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Parashah 48 Shoftim

Deuteronomy 16:18 – 21:9

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted.   

Torah Readings:

  1. 16:18 – 17:13

  2. 17:14-20

  3. 18:1-5

  4. 18:6-13

  5. 18:14 – 19:13

  6. 19:14 – 20:9

  7. 20:10 – 21:9

  8. Maftir: 21:7-9

Haftarah: Isaiah 51:12 – 53:12

The Messianic Writings: Revelation 10:1 – 11:19

Shoftim

Means “judges”.

Comments

The First Aliyah, 16:18 – 17:13

16:18 “Judges and policemen shall you make you in all your gates, which HaShem your God gives you, according to your tribes; and they shall judge the people with righteous judgment.”(HNV revised) – A judge is one who has been given the authority to execute a sentence for the actions or words of others, in accordance with the Torah and the halachah. A judge must sentence the guilty and release the innocent. The policemen are those who carry out the judges’ orders. A judge cannot do much without the authority of the police backing him up, so that his sentences are carried out. The police cannot function well without judges, because the police must know which sentences need to be carried out. These two authorities must therefore work parallel with each other in order for the community to be served well by them.

“in all your gates (cities)” – There were three types of courts in Israel. One had three judges, another had 23 judges, and the third had 71 judges. Cities with a population of less than 120 people had a court, beit din, with three judges. Cities with a population greater than 120 people had a beit din that consisted of 23 judges, which was called “a little sanhedrin”. Courts consisting of three judges could only judge cases concerning money. There had to be a court with 23 judges in order to pass judgments concerning life and death. In Yerushalayim there were three courts, two with 23 judges and one with 71, where the high priest presided as the leader. The one with 71 judges was called “the great Sanhedrin”, and is often translated as “the Sanhedrin”. The men who made up the great Sanhedrin had a designated gathering place in the temple.

16:19 “You shall not wrest justice: you shall not respect persons; neither shall you take a bribe; for a bribe does blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “justice” is mishpat.[1] In order not to pervert justice, you cannot follow the concept of righteousness that seems right in the eyes of man, but you must follow what HaShem has commanded in his Torah.

In Romans 2:20b; 7:7, 12, it is written,

“having in the Torah the form of knowledge and of the truth… What shall we say then? Is the Torah sin? Absolutely not! However, I wouldn’t have known sin, except through the Torah. For I wouldn’t have known coveting, unless the Torah had said, ‘You shall not covet.’… Therefore the Torah indeed is sacred, and the commandment sacred, and righteous, and good.”(HNV revised)

In Matthew 23:23b, it is written,

“the weightier matters of the Torah: justice, mercy, and faith.”(HNV revised)

The Eternal’s righteousness, which is the basis of all just judgment, is expressed in the Torah. One cannot twist the Torah while judging or passing laws. In order for the judicial system of a nation to be righteous, the Torah must be the foundation, not humanistic criteria or what the majority of the population believes. Just because the majority of a population behaves a certain way, it does not mean that it is right. What is common is not the same as what is normal. Common behavior is not necessarily normal behavior according to the norms that HaShem has established for man. There is only one true righteousness and it has been revealed in two ways, in the Torah of Moshe and in Yeshua HaMashiach, as it is written in Romans 3:21,

“But now aside from the Torah, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the Torah and the prophets”(HNV revised)

It does not say, “contrary to the Torah”, but “aside from the Torah”, which means that the Torah reveals the righteousness of the Eternal and that, in addition, Yeshua HaMashiach reveals the same righteousness, but in a different manner. It is not another righteousness. The Messiah Yeshua is the righteousness of HaShem, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 1:30,

“But of him, you are in Messiah Yeshua, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:”(HNV revised)

The Greek word that has been translated as “righteousness” is dikaiosune,[2] which means both “righteousness” and “justification”.

As far as I understand, the expression “aside from the Torah”, in Romans 3:21, does not mean that it is another righteousness than the righteousness of the Torah, but that the righteousness of the Eternal has been manifested in another way besides the Scriptures. There are two revelations of His righteousness, the Torah and the Messiah; the same righteousness revealed in two ways. The expression “aside from the Torah” can also be understood as “beyond the Torah”, “parallel to the Torah”; always in harmony with the Torah but in another form. One does not contradict the other.

16:20 “Righteousness, righteousness shall you follow, that you may live, and inherit the land which HaShem your God gives you.”(HNV revised) – Why is the word “righteousness” repeated in this text? On the one hand, it can be understood that it is because it is very important to HaShem that righteousness is carried out in the land. Righteousness is one of the foundational pillars of society.

On the other hand, it speaks of two manifestations of the righteousness that one must follow (in Hebrew it says “pursue”). As we have said earlier, the first form of that righteousness is the written Torah. One must strive after that righteousness in order to have long life on the earth with shalom, peace, and success. But the other form of righteousness that has been revealed aside from the Torah is Yeshua HaMashiach, the living Torah. One must pursue the righteousness of God, which is given through Yeshua the Messiah, in order to have eternal life, as it is written in Romans 3:22-24,

“even the righteousness of God through faith in Yeshua the Messiah to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction, for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Messiah Yeshua”(HNV revised)

These two revelations of HaShem’s righteousness are found again in Revelation 14:12, where it is written,

“Here is the perseverance of the consecrated ones, those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Yeshua.”(HNV revised)

Who are the consecrated ones, according to this text? They are the ones who seek these two manifestations of righteousness, the Torah of Moshe and the faith of Yeshua.

