March 30, 2013 Shabbat Midrash
©2013 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
March 30, 2013 – Year 1 Sabbath 3
Genesis 3:24-4:26 – Isaiah 42:8 – Psalm 3 – Romans 3:1-24
B’reishith 3:24-4:26 – The Cheruvim are warrior angels who guard against human entrance into Gan Eden and access to the Tree of Life until the redemption of the body. I assume it is they who wield the sword that also guards the path to the Tree of Life.
4.1- – The Schottenstein’s Interlinear Chumash seems to translate the last ‘et’ in this verse as ‘with’. KJV, similarly seems to translate ‘et’ as ‘from’. The rabbi’s translation indicates the Chavah had gotten Ca’in by Y’hovah’s instrumentality; “with Y’hovah”. The whole verse is, to my knowledge, mistranslated in the Chumash. The plain sense is that ‘Adam knew Chavah’, but they imposed the past perfect on it, saying ‘Adam had known Chavah’. This is in accord with their opinion that Adam had known Chavah in Gan Eden BEFORE the fall, when there is nothing BUT opinion to back up this imposition. This is as egregious a translational bias as is the KJV’s addition of the words days and is in Col.2.17. The rabbis are imposing the idea that Chavah was pregnant when she ate the fruit and gave it to Adam with no obvious support from the text. Both Chumash and KJV seem to say that Ca’in and Avel were womb-mates; twins. Probably. Part of the judgment of Chavah was
16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception;
which I infer to mean that she would have few, if any, single births. This judgment on her was also a blessing of physical multiplicity. Multiple births/pregnancy would ‘plenish’ the earth quite quickly. Considering the ages reached by the first 10 generations of men before Noach’s flood and the blessing of few, if any, single births/pregnancy, the earth would fill up pretty quickly; perhaps having a population in the multiple billions by Noach’s time, 1656 years hence. I seriously doubt that Adam and Chavah were ‘preggers’ before their sin, since Adam was 130 years old when Sheth was born (5.3). That MAY not be salient to the point, but it LIKELY is. I assume that Sheth was from the very next pregnancy, not one 129-130 years after the death of Avel.
Chumash’s commentary on vv.3-5 (pg.21) is very good and very likely. Both animal and produce offerings were acceptable to Y’hovah under the right circumstances, so It was probably not the TYPE of thing offered that was deemed unacceptable, but the QUALITY of that which was offered. Y’hovah requires the BEST, or the ‘bachor’; the firstfruits of whatever is being offered. If Ca’in offered less than his best, you can see why his offering was not respected, while Avel’s, because he offered his best, was. Ca’in’s attitude was wrong, and perhaps this was the beginning of the natural tendency for the fathers to favor their male ‘bachor’ over their later children, and the resulting tendency for 2nd-born sons to strive to be better than their elder brothers. Think Ca’in and Avel/Sheth, Yaphet and Shem, Ishma’el and Yitzhak, Esav and Ya’acov, etc., and the troubles that are caused by this favoritism. This is a very difficult thing for a father to overcome because it IS natural. The wise-hearted young man will recognize this in the great pairs of brothers in scripture and work diligently to NOT play favorites with their children. I TRIED to do this with my own children. Whether or not I succeeded is to be seen in how THEY treat their own children.
I think that Adam had played favorites with his sons and that Ca’in EXPECTED that everyone would respect him over his brother because his father did. When Y’hovah made his displeasure known, Ca’in found a corner to sulk in. Y’hovah spoke to Ca’in about his attitude, and how he might fix the problem; REPENTANCE and self-control. If I am right about Adam’s favoritism, Ca’in decided to stay with what he knew, that he could do no wrong in papa’s eyes, and went with his feelings and self-aggrandizement. He more-or-less lured his brother out to the field and murdered him. Now, at this point in time, there were not many other folks around who could have killed Avel in Ca’in’s field, so the perp was pretty well known.
