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Parashah 16 BeShalach

Exodus 13:17 – 17:16

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted

Torah Readings:

  1. 13:17 – 14:8
  2. 14:9 – 14:14 (Ashkenazi); 14:9-25 (Sephardic)
  3. 14:15-25 (A); 14:26 – 15:26 (S)
  4. 14:26 – 15:26 (A); 15:27 – 16:10 (S)
  5. 15:27 – 16:10 (A); 16:11-29 (S)
  6. 16:11-36 (A); 16:30-36 (S)
  7. 17:1-13
  8. Maftir: 17:14-16

Haftarah: Judges 4:4 – 5:31 (A); 5:1-31 (S)

The Messianic Writings: Luke 8:1 – 9:62

BeShalach

Means “when he sent”

Comments

The First Aliyah, 13:17 – 14:8

13:7 “It happened, when Par`oh had let the people go, that God didn’t lead them by the way of the land of the Peli7shtim, although that was near; for God said, ‘Lest perhaps the people change their minds when they see war, and they return to Egypt’.”(HNV revised) – Pharaoh let the people go knowing that they were not coming back, see 9:28; 11:1; 14:5. The Eternal cannot commit any unlawful acts. Therefore it was important that the exodus from Egypt took place with the consent of Pharaoh. If it had not been so, the exodus would have been considered theft, an unlawful act. HaShem is not a thief or a liar. He cannot break his own Torah. The Torah is the expression of his character.

God did not lead them by the way of the Philistines, because that way was too short. The reason was that it would have been too easy for the people to turn back to Egypt if they had gone that way. That was to be avoided. There are several reasons why HaShem did not want them to go through the area of the Philistines,

  • If the Philistines were to attack, the children of Israel, who were fearful, would want to turn around and go back to Egypt (Rashi).

  • On account of the peace treaty that was made between Avraham and Avimelech, the children of Israel could not attack the Philistines, (Genesis 21).

  • Based on the passage in 1 Chronicles 7:20-21, a Midrash[1] says that a large part of the tribe of Efrayim left Egypt early and were attacked by the Philistines. Their skeletons were spread out along the way there. This would have been a dreadful sight for the children of Israel and they would have lost their courage and turned back to Egypt if they had seen it. The words “when they see war” can be understood that way.

The Reed Sea13:18 “but God led the people around by the way of the wilderness by the Sea of Suf; and the children of Yisra'el went up armed out of the land of Egypt.”(HNV revised) – The Red Sea is called Yam Suf in Hebrew. It means “the Reed Sea”. The name “Red Sea” is a probably a result of a translation error. In the first English translations it was written as “Reed Sea”, but it seems as though those who used that English translation of the Bible when making a new translation, mistook the word “reed” for “red”. The Reed Sea is not red at all. When one is there, everything looks quite blue, just like all the other seas on the earth. The Reed Sea is the name of the whole sea, including the inlets of Suez and Aqabah (see photo).

13:19 “Moshe took the bones of Yosef with him, for he had made the children of Yisra'el swear, saying, ‘God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones away from here with you.’”(HNV revised) – It is very important to fulfill your oaths! Moshe had to make an effort in order to honor the oath that his forefathers had made. Israel’s sons, Yosef’s brothers, who swore the oath, were all dead. Therefore they could not take his bones with them, as it is written, “you shall carry… with you”. From this we can draw the conclusion that all of Yosef’s brothers’ bones were brought out of Egypt as well. If that was the case, each tribe had a coffin with them during the forty years in the wilderness.

On the other hand, one can understand the expression “children of Israel” as referring not only to the twelve sons, but to all the other descendants of Israel. In that case it is possible that the bones of the other brothers were not brought along, but only Yosef’s.

13:21 “HaShem went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them on their way, and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light, that they might go by day and by night.”(HNV revised) – In this verse the verb “to lead” is written in hiphil-form, the causative form. This shows us that the Eternal went ahead of them through a representative (Rashi). In this case, the pillar of cloud was the Eternal’s representative.

In Exodus 14:19, it is written,

"The angel of God, who went before the camp of Yisra'el, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them, and stood behind them.”(HNV revised)

This teaches us that HaShem’s representative was an angel who was revealed as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. There was also a cloud over the camp that gave the people shade during the day and warmth during the night, see Exodus 40:38; Numbers 14:14; Deuteronomy 1:33; Ezekiel 1:4; Isaiah 4:5-6.

Mitzrayim 1800-1400 BC14:2  “Speak to the children of Yisra'el, that they turn back and encamp before Pi-Hachirot, between Migdol and the sea, before Ba`al-Tzefon. You shall encamp opposite it by the sea.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, Pi-Hachirot is the same place as Pitom, (Exodus 1:11). Pitom is similar to “pe-satum”, “closed mouth”, which refers to the fact that no slave could flee past the border of Egypt. Pi-Hachirot means “mouth of freedom”. According to Mizrachi, the place received a new name because the children of Israel were delivered from Egypt.

We can see, however, on this map from the American Bible Society, that Egypt’s territory, (in yellow), stretched throughout half of the Sinai Peninsula. It is possible, therefore, that the children of Israel had come quite far when Pharaoh caught up with them.

Traditionally, Mount Sinai is believed to be located on the Sinai Peninsula. But there are signs in the Scriptures, which suggest that the crossing of the Reed Sea happened at the inlet of Aqabah. Moshe was with his father-in-law Yitro, in the land of Midian. He brought the cattle over that desert, and came to God’s mountain, see Exodus 3:1. Midian is not located on the Sinai Peninsula, but rather east of the inlet of Aqabah (see the map).

In Exodus 3:12, it is written,

“He said, ‘Certainly I will be with you. This will be the token to you, that I have sent you: when you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.’”(HNV revised)

This teaches us that the Torah was given on the same place that Moshe met the angel in the burning bush. If Moshe lived in Midian, how could he then have taken the cattle all the way to the Sinai Peninsula?

The word “Pi-Hachirot”, shows us that it was a place where two mountains formed a “mouth”, an opening between each other (Rashi). This teaches us that the crossing must have happened where there are mountains and hills, which is a better description of the area around the inlet of Aqabah than the inlet of Suez.

It is more logical to conclude that Mount Sinai is located in northern Saudi Arabia, as it is written in Galatians 4:25a,

“For this Hagar is Mount Sinai in `Arav (Arabia).”(HNV)

Salida Mitsrayim2         According to Shaliach Shaul, Mount Sinai is in Arabia and not on the Sinai Peninsula. He himself was there for a while and most likely visited the place, see Galatians 1:17. There is a substantial distance between Goshen in Egypt and the inlet of Aqabah, approximately 350 kilometers. One might wonder how it was possible for the children of Israel to get there so quickly. The Torah does not say how long it took them to get to the sea. Rashi says that they crossed the sea seven days after the exodus, on the 21st day of the month. In that case it would coincide with the last day in the feast of the unleavened bread. Others set the time of the crossing of the sea on the 17th day of the first month, three days after the exodus, which happened on the 15th.

The Torah does not give any dates after the exodus until it mentions the 15th day of the second month, Exodus 16:1, and therefore leaves the possibility open for the crossing to have happened at the Aqabah inlet. In Exodus 13:21, it is written that the people walked both day and night. The 350 kilometers could then have been reached within several days. It is also probable that the hand of the Eternal came upon them so that they could walk quickly and without becoming tired until they reached the sea. There are also geological and archeological finds, which speak for this theory, se www.covenantkeepers.co.uk/red_sea.htm.

