Shabbat Bible Study for 13 August 2022
©2022 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 1 Sabbath 20
Genesis 23:1-20 – I Kings1 – Psalm 18 – Acts 7.1-18
Vv.1-20 – Avraham and fam had obviously moved from Beer-Sheva to KirYath-Arba/Hevron in the ensuing months or years between the Akeida and Sarah’s passing at the age of 127. While the rabbis claim these events are close in time, I don’t see that in the accounts and view it as speculation, however enlightened it may be. I DO believe it is correct, but there is no internal evidence to support it. The sages say that Avraham returned to KirYath Arba from the Akeida to find that Sarah had died of a broken heart because she had been told by haSatan that Avraham had actually killed Yitzhak on Moriah. If that’s the case, why did Avraham return from Moriah to Beer-Sheva 30 miles further south than Hevron, only to return to Hevron to bury Sarah. Did Sarah move to KirYath-Arba while they were gone? (I tell people in jest that my parents moved while I was at school and didn’t tell me where they’d moved to … 3 times! The last time it took me 3 weeks to find them!) Did Avi forget his keys to the tent?
Avraham’s mourning was private, as the sages say the minuscule kaf (jots and tittles?) in the Hebrew word ‘V’LIVkOTHAH’ [weep for her] suggests. Jeff Benner’s Ancient Hebrew Lexicon says the kaf means to bend and curve; or to tame and subdue, as one who has been bent to another’s will. In this case, he tamed and subdued his grief before going to bargain with the Hittites. After he mourned for her, he went to the Hittites (sons of Heth) to purchase a burial ground for his family. Avraham approached the Hittites as a ‘ger toshav’, a resident alien . The Hittites wanted to give the land to Avraham, but if he had accepted it, they’d have had something with which to control him, as the king of Sedom would have had he accepted all the stuff (ch.14). After they said just pick some land and we’ll give it to you, he said, “I want the land at the end of Ephron’s field. Find out how much he wants for it, and I’ll pay it in your sight.” He was a prophet and knew that their descendants would lay claim to his legally and publicly purchased land (as they are doing today). V.20 may be the basis of the US Constitution’s Art 1, §10 – non-impairment of contracts.
Ephron was the son of Tsohar. Tsohar is also the name of the compilation of the ‘deep things of Elohim’. Don’t you love the banter between Avraham and Ephron? Each seems to want to outdo the other at being magnanimous and unselfish. Let me pay… no let me give…. Just name your price…. What’s a few hundred shekels between friends…. here ya’ go. Avraham counted out 400 shekels of silver, which was the currency of the day and place. Money is whatever the people involved in the deal value – in this case silver. It could be gold, diamonds, salt, grain, or chicken stuff – whatever the bargainers decide is money. Shekels, like dollars, are actually units of weight measure, not monetary units. A silver dollar is defined in the Currency Act of 1792 as .71 troy ounces of silver and .0325 ounces troy of gold. There are 14 ounces troy in a pound.
The rabbis say that Ephron was greedy and asked too much for the land. They use the fact that Torah spells his name עפרונ with a ו up to v.10, and then spells it עפרנ w/o the ו in v.14 (They say he was diminished by his greed) as proof of their assertion, which seems specious, especially since there is no such different spelling in the Stone’s Tanakh or the Schottenstein’s Chumash. It just looks like a good haggle, to me.
The haggle is a middle-eastern marketing ritual. If you go into the suk in any city and just ask their price, and they just name it, and you just pay it (like an American), you got ripped a new one. The better you haggle, the more fun you have, the better the price you pay and the more the merchant enjoys the sale. Hone these skills in Tijuana BEFORE you go to the middle-east. It is a LOT of fun. Q&C
1Ki. 1 overview – So David is old, infirm and not developing enough heat for himself, not even enough to be kept close by blankets laid over him. IOW, David was very near death. His eldest living son AdoniYah (My Master is Yah; right!) saw an opportunity to usurp the throne that David had promised to Shlomo and made all the moves to do so. But BathSheva, David’s wife and Shlomo’s mama, got wind of AdoniYah’s plot and moved quickly to have her son made co-regent. AdoniYah had to wait for his abba to croak before he could finalize his plot, but David could appoint a co-regent, and in fact did so. I think our tie in with the Torah portion is seen in the attempt of AdoniYah to seize the throne out from under Shlomo the way that Ephron is seen by the sages looking to take Avraham’s dough and keep title to his land (I don’t see that so much as the sages do). I think it more likely that the connection is the old age and death of 2 people of great stature and prominence in Tanakh. It happens that the people who I believe are connected are the subject of Parsha Chayeh Sarah and this very chapter as its Haftarah.
