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Parashah 17 Yitro

Exodus 18:1 – 20:26 (23 Heb.)

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted 

Torah Readings:

  1. 18:1-12
  2. 18:13-23
  3. 18:24-27
  4. 19:1-6
  5. 19:7-19
  6. 19:20 – 20:17 (v. 14 Heb.)
  7. 20:18-26 (15-23 Heb.)
  8. Maftir: 20:22-26 (19-23 Heb.)


Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-13 (Sephardic); 6:1 – 7:6; 9:6-7 (5-6 Heb.) (Ashkenazi)


The First Aliyah, 18:1-12

18:1 “Now Yitro, the priest of Midyan, Moshe’s father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moshe, and for Yisra'el his people, how that HaShem had brought Yisra'el out of Egypt.”(HNV revised) – Rashi says that when the word kohen[1], which is translated as “priest”, is written in connection to a geographic location, it is referring to a governor. Another example of this would be David’s sons, who were not from the tribe of Levi and could therefore not be priests, but were princes, see 2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Chronicles 18:17.

18:7 “Moshe went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated as “bowed” is va-yishtachu, which is a form of the word shachah[2], which means “to prostrate oneself”, “to kneel”, “to bow”, “to honor”, “to respect”, “to worship”. This teaches us that bowing down in respect before a person is permitted. In this case, Moshe was honoring his father-in-law in this way.

18:8 “Moshe told his father-in-law all that HaShem had done to Par`oh and to the Egyptians for Yisra'el’s sake, all the hardships that had come on them on the way, and how HaShem delivered them.”(HNV revised) – Here is an example of how to win a gentile to the faith of Israel.

·         Tell what the Eternal did to Pharaoh and the Egyptians for Israel’s sake.

·         Tell about the hardships on the way.

·         Tell how the Eternal saved them out of all their hardships.

Our personal testimonies are very useful as tools to win souls for the kingdom of heaven.

18:9 “Yitro rejoiced for all the goodness which HaShem had done to Yisra'el, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians.”(HNV revised) – A conversion is very intimately connected with the people of Israel. When one converts, one does it in order to become a part of a people, the people of Israel. The first step in the conversion was that he accepted the words of Moshe rabbenu. The second step was a revelation based of what Moshe said, which made him happy. A true conversion is based on a spiritual revelation that affects the understanding and the emotions.

18:10 “Yitro said, ‘Blessed be HaShem, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Par`oh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians.”(HNV revised) – The third step of Yitro’s conversion was to bless the Eternal. And he did it with the words, “Baruch HaShem!”

18:11 “Now I know that HaShem is greater than all gods because of the thing in which they dealt arrogantly against them.”(HNV revised) – The fourth step of Yitro’s conversion was that he renounced all idols and pagan rituals. The fifth step was that he testified about what was revealed to him.

18:12 “Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Aharon came with all of the elders of Yisra'el, to eat bread with Moshe’s father-in-law before God.”(HNV revised) – The sixth step in Yitro’s conversion was to offer up the ascension offering (the burnt offering), which represents man’s complete dedication.

The seventh step was to offer up a fellowship offering, which represents dedication to an intimate relationship with the Eternal and with brothers and sisters in the faith. If a conversion does not affect the person’s finances, then it is not a genuine conversion, as our Rabbi said in Matthew 6:21, where it is written,

“for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(HNV)

In Matthew 6:24, it is written,

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.”(HNV revised)

The Second Aliyah, 18:13-23

18:13 “It happened on the next day, that Moshe sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moshe from the morning to the evening.”(HNV) – There are two different opinions about which day it was that Yitro saw Moshe sitting and judging the people all day long. Rashi quotes the opinion of Rabbi Chiyah and Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi, which is written in a Midrash.[3] It claims that it was the day after Yom Kippur, when Moshe came down from the mountain with the new stone tablets after he had gained forgiveness for the sin with the golden calf. The argument for this is that it was impossible for Moshe to instruct the people in God’s statutes and instructions before the Torah was given, see 18:16. Another argument that is used is that in 18:27 it is written that Moshe said goodbye to Yitro when he left for his land. In Numbers 10:29, it is written, however, that when he wanted to leave, Moshe asked him not to leave them. This took place during the second year after the exodus, see Numbers 10:11, that is after the Torah was given. According to this opinion, the passage in Exodus 18:13-27 is not written in chronological order.

The second opinion, which other wise men have held to, is that this is actually written in chronological order.

18:17-18 “Moshe’s father-in-law said to him, ‘The thing that you do is not good. You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone.’”(HNV) – Moshe rabbenu needed this advise from his father-in-law. It was not HaShem who said this to Moshe, but a newly converted man who received natural wisdom from heaven and from his life experience. This teaches us the importance of listening to the advice of elders and the people that the Eternal has placed around us, as it is written in Proverbs 11:14,

“Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.”(HNV)

In Proverbs 15:22, it is written,

“Where there is no counsel, plans fail; but in a multitude of counselors they are established.”(HNV)

In Proverbs 19:20, it is written,

“Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter end.”(HNV)

In Proverbs 27:9, it is written,

“Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart; so does earnest counsel from a man’s friend.”(HNV)

Moshe did not receive this revelation from heaven, but from a person. HaShem has placed people around us so he can use them to give us counsel. A wise person listens to the counsel of others, see 2 Samuel 16:23; 1 Kings 12. If anyone thinks that he can receive all the direction that he needs directly from heaven, he has a prideful spirit. HaShem has created us to be dependent on others so that we can learn to be humble and sensitive to the opinions of others. The wife was created to give counsel to her husband, see Genesis 21:12. The counsel that Yitro gave came from heaven, but it was delivered through a person. If we do not live in unity, we will make many mistakes. But we have to be very careful not to have fellowship with evil people, because they give bad counsel, as it is written in Psalm 1:1-2,

“Blessed is the man who doesn’t walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in HaShem’s law; on his law he meditates day and night.”(HNV revised)

 In Psalm 33:10-11, it is written,

“HaShem brings the counsel of the nations to nothing. He makes the thoughts of the peoples to be of no effect. The counsel of HaShem stands fast forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”(HNV revised)

18:19 “Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You represent the people before God, and bring the causes to God.”(HNV revised) – We see here that Moshe served as a mediator between HaShem and the people of Israel. And if Moshe rabbenu was a mediator between the Eternal and Israel, greater and more important is the mediation of Messiah Yeshua, as it is written in 1 Timothy 2:5,

 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Messiah Yeshua”(HNV revised)

In John 14:6, it is written,

“Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.”(HNV)

18:21 “Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God: men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”(HNV revised) – Here we see how the leadership was delegated. From that time forward, there was a hierarchy of rulers within the people of Israel, in addition to the heads of the families, which were already in place. Those who serve as judges, have to meet the following requirements:

  • They have to be able – According to Rashi that means that they have to be rich enough not to be dependent on alms and charity.

  • They have to fear God – In order to be a judge, it is more important to fear the Eternal than to love him. Fear of God is the best protection from sin, and it prevents corruption, see 20:20; Jeremiah 32:40.

  • They have to be men of truth – Rashi says that it inspires confidence when their word is trustworthy. One who cannot fulfill his promises is not capable of being a leader in Israel.

  • They have to hate unjust gain – This means, according to Rashi, that they hate quarreling about money. A good judge prefers to give his possessions to others rather than to fight in order to keep them. A good judge does not serve for the sake of money, but he has higher and nobler motives. He wants that which is right to be done among the people.

