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Todays Parsha #44: Devarim (The Words)

1) The title of this Torah portion is helpful in resolving what famous debate in Scriptural
One of the main contentions in the Greek NT primacy camp is that the original
NTwhich they take to be Greekseems to quote from the Greek OT a great deal.
Therefore, the audience of the NT is said to have been Greek rather than Hebrew.
The argument falls apart at several junctures, especially when we consider that the
Greek OT, or Septuagint, is itself a translation from a Hebrew original Tanakh!
Therefore, it makes perfect sense that Greek audiences would have the authorized
Greek translation of the OT quoted to them, and all of this without even looking at the
Aramaic NT which doesnt quote the Septuagint at all.
In any case, one of the main allegations of where the original NT quotes from the
Greek OT is here in Genesis

When the time for Israel to die drew near, he called his son Joseph and said
to him, "Please, if I have found favor in your sight, place now your hand
under my thigh and deal with me in kindness and faithfulness. Please do not
bury me in Egypt, 30 but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me
out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place." And he said, "I will do as you
have said." 31 He said, "Swear to me." So he swore to him. Then Israel bowed
in worship at the head of the BED. (Genesis 47:29-31 NAU)
So the Hebrew here reads BED, but the Greek OT reads something else

and the days of Israel drew nigh for him to die: and he called his son
Joseph, and said to him, If I have found favor before thee, put thy hand under
my thigh, and thou shalt execute mercy and truth toward me, so as not to bury
me in Egypt. 30 But I will sleep with my fathers, and thou shalt carry me up
out of Egypt, and bury me in their sepulcher. And he said, I will do according
to thy word. 31 And he said, Swear to me; and he swore to him. And Israel did
reverence, leaning on the top of his STAFF. (Genesis 47:29-31 LXE)
Then Greek NT reads this way (Hebrews 11)

By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and
worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. (Hebrews 11:21 NAU)

So is Paul then quoting from the Greek OT reading over the Hebrew? Hardly! The
answer has to do with the Hebrew word M-T-H (meem-teth-heh). In a time before the
Masoretes had added vowels, the word could be understood as either MITTAH
(couch, bed) or MITTEH (staff), so it is obvious that whoever translated Pauls
original Aramaic epistle into Greek, took the UNPOINTED letters as meaning
staff, and for support they would have checked the Greek to find that it also agreed
with that reading. Doesnt mean it is the correct reading of courseit may or may not
bebut it does show how the divergent readings could be explained completely
through a Hebrew process without the intervention of the Greek OT.
2) How is an exception made in this Torah portion that appears to go against the rules of
counting the tribes in a census?
(Num 31:3) And Mosheh spoke to the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves for
the campaign, and let them go against the Midyanites to take vengeance for on
Midyan. (Num 31:4) Send a thousand from each tribe of all the tribes of Yisral for
the campaign.
(Num 31:5) So there were supplied from the tribes of Yisral one thousand from
each tribe, twelve thousand armed ones for the campaign.(Num 31:6) And Mosheh
sent them on the campaign, one thousand from each tribe, them and Pinehas son of
Elazar the priest on the campaign, with the set-apart utensils and the trumpets for
sounding in his hand.(Num 31:7) And they fought against the Midyanites, as
commanded Mosheh, and slew all the males.
Generally speaking priests do not fight in wars, although Levites would carry the Ark
of the Covenant into battle on occasion. However, the census rules throughout
Numbers show us that the priests and Levites are not counted from when they turn 20
years oldthat is, when they are eligible for military servicebut from 1 month on
up. It was therefore understood that priests were to be protected by the other tribes,
but Phinehas appears to have no trouble getting into the fight!
Finally, this may have been because Phinehas had not become high priest yet. His
father Elieazar had that office and apparently was okay with his son being put into
harms way.
3) How does Moshe encourage bravery for his troops, support from the civilian noncombatants in Israel and keep property disputes down to a minimum all at the same
(Num 31:25) And spoke to Mosheh, saying, (Num 31:26) Count up the plunder
that was taken, of man and of beast, you and Elazar the priest and the heads of the
fathers of the congregation. (Num 31:27) And you shall divide the plunder into two
parts, between those who took part in the battle, who went out on the campaign, and
all the congregation. (Num 31:28) And set aside a levy for on the men of battle