1Kings 1.1-4 -David was ‘only’ about 69 years old; Sarah was 127 when she died; so David is NOT old in biblical terms. But David had been king of Yehudah for almost 40 years and of United Israel for nearly 35. He had lived a MUCH more aggressive life than any of the Patriarchs, though Avraham had had his share of great battles, too. I think it likely that Avraham had a much closer, more intimate relationship w/Yah than David had, more along the lines of Moshe’s. Moshe and Avraham had more frequent and I think longer times in Yah’s presence, effectively a LOT of “time” spent physically in the presence of Yah; outside of our time/space universe where there is no passage of time [hence the quotes]; no deterioration of the body or need to feed it [which could explain all the instances in scripture of 40 days without food or water]. But he was ‘gone in days’, bo bayamim. His days were just about gone. After all his trials in life, including at least 2 attempted coups d’tat, his once vital body was wearing down, which we saw in the last 4-5 chapters of 2Sam. Looking closely at the meaning of the Hebrew words underlying the passage, it could be that David was experiencing ED, and there was no Cialis or Viagra to be had in 10th century BCE Israel. I get that from the word xlated ‘heat’; H3179 yacham יחם, which BDB translates as ‘to be hot or conceive’. The Etymological Dictionary of Biblical Hebrew translates it as ‘to warm’ with the first explanation/commentary usage as ‘being sexually excited’. More on this in vv.3-4.
In v.2 they looked for a virgin; the Hebrew word is bethulah H1330, from the unused root batal בתל, ‘to separate or sever’ unto El, IOW, never joined to a man; to yacham “warm” David. In the associated Parsha, Elezar, Avraham’s chief of staff, went to Charan to seek a bride for Yitzhak. When he got there he asked Yah to show him which young woman he should approach. Rivkah passed the test. She was just called a ‘girl’, na’arah, in Gen.24.16, but during his account to Rivkah’s family he calls her ‘alma’[24.43], which means a ‘chaste young woman’. He must have deduced this from her character traits. A bethulah is most definitely a virgin, while an ‘alma’ is technically just a young woman, but there is NOWHERE in scripture where an ‘alma’ is anything but a ‘chaste’ young woman, a virgin, including Is.7.14
14 Therefore Adonai himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin [alma] shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Behold, a virgin [parthenos – same in LXX] shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted [translated] is, Eloha with us. [Mat.1.23]
The original prophecy has the Hebrew word ‘alma’, not ‘bethulah/parthenos’, but the implication is clear. If this instance of alma, the last one in Tanakh, does not include ‘chastity’ in its meaning, it’s the ONLY ONE. There are 7 uses of the word ‘alma’ in Tanakh; Gen.24.43 [Rivkah], Ex.2.8 [Miriam, Moshe’s sis], Ps.68.25 Prov.30.19, SoS.1.3, 6.8, Is.7.14 [IMO, referring to Miriam, bride of Yoseph, the ‘carpenter’ from Natzreth]. A young married woman giving birth to a son is NOT a ‘sign’; though, like almost anything else, it can be taken for one. Tradition has it that Yeshayahu’s wife was pregnant and shortly thereafter gave birth. Why would the prophet’s naturally produced child be a ‘sign’? It MAY have been an object lesson that could be a precursor to the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy, but to call it a ‘sign’ stretches credulity. Mine, anyway. Until Yeshua’s schlichim applied this to Yeshua, I think the general consensus among the sages of Israel was that this was a virgin and her son was to be Mashiyach. I searched the index of my PDF Babylonian Talmud and found ‘almanah’ [Tractate Ketubot], which translates as ‘widow’, who would be considered chaste if she did not lay with any other man but her husband, correct? Could “almanah” not as equally fit a chaste wife as a chaste widow? Sorry for the tangent, but I think it’s important. So, was Is.7.14 applied to Messiah before his schlichim applied it directly to Yeshua?
In vv.3-4, they looked throughout the land for a fair damsel [na’arah] and brought Avishag, a Shunammite who “cherished” him and “ministered” to his needs [v.3-4], to “get heat” [v.2] to the king. All those words have literal meanings that the KJV doesn’t use here, as if the translators were exercising ‘circumlocution’; talking around a subject, to avoid scandalizing people. “Cherished” is H5532, “sakan” סכן; ‘to attend or direct attention” to David. “Ministered” is H8334, “sharath” שרת; ‘to attend to or to service, to free from labor’ . “Get heat” from v.2 is H2552, “chamam” חמם; [Str.] to be hot (literally or figuratively): – enflame self; EDBH says ‘to glow, project extreme heat’. Add to those the word we spoke of in v.1, yacham [of which Brown, Driver, Briggs says “be hot, usually of sexual impulse in animals”. David may have been experiencing a ‘male problem’ and his men were trying to ‘help him out’ a little. As v.4 ends, we see that it didn’t work and, as I said before, there was no Cialis or Viagra to help an old man out.
Yah used Avishag later to give Shlomo excuse to take care of the problem that is the subject of the rest of the chapter. If we have time at the end, we’ll look quickly at that incident in ch.4. Q&C
Vv.5-31; 5-7 -While David lies on his death bed with nothing to do but shiver and sleep, Adoniyah starts machinations to be crowned and anointed king when his pop croaks. He got together some chariots and a kind of cavalry and a company of men to run before his posse, like his brother Avshalom had done;
And it came to pass after this, that Avshalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him. [2Sam.15.1]
Kinda like the Secret Service running alongside the President’s limo, eh?