In 1 Peter 5:1-4, it is written,

I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Messiah, and who will also share in the glory that will be revealed. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, not for dishonest gain, but willingly; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock. When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the crown of glory that doesn’t fade away.”(HNV revised)

“place such over them” – Leaders have a position over others. This position is given to them by heaven. The higher a position a leader has, the more respect he ought to be given, and the more responsibility is required of him. HaShem is going to judge all of those who have positions of authority. The more authority they have had, the stricter the judgment, as it is written in Matthew 24:45-47,

Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord has set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. Most assuredly I tell you that he will set him over all that he has.”(HNV)

Leaders have a position that is over the people. This is a thought that stands in stark opposition to the communistic and socialistic ideal, which claims that all are equal. The Eternal does not want everyone to be equal, or that everyone should decide in democratic decisions. Some people have been more equipped for this than others. They have been created with a gift of leadership. These people have the responsibility to invest their gifts according to the plan that the Eternal has for proper administration in various organizations and companies. Value and position are not the same thing. A person can have a position that is over another, but he is not worth more because of it. All men are equally valuable, but not all have the same position. Worth has to do with being accepted and valued. Position has to do with administration.

The Third Aliyah, 18:24-27

18:25 “Moshe chose able men out of all Yisra'el, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “and made them” is va-yiten, which comes from the root natan[4], which primarily means “give”. This teaches us that leaders are gifts that the Eternal gives so that the people will prosper. In the same way that Moshe gave leaders to the people of Israel, so the Messiah gives leaders to the people of Israel, as it is written in Ephesians 4:11,

“He gave some to be emissaries; and some, prophets; and some, preachers of the good news; and some, shepherds and teachers”(HNV revised)

Leaders are gifts given to the people. The Eternal is the one who chooses and appoints leadership. The people, however, have to acknowledge that leadership. If the people do not acknowledge the leadership that the Eternal has placed over them, then they do not have the right to rule by force over the people. In the Kingdom of Heaven there is a combination of theocracy and democracy, as it is written in Judges 5:2,

“For that the leaders took the lead in Yisra'el, for that the people offered themselves willingly, bless you HaShem.”(HNV revised)

Leadership is given from heaven, but is received and acknowledged by the people. Moshe had to go to the elders of Israel in Egypt in order to be acknowledged as the deliverer. It was necessary for the people of Israel to acknowledge Moshe rabbenu before he could become their primary leader. He did not force himself upon them as their leader. If a leadership forces the people to anything, it is not a healthy leadership, as it is written in Matthew 20:25-28,

“But Yeshua summoned them, and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever desires to be first among you shall be your bondservant, even as the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”(HNV)

A good leader has the attitude of a servant, a slave’s attitude, and serves the people that are under him. On the other hand, the people are not to misuse this text as an excuse to abuse their leader and not show proper respect for him. Anyone who does not respect leadership, does not respect the Eternal who instituted it. All who show respect to leaders, honor the Eternal and His Messiah.

“rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” – There were 600 rulers over one thousand, 6,000 rulers over one hundred, 12,000 rulers over fifty, and 60,000 rulers over ten. All together, there were 78,600 rulers over the 600,000 men in Israel. This teaches us that there was a hierarchical structure with different levels of authority. It can be illustrated like this:

Rulers in Israel          

Each of the rulers over ten, were submitted to one ruler over fifty. Each of the rulers over fifty, had five rulers under them and one ruler over them. Each one who ruled over one hundred had two rulers under them and one over them. Each ruler of one thousand had ten rulers under him. Over the 600 rulers who each ruled one thousand men, there were the seventy elders who were chosen to be the government of Israel, the high council, or Sanhedrin. The ruler of the Sanhedrin was the High Priest Aharon, who in turn was submitted to Moshe rabbenu.

The Fourth Aliyah, 19:1-6

19:1 “In the third month after the children of Yisra'el had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.”(HNV) – They arrived on the first day of the third month, which is called Sivan.

19:2 “When they had departed from Refidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Yisra'el encamped before the mountain.”(HNV) – According to Rashi, the Hebrew word that is translated “before” always means “east of”.

This is the first time that the people are referred to in singular form. The last verb in the verse is written in singular form, “(it) encamped”. Earlier there had been many quarrels among the different groups within Israel. But now they had reached such a level of unity that they are presented as if they were one man. This unity was necessary in order for the Torah to be given from heaven. They had walked forty-six days since the exodus. Each one of the fifty days represents a higher level of consecration. The highest level is fifty, which is represented by the days between Pesach and Shavuot, Passover and Pentecost. According to tradition, the Torah was given on Shabbat, the sixth day of the week in the third month, Sivan. The first day of the month, Rosh Chodesh, was therefore on the second day of the week, called Monday.

Later, when the giving of the Torah was to be renewed by the outpouring of the consecrated Spirit, those of the people of Israel who believed in Yeshua were all gathered in unity, as it is written in Acts 2:1,

“Now when the day of Shavu`ot (Pentecost) had come, they were all with one accord in one place.”(HNV)

Unity was the condition for the Torah to be written on stone tablets. It was also the condition for the Torah to be written on hearts of flesh, as it is written in Jeremiah 31:31-34,

“Behold, the days come, says HaShem, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Yisra'el, and with the house of Yehudah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says HaShem. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Yisra'el after those days, says HaShem: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people: and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know HaShem; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says HaShem: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.”(HNV revised)

In Ezekiel 11:19-20, it is written,

“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; that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”(HNV revised)

In Ezekiel 36:26-27, it is written,

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my ordinances, and do them.”(HNV)

This renewed covenant was sealed with the Messiah’s blood during Pesach and handed over to the faithful during Shavuot, as it is written in Luke 22:20,

Likewise, he took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.’”(HNV)

And in 2 Corinthians 3:6, it is written,

who also made us sufficient as servants of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”(HNV)

In Acts 1:8, it is written,

 But you will receive power when the consecrated Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Yehudah and Shomron, and to the uttermost parts of the earth.”(HNV revised)

19:3 “Moshe went up to God, and HaShem called to him out of the mountain, saying, ‘This is what you shall tell the house of Ya`akov, and tell the children of Yisra'el’”(HNV revised) – Moshe went up to the Eternal in the morning. This happened on the second day of the month Sivan.

19:4 “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself.”(HNV) –  Here are the texts in the Scriptures that speak about eagles, Deuteronomy 32:11; 2 Samuel 1:23; Isaiah 40:31; Ezekiel 10:14; Psalm 103:5; Job 39:27-30; Proverbs 23:5; 30:17-19; Revelation 12:13-14. Deuteronomy 28:49 and Obadiah 4 refer to the Roman Empire, who had the eagle as a symbol.

brought you to myself” – Not to a state religion, but to an intimate life in fellowship with Him, see John 15:14-15; 1 John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 1:9. It is not only a matter of serving the Eternal, as the Targum translates it, but it is first of all a matter of relationship.

19:5-6 “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a consecrated nation. These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Yisra'el.”(HNV revised) – Here is one of the most important words in the Scriptures, the word “if”. Heaven has extended an invitation, but it requires a response from man. If man answers yes, he will partake of the blessings of the covenant. But if man does not answer, he will have neither covenant nor blessings. There are conditions for partaking of the covenantal privileges. Many want the blessings without fulfilling the conditions. Whoever does not listen and obey will not be a part of the special people who are the Eternal’s precious possession. The condition is obedience.