After the deed was done, Y’hovah came to Ca’in and asked where his brother was. Ca’in replied in a ‘smart-alec’ kind of tone (in a Mark paraphrase), “How should I know. I don’t have the Avel watch today!” Y’hovah let him know that he saw through the attitude and used the same approach he’d used with Adam, trying to cajole him into repentance, “What have you done? Your brother’s blood calls out to me from the ground, which from this point curses you, having soaked up your brother’s blood that you’ve shed.” To this point, the ground had been fertile for Ca’in, but the curse toward him was that the earth would not yield as Ca’in had become accustomed to. He would always be looking for better places to farm, but it wasn’t that the earth COULDn’t yield, but that it WOULDn’t yield to Ca’in, as if the earth itself knew who was or wasn’t tilling and planting it. Ca’in’s green thumb had turned decidedly black.
When he heard his sentence for his brother’s murder, he finally became remorseful; not for what he had done, but for the outcome of it and the worry that when people noticed that he was constantly on the move, they’d distrust him or hate him. This may be the beginning of xenophobia, fear of strangers. Here’s a conjecture of what Ca’in ran into:
Martha and Ed notice Ca’in coming down the road. They’d never seen a ‘mover’ before; it just wasn’t done in those days. I mean, why move? Noone had any trouble raising crops; the earth was fertile universally. Why did the earth not yield for THIS guy when it did for EVERYONE else? Martha and Ed decided to check out his back-trail and they found that his brother turned up missing a few years ago and from that time to this, this guy is constantly moving and he can’t get weeds to grow, much less productive crops. Then they found that he had been, like; ‘SuperPlanter’, for whom no seed could not produce super-abundantly: until his brother disappeared. Suddenly, for this guy, and seemingly for noone else, the ground would not yield. He could plant the best seed on earth and all he could reap was rocks. So, they didn’t want Joe Btzfzptlk (the character from the old Snuffy Smith daily newspaper comic who always had a little thunderstorm follow him, right over his head, everywhere he went) in THEIR neighborhood. For some reason he had some bad juju on him and it might be contagious. Q&C
Now, Ca’in was worried that people would want to kill him. We apply what we know is in our own hearts to other people, thinking that we are like everyone else. Since Ca’in was a murderer, didn’t it figure that everyone was a murderer? It did to Ca’in’s mind. His mind was not thinking properly. He said that he would be hidden from Y’hovah’s face. How could that be true? If Y’hovah’s face was not hidden from the blood of Avel, how could it be from Ca’in? Y’hovah knew this and spoke a reassuring word to him; if anyone murdered Ca’in they could expect 7 times more affliction than Ca’in had to endure. Rashi translated this verse to say that after 7 generations one would kill Ca’in. Lamech would be that 7th generation, according to Rashi (though the record shows he was the 5th generation from Ca’in, Lamech’s was the 7th generation on earth). Lamech was the guy who said, “if one suffers 7 times for Ca’in’s death, then one will suffer 77 times for mine.” Wow! I thought I was full of MYself!
Ca’in had a son, Chanok. After Chanok was born, Ca’in built a city and named it Chanok. Chanok means ‘to initiate’. Chanok was the first son of Ca’in, presumably the 1st grandson of Adam and Chavah AND the name of the first city on record. I infer that Ca’in got tired of moving and built a place for his family to ‘plant roots’, as it were. I also infer that he had set up shop of some type to provide for his family’s needs by trading, since he had a black thumb. The city had to have been built at a crossroad or a ford/confluence of rivers. So, Ca’in built the city Chanok and Chanok begot ‘Irad (fugitive), who begot M’chuyael (smitten of God), who begot M’thushael (Man of God), who begot Lamech.