V.6 informs us that David never chided his son about any shenanigans he’d been involved in; Adoniyah was coddled by his father, probably even more coddled AFTER his older brother, Avshalom, got HIS just desserts. Not only that, but Adoniyah was ALSO almost as good looking as Ken Irvin or Mark Call. He was tov to’ar meod, good looking in the extreme.Let’s face it: a good looking, personable, eldest son of the king of the most powerful nation in the world could have his pick of the babes, of which Israel has not a few. He was used to getting his way in EVERYTHING and NO ONE objecting. Not even David.
I hate to say this, but it looks like David, who was an excellent leader of men of war and a great king, was either not a very good father or he just wasn’t around to lay leadership on his sons to keep them on the strait and narrow. KJV says David ‘never displeased him at any time’; Stone’s Tanakh says, “His father had never saddened him [by] saying, ‘Why have you done this?’”… Part of the problems plaguing societies today is a lack of effective male leadership in the average home. And it would seem that there was the same problem in the homes of kings in ‘the old days’, too. Shlomo was a pretty good king, though he got a little uppity as he grew older, too; with his multitudes of horses, chariots and wives/concubines with their own gods, each of which Shlomo built altars to. Shlomo asked for wisdom in judging Israel, which Yah delivered; but he didn’t exercise wisdom in a lot of personal areas of his life, and that kinda bit Israel on the butt in Rehovoam’s days. I think it is very likely that no king of Israel, except perhaps David, ever wrote himself a copy of Torah, as Yah instructed in
15 Thou shalt in any wise set king over thee, whom Yah Elohecha shall choose: from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as Yah hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this Torah in a book out of that before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear Yah Elohaiv, to keep all the words of this Torah and these chukim, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel. [Devarim 17.15-20]
Had David and/or Shlomo done so, it would have set a much better course for the nation from the outset. For sure, Shlomo would not have mistreated the 10 northern tribes to the point of rebellion and there might not have been such a disparity of services among the Notzrim Yehudim and Hellenist believers in Acts 6. LOTS of things COULD have been different, if only …Then in v.7 Tanakh says Adoniyah ‘conspired’ with Yoav, son of ZeruYah and Avyathar haKohen to control the power of Israel. Avyathar had been loyal to David in the Avshalom debacle, and I do not think he was necessarily being disloyal in his own mind by working to get AdoniYah anointed. After all, he may not have KNOWN of the promise to BathSheva and Shlomo and he and Yoav may have been the ones who made AdoniYah wait until David’s death to assume the throne – he WOULD customarily be the crown prince, though not by the wishes of the king. Yoav and Avyathar may not have known David’s mind on succession to the throne. Q&C
V.8-27 – I think it may be because of the action of this verse that Zadok’s sons will be the priests who offer in Yechezkel’s Temple under the Prince’s [Mashiyach’s Melchitzadik] authority.
1 Thus saith Adonai Yah; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened. 2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening… 4 And the burnt offering that the prince shall offer unto Yah in the sabbath day; six lambs without blemish, and a ram without blemish. 5 And the meat offering; an ephah for a ram, and the meat offering for the lambs as he shall be able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah. 6 And in the day of the new moon; a young bullock without blemish, and six lambs, and a ram: they shall be without blemish. 7 And he shall prepare a meat offering, an ephah for a bullock, and an ephah for a ram, and for the lambs according as his hand shall attain unto, and an hin of oil to an ephah. 8 And when the prince shall enter, he shall go in by the way of the porch of that gate, and he shall go forth by the way thereof…11 And in the feasts and in the solemnities the meat offering shall be an ephah to a bullock, and an ephah to a ram, and to the lambs as he is able to give, and an hin of oil to an ephah. 12 Now when the prince shall prepare a voluntary burnt offering or peace offerings voluntarily unto Yah, one shall then open him the gate that looketh toward the east, and he shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, as he did on the sabbath day: then he shall go forth; and after his going forth one shall shut the gate. [Eze.46.1-2, 4-8, 11-12]
The Prince prepares LOTS of freewill offerings in that Temple, but the sons of Zadok actually place them on the altar for burning. As I said, I think it’s because Zadok stood with David here.
