March 8, 2014 Shabbat Bible Study
©2011, 2014 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Exodus 30:11-16 – 2 Kings 12:1-17 – no Psalm – John 2:13-25
Shemoth 30.11-16 – Schottenstein’s Chumash[i] has a very good prefatory comment on this portion of scripture [pg.225].Whenever Y’hovah ordered a census of b’nei Yisrael, each man was to give a ½ shekel offering for the treasury to provide for the upkeep of the Tabernacle or Temple. I infer that this was the normal practice when a census was taken, which was not often, and was always done up until the time that David took the census in 2Sam.24. What amazes me is that this man who was after Y’hovah’s heart to be his own didn’t heed this portion of Torah. Now, I think I know the reason this happened; because no king of Israel or Yehudah is ever recorded to have followed the Torah to the king to personally make a copy of Torah for his own reference:
14 When thou art come unto the land which Y’hovah Elohecha giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set a king over thee, whom Y’hovah Elohecha shall choose: from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as Y’hovah hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of [the Torah scroll that is] before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear Y’hovah his Elohim, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, the right hand, or the left: to the end that he may prolong days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. (Deut.17.14-20).
David, the man who was after Y’hovah’s heart, didn’t do what Y’hovah required of every king of Israel – or at least is never recorded that ANY king of Israel or Yehudah ever did. Why did the Priest not warn him about taking this census? Why did his military Chief of Staff have to be the one who gave warning, weak as it may have been. Let’s read at 2Sam.24. Not only Joab, but all the captains of the armies of Israel gave warning, but David’s order stood. This thing was, however, from Y’hovah, who moved David to do it so he could bring the judgment against Israel. I think the reason the plague was pronounced was because David did 2 things wrong here; 1) he did not enquire of Y’hovah’s will in the matter and 2) he did not take each man’s ½ shekel offering for the atonement for his soul during the census. But I also think that this lapse was ordained so that Y’hovah could bring the plague on those 70K individuals. We are not told why Y’hovah moved David to do this, only that he was angry with Israel and moved David against them. And I think Y’hovah would have wiped out even more of them if David had not stood in the gap, confessing his sin even before the plague came down, and enquiring as to how he could assuage Y’hovah’s anger. Y’hovah stopped haSatan from destroying Yerushalayim, which is where haSatan wants to place his throne, and told David to buy the threshingfloor of Ornan (Arauna) to build an altar to offer atonement on. Y’hovah actually stood in the gap between haSatan and David at Ornan’s threshingfloor, where David actually saw haSatan, and realized just how wicked his sin had been (I think haSatan said, “Curses! Foiled AGAIN!”). And when David set up the altar and offered an offering on it, the plague was assuaged. Where was Abiathar, the Kohen Gadol? Q&C
The ½ shekel was for the atonement for the souls of the men of Israel, that there be no plague when the numbering took place. Now remember that this atonement is a part of the Covenant, not a part of the law that was added due to the transgression of Israel (which is in ch.32). The atonement spoken of in ch.29 is for the altar, not the people. It is to set the altar apart unto Y’hovah. The people had been set apart in Ex.19&20. And they remained set apart to this point – had not sinned against Y’hovah’s commandments. Here are the first mentions of atonement in torah:
And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. (Exodus 29:33)
And thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement: and thou shalt cleanse the altar, when thou hast made an atonement for it, and thou shalt anoint it, to sanctify it. (Exodus 29:36)
Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy. (Exodus 29:37)
Atonement BEFORE the transgression was for inanimate objects, to set them apart unto Y’hovah. When the Covenant was entered into between Y’hovah and chol Yisrael, atonement was not to make men acceptable to stand before Y’hovah, but to make the man-made altars set-apart enough to hold the free-will offerings that Yisrael would bring to Y’hovah.
What we’re seeing in ch.30 is the blood of atonement, the blood of the bull, the ram and the lamb being applied to the altar of incense to make IT set apart enough to hold the censor and incense that represented the prayers and supplications of the saints (Rev.5.8). In the original Sinaitic Covenant, there was to be no atonement made for men’s sins. There was no provision made for personal or national atonement. Y’hovah took us at our word that we would obey him. We’d agreed to obey him 4 times. There were sin offerings to be offered in case of an inadvertent sin or a sin that had to be done in the performance of a greater mitzvah – as in one Israelite having to cross a burial plot while going to the immediate aid of another who was in danger of injury or death. It is a sin to tread on a grave, and to do so needs a sin offering in order for the perpetrator to remain blameless and in the camp. But the sin was committed because a man’s life or limb hung in quick attention to need. However, to knowingly transgress that more minor mitzvah when there was no need to do so would be an egregious sin of rebellion and require something more than a sin offering. It would require the blood atonement, which was not an option in the Covenant of Sinai. It was added, along with the Levitical priesthood and the laws appertaining thereto, as we see in:
Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. (Galatians 3:19)
The law was added because of transgressions. What law was added? To what was it added? And because of what transgression was it added? I contend that it was the law of the blood atonement for transgressions of the Covenant, the addition of the Levites to the priesthood in place of the bachor of the families of Israel, the extension of the Aharonic atonement to individuals and the nation, and the laws appertaining thereto. And we see the fulfillment of the Atoning Sacrifice as well as the Passover in the death of Yeshua on the tree. Because the Levites were the only tribe to not enter into idolatry by worshiping the golden calf, they became the bachor of Y’hovah in place of the bachor of the families and tribes (Num.3.12, 13), as Ephraim had become Ya’acov’s bachor in place of Reuven (and for the same reason – adultery/idolatry).