There is no definition of the root word, Lamech. Going back to the pictographs a ל lamed represented a shepherd’s staff, used to direct sheep by pushing or pulling them. It was also used as a defensive weapon to protect the sheep from predators, both 4 and 2 legged. The מ mem represents the sea, water, mighty/massive and chaos, which was how the early Hebrews understood the sea. Many question words begin with a mem; mah? (what), meh? (who), and etc. The ך Kaph represents an open hand (the bent palm) or to be bent to another’s will. Perhaps it means to be protected from the chaotic uncertainty of doing another’s will, or guided mightily by being bent to another’s will. Lamech, the 7th generation, including Adam, thru Ca’in, may have been mightily guided to another’s will, namely haSatan’s. SPECULATION WARNING: I would not be surprised to find that the city of Chanok was a center for the genetic experimentation that developed the Nephilim. END SPEC WARNING
Meanwhile, Adam … remember Adam? … Adam and Chavah begot Sheth 130 years after the sin in Eden. Chavah named him Sheth because Elohim ‘appointed’ Chavah another seed instead of Avel, whom Ca’in slew. Avel had been the seed of the woman, whom Y’hovah Elohim had promised Chavah, so you can see that Ca’in was probably led to murder Avel by haSatan. Now, Sheth became the seed ‘appointed’ to Chavah. And Sheth had a son named E’nosh, whose name derives from the root anash, which literally means ‘frail’ or ‘feeble’, and hence E’nosh means ‘mortal’.
The last phrase in the chapter uses the word huchal, which literally means ‘he profaned’ a thing. And the thing named is Y’hovah. It does NOT say that E’nosh began to profane the Name of Y’hovah, but that in his day the Name began to be profaned, or made common, not held in holiness. The root of huchal is chalal. When the Moslems prepare their food and dedicate it to their false moon god, it is called halal, which is suspiciously close to the Hebrew word chalal – common or profane.
There are going to be questions about halal meat, since it is getting more and more difficult to find ‘clean’ flesh food that is not halal. I refer you to Acts 10 and Kefa’s vision of the animals, both clean and unclean, that were lowered down from heaven on a sheet (talith gadol, I think). When Y’hovah told him to “Rise! Kill and eat!”, Kefa told him, “Not so, Master! I have never eaten anything that was common (chalal?) or unclean”. And Y’hovah answered him, “Don’t you call what I have made clean (Gen.1) common (chalal?).” Now, compare that to Rav Sha’ul in 1Cor.10
19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to Elohim: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of Y’hovah, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke Y’hovah to jealousy? are we stronger than he? 23 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not. 24 Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s. 25 Whatsoever is sold in the shambles eat, asking no question for conscience sake: 26 For the earth is Y’hovah’s, and the fulness thereof. 27 If any of them that believe not bid you [to eat with them], and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake. 28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is Y’hovah’s, and the fulness thereof: 29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another’s conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1Cor.10.19-31)
Do you understand that? Eat any food that is set before you, (remembering what Y’hovah calls food) and having done the hamotzi lechem (brings food), don’t ask about its origin. You are not the ‘kosher cop’. The proper ‘kosher cop’ is your host. If what he is serving is biblically clean food, eat and give thanks for the repast. If someone else says, “Oh! This is halal!” don’t eat it for the sake of the guy who noticed, so as to not influence him to do something of which he is not fully persuaded. YOU know that the Moslem false god doesn’t really exist. Some devil/demon, who is of a lower authority than you are, is claiming to be a god and is accepting worship from his betters. But that god does not exist. The one who noticed thinks it does, though; so you should refrain from exercising your right and liberty so that you do not wound his spirit or soul. In this we who KNOW should defer our liberty and rights for the sake of the other guy’s conscience. Q&C
Isaiah 42:8 – Y’hovah is addressing the whole house of Ya’acov; Israel and Yehudah. He is telling them to look at their King Moshiach in vv.1-4. Next, I infer that he is equating the King to Elohim Y’hovah in vv.5-8, at least. Y’hovah has given King Moshiach to be his right hand and stretched out arm in the earth, and as King he will hold the right hand of his people and guard them. As long as he is Y’hovah’s right hand (and I don’t think he ever is NOT) and holds our hand as he walks with us, we cannot act as our own right hand because it is his LEFT that holds our RIGHT. King Moshiach is the covenant given to us, his people, AND he is the light to the nations of the earth. He is the light to the nations who opens the blind eyes (Jn.9), who brings prisoners out of their prison and those who sit in darkness out of the dungeons of despair and into the light of truth. He IS Y’hovah, and will not give his Name to any false god. We just celebrated Pesach and are in the midst of the Feast of Matsoh, Unleavened Bread. This coming first day, tomorrow, is chag haBikkurim, the biblically commanded day of first-fruits of the barley harvest and the first day of counting the omer. Let us celebrate that day, and not the day that the pagans have celebrated from Babel to now, the day of the false goddess who goes by many names. Let us NOT celebrate with the world, but celebrate the day of firstfruits, as Y’hovah commanded us in Lev.23