Zadok, BenaYah and Nathan heard of the plot by AdoniYah when none of them were, nor was Shlomo, invited to the party and they put 2 and 2 together [vv.9-10]. They went to the one who would be harmed by it and who could do something about it; BathSheva [v.11], to whom the promise was made and through whom it was fulfilled;
12 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took from Sha’ul, whom I put away before thee. 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 17 According to all these words, and according to all this vision, so did Nathan speak unto David. [2Sam.7.12-17]
24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Shlomo: and Yah loved him. 25 And he sent by the hand of Nathan the prophet; and he called his name YedidYah [Yah’s beloved], because of Yah. [2Sam.12.24-25]
4 Howbeit Yah Eloha of Israel chose me [David] before all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever: for he hath chosen Yehudah the ruler; and of the house of Yehudah, the house of my father; and among the sons of my father he liked me to make king over all Israel: 5 And of all my sons, (for Yah hath given me many sons,) he hath chosen Shlomo my son to sit upon the throne of the kingdom of Yah over Israel. [1Chron.28.4-5]
BathSheva followed Nathan’s advice [vv.12-14] and presented her case and Shlomo’s to the king. Nathan put the words in her mouth, as Yoav had put the words into the woman’s mouth, who
go to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth. [2Sam.14.3]
These words were Nathan’s words, not necessarily David’s. David MAY have made this promise to BathSheva, but there is no prior mention of it in Tanakh. That she repeated this again in v.17, just to be sure that this is the most recent idea in his mind for when Nathan entered to ask what the line of succession is supposed to be [v.24].
She pretty much detailed AdoniYah’s actions to David [vv.17-21]. Then, in comes Nathan, who confirms [vv.24-27] every detail of the story and adds that ALL the kings sons and advisers EXCEPT for Shlomo, Nathan, BenaYah, Zadok and David’s mighty men of valor [v.8] were invited. While I think David was having some ‘male problems’ in his old age, I also think he was no dotard. When he heard the plot, he was incensed. How’s THAT for getting heat, Avishag?! I think it reminded him of Avshalom’s rebellion and attempt to usurp the throne. All of this was PROBABLY a REMINDER to David, not a deception. Had it been Yoav and not Nathan haNavi, I would assume a deception, but … it IS Nathan haNavi and BathSheva, so I assume the best.
Vv.28-31 – While there is actually no mention in Tanakh of David promising BathSheva the throne to Shlomo, the fact that she understood that to be the case and that it WAS David’s intent is evident. And here he gives the orders to have it done NOW, immediately after he speaks the promises before at least 3 witnesses. The deal is absolutely done before Yah and it cannot be repealed. Q&C
The rest of the chapter is the actual coronation of Shlomo as vice-regent with David until David’s natural death and then AdoniYah’s negotiation to keep his head, for NOW!
I think that we have seen pretty much the same things done in both the Torah Parsha and the Haftarah, and the personal parallels are striking to me, if not to anyone else.
- Avraham’s role in the Parsha is supplied by David in Haftarah. Avraham knows his time is getting short in this world, as does David, and he moves to ensure his successor, as does David “over Israel and over Yehudah” [v.35 – a 2-house reference]. The difference is that David didn’t know that the machinations AdoniYah was working were so similar to the ones his eldest son Avshalom had taken in his quest for the throne. I think THAT is what caused the heat to rise in David. Sorry, Avishag.
2. Sarah’s and Rivkah’s roles are filled by BathSheva, as the matriarch protecting her husband’s and children’s inheritances.
3. Nathan, Zadok, BenaYah and the mighty men fill the role of Elezar, Avraham’s servant, in ensuring the proper successor get’s his inheritance.
4. Shlomo fills the role of Yitzhak as the inheritor of the promises of Yah and of his father. As I said, to me the parallels are striking.
In v.32, David calls his ‘war cabinet’, as it were, his most trusted advisers, to himself to issue marching orders. It doesn’t say who BenaYah is except that he is YehoYada’s son. YehoYada is mentioned extensively in Kings and Chronicles, but it is ALWAYS as BenaYah’s abba. There is a priest named YehoYada named in YirmeYahu 29.26 and another mentioned in NehemYahu 3.6, but these are hundreds of years later in Yehudah’s history. So who is YehoYada, whose name translates loosely as “Yah Knows”. In our study of 2Sa.8 we know who BenaYah was;
And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers. 2Sa.8.18
BenaYah was both Lord High Executioner [Cherethi is from the Hebroot 3772, karath כרת –, to cut off] and Information Minister/CIA director [Pelethi is from Hebroot 6431 palath פלת, courier, swiftness]; …
In 1Sam.30.14, where the Cherethi are first mentioned, TSK says they were originally Cretans, neither Plishtim nor Yisraeli, but that they allied with David against Amalek, who had burnt Ziklag and carried off all David’s and his MMOV’s families and stuff. In 2Sam.15, the 2nd mention of the Pelethi, I had this from Stone’s Tanach, “Where KJV transliterates Cherethi and Pelethi, Stones translates ‘archers and slingers’ respectively.” These were not guys to mess with. They could reach out and touch their adversaries with their artillery, i.e.; arrows and sling-stones delivered to within a hair’s breadth of their target from 200 yards, before the standard infantry could get close enough to fight. Looks as though they were in David’s Secret Service from then on, now with BenaYah as their commander.