The Hebrew word that is translated “own possession” is segulah[5], which means “a highly valued treasure”. It means something that one cannot live without. The Eternal has tied himself to his people Israel. He cannot fulfill his plans without his people. The entire plan of redemption is tied up with the people. Without the people, the plan of redemption will fail, as it is written in John 4:22b,

for salvation is from the Jews.”(HNV)

The word segulah occurs in the following eight passages in the Scriptures: Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; 1 Chronicles 29:3; Psalm 135:4, Ecclesiastes 2:8; Malachi 3:17.

Rashi says that the meaning of this sentence is that the other people are also treasures of the Eternal, since he owns the whole earth and that Israel is the special possession above all the other treasures that He owns.

“a kingdom of priests, and a consecrated nation” – Rashi says that here the word kohanim, “priests”, means “ministers”. These two terms, however, include the ministry of all of Israel before the Eternal and before the nations. Israel has the calling to be a kingdom, a people of rulers who will rule the rest of the world, see Jeremiah 31:7. This is an outward calling. There is also a calling to be priests to serve the Eternal. That calling is inward. These two aspects of the people’s assignment means that they will be going in and a going out, as it is written in John 10:9,

I am the door. If anyone enters in by me, he will be saved, and will go in and go out, and will find pasture.”(HNV)

The goal is for Israel to rule over the whole world so that the Kingdom of Heaven is established in the whole earth, according to the original plan for man, see Genesis 1:26-28. First, however, one must be a priest. The first step in order to rule is to sacrifice. The Messiah came first to be sacrificed. Thereafter he will come to rule. First he was a priest and then he will be king. The people of Israel are called to be kings of the nations. But the road to ruling leads first to suffering and sacrifice unto the Eternal. One who is not able to come before the presence of the Eternal and live in an intimate relationship with him is not able to be a good king.

A priest is a mediator who causes people to make contact with the Eternal. Israel is a priestly nation whose purpose is to redeem the gentiles from sin, pray for the people, and be a door for the nations to meet Israel’s God. He is also the God of the gentiles, according to Romans 3:29, where it is written,

“Or is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he the God of gentiles also? Yes, of gentiles also”(HNV revised)

In Isaiah 56:6-8, it is written,

“Also the foreigners who join themselves to HaShem, to minister to him, and to love the name of HaShem, to be his servants, everyone who keeps the Shabbat from profaning it, and holds fast my covenant; even them will I bring to my consecrated mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. The Lord HaShem, who gathers the outcasts of Yisra'el, says, Yet will I gather others to him, besides his own who are gathered.”(HNV revised)

In Peter’s first letter, which was written to the Jews, there are several things that are similar to the exodus from Egypt and the giving of the Torah. In 1 Peter 1:18, it speaks about redemption from the meaningless life that was inherited from the forefathers. It is like the redemption from Egypt. In 1 Peter 1:19 it speaks about the blood of the Lamb that redeems. It is like the deliverance from the death that the firstborn experienced in Egypt through the blood of the lamb. In 1 Peter 1:20 it speaks about the Lamb that was appointed before the foundation of the world was laid. This is like the Pesach lamb that was appointed four days before it was sacrificed. In 1 Peter 1:21-23, it speaks about the Messiah’s resurrection, the cleansing of the soul, and the new birth. It is like the crossing of the Reed Sea. In 1 Peter 2:1-3, it speaks about longing for pure spiritual milk, which is the word. This corresponds with the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai during Shavuot, as it is written,

“Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious”(HNV)

This corresponds with the longing that the children of Israel expressed with the words in Exodus 19:8a, where it is written,

“All the people answered together, and said, ‘All that HaShem has spoken we will do.’”(HNV revised)

In 1 Peter 2:7-8, it is written,

“For you therefore who believe is the honor, but for such as are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, has become the chief cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.”(HNV)

This lines up with the text in Exodus 19:5, where the stipulation for being a part of the Eternal’s own possession is presented. This stipulation is faithfulness. Anyone who does not listen to the testimony that the Father has given about the Son is not going to be a part of the precious possession.

I 1 Peter 2:9, it is written,

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people for God’s own possession (segulah), that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”(HNV revised)

This lines up with the text in Exodus 19:5-6, where it is written that the people of Israel are to be a precious possession and a kingdom of priests, if they obey the voice of the Eternal and keep his covenant.

In Revelation 1:5-6, it is written,

“and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood; and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”(HNV revised)

In Revelation 5:8-10, it is written,

And when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one having harps and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a fresh song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain and did purchase for God with Your blood men from every tribe, and language, and people, and nation. "And You have made them a Kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the Earth."”(MRC revised)

This text speaks about Israel’s great redemption in the last days. Israel is going to be taken out from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation in order to be the Israel that will become a kingdom of priests unto God. This nation is going to reign over the whole earth during the time of the Messianic Kingdom.

The Fifth Aliyah, 19:7-19

19:8 “All the people answered together (with one voice), and said, ‘All that the Eternal has spoken we will do.’ Moshe reported the words of the people to HaShem.”(HNV revised) – The people answered on the afternoon of the second day of the third month after Moshe had come down from the mountain. The following morning, the third day of Sivan, Moshe went up the mountain again with the people’s answer.

We see here how all the people answered with one voice. That teaches us that there was not one mute person among them. In 20:18 it is written that all the people saw the voices, see 19:11. This also shows us that there were none blind among them. In 24:7, it is written that all the people could hear. This teaches us that there was not one deaf among them.

19:9 “HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.’ Moshe told the words of the people to HaShem.”(HNV revised) – HaShem said these words to Moshe on the third day of the third month, called Sivan. After that Moshe went down and spoke to the people and then up again with the people’s answer on the fourth day of the month.

19:10 “HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Go to the people, and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments’”(HNV revised) – This means that Moshe had to make sure that the people were consecrated during the fourth and fifth days of the month. According to tradition, the Torah was given on the Shabbat, the sixth of Sivan.

19:11 “and be ready against the third day; for on the third day HaShem will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai.”(HNV revised) – In spite of the fact that it was the sixth day of the month, the Eternal uses the expression “third day”, as a reference to the resurrection of the Messiah. On that day the glory of HaShem was also revealed in an extraordinary way.

19:12 “You shall set bounds to the people round about, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death.’”(HNV) – Being consecrated means acknowledging boundaries. It is the boundaries, which consecrate. To consecrate means to separate one thing from another. In the Kingdom of Heaven there are many different boundaries, as we discovered when we read about Ya’akov’s ladder. There are boundaries and levels. The more consecrated a person becomes, the closer he can be to the Eternal. Being consecrated has to do with approaching. The boundaries were placed there to separate the people and the priests. The people could not cross the boundaries. It is a very serious thing to illegally cross the boundaries that the Eternal has staked out. There are always serious consequences as a result. The people had not learned this lesson and the Eternal was careful to tell Moshe several times to warn the people not to cross the boundaries.

19:13 “No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live. When the shofar sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “shofar” is yovel[6], which means “horn”, specifically the horn of a ram. According to tradition,[7] this horn represented one of the horns that Avraham took from the ram that was sacrificed instead of Yitzchak.

19:14-15 “Moshe went down from the mountain to the people, and consecrated the people; and they washed their clothes. He said to the people, ‘Be ready by the third day. Don’t approach woman.’”(HNV revised) – In this case, being consecrated meant four things,

  • Being consecrated in the body. The whole body went through a purification bath, a mikveh. Thus it was free from all uncleanness in relation to death that they might have had because of contact with a dead body, because of seminal discharge or menstruation. In Ezekiel 16:8-9, there is a reference to the fact that they did not only wash their clothes but also their bodies out of dedication to the Eternal.

