Posts Tagged ‘Ki Tetze’

Parashah 49: Ki Tetze (When you go out)

Parashah 49: Deuteronomy 21:10-25:19

“When you go out to war against your enemies, and Adonai your God hands them over to you, and you take prisoners…” (Deuteronomy 21:10).

The War Zone

When Isra’el goes to war and a soldier brings back a captive woman he is attracted to,  she must follow Yahweh’s regulations for joining the community.  She is to go into the man’s house, shave her head, cut her fingernails and remove her captive garments.  For an entire month she is to mourn her parents before consummating the marriage relationship.  If the man tires of the woman after a time, he is not to sell her or treat her like a slave because he has humiliated or defiled her.   

“If a man has recently married his wife, he is not to be subject to military service; he is to be free of external obligations and left at home for one year to make his new wife happy” (Deuteronomy 20:7, 24:5).

Men who are engaged or recently married are not to go to war.  In the recent skirmishes between Isra’el and the Palestinians, I read at least one story of a newly engaged man being killed in the war.  His fiancé was left alone to be married to another man.  These stories bring grief for the widow and the young man’s family, but had they followed the Torah regulation, they would be married, setting up their home, and maybe even having a child who would take the man’s name into the next generation.  

Capital Punishment

Punishment for a rebellious child after they have been disciplined and still refuse to pay attention was death.  Rebellion is willful insubordination. A rebel, according to the dictionary, is an ‘insurgent, mutineer, terrorist and freedom fighter.’  Consider what happened on a ship when there was mutiny!  A child, like a mutineer, could infect not only the family with their rebellious ways, but also the community.  Terrorism within the nation of Isra’el would not be tolerated nor would freedom fighters! 

The description of the rebellious child in Deuteronomy, however, is not a terrorist, but a son who lives wildly and gets drunk.  This drunken son is taken to the leaders at the city gate where he is stoned.  This implies that everyone knew of this man’s rebellious behavior and his unwillingness to change.  Only then could ‘all the men of his town stone him to death’ (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).

If someone committed a capital crime like murder, adultery or blasphemy, they were put to death.  If death was by hanging on a tree, the body must not remain on the tree all night, but must be buried the same day.  This person has been cursed by Elohim (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

A scroll known as the Temple Scroll was found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.  It contained the halakah or legal interpretations to Torah regulations.  From about 530 BCE until the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE, anyone who was guilty of treason or blasphemy was to be hung on a tree before the people he had betrayed and before Elohim who he had blasphemed.  While he hangs on the tree, he is accursed by Elohim and men.

The Essenes, a sect of Judaism who had strict halacha based on Torah andprotected the scrolls of the Tenak by putting them in the caves at Qumran, held this legal regulation for a blasphemer.  The Sadducees who were the ruling authority and controlled the Temple in Yeshua’s day obviously held to this view as this is how they condemned Yeshua.  The Pharisees leaned more toward stoning a blasphemer first and then hanging him on a tree, but all three sects would have viewed crucifixion, hanging on a tree, as being a curse.

“The Messiah redeemed us from the curse pronounced in the Torah by becoming cursed on our behalf; for the Tanakh says, “Everyone who hangs from a stake comes under a curse” (Galatians 3:13).   

The ‘Curse of the Torah’ = Legalism

“A curse on anyone who does not confirm the words of this Torah by putting them into practice. All the people are to say, ‘Amen!’” (Deuteronomy 27:26)

According to this verse, those who do not put into practice the instructions found in Torah are cursed.  By dying on the cross, Yeshua removed the curse of Torah, not Torah itself.

Torah, which is holy and the commandments which are just and good, still serves two purposes: to define sin and to sanctify people to become “Holy to Yahweh” (Romans 7:12). Legalistic outward observance of Torah perverts these two purposes and destroys Torah.

According to Sha’ul,  no one is made righteous or justified in the eyes of Elohim by obeying Torah because its first purpose is to point out sin(Romans 3:20).  Believing one is justified before Elohim by legalistic outward observance of Torah is not based on faith, but a misuse of the words “anyone who does these things will attain (eternal) life through them.”  No one has or ever will receive eternal life by keeping the commands of Torah.  It is not because no one can keep Torah commands, but because that was and still is not Torah’s intent. 

“For neither being circumcised [Jew} nor being uncircumcised [non-Jew] matters; what matters is being a new creation” (Galatians 6:15).

Through our faith in Yeshua’s work on the cross, we have been released from the Torah of sin and death. The first purpose of Torah – to point out our sin – has been accomplished.

After the new birth, the spiritual Torah takes on its second purpose, to set apart a people for Yahweh.  Through the Ruach HaKodesh, the Torah is taken from stone tablets and written on hearts of flesh.  We no longer follow ‘the letter of Torah’ by an outward obedience, but through an inward change of heart grounded in love for Yahweh and our neighbor.   Once we are new creations,  the Torah becomes the light for our path and the Ruach HaKodesh convicts us of our sin, leads us to repentance so we become “Holy to Yahweh” (John 17:17).