16:21 “You shall not plant you a cult tree or any kind of tree beside the altar of HaShem your God, which you shall make you.”(HNV revised) – There is an ancient custom of planting trees at the entrance of pagan temples, see Judges 6:30. It is forbidden to plant trees on the temple mount. Furthermore, since this is speaking of any type of tree, or wood, at all, it is considered forbidden to erect wooden buildings next to the temple. These commandments are also the origin of the custom to not place flowers in the synagogue, at least not near the aron kodesh, the consecrated ark, where the Torah scrolls are kept.

16:22 “Neither shall you set yourself up a pillar; which HaShem your God hates.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word that is translated as “pillar” is matzevah,[3] which has to do with one large stone that served as an altar. During the times of the patriarchs, HaShem accepted this, but on account of the idolatrous customs of the kana’anites, who used these types of stones, it became something detestable to the Eternal, see Genesis 28:18, 22; 31:13, 45; 35:14, 20; Exodus 23:24; 24:4; 34:13; Leviticus 26:1; Deuteronomy 12:3; Hosea 10:1-2. The Israelites are only allowed to build altars that are made with many stones or with earth.

17:1 “You shall not sacrifice to HaShem your God an ox, or a sheep, in which is a blemish, or any flaw; for that is an abomination to HaShem your God.”(HNV revised) – Yitzchak would not have been a pleasing sacrifice to the Eternal since he was not perfect. On the other hand, Yeshua had no sin and could therefore be a perfect sacrifice.

17:3 “and has gone and served other gods, and worshiped them, or the sun, or the moon, or any of the host of the sky, which I have not commanded”(HNV) – The Torah forbids astrology. Do not read the horoscopes!

17:8 “If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between plague and plague, being matters of controversy within your gates; then shall you arise, and go up to the place which HaShem your God shall choose”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, “between blood and blood” has to do with discerning whether the blood that comes out of a woman is clean or unclean, see Leviticus 15:19. “Between plea and plea” has to do with the laws that concern civil damages and monetary transactions between individuals, behaviors that deserve a physical punishment, and cases that concern the death penalty. “Between plague and plague” has to do with defining whether a plague is clean or unclean, see Leviticus 13.

“If there arise a matter too hard for you in judgment…” – Here the Torah is speaking to the judges in the cities of Israel. The Torah was written primarily to Israel’s judges. If conflicts were to arise, that the lower judges could not solve, they had to go to higher institutions, the authorities in Yerushalayim, which consisted of the Levite priests and one main judge.

17:9 “and you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge who shall be in those days: and you shall inquire; and they shall show you the sentence of judgment.”(HNV revised) – This is talking about a judge in each generation. This was the head judge. Further on, in 19:17, it talks about the judges “at that time”. This teaches us that among the judges, one of them is the highest judge.

17:11 “according to the tenor of the Torah which they shall teach you, and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside from the sentence which they shall show you, to the right hand, nor to the left.”(HNV revised) – This teaches us that obedience to the commands of the sages is part of obedience to the Torah. The authorities, however, must make judgments that are in line with the Torah of the Eternal. According to Rashi, they (the authorities, the sages) must be obeyed even though they should say that right is left and left is right. Yerushalayim’s Talmud,[4] however, says the opposite,

 “One might imagine that they must be obeyed, even if they should say that right is left and left is right. (In order to show that it is not so) the verse says, “to the right hand, nor to the left”, (Deuteronomy 5:32; 28:14), (which means that it applies as long as) they tell you that right is right and left is left.”

Compare with Acts 4:18-20; 5:29b where it is written,

“They called them, and charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Yeshua. But Kefa and Yochanan answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves, for we can’t help telling the things which we saw and heard.’… ‘We must obey God rather than men.’”(HNV revised)

17:12 “The man who does presumptuously, in not listening to the priest who stands to minister there before HaShem your God, or to the judge, even that man shall die: and you shall put away the evil from Yisra'el.”(HNV revised) – The Sanhedrin in Yerushalayim had great power delegated to them; it was punishable by death to go against this great court. The Sanhedrin sits in God’s place on the earth, and one who goes against the authority that He has established goes against Him, which is a very serious crime.

17:13 “All the people shall hear, and fear, and do no more presumptuously.”(HNV) – The death penalty for a rebellious person not only serves to remove evil from Israel, but also to create respect and fear of the Eternal and the authorities that He has established.

The Second Aliyah, 17:14-20

17:14 “When you are come to the land which HaShem your God gives you, and shall possess it, and shall dwell therein, and shall say, I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are round about me”(HNV revised) – The Torah predicts that the people would ask for a king. The initiative for them to have a king did not come from HaShem. This word was fulfilled in 1 Samuel 8:5 where it says that the people asked for a king. The purpose for this request was not to fulfill the words of the Torah, but to be like all the other nations on the earth. That was what made the Eternal to manifest as grieved. We know that HaShem had already told Avraham in Genesis 17:6 that “kings will come out of you”, and this promise is the basis for the fact that there would be kings in Israel.

17:15 “you shall surely set him king over you, whom HaShem your God shall choose: one from among your brothers shall you set king over you; you may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.”(HNV revised) – This teaches us several important things concerning the kingship in Israel,

  1. The king must be chosen by HaShem – through the prophets.

  2. The king was placed in a position over the people.

  3. The king was installed into his position by the people. The type of government that the Eternal establishes among men is both theocratic and democratic. When an authority figure is appointed, there must be cooperation between the Eternal and the people.

  4. The king must be born an Israelite; he cannot be a foreigner.

17:16-17 “Only he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he may multiply horses; because HaShem has said to you, You shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart not turn away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.”(HNV revised) – King Shelomo sinned in these three areas:

  1. He acquired many horses and he caused the people to travel back to Egypt to buy horses, see 1 Kings 4:26. Talmud[5] teaches that the king may only own as many horses as are needed by his carriages, see 2 Samuel 8:4.