  • Being consecrated in their clothing. They washed their clothes and thus performed an external act of cleansing. Clothing is the extension of a man’s body.

  • Being consecrated mentally and spiritually. They prepared their minds in expectation and their inner man in prayer in order to enter into the covenant and receive the Eternal.

  • Not having marital relations, which would bring ritual uncleanness because of its connection to death, (since all the sperm dies except for the one that fertilizes the egg in order to produce human life, which is what it was created for). Anyone who had had a seminal discharge was ritually unclean. As long as the seed is in the woman’s body, it does not cause ritual uncleanness. But when it flows out, it causes ritual uncleanness for up to three days. Then the sperm has died and they can no longer produce life, and are therefore no longer the cause ritual uncleanness. This was the reason that the men could not come near their wives for three days.

19:16 “It happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud shofar; and all the people who were in the camp trembled.”(HNV) – This was the first Shavuot, the first Pentecost. During Pentecost, the Torah was given from heaven. On the day of Pentecost, fifty days after Yeshua’s resurrection, the covenant was renewed and the Torah was written on Israel’s heart.

In Acts 2:1-4, it is written,

Now when the day of Shavu`ot had come, they were all with one accord in one place. Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. They were all filled with the consecrated Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.”(HNV revised)

19:17 “Moshe led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain.”(HNV revised) – At this point the people could come out of their tents to meet God. According to Deuteronomy 33:2, the Eternal also came out to meet the people, as it is written,

“He said, HaShem came from Sinai, rose from Se`ir to them; He shined forth from Mount Paran, He came from the ten thousands of consecrated ones: at his right hand was a fiery law for them.”(HNV revised)

Here it does not say that the Eternal came to Sinai, but from Sinai. This teaches us that not only did he come down to Sinai, but he also left the mountain to go and meet the people.

The Hebrew wedding tradition is intimately connected with this occasion when Israel entered the covenant and received the Torah. Israel is the bride. The Eternal is the bridegroom. Moshe is the friend of the bridegroom. The angels are witnesses. The thick cloud is the chuppah, “the wedding canopy”. The woman was redeemed from her slavery in order to be married. The man gives her the wedding proposal through his friend, the mediator. The woman accepts the proposal willingly, and the friend goes with her answer to the man. The woman goes through a tevilah, a ritual purification bath, in order to enter new level. The great day is announced with a shofar blast. The bridegroom leaves his place to go and meet the bride. The bride leaves her house and goes to meet the bridegroom. This is the way they enter the first stage of the Hebrew marriage covenant. It is called kiddushin, “consecration”. It is at this point that they both set themselves apart for each other and tie themselves to each other. Therefore this act is also called erusin, from the verb aras, “bind”. A marriage contract is handed to the bride. It is called ketuvah, “writing”, and that is where all the conditions of the marriage covenant are written.

In Deuteronomy 20:7, we see that there is a time between the first stage and the marriage itself, the wedding. In Deuteronomy 22:23-24, we see that it is after the first step in the marriage covenant is taken that the woman is called “another man’s woman”, i.e. a wife.

In ancient days there could be as much as twelve months between the first and the second step. Today normally both steps are taken the same day.)

After the first step, kiddushin, the bride goes home to her father’s home and prepares her wedding gown and other things. The bridegroom goes to his father’s home and prepares a dwelling for them. When the bridegroom’s father sees that both are ready he announces this with a shofar blast, and gives his son the permission to go and fetch his bride. The son then goes to the home of the bride’s parents and lifts her up in the air and takes her to his father’s house, where the second step in the marriage covenant is going to be taken. This is called lakach[8], “take”, see Genesis 24:3, and nissuin, from nasah[9], “lift up”, see 2 Chronicles 24:3.

The people of Israel are presented in different ways in the Scriptures in reference to their relationship to the Eternal. Sometimes Israel is called “son”, Exodus 4:22. Sometimes it is called “virgin daughter”, Jeremiah 14:17. Sometimes it is presented as a wife who has gone through both the marriage steps and has children, Ezekiel 16; Hosea 1-3.

In Jeremiah 2:2, it is written,

“Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus says HaShem, I remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your weddings; how you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.”(HNV revised)

Those who have entered the first stage of the marriage covenant can be called both “husband and wife” and “bridegroom and bride”. They already have a wedding covenant, but it has not yet been sealed. It is not right to have marriage relations until the second step has been taken. If someone is unfaithful during their betrothal, they are guilty with the penalty of death, see Deuteronomy 22:23-24. This means that when the bride, Israel, was unfaithful with the golden calf, “a lover who came by”, HaShem had the legal right to execute her. But Moshe stepped in and rescued the people. The covenant that was made after that had Moshe as the guarantor, according to what is written in Exodus 34:27,

HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Write you these words: for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Yisra'el.’”(HNV revised)

This meant that the relationship between Israel and HaShem was never the same again. The marriage could not be completed because of the sin with the golden calf. The covenant needed to be renewed, as it is written in Jeremiah 31:32, where it is speaking of a different covenant than the one made after the exodus from Egypt,

not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they broke, although I was a husband to them, says HaShem.”(HNV revised)

The breech in the marriage covenant between Israel and HaShem occurred when Israel sinned with the golden calf. In this text it is written that the Eternal was Israel’s husband when she broke the covenant. This means that they had taken the first step of the covenant, but not necessarily the second.

In Hosea 2:14-15, 19-20, it is written,

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. I will give her vineyards from there, and the valley of `Akhor for a door of hope; and she will respond there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt… I will betroth you to me forever. Yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness, in justice, in loving kindness, and in compassion. I will even betroth you to me in faithfulness; and you shall know HaShem.”(HNV revised)

Here it is speaking of a renewing of the betrothal between the Eternal and Israel, that is to say, the first stage of the marriage covenant. That was done through the Messiah Yeshua’s blood, as we said earlier. In the Shavuot celebration, after his resurrection, as they were celebrating the memory of the first betrothal covenant between HaShem and Israel, the Spirit came over the faithful in Israel. Then the renewal of the covenant was sealed and the ketuvah, the writing of the marriage contract, was written on the heart of the bride so that she could be faithful and not sin again.

In The Messianic Writings the Son is presented as the bridegroom and his congregation as the bride.

In Matthew 22:2 it is written,

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son”(HNV)

In 2 Corinthians 11:2 it is written,

I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a pure virgin to the Messiah” (KJV revised)

In Ephesians 5:31-32, it is written,

’For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will be joined to his wife. The two will become one flesh.’ This mystery is great, but I speak concerning Messiah and of the assembly.” (HNV)

In Revelation 19:7 it is written,

Let us rejoice and be exceedingly glad, and let us give the glory to him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready.” (HNV)

The Son represents the Father in his relationship with Israel. Everything the Eternal does in this world is he doing through the Messiah.

The new covenant was made with Israel, according to Jeremiah 31:31, not with another people. Messiah’s assembly is the most elevated part of Israel, the heavenly Israel, in which also the righteous ones among the nations have been incorporated, through the regeneration in the Messiah.

In Hebrews 12:12-24 it is written,

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable multitude of angels, to the general assembly and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Yeshua, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel.” (HNV)

In the spiritual world the Eternal’s people is one, but on the earth it is divided in two, Avraham’s circumcised children and Avraham’s uncircumcised children, see Romans 4.