“before Ba`al-Tzefon” – It seems as though Baal-Tzefon was on the other side of the sea. The children of Israel encamped on the beach across from it. The sea is approximately 18 kilometers wide.

14:5 “It was told the king of Egypt that the people had fled; and the heart of Par`oh and of his servants was changed towards the people, and they said, ‘What is this we have done, that we have let Yisra'el go from serving us?’”(HNV) – The people of Israel fled quickly from Egypt. This shows us that the exodus happened quickly and that they kept on going forward quickly. The same word for fleeing is also found in Genesis 16:6, 8; 27:43; 31:20-22, 27; 35:1, 7; Exodus 2:15; Numbers 24:11.

14:8b ”for the children of Yisra'el went out with a high hand.”(HNV) – The expression “high hand”, in Hebrew yad ramah, is also found in Numbers 15:30 and 33:3. Rashi says that it means “raised and evident power”. Thus he gives the word a metaphoric meaning. This shows us that the children of Israel marched out with power and determination not to come back. With that power they reached the sea.

The Second Aliyah, 14:9-14

14:13-14 “Moshe said to the people, ‘Don’t be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of HaShem, which he will work for you today: for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall never see them again. HaShem will fight for you, and you shall be still.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word for “salvation” is yeshuah[2], with the emphasis on the last syllable. The Messiah’s name is Yeshua, with the emphasis on the “u”, which is pronounced “oo”, as in the word “soon”. The name Yeshua is a shortened form of the name Yehoshua, compare Numbers 13:16 with Nehemiah 8:17, and Haggai 1:1 with Ezra 5:2.

The Greek word jesus has no meaning in the Greek language. The name “Jesus” is an attempt to transliterate Yeshua into Greek. In the Septuagint you can find the name Jesus as a transliteration of the names Yehoshua (Joshua) and Yeshua (Jeshua), see LXX Exodus 17:9; 1 Chronicles 24:11. Since all Greek names ending with the letter “a” are girl names, they traded the letter “a” at the end of Yeshua, with the letter “s”, and thus got a name that sounded masculine.

The Third Aliyah, 14:15-25

14:22 “The children of Yisra'el went into the midst of the sea on the dry ground, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand, and on their left.”(HNV) – This crossing of the sea is seen as a tevilah, a ritual bath. It holds the symbolism of death to the old life and resurrection into a new life. In this case the children of Israel died to their dependency on Pharaoh and Egypt, in order to become dependent on the Eternal in every way. They went from one owner to another, from one lord to another, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4,

“Now I would not have you ignorant, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all immersed (baptized) into Moshe in the cloud and in the sea; and all ate the same spiritual food; and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Messiah.”(HNV)

This is referring to the children of Israel being baptized into Moshe in the cloud and in the sea. The thought behind this is that the people crossed over from one kingdom into another, from Pharaoh’s authority to Moshe’s authority. They went through a mikveh, a gathering of water, in order to be submitted to Moshe’s order. Moshe was also king in Israel, as it is written in Deuteronomy 33:4-5,

“Moshe commanded us a law, an inheritance for the assembly of Ya`akov. He was king in Yeshurun, when the heads of the people were gathered, all the tribes of Yisra'el together.”(HNV)

It is the same way with the Messianic tevilah (baptism). It means that a person dies and buries his old man that was slave under satan, sin, and the world, in order to be resurrected into a new life that is submitted to the Messiah Yeshua, the Torah and the Kingdom, as it is written in Romans 6:1-11,

“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? May it never be! We who died to sin, how could we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all we who were immersed (baptized) into Messiah Yeshua were immersed into his death? We were buried therefore with him through immersion to death, that just like Messiah was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 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 hanged on 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. But if we died with Messiah, we believe that we will also live with him; knowing that Messiah, being raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no more has dominion over him! For the death that he died, he died to sin one time; but the life that he lives, he lives to God. Thus also consider yourselves also to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Messiah Yeshua our Lord.”(HNV revised)

14:24 “It happened in the morning watch, that HaShem looked out on the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of cloud, and confused the Egyptian army.”(HNV revised) – During ancient times, there were three night watches. The Romans had four. Therefore, when it is speaking about night watches in the Tanach (OT), we have to consider that there were three of them. Likewise when it is speaking about night watches in The Messianic Writings (“NT”), we have to remember that there were four of them. In this passage the morning watch is mentioned, and this means that what happened took place between two and six o’clock in the morning. If the sea measured approximately 18 kilometers across, they would need to walk for approximately five hours in order to get across walking at the speed of almost 4 km/h. Normal walking speed is about 6 km/h, but we have to consider that there were pregnant women, children, and animals among them.

The Fourth Aliyah, 14:26 – 15:26

14:27 “Moshe stretched out his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to its strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it. HaShem overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.”(HNV revised) – The crossing of the sea lasted the whole night, from the time the wind started blowing until the last man had crossed over.

14:28 “The waters returned, and covered the chariots and the horsemen, even all Par`oh’s army that went in after them into the sea. There remained not so much as one of them.”(HNV) – The sea also symbolizes the second death, the lake of fire, as it is written in Revelation 20:13-15,

“The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and She'ol gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. Death and She'ol were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.”(HNV)

14:29 “But the children of Yisra'el walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand, and on their left.”(HNV) – This is one of the greatest acts of faith in the history Israel, as it is written in Hebrews 11:29,

“By faith, they passed through the Reed Sea as on dry land. When the Egyptians tried to do so, they were swallowed up.”(HNV revised)

If a faithless man tries to walk the walk of faith, he will sink.

14:31 “Yisra'el saw the great work which HaShem did to the Egyptians, and the people feared HaShem; and they believed in HaShem, and in his servant Moshe.”(HNV revised) – Anyone who fears the Eternal and believes in Him will dedicate himself to and be faithful to the leadership that He has put in the kingdom. It is impossible to be faithful to the Eternal without being faithful to the authorities that he has put into place, as it is written in 2 Chronicles 20:20b,

“believe in HaShem your God, so shall you be established; believe his prophets, so shall you prosper.”(HNV revised)

The practical results of being dedicated to the Eternal, is that one is committed to the servants that have been placed in leadership, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 8:5,

“This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.”(HNV revised)

15:1 “Then Moshe and the children of Yisra'el sang this song to HaShem, and said, ‘I will sing to HaShem, for he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.’”(HNV revised) – They sang to the Eternal, not to people. That is true worship! It is directed to the Eternal and its purpose is to please Him and not men. The word “sang” is written in the future tense, “will sing”. Rashi says that when a word is written this way it can be understood in three ways,

  • Something that one has determined in ones heart, but does not necessarily fulfill,[3] compare with Numbers 21:17; Joshua 10:12; 1 Kings 7:8; 11:7.

  • Something that one does all the time, or something that recurs, see Numbers 9:20; Job 1:5.

