May 30, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3 Sabbath 12
B’Midbar 20:14 – 22:1 – Shoftim 11:1-40 – Tehellim 110 – Yochanan 3:1-4:15
B’Midbar 20:14-28 – In v.14 Moshe sends messengers to the Edomite king to ask permission to use his sidewalk. He promises that they won’t harm anything and that they’ll pay for any water their cattle might drink. Edom said, “If you use my sidewalk, I’ll send my whole family out to meet you (kinda like the Hatfields and McCoys). So rather than fight with their brother Esau, Jacob went the long way round.
First stop was Mount Hor, where Aharon was gathered to his fathers. Here is where we are told that Aharon was in the Meribah rebellion with Moshe. I believe the rebellion there was bitter (Meribah = bitter strife) to Y’hovah because as a result he had to keep Moshe and Aharon out of the Promised Land. Did you notice that Moshe does exactly what Y’hovah tells him, as he had before the Meribah incident? The text seems to reflect an attitude on Moshe like a whipped pup. He definitely learned his lesson, and who knows, perhaps he could get Y’hovah to repent of banishing Moshe from haAretz.
So Moshe, Aharon and Eleazar went up onto Mt. Hor, Moshe removed the High Priest’s attire from Aharon and put it on Eleazar. Then Aharon died on the mountaintop. I think it was the Kadosh Ruach of the priest’s office that kept Aharon alive, for as soon as the mantle was passed, he died. He had full control of all his faculties until the moment of his death at the age of 123 (Num.33.39). This was the norm in the patriarchs and all those who were after Y’hovah’s heart. I pray it is the norm in our lives, as well. It will be if we follow hard on the footsteps of Moshiach. Like Miriam, Aharon didn’t ‘sleep’. He died. In the case of believers, I think the whole ‘sleeping’ thing is an exercise in phenomenal, or apparent, language, like the words ‘sunrise’ and ‘sunset’, neither of which describes the actual truth, but the appearance of the truth.
So, it looks like Moshe lost both his elder sibs in the space of a week or so. That may not be right, though. The timing was not what Y’hovah was interested in conveying so much as the lessons we need to learn from the incidents. Moshe was the meekest man ever to walk the earth (with the exception of Yeshua), except for the Meribah incident. His momentary pride cost him what he held dearest in the earth – to go into the Promised Land. From then on, he was very meek once more (though there will be a few ‘passing the buck’ moments).
How many moves had Yisrael made to this point? According to Num.33.38, they had moved 34 times and it had been 40 years and 4 months from Egypt. In all, from Egypt to Jericho they moved 42 times. I counted in Num.33.5-48 once and the number seemed significant enough for me to remember. ‘Jacob’s Trouble’ jumps out for some reason. Q&C
21:1-3 – There is about to be some serious butt-kickin’ without spending a lot of time on name-takin’. But first, a message from our sponsor. The message is, “Focus on the job at hand. Keep your eyes open for trouble and a weapon to hand, just in case, because I am about to lead you into the land I’ve promised you and the present inhabitants ain’t too keen on you taking it from them.”
Moshe sent an embassage to Esav/Edom to ask permission to walk through his territory on the King’s Highway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ancient_Levant_routes.png for a map of the probable route from Memphis, Egypt through Etham to Aqaba/Eilat, then through either Bosrah or Rabbah (modern Amman) to Damascus and then to the Euphrates at Resafa a few miles south of Haran in Mesopotamia. From Eilat, the KH used the Eastern side of the Rift Valley to Rabbah and then split north through the Golan to Damascus, or east following, I think, the brook Jabbok to Bosrah and then the 2 branches converged again ENE of Damascus about ½ way to Tadmor. As it passed through Edom, the KH was pretty much right on the eastern ridge of the rift and ran right passed Petra. It would almost literally have been the sidewalk, though the sidewalk would have been right through the center of Edom’s kingdom https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kingdoms_around_Israel_830_map.svg. You might want to keep this map handy to reference for the march to the east side of Yarden across from Yericho. Ammon reached to the Yarden before Yisrael arrived and wiped them out.
Yisrael went by the way of the Red Sea – south and then east around Edom so they would not have to fight their elder brother. They found themselves in a fight with the Canaanite king Arad (name H6166 means to sequester itself). He took some Israelites prisoner, I expect as slaves. When this happened the people came to Moshe and had him tell Y’hovah that if he would fight for them, they would wipe out the entire nation. Since these were the Canaanites that Y’hovah wanted Yisrael to drive or wipe out, he accepted their offer and they fought and wiped out Arad. The site of the battle was called Chormah by Y’hovah. Chormah (H2767) is from the root H2763, meaning to seclude by a ban and to devote for religious use, especially for destruction. When they volunteered, Y’hovah gave them their desire.