who went out on the campaign: one out of every five hundred, of man, and of the
cattle, and of the donkeys, and of the sheep. (Num 31:29) Take it from their half,
and give it to Elazar the priest as a contribution to .
By evenly dividing the spoils between the warriors and the rest of society, neither
side can gain a foothold over the other. The warriors get what booty they can, but not
only for themselves. The congregation receives the benefits of the war without being
jealous that they couldnt fight and gain it themselves. Then the priests also get their
cut, so they can stay focused on what they need to do.
4) How do the opening words of Jeremiah help clear up a misconception about Samuel?
(Jer 1:1) The words of Yirmeyahu the son of Hilqiyahu, of the priests who were
in Anathoth in the land of Binyamin, (Jer 1:2) to whom the word of came in
the days of Yoshiyahu son of Amon, sovereign of Yehudah, in the thirteenth year
of his reign.
These words remind us that priests can and do live among all the other tribes of
Israel. In this case, Jeremiahs family lived in the territory of Benjamin.
The issue with Samuel is that because he is mentioned as living in Ephraims territory
(1 Samuel 1:1) that some have concluded he was from the TRIBE of Ephraim and not
a Levite, which is patently untrue as the Scripture explains:
(1Ch 6:26) Elqanah the sons of Elqanah: Tsophai his son, and Nahath his son,
(1Ch 6:27) Eliyab his son, Yeroham his son, Elqanah his son. (1Ch 6:28) And
the sons of Shemul: Yol the first-born, and Abiyah the second.
(1Sa 1:19) And they rose up early in the morning and worshipped before ,
and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elqanah knew Hannah his
wife, and remembered her. (1Sa 1:20) And it came to be at the turn of days,
that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Shemul, Because I
have asked for him.
A related issue has to do with the fact that Samuel is also called Saul, which means
asked for. If his name was originally Samuel the text makes no sense as that
name means name of El not asked for, so the later name Samuel replaced
Saul possibly to avoid confusion with King Saul whom Samuel served.
5) What is the most shocking part of Jeremiahs vision of the boiling pot? Who as the
vision most acutely reminding him of?
The answer is part of the corrupt system includes some of the priests
(Jer 1:18) For look, I have made you this day a walled city and an iron column,
and bronze walls against all the land, against the sovereigns of Yehudah, against
her heads, against her priests, and against the people of the land. (Jer 1:19) And

they shall fight against you, but not prevail against you. For I am with you,
declares , to deliver you.
And at least some of the priests duties are described according to the vision of the
boiling pot
(1Sa 2:13) And the ruling of the priests with the people was that when any man
offered a slaughtering, the priests servant shall come with a three-pronged fleshhook in his hand while the meat was cooking, (1Sa 2:14) and shall thrust it into
the basin, or kettle, or cauldron, or pot. And the priest would take for himself all
that the flesh-hook brought up. Thus they did in Shiloh to all the Yisralites who
came there.
This detail of the boiling meat is not in the Torahit only here with the corrupt line
of Eli and his sons. Therefore, from one group of corrupt priests to the ones Jeremiah
knew, the boiling pot links them both!
1) Meaning of this weeks Torah portion and summary of contents:
Devarim means the words and as the book opens we enter the last day of Moshes
life. Moshe begins the book by recapping the details of the last 40 years. The portion
ends with Moshe reminding Israel of the times that YHWH fought for them. Now that
the evil generation is gone, the time has come to strengthen their children by having
them know that YHWH is with them as they enter Canaan.
2) Parsha (English-Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22). This week we will read the entire portion.
3) Play by Play commentary where appropriate.

Eleh hadevarim asher diber Moshe el-kol-Yisra'el be'ever haYarden

bamidbar ba'Aravah mol Suf beyn-Paran uveyn-Tofel veLavan
vaChatserot veDi Zahav.
Achad asar yom meChorev derech har-Se'ir ad Kadesh Barnea.

4) Point out key Hebrew words/terms. Color Commentary:

ELEH HA-DEVARIM ASHER DIBER EL-KOL ISRAEL (1:1) = these are the words
that Moshe spoke with all of Israel. Some rabbis teach that from here to 4:49 Moshe is
teaching all of Israel directly, without going through elders, priests or other
ACHAD ASAR YOM (1:2) = 11 day journey, from Mount Sinai to Kadesh Barnea.
Although many scholars believe a place called Ain el-Qudeirat is Kadesh Barnea, I have
sided with Josephus on this point, and would put Kadesh in the vicinity of Petra, Jordan:
Now when this purification, which their leader made upon the mourning for his
sister, as it has been now described, was over, he caused the host to move and to
march through the wilderness and through Arabia; and when he came to a place
which the Arabians esteem their metropolis, which was formerly called Arce,
but has now the name of Petra
As we have talked about a few times recently, Arabia is not confined to Saudi Arabia
but is also the name of the first region the Israelites encountered after leaving Egypt,
meaning the Sinai Peninsula. Every major historian from Herodotus, to Strabo and even
the Rav Shaul understood this geography for greater Arabia, and all agree Petra is in
modern day Jordan. Continuing
at this place, which was surrounded with high mountains, Aaron went up one of
them in the sight of the whole host, Moses having before told him that he was to die,
for this place was opposite them. He put off his pontifical garments, and delivered
them to Eleazar his son, to whom the high priesthood belonged, because he was the
older brother; and died while the multitude looked upon him.
He died in the same year wherein he lost his sister, having lived in all a hundred
twenty and three years. He died on the first day of that lunar month which is called by
the Athenians Hekatombaion, by the Macedonians Loos, but by the Hebrews Ab.
The people mourned for Aaron thirty days, and when this mourning was over, Moses
moved the people from that place, and came to the river Arnon, which, issuing out
of the mountains of Arabia, and running through all that wilderness, falls into
the Dead Sea, and becomes the limit between the land of the Moabites and the
land of the Amorites. This land is fruitful, and sufficient to maintain a great number
of men, with the good things it produces. (Antiquities, 4:82-85)
Here are geographical markers that can only be referring to Jordan, and 11 days journey
puts the entire geography in the Sinai Peninsula again.
Next though we need to see how to understand what 11 days journey translates to in
terms of miles Israel did each day. When the Torah tells us for example that the Israelites
are in an actual march (e.g. Exodus 16:1), this is pointing to their conditions on the

