Shabbat Bible Study for November 7, 2020
©2020 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 2 Shabbat 34
Leviticus 13:29-59 – [no Prophet] – Psalm 78- Luke 5:12-15
Vayikra 13.29-46 – What the heck is a ‘dry scall’? I looked at my own dictionary and ‘scall’ wasn’t there, so I went online and found this definition for ‘scall’ @ http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scall
A scaly eruption of the skin or scalp.
I have seen psoriasis that fits this description. Psoriasis is not leprosy, is it? The only places in scripture where the word nethek נתק is used is right here in Lev.13, beginning here and ending in 14.54 – 14 uses of the word nethek in 9 verses. Nethek is a certain type of tzara’ath, which KJV translates as leprosy. EDBH defines nathak HR5423 as “to tear apart”, as in hair falling out and leaving a bald spot. This is a spot of baldness on the face or head completely surrounded by hair that MAY have yellow hairs within it. This is other than normal male pattern baldness of the hairline or crown of the head and must be where hair had been before. If the kohen judges it to be a nethek and not deeper than the skin, he will quarantine the infection for 7 days and then inspect it again. If the nethek hasn’t changed, the cohen will then shave the man’s head except where the nethek is and quarantine it another 7 days. If there is still no change or it is getting better, the kohen will declare the man tiyhayr – clean.
If, however, the nethek spreads any, even after he’s been previously declared clean, his infection is then declared defiled or tamei. If discoloration of any kind appears, it may be a sign of sin in the person’s life and he ought to have it examined to see if some correction is necessary. If the discoloration is just that and not an infection of any kind, the person is declared clean.
Regular male pattern baldness is not a cause of more than a cursory look, but if a scab or infection appears on the bald spot or below the hairline, it needs to be isolated and go through the inspection process. If it is determined to be a tzara’ath, the man is is designated as ‘m’tzora; with or in tzara’ath’; and is isolated. He must live without the camp, wear clothes of mourning, leave his head unshorn (Chumash), his clothes shall cover his lips and as he walks among people he shall tell people that he is defiled. This sounds as if it is a contagious infection. In light of the Chumash’s notes on vv.45-46 (pg.617),
“Shall be shorn – The tzara’ath dresses and acts like a mourner, to influence him to grieve and repent the behavior that brought the punishment of tzara’ath”,
it is obvious to everyone that this man is receiving his due chastisement for sin. It is expected that people who see him will not treat him with contempt, but that they should pray for his repentance and reconciliation to Y’hovah and the people.
“He shall dwell in isolation – Why is a metzorah singled out to live in isolation? … The ultimate purpose of ‘a punishment that fits a crime’ is to make the sinner aware of what he did and what it has brought upon him. Such reflection should lead him to repent.
Vv.47-59 – Now Torah discussed tzara’ath of things rather than people. In clothing made of linen, wool or leather, a greenish or reddish spot appears in the warp or woof is a tzara’ath contamination. Warp is the lengthwise threads and woof is the crossing threads, which indicates that the material has been cut for use or is a part of an existing garment. These spots sound like mold to me, and it would seem that if it is a mold it is feeding on something in or on the fabric. If it is appearing on leather it is likely unfinished leather. According to the Chumash’s notes, these are only declared tamei if they belong to a man of Israel and are undyed fabrics or untanned leather. The stained or otherwise affected garment must be quarantined or the affected area clearly marked off for 7 days so that it can be determined if the affected area has changed. If it has changed, it is declared tamei and burned. If it has not spread, the garment will be washed and then quarantined another 7 days. If the spot doesn’t reappear, it will be washed again and is declared tamim, but if it doesn’t wash out or comes back, it is declared tamei and burnt, as well. Q&C
No Prophet this week
Tehellim 78 – Each verse is a parallelism. The generation to come speaks of the final generation. Asaph speaks for Y’hovah in this maschil. Maschil is an instructive or contemplative poem. Comes from the root H7919 sakal, to be circumspect or intelligent, maschil means ‘from circumspection or intelligence’. So I’M going to have trouble with this, but y’all will get it pretty quick.