Vv.4-9 – There is some dispute about where Mount Hor was, but seeing that Israel was traveling along the Red Sea (Eilat/Aqaba) in the south, and that Edom had already made Israel travel south so that they would not travel in their country, it figures that it must have been between Kadesh and Hevron on the north, southward along the western border of Edom to Eilat and then eastward toward Moab at Edom’s northeastern border. The way v.4 reads, I would put Mount Hor in the south and west of Edom. And it looks like they fought Arad near Mount Hor. According to Wiki, Edom displaced the Horites to take their land.
This LO-O-O-O-o-ong way around discouraged the people and may have caused the rebellion against Y’hovah and Moshe. I take v.5 to say that Y’hovah was willing to let them kvetch until they said their “soul loatheth this light bread”, meaning the manna he’d miraculously provided for them for almost 40 years. See the way that reads, Our (plural) soul (singular). They were of one mind in this loathing. I believe this was the leftovers of the generation that left Egypt, because they were kvetching about being brought out of Egypt to die in the Wilderness – same old song, different day.
Follows another Chukah, a decree that doesn’t make any sense to our puny brains. When they said that their ‘soul’ loathed his manna, he sent ‘fiery serpents’ to deal with them. Many were bitten and I must assume that the venom made a burning sensation, as well as the snakes being copper colored. It also looks like the bite delivered a virulent venom that made the bitten swell up and die quickly. The people who were NOT bitten (I infer) asked Moshe to intercede and when he did, Y’hovah gave his Chukah. “Make a fiery serpent of brass, hang it on a pole and anyone who looks at it will be delivered from death.” How can looking at a brass image of a fiery serpent neutralize the snake’s venom? The only answer is just like last week’s chukah and the red heifer – belief + action. One could believe that looking at the brazen serpent could remove the consequences of the bite, but if he didn’t OBEY Y’hovah and look at it, he would still swell up and die. As we’ll see in the Brit Chadasha portion today, Yeshua used this incident to make a point to Nicodemus about spiritual life, that the serpent on the pole was prophetic of his death on the tree. It seems that leaving the redemption to Yeshua and accepting that his death removes the eternal consequence of our sins, was foretold by Israel looking to the brazen serpent. The eternal consequences are removed, though the natural consequences may have to be dealt with. It’s just another Chukah of Y’hovah – it makes no earthly sense. Q&C
Vv.10- – After the attack of Ared’s king, noone messed with Israel again until Sihon sent a force to meet Israel in battle. Israel made a number of moves through a LOT of folks’ territory and proved Moshe’s word to Edom – they just passed through and didn’t disturb anything. They went through Oboth, Iye ha’avarim (ruins of the passers), Zared, the brook Arnon at the border of Moav and the Amorites, where Y’hovah called them to drink at a well, Beer, that he’d prepared for them. All they had to do to get the water was scratch the surface of the ground with their staves (v.18). Look at the Abrahamic Covenant in Gen.15 to see the prophecy that they are about to fulfill,
15 1 After these things the word of Y’hovah came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward. 2 And Abram said, Adonai Y’hovah, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? 3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir. 4 And, behold, the word of Y’hovah came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir. 5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. 6 And he believed in Y’hovah; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 7 And he said unto him, I am Y’hovah that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. 8 And he said, Adonai Y’hovah, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? 9 And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. 10 And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. 11 And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. 12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites not yet full. 17 And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces. 18 In the same day Y’hovah made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates: 19 The Kenites, and the Kenizzites, and the Kadmonites, 20 And the Hittites, and the Perizzites, and the Rephaims, 21 And the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Girgashites, and the Jebusites.
Ten nations that Israel will not utterly cast or wipe out when they take haAretz. ****Speculation Warning**** What follows is NOT related to any conventional wisdom of which I am aware.****
Do you suppose it’s possible that all those prophesies of 10 nation confederacies against Israel REALLY speak of THESE 10 nations, and NOT the European Union, or Rome, or any of the other confederacies the conventional wisdom has cooked up? These are ALL Arab nations and they are ALL Moslem nations today. These nations occupied the entire land grant of Gen.15. I haven’t studied it closely, but I saw a Xian end-times video last night and the idea was still kind of fresh in my head when I counted those nations. The church’s conventional wisdom has been SO wrong on SO many things, I just think it’s possible that even Hal Lindsay and Dwight Pentecost could be wrong here, too. ****End of Speculation****
Do you think, getting back to the well on the Amorites’ side of Arnon, he could have done this all the way through the Wilderness Adventure, had they just trusted him? How many times had they kvetched about water? Every time they suspected there would be none to be had. It was only AFTER Miriam’s death that the Rock that followed them, providing water where needed ‘dried up’, as it were. For over 38 years the Rock had been their provision of water when there was none to be had in the area. Right after Miriam died, they were kvetching about water again and last week we saw the Meribah rebellion in which even Moshe sinned, though after a different manner than the people. Then, when they had to take the long-cut around Edom and they kvetched about the manna, they were judged with fiery serpents. Perhaps they got the message this time. Or perhaps the last of the fathers who came out of Egypt died in that judgment. Could it be that the generation that was born in the Wilderness had learned by experience that they could trust Y’hovah to take care of them? I think Y’hovah finally had the people he needed to go into the land and take it from the Canaanites, bringing his retributive justice on those he’d suffered long to reach through the likes of Balaam and Yithro, prophets for hire. This generation of Israel SANG for joy at Y’hovah’s provision of water so near to the surface. I imagine that Moshe told the elders of the tribes to use their staves and start digging, and as soon as they got an inch of so deep, out started the water. How deep can you dig with a walking stick?