ground, travelling with women, children, the elderly and a lot of animals. All those
factors will slow their journey down between 6 and 8 miles a day.
However, when its a theoretical journey this is put in more idealized terms, such as the
speed at which an army in prime condition can move without respect to other people or
flocks. In that situation, Israel can travel up to 15 miles per day.
To think about it another way, if I say that I am planning to drive to New York from my
home here in Georgia, I do a search and find out it will take about 18 hours to get there
from my location. But that 18 hour estimate assumes I never stop for gas, never take a
bathroom break and never pull into a restaurant for food. So the 18 hours is my idealized
journey, but my actual journey may be significantly longer than this. In the same way,
Deuteronomy 1:2 is giving us the idealized journey, the army marching fast at 15 hours
per day.
Another factor is that the Israelites will not march on Shabbat, which eliminates at least
one and possibly two of the 11 days for traveling. Ill be conservative and assume there
are 2 Shabbats, leaving 9 travel days which, when multiplied by 15, gives us a maximum
range of 141 miles. From here, lets plug in the coordinates:
Petra Jordan: 3020'N: 3522'E
Mount Saniya [near Serabit el Khadim]: 29212N 332733E
Result according to the National Weather Service
( 113 standard miles
This reading puts us within about 3 miles of Mount Saniyah, and therefore the distance is
well within the capability of an idealized Israelite journey. They could have actually
made it travelling 9 days at 12 miles a day, or in 7 days travelling at 15 miles per
Finally though in Rashis commentary, he deduces that the 11 day journey was actually
accomplished in only 3 actual days of travel, but I disagree with the venerable sage on
this point. Still, his commentary is very interesting. For more information please see: The
Sapirstein Edition, The Torah with Rashis Commentary, Translated, Annotated and
Elucidated, (Deuteronomy Volume), p. 4.
40th YEAR, 1ST DAY 11TH MONTH (1:3) = Tuesday, January 6th, 1406 BCE
(Gregorian). As we have gone over fairly often, this is the last day of Moshes life. Rashi
suggests that Moshe delayed full rebuking of Israel until these last moments of his life
because he was deferring to the precedent set by Jacob and Joshua seems to have
followed that same pattern after Moshe dies. For information please see: The Sapirstein
Edition, The Torah with Rashis Commentary, Translated, Annotated and Elucidated,
(Deuteronomy Volume), p. 4-5.

BEEVER (1:4) = expound uponliterally to begin to talkindicating Moshe

intended to speak for a very long time. This is appropriate given we only have this one
certain date in the text of 1 Shevat and it is theoretically possible all of Deuteronomy
takes place at that time. BEEVER supports that point of view.
BEEVER HA YARDEN BEERETZ MOAV (1:5) = beyond the Jordan, in the land of
Moab. This is one of three ways to designate the exact same location for all the speeches
in Deuteronomy
According to the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses took this occasion to give three
addresses to the people of Israelfarewell addresses, because he had been told he
could not enter the land with the people. The substance of the addresses is found in
Deuteronomy. The first was delivered beyond the Jordan, in the land of Moab
(1:5). The secondif the words of 4:44-49 are intended as a heading of the second
portion and not as a summary of the firstwas given beyond the Jordan, in the
valley opposite Beth-Peor, in the land of Sidon, the king of the Amorites (v. 46). The
third was simply, in the land of Moab (29:1). Quite possibly the same location is
intended for all three messages.-William Sanford La Sor, Old Testament Survey
(Eerdmans: 1982), p. 175.
BETH (1:9) = at that time. The Torah repeats the events in Exodus 18 but adds Moshes
feelings here while eliminating reference to Jethro who was established as suggesting this
before. Jethros omission may also be due to the fact that Midian became a dreaded
enemy between Exodus 18 and the start of Deuteronomy. However, as we also saw in
recent weeks, I do not believe Jethros line was directly involved in the Israel-Midianite
wars, as this particular lineage was dedicated to Abba YHWH exclusively and did not
engage in pagan worship like the other Midianites did (Judges 8:21-27).
VIDUIM LESHIVTEYCHEM (1:13) = well known to your tribes, also meaning
well known in terms of wisdom. They are called CHAKHAMIM (wise men) earlier in
the same line.
VAASIMEM BERASHEYCHEM (1:13) = and I will lift up their heads, meaning, I
will appoint them. Although this suggestion was first offered by Jethro in Exodus 18,
here only Moshes piece in enacting the suggestion is given. Moshe probably took the
suggestion after Jethro had left for home.
TOV HADAVAR (1:14) = the good word literally but actually a good suggestion.
Although Moshe records some of this conversation with Jethro, he doesnt mention
Jethro directly. Some believe this is because he didnt make up his mind until after Jethro
left. This dialogue then could be between Moshe and Abba YHWH, with Abba YHWH
saying, What you received (from Jethro) is a good word.
of thousands and captains of hundreds and captains of fifties. Some authorities believe