V.1’s parallelism has to do with listening to what Y’hovah is saying through Asaph. To ‘give ear’ is to cup your ear, azan, to pay attention. To ‘incline’ from H5186 natal, a primitive root, meaning to ‘stretch out’, to actively listen or engage your brain to understand what Asaph says. The reason we need to pay careful attention and engage our brains (v.2) is that he is going to speak in parables, ‘dark’, or mysteriously shrouded sayings. He is going to say things that may or may not be properly understood on the ‘peshat’ level. We are going to have to understand the allusions and metaphors that Y’hovah is going to use. In a way, Torah is a parable, a thing only to be fully understood on a level deeper than the surface of the page on which it is written. But the key to understanding the dark sayings is to be found in (v.3) what they know of Israel’s past from the fathers. The reason we need to know history is that it has this funny habit of repeating itself if we don’t learn its lessons. Witness the recent headlines to see if I’ve got that wrong. We will teach our children (v.4) our history; how Y’hovah has delivered us, and all that he’s provided for us, in hopes that they will not repeat the mistakes of past generations. Always remember that “biblical history is prophecy of the end of days”.
In vv.5-8, Y’hovah provided a Torah for us to live by AND a testimony to the awesome works he has done in our behalf, and it is our duty to teach our history and Torah’s commandments to our children, so that THEY may live by them and then diligently teach them to their own children – a thing that not all of our fathers did well. It seems that Rav Sha’ul was not the originator of discipleship programs:
1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: 2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. 6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. 7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine; uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2.1-8)
Discipleship had been a practice in the Hebraic mindset for millennia before Paul.
V.9 makes a reference to Ephraim turning back, but there is no biblical record of this in Israel’s history to this point. The word translated as ‘turned back’ is “H2015 hâphak, A primitive root; to turn about or over; by implication to change, overturn, return, pervert.” In all that, we of Ephraim “turned our backs to him”. We did not ‘turn back’ him, but turned our backs to him. Remember that this is a ‘dark saying’, so the deeper meaning is not in the open or on the surface of the page. There is a tradition that Ephraim had left Egypt 30 years before the rest of Israel (while Moshe was w/Yithro in Midian), having misinterpreted the prophecy to Avraham of the 400 years. Vv.10-11 allude to this, while more openly speaking of their later unfaithfulness under Yerovoam. Ephraim was said to have left Egypt alone and to have been turned back by the Cana’ani. They took the prophecy of Gen.15 to have begun when it was given to Avraham, but it was meant to begin with the birth of Avraham’s seed, Yitzhak.
12 And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Avram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. 13 And he [Y’hovah] said unto Avram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; 14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. 15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amori is not yet full. (Gen.15.12-16)
Note the ‘great darkness’ on Avraham. This was another ‘dark saying’, which is why Ephraim didn’t understand about its fulfillment. Avraham himself may not have understood it. Yitzhak was born on the 14th day of the month of Spring (Aviv) and CCd on what would become the last day of Matzoh (ULB). And I think Israel was delivered out of Mitzraim on Yitzhak’s 400th birthday, crossing the Red Sea to Ba’al Zephon. Zoan may have been another name for Succoth, where Israel went on the night of the Passover to gather Yoseph’s bones. It was a ‘store city’ near the mouth of the eastern branch of the Nile delta (TBSL 4449 – Archeological Supplement) and was pretty much in a straight line from Israel’s place in Goshen to Eitam. Q&C
In vv.14-35, Asaph rehearsed the history of Israel’s generation that left Egypt, how they tested Y’hovah with their murmuring and kvetching and how he supplied not only their needs but their lusts so they could see, if they chose to, how their own lusts were NOT good for them, but waiting on him WAS. Vv.19-20 are illustrative as they noted his provision of water, and then demanded flesh to eat. He sent a ‘fire’ against them that burned in their hearts and minds so that when he provided the object of their lusts – quail – they consumed it raw (no reference to preparing it to eat, either by cleaning or bleeding it) and received a plague as a result.
31 And there went forth a wind from Y’hovah, and brought quails from the sea, and let fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits upon the face of the earth. 32 And the people stood up all that day, and all night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 33 And while the flesh yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of Y’hovah was kindled against the people, and Y’hovah smote the people with a very great plague. 34 And he called the name of that place Kibroth-haTa’avah: because there they buried the people that lusted. (Num.11.31-33)
Kibroth-haTa’avah means ‘the graves of lust’. It was, quite literally, their refusal to trust Y’hovah and lust for flesh that killed them. Y’hovah will always give us the desires of our hearts, so we must be ever vigilant as to the nature of our desire, for he will use it to bring his wrath against us. Y’hovah’s wrath is turned against those who refuse to trust him for their deliverance, those who will not wait on him and his best. It seems to take an unmistakable demonstration of his wrath to get our attention, and when he finally has it, it takes almost no time for us to forget the wrath he just recently sent. When he executed his judgment on them, they repented and enquired earnestly after his will (v.34) and we remembered his provision (v.35) – for a while.