After getting water out of the well, they set out again to traverse a few more folk’s sidewalks, until the came to Sihon’s kingdom of Ammon. I think Ammon = Amorites. They passed through 5 more encampments in the land of the Amorites until they came to Mt. Pisgah, from whence they sent the embassage to Sihon.
Edom had set up a defense, but did not attack Israel. Sihon sent an offensive force, and Y’hovah used Israel to clean his clock. Well, ‘clean his clock’ doesn’t adequately express what Y’hovah did to Sihon and Ammon. Moshe asked Sihon, king of Ammon to allow him to pass through in exactly the same way that he’d asked Edom and then proved that Israel would keep its word as he passed through all the lesser leaders’ lands. They disturbed as little as was practicable and paid for anything they used. But Sihon was presumably suspicious of any body of people that large and sent an offensive force to meet them. He’d bitten off JU-U-u-s-t a BIT more than he could chew. In fact, what he’d done was broken off a LOT more than he could even close his mouth around or spit out. Y’hovah utterly destroyed Sihon’s armies – without Israel getting a scratch. They took by right of conquest ALL of Ammon from Arnon to Jabbok. Now Sihon thought he was all that and a bag of chips because he’d throughly routed Moav (vv.27-32) and taken a large portion of what Moav had previously occupied, I think from brook Arnon through Pisgah. So, he thought Israel would be a pushover. Oops! Didn’t know how Y’hovah works judgment.
After Israel thoroughly routed Sihon and the Amorites, Og of Bashan came against them. Israel was not even IN Bashan or in any territory they’d taken by offensive means, but I suppose Og felt like he needed to avenge Sihon or something equally as silly, so he sent HIS entire army on an offensive mission against Israel and he got his clock cleaned, as well. Maybe better, because Bashan was left absolutely desolate of men. And so Israel occupied all of Bashan, as well.
22.1 – So, Israel set up their camp on the east side of Jordan, over against Jericho to prepare to enter haAretz. There won’t be another major move until Yehoshua takes them across. Q&C
Shoftim 11:1-40 – KJV translates the words ishah zonah as “son of an harlot”, but the fact that Tanach SAYS he was a son of Gilead shows that he was, in fact, entitled to a full share of the inheritance, just like Bilhah’s and Zilpah’s sons were full heirs of Ya’acov. Stone’s Tanach says that Yiphthach’s mama was Gilead’s concubine, and says this about Yiphthach and his mama;
From this point to the rise of Samuel, Eloha did not provide great leaders to bring Israel triumph and tranquility. There were leaders of lesser stature, victories of lesser magnitude, and even civil war and fractiousness among Israel. Now, as they sought a warrior to defeat Ammon, the people were forced to call upon Yiphthach, who did not measure up to their usual standards.
During this time, it was still considered unseemly for an heiress to marry out of her father’s tribe (Num.36.5-9). Having broken this tradition, Yiphthach’s mother was called a zonah, literally, harlot, even though she remained faithful to her husband, Gilead (Radak, Ralbag). Though Yiphthach’s mother was called an harlot, the verse testifies that Gilead was his father to show that his brothers mistreated him, because, as a son, he was fully entitled to a share in Gilead’s estate.
Now, the way the narrative is written gives me to infer that Yiphthach was Gilead’s bachor – 1st born. If, as Stone’s postulates, his mother was of a different tribe than Gilead, she might be seen as a ‘strange’ woman (v.2, KJV) and Yiphthach rejected due to cultural norms and nothing of any real substance.
It is quite apparent that Israel did NOT drive Ammon out of Israel’s inheritance. Remember that Ammon = Amorites – the terms are interchanged in Numbers 21, where brook Arnon is the border of Moav and Amorites, but when the conquest of Sihon was complete, Israel was in control of Ammon from brook Jabbok to brook Arnon. So the Amorites of Ammon were defeated militarily and politically, but not wiped out of existence. And by the time of Yiphthach – 300 years after the conquest of Ammon (v.26), they had congealed BACK into a regional political/military force. They probably still exist as a part of the PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah opposition in Israel. They definitely exist as a powerful force in Jordan, where the capital is Amman.