  • Something that one will do in the future. This is what the Jewish wise men have used to prove that the resurrection can be traced found in the Torah.[4]

In this case we can rule out option two, since they only sang once by the sea. It is interesting to note that the Torah speaks about the song of Moshe being sung in connection with the final redemption and resurrection of the dead, as it is written in Revelation 15:2-4,

“I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who overcame the beast, his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God. They sang the song of Moshe, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations. Who wouldn’t fear you, Lord, and glorify your name? For you only are consecrated. For all the nations will come and worship before you. For your righteous acts have been revealed.’”(HNV revised)

The song of Moshe and of the Lamb is the song of the final redemption. In the same way that the children of Israel came up out of the sea, which represents the resurrection, all those who have put their trust in the Messiah of Israel are going to be redeemed from death. Then they can sing this song to the Eternal on the other side.

The song in Shemot (Exodus) chapter fifteen, teaches us the importance of expressing ourselves before the Eternal with song, dance, and instruments. It is a part of our dedication to Him. It is also a way of staying on fire in our spirits.

This song has three main themes:

·         The greatness of the Eternal.

·         The deliverance from the Egyptians.

·         The future entrance into the Promised Land, with reference to the Messianic Kingdom.

15:2 “HaShem is my strength and song, he has become my salvation: this is my God, and I will praise him; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word that is translated “I will praise him” is ve-anvehu, which means, “I will make him lovely”. It comes from the root navah,[5] which means, “prepare a place”. This teaches us that our service and obedience to the Eternal ought to be done in a beautiful way. That is why it is a custom to make beautiful tallitot, tefillin, mezuzot, Torah scrolls, sukkot, Shabbat cups, and other objects that are used to fulfill the commandments.

We also learn that our songs of worship prepare a place for the Eternal to dwell among us, as it is written in Psalm 22:3,

But you are consecrated, you who inhabit the praises of Yisra'el.”(HNV revised)

The word “inhabit” comes from the word yashav[6], “sit”, which has to do with settling somewhere and taking up one’s throne. HaShem settles and is enthroned on the praises of Israel. That also means that he shows his might, his rule, and his power, through the praises of Israel, see Exodus 15:13.

15:3 “HaShem is a man of war. YHWH is his name.”(HNV revised) – There are many texts in the Scriptures where the Eternal is revealed as a man of war, see Isaiah 42:13-15; 51:22; Zephaniah 3:17; Nehemiah 4:20. He is not peacefully inclined toward unrighteousness and evil. Anyone who does not fight sin and unrighteousness in his environment is not following the example of his heavenly Father. The indifference of the righteous in the face of evil in this world is what allows evil to spread and work without fear. If we are silent in the face of evil, we are implicated in the guilt of that evil!

15:6 “Your right hand, HaShem, is glorious in power, your right hand, HaShem, dashes the enemy in pieces.”(HNV revised) – The right hand of the Eternal is the Messiah. He is the one who will finally destroy those enemies who rise up against the people of Israel, according to Isaiah 63:1-6, where it is written,

“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Botzrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Why are you red in your clothing, and your garments like him who treads in the wine vat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the peoples there was no man with me: yes, I trod them in my anger, and trampled them in my wrath; and their lifeblood is sprinkled on my garments, and I have stained all my clothing. For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore my own arm brought salvation to me; and my wrath, it upheld me. I trod down the peoples in my anger, and made them drunk in my wrath, and I poured out their lifeblood on the earth.”(HNV)

Who is this passage speaking about? Revelation 19:11-16 gives us the answer,

“I saw the heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it is called Faithful and True. In righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has names written and a name written which no one knows but he himself. He is clothed in a garment sprinkled with blood. His name is called ‘The Word of God.’ The armies which are in heaven followed him on white horses, clothed in white, pure, fine linen. Out of his mouth proceeds a sharp, double-edged sword, that with it he should strike the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron. He treads the winepress of the fierceness of the wrath of God, Almighty. He has on his garment and on his thigh a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’”(HNV revised)

Messiah Yeshua carries out the wrath of the Eternal. The first time he came, he came as God’s Lamb, but at his second coming, he will come as the Lion of Yehudah.

15:8 “With the blast of your nostrils the waters were piled up. The floods stood upright as a heap. The deeps were congealed in the heart of the sea.”(HNV) – The words “the heart of the sea” show us that the sea has a heart. In this case the word “heart” is understood allegorically. The Hebrew word is lev[7], which means “heart”, “sense”, “conscience”, “courage”, “mind”, “attention”, “will”, “inner”. Rashi says that it refers to the very essence and power of something, see Exodus 3:2, “the heart of the fire”. The heart is the deepest and most intimate part of a person. This is where the most important decisions are made. The heart reveals who a person really is. In the mind there may be many ideas and choices, but in the heart there is only room for one opinion at a time. That is why the tefillin box that is places on the forehead is divided up into four small compartments where four texts are written, but the tefillin that is placed on the arm, which is closest to the heart, has only one compartment and it holds only one scroll with the four texts written as if they were one. When something sinks down into our hearts, it becomes one with us. Therefore the Scriptures warn us, as it is written in Proverbs 4:23,

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.”(HNV)

In Proverbs 4:4, it is written,

“He taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words. Keep my commands, and live.”(HNV)

In Romans 10:10, it is written,

For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”(HNV)

One must, therefore, believe with the heart, not with the mind. Faith in our minds can neither make us righteous nor saves us, only the faith of our hearts, the most intimate part of us, can do that.

Dear Reader, make sure that the Torah’s teaching and the work of the Messiah does not only come into your mind. Place them on your heart, as it is written in the Shema prayer, according to Deuteronomy 6:6,

“These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart”(HNV)

15:9 “The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil. My desire shall be satisfied on them. I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.’”(HNV) – The enemies of Israel are the Eternal’s enemies. The enemies of the Eternal are the enemies of Israel and the Jewish people, see Psalm 83:2-3. It is impossible to love the Eternal and hate the Jews. Whoever says that he loves the Eternal while simultaneously hating the Jews, is a liar.

“my desire shall be satisfied on them” – The Hebrew text says “satisfy my soul on them”. The Hebrew word for soul here is nephesh[8], which means “breath”, “throat”, “windpipe”, “appetite”, “soul”, “life”, “living being”, “person”. It comes from the word nafash[9], “breathe”. Every breath that comes from a living being makes the sound “ne-fesh”. In some cases nephesh can also mean “corpse”.

Rashi says that the soul, nephesh, is the seat of the will and the desires. In the Scriptures we can find several words that describe the different parts of man. We have already mentioned the heart and the soul. The word nephesh is used both for humans and for animals. Nephesh is the natural, biological soul that gives life to the body, causing it to breath. Animals consist of nephesh and basar, soul and body. Man, however, has something more, which animals do not have, and that is a higher spiritual soul, called neshamah. In Genesis 1:27, it is written that man was created,

“God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.”(HNV)

Man was created when the Eternal breathed his life-giving spirit, nishmat chayim, into man’s nose. Thus man became a living soul, nephesh chayah, according to Genesis 2:7. Man was given the spiritual soul, which was not given to the animals.