“Thus, my brothers, you have been made dead with regard to the Torah through the Messiah’s body, so that you may belong to someone else, namely, the one who has been raised from the dead, in order for us to bear fruit for God. For when we were living according to our old nature, the passions connected with sins worked through the Torah in our various parts, with the result that we bore fruit for death. But now we have been released from this aspect of the Torah, because we have died to that which had us in its clutches, so that we are serving in the new way [of obeying Torah] provided by the Spirit and not in the old way of outwardly following the letter of the law(Romans 7:4-6).

“The Torah of the Spirit, which produces this life in union with Messiah Yeshua, has set me free from the “law” of sin and death.  For what the Torah could not do by itself, because it lacked the power to make the old nature cooperate, God did by sending his own Son as a human being with a nature like our own sinful one [but without sin]. God did this in order to deal with sin, and in so doing he executed the punishment against sin in human nature,  so that the just requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us who do not run our lives according to what our old nature wants but according to what the Spirit wants.  For those who identify with their old nature set their minds on the things of the old nature, but those who identify with the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.  Having one’s mind controlled by the old nature is death, but having one’s mind controlled by the Spirit is life and shalom. For the mind controlled by the old nature is hostile to God, because it does not submit itself to God’s Torah — indeed, it cannot (Romans 8:2-7).

“Being circumcised [Jewish] means nothing, and being uncircumcised [non-Jewish] means nothing; what does mean something is keeping God’s commandments” (1 Corinthians 7:19).

Women Dressed Like Men

“A woman is not to wear men’s clothing, and a man is not to put on women’s clothing, for whoever does these things is detestable to Adonai your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5).

From this verse comes the idea that cross-dressing is detestable to Yahweh.  It was this verse that convicted me to change my wardrobe.  I had fallen into the western cultural dress code that blurs the difference between men and women, masculinity and femininity.  When I realized that my husband and I had the same clothes, some exactly the same, especially flannel shirts, I went through my closet and removed anything that was similar to his and began dressing more feminine, wearing skirts, blouses and dresses.  Soon after my personal revelation, I realized I had been dressing my young daughter in overalls and similar clothing to my son, even hand-me-downs.  I changed that immediately.  Over the years, the blurring between sexes has increased exponentially in western culture and the consequences are enormous.

Here is another ‘translation’ for Deuteronomy 22:5 that I found interesting.  There is some question as to its accuracy, but it adds a different nuance to the idea of ‘cross-dressing.’

“Never cause or force a warriors weapon to be used by a woman or weak person; neither dress warriors armor on a woman or weak person for to Adonai, God of Host, disgusting is such that do so.”

A woman should not dress in military armor or to carry a soldier’s weapon.  This puts a very different view on women dressing like men (high priests), especially with the modern-day view of placing women not only in the armed forces, but in combat.  The Hebrew word towebah, means “disgusting”and is the same word used for eating unclean foods.  The blending of the sexes has gone from dressing similarly to women in the military – both here and in Isra’el – and it could very well be disgusting to the Creator who made us male and female and sent men off to war, not women.    

Blending Threads

“You are not to wear clothing woven with two kinds of thread, wool and linen together” (Deuteronomy 22:11). 

Linen, which comes from flax, was always used for the priestly garments (Leviticus 6:10).   Linen is a symbol of being “Holy to Yahweh.”  When the prophet Ezekiel was being shown the measurements of the Millennial Temple, the ‘man in bronze’ held a flax measuring cord.  In that Temple, those who are descendants of Zadok will serve Yeshua wearing linen (Ezekiel 44:18).  The Bride of Messiah is given ‘fine linen’ as a wedding dress to wear at the wedding feast (Revelation 19:8). 

John had a vision of Yeshua in Revelation and his hair was snow-white like wool.  The prophet Isaiah says that sins will be washed white as wool.   Wool, which comes from a sheep, is a symbol of redemption. In Revelation, the redeemed masses are given white robes washed in the blood of the lamb different from the ‘fine linen’ of the saints (Revelation 7:14, 22:14). 

Yahweh desires purity even with fabric, seeds and animals.  The Israelites mixed the holy and the profane with the golden calf.  The congregation in Laodicea mixes the holy and profane and becomes lukewarm.  Sha’ul tells the congregation in Corinth not to become unequally yoked, believer with unbeliever.   Mixing the righteous and unrighteous does not result in a pure faith, a pure love or a pure walk before Yahweh.

Virgin of Isra’el

Women who were virgins, still had their sexual purity, were completely dependent on their fathers, husbands and brothers for protection and provision.   In a patriarchal system, women especially needed special protection from abuse.  The regulations in Deuteronomy 22 and 23 brought honor to the women in Isra’el.  Israelite men were commanded to treat their women different from the nations around them, the nations they would expel.  No man or woman was to take part in ritual prostitution at a pagan temple because worshipping Yahweh was to be different from the worship of other gods and that included protecting virgin women from emotional, physical and spiritual abuse.