Yiphthach became the military leader of a rag-tag group of outcasts in ‘the good land’ (eretz Tob, KJV). Blue Letter Bible has Tov as a region east of Jordan, north and northeast of Gilead, probably Aramean (Syria/Assyria). The name and location of it leads me to infer Mesopotamia. Yiphthach had had some considerable success as a leader of men and his fame had spread. Perhaps he’d conducted raids all around Gilead, but left his father’s inheritance alone, and THAT is what brought the elders of Gilead to him for relief from the Amorites/Ammon. But he’d been rejected by his brothers before, so he wanted some assurance that he would not be rejected again if Y’hovah used him to deliver his brothers. Please notice that it was Yiphthach who brought Y’hovah into the picture here, not his bro’s. They were not as close to Y’hovah as he was. He KNEW Torah, recited it from memory for the Ammonites. He wanted the elders’ commitment to allow him his proper place as the 1st born of Gilead, and they agreed to it. V.11 says that he uttered all his words before Y’hovah in Mizpeh.
Yiphthach sent an embassage to Ammon, perhaps to give himself time to plan and order his battle. Ammon has a LONG memory. It had been 300 years since Sihon was defeated and they demanded their land back (sound familiar? – they were pouting over their plight as ‘refugees’ without a land of their own. Boo-Hoo!). But Yiphthach told them that the land was Israel’s by right of conquest in a war that they did not start because Y’hovah had given the Amorites into Israel’s hands when Sihon went on the offensive.
When Y’hovah heard Yiphthach’s words to the leader of Ammon, he came on Yiphthach with a vengeance. He knew his heart was after Y’hovah’s and filled him with the wisdom and power of Ruach. So Yiphthach vowed that if Y’hovah brought Israel victory over Ammon and Yiphthach safely back to Mizpeh, that the first thing that came out of his house to meet him would Y’hovah’s as a freewill burnt offering. After defeating the Amorites (and that’s about as much space as Y’hovah gives the battle in Tanach) and upon his return to Mizpeh, the first thing to greet him was his daughter, who would be his heir, as his only child. Would he offer his daughter as a burnt offering? Y’hovah would not accept a human sacrifice of Yiphthach would he? Again, here is what Stone’s Tanach has to say about v.35-37,
11.35 – Under no circumstances was Yiphthach permitted to sacrifice his daughter, nor could he obligate her to a course of behaviour…
11.36 – Yiphthach’s daughter volunteered to submit and he carried out his vow figuratively by having her live in seclusion …
11.37 – Before the vow was carried out, she wanted to grieve with her friends because she would remain a virgin, never to marry or bring children into the world.
While he didn’t offer her as a burnt offering, he did what he could – he allowed her to remain unmarried and a virgin, leaving no heir.
Tehellim 110 – This Psalm has almost from its writing been recognized, at least by some, as a Messianic Psalm. Here are a few paragraphs from that source of all unquestioned wisdom and erudition – Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psalm_110 ),
“… According to Avot of Rabbi Nathan, chapter 34, Psalm 110 refers to the Messiah.
“These are the 2 anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth (Zech.14.4). This is a reference to Aharon and the Messiah, but I cannot tell which is the more beloved. However, from the verse, “The Lord will swear and will not repent: Thou art a priest forever after the manner of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4), one can tell that the Messianic King is more beloved than the righteous priest.” – The Fathers According to Rabbi Nathan, Chapter 34, Translated by Judah Goldin, Yale University Press, page 137-138. Footnote: This Psalm has been taken to refer to Messiah.”
As a member of the tribe of Judah, David was not a born Priest (kohen) as only members of the priestly tribe of Levi of patrilineal descent from Aaron, the brother of Moses, are entitled to the priesthood in Judaism. As the respected Jewish sage Rashi wrote,
“Because of the speech of Malchizedek, because of the command of Malchizedek,
‘You are a priest, Heb. kohen. The term ‘kohen’ bears the connotation of priesthood, servitude to the deity, and, less frequently, rulership, as (2Sam.8.18):
“And David’s sons were kohanim (chief officers).””
Rashi is a very well respected Jewish sage who lived in the 11th c. CE. Rabbi Nathan, the Babylonian lived in the 2nd c. CE and had some differences with Rabbi Shimon ben Gamaliel (yes, THAT Gamaliel) and so is perhaps not considered ‘mainstream’ Judaism. So there is some treatment by sages of Judaism to the Messianic nature of this psalm, even AFTER Yeshua’s life on earth. There are probably quite a few references to this speaking of Messiah in the Mishneh and older sources. I assume that there was a lot of scrambling to make this NOT refer to Messiah after the shlichim of Yeshua started applying this psalm to Yeshua very early in the history of the Netzari sect of Judaism.
There are lots of places where the earth is Y’hovah’s footstool (v.1),
Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of Y’hovah, and for the footstool of Elohenu (I Chronicles 28:2)
Exalt ye Y’hovah Elohenu, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy. (Psalms 99:5)
Thus saith Y’hovah, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? (Isaiah 66:1)
Those are a few. If this psalm refers to Messiah and his footstool, it makes Messiah to be Y’hovah, which is also seen in some old rabbinic literature, mainly of mystical bent.