  2. He acquired many wives who turned his heart away, see 1 Kings 11:3-4. According to Talmud,[6] the king may only have 18 wives, based on the text in 2 Samuel where HaShem speaks about increasing what King David already had two times more. At that time, King David had six wives.

  3. He acquired much silver and gold, see 1 Kings 10:21, 27. Talmud[7] teaches that the king may only have as much gold and silver as is needed for his court and the administration of the kingdom.

Because he sinned in these three areas, HaShem raised up three enemies against him, see 1 Kings 11:14, 23, 26. If King Shelomo had obeyed the Torah, he would not have fallen. The fall of every man, from Adam to the last one, has been, and will be because they have disregarded the commandments that the Eternal has written in the Torah.

A Midrash[8] relates that the letter yod, in the word yarbeh, “shall increase”, became offended by King Shelomo when he broke these three prohibitions in the Torah, and that the letter went up to the throne of heaven and complained, “Shelomo removed me when he broke these commandments about not increasing wives, horses, and riches. Now he has removed these commandments. Sooner or later he will disregard the entire Torah!” HaShem answered the letter yod, and said, “Do not be afraid. Shelomo and thousands like him will die, but not even you, the smallest letter, will ever be removed.”

It is possible that our Rabbi had this Midrash in mind when he spoke the words that are written in Matthew 5:18, to the people,

“For most assuredly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the Torah, until all things are accomplished.”(HNV revised)

17:18-19 “It shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Torah in a book, out of that which is before the priests the Levites: and it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life; that he may learn to fear HaShem his God, to keep all the words of this Torah and these statutes, to do them”(HNV revised) – The Torah is the foundation of the Kingdom. Therefore the king had to write a Sefer Torah for himself and read from it every day. According to Rashi, the expression mishneh Torah, which occurs in this passage, means that the king had to write two Torah scrolls and have one in his treasure chamber and one that was with him when he went in and out. The Jewish kings had a mini Sefer Torah on their right hand. They always had this with them when they served. This is where the commandment comes from which says that every Jewish man ought to write a Sefer Torah or to pay a scribe who can do it for him.

17:20 “that his heart not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he not turn aside from the commandments, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children, in the midst of Yisra'el.”(HNV revised) – When you read from the Torah daily, it produces fear of HaShem and humility of heart so that you can obey the commandments properly. What is the antidote for the lack of fear of HaShem that is rampant in our society? It is reading from the Torah every day of your life.

The Third Aliyah, 18:1-5

18:4 “The first fruits of your grain, of your wine, and of your oil, and the first of the fleece of your sheep, shall you give him.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated as “the first fruits” is resheet,[9] which is also the first word of the Torah, see Genesis 1:1.

The Fourth Aliyah, 18:6-13

18:5 “For HaShem your God has chosen him out of all your tribes, to stand to minister in the name of HaShem, him and his sons for ever.”(HNV revised) – This teaches us that ministry before the Eternal is done while standing.

18:6 “If a Levite comes from any of your gates out of all Yisra'el, where he lives as a foreigner, and comes with all the desire of his soul to the place which HaShem shall choose”(HNV revised) – One must have this attitude in order to be able to minister to the Eternal correctly. One who does not have this desire cannot be pleasing in his service to Him. This desire is like a fire in the soul of HaShem’s servants. The fire that comes from the sacrifices becomes a pleasing aroma before the Eternal. If there is no fire in our souls when we serve the Eternal, we will not be pleasing to him.

18:7 “then he shall minister in the name of HaShem his God, as all his brothers the Levites do, who stand there before HaShem.”(HNV revised) – Ministering in HaShem’s name requires the authority to do so. The Levite has authority to minister before the Eternal, as does the prophet, see 18:19.

18:10-11 “There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, divination means taking one’s staff and asking it, “shall I journey or not?”, see Hosea 4:12. According to the sages, one who practices sorcery is one who does magic tricks. The Hebrew text says, “who takes the eyes”, which is the same thing as an “illusionist”, i.e. one who deceives his audience with tricks and magic. According to Rashi, an enchanter is one who acts based on a breadcrumb falling from the mouth or an animal crossing the road. Such a person is superstitious. A sorcerer is one who practices black magic. A charmer is one who gathers many reptiles to a certain place in order to practice sorcery or witchcraft. A consulter with familiar spirits (medium) is one who believes that he can cause the spirit of a dead person to speak through his armpit, or takes the bone of an animal in his mouth and it speaks. A wizard is one who asks a skull or a dead person for counsel or goes to graves to communicate with the spirits of the dead. All these things are done with the help of unclean spirits. (The English words that are used do not necessarily agree with the definitions. These definitions are based on the Hebrew words, not the English ones.)

18:12 “For whoever does these things is an abomination to HaShem: and because of these abominations HaShem your God does drive them out from before you.”(HNV revised) – Anyone who practices occultism becomes spiritually contaminated and is therefore psychologically and physically polluted as well. One who practices occultism is detestable to the Eternal. Occult activity was the main reason that the seven nations were destroyed and driven out of the land of Kana’an. It is good to have a certain knowledge about occult activity in order to be able to:

  1. Identify it in society and in persons around us.

  2. Help those who wish to be set free from these evil powers.

  3. Protect ourselves so that we are not deceived to believe that we have a right to practice any of these things.

18:13 “You shall be perfect with HaShem your God.”(HNV revised) – This teaches us that one who practices any of these things will never be fully mature spiritually.

