle and horses to madness and has even caused the death of the animals (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

Spelled almost like hornet is ‘leprosy’ or tzarat meaning ‘to smite.‘   The town of Zorah in Joshua 19:41 may mean ‘town of hornets.’  In Isaiah 7:18, the fly and the bee are symbolic to the armies of Egypt and Assyria.  It could be interpreted that the ‘terror’ is symbolic of Elohim’s armies fighting for Isra’el.

The boundaries of the Promised Land are much larger than the modern state of Isra’el.  They stretch from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to the desert all the way to the Euphrates River.  Someday, these boundaries will become reality and Isra’el will be the envy of the whole world.

The Book of the Covenant

Moshe wrote down all the words of Yahweh.  He built and altar at the base of the mountain and set up 12 large stones to represent the 12 tribes of Isra’el.  Young men collected burnt offerings and peace offerings from the people.  Moshe took half the blood and put it in basins; the other half he splashed against the altar.  Then he took the book of the covenant and read it aloud so that the people could hear. 

Before they even heard the covenant words, the Israelites responded, “Everything that Yahweh has spoken, we will do and obey” (Exodus 23:7).

 Moshe took the blood of the animals, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which Yahweh has made with you in accordance with all these words” (Exodus 23:8).

This is the third covenant found in the Scriptures.  The first was with Noah, the second with Abraham.  This third covenant is made with the nation of Isra’el.  It contains Yahweh’s words and was instituted with the sprinkling of blood that Moshe calls ‘the blood of the covenant.’  For Isra’el, this covenant is new because they had never been in a covenant relationship with Elohim corporately.   This covenant with Isra’el doesn’t negate the first two covenants, but builds on them as the chosen people descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob become even more separate from the nations. 

What is referred to a the ‘new covenant’ today and instituted by Yeshua at Passover, requires an even greater separation from the world.  It original covenant with Isra’el is no longer written on stone tablets or stony hearts, but is ‘renewed’ through the Spirit.  The original covenant through the Spirit of Elohim is written on circumcised hearts of flesh.

Moshe, Aaron, his two sons Nadav, Abihu, and 70 of Isra’el’s leaders go up on the mountain and meet with  the God of Isra’el. Like the 70 palm trees at Elim, there are 70 leaders.  Seventy is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter ayin means ‘to see and understand’.  On this mountain, Moshe and the leaders are given a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Under Yahweh’s feet is a pavement like sapphire as clear as the sky.  ‘Sapphire’ is the Greek word for lapis lazuli.  It is a deep blue semi-precious stone known for its intense color.  Ezekiel 1:26-28 describes the throne of Elohim as being lapis lazuli. In Numbers 15, the Israelites are commanded to wear fringes or tzizit on the corners of their garments.  There was to be one blue (techelet) fringe.  The techelet comes from this passage where the pavement or throne of Elohim is pure blue like the sea and the sky.  As the tzizit were a reminder to the Israelites to obey the commandments, the blue cord would remind them from where the commandments had come: the throne of Yahweh Himself. 

Yahweh does not reach out His hand against these men, instead they see Him while they were eating and drinking.  This is very symbolic of a fellowship meal between the priests and El Elyon, the Most High God. 

The glory of Yahweh in a cloud hovered over Mt. Sinai for six days. To the Israelites, the glory of Yahweh looked like a raging fire on the top of the mountain.  On the seventh day Yahweh called to Moshe from the cloud.  Moshe left his brother and the leaders and entered the cloud.  He climbed the mountain where he remained 40 days and nights.  With the glory of Yahweh appearing like a raging fire on the top of the mountain, the Israelites may have been filled with fear or even wonder.  When Moshe did not return, Aaron, his sons and the 70 eventually gave up waiting and returned from their place of fellowship with Elohim.  After Moshe had been in that cloud for 40 days and 40 nights, it was possible they thought he had died.

Yeshua also spent 40 days and 40 nights on a mountain.  It was during his time of testing that he used the exact words from Torah (Deuteronomy) to overcome the adversary’s challenges for him to create bread for his hunger, to test the angels of his Father, and to bow down and worship him.  Yeshua says that ‘man doesn’t live on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of his Father  (Matthew 4:1-11).

During these 40 days and nights, Yahweh gives Moshe the stone tablets on which he had written the Torah. He gives Moshe the commandments so that he could teach the Israelites how worship Him and live holy lives that honor and glorify Him.

Yeshua and the Commandments

“When the P’rushim learned that he had silenced the Tz’dukim, they got together,  and one of them who was a Torah expert asked a sh’eilah to trap him: “Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?” He told him, “‘You are to love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah. And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot” (Matthew 22:34-40).

Mitzvah (mitzvot, plural) is the Hebrew word(s) for commandment(s).  Sh’eilah is the Hebrew word for ‘question.’  When used in the context given, it means a question about Torah or halacha.  It was the type of question someone asked expecting an authority to answer.  Halacha means ‘to go’ and was the way one lived out a Torah command.

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

Isaiah 29:13

Jeremiah 33:25-26

B’rit Hadashah (New Testament Readings)

Matthew 15:1-20

Mark 7:1-23

Acts 23:1-11

James 2:1-4

Midrash Mishpatim:  Blood of the Covenant

Discuss and compare the blood of the covenant with Moshe and Yeshua (Hebrews 9:18-22).

©2014 Tent Stake Ministries

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