In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
Yitro, Mishpatim- Ten Words and so Much More. 5777
אֲנַ֫חְנוּ נִקְרָא סֵ֫פֶר תְּהִלִּים פֶּרֶק – קלה
Tehillim 135; 1 Praise the Lord! Praise the name of the Lord; Praise Him, O servants of the Lord, 2 You who stand in the house of the Lord, In the courts of the house of our God! 3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely. 4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His own possession לִסְגֻלָּתֹֽו.
From B’reshit through Sh’mot, we have followed the Creator from His perfect garden and ‘universal plan’ to recreation and the opportunity for a ‘national plan’. Once the nations were scattered having sought their own name, to build their own destiny God again shifts His focus to one family, one man. Avraham and his kin will be the torchbearers, the vessels through which God will declare His Oneness in the world. We have followed Avraham’s family through their toppling and triumph. We dug deep into the heart of the purpose for the Egypt experience and probed the objectives of the Machot Mitsrayim. As we did we grasped at a profound concept. The reason for that time in tribulation was multipurpose, one illuminating function being that the people had to internalize the experience in order to compassionate with their “brethren” and fellow beings on this planet. Their Egypt sojourn was a necessary layover on a much bigger journey. To reach to Sinai. To grasp the Torah. This is the fire of that torch they would bear. This is the Light referred to, that they would literally transport with them through the wilderness, to eretz Yisrael and from there out into the entire world. With these lessons of Sh’mot thus far I have stressed an emphasis upon retaining an empathy for God’s people. The Jewish people, am Yisrael. I have submitted that understanding the trauma they have endured will not help us ‘excuse’ them but rather relate to them. I believe that as the Torah shifts from (all of B’reshit up to this point of Sh’mot) being narrative to sections of Law (instruction, teaching) we may also shift our focus a bit from the saga of the people to the Lawgiver. I confess, I would ultimately delight to the highest level of rapture if somehow these lessons would inspire you to love and apply God’s Torah with all your heart. But that is beyond me. I therefore pray that as we look through the face of these words into the heart of their Master-craftsman you will find a renewed awe of Him. A deeper affection for Him. A stronger bond with Him. I pray, through the words, we will become woven together and into the destiny of this family as we learn about the fire and light they were given to distribute in this world, in this life. To the purpose of many coming to faith in the One God if the Universe. May your faith be multiplied and trust expounded as we journey inward together.
John 10; 25“I already told you,” Yeshua replied, “but you did not believe. The works I do in My Father’s name testify on My behalf. 26 But because you are not My sheep, you refuse to believe. 27 My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father who has given them to Me is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” 31At this, the Jews again picked up stones to stone Him. 32 But Yeshua answered, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone Me?” 33“We are not stoning You for any good work,” said the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because You, who are a man, declare Yourself to be God.” 34 Yeshua replied, “Is it not written in your Law: ‘I have said you are gods’? ( see Tehillim 82) 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36 then what about the One whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world? How then can you accuse Me of blasphemy for stating that I am the Son of God? 37 If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. 38 But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”
* Before we get into Parashiot Yitro יִתְרוֹ and Mishpatim מִּשְׁפָּטִים, let is look at a magnificent parallel from a previous portion of text. The setting is the same, the Mountain of God, Horeb also known as Sinai.
- Sh’mot 3; 1 Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
*Another place Moshe is leading sheep that belong to Father through the desert to get to Horev:
- Sh’mot 19;1-2 In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. … they came to the wilderness of Sinai and camped in the wilderness; and there Israel camped in front of the mountain.…
* Again, something is on fire and it is not consumed. The sney,bush, and the har, mountain.
- Sh’mot 3; 2 The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed.
- Sh’mot 19; 18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the LORD descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently.
- Sh’mot 24; 17And to the eyes of the sons of Israel the appearance of the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top.
* Moshe is told ‘not to come too close’ and later the people at the Mountain are given boundaries.
- Sh’mot 3; 5 Then He said, “Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
- Sh’mot 19; 10The LORD also said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments; 11and let them be ready for the third day, for on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.12 “You shall set bounds for the people all around, saying, Beware that you do not go up on the mountain or touch the border of it; whoever touches the mountain shall surely be put to death.