But we still haven’t a clue as to Yehoyada; and for our purposes here, it isn’t very important. But there is a YehoYada who figures prominently in Yehudah’s future history, after the 10 tribes broke away. He is the son of BenaYah. Same BenaYah? If so, BenaYah lives a very long life, since this YehoYada was the high priest who saved Yehoash from Athaliah, daughter of Ahaz and Yezevel. The separation is easily 6-7 generations and 120 years of the Davidic line. I have to think that we are talking about 2 different BenaYah’s, too.
So David gives clear instruction to his War Cabinet about how to proceed. “Take Shlomo’s servants [v.33] and have Shlomo ride my own mule, with his servants attending, down to Gichon and there [v.34] Tzadok, Kohen haGadol and Nathan haNavi will anoint Shlomo king over Yisrael while blowing the shofar in assembly and everyone shouting ‘Yechi haMelech Shlomo!’, ‘Long live Shlomo haMelech’! TSK has this note on v.33, “cause him to ride”;
Maimonides informs us, that it was a capital offence for any one to ride on the king’s mule, to sit on his throne, or to handle his sceptre, without permission; and as David ordered Solomon to ride on his own mule, etc., it was ample evidence that he had appointed him his successor.
David continues [v.35], “ you will follow him up to my throne on which he shall sit. He will rule in my stead, as I have appointed him as my heir and ruler over chol Yisrael and Yehudah.” After BenaYah agreed with David on the course of action [vv.36-37], they carried out David’s orders, taking the Secret Service with them [v.38-39] for Shlomo’s protection, while the people of the city followed the procession playing on their pipes and rejoicing in David’s son [v.40] taking his promised place as co-regent to David. Q&C
Meanwhile, at AdonYah’s ‘accession to the throne party’ [vv.41-49], all the revelers at the party center heard the tumult out in the city and put down their utensils, thinking (like Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor), “Whu-U-UH?!”, and Yoav asking, “Why is the city in an uproar?” Well, before the question was fully out of his mouth, AvYathar’s son, Yehonathan entered the room with news from the city. AdonYah welcomed him, “Come on in, valiant son of my Kohen haGadol. Tell us your news.” So Yehonathan spilled the lentils right in all their laps [I suppose Bush’s Best Vegetarian Beans had yet to be invented, more’s the pity; in vv.43-49], “Our Master, Melech David, has named Shlomo king. He has sent Tzadok, the Kohen haGadol, Nathan haNavi, and BenaYah with his artillerymen to set Shlomo, riding on haMelech’s mule, to Gichon spring, where Tzadok and Nathan have anointed Shlomo Melech. That posse came up to the city rejoicing and the city has joined them, pleased that there will be no question as to who will reign after Melech David’s death, and the people have blessed Shlomo with long life and a name even greater than David’s. Shlomo now sits on the throne of the United Kingdom of Yisrael, and David has proclaimed his blessing on Yah, Elohim of Yisrael that He has given Yisrael a king to succeed him and allowed him to see it with his own eyes.” The guests at the city’s “Premature Party Center” were worried spitless.
I think YehoNathan ben AvYathar was not a part of the revelry in the Party Center for a good reason – he didn’t support AdonYah’s attempt to ascend to the throne while David was still alive. He may, I think, have been with Tzadok, Nathan and BenaYah’s at Shlomo’s coronation. In fact, I think that AvYathar had taken part in the whole … ‘plot – thing’ with grave reservations and had told YehoNathan of his misgivings. Don’t ask me WHY I think that – I just get that impression as I read this exchange and remember how faithful AvYathar had been to David. It is very out of character for AvYathar to have done this. Remember that he was the only survivor of Doeg’s massacre of the kohanim [1Sa.22], and he had carried an ephod with the Urim v’Thumim to David at Keilah and David had assured his protection. I am sure that AvYathar was no ingrate.
Vv.50-53 – AdonYah, being the petulant cry-baby he was, got up from his party and ‘took hold of the horns of the altar’. First of all, this was not in the Temple, which was yet to be built, nor in the Wilderness Tabernacle, which was not in the city of Jerusalem, but Gibeon. David probably had built a tabernacle over the altar that he had prepared on the site of Aravnah’s threshing floor, but I don’t think that’s where AdonYah went, either. From etzion.org.il comes this about the altar and Temple:
the Rambam writes as follows:
The altar is [to be constructed] in a very precise location, which may never be changed, as it is said (I Divrei Ha-Yamim 22:1): “This is the altar for the burnt-offerings of Israel.” Yitzchak was prepared as a sacrifice on the Temple’s [future] site, as it is said (Bereishit 22:2): “Go to the land of Moriya,” and in Divrei Ha-Yamim (II 3:1), it is said: “Then Shelomo began to build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem on Mt. Moriya, where [the Lord] appeared to David, his father, in the place that David had prepared, in the threshing floor of Ornan the Yevusite.”