The Fifth Aliyah, 18:14 – 19:13

18:14 “For these nations, that you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice sorcery, and to diviners; but as for you, HaShem your God has not allowed you so to do.”(HNV revised) – The prophet Moshe is presented as the very opposite of the sorcerers and wizards of these pagan nations. On one hand, there is a similarity between these occult rituals and the ministry of a prophet. On the other hand, they are completely different. They are similar because they both function on a supernatural, spiritual dimension. They are different because the sources of these two powers or revelations are in direct opposition to each other. Sorcerers stand under the influence of satan and evil spirits. Prophets stand under the influence of the Spirit of the Eternal. False prophets are similar to the true prophets, but the source of their inspiration does not come from HaShem.

18:15 “HaShem your God will raise up to you a prophet from the midst of you, of your brothers, like me; to him you shall listen;”(HNV revised) – The English word “prophet” comes from the latin word profeta (which has a Greek origin). Pro-fethes means “speak instead of”, “be spokesman for”, “speak in the presence of”, “speak with a loud voice”, (in Greek it also means “foretell”). In classic Greek, it means “preacher”. The Hebrew term is navee,[10] which possibly comes from the Acadian root nb, which means “call”, “call together”. The Hebrew form is passive and it means (someone who is) “called”, “called together”. We are going to look at a few points that identify the calling and message of the different prophets that the Eternal raises up:

1.      A navee’s calling

a.       Its origin

  1. Not of man, see Amos 7:15; 2 Peter 1:20-21

  2. Heavenly, see Amos 2:11; Jeremiah 23:21-22

  3. Of the Spirit, see Numbers 11:29

b.      Its authority

  1. Over the priest, for example Moshe

  2. Over the king, for example Shemuel, see Amos 7:9

  3. Over the people, see Isaiah 6:9,10

  4. Over the nations, see Jeremiah 1:10

c.       His assignment

  1. Practical

  2. Verbal, he is a “mouth”, Exodus 4:16; 7:1; Jeremiah 1:9

  3. In writing

2.      A navee’s message

a.       The origin of the message – a heavenly flame

  1. Light – revelation

  2. Heat – inspiration

b.      The form of the message

  1. Oral, see Jeremiah 23:18b

1.      Spoken, for example Moshe, see Numbers 12:8

2.      Sung, for example David

  1. Visual, see Numbers 12:6; Jeremiah 23:18a, for example Zechariyah

1.      Lived

a.       Representation (symbolic acts), for example Yechezkel

b.      Personally, for example Yonah

c.       In the family, for example Hoshea, Yeshayahu

c.       The time frame of the message

  1. Past

  2. Present

  3. Future

18:18-19 “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brothers, like you; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I shall command him. It shall happen, that whoever will not listen to my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”(HNV) – Many prophets have been raised up in Israel and they have filled important functions. All of them have fulfilled one part of this prophecy, but none of them have been on the same level as Moshe. In order for this passage of Scripture to be fulfilled there must be another prophet who is like Moshe in many ways. There are many similarities between Yeshua and Moshe, all the way from their birth to their death. Moshe’s life and ministry is a prophetic shadow that speaks of the Messiah himself. The Messiah was to be like Moshe. Here we see some events in Moshe’s life that make him like Yeshua the Messiah:

1) Moshe was born under life threatening danger and had to be hidden away.

In Exodus 1:22; 2:3b, it is written:

“Par`oh charged all his people, saying, You shall cast every son who is born into the river’… She put the child in it (the basket), and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.”(HNV)

When the child, who was later called “Moshe”, was born, his life was threatened. Paroh, the king of Egypt, had commanded that all male children in Israel should be brutally killed so that the Hebrew people would no longer multiply on the earth and so that the Egyptians would be able to control them. The parents of this beautiful child had to keep him hidden for several months in order to save his life.

It was the same when Yeshua the Messiah was born. There was danger threatening to take his life, see Matthew 2. King Herod was afraid that the new king of the Jews who was born would take the throne from him. Therefore he commanded that all male children in Beit-Lechem were to be killed. Like Moshe, Yeshua was just barely saved. By God’s hand, both Moshe and Yeshua were saved as children from the kings who wanted to kill them.

2) The name Moshe is a Messianic prophecy.

In Exodus 2:10b, it is written,

“And she called his name Moshe, and said: ‘Because I drew him out of the water.’”

Paroh’s daughter gave the child the name “Moshe”.[11] It comes from the root mashah,[12] which means “pull up (out of water)”, “bring out”, “pull out”, “save”. Moshe was pulled out of certain death in the river, see Acts 7:21, and thus he became a prophetic picture of the Messiah. In the same way as Moshe was pulled out of death in the river, the Messiah was pulled out of death, see Psalm 18; 69; 88; Zechariah 3:2.

3) Moshe did not cling to his glory, but he identified with a people in slavery.

In Exodus 2:11a, it is written,

“And it came to pass in those days, when Moshe was grown up, that he went out to his brothers…”

As far as I can understand, it is possible that Moshe would have been the next king of Egypt, since it was the sons of the daughters of the Pharaohs that were heirs to the throne. In spite of this position of glory and worldly riches, Moshe valued his Hebrew identity more than all the privileges of Egypt.

In Hebrews 11:24-27, it is written,

“By faith, Moshe, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Par`oh’s daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God’s people, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a time; accounting the reproach of Messiah greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.”(HNV)

Just like Moshe, Yeshua did not make a claim on the glory that HaShem had given him before the creation of the world, see John 17:5. When he was grown, he emptied himself for the sake of the people instead of clinging to the position of glory that belonged to him and to the likeness of God that he had, see Matthew 17:2. He revealed himself to the world as just any man, see Philippians 2:6-7.

4) Moshe was rejected by his own people when he came to them the first time.

In Exodus 2:14a, it is written,

“Who made you a prince and a judge over us?”(HNV)

This was the first time that Moshe tried to reach the hearts of his brothers. They did not acknowledge him. In this prophetic event, there is something that speaks of what would happen to the Messiah when he came to the people the first time, see John 1:11.