* Next, God introduces Himself to Moshe “ano’chi אָֽנֹכִ֖י֙” I AM… This is the very term God uses when giving the ten words, “Ano’chi אָֽנֹכִ֖י֙” I AM.
- Sh’mot 3; 6 He said also, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.
- Sh’mot 20; 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
As we discussed last week, thus far God has been displaying Himself on a grand scale. The Master and Creator and ‘Conductor’ of all things, weather, animals, disease, water, wind…Who is above and beyond a fathomable knowledge. Yet, as the people leave Egypt they are now able to ‘come close’, they are able to rest in Him on Shabbat, to get to know Him intimately…He has kept His promise to THEM to remove them from Egypt and even to BETROTH them to Himself. At first He was “God of their Fathers”, now at Sinai He becomes “YOUR GOD”.
Sh’mot 18;1Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel His people, how the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt. 2 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife Zipporah, after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons, of whom one was named Gershom גֵּרְשֹׁם, for Moses said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.” 4 The other was named Eliezer אֱלִיעֶזֶר, for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
This section of text paints a hopeful restorative picture. A tikun within a family. It is a man, of the nations, Yitro, who brings the bride and children of this marriage to the Mountain of God for the revelation. The names of Moshe’s sons who are being brought to the Jewish people, brought to ‘Israel’ to partner with her and her King is a picture of the nations coming to join their Jewish brethren to worship the One God of the Universe and to honor King Messiah in the Day to come. The names of the sons teach us the heart of God’s plan for all people to have a Sinai experience, to be given His Torah, guard His commandments and to take up His charge for our lives. The Light at Sinai was not only for the Jewish people to see, the Torah is not just a Jewish dominion. This is what God wants for a Holy Nation of which we are a part. You once were considered estranged, and a stranger and yet God is your help. You will not be left behind.
Sh’mot 2:20-22 He (Yitro) said to his daughters, “Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.” Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom גֵּרְשֹׁם, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”
#1644 (v) garash גָּרַשׁ – to expel, to be put away, to divorce.
- B’reshit 3:24 So He drove וַיְגָרֶשׁ the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
# 1616 (masc. n) Ger גֵּר- a sojourner, a stranger.
- Sh’mot 23:9 “You shall not oppress a stranger, since you yourselves know the feelings of a stranger, for you also were strangers in the land of Egypt.
# 8033 (adverb) Sham שָׁם – there (of motion), then (of time).
- B’reshit 2:8 The LORD God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there שָׁם He placed the man whom He had formed.
# 410 (Masc. N) El אֵל – strong, mighty, a hero, God.
- B’reshit 28; 3-4 “May God Almighty וְאֵל שַׁדַּי bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. “May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.”
#5826 (v) azar עָזַר- help, aid, helper, to be helped.
- B’reshit 49:25 From the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
#5828 (Masc.N) ezer עֵזֶר- aid, help, a helper, aider.
- B’reshit 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
Yeshuayahu 49; 22Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will lift up My hand to the nations and set up My standard to the peoples; and they will bring your sons in their bosom,and your daughters will be carried on their shoulders. 23“Kings will be your guardians, and their princesses your nurses. They will bow down to you with their faces to the earth and lick the dust of your feet; and you will know that I am the LORD; those who hopefully wait for Me will not be put to shame.
Yeshayahu 66; 20“Then they shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as a grain offering to the LORD, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules and on camels, to My holy mountain Jerusalem,” says the LORD, “just as the sons of Israel bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD. 21“I will also take some of them for priests and for Levites,” says the LORD. 22“For just as the new heavens and the new earth which I make will endure before Me,” declares the LORD,“So your offspring and your name will endure. 23“And it shall be from new moon to new moon and from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD.
Tehillim 40; 1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. 2 He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm. 3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear and will trust in the Lord. 4 How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, and has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood. 5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done, and Your thoughts toward us; there is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count. 6 Sacrifice and meal offering You have not desired; my ears You have opened; burnt offering and sin offering You have not required. 7 Then I said, “Behold, I come; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. 8 I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.”