Yeshua did not start a new religion. If he did, he would have been a false prophet, Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

Messiah’s bride is the most elevated part, the chosen ones of Israel, as you can see in John 3:26-29, where it is written,

They came to Yochanan, and said to him, ‘Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Yarden, to whom you have testified, behold, the same immerses, and everyone is coming to him.’ Yochanan answered, ‘A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. You yourselves testify that I said, “I am not the Messiah,” but, “I have been sent before him.” He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full.’”(HNV)

The message that this prophet is declaring to us, is that the bride is a part of the people of Israel. The bride, the assembly, existed already before the Messiah died, as it is written in Ephesians 5:25,

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Messiah also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it”(HNV)

One cannot love something that does not exist. The assembly existed long before Yeshua, as we can see in Acts 7:38, where it is written,

“This is he who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel that spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and with our fathers, who received living oracles to give to us”(HNV)

In Hebrews 2:12, there is a reference to the word that Yeshua uttered shortly before he died,

“saying, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.’”(HNV)

Here it says that Yeshua would proclaim the Name of the Eternal to his brothers and sing praise in the midst of the congregation. The quote is taken from Psalm 22, which Yeshua quoted when he hung on the tree. In verses 22-23, it is written,

“I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the assembly, I will praise you. You who fear HaShem, praise him! All you descendants of Ya`akov, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Yisra'el!”(HNV revised)

This text shows us that the assembly that the Messiah would proclaim HaShem’s name and sing praise in, consists of those who fear the Eternal, a reference to the righteous ones among the nations, together with all of Ya’akov’s children as well as all the children of Israel. This is the assembly that the Messiah died for, to cleans it and bring it to completion, as it is written in Ephesians 5:25b-27,

“Messiah also loved the assembly, and gave himself up for it; that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the assembly to himself gloriously, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be consecrated and without blemish.”(HNV revised)

When the Messiah is speaking about building his assembly in Matthew 16:18, it is not a matter of a new people separate from Israel, but of the people Israel, (which also includes the righteous ones among the nations), according to what is written in Jeremiah 31:4,

“Again will I build you, and you shall be built, O virgin of Yisra'el: again shall you be adorned with your timbrels, and shall go forth in the dances of those who make merry.”(HNV)

In Jeremiah 33:7, it is written,

“I will cause the captivity of Yehudah and the captivity of Yisra'el to return, and will build them, as at the first.”(HNV)

These texts show us that the building of the Messiah’s assembly is not a question of anything other than to restore and complete the faithfulness within Israel.

In Matthew 16:18, it is written,

“I also tell you that you are Kefa, and on this rock I will build my assembly, and the gates of the kingdom of death will not prevail against it.”(HNV revised)

Here Yeshua promises to build his assembly on the rock. The rock is the Messiah who has been placed as a cornerstone in the heavenly Tziyon, according to Isaiah 8:14; 28:16; Romans 9:33, 1 Corinthians 10:4; and 1 Peter 2:4-8. Yeshua promises to build up the people of Israel on the foundation that is the Messiah, which is founded in heaven. Anyone that is not built on that foundation will finally lose the right to be a part of the heavenly people of Israel, as it is written in Acts 3:23,

“It will be, that every soul that will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.”(HNV)

“the gates of the kingdom of death” is a Hebrew expression that has to do with the gates of the gentile cities, in other words, the governments of the nations. These governments are not going to be able to resist the advance of the Messiah’s assembly. In Genesis 22:17, there is a reference to the same thing, according to what is written,

“that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies.”(HNV)

This word was given to our father Avraham just after he had bound Yitzchak on the altar. Those who are going to possess the gates of their enemies are therefore Avraham’s descendants through the son of the promise who was sacrificed, and not any other people. The same prophecy is found in Genesis 24:60, where Rivkah’s family utter the following blessing,

“They blessed Rivkah, and said to her, ‘Our sister, may you be the mother of thousands of ten thousands, and let your seed possess the gate of those who hate them.’”(HNV)

It is clear, therefore, that the bride is none other than the people of Israel, descendants of Avraham and Rivkah, who have been renewed, built up and elevated by the Messiah Yeshua.

The Sixth Aliyah, 19:20 – 20:17 (v. 14 Heb.)

19:20 “HaShem came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. HaShem called Moshe to the top of the mountain, and Moshe went up.”(HNV revised) – Here it is written that the Eternal came down on the mountain, and that the Eternal called Moshe up to the top of the mountain. In 20:22, it is written, however, that the Eternal spoke from heaven. How are we to understand this since it seems like a contradiction? Rashi says that the Eternal bent the higher and lower heavens and spread them out over the mountain like a blanket over a bed, and the throne of glory came down and was placed on it. The Endless One cannot be defined with the parameters of the created world and therefore he can neither come up nor come down. But he reveals himself in a manner, which can be experienced that way, and the Torah uses human language.

19:21 “HaShem said to Moshe, ‘Go down, charge the people, lest they break through to HaShem to gaze, and many of them perish.’”(HNV revised) – Four times it is written that the people could not go beyond the boundaries, v. 12, 21, 23, and 24. How important it is that man does not cross the borders to the forbidden, as it is written in Deuteronomy 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)

The root of the word “Torah”, “instruction”, is yarah[10], which means “throw”, “shoot”, “aim”, “stake out”, “mark”. This teaches us that the Torah marks the necessary boundaries that man and nature need for their own wellbeing. The Eternal’s Torah draws the line between that which is permitted and that which is forbidden. Sin is to cross those boundaries that are marked out by the Eternal’s Torah, as it is written in 1 John 3:4,

“Everyone who sins also commits lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness.”(HNV)

Man’s flesh, yetzer ha-rah, does not want any boundaries, as it is written in Romans 8:6-8,

“For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and shalom; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God.”(HNV revised)

A spiritual person is not led by his natural and sinful impulses, but by the principles that the Eternal has marked out in his Torah. A spiritual person is a man of principle, not a man of impulse. Why is he fulfilling the principles of the Torah? Is he doing it out of love, or just to fulfill? If he fulfills the Torah out of love, then he has reached maturity.

 Lawful pleasure is the result of obedience to the principles that the Eternal gave through the Torah. Sin offers pleasure without boundaries, without principles, without obedience. That enjoyment will turn to bitterness in the end. The pleasure that is submitted to the Torah’s principles is lasting and does not cause any damage or bitterness.

Sin that crosses the borders causes an imbalance in creation. Many good things are turned into evil when they are used outside the boundaries marked by the Torah. A mature person has the ability to deny himself short-term enjoyment in order to partake of long-term enjoyment. Be zealous not to cross the boundaries in your life! Be a person of principle, not a person of impulse, and you will prosper in everything!

 Those cultures in the world that are driven by principles, are the ones with the most influence. Poor nations are that way because the majority of the population is crossing the boundaries and this brings a curse over the nation. A curse brings poverty. Those nations whose population has learned to be lead by principles based on the Torah, will prosper in every way.

19:22 “Let the priests also, who come near to HaShem, consecrate themselves, lest HaShem break forth on them.”(HNV revised) – The priests were the firstborn of all of Israel. They could come near the Eternal. That teaches us that there are different levels of consecration in the different functions within the people of Israel.

19:23 “Moshe said to HaShem, ‘The people can’t come up to Mount Sinai, for you charged us, saying, “Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.”’”(HNV revised) – Borders sanctify. The mountain was consecrated by the border and by the presence of the Eternal that was limited to that border, see Exodus 29:43.