9 And Y’hovah spake unto Moshe, saying, 10 Speak unto b’nei of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: 11 And he shall wave the sheaf before Y’hovah, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. 12 And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto Y’hovah. 13 And the meat offering thereof shall be two tenth deals of fine flour mingled with oil, an offering made by fire unto Y’hovah for a sweet savour: and the drink offering thereof shall be of wine, the fourth part of an hin. 14 And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto Elohenu: a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. (Vayikra 23.9-14)
This day CANNOT be properly celebrated outside haAretz. But, as we do with Pesach, we CAN do with Bikkurim, we can memorialize it. I think it is possible for us, to some extent, perform v.13. I think that recipe for the meat, or grain, offering was for the priest to do in the Temple for the nation. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary a ‘tenth deal’ = about 3 quarts. The hin was about a quart. I assume the oil was just mingled without an amount specified. I don’t think the priests actually ate the barley and oil, but we cannot offer it in the same way that they did. I think we could get some barley flour, mix it with olive oil and water and then bake it or fry it on a dry non-stick griddle, perhaps as a flour tortilla kind of thing. My LB says we need to add something in place of the wheat gluten; some Xanthan gum or something like it, to make the barley work as a tortilla. Then we could enjoy it as our unleavened bread for a meal or 2 and talk of scripture while breaking bread and drinking some grape juice/wine, enjoying the table of Y’hovah. This is just an idea I have to use the elements of the offering in some way to memorialize it. It surely beats munching on the Easter Ham, chasing after the colored eggs of rabbits and claiming to be memorializing Yeshua’s resurrection (on the wrong day of the week), right? Q&C
Tehellim 3 – The day is coming and is almost upon us, when vv.1-2 will be on our lips. We will be quite literally surrounded by enemies and will be either totally dependent on him or we will fall away. There is so much working against us: from the NWO; the so-called ‘elected’ government of our own nation working in league with the NWO Master, Anti-Messiah; to the very ‘churches/synagogues’ that are also in league with the NWO Master to bring, if it were possible, even the very elect to deny their Master Yeshua haMoshiach, who said with his own mouth that they would turn you in thinking that they were doing Elohim a favor. Stop and consider v.2. Is that not exactly what Yeshua was warning us about? Can this not be applied to those to whom Paul refers in Romans 1?
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Rom.1.28-32)
When these things come upon us, we need to recall to our minds vv.3-4. Y’hovah is our shield, protecting us from the enemy. It is he in whom we glory and it is he who holds us up when we are weak. When we cry to him, he responds. He doesn’t just hear what we say and then forget about us. He responds with EXACTLY what we need to get through the trial; the right words to speak, the right decisions to take.
When we turn from Y’hovah, he causes us to ‘sleep’, or go into exile. When we repent, he awakens us; he sustains his own even through the exile and repentance so that he can reconcile us to himself and grant us his Shalom. When we have shalom with Y’hovah, there is nothing to fear, not even being outnumbered 10,000 to 1, for as soon as we call out for his deliverance, he responds in our best interest to save our lives, whether spiritual, physical or both. He will slap our enemies silly and break out their choppers so they can’t sustain themselves, because salvation/deliverance from sin and covetous selfishness is what he offers, even to the last minute; even to his enemies and those who would destroy his people.
4 Fury is not in me: who would set the briers and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. 5 Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. (YeshaYahu 27.4-5)
There are VERY few whom he gives over completely to a reprobate mind, from whom he withdraws the offer of Shalom before their physical death, because salvation/deliverance truly does belong to him and his offer of Shalom is good to the very last breath.
Romans 3:1-24 – This is taken from my study of “Romans – An Hebraic Perspective”.