It is true that thousands and thousands did receive him when he came. It is true that three thousand received him on the day of Shavuot (Pentecost), when the Ruach HaKodesh fell. It is true that further on the Scriptures speak of five thousand in Yerushalayim having received him. It is true that Acts 21:20 says that there were over 30,000 in Yerushalayim who had received him as the Messiah. It is true that the first 100,000 Messianic believers were only Jews and it is true that around year 100, it has been calculated that there were approximately 1,000,000 Jews who had received the promised Messiah ben Yosef. However, in spite of all this, the majority of the Jewish people did not receive him when he came and he was rejected by the leaders and judges of the Jewish nation, who were his own. Therefore he was taken away from them for a long time in order to be reintroduced to them again with power, just as was the case with Moshe, as the Midrash states, [13]

“The future Redeemer will be like the former Redeemer (Moshe). Just as the former Redeemer revealed himself and later was hidden from them… so the future Redeemer will be revealed to them, and then be hidden from them.”

5) Moshe came back to Israel after a long time

In Exodus 2:23a, it is written,

“A long time passed…”

Even though Moshe was far away from his people for a long time, his heart was with them. Even though he had his own family, he never felt at home with the culture and people of his father-in-law Yitro. The first son that he had with his wife Tziporah was named Ger-shom, which means “stranger there”. Moshe never felt at home with his father-in-law. His heart was with the Israelites in Egypt. After forty years, Moshe was sent back to Egypt to confront Paroh and to set the children of Israel free from his power.

In the same way, the Messiah will, after a long time, come back to Israel with HaShem’s authority in order to completely set the children of Israel free from the oppression of the new world order.

6) Moshe was sent to directly confront Paroh and to destroy his magic powers.

In Exodus 3:10a, it is written,

“Come now therefore, and I will send you to Par`oh…”(HNV)

The magic power of Egypt was holding the Hebrew people in slavery. The only way to deliver the people was by challenging the false gods of Egypt. Even Paroh was worshipped as a god. The gods of Egypt had been created in order to manipulate the people. The magicians of Egypt knew the magic powers of demons. Moshe was sent to challenge the demonic power that dominated the entire worldly political system of that time.

In the same way, the Messiah was sent to the world in order to destroy the works of satan, as it is written in 1 John 3:8b,

“To this end the Son of God was revealed, that he might destroy the works of satan.”(HNV revised)

When Yeshua died, the same night that the people of Israel ate the Pesach lamb, satan’s power was destroyed for eternity, as it is written in Hebrews 2:14-17a,

“Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, satan, and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For most assuredly, not to angels does he give help, but he gives help to the seed of Avraham. Therefore he was obligated in all things to be made like his brothers…”(HNV revised)

7) Moshe was sent to set the people free from the slavery under Paroh in Egypt.

Exodus 3:10b,

“you shall bring forth my people, the children of Yisra'el, out of Egypt.”(HNV revised)

Paroh symbolizes satan. Egypt symbolizes the world. The slavery of our forefathers symbolizes the slavery of man under the power of sin that dwells within him.

In the same way that Moshe was sent to set the people of Israel free from Paroh’s power, the Messiah came to set us free from satan’s power.

In the same way that Moshe was sent to set the people of Israel free from the land of Egypt, the Messiah came to set the children of Avraham free from this world’s system.

In the same way that Moshe was sent to set the people of Israel free from slavery, the Messiah came to set us free from slavery to sin, as it is written in Romans 6:5-7,

“For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man was nailed to the tree with him, that the body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be in bondage to sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin.”(HNV revised)

8) Moshe revealed the sacred Name to the people.

In Exodus 3:16a, it is written,

“Go, and gather the elders of Yisra'el together, and tell them, ‘HaShem’”(HNV revised)

When Moshe received the calling to go to the people of his forefathers, he wanted to know the name of God. The children of Israel knew the Name of the Sacred One, blessed be He. And when Moshe came and spoke the Name to them, they acknowledged that he had really come to know the God of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov. Moshe was commanded to speak the Name to the people, as it is written in Shemot 3:15,

“God said moreover to Moshe, “You shall tell the children of Yisra'el this, ‘HaShem, the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak, and the God of Ya`akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations.”(HNV revised)

Moshe was commanded to speak the Name before the children of Israel. He was sent to them so that they would truly come to know the meaning of that Name, the wonderful meaning of freedom from slavery, of redemption and salvation.

In the same way, Yeshua came in HaShem’s Name, as it is written in John 12:13 (see Psalm 118:25-26),

“Hoshia`na! (Please, save us!) Blessed is he who comes in the name of HaShem!, he who is the King of Yisra'el!”(HNV revised)

If Yeshua had been HaShem, it would have been written, “Blessed is HaShem who comes”. But it does not say that. Being the Eternal and coming in the Eternal’s Name are not the same. Yeshua did not come in his own name, but in his Father’s Name, see John 5:43. He came to reveal the Name, as it is written in John 17:6a, 26,

“I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world… I made known to them your name, and will make it known; that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them.”(HNV)

In the same way that Moshe came to reveal the Name of God to Israel, Yeshua came to reveal the Father’s name to Israel.

9) Moshe performed unusual miracles.

In Exodus 4:5, it is written,

“That they may believe that HaShem, the God of their fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitzchak, and the God of Ya`akov, has appeared to you.”(HNV revised)

Moshe was sent to perform unusual miracles. No man on earth could do as great miracles as Moshe could, until Yeshua came. There are rabbis who say that Yirmeyahu (Jeremiah) is the prophet that was promised and who would be like Moshe, for just as with Moshe, the Eternal told Yirmeyahu that he would put His words in his mouth, see Jeremiah 1:9. It is true that Yirmeyahu spoke HaShem’s words, but he did not do miracles like the miracles of Moshe. Therefore he cannot be the prophet that HaShem would raise up who would be like Moshe.