19:24 “HaShem said to him, ‘Go down and you shall bring Aharon up with you, but don’t let the priests and the people break through to come up to HaShem, lest he break forth on them.’”(HNV revised) – Moshe was able to come nearer than Aharon. Aharon could come nearer than the priests could, and the priests could come nearer than the people who could not go beyond the borders.

20:1 “God spoke all these words, saying,”(HNV) – Targum translates this text in the following way, “And HaShem’s Word spoke…” The Targum texts often use the expression “HaShem’s Word” when it is referring to a clear revelation of the Eternal on the earth. In Genesis 1:27; 9:17; 17:7; 15:6; 19:24; 22:14; 28:20-21; Exodus 3:14 and 24:1 the expression “HaShem’s Word” is used in the Targum translations. This expression replaces the words “God” and “YHWH”. This teaches us that those who translated the Hebrew text to Aramaic understood that the revelation of the Eternal on the earth is a revelation of His Word. The Eternal is so unfathomably great and so enormously mighty that he cannot be seen or understood if he does not transform his might into something smaller. This is where the expressions “YHWH katan”, “the little YHWH”, has come from. We can compare this with a transformer that takes the electricity of 15,000 Volt in the high voltage cables, and transforms it to 220 or 120 Volts so that it can be used in homes. The voltage of 220 or 120 Volts is much reduced and can therefore be used in a household. Otherwise our lives would be threatened every time we use an electric appliance. The Eternal’s revelation on earth is somewhat similar to this. He cannot release all his potential because then man would just become ashes. According to Targum, He reveals himself to man through his Word, which is a reduced form of the Eternal so that he can show himself to the world and be comprehended by man. Yeshua is the Eternal’s Word that became flesh, as it is written in John 1:14,

 “The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”(HNV)

In 1 John 1:1-2, it is written,

“That which was from the beginning, that which we have heard, that which we have seen with our eyes, that which we saw, and our hands touched, concerning the Word of life and the life was revealed, and we have seen, and testify, and declare to you the life, the eternal life, which was with the Father, and was revealed to us”(HNV)

On Mount Sinai heaven came down to the mountain and the Eternal revealed himself to the people by speaking audibly. The Targum translation says that it was the Eternal’s Word that was on the mountain. That Word later became flesh in Yeshua. The Messiah Yeshua is the revelation of the Father on the earth, as it is written in John 14:9b,

“He who has seen me has seen the Father.”(HNV)

In Hebrew 1:3a, it is written,

“His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power”(HNV)

In Colossians 2:9, it is written,

For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily”(HNV)

The Son is the Eternal’s reduced revelation from heaven to earth. However, he not only reveals Him, but he represents Him as well, as it is written in Psalm 118:26a,

“Blessed is he who comes in the Name of HaShem!”(HNV revised)

Coming in the Eternal’s Name is not the same thing as being the Eternal. Yeshua came to represent the Eternal. It was the Father who made a covenant on the mountain with Israel through His Word, which later became flesh. This solves the problem of who the bridegroom was.

Everything that the Father has done and everything that He is doing, He does through his Word that became flesh. In other words, the Messiah, the Son of Man, is the channel through which the Eternal has created the universe and through which he leads creation and through which he has contact with man. God’s Son is the Eternal’s human face. Through him we can come to the Father. Without him no one can come to the Father because he is the Father’s representative down here. One who has God as Father loves Yeshua and comes to Yeshua, as it is written in John 8:42,

“Therefore Yeshua said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven’t come of myself, but he sent me.’”(HNV revised)

In John 6:45, it is written,

It is written in the prophets, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Therefore everyone who hears from the Father, and has learned, comes to me.”(HNV revised)

The Messiah is the bridegroom and the renewed, restored and elevated Israel is the bride.

The First Word

20:2 “I am HaShem your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”(HNV revised) – In Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 4:13 and 10:4, we find the expression “the ten words”, in Hebrew aseret ha-dvarim, which refers to Exodus 20:2-17 (20:2-14 in the Hebrew version). This is the first of the ten words. The expression “the ten commandments” is not in the Scriptures. Fourteen of the 613 commandments are found in these ten words. It is more correct to say “the ten words” rather than “the ten commandments”.

Since the number ten in the Scriptures represents the fullness of something, these ten words stand as representatives of the whole Torah. The Torah teaches us that these ten words were written on two stone tablets. Tradition teaches that the tablets had five words each. The first five have to do with the relationship between man and the Eternal. The last five have to do with man’s relationship with his neighbor. In the five first words the name YHWH is mentioned eight times. In the last five, however, it is not mentioned at all. The ten words go from most to least important. The first are the most important, but the last one is the hardest to fulfill since it is harder to control your thoughts than your actions.

The first words begin with the words “I am… “. The Eternal presents himself as “your God”, in a personal way, in singular form. Each and every person must have a personal relationship with Him. The foundation of our relationship with Him is the redemption that we have experienced, both the first redemption, through Moshe, and the last, which was made and will be completed through Yeshua the Messiah.

The Second Word

20:3-6 “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, HaShem your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me, and showing loving kindness to thousands of those who love me and keep my commands.”(HNV revised) – This is the second word. Actually, there are no other gods, see Deuteronomy 4:39; 1 Kings 8:60; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6. It is rather a question of not accepting something created as our God as if it were the Creator, see Romans 1:25. This word implies that it is forbidden to place our trust in anything other than HaShem, to worship idols, saints or statues, bow down to them, make them or own them. Here are some questions that we can pose to ourselves to see whether we have any other gods,

·         Who makes decisions in my life?

·         Where do I place my trust?

·         Where do I place my passion?

·         Who is my life’s source?

·         Who is my praise?

If an idol, a person, a system, an organization, or an object is the answer to one or more of these questions, then I have one or more idols in my life.

Money is the main idol in this world. The greedy will not inherit the Kingdom of the Eternal, because they are idol worshippers, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 6:10,

“nor thieves, nor covetous (greedy), nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God.”(HNV revised)

In Ephesians 5:5, it is written,

“Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Messiah and God.”(HNV revised)

In 1 Timothy 6:10, it is written,

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”(HNV)

In Matthew 6:24b, it is written,

“You can’t serve both God and Mammon.”(HNV revised)

The Eternal punishes children because of their parents’ idol worship up to the third and fourth generation when there is no repentance in the children from the lifestyle of their parents and when the children continue in that lifestyle. When there is repentance, the curse is broken, see Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18.

Because of this command, the rabbis have prohibited the making of any kind of sculptures either of men or animals or of any other object in the universe.[11]

The Third Word

20:7 “You shall not take the name of HaShem your God in vain, for HaShem will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”(HNV revised) – This is not a prohibition of using the Name, but rather of misusing it, using it in an empty way, in a way without meaning. Rashi says that it prohibits swearing falsely. This prohibition also applies to those who say that they belong to the Eternal when they don’t, and who present a façade of fearing God when their hearts are not living accordingly, see Ezekiel 36:21-23; 39:7. The prohibition of speaking the Name of the Eternal is of rabbinic origin, not from the Torah. Therefore, Jews do not utter the Eternal’s Name, but rather they replace it with Ado-nai (Lord), HaShem (the Name), or the Eternal.

The Fourth Word

20:8-11 “Remember the day of Shabbat, to keep it consecrated. You shall labor six days, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Shabbat to HaShem your God. You shall not do any work in it, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your man-servant, nor your maid-servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates; for in six days HaShem made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore HaShem blessed the day of Shabbat, and made it consecrated.”(HNV revised) – The Hebrew word for “remember” is written in paol-form. This means that it is something continuous, something constantly taking place, similar to the English term “remembering”. According to Rashi, it means that you shall be remembering the Shabbat throughout the whole week. For example if you buy something beautiful during the week, it is in order to honor the Shabbat.