The Hebrew word for “create” is barah[10], which means “bring into existence”, “make something that did not exist previously”. This word is found three times in Genesis 1. In verse one it is written in relation to time, space, and matter. In verse 21 it is written in relation to animal life, and in verse 27 in relation to man. There were three different acts of creation needed in order for these three elements to exist. The body of the animals was taken from the earth, but their soul was created. The human body was also taken from the earth, but the soul of man was given something special from the Spirit of the Eternal. Something new was created that was different than the soul of the animals. It was the spiritual soul of man, the higher life, as it is written in John 6:63,

“It is the Spirit (from the Eternal) who gives life (spiritual life). The flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and are life.”(HNV)

n Psalm 104:30, it is written,

"You send forth your Spirit: they are created. You renew the face of the ground.”(HNV)

When the Eternal breathed with his Spirit into the nose of the clay statue that he had formed, man was created. Man’s spiritual life began to exist. His spirit was formed.

The Hebrew word for “spirit” is ruach[11], which means “wind”, “breeze”, “breath”, “breathing”, “courage”, “mind”, “wrath”, “windy weather”, “storm” etc. Because of the broad meaning of this word, the concept of the “spirit of man” in the Scriptures can be understood in many different ways. It could simply mean breath, i.e. life. It could also mean intellect. It could mean the higher life, the spiritual life.

According to Genesis 7:15 all the living animals have ruach, but nowhere it is written that animals have neshamah. Consequently we can deduce that neshamah is higher than ruach.

Every person is the product of an act of creation. This means that the Eternal gives him spiritual life. He creates his spirit when the biological life is formed in his mother’s womb, as it is written in Psalm 89:47,

“Remember how short my time is! For what vanity have you created all the children of men!”(HNV)

In Isaiah 43:7, it is written,

“everyone who is called by my name, and whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, yes, whom I have made.”(HNV)

There are three words found here, created, formed, and made. It could speak about the spiritual soul, natural soul and physical body of the human being.

In Malachi 2:10, it is written,

Don’t we all have one father? Hasn’t one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, profaning the covenant of our fathers?”(HNV revised)

It is also written in Zechariah 12:1,

An oracle. The word of HaShem concerning Yisra'el. HaShem, who stretches out the heavens, and lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him says…”(HNV)

There is no clear teaching in the Scriptures regarding the different parts of man. We have already seen that the Hebrew words can be understood in different ways, depending on the context in which they are found. Sometimes man is described as having two parts, soul and body, or spirit and body. Sometimes man is described as having three parts, spirit, soul, and body etc.

In Genesis 2:7, it is written that the Eternal breathed life-spirit, nishmat chayim, into the man’s nose. The Hebrew word for spirit in this case is neshamah[12], which means “soul”, “breath”, “breathing”, “spirit”, “living being”. This word is not used of animals. Neshamah is man’s higher soul, as it is written in Isaiah 42:5,

Thus says God HaShem, he who created the heavens, and stretched them forth; he who spread abroad the earth and that which comes out of it; he who gives breath (neshamah) to the people on it, and spirit (ruach) to those who walk therein”(HNV revised)

And Proverbs 20:27,

The spirit (neshamah) of man is HaShem’s lamp, searching all his innermost parts.”(HNV revised)

There are three kinds of life: biological life, the life of the soul, and spiritual life. There is biological life in plants. There is also biological life within the bodies of humans and animals. Biological life can be studied chemically. It is intimately connected with the earth. In that life there are certain expressions for the emotions, the will, and the intellect.

There is also the life of the soul, the nephesh-life. It is on a higher level than the biological life. Here emotions, will, and intellect are expressed more clearly.

The spiritual life, the neshamah-life, is on a higher level than the life of the soul. There is an even higher expression of the emotions, the will, and the intellect in the spiritual life.

Man exists on all three of these levels, the biological life in his body, the soul’s level of life in his nephesh, and the spiritual level in his neshamah, as it is written in 1 Thessalonians 5:23,

“May the God of shalom himself sanctify you completely. May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.”(HNV revised)

Man, therefore, has a spirit, a soul, and a body. If any of these are missing, then the man is not a man, only part of a man. Man needs his body in order to be a person. The idea that man is a prisoner in his body and needs to be set free from that prison, is not in line with the Scriptures. The body is a part of man.

There are several different words for man in Hebrew. One of them is adam[13], which means “reddish brown”. It is related to the word adamah[14], which means “earth”. On one hand man comes from the earth, and on the other hand, man comes from heaven. Man is, therefore, a combination of the earthly and the heavenly. The Eternal formed man’s body from the earth and breathed into his nose, and thus he became a man.

The Spirit of the Eternal is what gives life to man’s spirit, as it is written in Job 32:8,

“But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.”(HNV)

When a man’s spirit leaves his body, the body dies, as it is written in Psalm 146:4,

His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth. In that very day, his plans perish.”(HNV revised)

In Isaiah 57:16, it is written,

For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always angry; for the spirit (ruach) would faint before me, and the souls (neshamah) who I have made.”(HNV)

In Ecclesiastes 12:6-7, it is written,

“Before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the spring, or the wheel broken at the cistern, and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit (ruach) returns to God who gave it.”(HNV revised)

The new birth means first and foremost that man’s heart, which is his innermost being, is transformed, as it is written in Ezekiel 11:19,

I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh”(HNV)

In Isaiah 57:15, it is written,

“For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Consecrated: I dwell in the high and consecrated place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”(HNV revised)

The one who is inside of the Messiah is a new creation, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:17,

“Therefore if anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away. Behold, all things have become new.”(HNV)

In Ephesians 4:24, it is written,

“and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and being consecrated in truth.”(HNV revised)

At the resurrection, our bodies will also experience the result of the transformation of the heart. Thus the whole man is redeemed from death and becomes immortal, as it is written in Philippians 3:21,

“who will change the body of our humiliation to be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working by which he is able even to subject all things to himself.”(HNV)

In 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, Paul makes an important difference between a man’s spirit – ruach – and his mind – which, according to my understanding, corresponds to his neshamah – as it is written,

“For if I pray in another language, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.”(HNV)

Paul’s teaching about the spiritual supernatural manifestations in 1 Corinthians 12-14 shows that those who affect man’s understanding are higher than those who affect his spirit. Man’s neshamah is higher than his ruach.

We can summarize it all like this:

The animals have body, lower soul and spirit, basar, nephesh and ruach. But they have no neshamah. The difference between humans and animals is that man also has a higher soul, neshamah.

Sometimes neshamah and ruach are seen as one entity, and are then called either “spirit” or “soul”. The higher intellect is in the neshamah, feelings and morality is in the ruach, and the lower intellect, the natural instincts, is in the nephesh.

Since sin entered man through the body, the seat of sin is in the body, but it affects the nephesh, the lower soul.

The higher soul longs to come higher toward the Creator who breathed life-giving spirit into man.