From “The Way of Kabbalah” by Z’ev Ben Shimon Halevi, as quoted from Yashanet’s treatment of “Messiah – part 7; Messianic Figures and Ideas”, www.yashanet.com/studies/revstudy/rev5hf.htm,
“…Melchizedek plays a dual role of priestly-tzaddik and judgmental Messiah. … Metatron so closely resembles Eloha Himself that he is even called “the Lesser Y’hovah”…
As might be expected, there is also an association between Metatron and Melchizedek in Jewish tradition:
“Metatron, legend says, has manifested throughout history as various great teachers, one of whom may have been Melchizedek, the king without father or mother, who initiated Avraham into the line.”
Yashanet goes on to observe:
… Hebrews 6.19-20 associates Melchizedek with aspects of High Priest and Tzaddik, who effects the tikkun of the heavenly Holy of Holies.
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Yeshua, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
In 110.2, the rod of thy strength is Messiah/Metatron, the captain of Y’hovah’s hosts, as can be seen (if you want to see it) in Ex.4.2 and everywhere in the Wilderness Adventure where Moshe employs Y’hovah’s rod. He uses that rod to rule the enemies that surround him. Messiah IS ‘the beauties of holiness’ (v.3), as Paul intimates in Rom.11.22
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of Eloha: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Romans 11:22)
The Sefiroth (manifestations/aspects of the Almighty) of mercy/goodness (Y’hovah’s chesed) and justice/severity (Ruach’s Gevurah) meet in the sefirah of beauty (tifereth) in the Tzadik, whom we believe is Yeshua haMoshiach (www.tzion.org/Tree_Sefiroth.htm).
We’ve treated v.4 enough above. In v.5, it has been said (you know what that means) that the Masoretic scribes substituted Adonai here for Y’hovah. I have no way of KNOWING that’s true, but it would not be a great surprise to learn of its veracity. This psalm shows Messiah Yeshua’s life and ministry in every verse, IF you want to see it. If you do not, then you will not, emphasis on WILL. Replacing Y’hovah where he would then belong in this verse makes Messiah’s right hand Y’hovah – shades of the tree of Sephiroth, where the Tzaddik’s right hand rests on the merciful and gracious goodness of Y’hovah. His right hand strikes through kings of the earth, something Messiah will do when he returns to the earth to deliver his own from the world system’s armies.
In v.6, Messiah wounds the heads of many countries. Do you see the reference to the proto-evangelon in Gen.3.15
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (Genesis 3:15)
Messiah ben David is going to defeat both the physical and the spiritual enemies of Y’hovah in one fell swoop. I think he will bind and imprison the shadim first, which I think is the last act of his wrath, and then employ Is.27.4-5. This is from my commentary on Is.23-27, archived at www.waytozion.org/fulfillingtorah/fulfillingtorah.htm,
Vv.4-5 shows the deliberate and methodical manner of Y’hovah’s judgment AFTER his wrath is appeased. Notice that after the days of awe, there is no fury left in him. He gives the armies of the earth who come against him a choice.
4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together.
‘Briers’ is from Heb8068 shamiyr, literally a thorn that pricks or scratches. I think it’s interesting that the late PM of Israel was Yitzchak Shamir. His name fit his personality to a ‘T’. In our verse, Yah sees it as an irritant. ‘Thorn’ is from Heb7898 shayith, scrub or trash, wild growth of weeds or briers. I see them in this prophecy both as terrorists and as tares sown among the wheat, good for nothing except to be burned. So the minor irritants that do nothing but choke the spiritual life out of his people are about to be burnt in the fire of judgment. This judgment is not meted out in fury, remember, but in objective, deliberate righteousness. Those who would destroy Y’hovah’s bride will be dealt with in decisive calm.
BUT, before he does so, he understands that among the tares are those who have heard and understood the gospel, so he throws in,
5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.
Y’hovah actually offers his salvation to the ones arrayed against him in battle, and it is not an idle offer. IF they will take hold of his Strength (Moshiach is Y’hovah’s right hand and right arm), not only MAY he have peace with Y’hovah, but he SHALL have peace with Y’hovah. To have peace with Y’hovah is the gospel in a nutshell, the simplest way to put humanities need. We need to be at peace with our Creator. Moshiach is that peace. Do you see the mercy of Y’hovah here? I do, in spades. Those who were sent by their legal authorities to make war with Y’hovah are individually offered peace – last chance. This proves 2Pe.3.9 is true, Y’hovah is not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.
V.7 leads me to infer that he is not very worried about the battle arrayed against him. He takes the time to drink some water from the brook and to ‘lift up the head’, I think of those who have just trusted him to deliver them from among the armies of the earth.