It is absolutely clear that the miracles that the Messiah Yeshua performed, which were documented in the books called the gospels, are evidence that he is the fulfillment of the promise of a prophet like Moshe with the Father’s authority to do all kinds of remarkable and unusual miracles, among other things opening the eyes of the blind, cleansing lepers, healing the lame, driving out demons, and raising the dead.

In John 15:24, it is written,

“If I hadn’t done among them the works which no one else did, they wouldn’t have had sin. But now have they seen and also hated both me and my Father.”(HNV)

In the same way that Moshe was sent to work unusual miracles in order to confront the evil one and set the people free, Yeshua the Messiah has come with all the power of heaven to destroy the works of satan and to set the people of Israel and the whole world free from the consequences of slavery to sin.

10) Moshe spoke HaShem’s words.

In Exodus 4:12b, it is written,

“I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak.”(HNV)

Moshe was the number one prophet in Israel. No one has written as many words from HaShem as he has. Through his ministry the revelation of the Torah has come to us in a wonderful way. And The Messiah, through his life, gave us the highest revelation of the Eternal’s Torah, as it is written in Matthew 5:17-18,

“Don’t think that I came to destroy the Torah or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most assuredly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the Torah, until all things are accomplished.”(HNV revised)

In this context, the word “Torah” is referring to the five books of Moshe. The Messiah did not come to do away with any of what Moshe wrote, but on the contrary, to confirm it and live according to it in the perfect way. The word “fulfill” in this context is a rabbinical term that has to do with the correct way to apply the commandments. To fulfill does absolutely not mean to end or remove, but to bring something to its fullest practical application in daily life.

In the same way that Moshe came as a prophet to give us the Torah, the Son of God came as the promised prophet in order to speak to us in a perfect way about what was in the heart of the Father when the Torah was given, as it is written in Hebrews 1:1-2,

“God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.”(HNV revised)

11) Moshe was called God.

In Exodus 4:16b, it is written,

“and you will be to him God (Elohim).”(HNV revised)

In the Scriptures, Moshe is called Elohim. This is the exact same word that is used of the Creator in Genesis 1:1. Elohim is the most common word in the Scriptures for “God”, and is primarily used as a reference to the Creator, but also about the angels. A couple of times it is used about people, in Exodus 4:16; 7:1 (Moshe), and in Exodus 22:8-9, where it is often translated as “judge”, and is a reference to the judges of Israel. The title “God” has to do with power, might, authority, and judgment, and here we see how the Father delegates his authority both to angels and humans. It is in this way that Moshe is called “God”, because of the delegated authority that he received.

In Exodus 7:1, it is written,

“Behold, I have made you God (Elohim) to Par`oh”(HNV revised)

In the same way that Moshe received delegated authority to function in God’s place on the earth, Yeshua has received the power to be called God as it is written in John 1:1,

“And the Word was God (highest judge)

In Philippians 2:9, it is written,

“Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the Name which is above every name”(HNV revised)

Yeshua has received a name which is above every other name. This means that he did not have that name before, and that he does not have it in and of himself.

In Hebrews 1:8a, it is written,

“but of the Son he says, ‘Your throne, God, is forever and ever...”(HNV revised)

There are several more areas of Moshe’s life that we could point to as being a picture of the Messiah, but we are going to end here with Yeshua’s words in John 5:39, 46,

“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me… For if you believed Moshe, you would believe me; for he wrote about me.”(HNV)

18:20 “But the prophet, who shall speak a word presumptuously in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who shall speak in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.”(HNV) – If anyone tries to prophesy and in his presumption, or in a wave of emotion, says one single word that the Eternal has not said, he is guilty unto death. The gravity of this sin is comparable with murder, idolatry, adultery, and blasphemy. Prophecy is not something to be toyed with, something to use for manipulation, or something to use in order to create a spiritual atmosphere in meetings. It is easy to mistake human emotions for heavenly inspiration. We need the heavenly manifestation of the discernment of spirits in order to know what the source of inspiration is of the prophecies that are spoken.

The sages in Israel have not been able to establish a firm foundation as a point of reference to use in order to evaluate whether a prophecy that is spoken is true or false. A false prophecy can sound just like a true prophecy. Sometimes it can only be judged by the intuition of another prophet.

Rashi mentions three types of persons who ought to be executed by humans: one who prophesies that which he did not hear from God, one who prophesies that which was not spoken to him directly but to his companion, and one who prophesies in the names of idols. However, one who holds back a word of prophecy, one who breaks the word of a prophet, or one who breaks his own prophetic words, it is heaven that will make sure that he is killed, as it is said, “I will require it of him”, see verse 19.

18:21-22 “If you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which HaShem has not spoken? when a prophet speaks in the name of HaShem, if the thing doesn’t follow, nor happen, that is the thing which HaShem has not spoken: the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you shall not be afraid of him.”(HNV revised) – The Torah warns us by saying that if prophetic words are not fulfilled, then they are false. This is only concerning words that speak of the future or make claims of revealing secrets. Time will reveal whether such words were false or true, see Jeremiah 28. No matter how beautiful the false prophecies are, they are still causing people to trust a lie and thus rebel against HaShem’s plan. False prophecies are polluted with the spirit of falsehood. There are also prophecies that are given through evil spirits that are telling the truth, but are conveying a different spirit. We have an example of this in Acts 16:16ff.

19:8-9 “If HaShem your God enlarge your border… then shall you add three cities more for you, besides these three”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, this is talking about the territories belonging to the Kenites, Kenizites, and Kadmonites, see Genesis 15:19, which later became Ammon, Edom, and Moav. That means that when this word is fulfilled, there will be a total of nine cities of refuge.