Remember what the word circumcision meant to the Jews, and especially the rabbis. Circumcision was the last act of a proselyte before he became a full member of the synagogue and Temple. Remember also that the argument in Acts 15 was NOT that the gentiles just have their foreskins trimmed, but that they go through all the stuff that proselytes were made to do and then be circumcised and only THEN be admitted into ‘The Way’. If you keep this in mind, this scripture will NOT be so cryptic.
Vv.1-4 – While we look at v.1 remember that there are words added by the translators to ‘clarify’ or ‘facilitate understanding’ for the reader who is not so well versed in the scriptures or the ancient languages. For the most part they do a good job of that. Once in a while we see some preconceptions or pet doctrines that are shored up by these additions. As an example I submit Col.2.17, where the translators added the words ‘is’ and ‘days’ without any real reason for it, in fact it kind of hampers the flow of the reading and thought. Here’s Col.2.16-17, the entire sentence;
16 “Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Moshiach.”
This passage is speaking to the Colossian gentile believers who are starting to obey Torah and forsaking their pagan ways. Their old pagan ‘pastors’ and ‘priests’ are giving them a hard time about their Torah observances of the sabbath, the new moon, festivals of Y’hovah, and eating and drinking clean foods. Paul is telling them that it is not up to the pagans to judge them, ‘but the body of Messiah.’ IOW, the body of Messiah, the Messianic ‘Beit Din’, is who should judge whether their actions are in accordance with scripture (as they had done in Acts 15) not the pagans and paganism they’d abandoned. The rendering, ‘the body is of Moshiach’ doesn’t even fit, and the wording is awkward. “Let no man judge you… but the Body of Messiah”. A ‘shadow’ is an outline of that which is ‘shaded’, like an ‘ensample’ or an inkling of good things to come. The translators want us to think that it is the body of Messiah that is casting the shadow, when the text says that the things casting the shadow are the promises of Y’hovah for the New Creation, as is shown in prophecies of Tanakh in most of the prophets. But the sentence says, “Which are a shadow of things to come;” not which were a shadow. Messiah had already come. If it was HIS shadow that the new moons, feasts, sabbath and clean food instructions had FOREshadowed, does it not follow that Sha’ul would have used the past tense? These were and are STILL foreshadowing something, like Messiah’s return at the end of the age.
Back to Rom.3.1 – There are couple of ‘wordplays’ in this verse. The word ‘advantage’ is from grk. perissos – beyond or superabundance, and the word ‘circumcision’ is from grk. peritome – to cut around. The word ‘profit’ is from grk. opheleia which literally means ‘advantage’. So the translators decided that ‘superabundance’ in clause A = advantage, while ‘advantage’ in clause B = profit. So let’s look at the change when we go ‘literal’. “What exceeding abundance does the Jew have? And what advantage is CC?”
Vv.2-4 – “Much every way!” And the reason is that we have the Word of Y’hovah through Israel. Every human author (except Job and Luke?) was an Israelite. Just because some Jews don’t believe, does that mean the faith of Y’hovah (Torah) is useless. No way, dude! Elohim will always be the source of truth, and man the source of lies. Even though Israel did not remain true to Y’hovah, Y’hovah remains true to Yisrael. Q&C
Vv.5-8 – What does ‘commend’ mean? In English, it means “to present as worthy of notice”[i] But the greek word, sunestao, here literally means to ‘stand with’ or ‘together’. The greek word says that the righteousness of Elohim stands in us together with our unrighteousness so that he is not unrighteous to chastise us when we sin. I think this chastisement begins with our own knowledge of and our remorse over our sin as soon as we commit it. If we repent and confess it to him, he is righteous and just to forgive us. If we don’t repent, he will bring ever increasing and stronger chastisements until we do. His chastisement is always to the end of encouraging us to turn from our own ways and return us to his way.
But that is not what he is saying in vv.7&8. He is saying that he has taught the truth of Elohim to both Jews and Greeks, but the Pharisees are accusing him of the sin of teaching Jews to ignore Torah and not instructing the gentile proselytes in it. Nothing could be further from the truth, as we saw in our brief study of Acts 15. The Jews are persecuting him for rightly teaching the truth of Elohim. Cf. ch.8.