Two Wives

There are regulations for a man with two wives, one loved and the other unloved.  These verse perfectly describes the situation of Jacob who married Leah, but loved his wife Rachel.   His unloved wife gave him a firstborn son named Reuben while Rachel’s firstborn was Joseph.  As per the instruction, Jacob did not give Joseph, the son of the wife he loved,  Reuben’s firstborn blessing.  Because Reuben slept with Jacob’s concubine, he lost the blessing and a double portion was given to Joseph through his sons Manasseh and Ephraim (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).

Brother Marries Brother’s WifeLevirate Marriage

A brother is to marry his brother’s wife if he dies without children.  This describes what happened between Judah and Tamar.  When Judah refused to give Tamar his third son, she created a plan that would give her a child and keep the name of her husband’s family alive.  This is why Judah commended Tamar for her righteousness. 

The Latrine

“Also you are to have an area outside the camp to use as a latrine.  You must include a trowel with your equipment, and when you relieve yourself, you are to dig a hole first and afterwards cover your excrement. For Adonai your God moves about in your camp to rescue you and to hand over your enemies to you. Therefore your camp must be a holy place. [Adonai] should not see anything indecent among you, or he will turn away from you” (Deuteronomy 23:13-15).

I used this verse when potty training my toddlers.  We have always lived where we had a septic system.  I used the distance from the toilet through the pipes in the house that led out of the house to the septic tank to show them how our excrement went out of the camp so our home would be a holy place.   When we lived in the Rocky Mountains, we did a lot of back-country camping and the use of a trowel was vitally important – also a regulation of Elohim.

He Wants Me Back Syndrome

“In such a case her first husband, who sent her away, may not take her again as his wife, because she is now defiled. It would be detestable to Adonai, and you are not to bring about sin in the land Adonai your God is giving you as your inheritance” (Deuteronomy 24:4). 

If a man divorces his wife and she remarries and divorces again (or is widowed), the first husband may not take her back. Though it may sound harsh, it is for the protection of the woman to not be defiled repeatedly.  Such defilement is not allowed in the community of Isra’el.

The Fatherless and the Widow

When harvesting grain, olives, and grapes, no one is to go back to their field for a missing sheaf, beat the tree for the last olives or return to the vineyard.  What is left in the field, on the tree and on the vine is to be left for the fatherless and the widow.  This is Elohim’s way of providing for those who have no provider – a husband or a  father.  By doing this, Yahweh becomes the Husband and the Father providing for the widow and orphan.  

Correct Weights

“You are not to have in your pack two sets of weights, one heavy, the other light.  You are not to have in your house two sets of measures, one big, the other small.  You are to have a correct and fair weight, and you are to have a correct and fair measure” (Deuteronomy 25:13-15). 

Though this is specific to measuring produce, there is a spiritual aspect to this command:  we must not weigh people differently.  James 2:6 tells believers not to give more honor to the rich than to the poor.  The weights of human value are always measured wrongly and with different standards.  Even when it comes to righteous judgment, we are not to be a respecter of persons, but judge fairly and honestly with justice.


“Therefore when Adonai your God has given you rest form all your surrounding enemies in the Land Adonai your God is giving you as your inheritance to posses, you are to blot out all memory of ‘Amalek from under heaven.  Don’t forget” (Deuteronomy 25:19).

Yeshua and the Seven Brothers

“That same day, some Tz’dukim came to him. They are the ones who say there is no such thing as resurrection, so they put to him a sh’eilah: ‘Rabbi, Moshe said, If a man dies childless, his brother must marry his widow and have children to preserve the man’s family line.’There were seven brothers. The first one married and then died; and since he had no children, he left his widow to his brother.The same thing happened to the second brother, and the third, and finally to all seven.After them all, the woman died.Now in the Resurrection — of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all married her.”’

“Yeshua answered them, ‘The reason you go astray is that you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God.For in the Resurrection, neither men nor women will marry; rather, they will be like angels in heaven’” (Matthew 22:23-30).

“Yeshua said to them, “Isn’t this the reason that you go astray? because you are ignorant both of the Tanakh and of the power of God? For when people rise from the dead, neither men nor women marry — they are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:24-25).

“Yeshua said to them, “In this age, men and women marry; but those judged worthy of the age to come, and of resurrection from the dead, do not get married…” (Luke 20:34-35).

Haftarah (Readings of the Prophets)

Isaiah 54:1-10 

Proverbs 5:18

B’rit Hadashah (New Testament Readings)

Matthew 5:31-32

Matthew 19:3-12

Mark 10:2-12 

1 Timothy 5:17-18

Midrash Ki Tetze: Freedom from the Curse of Legalism

Compare the ‘curse of Torah’ or legalistic observances within Judaism with Yeshua’s Torah teachings.  How could Yeshua remove the ‘curse of Torah’ while still teaching obedience to  Torah commands?

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