15:13 “You, in your loving kindness, have led the people that you have redeemed. You have guided them in your strength to your consecrated habitation.”(HNV revised) – The exodus out of Egypt was an act of redemption. It was the first redemption. It is a prophetic picture of the final redemption when Israel will be brought out of all the nations. That which happened during the first redemption is going to happen again, but on a larger scale, as it is written in Jeremiah 16:14-15,

“Therefore, behold, the days come, says HaShem, that it shall no more be said, As HaShem lives, who brought up the children of Yisra'el out of the land of Egypt; but, As HaShem lives, who brought up the children of Yisra'el from the land of the north, and from all the countries where he had driven them. I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers.”(HNV revised)

In Jeremiah 23:7-8, it is written,

“Therefore, behold, the days come, says HaShem, that they shall no more say, As HaShem lives, who brought up the children of Yisra'el out of the land of Egypt; but, As HaShem lives, who brought up and who led the seed of the house of Yisra'el out of the north country, and from all the countries where I had driven them. They shall dwell in their own land.”(HNV revised)

15:16 “Terror and dread falls on them. By the greatness of your arm they are as still as a stone; until your people pass over, HaShem, until the people pass over who you have purchased.”(HNV revised) – The redemption of these people is seen as a purchase. The price was the blood of the lamb, as it is written in 1 Peter 1:18-19,

“knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, the blood of Messiah”(HNV)

15:17 “You shall bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of your inheritance, the place, HaShem, which you have made for yourself to dwell in; the consecrated place, HaShem, which your hands have established.”(HNV revised) – Based on Midrash literature,[15] Rashi says that the earthly temple is located across from the heavenly throne that the Eternal has built.

15:20 “Miryam the prophetess, the sister of Aharon, took a tambourine in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.”(HNV) – Miryam was approximately 90 years old at this time. She is called a prophetess. The prophetic spirit is manifested in two ways, as heat and as light, as inspiration and as revelation, as power and as truth. In this instance, the prophecy worked inspirationally. Those melodies, rhythms and dances that are inspired by the Spirit reveal the glory of the Eternal. That is also prophecy, see 1 Samuel 10:5; 9:20; 1 Chronicles 25:1.

Here we can see that it is not appropriate for men and women to dance together. The men danced in one place and women in another.

15:21 “Miryam answered them, ‘Sing to HaShem, for he has triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.’”(HNV revised) – The word “answered” tells us that it was an interactive song between the other women and Miryam as their leader. Miryam sang one sentence, and the others repeated it. Then she would sing another sentence, and the others would repeat it also. This was also the way that Moshe sang together with the rest of the people of Israel, see 15:1.

15:22 “Moshe led Yisra'el onward from the Reed Sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water.”(HNV revised) – A Midrash[16] says that the children of Israel did not want to leave the Reed Sea because they had not finished plundering the bodies of the Egyptians. Another reason was that they were experiencing the presence of the Eternal, his Shechinah.[17]

The three days refer to the resurrection of the Messiah.

This verse is used by the prophets to establish the custom that there ought not to be more than three days without public reading of the Torah. Therefore the Torah is read in the synagogues the second and fifth days of the week, as well as on the Shabbat.[18]

15:25 “Then he cried to HaShem. HaShem showed him a tree, and he threw it into the waters, and the waters were made sweet. There he made a statute and an ordinance for them, and there he tested them”(HNV revised) – This points to the Messiah’s death on a tree, which transformed man’s bitterness into sweetness.

Here the Eternal begins to give his people commandments.

15:26 “and he said, “If you will diligently listen to the voice of HaShem your God, and will do that which is right in his eyes, and will pay attention to his commands, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you, which I have put on the Egyptians; for I am HaShem who heals you.”(HNV revised) – Diseases are a result of the curse on creation that came because of the sin that brought death over this world. Disease is the firstborn of death, as it is written in Job 18:13,

The members of his body shall be devoured, the firstborn of death shall devour his members.”(HNV)

Death damages the normal functions of the body. It is a threat to life. According to Deuteronomy 28:61, all diseases are curses. These curses can come upon man for different reasons,

  • Because he lives in a world that is submitted to the curse and corruption on account of sin.

  • Because he does not take care of his body, but exposes it to dangers that could be avoided.

  • Because he does not fulfill the commandments that the Eternal has given, and thus brings the curse that can cause sickness upon himself.

  • Because of a direct punishment from the Eternal over man who hardens his heart and does not turn from his sin.

The Eternal can heal in different ways. He has put different mechanisms into nature that generate healing in the body. Doctors and medicine cannot heal the body. They can only help the body to heal itself. Life itself has power over death. Sickness is a force that comes from death. But the life that is in our bodies is constantly giving way to the power of death that is at work in our mortal bodies because of the corruption. Death comes to us when the life that is in our bodies no longer has the strength to resist the firstborn of death or when the time has come for us to end our lives here in this world. (There are those who die without being sick. They give up their spirit through the mouth and the body dies.)

The Eternal, therefore, gives us healing in an indirect way through the natural mechanisms that he has put into our members, which are constantly battling internal and external diseases in our environment. By healing us this way, he heals us as our Creator.

He can also heal us supernaturally, through heavenly intervention in our bodies. Then he heals us as our Healer, as it is written in this text.

The text teaches us several things,

  • The Eternal placed diseases on the Egyptians (directly and indirectly).

  • The Eternal is not going to put any of those diseases on the children of Israel if they hear, obey, and keep his commandments. In this way he works indirectly as their Healer, by being their Keeper.

  • If the children of Israel were disobedient to the commandments, and thus are exposed to disease, they could experience divine healing by a supernatural intervention, on the condition that there is teshuvah, repentance from sin. In that case the Eternal works as their Healer.

In James 5:15, it is written,

“and the prayer of faith will heal him who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”(HNV)

We see in this text that not all sickness is the result of sin. Personal sin is just one of many reasons for a person to be sick. In any case, sickness is not a blessing. (The Eternal can, however, turn a curse into a blessing.) Sickness attacks the life plan that the Eternal has for man’s body. The body was not created to be sick, but to be healthy. That is why the Messiah did not only come to die for our sins, but to take away our sicknesses as well. Through his death, there is a foundation for the promises of complete healing to be able to be activated in the people of Israel, as it is written in Isaiah 53:4-5,

“Surely he has borne our sickness, and carried our suffering; yet we considered him plagued, struck by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought our shalom was on him; and by his wounds we are healed.”(HNV revised)

In Deuteronomy 7:15, it is written,

“HaShem will take away from you all sickness; and none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you know, will he put on you, but will lay them on all those who hate you.”(HNV revised)

In Psalm 103:3, it is written,

“Who forgives all your sins; who heals all your diseases”(HNV)

Physical healing is a part of the covenant between the Eternal and Israel. That covenant was backed up, confirmed, and renewed through the Messiah Yeshua, see Exodus 23:25; Psalm 30:2 (Heb 3); 41:3 (4); 107:20; Proverbs 4:20-22; Matthew 8:16-17; Mark 16:18; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 8:10-11.

The Fifth Aliyah, 15:27 – 16:10

15:27 “They came to Elim, where there were twelve springs of water, and seventy palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.”(HNV) – “Elim” means “gods”, and it also means “mighty ones”. There was a spring for each tribe and a palm tree for every nation on earth.

In Psalm 92:12a, it is written,

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.”(HNV)

There is a connection between palm trees and the feast of Sukkot, see Leviticus 23:40. Sukkot is a feast for all the nations of the earth. So, from this we learn that the twelve tribes of Israel are the ones who give water so that among the nations, righteous ones can grow to be a part of the feast in the coming kingdom, as it is written in Revelation 7:9,

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”(HNV)

16:1 “They took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Yisra'el came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt.”(HNV) – This teaches us that the manna came on the sixteenth day of the second month. According to Talmud[19] the manna came the morning of the first day of the week. In that case the exodus would have happened on the 5th day of the week. In the same way that the manna came on the first day of the week, the Messiah was raised up on the first day of the week to give eternal life to all those who receive the bread of heaven.

