May 16, 2015 Shabbat Bible Study
©2015 Mark Pitrone and Fulfilling Torah Ministries
Year 3 Sabbath 10 – 23 May 2015
Numbers 17:1 – 18:24 – Ezekiel 44:15 – Psalm 108 – Hebrews 5:1-6:3
B’Midbar 17.1- – There is no break in the action from ch.16. The plague has just been stayed by Aharon’s quick obedience to Moshe and the faithfulness of Elohim. Y’hovah is going to show the elders of all the tribes who his chosen vessels are and which tribe would have the service in the Mishkan. The elders of each tribe were to bring their walking sticks to the Mishkan, after having written his name on it. Each gave his rod to Moshe, who then took them into the Mishkan to lay before Y’hovah on this side of the veil. The next morning, Moshe brought out the rods and all were as they had been the day before EXCEPT Aharon’s, whose rod had budded, brought forth buds, flowers AND almonds. Then Y’hovah ordered Moshe to bring the budded rod back into the Mishkan for safe-keeping. There are interesting notes in Schottenstein’s Chumash on pp.124-125. We see this in Heb.9
3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. [Heb.9.3-5]
The people were afraid to come near the Mishkan [vv.12-13] for fear of another plague breaking out and they all dying. So Y’hovah made provision in …
B’Midbar 18.1 – What does it mean that Aharon and his sons and his father’s house shall “bear the iniquity” of the sanctuary and their priesthood? Schottenstein’s Chumash has a pretty good explanation on ‘bearing iniquity’ [associated with] your priesthood” on pg.125. Sounds OK, but I don’t buy it as the ultimate understanding.
Now, I am a lover of the ‘law of first mention’ when interpreting scripture, so let’s look at the use of that phrase from its first use in Ex.28.38.
36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Kodesh LaY’hovah. 37 And thou shalt put it on a techayleth lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. 38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.
How can the Kodesh things, the very things Y’hovah has ordered Moshe to have Betzale’el and Aholiav make to exacting specifications and then set apart unto himself, bear any iniquity? Isn’t iniquity Torahlessness? What Brown, Driver, Briggs Lexicon says of H5771, avon in this passage in Ex.28.38 is that Aharon bears, as in carries away, the iniquity of others. Seems that every accoutrement the High Priest wears in some way supports his being the one who carries the iniquity of those for whom he offers an offering so that that offerer is accepted in the High Priest’s mediation before Y’hovah. The High Priest, Aharon in our passage, carries away the iniquities of the offerer and transfers his “Kodeshiness” to the offerer: in exactly the same manner as our Mediator, Y’hovah Yeshua, transfers iniquity from, and holiness to, us. Aharon then offers the offerer’s animal as the substitutionary atonement for the iniquity that he carries FOR the offerer. Noone but the Kohen Gadol was allowed to offer on the altar of burnt offering. If anyone else, from another Kohathite to any other Levite [vv.2-3a] to just a guy from the 12 Tribes in the outer camp tried to approach the altar, he was TOAST – he literally bore his own iniquity, as Sha’ul explains in Rom.6.23a
For the wages of sin is death, …
The other Kohanim and Levi’im were to ‘shamar’ the Tabernacle from anyone of the 12 tribes getting too close, so that they would not ‘bear their own iniquity’ to Y’hovah and receive their wages. This was probably why Korach went into the pit with Dathan and Eliav; he didn’t guard the inner circle, like he should have. He fraternized with the Reuvenim. Meanwhile, v.3b says it was the Kohen Gadol and his family’s job to shamar the Mishkan and the Kodesh Kadashim from the other Kohanim.
v.4 says that the Levi’im were all to help the Kohen Gadol in any way they could to shamar the tabernacle precincts. No Yisraelite not of the tribe of Levi was to come further into the Tabernacle area than the brazen altar, where he would slaughter the animal to be offered [these are freewill, sin and thanksgiving offerings] and take what was not Y’hovah’s or the Kohanim’s portion home and prepare it for the party. All this was done, according to v.5 so that there would be no more plagues in the camp of Yisrael.
Vv.6-7 are direct instructions to the Kohanim to guard their office. Anyone other than a Kohen of Amram’s house to come near the Mishkan was a ger and his life was forfeit. In light of this and that the charge to shamar the Mishkan was given to Aharon uv’nei Aharon, do you think Y’hovah would hold the Kohen Gadol responsible for the Yisraeli ger’s death? I think it may be likely. I ALSO think that it didn’t happen after this last plague that Aharon stopped by standing in the gap between Y’hovah and the living in the camp in ch.17.