Psalm 40 is the worship of our King, recounting the wonders of God, a testimony to His Name. Meaning -what He has done, His deeds, His Authority, Who He is. This psalm is written not from just the perspective of a man. The scroll of the book indeed is written to expound for us the nature of our Savior Yeshua. The last verses of the text tells us precisely what His will was, what Yeshua “did”. The Messianic lines are directly binding Him with the Torah and explaining where it was to be written and kept. The scroll or book, and the commandments. Please keep these ‘two’ things in mind. So often I hear quoted, we are a part of the Kingdom of God, and heirs to this destiny: to be a “Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.” If we are to be ‘rulers’ of this Kingdom and Priests within it, it follows that whatever was given to us by God to do here on earth will have some representation in heaven. The priests and king of Israel had a specific charge (mishmeret). This charge is the first thing mentioned that he is required to do. This charge will ensure that his life is lived before (the face- panyim) Hashem and that his kingdom will be of God and for God.
Devarim 17; 18“Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this Torah on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. 19“It shall be with him and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words דִּבְרֵ֞י of this Torah and these statutes, 20 that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left, so that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.
Matthew 6; 9 So then, this is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, 10Your kingdom come,Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Revelation 5; 8 When He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp, and they held the golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song: “Worthy are You to take the scroll and open its seals, because You were slain, and by Your blood You purchased for God those from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10You have made them into a kingdom, priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Not only are we the start of His Kingdom here and now, on earth as it is in heaven, priests and kings within it, but we are also a special treasure for Him. There are many Hebrew terms for wealth, gold, silver, money, treasure…but segulah is a rare word and in context refers to a God’s people like something dear and sacred to Him. Like a glimmering jewel set in His crown.
- Yeshayahu 49; 18 “Lift up your eyes and look around; All of them gather together, they come to you. As I live,” declares the Lord, “You will surely put on all of them as jewels and bind them on as a bride.
- Zechariah 9; 16 And the LORD their God will save them in that day As the flock of His people; For they are as the stones of a crown, Sparkling in His land.
From an unused root meaning to shut up #5459 (Fem. Noun, Passive. Participle) segulah סְגֻלָּה- property, wealth. (Complete list of Tanakh occurrences of Segulah -1 Ch. 29;3 & Ecc.2;8):
Sh’mot 19; 3 Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 4 ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to Myself. 5 Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession סְגֻלָּה֙ among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words הַדְּבָרִ֔ים that you shall speak תְּדַבֵּ֖ר to the sons of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the Lord had commanded him. 8 All כָל the people answered together and said, “All כֹּל that the Lord has spoken דִּבֶּר we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord. 9 The LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will come to you in a thick cloud, so that the people may hear יִשְׁמַע when I speak בְּדַבְּרִי with you and may also believe in you forever.” Then Moses told the words דִּבְרֵי of the people to the LORD….. 16 So it came about on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunder and lightning flashes and a thick cloud upon the mountain and a very loud trumpet שֹׁפָ֖ר sound וְקֹ֥ל, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was all in smoke because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked violently. 19 When the sound of the trumpet הַשּׁוֹפָ֔ר grew louder and louder, Moses spoke יְדַבֵּ֔ר and God answered him with בְקֽוֹל thunder. 20 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain; and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up. 21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, so that they do not break through to the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.
Devarim 7; 3 Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. 4 For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you. 5 But thus you shall do to them: you shall tear down their altars, and smash their sacred pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire. 6 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession סְגֻלָּ֔ה out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 7 “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, 8 but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 9 Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; 10 but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. 11 Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them.
Devarim 14; 1 “You are the sons of the Lord your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor [a]shave your forehead for the sake of the dead. 2 For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for His own possession סְגֻלָּ֔ה out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. 3 “You shall not eat any detestable thing. 4 These are the animals which you may eat…
Devarim 26;1“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it, 2 that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the Lord your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and go to the place where the Lord your God chooses to establish His name…12 “When you have finished paying all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and to the widow, that they may eat in your towns and be satisfied. 13 You shall say before the Lord your God, ‘I have removed the sacred portion from my house, and also have given it to the Levite and the alien, the orphan and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed or forgotten any of Your commandments. 16 “This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 17 You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. 18 The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession סְגֻלָּ֔ה , as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; 19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.”