It is universally accepted that the place on which David and Shelomo built the altar, the threshing floor of Ornan, is the location where Avraham built the altar on which he prepared Yitzchak for sacrifice. Noach built [an altar] on that location when he left the ark [MP thinks that is a stretch]. It was also [the place] of the altar on which Kayin and Hevel brought sacrifices [MP; ibid.]. [Similarly,] Adam, the first man, offered a sacrifice there and was created at that very spot, as our Sages said: “Man was created from the place where he [would find] atonement.”
The dimensions of the altar must be very precise. Its design has been passed down from one to another [over the course of the generations]. The altar built by the exiles [returning from Babylon] was constructed according to the design of the altar to be built in the future. We may not increase or reduce its dimensions. (ibid. 2:1-3)
The horns of the brazen altar [the altar in Giveon], NOT the one to which AdonYah resorted, were not like the horns of a goat or bull. They were flat-topped protrusions from each of the 4 corners that were sometimes used as platforms for the trays on which the flesh, or basins in which the blood, of the offerings were placed before and during the time of the offerings. Until Shlomo actually had the Temple built, there was no man-made altar on the site of the Temple. But there WAS a stone there on Mt. Moriyah that was used as an altar, I think the very one that David used to offer the oxen after he’d purchased Aravnah’s threshingfloor. This stone was only about 3 fingers widths above the ground, and, according to Rambam, was the altar on which Adam, Kayin, Avel, Noach and Avraham had made their offerings. I think he is correct, and that this is NOT the altar whose horns AdonYah took hold.
I actually think that ‘took hold of the horns’ meant that AdonYah was threatening suicide, thinking that his brother would be ticked [he was right] and would have him killed [he was right AGAIN, just not at this time]. He was swearing BY [v.50] the altar that he would off himself and demanded [v.51] that his little ½ brother promise NOT to kill him. Shlomo, using his accession to the throne as an excuse to be merciful and ‘understanding’, granted his request, so as not to sully his joy at this time. So Shlomo [v.53] sent for AdonYah, who bowed to his brother the king, who sent him home.
In ch.4 [I told you we’d look at it briefly, if we had a chance], we see AdoniYah again trying to usurp the throne, this time by use of a marriage of convenience to an extremely beautiful Shunammite, Avishag, King David’s concubine whom David did not ‘know’. She would be a nice trophy to show off to all the neighboring kings, like Hadassah was to Ahasuerus. If Shlomo had allowed this marriage, he would have given Adoniyah a pretty good lever to pry himself into the throne. Shlomo saw right through the ruse and had AdoniYah dispatched for cause. And we’ll get to that in some detail in a week or 2. Q&C
Ps.18.1-6 – To the man who is after Yah’s heart, He is Strength of purpose, a Rock on which to build, a Fortress to which to repair for rest and protection, a Deliverer who will rescue from danger, Eliy who is the source of strength, a Shield from attack, the Power of liberty and a Refuge whose vantage allows watchfulness and security. The first use of strength translates chezek from the root chazak – to be strong or strengthened. At the end of each book of Moshe is inserted the words chazak, chazak, v’nit’chazak. Be strong; Be strong and may we be strengthened. It is Yah who gives us strength when we ask for it, and He does so through His Torah. He is also our Rock, cela, and our Fortress, m’tzusah. We can Rest in him from the battles we face. He’s our Deliverer, palat, who makes a Way of escape for us in every situation. El is our tzur, the solid bedrock for Foundation that will not move and which is absolutely trustworthy to His obedient servants. He is our magen, our Shield, who will deflect the arrows of the enemy, make all who are attentive see his power work yasha, His Liberty in us and through us. Nothing is as liberating as Torah, the Word of Yah written in our hearts and minds. Everyone on earth has the choice to use his liberty to either obey Yah who created us and gave His only begotten Son to die the death we earned, or to disobey Him and spit in His Face. I choose to obey. I will call upon Him for strength, protection and deliverance and not my own might, because HE is worthy to be praised and honored (Rev.5.12).
When I trust my own strength, I get to live in vv.4-5, where I am frightened by the least adversity. But when I call on Him as David did for strength and deliverance, He provides it abundantly. This is what will cause Yah to send Yeshua, when Yisrael gives up on its own and its allies power, and turns in repentance to him, crying out “Hosheanu, Yah! Save us NOW!” Then He will send Yeshua to deliver the nation from certain death. The pieces are being set for the end game now [and it is getting clearer and clearer DAILY to those of us who believe His Word]. Remember DeGaulle’s words to Ben Gurion when asked why France had betrayed Israel’s friendship, “Nations do not have friends. Nations have interests.” But Yah has more than an interest in Yisrael. She is His estranged wife, and He loves her and wants her back. But He will not force her. He wants her to call on Him. As it is with each of us, so it is with the nations of the earth. It is prophesied that Israel will make teshuvah. What about the other nations? What about you? Q&C
Vv.7-15 – When Yah’s people cry out to Him, He responds. He will literally move mountains if necessary to deliver us – nothing is outside His power to do. He uses storms and earthquakes to get our attention. If He doesn’t get it, He uses more powerful means. If He still doesn’t get our attention and repentance, He will eventually lose patience with our obstinacy and move us out of the way in His wrath. All that stuff that He is to his people in vv.1-3 is what He will cause to be UNtrustworthy to our enemies. The ground will shake in places where it has not shook before. That which men trust and consider ‘bedrock’ will be moved to their destruction. Look again at the STUFF He sends against our enemies. Everything they trusted in will be useless to them when we call on Him to deliver us. This describes, among other battles he fights for us, Gog u’Magog from Ez.38-39, and Rev.20.7-9.