The Sixth Aliyah, 19:14 – 20:9

19:14 “You shall not remove your neighbor’s landmark, which they of old time have set, in your inheritance which you shall inherit, in the land that HaShem your God gives you to possess it.”(HNV revised) – This is referring to the borders that were staked out in the land of Israel when it was divided up between the different tribes and families, after it was taken over. Until this day, you can see these landmarks in the mountain region of Yehudah outside Yerushalayim. These stones, which make up the borders between the different inheritances that were divided up by Yehoshua, have been there for over 3,000 years!

19:18-20 “and the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness is a false witness, and has testified falsely against his brother; then shall you do to him, as he had thought to do to his brother: so shall you put away the evil from the midst of you. Those who remain shall hear, and fear, and shall henceforth commit no more any such evil in the midst of you.”(HNV) – Here we see how serious the matter is of giving a false testimony or lying. The motive within a person who is giving a false testimony is seen by heaven as a crime and it must be judged in order for the people to fear and not do such evil.

20:2 “It shall be, when you draw near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people,”(HNV revised) – The wars in Israel are spiritual. If the soldiers in the army lack trust in the Eternal, the army will not be able to stand against its enemies. Therefore the priest has an important job in encouraging and building up the faith of the soldiers.

20:5 “The policemen shall speak to the people, saying, What man is there who has built a new house, and has not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.”(HNV revised) – Here the police have the assignment of dealing with social concerns. The three things that are mentioned, a house, a vineyard, and a wife, represent the most joyous moments of the natural life. In order for an Israelite soldier not to loose the opportunity of enjoying one of these occasions, he cannot do some military service as long as he is engaged in one of them.

These three things are listed here in their natural order. First a man ought to have a house and a job, and then he is capable of getting married. When man was created, HaShem gave him first a house, a garden, then a job, caring for the garden, and then a wife. When man was cursed, it affected his relationship with his wife first, then his house, and lastly his working life, see Deuteronomy 28:30. Maimonides writes in his book, Mishneh Torah,

“Persons with common sense have as custom to first see that the man has a job with which to provide for himself, then he builds a house, and lastly he becomes engaged with a woman, as it is written, ‘planted a vineyard, built a house, and then was engaged with a woman.’”

In the Scriptures, the bride is presented as these three things, a house, a vineyard, and a woman.

20:8 “The policemen shall speak further to the people, and they shall say, What man is there who is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return to his house, lest his brother’s heart melt as his heart.”(HNV revised) – The wars of Israel are wars of faith in the Eternal, and faith has no room in one who is fearful. Faith is the opposite of fear. Those who were afraid were not allowed to be a part of the army of Israel so that their unbelief would not damage the faith of the others.

20:9 “It shall be, when the police have made an end of speaking to the people, that they shall appoint captains of hosts at the head of the people.”(HNV revised) – The captains are the leaders in war. The priest, v.2, represents religious life, the policemen, v.5, represent social life, and the captains represent the defense.

There are three different wars in Israel:[14]

1.      Mitzvah wars – against the seven nations and against Amalek, which the Eternal commanded.

2.      National wars of defense – against the enemies who come to attack.

3.      Ha-reshut wars – against surrounding nations in order to expand the borders of Israel.

The last type of war must have the support of the Sanhedrin, while the king had the right to engage in the first two types of war.

The Seventh Aliyah, 20:10 – 21:9

20:18 “that they not teach you to do after all their abominations, which they have done to their gods; so would you sin against HaShem your God.”(HNV revised) – This is the reason they had to destroy the seven nations of the land. Their idolatry had reached such a high level of contamination that it was necessary to take drastic measures and wipe them off the earth. The reason for these wars was not hatred, racism, or religious zeal, but the survival of Israel and other nations.

21:1 “If one be found slain in the land which HaShem your God gives you to possess it, lying in the field, and it isn’t known who has struck him”(HNV revised) – Here we see the weight that HaShem places on the shedding of innocent blood. A murder is something very serious. Hearing news about the violent death of one single person ought to shake us. The judicial process that is commanded here has the purpose of making sure that this blood does not bring a curse over the land and the people. If there is anything that brings a curse over a people and over a land, it is the shedding of innocent blood. HaShem considers it to be very serious. Therefore it is something very serious to us as well.

21:2 “then your elders and your judges shall come forth, and they shall measure to the cities which are round about him who is slain”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, the expression “your elders” is referring to the great Sanhedrin in Yerushalayim.

21:8 “Forgive, HaShem, your people Yisra'el, whom you have redeemed, and don’t allow innocent blood to remain in the midst of your people Yisra'el. The blood shall be forgiven them.”(HNV revised) – This teaches us that there is such a thing as corporate sin. Here they ask for forgiveness for the corporate sin that is over the people when one person has committed this terrible crime. The elders and Levites represent all the people and therefore they can ask for forgiveness for this sin in the name of all the people, so that the consequences of the sin will not come over everyone. The sin is forgiven when it is not known who caused the death, when the crime and the innocence of the leaders is confessed and acknowledged, and when there is an offering made simultaneously of a young heifer that must die instead of the guilty person, on an overgrown wild place where no one has worked the land. The innocent animal must die in the place of the guilty person so that HaShem will not pour out his wrath over the nation.

In Genesis 9:5, it is written,

“I will surely require your blood of your lives. At the hand of every animal I will require it. At the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, I will require the life of man.”(HNV)

Animals can represent man and die instead of him so that he can be forgiven. But these animals cannot fully replace man. They can only be a shadow of the “brother of every man” who had to die in our place so that we could receive eternal forgiveness for our sins.

Blessed be the Eternal for our brother!

This Parashah contains commandments number 491 – 531 of the 613 commandments.