In Deuteronomy 5:12, it says “keep the Shabbat”. These two words “remember” and “keep” were uttered simultaneously. Only the Eternal can utter two words at once, see Psalm 62:11. According to Rashi, He did this in the following verses as well: Exodus 31:14 with Numbers 28:9; Deuteronomy 22:11 with Deuteronomy 22:12 and Leviticus 18:16 with Deuteronomy 25:5.

“the seventh day” – Not the sixth day or the first. We cannot replace it with another day. HaShem has commanded that it is to be the seventh day of the week, end of story. The Eternal has staked out a straight path, but man has made it crooked, as it is written in Proverbs 21:8,

The way of the guilty is devious (crooked), but the conduct of the innocent is upright.”(HNV)

The seventh day begins at sunset on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday. Jewish tradition tells us which day is the Shabbat. Without it, we would not know which day this is referring to. This shows us that we have to follow tradition in order to fulfill the Scriptures.

a Shabbat to HaShem your God” – That Shabbat is made to be spent on the Eternal, not for anything else.

“You shall not do any work in it” – The Hebrew word that is translated “work” is melachah[12], which means “work”, “workmanship”, “production”, “making”. The first time that this word is used is in Genesis 2:2-3, where it is referring to the work of creation. Melachah has to do with creative and productive work, and everything that makes an intervention into creation. The work that was required to build the tabernacle was called melachah and from that 39 different kinds of melachah have been derived that are prohibited on the Shabbat, see Exodus 35:21.

The wife is not mentioned in this passage. She is included with the father of the family. They are one. The wife has the task of being a suitable help so that her spouse will be able to fulfill, together with her, what the Eternal has commanded him.

“for in six days HaShem made heaven and earth…” – The Eternal is our Father. A father sets the example that the children will follow. Since He stopped creating on the Shabbat, so do we. In this way, we are like him. Man was created in His image and to be like Him. Whoever does not keep the Shabbat is not like Him in that area of life.

“therefore HaShem blessed the day of Shabbat, and made it consecrated” – A blessing is something concrete. Therefore Rashi says that HaShem blessed the Shabbat with the manna. Being consecrated means that it has been separated from the other days in order to be different and used solely for the Eternal.

The custom of lighting two candles before the beginning of the Shabbat can be associated with several things,

·         The Shabbat was both blessed and consecrated.

·         The Shabbat is to be remembered and kept.

·         The weekly rest speaks of the rest in the Messianic Kingdom.

The Fifth Word

20:12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which HaShem your God gives you.”(HNV revised) – The command to honor one’s parents is among the first five words that have to do with man’s relationship with the Eternal. Our relationship with our parents reflects our relationship with the Eternal. One who does not honor his parents, does not honor the Eternal. One who honors his parents, honors the Eternal.

The first five words are summarized in the commandment to love the Eternal with all our heart, all our soul, and all our might, see Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37-38.

The five last words are summarized in the commandment to love one’s neighbor as oneself, see Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 22:39-40.

This is the first commandment with a promise, see Ephesians 6:2. Honoring one’s parents gives a long life on the earth. To honor means to respect with attitude, word, and deed. To honor also means to help them with their material and practical needs, as it is written in Matthew 15:3-6,

He answered them, ‘Why do you also disobey the command of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, “Honor your father and your mother,” and, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.” But you say, “Whoever may tell his father or his mother, ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have gotten from me is a gift devoted to God,’ he shall not honor his father or mother.” You have made the command of God void because of your tradition.’”(HNV revised)

To honor does therefore also mean to give financial help.

The Greek word that is translated “tradition” is paradosis.[13] Here it means a teaching that has been passed on from a teacher to a disciple, see Galatians 1:14; Colossians 2:8. This is not a question of customs. Yeshua is attacking the false teachings that break the commandments of the Torah. Yeshua attacked these traditional teachings in certain cases. In many more cases, however, he accepted them. A traditional teaching is not the same as a cultural tradition, a custom. Our Rabbi did not criticize the Jewish cultural traditions and customs. By his own actions, we can see that he followed them. Cultural tradition has to do with behavioral patterns, and traditional teachings are interpretations of the Torah that have been passed on from teacher to pupil.

The Greek word that is normally translated as custom is “ethos”.[14] It is found in the following places in The Messianic Writings: Luke 1:9; 2:42; 22:39; John 19:40; Acts 6:14; 15:1; 21:21; 25:16; 26:3; 28:17; Hebrews 10:25. We see that Shaliach Shaul did not break the customs of the fathers according to Acts 28:17,

It happened that after three days Sha'ul called together those who were the leaders of the Jews. When they had come together, he said to them, ‘I, brothers, though I had done nothing against the people, or the customs of our fathers, still was delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans’”(HNV)

The Sixth Word

20:13 “You shall not murder.”[15](HNV) – This is not talking about carrying out a heavenly judgment on someone that has been condemned to death, but about murder. The punishment for murder is execution, see Leviticus 24:17.

The Seventh Word

20:14 “You shall not commit adultery.”[16](HNV) – This is talking about being unfaithful to a marriage covenant by have sexual relations with a third person, see Ezekiel 16:32. With this act, the covenant is broken. The punishment for adultery is execution, see Leviticus 20:10.

The Eighth Word

20:15 “You shall not steal.”[17] – This is interpreted as a prohibition against stealing a person, since in Leviticus 19:11 there is another prohibition against theft in connection to material goods. The punishment for kidnapping is execution, see Exodus 21:16.

The Ninth Word

20:16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”(HNV) – This is mainly speaking about not giving a false testimony about anyone in a court hearing. However, it also means that we should not say things about another, and we should not lie. One of the most severe ways of giving false testimony is when one speaks in the name of the Eternal things that He has not said. That crime is punishable by death, Deuteronomy 18:20.

False testimony leads to the ruin of society. It causes the innocent to be punished for things that they have not done. It also causes theft, murder, and oppression to go unpunished. Anyone who gives a false testimony brings ruin over the world.

In Deuteronomy 19:15-21, it is written,

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sins: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established. If an unrighteous witness rise up against any man to testify against him of wrong-doing, then both the men, between whom the controversy is, shall stand before HaShem, before the priests and the judges who shall be in those days; 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. Your eyes shall not pity; life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.”(HNV revised)

In Psalm 34:11-13, it is written,

“Come, you children, listen to me. I will teach you the fear of HaShem. Who is someone who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking lies.”(HNV revised)

In Proverbs 6:16-19, it is written,

“There are six things which HaShem hates; yes, seven which are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood; a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are swift in running to mischief, a false witness who utters lies, and he who sows discord among brothers.”(HNV revised)

In Proverbs 12:22; 19:5, 9; 25:18, it is written,

“Lying lips are an abomination to HaShem, but those who do the truth are his delight… A false witness shall not be unpunished. He who pours out lies shall not go free… A false witness shall not be unpunished. He who utters lies shall perish… A man who gives false testimony against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, or a sharp arrow.”(HNV)

Gossip and slander are among the things that wound the most and they have the ability to murder a person, as it is written in Leviticus 19:16,

“You shall not go up and down as a slanderer among your people; you shall not stand against the life of your neighbor. I am HaShem.”(HNV revised)

In Proverbs 10:18, it is written,

“He who hides hatred has lying lips. He who utters a slander is a fool.”(HNV)

In Revelation 21:8, 27, it is written,

But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death… There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”(HNV)

The Tenth Word

20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”(HNV) – Coveting is wanting something that belongs to someone else. It is forbidden to do something that leads to having what belongs to another when he wants to keep what he owns. It is forbidden to use pressure to convince anyone to sell something that he does not wish to sell, even if the full price is paid for it. Coveting that which belongs to others can lead to violence and murder, see 1 Kings 21.