I COULD be wrong … But I DOUBT IT! Q&C
Yochanan 3:1-4:15– What follows is taken from my presentation of The Life of Yeshua haMoshiach – A Messianic Perspective © 2005-2012 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries, which was written as a presentation to a weekly bible study for a group of mostly Sunday keeping Xians.
The discourse on the new birth, Jn.3.1-13 – We’ll be on this one for a while, so curl up, get comfortable, but don’t go to sleep. The dialogue/discourse seems to take place shortly after the cleansing of the temple. Yeshua was doing miracles at the temple to authenticate his message and show the mercy of Elohim to the common folk and the Jewish leaders. Nicodemus seems to be the leader of a wing of the Sanhedrin, or at least its spokesman, however, he also seems afraid for his position, because he comes to Yeshua at night. His group saw the miracles and came to the proper conclusion that Yeshua was a prophet, at least. He says, “For no man can do the miracles you do, except Elohim be with him.” Now we can only guess at what Nicodemus was going to ask or discuss, but Yeshua changes the subject before Nic even gets started. In fact, I think he cut Nic off in the middle of his introduction. It’s as if Yeshua were thinking, ‘OK, Nic. Looks like there are a few of you who are thinking scripturally. Now, can you stand a little more light? Or will you scatter like roaches when I turn it on?’ What Yeshua says is, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of Elohim.” Was there a Rosh Chodesh, a new moon, that night that he used as an object lesson?
Now, I think that this was not the response Nic was expecting. He was expecting denial or acknowledgment of the fact he’d stated. Instead he had to shift gears to handle a sudden blind turn. “Born again? What’s that?” Yeshua was a master people handler. He knew just how to get a man off his guard to get him thinking in a different way, to get him on the right track. Nic had come for some type of approval and instead got a mind boggling wake up. He reverts to what I call the prophetic smart-alec tense. I think he’s trying to regain his intellectual equilibrium and just throws out something to buy some time. The response is almost dripping with sarcasm, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?” “What if mosquitoes had machine guns? Would frogs mess with them?” Nic expected his response to be taken as a put-down or a rebuke and to have Yeshua back off, but Yeshua never got defensive. Only a guilty man has to be defensive. Yeshua was always on the righteous attack. He moved on with a little more light. Yochanan 3:5-8, “Yeshua answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of Elohim.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.  The wind (G4151, pneuma) bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (G4151, pneuma).”
Born of water Nic understood, it was the born of the Spirit part that had him off kilter. This was a new concept to him. To be born of the Spirit is to have the life of Yeshua quicken or activate your own human spirit by the infusion of the Spirit of Elohim and his Moshiach. Until such time as you are born of the Spirit, you are spiritually dead in Adam, your human nature being all there is to drive you. But when you are ‘born again’, your spirit is made alive by the generating, quickening power of the Ruach ha Kodesh, and it is that living Spirit that drives you to be what Elohim intends you to be. To be born again and to follow after the human spirit is of all circumstances and lifestyles the most miserable – it is to be driven of the waves and tossed (James 1.6 – 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of Y’hovah, that giveth to all liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.), never to be used fully of Elohim and never to be able to do comfortably as your human spirit tells you because it will be at war with the Spirit of Moshiach that dwells within (Rom7.14-23, 24-8.1).
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of Y’hovah after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? 25 I thank Y’hovah through Yeshua Christ our Adonai. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of Y’hovah; but with the flesh the law of sin. 1 Therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Yeshua, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Yeshua intimates the warfare to come in v.6. He says, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” The two will be present together in the believer, the one warring constantly with the other, until the day when we receive our glorious new bodies. That day is not far off. I would that it were so, now!
Yeshua says (in a Mark paraphrase), ‘Don’t be amazed that I say you must be born again. You see the effects of the Spirit of Elohim all around you, just like you see the effects of the wind. You have no idea where the wind comes from, and neither do you know whence comes the Spirit, but the effects are there just the same. Look at the evidence and deduce its origin. Believe what the Spirit of Elohim tells you.’ (Mark paraphrase).
Nic showed himself to be intellectually honest, anyway, by asking a reasonable question, “How can these things be?” He was really trying to deal with this as truth, I think, but the concept was outside the box he’d been trained in. When you’ve been trained to think a certain way, it is very difficult to change it, especially as you grow older, and in authority and stature. If you change your epistemology, the underlying base or foundation upon which you build your thought process, the way you think, everything you do and have is affected. You, in effect, need to rebuild from scratch because your foundation is different (and THERE is the root of the difficulty we have with our Xian brethren.)