that the captains of 1000s and 100s were military men while the captains of 50s were
scholars and Scriptural wise men. This idea is confirmed in part in this reading in Isaiah:
(Isa 3:1) For look, the Master, of hosts, is turning aside from Yerushalayim
and from Yehudah the stock and the store, all the supply of bread and all the
supply of water; (Isa 3:2) the mighty man and the man of battle, the judge and the
prophet, and the diviner and the elder;(Isa 3:3) the commander of fifty and the
highly respected man, and the counsellor and the skilled craftsman, and the
clever enchanter.
LO TAKIRU PANIM (1:17) = do not tremble/fear before presence/face of any man.
LXX reads do not be impressed.
ANASHIM ISH ECHAD LA-SHEVET (1:23) = and I approved and appointed twelve
men, one from each tribe. This is Moshe talking in the first person, and the Prophet that
he foretold in Deuteronomy 18Yshua the Messiahwill also appoint twelve men as
apostles to the world. The other aspect worth noting is that Moshe has apparently
accepted responsibility for doing wrong in sending out the spies even though Abba
YHWH commanded it. We have talked in recent weeks how this was a test to see if
Moshe would say back But You, Abba YHWH, already said the land is good so we
dont need to send out spies.
VAYIFNU (1:24) = set out for but literally, turned around.
Note on 1:34-1:35: No man of this evil generation will see the land except
Calebhowever Joshua is another exception to this rule not mentioned here. The reason
may be the use of DOR, generation could be intended to mean TRIBE, as it sometimes
does rather than a group of people alive at the same time. The context for this rare
application is that DOR refers sometimes not just to a group of people alive at the same
time in history but also to their habitation and if these people are living together it
suggests the possibility they are of the same nation, tribe or family.
So this verse may mean instead No one of the tribe/this same group of people living
together (of Judah) shall see the land except Caleb. This makes more sense because
Joshua is not from the tribe of Judah but from Ephraim, so here it is only talking about
the exception in Judah or Caleb, whereas elsewhere when both Caleb and Joshua are
mentioned it is as exceptions to the whole nation of Israel, that only these men from the
first generationDOR now taking on its other meaning of all those alive at a given
timeare intended there. The entire situation though is clarified in 1:38 where Joshua is
mentioned as also entering into Canaan.
YAM SUF (1:40) = Probably Sea of Reeds, but others suggest End Sea or Southern
Sea. The Rabbis do seem to agree though on its location, the Gulf of Aqaba and I also
concur. I note however that the Gulf of Aqaba was not where the Israelites originally

crossed the Sea of Reeds to get to Mount Sinai, but they did cross Aqaba in the book of
Numbers after they left the Sinai Peninsula. See Numbers 14:25 and Deuteronomy 2:8.
VAYAKTU ETCHEM BESEIR AD CHORMAH (1:44) = and struck them down at
Seir, as far as Chormah. Israel defeated the Canaanites and the Amorites here (Numbers
21:1-3), but before we only knew it to be near Edomite territory, whereas here we have
more specific location information, and it is near Mount Seir.
(1:46) = and you remained at Kadesh many days, as (many) days as you remained
(everywhere else). This lends credence to the idea we got into before, that the stay in
Kadesh was very long, 19 years. In Exodus, Moshe is said to have been in Midian also
for many days until the pharaoh died. Matching this to the historical record it is easy to
prove this was a period of 38 years. A 19 year stay is by far the most popular choice
amongst the rabbis, and the second most popular option is 18 years, so its the longest
stop by far either way.
Rashi says:
You stayed at Kadesh many days. 19 years, as it says, [as many] as the days you dwelt in
the other marches. They were a total of 38 years, 19 of them they spent at Kadesh and 19
years they roamed on their way and went back to Kadesh, as it says, and He made them
wander in the wilderness and thus I have found in Seder Olam [rabbinic book of
chronology, means, Order of the AgesAGR]- The Sapirstein Edition, The Torah with
Rashis Commentary, Translated, Annotated and Elucidated, (Deuteronomy Volume), p.
CHASARTA DAVAR (2:7) = and for these 40 years Yahweh your Elohim has been with
you, so that you lacked nothing. This confirms 40 year period from Exodus to now.
However, another 40 year clock began after 2 years from Exodus had passed and this
would not be completed until Joshua attacks Jericho a year later, in 1405 BCE. Its 40
years in both cases from a spring to spring counting.
AravahElathEtzyon Gever, going south of the Dead Sea, and Elath and these other
places clearly indicates a Gulf of Aqaba crossing (comp. 1 Kings 9:26, 2 King 14:22).
However, it is also important to note that at this point Mount Sinai is behind them, not in
front of them, and they just crossed Aqaba, which means the crossing point west of
Mount Sinai must in fact be at or near Suez City (comp. Numbers 33:15 with Numbers
YAHWEH LAHEM (2:14) = From the time that we left Kadesh Barnea until we crossed