The Seventh Aliyah, 20:18-26 (v. 23 Heb.)

20:18 “All the people perceived the thunderings, the lightnings, the sound of the shofar, and the mountain smoking. When the people saw it, they trembled, and stayed at a distance.”(HNV) – These manifestations are very similar to those described in Acts 2 when the Spirit was given to the bride. The Hebrew text says that they saw the voices and the flames of fire. In Acts 2 it speaks about flames of fire that came and sat on them and about different tongues that were spoken by them.

20:26 “Neither shall you go up by steps to my altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed to it.”(HNV) – This nakedness is not referring to the male organ since the priests had undergarments made of linen, see Exodus 28:42. It is talking about the nakedness of the legs. Out of respect for the altar, one must not show bare legs. How much more respect ought we to have for people and not reveal our bodies to them! This teaches us the importance of covering our bodies when we serve the Eternal.

Commandments number 25-41 of the 613 commandments are found in this Parashah.

         25. The command to believe in God’s existence, 20:2.

         26. The prohibition of believing in a god other than God, 20:3.

         27. The prohibition of making a graven image, 20:4.

         28. The prohibition of bowing before an idol, 20:5.

         29. The prohibition of worshiping an idol the way it is normally worshipped, 20:5.

         30. The prohibition of swearing falsely, 20:7.

         31. The command to consecrate the Shabbat with words, 20:8.

         32. The prohibition of working during the Shabbat, 20:10.

         33. The command to honor ones father and mother, 20:12.

         34. The prohibition of murder, 20:13.

         35. The prohibition of adultery, 20:14 (13 Heb.).

         36. The prohibition of kidnapping, 20:15 (13 Heb.).

         37. The prohibition of giving false testimony, 20:16 (13 Heb.).

         38. The prohibition of coveting something that belongs to someone else, 20:17 (14 Heb.).

         39. The prohibition of making any figures, even for decoration, 20:23 (20 Heb.).

         40. The prohibition of making stone altars with metal objects, 20:25 (22 Heb.).

         41. The prohibition of using stair steps to go up to the altar, 20:26 (23 Heb.).

[1]     Strong H3548 kôhên, ko-hane, Active participle of H3547; literally one officiating, a priest; also (by courtesy) an acting priest (although a layman): - chief ruler, X own, priest, prince, principal officer.

Strong H3547 kâhan, kaw-han', A primitive root, apparently meaning to mediate in religious services; but used only as denominative from H3548; to officiate as a priest; figuratively to put on regalia: - deck, be (do the office of a, execute the, minister in the) priest (‘s office).

[2]     Strong H7812 shâchâh, shaw-khaw', A primitive root; to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): - bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.

[3]     Mechiltah.

[4]     Strong H5414 nâthan, naw-than', A primitive root; to give, used with great latitude of application (put, make, etc.): - add, apply, appoint, ascribe, assign, X avenge, X be ([healed]), bestow, bring (forth, hither), cast, cause, charge, come, commit consider, count, + cry, deliver (up), direct, distribute do, X doubtless, X without fail, fasten, frame, X get, give (forth, over, up), grant, hang (up), X have, X indeed, lay (unto charge, up), (give) leave, lend, let (out), + lie, lift up, make, + O that, occupy, offer, ordain, pay, perform, place, pour, print, X pull, put (forth), recompense, render, requite, restore, send (out), set (forth), shew, shoot forth (up). + sing, + slander, strike, [sub-] mit, suffer, X surely, X take, thrust, trade, turn, utter, + weep, X willingly, + withdraw, + would (to) God, yield.

[5]     Strong H5414 segûllâh, seg-ool-law', Feminine passive participle of an unused root meaning to shut up; wealth (as closely shut up): - jewel, peculiar (treasure), proper good, special.

[6]     Strong H3104 yôbêl  yôbêl, yo-bale', yo-bale', Apparently from H2986; the blast of a horn (from its continuous sound); specifically the signal of the silver trumpets; hence the instrument itself and the festival thus introduced: - jubile, ram’s horn, trumpet.

Strong H2986 yâbal, yaw-bal', A primitive root; properly to flow; causatively to bring (especially with pomp): - bring (forth), carry, lead (forth).

[7]     Mechiltah.

[8]     Strong H3947 lâqach, law-kakh', A primitive root; to take (in the widest variety of applications): - accept, bring, buy, carry away, drawn, fetch, get, infold, X many, mingle, place, receive (-ing), reserve, seize, send for, take (away, -ing, up), use, win.

[9]     Strong H5375 nâsìâ'  nâsâh, naw-saw', naw-saw', A primitive root; to lift, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, absolutely and relatively: - accept, advance, arise, (able to, [armour], suffer to) bear (-er, up), bring (forth), burn, carry (away), cast, contain, desire, ease, exact, exalt (self), extol, fetch, forgive, furnish, further, give, go on, help, high, hold up, honourable (+ man), lade, lay, lift (self) up, lofty, marry, magnify, X needs, obtain, pardon, raise (up), receive, regard, respect, set (up), spare, stir up, + swear, take (away, up), X utterly, wear, yield.

[10]    Strong H3384 yârâh  yârâ', yaw-raw', yaw-raw', A primitive root; properly to flow as water (that is, to rain); transitively to lay or throw (especially an arrow, that is, to shoot); figuratively to point out (as if by aiming the finger), to teach: -  (+) archer, cast, direct, inform, instruct, lay, shew, shoot, teach (-er, -ing), through.

[11]    Mechiltah.

[12]    Strong H4399 melâ'kâh, mel-aw-kaw'm From the same as H4397; properly deputyship, that is, ministry; generally employment (never servile) or work (abstractly or concretely); also property (as the result of labor): - business, + cattle, + industrious, occupation, (+ -pied), + officer, thing (made), use, (manner of) work ([-man], -manship).

Strong H4397 mal'âk, mal-awk', From an unused root meaning to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically of God, that is, an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher): - ambassador, angel, king, messenger.

[13]    Strong G3862 παράδοσις paradosis, par-ad'-os-is, From G3860; transmission, that is, (concretely) a precept; specifically the Jewish traditionary law: - ordinance, tradition.

[14]    Strong G1445 ἐìθος ethos, eth'-os, From G1486; a usage (prescribed by habit or law): - custom, manner, be wont.

Strong G1446 ἐìθω etho, eth'-o, A primary verb; to be used (by habit or conventionality); neuter perfect participle usage: - be custom (manner, wont).

[15]    Strong H7523 râtsach, raw-tsakh', A primitive root; properly to dash in pieces, that is, kill (a human being), especially to murder: - put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er).

[16]    Strong H5003 nâ'aph, naw-af', A primitive root; to commit adultery; figuratively to apostatize: - adulterer (-ess), commit (-ing) adultery, woman that breaketh wedlock.

[17]    Strong H1589 gânab, gaw-nab', A primitive root; to thieve (literally or figuratively); by implication to deceive: - carry away, X indeed, secretly bring, steal (away), get by stealth.