Malachi 3; 13 “Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ 14 You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts? 15 So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’” …16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord gave attention and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who esteem His name. 17 “They will be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts, “on the day that I prepare My own possession סְגֻלָּ֑ה, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” 18 So you will again distinguish between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him.
What I am about to submit is absolutely nothing new in the understanding of “Judaism”. It may however ‘challenge’ one of the most basic and core principles of ‘Christianity’ because the Hebrew thought and language has oft not been taken into account. Even from the ‘birth’ of the ‘religion’. We have been taught and commonly understood that there are 10 commandments. These are the terms God gave at Mount Sinai. These are the ten standards for living that God expected us to abide by. Those attempting to dissociate, divide and detach Judaism, Israel, the Jewish people and the Torah (“OLD testament”) from Yeshua and His teachings have even mistranslated the Apostolic scriptures to verify a doctrine where the observance of Sunday as the “Lord’s day” took the place of the Sabbath commandment. Thereby giving ‘good Christians’ nine commandments to live by. There is a tendency to isolate the text of the ‘Ten Commandments’ thereby presuming it, in and of itself, is the summary of God’s core expectations for His Holy Nation, His bride. Yes. These words are commandments. However, I submit that if we actually read the text it does not say, “These are the commandments”. It says, “These are the words…”. These ten expressions of God are headings for the IMMEDIATE chapters of Laws given to Moshe on Sinai. That seventh day when He called him into the thick cloud and began to reveal for the world a glimpse, through His laws, at the Lawgiver and His nature. If we can think of Sh’mot as a defining book, wherein we find the terms by which Hashem desires His people to ‘build their names’, and consider all the words as equally revenant, applicable and important I think we may grow in a very productive way in this place.
Yeshayahu 33; 22 For the LORD is our judge, The LORD is our lawgiver, The LORD is our king; He will save us…
James 4;12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and destroy.
#1696 (v) davar דָּבַר – to lead, to guide, to rule, to pasture, to direct, to speak, to say, to promise, to command, to prescribe, to admonish, to sing, to plot against, to lay snares.
#1697 (Masc. N) davar דָּבָר – words, speech, discourse, a promise, saying, sentence, counsel, proposed plan.
Sh’mot 20;1 Then God spoke וַיְדַבֵּר all these words הַדְּבָרִים, saying, 2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 3 “You shall have no other gods before Me. 4 “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי (guard- shamar) My commandments. 7 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. 8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. 13 “You shall not murder. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal. 16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Matthew 22; 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested Him with a question: 36 “Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” 37 Yeshua declared, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ (See Devarim 6;5) 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (see Vayikra 19;18) 40 All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commandments.”
Galatians 5;13 For you, brothers, were called to freedom; but do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Rather, serve one another in love. 14The entire Law is fulfilled (upheld, verified, furnished with meaning) in a single decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
John 5; 30 I can do nothing by Myself; I judge only as I hear. And My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.
John 15; 9 As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Remain in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will remain in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and remain in His love.
John 14; 12 Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. …23 Yeshua replied, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. 24 Whoever does not love Me does not keep My words. The word that you hear is not My own, but it is from the Father who sent Me.
1 Corinthians 9; 8 I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written… (see also 19-23)
With these scriptural contexts in our account, let us take a look at the Ten Words, sayings, expressions, the Ten utterances of Hashem. Let us study them with His counselor as our guide and with the eyes of children who are learning at the feet of the King.
Let us take a look at the Ten Words, sayings, expressions, the Ten utterances of Hashem. Let us study them with His counselor as our guide and with the eyes of children who are learning at the feet of the King.
There are two tablets (luchot לֻחֹ֨ת), this implies there are two categories. What are these two categories? One tablet לוּחַ seems to correlate to our “Relationship to Creators”. With everything having to do with how we ‘see’ and ‘behave’ toward God and our earthly creator’s – our parents. The other tablet לוּחַ seems to correlate to our “Relationship to Peers”. The ‘first side’ seems to be relationships between people and God the ‘second side’ seems to be relationships between people and other people. Each tablet has five commands. We would do well to consider asking: do they correspond? I believe they do. Refer back to the section of the ‘giving of the ten words’:
א Failing to acknowledge there is a God.