the Zered Brook, 38 years had passed during which the generation of warriors had died
out from the camp, as Yahweh had sworn. This confirms the overall timeline of 42 years
from Exodus to the Jericho campaign.
The math is simple. The spies came back with a bad report 2 full years after Exodus
(Numbers 1:1, 9:1) or into year 3 if you prefer. It takes 38 years from that event in
Kadesh-Barnea to cross the Brook of Zered, which is confirmed as the 40th year after
Exodus (Numbers 20:1, 33:38).
Then, when Deuteronomy opens (1:3) it is still 11 months after that, followed by Moshes
death and mourning for him for another 30 days (Deuteronomy 34:8), ending the 12th
month by that time.
That brings us to the completion of year 40 and the start of year 41, but this is only 39
years completed of a 40 year curse leveled in Numbers 14, so Joshua now must wait
another year before attacking Jericho that next spring. Total: 42 years.
ZAMZUMMIN (2:20) = Some say that these are the Zuzim in Genesis 14:5 (Rashi ibid.).
Others translated Zamzumim as 'plotters' (Targum; Chizzkuni; Tur), or, 'strong nations'
(Septuagint). In Arabic, zamzam means to speak gibberish, so that zamzumim may be the
equivalent of the Greek-based 'barbarian,' which means 'gibberish speaker.'
What I would like to add though is why barbarian was the Greek term for gibberish
speaker. Ironically the Greeks applied this term to Semites, because when they heard
them speak Hebrew and Aramaic they noted the frequent use of bar (Aramaic for son)
and so it came out to Greek ears as bar-bar and the -ian ending in English simply
meant a person who said bar-bar a lot, hence, a bar-bar-ian.
(2:23) = the Kaftorim came out of Kaftor and defeated them. Kaftor, or Crete, is the
traditional designation for the Philistine homeland. Here in Deuteronomy it is merely
referring to Cretan sailors who landed in sufficient numbers to defeat these people.
However, the Torah text strongly indicates that there were several Kaftor migrations into
Israel over a very long period of time. The Philistines then who are mentioned as early as
Genesis 10:14 as survivors of the flood, but I do not believe they are the same group
referenced in Exodus as the Way of the Philistines because in that case the word
peleset is used both in Hebrew and ancient Egyptian to designate Sea Peoples generally
and that was merely the Coastal Highway. The later Philistines that David and Saul knew
probably also came from Crete at a later time. Kaftorim, according to other ancient
authorities, could also refer to people from Cyprus.
VERAGZU VECHALU (2:25) = and quiver/tremble and be whirling (in anguish).


KEDEMOTH DESERT (2:26) = Kedemoth was an eastern city given to Reuben (Joshua
13:18) and designated as a Levitical city (Joshua 21:37, 1 Chronicles 6:64). Since kedem
means 'east,' some call it the 'eastern desert' (Chizzkuni), while others identify it with
Matanah in Numbers 21:18 (Ibn Ezra). It is thought to be the present Ez Zafaran, some 16
miles east of the Dead Sea and 13 miles north of the Arnon, near Matanah and Almon
Divlathaymah. Hence, the Israelites were then to the east of Sichon's territory.
BA DEREK BA DEREK (2:27) = the road of roads (literal), but the intention is to
identify it as the Kings Highway (Numbers 21:22).
CHARAM (2:34) = annihilate but also declared taboo.
SAGAV (2:36) = defend itself. Or, too high. Or, 'was stronger than' (Targum, Ibn
Ezra); 'remained above' (Radak, Sherashim); or 'escaped' (Septuagint).
AD HAR CHERMON (3:8) = Mount Hermon, the place Yshua was transfigured in front
of Eliyahu and Moshe.
BEEVER YARDEN (also 3:8) = literally other side of the Jordancrossed over,
Note: 3:11-12 gives dimensions for Og that make him as big as Goliath, 9 feet tall.
Guinness Book of World Records has a man 8 feet 11 inches tall as the tallest on record.
Goliath was not though a Nephilim, and even though the text suggests the Anakim think
they were Nephilim, they could not be because only Noahs family survived the flood.
Targum Onkelos says in Genesis that Og was the one giant who survived the flood by
holding on to the ark.
HA GESHURI (the Geshurites-3:14). An Aramaic nation (cf. 2 Samuel 15:8), possibly
identified with Gether son of Aram (Genesis 10:23). Others identify them with the
Girgashites (Septuagint; cf. Genesis 10:6, 15:21, Joshua 3:10). They later lived with the
Israelites (Joshua 13:13), inhabiting the city of Geshur (Joshua 12:5, 13:11, 2 Samuel
3:3). This is the area between Gilead and Hermon, particularly that to the east and
northeast of the Kinnereth. Some identify it with the present Jaulan, or Jisre in Ledjah, to
the east of Jaulan. Ancient sources identify it with Kirvah (Targum Yonathan; cf.
Shabbath 45b). (
you instructions saying Yahweh your Elohim has given you this land as a heritage. Let
every able bodied man among you go forth ahead of your fellow Israelites as a special
force. Although Moshe seems to be making this pronouncement against the totality of
Israel, the occasion was actually dealing with a desire on the part of Reuben and Gad
(and later, half of the tribe of Manasseh) to settle on the eastern part of the Jordan and not


join their fellow Israelites in Canaan. I am not sure why Moshe is doing this but it may be
to use the request of just a few tribes as a moral lesson on what not to do for the rest of
Torah Question of the Week:
Why doesnt Moshe mention the specific sins of Israels idolatry when summing up
the last 40 years?