16:2 “The whole congregation of the children of Yisra'el murmured against Moshe and against Aharon in the wilderness”(HNV) – The reason that they murmured was because they no longer had anything to eat. Rashi says that the bread they took with them from Egypt lasted for thirty days. However, it is written in Deuteronomy 8:2-3,

“You shall remember all the way which HaShem your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. He humbled you, and allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you didn’t know, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of HaShem does man live.”(HNV revised)

Here it is written that HaShem allowed them to go hungry. Therefore it could have been quite some time that passed after the bread ran out until the day the Eternal gave them manna.

16:4 “Then said HaShem to Moshe, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from the sky for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law, or not.’”(HNV revised) – Normal bread comes from the earth. Here we see how the Eternal changes the natural order of things and gives them bread from heaven. By this he is teaching them about the Messiah who  is the bread that came down from heaven, as it is written in John 6:31-35,

Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness. As it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’ Yeshua therefore said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I tell you, it wasn’t Moshe who gave you the bread out of heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.’ They said therefore to him, ‘Lord, always give us this bread.’ Yeshua said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will not be hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’”(HNV revised)

16:6-8 “Moshe and Aharon said to all the children of Yisra'el, ‘At evening, then you shall know that HaShem has brought you out from the land of Egypt; and in the morning, then you shall see the glory of HaShem; because he hears your murmurings against HaShem. Who are we, that you murmur against us?’ Moshe said, ‘Now HaShem shall give you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to satisfy you; because HaShem hears your murmurings which you murmur against him. And who are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against HaShem.’”(HNV revised) – Two secrets about the Messiah are revealed here. These secrets are evening and morning. In verse twelve this message is repeated. There, however, it is written clearly that it will be between the two evenings that they would eat meat. The Messiah died between the two evenings, as we learned in last week’s Parashah. This text teaches us that the Messiah would be resurrected in the morning so that we would see the glory of the Eternal and be completely satisfied.

The Sixth Aliyah, 16:11-36

16:13-14 “It happened at evening that quail came up and covered the camp; and in the morning the dew lay around the camp. When the dew that lay had gone, behold, on the surface of the wilderness was a small round thing, small as the hoar-frost on the ground.”(HNV) – This text shows us that the manna was under the dew.

In Numbers 11:9, it is written,

When the dew fell on the camp in the night, the manna fell on it.”(HNV)

Here it says that the manna fell over the dew. This teaches us that there was a blanket of dew under the manna and another over it. Both were there to protect the manna. It is from this that the Jewish tradition comes to put a white tablecloth on the Shabbat table and then also to cover the two loafs of Shabbat bread with another smaller white cloth. The smaller cloth is then removed from the bread as a reminder of what happened in the desert when the dew disappeared and the bread was revealed to the people.

16:15 “When the children of Yisra'el saw it, they said one to another, ‘What is it?’ For they didn’t know what it was. Moshe said to them, ‘It is the bread which HaShem has given you to eat.’”(HNV revised) – The word that has been translated as “manna” is man[20], The children of Israel said, Man hu!, which means, “This is man!”, because they did not know what it was called. A Midrash[21] translates that as meaning “What is it?”. When saying “what is it?” in Hebrew, one says ma hu? not man hu?. Rashi points out that the word man means cooked food and quotes Daniel 1:5. He associates the word man with the verb va-yimen, “cook food”, from the root manah[22], which means “measure”, “count”, “prepare”.

16:16 “This is the thing which HaShem has commanded: ‘Gather of it everyone according to his eating; an omer a head, according to the number of your persons, shall you take it, every man for those who are in his tent.’”(HNV revised) – “Everyone” here means the head of every family. He had the responsibility to see that enough was gathered for everyone in the family to have an omer each. An omer is a measurement of volume. According to Rabbi A. H. Naé it is 2.5 liters. Other authorities, however, add 50% to this calculation and some even 75%.[23]

The omer reminds us of the grain offering that was later presented in the temple the day after the Shabbat after Pesach, once a year. This offering was instituted to proclaim the resurrection power of the seed that was harvested in the spring. It speaks of the resurrection of the Messiah, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 15:20,

But now Messiah has been raised from the dead. He became the first fruits (a reference to the omer of grain meal that was offered in the temple) of those who are asleep.”(HNV)

“an omer a head” – The Hebrew word for head is gulgolet[24], which means “cranium”, “head”, “skull”. That is where the word Gulgolta comes from, which is the name of the place where the Messiah died, as it is written in Matthew 27:33,

“They came to a place called ‘Gulgolta’, that is to say, ‘The place of a skull.’”(HNV)

The father of every family was given the order to supply his family with bread from heaven. According to tradition, the bread came for the first time on the first weekday. Each person needed one omer. Both the manna and the omer represent the Messiah. Everyone needs to partake of the Messiah.

16:17-18 “The children of Yisra'el did so, and gathered some more, some less. When they measured it with an omer, he who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack. They gathered every man according to his eating.”(HNV) – This is quoted in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, where it is written,

For this is not that others may be eased and you distressed, but for equality. Your abundance at this present time supplies their lack, that their abundance also may become a supply for your lack; that there may be equality. As it is written, ‘He who gathered much had nothing left over, and he who gathered little had no lack.’”(HNV)

16:23 “He said to them, ‘This is that which HaShem has spoken, “Tomorrow is a solemn rest, a consecrated Shabbat to HaShem. Bake that which you want to bake, and boil that which you want to boil; and all that remains over lay up for yourselves to be kept until the morning.”’”(HNV revised) – The command about Shabbat does not come from Sinai; it came earlier than that. It is an inheritance from creation. The main idea behind the Shabbat is that one ceases all intervention in creation in order to thus acknowledge one’s Creator. The main point of the Shabbat is not to rest but to cease doing things to create and produce. First and foremost one stops and secondly one rests. Even though an activity does not cause physical strain it can still be considered work, in Hebrew melachah, which violates the Shabbat. When one cooks food, the substance of the food is changed and that violates the commandment if it is done on the Shabbat. Furthermore, one must light a fire in order to cook food, which is melachah, creative work, see Exodus 35:3.

“a consecrated Shabbat to HaShem” – The purpose of the Shabbat is to keep it unto the Eternal and not do the things that we like to do, as it is written in Isaiah 58:13-14,

If you turn away your foot from the Shabbat, from doing your pleasure on my consecrated day; and call the Shabbat a delight, and the consecrated of HaShem honorable; and shall honor it, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words: then shall you delight yourself in HaShem; and I will make you to ride on the high places of the earth; and I will feed you with the heritage of Ya`akov your father: for the mouth of HaShem has spoken it.”(HNV revised)

16:25 “Moshe said, ‘Eat that today, for today is a Shabbat to HaShem. Today you shall not find it in the field.’”(HNV revised) – On the Shabbat, the food is meant to be especially tasty. There are several reasons why the Eternal has created man with the need to eat,

·         So that man will know that he is dependent on his heavenly Father.

·         So that man will learn that the heavenly Father is good.

·         So that man will have a daily occupation and not fall into idleness.

·         So that man will have fellowship with others on a deep level.

·         So that man will meet the body’s need for nourishment.

·         So that man will learn heavenly truths.

·         So that man will learn to obey the commandments.