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.”
ו Murder- is wrong because human beings are special. Human beings are special because: B’reshit 1;27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
“You shall not murder.”
ב No Idolatry. This Sacred relationship- between man and God manifested in worship. The Covenant (Marriage) ‘document’ binding the two partners is His commandments.
“You shall not make for yourself an idol, You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…showing lovingkindness to those who love Me and guard My commandments.”
ז Adulterate- to mix, bring something ‘inferior’ in where it doesn’t belong. This Sacred relationship- between man and woman is manifested in Marriage. I betray and destroy relationship when I bring something in that doesn’t belong.
“You shall not commit adultery.”
ג Do not take the Lord’s Name ‘in vain’ (not “don’t TAKE”, don’t – Lo Tisa- to lift up, to carry off. ) ‘God’s Selfhood’- expresses itself through His Names. When it comes to these, don’t violate them by misappropriating them.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. For the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
ח Do not steal- if your precious possessions taken- you feel violated. Our bodies, property are called “my” this is a part of our selfhood.
Why do people murder anyway? ‘My life would be better without this person. My life would be better without God.’ Ignore Him. Both ways allow you to ‘get rid’ of the person. When it is inconvenient one might be tempted to ‘get rid’ of someone else. Fight the urge to ignore and recognize your fellow, recognize God.
“You shall not steal.”
ד Honor the Sabbath – an act of testimony, resting in recognition that God rested. We’re telling the truth about the most important thing we know about God: that He’s the creator of our world. We are, in keeping the Sabbath, upholding God’s reputation as Creator and definer of the Holy.
“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”
ט Do not lie, bear false witness against your fellow – Testimony against one’s peers= we’re telling the truth about one’s actions. And if you don’t tell the truth about them you also violate them. Actions are a type of ‘possession’ (something we own, that makes us who we are). Lying about someone is sort of like identity theft, you’re taking away a part of me. Attacking my reputation.Taking away from who I AM.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
ה Honor your father and mother- honoring parents because they gave you everything you have. What if you viewed your life as not good enough? Why then would you honor them? The life you were given will in-debt you to them forever- the gift that they gave you was meaningful. This is the ultimate act of self-affirmation. You do not need to occupy someone else’s role in this life. (covet)
“Honor your father and your mother.”
י Do not covet – Why do people covet? Torah expresses this command with ‘Obsessive language’, extremely specific. Why over and over again? There’s something obsessive about the nature of coveting: Really, wanting what someone else has (a possession) means- I don’t want to be me, don’t want my life,
I want my neighbors life.
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
As you can see these words relate to one another. (Aleph to Vav, Bet to zayin and so on.) So here we are not only noting there is more to this than just a set of 10 commandments. The tablets, the devarim correspond together. Like two hands that come together.These are not random principles, they relate to each other.
Another way to summarize: 1-5 ‘don’t do away with the other’, 6-10 ‘Don’t do away with the self.’
We must not violate these words, these relationships. Murder-Ignoring, Marriage- Idolatry, Possessions- Robbery, My Acts, reputation- Me, myself. Knowing how important the others we relate to in our lives are, will help us in building self-esteem. We can gain self esteem by honoring others. If everyone else is special and can not be violated, so I must be special too.
Respect vs. Love: I have not violated you therefore I have respected you, but I may not yet have loved you. Living and interacting without respect is akin to idolatry. I impute some power to a thing, to get something out of it to make my life better. The sum total of my interaction with this thing becomes what I can get out of it. Me. The only thing that matters is me. When you don’t treat people like things- recognizing that every human being has a Godly spark in them, love. Love means the creation of a we out of two I’s. Unifying with others. Joining with respect. Honoring the two I’s- the cornerstone of the We. Friends, money, time- love BUILT upon respect.
Sometimes the bible is in chronological order. Often it is not. For example we read in B’reshit the account of Creation and then the Torah repeats this account. There were not two creations, one before another. It is like a microscope. Viewing a sample and then zooming in, we are given more details. Parasha Yitro was the sample, Parasha Mishpatim is our zoom in. The text itself shows that there are chronological “issues”.