Vv.16-17 – The ½ shekel was to represent the individual’s service to Y’hovah, as the blood on the lintels and doorposts in Egypt represented the chai (chet – blood on the doorpost, yud – the hand that applied the blood), the bachor’s spiritual, if not eternal, life. In this we see the incredible mercy and grace of Y’hovah, in that he spared the life of each individual in Israel for the cost of ½ shekel of silver. 1/2 shekel ≈ 1/20 lb., or a bit less than 1 oz. troy, or about $1.10 silver [about $23 in 2014 Federal Reserve Tokens – FaRTs]. (Ex.38.25, 26) Q&C
2M’lechim 12.1-17 – In the Torah portion we saw why Y’hovah required the ½ shekel atonement money. Here we see an application of it. But before we go there, I just have to wonder, “Why didn’t Yehoyada have Yehoash tear down the high places?” If I were the high priest, I would lobby hard for that. ChizkiYahu did it (18.3-5) a few years later. Why did it take so long for a king of Yehudah to do this? ChizkiYahu was the 1st king since David to have his land officially free of pagan altars. Shlomo had raised up his OWN high places! Where was the High Priest for these hundreds of years? While Yehudah was a monarchy, it was a theocratic monarchy – the religion was intimately connected to the government, or should have been. Whenever David asked the Priest to enquire of Y’hovah, he prospered. When he failed to enquire of Y’hovah, he did not. ChizkiYahu seemed to get it, at least early in his reign.
What is spoken of in 2Ki.12 is probably the ½ shekel, but this passage is about the people bringing an offering to the temple and depositing it in a ‘chest’. I assume that Jehoash gave the order relatively early in his reign, so why did it take 23 years before the priests started to collect the shekels (v.6)? I think that it is PROBABLY the ½ shekel, but it doesn’t seem to be in conjunction with a census. It seems that everyone who came up to the Temple just dropped his ½ shekel into the treasury. Perhaps they used this as a sort of census, multiplying the total offering in shekel’s by 2, and thereby arriving at a good estimate. Yehoash gave the order to collect the ‘tax’ to YehoYada, but after 23 years, no repairs were being made to the Temple as he had ordered. Seems the priests were using the money for their own purposes. Now he told the Priest to stop using the ½ shekel for his own use, but to apply it where it belonged. So the priests stopped using the money for their own purposes and began collecting it for the upkeep of the Temple, as it was commanded of Y’hovah in Ex.30. The word the KJV xlates as ‘chest’ is the same word it xlates as ‘ark’, as in ark of the Covenant, arown. It was just a box with a hole cut in the lid. When it got full they counted it into the treasury and hired repairmen for the work. I guess the priests were just human beings, after all, because they used the offerings for their own comfort, not their intended purpose for all those years. Kinda like the prosperity preachers of today. The contractors dealt faithfully with the priests, so faithfully that the priests didn’t account for the money. Perhaps it was guilt, because the grunt laborers seemed to be more faithful to Y’hovah than the priests had been. I think the ‘trespass money and sin money’ that v.16 speaks of is actually the ½ shekel of Ex.30 that was for atonement for inadvertent sins, as provided for in Lev.5.15. Q&C
Yochanan 2.13-25 – I find it fascinating that Yochanan calls this ‘the Jews’ passover’, as if it is different from Y’hovah’s Passover. Was it? Well, in Leviticus 23, Passover is one thing, and Unleavened Bread is another. On Passover, the 14th day of the first month, between the evenings – that is, I think, between the evening offering (around 3 o’clock) and sunset, each family’s Passover Lamb was slain. Then the lamb was taken home (or to wherever they were encamped) and roasted whole on a spit to be eaten that night after sundown that began the 15th day of the first month, as it had been done in Egypt. While the Passover lambs were slain on the 14th between the evenings and his blood painted on the doorposts and lintels before sundown, the actual passing over of the houses with the chet painted on the door did not occur until midnight on the 15th. The Jews in Yeshua’s day called the whole deal – from the evening offering on the 14th until the end of the Feast of ULB at sundown of the 21st – Passover. Is there any real difference? I think. The Passover was an evening offering to morning offering deal, since the lamb had to be eaten or burnt by then. It was Unleavened Bread that extended for 7 days. There was a brief overlap, but they were separate moedim, according to Lev.23.5-6. Perhaps it was just convenient to call the 7 whole days Passover, but it wasn’t what scripture referred to as Passover. Scripture calls Passover the ‘14th at even.’ This year, that will be Monday, April 14th between about 3PM and sundown. Seder begins @ 1830, very close to sundown in Ohio.