28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
The difference between these verses is that in ch.3.8 Paul speaks as a man, who is slanderously reported as purposely working iniquity to watch Elohim work it out for his good, while in ch.8 he speaks according to the Ruach, that Y’hovah is making the circumstances that confront us to work out for our good. The first is presumption and sin that Sha’ul is being accused of; the second is faith and life that Sha’ul is really after despite the accusations against him.
Vv.9-18 – Remember that the central truth of scripture is the ‘Shema’ in Deut.6.4, “Shema, Yisrael, Y’hovah Elohenu Y’hovah echad.” “Hear O Israel, Y’hovah is our Elohim, Y’hovah is one.” The Shema is the gospel in a nutshell. As Y’hovah is one
6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Is.44.6)
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty… 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. (Rev.1.8&11)
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. (Rev.21.6)
13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Rev.22.13)
18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else… 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. (Is.45.18&21)
so should we be
16 That I should be the minister of Yeshua haMoshiach to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. (Rom.15.6)
10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of Adonenu Yeshua haMoshiach, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1Cor.1.10)
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Moshiach Yeshua. (Gal.3.28)
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Moshiach, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: … 11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 12 That at that time ye were without Moshiach, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Moshiach Yeshua ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Moshiach. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. (Eph.1.10 & 2.11-18)
As Y’hovah is one, so should we be, both with each other and also with him. The ultimate outcome of the gospel in us is to become one with Y’hovah, to have true peace with him. (That was ‘plan A’ with Adam.) We need to keep this in mind throughout Romans.
Paul, a Jew, is saying that even though it is through the Jews that we have the truth of Y’hovah, Jews are not better than Greeks, either intrinsically or morally. He then proves by using scripture that this is true. In vv.10-18 he quotes midrashically (not a direct quote, but one that hits the point he is making – a common Pharisaic practice)
Ps.14. 1 “The fool hath said in his heart, no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, none that doeth good. 2 Y’hovah looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, seek[ing] God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are together become filthy: none that doeth good, no, not one.”
He then quotes, again midrashically,
Ps.5. 9 “For no faithfulness [is] in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue”
140. 3 “They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah.”
Do you see how Sha’ul juxtaposes one portion of a verse from one psalm with another portion of a verse from another psalm and quotes them as if they are one? This is standard Hebraic or Pharisaic teaching style, one that is used repeatedly, both in scripture and in Talmud. He continues in the same vein in v.14, where he quotes Ps.10
7 “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue, mischief and vanity”
and juxtaposes it with Is.59.
7 “Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. 8 The way of peace they know not; and no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace,”
1 “The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, no fear of God before his eyes.”
I think he’s made his point that we are all one in that there is nothing intrinsically good about mankind, and that we are naturally incapable of even seeking to do good. “There is none righteous; no, not one.”
But Elohim’s plan is for us to be one with each other and with him.
Rom.3.12 quotes v.1 above, which says, “A FOOL has said in his heart, There is no God”. So when he says in the same verse, “there is none that doeth good”, to whom is he referring? If you said, “The fool who says ‘no God’”, you would be correct. It has nothing to do with faithful Torah observance, but with the state of the children of men. Every ‘they’ in Ps.14.1-3 refers to ‘the fool’ of v.1.
The fear of Elohim is the beginning of wisdom. Fear of Elohim is 1) abject terror of what he can and is justified in doing to us, which engenders 2) awe at his majesty and wondrous works, which leads us to 3) keeping his ways as he reveals them to us. Q&C
Vv.19-20 – Who is ‘under the law’? And what law is he under? Let’s look at the context first, to see if we can answer these questions. The verse says that every mouth is stopped and the entire world is guilty before Elohim. I think we can safely say that the whole world is ‘under the law’. Everyone is under its jurisdiction and must answer to it, even if he hasn’t been made intellectually aware of its existence, as we saw in ch.1.18ff. When he becomes aware of the Torah of Y’hovah, he knows both his sin and that he is a sinner, and that he cannot be justified by doing works of Torah.