Yeshua says (again, in a Mark paraphrase), ‘If you don’t get it, being the teacher of Yisrael, how am I going to make the common folk understand? Are you so educated that you can’t see simple spiritual truth? Look, I’ve told you what I know to be true experientially. I’ve done this stuff and you don’t believe me. If I can’t get simple truth through your thick skull, how am I going to make you see the really heavy stuff? Noone has ascended to heaven to bring you these truths, but I’ve come from heaven to bring them.’ And by the way, he used the prophetic perfect tense to say this, “No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven,” thus intimating that he had already ascended and was in both ‘places’ simultaneously (“even the Son of Man which is in heaven”, which is not a physical place), though his death is still 2-3 years away. He speaks IN TIME, but says that he is simultaneously outside of time. Q&C
Vv. 14-21 are where Yeshua tells of eternal/everlasting life, and what qualifies a person for it. He tells of his crucifixion and how the serpent in the wilderness foretold of it, how those who looked to the brazen serpent (today’s Torah portion Numbers 21) were saved from death, though not necessarily the natural consequences of their sin (Pain and sickness). So those who look to him crucified and resurrected for their redemption will see eternal life, though some consequence to their actions may be experienced (v.14-15). The reason for the lifting up of the Son of Man was so Elohim could shed his love abroad to every man (v.16-17). V.18 tells us that if we believe on Yeshua, we escape condemnation. We are already condemned before anything else happens. By our very nature, which is to commit sin, we are condemned to the Lake of Fire. We are condemned because we witnessed the light that Elohim sent, and preferred darkness instead (v.19). The reason we preferred darkness is that the light shines on our actions and exposes them for the wickedness they are. We hate the light because it exposes our sin, and we want to go on believing how good we are (v.20). If we did what was right we would want everyone to know, but our deeds are sinful and so we shun the light, like cockroaches, and bask in darkness.
Elohim is not sending anyone to the Lake of Fire, we are sitting on the train, happily headed there of our own volition, because we chose to sin when given the choice. Elohim has made a way of escape from that train and to one bound for eternal life, but few will make the track change. It seems perilous to change from one track to the other, jump off one train onto another while the things are moving, and in our own strength it is quite impossible. We’d be dashed to pieces by the relative motion of the trains on opposite headings. But Yeshua is like a conduit through which we can move from one train to the other with very little jolt to our systems. The effects of inertia are almost nonexistent, until we try to reenter the first train in our own power to try to help others off. Only through the ‘Yeshua conduit’, his Spirit’s power, can we affect the ones to whom he sends us without the shock of inertia. The sudden jolt is what shuts most people off to service to the Master. Ask him for his guiding, protective and powerful hand in your life, and see if he won’t answer in the affirmative. Then see if you like the light of truth. Q&C
54). Jn.3.22-36 – There isn’t much said about the early Judean Ministry of Yeshua, other than he baptized folks and hung around. The real details given are about Yochanan and his reaction to the ministry of Yeshua in the rest of the chapter.
V.23 tells us that Yochanan was still baptizing near Salim in Aenon. This is the only appearance in Scripture of these two place names, but they are similar to Jeru – Salim and En-Gedi.
Aenon means a cloud, a fountain, or his eye, while En-Gedi means eye or fountain of a goat (and if you saw the terrain, you’d understand). “(the fountain of the kid) is a celebrated place about 400 feet above the west shore of the Dead Sea and about thirty-five miles southeast of Jerusalem. Immense fountains of warm water flow out from beneath limestone cliffs and cascade down to a small but wonderfully fertile plain, half a mile broad and a mile in length (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).” When David was on the run from Saul he holed up at En-Gedi. “David hid from Saul in the “strongholds of Engedi” and in a nearby cave cut off a portion of Saul’s robe rather than take his life (1Sa 24). Avraham rescued Lot from a coalition of kings near here (Gen 14:7).” I think, therefore, that Aenon is En-Gedi. This COULD be wrong.
One of the meanings of Salim is path. Yochanan may have been here to “make his paths straight.”
Matthew 3:3 “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias (40.3), saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make his paths straight.”
Mark 1:3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make his paths straight.”
Luke 3:4 “As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of YHVH, make his paths straight.”
The ‘Highway of our YHVH’ must be nearby, and sure enough, Yeshua was baptizing nearby, as well. It was spring and the various wadis that empty into the Dead Sea run at this time, so it is the right time to be baptizing. Yochanan chose his place to baptize because there is warm water there year-round.
Yochanan’s disciples and the Jews were in a controversy over purification. They are baptizing for the remission of sins, to fulfill the requirement to re-enter the camp after having become defiled somehow. This is long before the crucifixion, in fact the Kingdom has yet to be offered to the Jews, so even Yeshua’s baptism is for purification. I think this was the point of discussion. Both groups are coming to Yochanan to settle the dispute. I suppose that the Jews would go as far as Yochanan to show how good they were, but not so far as to follow Yeshua. How far do you go to prove your worth to Elohim? Will you even be baptized to show how good you are? Give 10% of all you own? Teach Sabbath/Sunday School or a Bible study? None of these things are bad, unless you are using them to prove your worth to Elohim. Elohim thought you were worth the life of his Son. How much can you add to that? Your righteous deeds are worthless to Elohim except as fruit of a changed life. Quit giving to get. Start getting in order to give.