I don’t know if Aharon had any idea just how much slaughter there would be in Yisrael, but I think that Y’hovah gave him all that he did in vv.8-19 as a way of softening what they would have to endure in the way of the emotional trauma and then the hardening that would have to take place due to the constant bloodletting, which HAD to take its toll.
V.9 says that they were to eat their portions mikodesh hakadashim, from the holiest of the holies and v.10 says they shall eat it b’kodesh hakadashim, IN the holiest of holies. Now, noone but the High Priest and even HE only on Yom haKippurim could even ENTER b’kodesh hakadashim, so this MUST mean something else. The priests were to eat their portions in the courtyard of the Mishkan, not in the Mishkan itself. This designation of the Courtyard as kodesh kadashim MUST be as it is compared to the camp of Yisrael. On pp. 127-28, Schottenstein’s has an excellent comment [they mainly agree with me, so …].
Vv.15-17 list the 3 types of things that are redeemed and not offered in Yisrael, 1] the bikkurim of clean animals that can be offered are given to the Kohanim to be used for offerings, 2] the firstborn of all Yisraeli families are redeemed for 5 shekels of silver and 3] firstborn male donkeys are redeemed with a lamb. Salt is virtually indestructible, so a salt covenant is eternal in v.19. In v.20, the Levi’im have no land inheritance, for Y’hovah is their inheritance.
But Levi DOES get the tithes that are brought up by Yisrael unto Y’hovah. Tithes were not primarily in specie money, but are 1/10th of the actual crops that were brought up to the various Moedim/Kodesh Miqra of Y’hovah. Schottenstein’s Chumash has a good comment on pg.129-30.
In vv.25-32 The tithe of the tithes that were given to the Levi’im in lieu of a land inheritance is given to Aharon or his successor as Kohen Gadol. I infer that this tithe from the tithes was distributed among the courses of priests in the Temple times. Q&C
Yechezkel 44.15 – The order of Y’hovah for b’nei Aharon to be the ones to offer in the Tabernacle is further restricted to b’nei Tzadok, which family of Aharon is, like b’nei Levi in Ex.32, the only one to stay faithful to Y’hovah to the last man. They all followed in their father Tzadok’s footsteps when he [and his brother Aviathar] remained faithful to David in the Absalom rebellion [2Sam.18]. B’nei Tzadok = Sons of the Righteous. Q&C
Tehellim 108 – There are 3 stanzas to this Psalm; vv.1-6, 7-9 and 10-13. Vv.1-6 have the Psalmist praising Y’hovah for his mercy, truth and power whereby the Psalmist has obtained his deliverance. He is expending his own glory to bring all glory to Elohim of his salvation. He sings Yah’s praises while playing the psaltry and the harp, all things he did remarkably well, according to the sages. He calls on the psaltry and harp to awake as he awakes in the morning to bring his praises to Avinu in v.3. Then in v.4 he notes that Eloha’s mercy, or goodness, reaches even higher than his truth, or severity [Rom.11.22].
In vv.7-9 the Psalmist relates how Y’hovah will defeat the enemies of Israel and her Elohim and take possession of the enemies’ lands for his service. There is an interesting idiom in v.9; “Over Edom I will cast out my shoe.” This exact phrase is used in Ps.60.8. I think this is a reference to an ancient custom in the Middle East, which we see in Ruth 4, where Boaz is negotiating with the nearer kinsman [cousin] to Chilion, Ruth’s husband.
Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
5 Then said Boaz, What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi, thou must buy it also of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance.
6 And the kinsman said, I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance: redeem thou my right to thyself; for I cannot redeem it. 7 Now this was the manner in former time in Israel concerning redeeming and concerning changing, for to confirm all things; a man plucked off his shoe, and gave it to his neighbour:and this was a testimony in Israel. 8 Therefore the kinsman said unto Boaz, Buy it for thee. So he drew off his shoe.
