Parashah 44: D’varim (Words) – DEUTERONOMY

Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22

“These are the words Moshe spoke to all Isra’el on the far side of the Yarden River, in the desert, in the ‘Aravah, across from Suf, between Pa’ran and Tofel, Lavan, Hatzerot and Di-Zahav. It is eleven days’ journey from Horev to Kadesh-Barnea by way of Mount Se’ir. On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, Moshe spoke to the people of Isra’el, reviewing everything Adonai had ordered him to tell them” (Deuteronomy 1:1-2).

It has been 40 years since the spies entered the Promised Land and brought back the report of a land filled with honey, grapes, and giants. The faithless Israelites turned a ten-day journey into a 40-year time of testing.

Deuteronomy is the final book of Torah. In Hebrew, Deuteronomy is D’varim and means ‘words.’ D’varim records Moshe’s last words to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. He reviews their historic journey through the wilderness, their struggles and challenges along with the instructions Adonai gave them as the nation of Isra’el.

“At that time I told you, ‘You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. Adonai your God has multiplied your numbers, so that there are as many of you today as there are stars in the sky. May Adonai, the God of your ancestors, increase you yet a thousandfold and bless you, as he has promised you!’” (Deuteronomy 1:9-11)

An Israelite Yearbook

The journey began when Moshe created a judicial system to help in deciding matters between people. He chose leaders over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens tribe by tribe.  Only difficult cases were brought to him for judgment.

By the time the Israelites reached Kadesh-Barnea, the Promised Land was right in front of them.  They were to go in and ‘take possession of it.’  The people persuaded Moshe to send a man from each tribe into the Land to explore it.  They went up into the hills and looked down into the Eshkol Valley. 

The Eshkol Valley is located in southern Isra’el in the northwestern Negev desert. The modern-day ruling council of the valley is located between Ashkelon and Beersheba. This area is constantly barraged by missiles coming from the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. It takes courage and faith to live in this area as a men, women, and children, who are playing out side, have about one minute from the time the warning sirens go off to find safety in a bomb shelter.

“What sort of place is it that we’re heading for? Our brothers made our courage fail when they said, ‘The people are bigger and taller than we are; the cities are great and fortified up to the sky; and finally, we have seen ‘Anakim there’” (Deuteronomy 1:28). 

The Israelites’ fear of the giants and reluctance to enter the Land was considered rebellion by Elohim. Only two men of fighting age would be allowed to enter the Promised Land: Kalev and Y’hoshua.

“Moreover, your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty, and your children who don’t yet know good from bad — they will go in there; I will give it to them, and they will have possession of it” (Deuteronomy 1:39).

When the Israelites realized the consequence of their sin, they decided to make it right and go fight for the Land. Moshe warned them Adonai wouldn’t be with them, and they would not succeed.  They went. They lost. The Emorites came at them like a swarm of bees and chased them all the way back to Hormah. They had to remain in Kadesh, meaning ‘a set-apart place,’ for a long time.

They went around Mount Seir until Adonai allowed them to pass through Edom. The descendants of Esau are fearful of the Israelites and they needed to proceed with caution. When they passed through Edom, they were to pay for all food and drink because “Adonai your God has blessed you in everything your hands have produced” (Deuteronomy 2:7).

After more encampments and events that challenged their resolve, the nation of Isra’el arrived in the desert of Moab. Adonai tells them they will not be given any Moabite land. It had been given to Lot and his descendants as their inheritance. Both Edom and Moab make up modern-day Jordan.

“Today I will start putting the fear and dread of you into all the peoples under heaven, so that the mere mention of your name will make them quake and tremble before you” (Deuteronomy 2:25).

The Israelites crossed the Arnon Valley and began their first conquests of the Promised Land.  They met Sichon the Emorite, king of Heshbon.  Moshe sent messages requesting peaceful passage, but Sichon refused to allow them to cross his land and came out to fight against them.   At Yahatz, Elohim handed Sichon and his armies over to Isra’el.   They conquered all of his cities and completely destroyed everything including ‘innocent civilians.’ All the way to Gilead there wasn’t one city the Israelites didn’t capture. They took no land around Ammon, the region around the Yabok River, because that was not to be possessed by Isra’el.  

At Edrei, the king of Bashan came out with his armies. Elohim handed his armies over to Isra’el and they defeated all the cities in the plain ruled by Og.  The Israelites captured 60 fortified cities with high walls and gates in the region of Argov. They also captured land between the Arnon Valley and Mount Hermon in the northern region of modern-day Syria. 

The land, east of the Jordan River, was given to Reuben, Gad, and one-half of the Tribe of Manasseh.  They settled there with their families, but had to cross the Jordan River to fight with their brothers to conquer the land west of the Jordan.

“Also at that time I gave this order to Y’hoshua: ‘Your eyes have seen everything that Adonai your God has done to these two kings. Adonai will do the same to all the kingdoms you encounter when you cross over. Don’t be afraid of them, because Adonai your God will fight on your behalf’” (Deuteronomy 3:21-22). 

Races of Nephilim Giants

The Anakim were a race of giants that descended from Anak.  They lived south of Canaan near Hebron.  In Hebrew, Anakim may mean ‘strength or stature.’ Y’hoshua expelled them from the Land except for a remnant that found refuge in the cities of Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod.  Goliath, the giant that David encountered, was a descendant of Anak.

The Emim were a warrior tribe of giants about as tall as the Anakim. They lived east of the Jordan River about the time of Abraham and were given their name by the Moabites, the descendants of Lot.  Their Hebrew name means ‘the dreaded ones.’

The Rephaim, another race of giants, occupied the Land before the Canaanites, but were eventually defeated by Chedorlaomer leaving only a remnant (Genesis 14:5).   In Hebrew, their name means ‘residents of the netherworld.’ Rephaim also refers to dead people suggesting ‘evil spirits’ played an active role in the spiritual war along with the physical battles of war. Og, the king of Bashan who lived in Ashtoreth, was the last survivor (Deuteronomy 3:11).  

He destroyed the Zamzumim as the Amonites moved and settled in their land.  He destroyed the Horim as the descendants of Esau moved into Seir and settled in their land.  It was the same with the ‘Avim who lived in the villages as far away as Gaza. While Elohim created His nation Isra’el, He was also ridding the Land of the Nephilim. 

Yeshua, The Word of Elohim

“Bereshis (in the Beginning) was the Dvar Hashem, and the Dvar Hashem was agav Hashem, and the Dvar Hashem was nothing less, by nature, than Elohim!” (John 1:1, OJB)

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

“And the Dvar Hashem took on gufaniyut (corporeality) and made his sukkah, his Mishkan (Tabernacle) among us, and we gazed upon his Kavod [glory], the Shechinah of the Ben Yachid from Elohim HaAv, full of Hashem’s Chesed v’Emes” (John 1:14, OJB).

“The Word became a human being and lived with us, and we saw his Sh’khinah, the Sh’khinah of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

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