The Scriptures show us that our relationship to food is related to our relationship with the Eternal. The first sin had to do with food. Food was created so that man would learn to obey the Eternal.

16:26 “Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day is the Shabbat. In it there shall be none.”(HNV) – This is the rhythm of the week; six days of work and one day of ceasing from work in order to, on the Shabbat, dedicate oneself to the Eternal together with the congregation, and also to rest with the family at home.

16:29 “Behold, because HaShem has given you the Shabbat, therefore he gives you on the sixth day the bread of two days. Everyone stay in his place. Let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”(HNV revised) – The Shabbat is a gift from the Eternal, but only when the gift is opened and used can it be enjoyed. The blessings received when the Shabbat is kept cannot be described. They have to be experienced!

The commandment about not leaving the home does not mean that one cannot go outside. We see this later on when the children of Israel expose a man who is gathering wood on the Shabbat, see Numbers 15:32ff. This commandment was given to the people so that they would not go out and try to gather manna on the Shabbat.

With this verse as a point of reference, the wise men in Israel have established a law[25] that says that a distance of 2,000 cubits in all four directions makes the boundary for how far one may walk on the Shabbat. Within that distance one can move around freely. In a city the 2,000 cubits are considered to begin from the walls of the city. This halachah, (practical laws that apply to the Torah), are mentioned in The Messianic Writings, as it is written in Acts 1:12,

“Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Shabbat day’s journey away.”(HNV)

We see that The Messianic Writings acknowledges a halachah that was established by the Jewish authorities.

16:33-34 “Moshe said to Aharon, ‘Take a pot, and put an omer-full of manna in it, and lay it up before HaShem, to be kept throughout your generations.’ As HaShem commanded Moshe, so Aharon laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept.”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, the manna was to be kept in a clay vessel. The word “testimony” refers to the two stone tablets that the Eternal would later give to Moshe. This is the first time that this word is used with this meaning.

t also speaks of the inner testimony that is within every born again person’s heart. It testifies that one is a child of God, as it is written in 1 John 5:10-12,

“He who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. He who doesn’t believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. The testimony is this, that God gave to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has the life. He who doesn’t have God’s Son doesn’t have the life.”(HNV revised)

In 2 Corinthians 13:5, it is written,

Test your own selves, whether you are in the faith. Test your own selves. Or don’t you know as to your own selves, that Yeshua the Messiah is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.”(HNV)

A person who has experienced salvation has a witness in his heart. He knows that he is a child of God. Whoever does not have this witness is not His child. Here it is written that the manna should be placed in front of the testimony. These are intimately connected.

In Revelation 19:10, it is written,

“I fell down before his feet to worship him. He said to me, ‘Look! Don’t do it! I am a fellow bondservant with you and with your brothers who hold the testimony of Yeshua. Worship God, for the testimony of Yeshua is the Spirit of Prophecy.’”(HNV revised)

The Seventh Aliyah, 17:1-16

17:2 “Therefore the people quarreled with Moshe, and said, ‘Give us water to drink.’ Moshe said to them, ‘Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test HaShem?’”(HNV revised) – Whoever quarrels against a leader that is obeying the Eternal, is testing Him.

17:6 “‘Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock in Chorev. You shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.’ Moshe did so in the sight of the elders of Yisra'el.”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, the rock had to be struck hard. The word that is translated “rock” is tzur[26]. That rock was the Messiah, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 10:4,

and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Messiah.”(HNV)

In Numbers 20:8-11, it speaks of another type of rock, in Hebrew sela[27], which was not as high and which Moshe only had to speak to, not strike. Then water would come forth.

 This teaches us that the Messiah was only struck once. That striking produced water for all the people of Israel to drink. If we strike the Messiah again, we can not come into the Promised Land, according to Hebrews 6:4-6, where it is written,

For concerning those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the consecrated Spirit and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance; seeing they hang the Son of God on the tree for themselves again, and put him to open shame.”(HNV revised)

17:7 “He called the name of the place Massah, and Merivah, because the children of Yisra'el quarreled, and because they tested HaShem, saying, ‘Is HaShem among us, or not?’”(HNV revised) – “Massah” means “temptation”, “test”, and “Merivah” means “quarrel”, “provocation”. This is mentioned in Psalm 95:7-11, (see Hebrews chapters 3-4) where it is written,

For he is our God. We are the people of his pasture, and the sheep in his care. Today, oh that you would hear his voice! Don’t harden your heart, as at Merivah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tempted me, tested me, and saw my work. Forty long years I was grieved with that generation, and said, ‘It is a people that errs in their heart. They have not known my ways.’ Therefore I swore in my wrath, ‘They won’t enter into my rest.’”(HNV revised)

It is very dangerous to challenge and provoke the Eternal. It causes his protection to leave us and our enemies can then kill us, as we will see in the continuation of this week’s Parashah.

17:8 “Then `Amalek came and fought with Yisra'el in Refidim.”(HNV) – Amalek came when the people provoked the Eternal and quarreled with His servant. A Midrash[28] says that the name Amalek is derived from the words am, which means “people” and lack, which means “lick”. The name is then, “the people who came to lick blood”. Amalek was a descendant of Esav, Israel’s archenemy, see Genesis 36:15-16. He struck them from the back, as it is written in Deuteronomy 25:17-19,

Remember what `Amalek did to you by the way as you came forth out of Egypt; how he met you by the way, and struck the hindmost of you, all who were feeble behind you, when you were faint and weary; and he didn’t fear God. Therefore it shall be, when HaShem your God has given you rest from all your enemies round about, in the land which HaShem your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it, that you shall blot out the memory of `Amalek from under the sky; you shall not forget.”(HNV revised)

17:10 “So Yehoshua did as Moshe had told him, and fought with `Amalek; and Moshe, Aharon, and Chur went up to the top of the hill.”(HNV) – This is the first time that Yehoshua is mentioned and it is in connection to war. His name means “HaShem saves”. Through him HaShem gives salvation to Israel. Yehoshua represents Yeshua the Messiah. He is the one that is going to give the final salvation to Israel. He helps us to battle against our most cruel enemy, the flesh, which attacks us from the back.

Aharon was Moshe’s brother, and he symbolizes the intercession that a leader needs. Chur was Betzalel’s grandfather, the one who built the tabernacle, see Exodus 31:2. He symbolizes the practical and financial support that a leader needs.

17:12 “But Moshe’s hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aharon and Chur held up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. His hands were steady until sunset.”(HNV) – The war was not only physical, but it was spiritual as well. Moshe did his part by prayer and fasting. In this way he came against the spiritual forces that were behind the Amalekites. Yehoshua did his part in resisting the physical attacks. Both were necessary in order to save the people. The rock represents the Messiah which Moshe rabbenu sat on. With the help of his co-workers who held up his hands, he was able to remain faithful until sunset. This was the way that Yehoshua was able to win the war. This teaches us that body language is important for victory in the spirit world. It was not enough for Moshe only to pray with his heart or his mouth. He had to raise his hands as well in order for the enemy not to have the upper hand. This was first and foremost a spiritual war. Without the support of the co-workers, Israel would have lost the war. This teaches us how important it is for leaders to have good helpers, some to support in intercession and others to give practical and financial support. Without these kinds of ministries in the congregation, victory cannot be won over the attacks of the enemy.