But before long, we forgot again; we said everything he wanted to hear, but didn’t really believe it, (vv.36-42). And he, once again, showed his longsuffering nature to us and let us have enough rope to hang ourselves again. But he never forgot our fallen state, that we had skins of flesh that obstructed our view of his righteousness; he remembered that HE himself had such a body of flesh, which was in all points tempted to sin, just like ours, and he therefore compassionately exercised his mercy and grace towards us. And we forgot once more his wondrous works in the whole Wilderness Adventure. We provoked him by limiting his influence in our own lives, not ALLOWING him to do his mighty works in and through us. It is truly impossible for us to comprehend the endlessness of his power.
In vv.43-55, Asaph remembered all that we had forgotten, how Y’hovah had brought judgment against Paroh and his armies and how he delivered us from Egypt, the Amalekites and even into the Promised Land, where he gave us the inheritance he’d promised Avraham’s seed. But even after he’d done all that for us, we STILL turned away from his Way and went in our own ways and after other elohim. We Ephraimites built images and groves and offered sacrifices to other gods to the point that he finally had to deliver to us a bill of divorce (Jer.3.8). They had even held the ark itself as an idol, as if the piece of furniture would be their deliverer, and brought it, as their god yehovah to defend and fight for them in battle (1Sam.4), and Eli, the High Priest, did nothing to stop them. Philistines took Shiloh, killed Eli’s sons Hophni and Pinchas and carried the ark to Ekron, where Y’hovah caused an outbreak of hemorrhoids (v.66) and knocked the statue of Dagon down on his face before him. And if what Ephraim did wasn’t bad enough, a couple of hundred years later Yehudah went even further astray in that they and their Aharonic priests, worshiping, bowed to the rising sun in the threshold of the Holy Place of Shlomo’s Temple (Ezek.8);
16 And he brought me into the inner court of Y’hovah’s house, and, behold, at the door of the temple of Y’hovah, between the porch and the altar, were about five and twenty men, with their backs toward the temple of Y’hovah, and their faces toward the east; and they worshipped the sun toward the east.
These 25 men were the 12 courses of the Kohanim and the Kohen haGadol. But he didn’t divorce Yehudah. Had he done so, Yeshua would be a bastard and not a son. Ephraim’s sin was egregious enough that it moved Y’hovah to remove his glory from Shiloh of Ephraim (v.60), his people (eventually) to exile and to erect the Temple in Yerushalayim. He could not (from our perspective, at least) do the same with Yehudah as he had with Ephraim and still have a vessel of honor from which to bring his Messianic prophecies to pass. Instead, he CHOSE Yehudah and his Mount Zion and David, the man after his own heart, to deliver Israel once again from their oppressors. And Y’hovah once again feeds us according to the integrity of HIS heart and guides us skillfully by His own hands through His Ruach haKodesh in us – if we will follow. Q&C
Luka 5.12-15 – From my study of “The Life of Yeshua haMashiyach;
The basic facts of the incident remain almost identical in all 3 gospel passages that deal with it, We’ve already read Luke.5, so here’s the rest;
1 When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2 And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Master, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 3 And Yeshua put forth hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. 4 And Yeshua saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. (Matt.8.1-4)
40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Yeshua, moved with compassion, put forth hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed. 43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45 But he went out, and began to publish much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Yeshua could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places: and they came to him from every quarter. (Mk.1.40-45).
Look at all the apparent contradictions! Mat says he’s just come down from the mountain, Mark says he was just walking along, and Luke says he was in a certain city when the leper came to him. How can these all be true? How about, he was walking along the street of that certain city just after he came down from the mountain? No contradiction, just additional facts for different audiences and from different authors. ‘If you will’ and ‘I will’ are the main points here. The leper (tsara’ath) believed that Yeshua could do whatever he willed to do, because the leper believed that Yeshua was who he claimed to be – Y’hovah Elohenu in human flesh. Yeshua is always willing to cleanse us from our evil inclination or sin nature, of which leprosy is a type. By healing the (tsara’ath) leper Yeshua was illustrating that fact. In every gospel account, Yeshua commanded him to go do the letter of the law, offering the gift as prescribed in Lev.14. He was not to do this as an act of penance or contrition, but for a testimony to the Iuaidoi. Elohim is not so pleased with offerings as he is with the heart of the one who is offering. And the offering was always – always – for a testimony of the penitent’s heart, not a penance.
If Yeshua had touched the leper while he was still leprous, he would have been defiled, ‘unclean until even’. His touch is not what healed the leper, but the Word of his mouth. He only touched him to prove to his audience (that’s us) that the healing had occurred and was complete. The man who had been a leper was wholly clean – tamim – at Yeshua’s Word. Q&C End of Shabbat Bible Study