Vv.16-24 speak of our protection through the wrath He will send against those who trouble us. They trouble us by trying to get between us and Yah. That’s kind of like getting between a mama grizzly and her cubs – not too bright. But they don’t regard Yah as a real threat, and will learn the folly of it. Twice David says that Yah rewarded him ‘according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyesight.’ Now, I’ve read the historical accounts of David’s life and I know that he did LOTS of more wicked stuff than I have, but Yah delivered him. Why? Because of the last 3 words in v.24 – ‘in his eyesight’. When we repent of our evil deeds and confess them and acknowledge that we deserve to be judged for them, He removes our iniquity as far as east from west and them puts them at the bottom of the deepest part of the sea – He forgives us and WILL NOT see or remember our atoned for sins.
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins. (Isaiah 43:25)
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yah: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Yah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:34)
Keep short accounts with him. Confess and repent immediately after you sin. He’ll deliver you from it and it’ll be gone. Q&C
Vv.25-50 – You can tell a man’s heart by looking at how he sees Yah. If you think He is true, then you are most likely true. If you see Him as untrustworthy, guess what? If you are after His heart, He’ll put it in you and let you find it. And the better you know Him, the less you’ll think you’re all that and a bag of chips. It is Yah who saves the afflicted, who provides light in darkness, who gives us strength when we have none of our own. His way, Derech Hashem, is perfect, His word has been tested and found true. It is Yah who ensures that I don’t slip and fall. He keeps me secure in HIS presence, like a mountain goat on a rock face He guides my steps so that I get sure footing on the slimmest sliver of truth. The shield of Yah’s salvation is his right arm – Yeshua our Mashiyach. After we grab and trust and stand on the slimmest sliver of truth in v.33, He gives us larger footholds in v.36. As we trust Him in the small things, He gives us more and greater truth to hold on to. It isn’t trusting our own strength that brings a better foothold, but trusting His right hand to be our strength. For then He gives us the power and knowledge to overcome our enemies. They cry to Him for help, but He won’t hear them, for they still trust in their own strength. Does this sound like anything that might be happening in America about now? America has by and large turned away from Yah and His way and has gone its own ways. But every time He sends a wake-up call, like 9/11 or Katrina or Deepwater Horizon, or COVID; America cries out to Him for His blessing and deliverance without the prerequisite repentance and confession. And the blame for this is placed at the feet of the pastors and teachers in the k’halim of America, who tickle ears and speak soothing words instead of truth. They put the sheep to sleep instead of blowing the trumpet of warning. V.41 is aimed at the churches of America – the mainstream, the evangelical and the average Messianic church, as well. Our pastors and rabbis are NOT sounding the alarm for their people. Here’s what Yah has to say to them;
1 And the Word of Yah came unto me, saying, 2 Ben Adam, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith Adonai Yah unto the shepherds; Woe to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up the broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek. 7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of Yah; 8 I live, saith Adonai Yah, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock; 9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of Yah; 10 Thus saith Adonai Yah; Behold me against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. [Ezekiel 34.1-10]
Yah is NOT pleased with the pastors and rabbis or the politicians who have been speaking smooth words that tickle the ears of the flock, but feed them that which does not nourish them.