Sh’mot 15:25 Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation וּמִשְׁפָּט, and there He tested them.
When a Parasha begins with the letter vav (the conjunction which can mean AND, the ‘joining’ nail or hook.) it is assumed to be a continuation of the previous parasha. Mishpatim is bound to Parasha Yitro and the Ten Words. Furthermore, the ease with which we can categorize the laws of Mishpatim into the “Headings” of the Ten words confirms, to me, that these devarim are a summary for what is immediately expounded. Even the first Mishpat is directly tied to the first commandment. It is in regard to treatment of bondsmen, the people can associate with because they were once slaves.
Sh’mot 21:1 וְאֵלֶּה “Now these are the ordinances הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים which you are to set before them: 2 “If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment….
#8199 (v) Shafat שָׁפַט- to set up, erect, to judge, to rule, to govern, to litigate.
- Sh’mot 18:13 It came about the next day that Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood about Moses from the morning until the evening…16 “When they have a dispute, it comes to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor and make known the statutes of God and His laws.” 22 “Let them judge the people at all times; and let it be that every major dispute they will bring to you, but every minor dispute they themselves will judge. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 26 They judged the people at all times; the difficult dispute they would bring to Moses, but every minor dispute they themselves would judge.
# 4941(masc.n) mishpat מִשְׁפָּט – judgment, right, that which is just, lawful, manner, plan.
- B’reshit 18; 19 “For I have chosen him, so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing righteousness and justice, so that the LORD may bring upon Abraham what He has spoken about him.”
God spoke to man at Sinai- the rest of our lives we seek to hear and understand what that voice is telling us. This voice is still speaking today. Through the Torah and our study of it. The destroyer laughs off every spark and enlightenment you feel in your soul, life. That is why our doubt has to be completely destroyed.
Tehillim 119; 89 Forever, O LORD,Your word is settled in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness continues throughout all generations; You established the earth, and it stands. 91They stand this day according to Your ordinances, for all things are Your servants. 92 If Your Torah had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction.93 I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have revived me.
The people are agreeing, but hadn’t they already? Or is this another occasion of a “zoom” into the text via a ‘retelling’. What are the people agreeing to? The Mishpatim that were given in direct connection to the Ten Words. I believe the contents of Sh’mot 20- 23 are actually what we are to consider as the “Ten commandments”. After the reading of the book to the people, the consecration and offerings Moshe went up the mountain to recieve the rest of the explanation (the many details regarding the Mishkan, etc.) from God. At Sinai,I believe we were given MUCH MORE than 10 words to live by.
- Sh’mot 19; 7So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him. 8 All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.
- Sh’mot 24; 3 Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words דִּבְרֵי of the Lord and all the ordinances הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים ; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do!” 4 Moses wrote down all the words דִּבְרֵי of the Lord. Then he arose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain with twelve pillars for the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 He sent young men of the sons of Israel, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as peace offerings to the Lord. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and the other half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the book of the covenant and read it in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!” 8 So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
Yeshayahu 40; 3 A voice is calling,“Clear the way for the LORD in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. 4 “Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and let the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley; 5 Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” 6 A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people are grass.8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever…11 Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes….27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,“My way is hidden from the LORD, and the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.29 He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.30 Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly,31 Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
The Torah is not salvific. Laws don’t purchase our good standing with God, observance doesn’t prove our heart, faith or trust. The children of Israel were saved from Egypt, ransomed and redeemed by God as they were at the foot of the Mountain. As saved people they then were given the choice at Sinai to hear His words and recieve them as the gift they are or to disregard them. This is what lies before us. In Yeshua, by God’s calling and election we are saved already. The Torah is held out before us as the guide and standards for a Holy nation of kings and priests. It is not in heaven, indeed it is in our mouths and our hearts to perform it. May you grow ever closer to God, drawing nearer and hear- shama the Words of Hashem in your lives, may they resonate in your hearts, and echo out into your walk.
Resources: See My Resources entry on the homepage of this blog. Breakdown of 10