If there is no unity among leaders, we have lost the battle. The four names in this passage, Aharon, Chur, Yehoshua, and Moshe, begin with the four letters alef, chet, yod, and mem. These four letters spell out the word achim, which means “brothers”. The complete unity among them is what gave the final victory in the battle, as it is written in Psalm 133, “hineh ma tov…

See how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to live together in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, that ran down on the beard, even Aharon’s beard; that came down on the edge of his robes; like the dew of Chermon, that comes down on the hills of Tziyon: for there HaShem gives the blessing, even life forevermore.”(HNV revised)

17:14 “HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Yehoshua: that I will utterly blot out the memory of `Amalek from under the sky.’”(HNV revised) – Important things must be written down. HaShem commands Moshe to write this in a book, so that it would not be forgotten.

Yehoshua received this message. According to Rashi, this was a hint that he would become Moshe’s successor. It is, however, also a reference to Yeshua, who is the only one who will finally destroy Amalek’s power in the end times.

17:16 “He said, ‘HaShem has sworn: “HaShem will have war with `Amalek from generation to generation.”’”(HNV revised) – That teaches us that in every generation there is an Amalek who is trying to destroy the Jewish people. Haman, who is mentioned in the Book of Esther, was a descendant of Amalek. Adolf Hitler was an Amalek in his generation. Yasser Arafat was another. The last one before the Messiah returns is going to be killed with the sword of his mouth, as it is written in Isaiah 11:4b,

“and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.”(HNV)

In 2 Thessalonians 2:8, it is written,

Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will kill with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nothing by the brightness of his coming”(HNV)

May it happen soon and in our days!

Commandment number 24 out of the 613 is found in this Parashah.

24.  The prohibition of passing beyond the permitted borders on the Shabbat, Exodus 16:29.


[1]     Shemot Rabah 20:10.

[2]     Strong H3444 yeshû‛âh, yesh-oo'-aw, Feminine passive participle of H3467; something saved, that is, (abstractly) deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity: - deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare.

Strong H3467 yâsha‛, yaw-shah', A primitive root; properly to be open, wide or free, that is, (by implication) to be safe; causatively to free or succor: -  X at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.

[3]     Sanhedrín 96b; Shabbat 96b.

[4]     Sanhedrín 91b.

[5]     Strong H5115 nâvâh, naw-vaw', A primitive root; to rest (as at home); causatively (through the implied idea of beauty (compare H5116)), to celebrate (with praises): - keep at home, prepare an habitation.

[6]     Strong H3427 yâshab, yaw-shab', A primitive root; properly to sit down (specifically as judge, in ambush, in quiet); by implication to dwell, to remain; causatively to settle, to marry: -  (make to) abide (-ing), continue, (cause to, make to) dwell (-ing), ease self, endure, establish, X fail, habitation, haunt, (make to) inhabit (-ant), make to keep [house], lurking, X marry (-ing), (bring again to) place, remain, return, seat, set (-tle), (down-) sit (-down, still, -ting down, -ting [place] -uate), take, tarry.

[7]     Strong H3820 lêb, labe, A form of H3824; the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything: -  + care for, comfortably, consent, X considered, courag [-eous], friend [-ly], ([broken-], [hard-], [merry-], [stiff-], [stout-], double) heart ([-ed]), X heed, X I, kindly, midst, mind (-ed), X regard ([-ed)], X themselves, X unawares, understanding, X well, willingly, wisdom.

[8]     Strong H5315 Nephesh, neh'-fesh, From H5314; properly a breathing creature, that is, animal or (abstractly) vitality; used very widely in a literal, accommodated or figurative sense (bodily or mental): - any, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, X dead (-ly), desire, X [dis-] contented, X fish, ghost, + greedy, he, heart (-y), (hath, X jeopardy of) life (X in jeopardy), lust, man, me, mind, mortality, one, own, person, pleasure, (her-, him-, my-, thy-) self, them (your) -selves, + slay, soul, + tablet, they, thing, (X she) will, X would have it.

[9]     Strong H5314 nâphash, naw-fash', A primitive root; to breathe; passively, to be breathed upon, that is, (figuratively) refreshed (as if by a current of air): - (be) refresh selves (-ed).

[10]    Strong H1254 bârâ', baw-raw', A primitive root; (absolutely) to create; (qualified) to cut down (a wood), select, feed (as formative processes): - choose, create (creator), cut down, dispatch, do, make (fat).

[11]    Strong H7307 rûach, roo'-akh, From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): - air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).

Strong H7306 rûach, roo'-akh, A primitive root; properly to blow, that is, breathe; only (literally) to smell or (by implication perceive (figuratively to anticipate, enjoy): - accept, smell, X touch, make of quick understanding.

[12]    Strong H5397 neshâmâh, nesh-aw-maw', From H5395; a puff, that is, wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect or (concretely) an animal: - blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.

Strong H5395 nâsham, naw-sham', A primitive root; properly to blow away, that is, destroy: - destroy.

[13]    Strong H120 'âdâm, aw-dawm', From H119; ruddy, that is, a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.): - X another, + hypocrite, + common sort, X low, man (mean, of low degree), person.

        Strong H119 'âdam, aw-dam', To show blood (in the face), that is, flush or turn rosy: - be (dyed, made) red (ruddy).

[14]    Strong H127 'ădâmâh, ad-aw-maw', From H119; soil (from its general redness): - country, earth, ground, husband [-man] (-ry), land.

[15]    Mechiltah; Tanchumah Pekudeh 2.

[16]    Tanchumah Yashán 16; Mechiltah.

[17]    Rashí Sukah 41a; Tosafot Ritvah.

[18]    Mechiltah.

[19]    Shabbat 87b.

[20]    Strong H4478 mân, mawn, From H4100; literally a whatness (so to speak), that is, manna (so called from the question about it): - manna.

Strong H4100 mâh  mah  mâ  ma  meh, maw, mah, maw, mah, meh, A primitive particle; properly interrogitive what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational sneses: - how (long, oft, [-soever]), [no-] thing, what (end, good, purpose, thing), whereby (-fore, -in, -to, -with), (for) why.

[21]    Midrash HaGadol 16:15.

[22]    Strong H4487 mânâh, maw-naw', A primitive root; properly to weigh out; by implication to allot or constitute officially; also to enumerate or enroll: - appoint, count, number, prepare, set, tell.

[23]    R. Aryeh Carmell, Aiding Talmud Study, page 78.

[24]    Strong H1538 gûlgôleth, gul-go'-leth, By reduplication from H1556; a skull (as round); by implication a head (in enumeration of persons): - head, every man, poll, skull.

[25]    Erubín 51a; Mechiltah, jfr. Erubín 46a; Sotah 30b.

[26]    Strong H6697 tsûr  tsûr, tsoor, tsoor, From H6696; properly a cliff (or sharp rock, as compressed); generally a rock or boulder; figuratively a refuge; also an edge (as precipitous): - edge, X (mighty) God (one), rock, X sharp, stone, X strength, X strong. See also H1049.

[27]    Strong H5553 sela‛, seh'-lah, From an unused root meaning to be lofty; a craggy rock, literally or figuratively (a fortress): - (ragged) rock, stone (-ny), strong hold.

[28]    Midrash Lekach Tov.