V.48 may show the rapture. If it does, this may be the only rapture there is. It is the deliverance of Yah’s remnant at the end of the Kingdom. It is the ultimate Gog u’Magog rebellion against the King and those who come to Tabernacle with Him around J’lem in the year 7000 AM. He lifts His people above the chamas men who wish to kill the King and His people, whom He delivers by His mighty hand and stretched out arm. He lifts us with His left hand while He squashes them like bugs with His right. Q&C
Acts.7.1-18 – Let’s read from 6.9, shall we? Stephen was brought before the council of the Sanhedrin to answer charges that:
This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14 For we have heard him say, that this Yeshua of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs [oral law] which Moshe delivered us. (6.13b&14)
The reason they were bringing these charges was:
8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. 9 Then there arose certain of which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. 11 Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moshe, and Elohim. (6.8-11)
Jealousy and anger. At least some of the people who couldn’t answer the wisdom of the Ruach he was speaking to were rabbis who had gotten their education through the great teachers of Yehudism, perhaps there were some from Gamaliel’s school – Rav Sha’ul’s classmates, as it were. Think about it for a minute. Why was Rav Sha’ul even there to hold folks coats in ch.8? The action seems continuous from ch.6.8 – 8.3. Either he was in the Sanhedrin or he was in the group disputing w/Stephen, or both. I think he was one of the people who were disputing w/Stephen, and couldn’t abide this presumably uneducated man defeating the ‘star’ of Gamaliel’s school who was arguably the most intelligent man ever to walk the earth – he was definitely one of the most educated men on earth, as we see here:
And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. (Acts 26:24)
Paul may have been the one who formally brought the charges. I don’t know why – I have no actual evidence, but I think the rich young ruler (Lk.18) was Sha’ul of Tarsus;
18 And a certain ruler (Sanhedrin?) asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Yeshua said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, Elohim. 20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. 21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 22 Now when Yeshua heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. 23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
I think Rav Sha’ul was drawn to Yeshua, having seen through his studies that Yeshua was indeed Mashiyach. I see this incident as the beginning of his animosity towards Derech Hashem, ‘the Way’. I think he heard what Yeshua didn’t say or even intimate, “Go away, you vile sinner.” He was young and probably prideful. I also think he already knew what his besetting sin was – covetousness. It’s the one of the interpersonal commandments Yeshua didn’t mention. He may have had lots of stuff and it may have been hard to part with, but I think it was more his position in the religion that he coveted than his stuff, and I think he shows us that in Rom.7.5ff, which is a subject for another day. All I just said was surmised – a ‘gut feeling’ – and I very well could be wrong. But I doubt it. Juxtapose the synoptic gospel accounts of the rich young ruler (new to the Sanhedrin?) in Lk.18, Mat.19 and Mk.10, to Acts 6.8 – 8.3, Rom.7.5ff and Acts 9.1-5 to see why I think the way I do. It just all seems to fit together. Q&C
So the high priest asked Stephen, “Is this true? Are you saying that Yeshua said he would destroy the Temple and change the customs of Moshe?” In answer, Stephen ran through a summary of Israel’s history starting at Avraham leaving Ur of the Chaldees. Eventually, Yitzhak was born and CCd on the 8th day and he begat Ya’acov, who begat the patriarchs who sold Yoseph into Egypt, the jealous brothers sold the righteous brother. Stephen was intimating the reasons the so-called ‘brethren of the Way’ were evilly entreating him. Jealousy.
There’s a seeming discrepancy between Stephen’s summary and Torah, in that he says Avraham bought Ya’acov’s burial site in Shechem from Hamor, when in fact Avraham had bought his own burial site from Ephron in Hebron. It was, in fact, Ya’acov who had bought land for his family and livestock from Hamor near Shalem (Y’rushalem, Gen.33). The discrepancy can be attributed to Stephan’s inadvertent mis-speech, or his use of a midrash to make a point. I lean toward the latter. If I am correct, the point was the same as the author of Hebrews made in ch.7-8 there. If Levi tithed to Melchizedek in Avraham, Avraham also purchased the land by Ya’acov, as the seed is in the father and the son’s deeds are therefore the father’s. All this land is by promise to Avraham and his seed. But is the seed counted by flesh or by Spirit? Rav Sha’ul later came to know by the Ruach that it was by Spirit, not flesh; for he said in Rom.9.6,
“They are not ALL Yisrael who are of Israel,”
and in Gal.3.
16 Now to Avraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Mashiyach.
The bottom line of Stephen’s answer to the high priest was, “Yes, Yeshua came to destroy the oral traditions you set above the Torah of Yah.” I think the entire audience understood what he was saying, and the Sanhedrin didn’t have (or want, really) any control over the rabble that followed Rav Sha’ul’s lead to stone him without the city gates. Q&C
Acts.7.1-19 – This is from our midrash of about 7-8 month or so ago:
Stephen was rehearsing the history of Israel, and he made a few mistakes in it, but that helps to establish the bona fides of the account. If Luke was fabricating this story, he’d have made sure to cross his ‘T’s and dot his ‘I’s. The fact that we witness a couple of mistakes, well one actually, in Stephen’s monologue tells me that Luke is telling the story as it happened. Mistake #1 is that Jacob was buried in Shechem, when he was really buried in Hevron and Machpelah on land that Avraham bought. Mistake #2 is that Stephen says that Avraham bought the land from Hamor, father of Shechem, when Yacov bought that land. I think Stephen just got the land involved in his story wrong, a simple human mistake. The Ruach was not inspiring Stephen’s memory, but Luke’s account of it. OR, Stephen was using midrash to show that Yacov’s sons had conquered the Canaanites long before they entered the land to possess it and that when he bought the property it was a foreshadowing of Israel occupying kol haAretz, the whole land, as Yah had prophesied to Avraham.
There is a remez, a hint, here. When Stephen talks of Yoseph revealing himself to his brethren the 2nd time they came to Egypt (v.13), it hints at Yoseph (Ephraim/10-Israel) being revealed to his Yehudi brethren (2-Israel) at Mashiyach’s (2nd) coming as benDavid.