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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

HaAzinu 53-4


Deuteronomy 32:19-28

They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.

Deut. 32:21 NIV

Who are the people that are not the people?

Since the sons of Israel took as gods those who were not God, in Hebrew lo-El, לא-אל HaShem takes a people that are not a people – in Hebrew lo-am, לא-עם. In the level p'shat, the simplest level of interpretation, it means that Israel was going to be mistreated by a people who are not considered a people. According to Rashi it is the Kashdim (Chaldean) and Esav (Romans). The Chaldean is the same people as the Babylonians, inhabitants of the ancient Chaldea, the country of Babylon. That empire destroyed the first temple. According to Nachmanides, the Kashdim weren't a nation in their beginning but HaShem increased them in order to use them to conquer and dominate over the world. Gur Aryeh says that the Kashdim had no intrinsic significance because they had no language or writing of their own and therefore they weren't part of the seventy main nations. A descendant of Esav founded Rome. The Romans destroyed the second temple. Gur Aryeh, based on the Talmud, claims that Edom was not considered a nation either, for they did not originally have their own writing or language.

The text can also be interpreted from a higher level with an argument that says that the Gentiles receive the possibility of entering and partaking with the divine people, due to Israel's apostasy. This opportunity is provided by Yeshua's work.

In the same way as Israel considered as their gods that which was not God, HaShem considers those from among the Gentiles who have converted as his own people. Within the spiritual Israel there is a people, more numerous than the Jews, who are of Gentile origin, whom the Eternal has taken as his people through Yeshua, the Messiah. These Gentiles have, through adoption, the legal right to be called Avraham’s sons and God’s sons. Therefore they are also heirs of the blessings that belong to Israel. This provokes the Jews to jealousy.

In Romans 10:19, it is written: “But I ask, didn't Yisra'el know? First Moshe says, ‘I will provoke you to jealousy with that which is no nation, with a nation void of understanding I will make you angry.’”(HNV) Paul expands on this text in chapters 10 and 11 of Romans. At the end of chapter 11 it says that because of the falling away of a part of Israel, the gentiles partake of the rights that belong to the sons of Israel. This brings the Jews to jealousy, so that they also want to receive the salvation given through Yeshua, which is primarily for the Jew and then also for the Greek.

It is not the Jews who believe in Yeshua who have the calling to awaken the jealousy of the non-believing Jews, but the Gentiles who have taken on the universal Judaism of the Messiah, as it is written in Romans 11:11, 13-14: “I ask then, did they stumble that they might fall? May it never be! But by their fall salvation has come to the gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy… For I speak to you who are gentiles. Since then as I am an apostle to gentiles, I glorify my ministry; if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh, and may save some of them.”(HNV)

The Hebrew text uses two synonym words for the term "people" amעם – and goyגוי. Am is translated as “people” and goy as “nation”. The word goy is used sometimes in relation to the people of the covenant but the term that is mostly used for them is am. According to Strong, am has to do with a congregated unit, while goy refers to a body.

Today's text says that HaShem will provoke the people of Israel with a non-people – lo-am – which in turn is a people – goy. This teaches us that the Gentiles who convert to the Eternal through Yeshua are not am but they are goy. As a "non-people" (of Israel) but being a (spiritual) people that is part of  the very body of the Messiah, they have to provoke the Jews to jealousy, without becoming Jewish, because if they become Jewish they wouldn't be lo-am anymore, and they wouldn't be able to fulfill this mission.

Dear non-Jew, don’t seek to become a Jew. Seek the fullness of the Eternal’s Spirit and live in a high level of obedience to the commandments that are for you and you will fulfill your mission of provoking the Jews to jealousy.

Kol tuv,


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