Torah Question of the Week:
Why doesnt Moshe mention the specific sins of Israels idolatry when summing up
the last 40 years?
As the editors of Stone Chumash rightly point out, Moshes overall point is to warn Israel
that if their fathers sinned when the signs and wonders of Abba YHWH were present all
the time, how could a new generation who never saw any of this fare any better?
Nevertheless, Moshe doesnt want to offend those listening who were born after much of
the apostasy had happened. For those who were alive from that time, just mentioning the
place names was enough of a rebukesome rabbis think Moshe named some of those
places after the sins that took place there. For those who were not there, a broad recap
was fine, so long as they were taught later about the sins of their fathers.
1) Haftorah portion (English- Isaiah 1:1-27) and discuss common themes with the
Torah portion.

Chazon Yeshayahu ven-Amots asher chazah al-Yehudah viYerushalayim

bimey Uziyahu Yotam Achaz Yechizkiyahu malchey Yehudah.
Shime'u shamayim veha'azini erets ki Yahweh diber banim gidalti
veromamti vehem pash'u vi.
2) Our linguistic commentary
1:4 KABED (weighed down with iniquity), in a bad sense. In a positive sense
KABED means to give weight/honor as in honor thy father and thy mother.
1:8 literally reads daughter Zion but is usually translated as beautiful/fair Zion.
1:13: LXX reads fasts and assemblies I cannot abide. So even the fastslike on
Yom Kippurdont count when the overall evil is so great.
1:15 MELA (covered), but more accurately, DRENCHED IN BLOOD.
VAYIFNU (1:24) = set out for but literally, turned around.
1:27 TZARAPH = smelt, to melt away impurities as in a forge or crucible. FIERY,
reminds us of SERAPHIM (angels) though it is spelled with a SHIN rather than a
3) Renewed Covenant portion: (English) Yochanan 15:1-11 (all the way through
with applicable footnotes.)


4) Highlight common themes in Aramaic (terms in footnotes which I will read,

special emphasis on ENA-NA or I am that I am)
John 15:1
Here Yshua uses the divine form of I am (Ena-na) indicating that YHWH is speaking
through him. However, the Speaker is acting as if it is Yshua speaking, because He
refers to my Father is the Cultivator when in reality YHWH is speaking of Himself. If
He were speaking directly to the talmidim He would have said, He is the vine and I am
the cultivator".
John 15:5
Aramaic "shebista" is the word for "branch"; however, the Netzer/branch of Isa_11:1-2 is
also being pictured here. The Netzer wordplays with haNatzrati "the Nazarene" and
"haNetzarim," "the Netzarim" title for disciples; see Act_24:5. See Netzer in Appendix.
John 15:10
The "Commandments of my Father" always refers to Torah; see also Joh_15:5. Y'shua
and his Talmidim (disciples) keep his Father's Commandments, but mainstream
Christianity is not only anti-Torah; they turned rebellion against Torah into a
"fashionable" form of lawlessness. See Dan_7:25; 2Th_2:7; 2Ti_2:19; Tit_2:14;
2Pe_2:21; 1Jn_3:4; Heb_2:2-4; Rom_4:15; Mat_7:23; Mat_13:41. See Renewed
Covenant in Appendix.
5) Apply these themes/issues to modern issues in the Netzari faith. (The issues
around Godhead have been confusing people for 2000 years in the WEST.
Eastern believers however, conversant in Aramaic terms that have no equivalents
in Greek or Hebrew, can easily know and understand that the Son is not the
Father, that YHWH is One but that Yshua is still divine without breaking that
6) Relate to all or part of an Appendix portion of AENT or footnotes from a portion
(13 Principles of the Netzari Faith, p. 977-982, or excerpts).
1) There is a very important calendar clue in Deuteronomy 1:9. What is that
2) Deuteronomy 1 also talks about rising up leaders for Israel, but there is one
word used about these leaders that hints at many more gifts than just
leadership alone. What is that word and what does it mean, as evidenced by
the people who were also described in this manner?


3) How do details in this parsha help solve chronological problems in the book
of Judges?
4) Which NT writer seems to draw the most on the themes in Yeshayahu (Isaiah)
chapter 1? I will give you my opinion.
5) How do we know that when Yshua refers to My commandments he is
really referring to Torah as opposed to his new rules?
Torah Thought for the Week:
Moshe: The Farewell Tour Begins
Theres something about the last part or chapter of a story that always makes it most
poignant for me. Our sense of time, as we enter Deuteronomy, is about to be stood on its
head. We have spent 40 chapters in Exodus, 27 in Leviticus and 36 in Numbers lovingly
and in vast detail going over 119+ years of Moshes life. This is a long story about the
long journey of a mans life.
But when we get to Deuteronomy, we get 34 chapters dedicated to the last day of
Moshes life. More than that, we get 3 long speeches by Moshe himself that basically
comprise 95% of the book! So when we read Deuteronomy, we are really reading the
words of Moshe himself to an even greater degree perhaps than with the other four books.
Yes Moshe wrote Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers, but he was also taking
dictation from Abba YHWH as well. Here in Deuteronomy he is SPEAKING to all of
Israel; exhorting them to obedience and faithfulness DIRECTLY one last time.
In other words, Moshe isnt just a major player or character in his fifth book. He IS the
fifth book in passionate discourse and fine political maneuverings, as well as with flashes
of anger and frustration which are also very evident.
We can all imagine the urgency of putting our house in order when we know we are
about to die. What can we accomplish for our family and what will remain undone? Even
if we can get what we think done accomplished, will it stand for the ages after we are
gone? Now what if your house consisted not just of immediate family of spouse and
children, but of hundreds of thousands of people? And what if these same people have
had a history with you of constant nagging, rebellion and disrespect? NOW how do you
We should not mistake Moshes humility with either cynical resignation or ignorance
from old age. The text says his spirit was undiminished and his natural force unabated,
his eyes not dim, even unto the very hours before his death.
Furthermore, Moshe knows that if his people didnt listen when he was around, there is
little chance they will do so when he is gone. Three times Abba YHWH wanted to
destroy Israel and three times Moshe intervened. What will happen the next time they