But I don’t think that’s all that’s here. I think Paul may be talking about at least 2 different laws, the Torah of Y’hovah and the oral torah of the Jews. I think this is the only way to rectify the contradiction of 3.20 and 2.13 (as well as Jas.1.22). We know that there are no real contradictions in scripture, so when we see one we need to ask Abba to show us the reconciliation. The ‘2 law’ explanation is all I can figure. Let me substitute what I think are the 2 laws where they fit:
19 “Now we know that what things soever Torah saith, it saith to them who are under the (oral) law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the (oral) law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by Torah is the knowledge of sin” and Jas.1. 22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
The traditions of the fathers (oral Torah) had become (and still is) as binding or more so upon the Jews as was the revealed Word of Y’hovah. Paul was at odds with the Pharisees because he was exposing the truth to the people.
Vv.21-26 is one sentence with at least 7 clauses. Some folks have said that the guy who punctuated the KJV must have been riding a mule with one leg shorter than the others on a very uneven road, but I think that is not true. The punctuation is important. The colon separates two different ideas that could stand alone, the second (and/or third) illustrating the first: the semicolon conjoins 2 clauses, the second adding to the first: while the comma separates phrases that say the same thing in different words.
Elohim’s righteousness is not subject to any law because he decreed the law. Since he created it, he is not subject to it. That is NOT to say that he didn’t abide by it when he walked among us in the flesh, but that, as Spirit and the Creator of all, he cannot be subject to anything. His flesh HAD to learn to abide by Torah (Heb.5.8), to justify us thereby.
Y’hovah’s righteousness is manifested (made plain) in the Torah and the prophets (and the writings). His Word witnesses to his righteousness, which is by the faith OF Yeshua, not faith IN Yeshua. Our own faith is useless in our justification. Only Yeshua’s faith has efficacy for us. What does that mean? What is Yeshua’s faith? Does faith mean what I believe? Or is it tied up in what I do about what I believe?
Hebraically speaking, faith is action, not thought. James’ epistle is chock full of examples of faith being the action that comes from our strong convictions, as opposed to just saying or thinking rightly. Yeshua showed his faith by doing the will of his father in heaven. In Ps.40.7-10, Messiah says,
“7 Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book written of me, 8 I delight to do thy will, Elohai: yea, thy Torah within my heart. 9 I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, Y’hovah, thou knowest. 10 I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation. (Ps.40.7-10)
Messiah delightfully DOES the will of Avinu, not concealing or hiding it, but preaching and declaring it by what he does and how he lives. Messiah’s faith is one that works. So should ours be.
That is not to say that what you believe is not important, for if you act on wrong doctrine it will not be a source of eternal blessing or reward to you and it may be sin. It is whom you believe and trust that decides if you have eternal life. The difference in v.22 is the difference between Jew and Greek. It is Y’hovah’s will to destroy that difference and make us and himself ‘echad’, as he is one.
V.23 is possibly the best-known and most quoted verse of the Brit HaDashah. It is one of those verses that is cut and dried, no possibility of misconstruction. And it is not a new teaching; it’s been around for at least 1000 years before Sha’ul.
46 If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) (1Ki.8.46a)
20 For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. (Ecc.7.20)
6 But we are all as an unclean thing , and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. (Is.64.6)
All men are sinners. The glory of Elohim can’t be theirs – they can’t even approach to it. We all fall short. And it illustrates v.22, as a colon separates it. But v.24 is the other side of the seesaw from v.23. “All have sinned; … being freely justified through the redemption…” The redemption is the payment in full of the sin debt each of us owed. The next colon illustrates Yeshua’s orders and the plan of Elohim to reconcile us to himself. In fact the word ‘propitiation’ is from the greek hilasterion that is from the word hilastos, which means ‘conciliate.’ The propitiation is for those who will trust Yeshua for salvation, those who are reconciled through trust in his finished work. Q&C
End of Shabbat Bible Study
 When I use a [square bracket] within a scripture reference, I have (usually) deleted a phrase that the translators added and I have added [an end[ing] or a [single] word in its place for clarity and flow of thought.
[i] W1828, 1st definition, 1st clause.