Yeshua never missed a presentation Feast, Pesach, Unleavened Bread, Shavuoth or Sukkoth in Jerusalem. In fact, he never missed any Feast, not even the post-babylonian exile Feasts of Purim and Hanukkah. When he got to J’lem for Pesach in his first year of ministry, he found money-changers and sacrificial animal salesmen (guaranteed to NOT be the best of the lot) hawking their wares in the Temple itself.
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith Y’hovah. (Jeremiah 7:11)
So he literally drove them out with a whip of cords. I think he was making himself known as a prophet of Y’hovah. He quoted Ps.69.9
For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up;
Of course, he was immediately challenged about his authority to do what he’d done. AENT has this verse and note:
“What sign do you show us that you do these things?” Note = an idiomatic expression meaning, “Prove to us that you have the authority to do these things.”
He told them,
“Destroy this house, and in 3 days I shall raise it up.”
Of course, he NEVER spoke to the Jews in anything but sod level of understanding, so they didn’t get it, that he was speaking of his own body, which he would raise from the death they would inflict on him. When he rose from the dead, his talmidim understood what he meant by this, but even they didn’t get it until they had the affective action to refer to. Until his resurrection they didn’t have the antecedent incident to give it meaning to them. His resurrection gave them understanding of TONS of scripture that was unfathomable to them before.
It says in v.23 that in the Feast day, many in J’lem ‘believed in his Name’. I think that means that many believed that he was what his Name said he was, Y’hovah’s Salvation, because they saw the miracles that he performed before them. Please note that the last word of v.24 in the KJV is supplied by the translators. The word is ‘men’. Without that word, the whole passage changes. It says that he knew ALL. Not all men, but ALL! And because he was omniscient, he had no need of testimony about men, because he knew what was in man – an evil inclination and a wicked heart that no man can know. Q&C
What follows is from my work, The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach,
51, 52). The first Passover/Cleansing of the Temple – Jn.2.13-17. The only mention of the Passover is in the first verse, and it’s just a passing reference at that. It was important to note that Yeshua went to the Passover in Jerusalem, but what he taught was less important than what he did. The whole rest of the passage has to do with the cleansing of the Temple. He made a scourge of cords and went to town. The people watching must have thought he was nuts, swinging a handful of cords and driving out the animals and the moneychangers and engaging in table-tipping and money spilling and just generally making a rather chaotic situation that much more turbulent.
He drove out the sheep and the oxen, but told the dove sellers to leave. Notice that they were; sheep, not lambs; and oxen, not bulls. Webster’s has,
“OX, n. plu. oxen. pron. Ox’n. The male of the bovine genus of quadrupeds, castrated and grown to his size or nearly so. The young male is called in America a steer. The same animal not castrated is called a bull. These distinctions are well established with us in regard to domestic animals of this genus. When we speak of wild animals of this kind, ox is sometimes applied both to the male and female, and in zoology, the same practice exists in regard to the domestic animals. So, in common usage, a pair of bulls yoked may be sometimes called oxen. We never apply the name ox to the cow or female of the domestic kind. Oxen in the plural may comprehend both the male and female.”
So the priests and Levites had decided that, rather than destroy such a valuable animal as a bull, they could substitute a gelding, a eunuch, a steer for a bull. This is not a perfect animal, as required in the Torah, and it paints a very bad picture of the sacrifice of Yhwh Yeshua haMoshiach, who is represented in the constellations as, among others, Taurus.
Sheep are any animal of the sheep kind, but a lamb is the young animal of that kind. Webster’s has,
“LAMB, n. Lam. 1. The young of the sheep kind. 2. The Lamb of Elohim, in Scripture, the Saviour Yeshua haMoshiach, who was typified by the paschal lamb. Behold the lamb of Elohim, who taketh away the sin of the world. Yochanan 1.” [Hebraic names and pronunciations substituted by the author.]
The priests and Levites had decided that any sheep would do, not necessarily a lamb of the first year as specified by the Torah. Again the picture of the Lamb of Elohim is marred by their insertion of that which was not of Elohim. The defiling of the Temple with the moneychangers and the merchants was but an outworking of the defiling of their hearts. They’d fallen for the same line Eve fell for in the garden, “Yea, hath Elohim said?” They’d changed the word of Elohim to suit themselves. Yeshua was ticked.
He didn’t mess with the doves, I think, because they were the only animals there that the Torah specified to be used. If a person could not afford to offer a lamb or a bull, they could offer a pair of doves (Lev.5.7). Also, the dove is a picture of the Ruach ha Kodesh (Jn.1.32). So he tells the sellers of doves to get out of the Temple grounds to do business, for his Father’s house is not a storefront. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study
[i] The Artcroll Series/Schottenstein Edition; Interlinear Chumash – Vol.2: Shemoth ©2008 Mesorah Publications, Ltd. Brooklyn, NY.