incense Abba YHWH and He says, Now let Me break out against them and destroy
them all?
We have often looked upon Moshe dying and not crossing over into Canaan as a
punishment and so it is, but in another way, could it not also be a blessing in disguise?
Moshe will not live to see Israel ensnared in Canaan, just like King Josiah is spared from
seeing the Temple burn. Though Abba YHWH loved Josiah, his righteousness could not
undo the damage from Manasseh and destruction was inevitable, but not to have Josiah
see that tragedy. Perhaps the same thing is happening with Moshe. 80 years of service
and then the pain is over. Otherwise 35 more years of nearly constant warfare await
Moshe that would better be served under Joshua. He couldnt even hold his hands up
without assistance from two other menwith the battle on the line no less.
Deuteronomy though gives us critical glances into the depth of Moshes personal writing
style. We just saw at the end of the book of Numbers where Abba YHWH says Moshes
travel diary is now part of the official record. Towards the end of this book Moshe will
write a very personal song that also goes in the wider narrative of the book. In fact,
except for his own funeral and events just after where Joshua pens things, Deuteronomy
is all Moshe, all the time and to a level the other four books simply cannot aspire to.
But one thing that truly amazes me about Moshe is also the active kind of humility that
hardly ever seems to leave him. We tend to think of humility as a passive kind of trait for
passive kinds of people. We might say something like, Hes so humble he hardly ever
talks but that might not be humility and could be shyness instead. And Moshe is NOT a
shy man, even if he does have a little stutter.
Instead, Moshe has this active kind of humility that, in addition to drawing his focus
away from himself, is still able to think on his feet with clarity and forethought most of us
couldnt do even when not stressed. We saw this, for example, when Abba YHWH told
Moshe the following

Yahweh said to Moses, 'Climb this mountain of the Abarim range, and look at
the country which I have given to the Israelites. 13 After you have seen it, you
will be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was. 14 For you both
rebelled in the desert of Zin when the community disputed with me and when I
ordered you to assert my holiness before their eyes by means of the water.' (These
were the Waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the desert of Zin.) (Numbers 27:12-14
I believe, as I said before, that most of us if we were in Moshes position would have
protested this decision by Abba YHWH3 mistakes in 80 years gets me out of the
Promised Land? But Moshe doesnt skip a beat or take even a moment to bewail his fate.
Instead, he thinks about the fate of those that have been nothing but a thorn in his side
ever since he came to service



Moses then said to Yahweh, 16 'May it please Yahweh, God of the spirits that
give life to all living creatures, to appoint a leader for this community, 17 to be at
their head in all their undertakings, a man who will lead them out and bring them
in, so that Yahweh's community will not be like sheep without a shepherd.'
(Numbers 27:15-17 NJB)
Its remarkable to me no matter how many times I read it. Its like hes saying, Okay I
will die, no problem. But can we make sure our people are okay before I goplease?
But, as amazing as that is, Moshe is just getting started in showing us this active humility
of his.
This is because, even if one of us might have had the strength to be that gracious in the
moment, surely when an opportunity might come to change the verdict of death we
would have taken it. Not Moshe. Lets see what happens when Abba YHWH delays
Moshes death
Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, 2 'Exact the full vengeance for the Israelites on
the Midianites. Afterwards you will be gathered to your people.' (Numbers 31:12 NJB)
Again, what is amazing is what does NOT happen. Moshe could have used this
opportunity to say back to Abba YHWH: And, if we can defeat Midian can I please go
into the Promised Land with my people? And make no mistake, if it were ANY other
Israelite or a group of them, Moshe wouldnt hesitate to make that deal because his
humility is active and not shy, as we saw before

Moses said to Yahweh: 'Suppose the Egyptians hear about this -- for by your
power you brought these people out of their country- 14 and tell the people living
in this country. They have heard that you, Yahweh, are with this people, and that
you, Yahweh, show yourself to them face to face; that your cloud stands over
them and that you go before them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by
night. 15 If you kill this people now as though it were one man, then the nations
who have heard about you will say, 16 "Yahweh was not able to bring this people
into the country which he had sworn to give them, and so he has slaughtered them
in the desert." 17 No, my Lord! Now is the time to assert your power as you
promised when you said, earlier, 18 "Yahweh, slow to anger and rich in faithful
love, forgiving faults and transgression, and yet letting nothing go unchecked,
punishing the parents' guilt in the children to the third and fourth generation." 19 In
your most faithful love, please forgive this people's guilt, as you have done from
Egypt until now.' (Numbers 14:13-19 NJB)
There are other strategies Moshe uses to great effect when advocating for Israel. He
encourages Abba YHWH to remember His covenant to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, it
wouldnt be fair to them to wipe out rebellious Israel. In another place he boldly
proclaims, If you will forgive these people, well and good. If not, blot me out of the
book You are writing.