They tell Yochanan that Yeshua is baptizing and the reason Yochanan is seeing less people is that Yeshua is drawing more to himself. Yochanan says (Mark paraphrase), ‘Elohim has sent them to him. I told you I’m not the Moshiach, but you’re still here. I was sent before the Moshiach, get it? He came after me, get it? Look, he’s the bridegroom and I’m the best man. This is his show, not mine. I’m just the M.C. As such, all the joy I’m going to get on earth is already mine. I’ve had my day in the sun and now it’s his turn. I’m going to let you all in on something. He came down from heaven, I’m just a guy. He is so far above me that I can’t give you a close enough analogy. I can tell you what I think about stuff, but he’ll tell you what Elohim thinks about stuff, because Elohim has sent him. He testifies to heavenly things that he has seen and heard with his own eyes and ears. With us, Elohim has to dole out his Spirit in doses we can handle, but Elohim doesn’t have to worry about that with Yeshua, because Elohim sent him from heaven. He’s Elohim’s Son, to whom Elohim has given all things. Believe Him and your eternal life is sure. Refuse to believe him and your destiny is just as sure, for the wrath of Elohim is yours.’ If they were listening (and many were not because Yochanan still had disciples after he was thrown in prison) they left Yochanan and were after Yeshua. We’ll have to see when the rest of Yeshua’s disciples were called. He only had 5 up to now.
Did you notice that Yochanan said, ‘He’s the bridegroom?’ Remember the wedding feast? Who was congratulated for holding the best wine for last? Wine represents life, and joy and the blood of the bridegroom, which he promises to shed for his bride. Life on this earth after salvation can be hairy at times, but if you’re led by the Spirit of Elohim there is joy even in the worst circumstances. But Yeshua holds the best wine for last, when we’ve left this earthly tabernacle for life in eternity.
4.1-3 – Yeshua learned that the Pharisees heard of his attracting more disciples than Yochanan, and left for Galilee. But he took an unusual, direct route for a Jew. The Jews wanted no contact with the Samaritans and so went the long way round, through trans-Jordan, to Galilee. He went through Samaria, rather than around it. We know that he had a divine appointment, but the disciples were in the dark as to why he took the direct route. Q&C
55). The Water of Life, Jn.4.4-15 – It says that “He must needs go through Samaria.” Why? As we saw before, they could have used the normal route and circumnavigated Samaria altogether. But Yeshua had a divine appointment to keep. Yeshua must have walked like a trucker drives. If you draw a straight line from Jerusalem to Nazareth, Sychar is not more than 2 miles off the line. The most direct route went right past Sychar, where there happened to be a well and a nearby town to which he could send his disciples to buy chow.
Sychar was at the foot of Mt. Gerizim, the mountain of blessing. The name is of Hebrew origin (H7941, from 7937 shakar, to drink to the full) and means “an intoxicant”, which is probably what the Samaritan religion was like, a mixture of Egyptian Golden Calf and Y’hovah worship.
So, Yeshua leaned on the well waiting for the woman to show. The time is about noon. It is a good bet that most of the women came out to the well in the morning or the evening, or both, to draw water, not in the middle of the day. In the desert, one stays out of the sun as much as possible when it is at its zenith. This woman was not associating with the other women of Sychar, because she was a strumpet, as Yeshua would tell her in a bit. Notwithstanding his knowledge of where he was and to whom he spoke, Yeshua asked her to give him a drink. Did he do this to initiate the conversation, or because he was thirsty? Yes!
She was amazed that anyone would talk to her, especially a Jew! Jews wouldn’t speak to an upright man of Samaria, much less a wayward woman. But here is a Jewish man engaging a less than upright Samaritan woman in conversation. There are several social strata being bridged here, but Yeshua does it as a matter of course. There was no class or caste system as far as Yeshua was concerned. He saw a lost soul who needed a Saviour. She asks why he would talk to her, and he replies, “If thou knewest the gift of Elohim, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.” How’s that for a curiosity approach? He was telling her that he had something she needed, and she was nibbling at the bait, cautiously. She asks if he is greater than Jacob. Now, in the Middle-East there is noone greater than his father – it is a patriarchal society, and Jake was a patriarch. If this man is greater than Jake, he must be Moshiach, the Son of Elohim. But her question is more a jibe, as if to say, ‘you’re not greater than Jacob.’
Yochanan 4:13-15, “Yeshua answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
4.15 All she heard was ‘never thirst’ and in her mind that meant ‘never have to humiliate myself and come out here to draw.’
She did like we do, she selectively heard what she wanted to hear and disregarded the rest. Like us, when we hear Philip. 3:10a, – “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection,” but we forget to hear the rest of the verse, “b, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”, so is the woman at the well. She didn’t hear the really good news and understand the real point because she was thinking on one plane – she was totally inside a box of her own creation, so Yeshua takes another approach, which does the trick of getting her outside the box.
However, that brings us to the end of our portion for this week. So … Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible study.