  1. The command to appoint judges and police in every judicial community, Deuteronomy 16:18.

  2. The command to always obey the Sanhedrin, Deuteronomy 17:10.

  3. The command to appoint a king over Israel, Deuteronomy 17:15.

  4. The command for the king to write a Torah scroll (Sefer Torah) for himself, more than other Jews, Deuteronomy 17:18.

  5. The command to give the priest the shoulder, the cheeks, and the stomach of a sacrifice, Deuteronomy 18:3.

  6. The command to give terumah gedolah, Deuteronomy 18:4.

  7. The command to give the priests the first of the wool, Deuteronomy 18:4.

  8. The command for the priests to take turns ministering in the temple, and to minister together during the feasts, Deuteronomy 18:6-8.

  9. The command to listen to all prophets who do not alter the commandments of the Torah, Deuteronomy 18:15.

  10. The command to appoint six cities of refuge, Deuteronomy 19:3.

  11. The command to do with conspiring witnesses (edim zomemim) according to what they have conspired to do against another, Deuteronomy 19:19.

  12. The command to anoint a kohen for war, Deuteronomy 20:5-7.

  13. The command to act, in the event of war, according to what the Torah has established, Deuteronomy 20:10.

  14. The command to cut the throat of a heifer in a wild, overgrown valley, Deuteronomy 21:4.

  15. The prohibition of planting trees in the temple, Deuteronomy 16:21.

  16. The prohibition of erecting an idolatrous image, Deuteronomy 16:22.

  17. The prohibition of offering an animal with a temporary flaw, Deuteronomy 17:1

  18. The prohibition of being disobedient to the Sanhedrin, Deuteronomy 17:11.

  19. The prohibition of appointing a king who is not a Jew, Deuteronomy 17:15.

  20. The prohibition for a king to acquire too many horses, Deuteronomy 17:16.

  21. The prohibition to at any time settle in Egypt, Deuteronomy 17:16.

  22. The prohibition for the king to have too many wives, Deuteronomy 17:17.

  23. The prohibition for the king to acquire too much gold and silver, but only that which he needs, Deuteronomy 17:17.

  24. The prohibition for the Levites to own a portion of territory in the Land of Israel, Deuteronomy 18:1.

  25. The prohibition for the tribe of Levi to take spoils of war when conquering the Land of Israel, Deuteronomy 18:1.

  26. The prohibition of practicing sorcery, Deuteronomy 18:10.

  27. The prohibition of practicing witchcraft, Deuteronomy 18:10.

  28. The prohibition of appointing wizards, Deuteronomy 18:10-11.

  29. The prohibition of seeking counsel from an Ov-spiritist, Deuteronomy 18:10-11.

  30. The prohibition of seeking counsel from a Yidoni-spiritist, Deuteronomy 18:10-11.

  31. The prohibition of seeking counsel from the dead, Deuteronomy 18:10-11.

  32. The prohibition of prophesying falsely, Deuteronomy 18:20.

  33. The prohibition of prophesying in the name of an idol, Deuteronomy 18:20.

  34. The prohibition of not executing a false prophet and of fearing him, Deuteronomy 18:22.

  35. The prohibition of moving the landmarks between one’s own land and the land of another, Deuteronomy 19:14.

  36. The prohibition of judging with only one witness, Deuteronomy 19:15.

  37. The prohibition of having mercy on one who causes financial damages, Deuteronomy 19:21.

  38. The prohibition of fearing the enemy in battle, Deuteronomy 20:1.

  39. The prohibition of allowing the inhabitants of Kana’an to live, Deuteronomy 20:16.

  40. The prohibition of chopping down the trees around a city during war, Deuteronomy 20:19.

  41. The prohibition of plowing or planting in a wild, overgrown valley where a heifer has been beheaded, Deuteronomy 21:4.


[1]       Strong H4941 mishpât, mish-pawt', From H8199; properly a verdict (favorable or unfavorable) pronounced judicially, especially a sentence or formal decree (human or (particularly) divine law, individual or collectively), including the act, the place, the suit, the crime, and the penalty; abstractly justice, including a particular right, or privilege (statutory or customary), or even a style: -  + adversary, ceremony, charge, X crime, custom, desert, determination, discretion, disposing, due, fashion, form, to be judged, judgment, just (-ice, -ly), (manner of) law (-ful), manner, measure, (due) order, ordinance, right, sentence, usest, X worthy, + wrong.

[2]       Strong G1343 δικαιοσύνη, dikaiosunē, dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay, From G1342; equity (of character or act); specifically… justification: - righteousness.

[3]       Strong H4676 matstsêbâh, mats-tsay-baw', Feminine (causative) participle of H5324; something stationed, that is, a column or (memorial stone); by analogy an idol: - garrison, (standing) image, pillar.

[4]       Horajot 1:1.

[5]       Sanhedrín 21b.

[6]       Sanhedrín 21a.

[7]       Sanhedrín 21b.

[8]       Shemot Rabbah 6:5.

[9]       Strong H7225 rê'shîyth, ray-sheeth', From the same as H7218; the first, in place, time, order or rank (specifically a firstfruit): - beginning, chief (-est), first (-fruits, part, time), principal thing.

[10]     Strong H5030 nâbîy', naw-bee', From H5012; a prophet or (generally) inspired man: - prophecy, that prophesy, prophet.

[11]     Strong H4872 môsheh, mo-sheh', From H4871; drawing out (of the water), that is, rescued; Mosheh, the Israelitish lawgiver: - Moses.

[12]     Strong H4871 mâshâh, maw-shaw', A primitive root; to pull out (literally or figuratively): - draw (out).

[13]    Ruth Rabbah 5:6.

[14]    Mishnah Sotah 8:7.