In other words, Moshe is as concerned with Yahs glory as he is with Israel having a
future. He wants his Elohim to be beyond reproach even amongst ignorant and evil pagan
Although heres what surprises me even further: In every case, Moshe wins his argument
and gets either a deferred or a mitigated punishment that was no doubt more lenient than
Israel either deserved or would have gotten on their own had Moshe not interceded. With
a track record like that, one might think he would at least take a shot to delay his own
death, for much the same reasons he has given for Israels sake except they were not
nearly as worthy as Moshe is. In other words, if Moshe could have prevailed for Israel, it
would make sense for him to think, again as any of us might, hey this could be worth a
shot, nothing to lose and all to gain.
But again, Moshe stays silent and graciously accepts his fate. Hows that for Amazing
Now here we are in Deuteronomy, the last day of his life, and Moshe is thinking long
term all the way. Whereas before he thought of Joshua succeeding him, Moshe also can
prophesy centuries from his day into the future

'If, having reached the country given by Yahweh your God and having taken
possession of it and, while living there, you think, "I should like to appoint a king
to rule me -- like all the surrounding nations," 15 the king whom you appoint to
rule you must be chosen by Yahweh your God; the appointment of a king must be
made from your own brothers; on no account must you appoint as king some
foreigner who is not a brother of yours. 16 'He must not, however, acquire more
and more horses, or send the people back to Egypt with a view to increasing his
cavalry, since Yahweh has told you, "You must never go back that way again." 17
Nor must he keep on acquiring more and more wives, for that could lead his heart
astray. Nor must he acquire vast quantities of silver and gold. 18 Once seated on
his royal throne, and for his own use, he must write a copy of this Law on a scroll,
at the dictation of the levitical priests. 19 It must never leave him, and he must
read it every day of his life and learn to fear Yahweh his God by keeping all the
words of this Law and observing these rules, 20 so that he will not think himself
superior to his brothers, and not deviate from these commandments either to right
or to left. So doing, long will he occupy his throne, he and his sons, in Israel.'
(Deuteronomy 17:14-20 NJB)
Moshe is clearly foreseeing the pitfalls of kings like Saul, David and Solomon, four
centuries removed from his day. In particular also, Moshe seems to have focused his
prophetic eye on David, with the command to not multiply wives and keep a Torah scroll
by his bedside that he must read every night.
In addition, the admonition to not think himself above his brothers seems particularly
appropriate to Davids grandson Rehoboam, who began his rule with a united kingdom


and ended it by tearing it apart through the raving madness of his huge ego. But Moshe
can also look even further into the future for the benefit of others

'You must be faultless in your relationship with Yahweh your God. 14 For these
nations whom you are going to dispossess have listened to soothsayers and
mediums, but Yahweh your God does not permit you to do this. From among
yourselves, from among your own brothers, 15 Yahweh your God will raise up a
prophet like me; you will listen to him. 16 This is exactly what you asked Yahweh
your God to do -- at Horeb, on the day of the Assembly, when you said, "Never
let me hear the voice of Yahweh my God or see this great fire again, or I shall
die." 17 Then Yahweh said to me, 18 "What they have said is well said. From their
own brothers I shall raise up a prophet like yourself; 19 I shall put my words into
his mouth and he will tell them everything I command him. Anyone who refuses
to listen to my words, spoken by him in my name, will have to render an account
to me. (Deuteronomy 18:13-19 NJB)
More than 1,400 years later, that prophet, Messiah Yshua, comes on to the scene to
confirm Moshes very words in several places
(Mat 5:48) You therefore be perfect as your Father in heaven who is perfect.
(Joh 5:45) Why? Do you think I will accuse you before the Father? The one who
will accuse you is Moshe, in whom you place your hope! (Joh 5:46) For if only
you had believed in Moshe, you would also be believers in me, for Moshe wrote
concerning me. (Joh 5:47) And, if you do not believe the writings of that man,
how will you believe my words?"
In that sense, not only has Moshe seen Mashiyach; he has also glimpsed our eternal hope
and future as well, but now time is running out.
So, because these are the last speeches Moshe gives, though he spoke on many of the
precepts before, lets pay extra careful attention this time out. These are, after all, the
dying wishes of the man himself.
Im Andrew Gabriel Roth and thats your Torah Thought for the Week!
Next week we will be exploring VaEtchanan, or Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11. Our Haftorah
portion will be Isaiah 40:1-26 and our Renewed Covenant portion will be Matthew 4:111. Stay tuned!