9 And Boaz said unto the elders, and unto all the people, Ye are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech’s, and all that was Chilion’s and Mahlon’s, of the hand of Naomi. [Ruth 4.5-9]
According to the Treasury of Scripture Knowledge,
This custom does not refer to the law about refusing to marry a brother’s widow [Dt.25.7-10] , but was usual in the transfer of inheritances. For this relative was not a brother, but simply a kinsman; and theshoe was not PULLED off by Ruth, but by the kinsman himself. The Targumist, instead of his shoe, renders ‘his right hand glove,’ it probably being the custom, in his time, to give that insteadof a shoe.
I think that Y’hovah is saying that he disavows Edom as its near kin and passes the right of redemption to another.
Then, in vv.10-13 the Psalmist relates how Y’hovah will overcome Israel’s enemies and deliver his own into his Kingdom. V.11 has a LOT of added words, and I think it should read, “Eloha hast not cast us off, and will you not, Eloha, go forth with our hosts?” The psalmist then importunes Eloha to to help because it is useless to get help from men when it is only through Eloha that we can do valiantly for HE, and NOT WE, will walk all over our enemies.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations:and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of El Shaddai. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings, and Master of masters. [Rev.19.14-16] Q&C
Ivrit 5 – Ch.4 ended with this passage;
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Yeshua ben Eloha, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touchedwith the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Rav Sha’ul, or his talmid [perhaps a Kohen], who wrote this letter [IMnot soHO], contrasts the high priesthood of Aharon to the High Priesthood of Yeshua, our MelchiTzadik, Righteous King. The contrast is that every day in the Mishkan/Beit haMikdash, the Aharonsons had to offer sin offerings for himself BEFORE he could offer any other on the off chance that he’d inadvertently committed a sin or omitted a duty. But Yeshua had lived a life in the same flesh that we and Aharon and his sons have, tempted in the same way we all are, yet without ever sinning, either by committing what he was commanded to NOT do or by omitting to do what he was commanded TO do. For the MelchiTzadik, the King of Righteousness, there is no need for a sin offering. Paul, or his disciple who wrote this letter started to make the case in ch.4 that Yeshua was our MelchiTzadik and he builds his case right through ch.10, where he culminates it with vv.26-29
26 For if we sin wilfully [by offering the goat of atonement on Yom haKippurim IMO – MP] after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moshe’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. 30 For we know him that hath said, “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith Y’hovah”. And again, “Y’hovah shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim”.
For a Netzari believing priest [Acts 6.7c – a BUNCH of ‘em] to offer the Atonement would be a denial of and a profanation of the Name of Y’hovah. And since they ‘were obedient to the faith’, they were outcasts among the political leaders of the religion. If it wasn’t Sha’ul who wrote this book, it was one of these Netzari Priests [IMnotsoHO}.
In vv.1-4, the Aharonsons can have compassion on us when we sin and desire to offer our offerings so that we can make tikkun a reality in our own lives, because they have experienced it, even the need to make tikkun. As we saw in our Torah portion today, only Aharonsons may offer at the earthly sanctuary, for only Aharon and his sons have been appointed and ordained of Y’hovah for that purpose. Anyone usurping that position is a dead man walking.
Vv.5-6 makes it plain that Yeshua [that is, the flesh and blood man] did not raise himself up to his position as MelchiTzadik, but the Ayn Sof, El Shaddai, did.
I will declare the decree: Y’hovah hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. [Ps.2.7]
Y’hovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Y’hovah at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. [Ps.110.4-5].
V.7 refers to Yeshua’s prayer in Gethsemane, at least. “And was heard in that he feared”. Yeshua’s prayer in the Garden the night before he died was heard because he FEARED Y’hovah. I think this passage gives us the proper understanding of the word fear. To fear Y’hovah the way Yeshua feared Y’hovah was to submit to him, to obey him, in all we do. Yeshua feared Y’hovah, who was able to deliver him from death. It was not hard for Yeshua to believe in deliverance from death, since he had been Y’hovah’s ‘channel’ of delivery on at least 4 occasions; the last one, Elazar, just weeks before, was still ‘big news’ that night. Paul is still referring to 4.16-18 in v.8, where he says Yeshua learned obedience through his fear and suffering; through his obedient submission to the will and plan of Avinu for him. The result of his fear [v.9] was his resurrection through which he conquered the human fear of death
Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. [Heb.2.14-15]
Also, please notice that he is the cause of eternal life in those that obey Y’hovah. Our obedience shows forth our love for and fear of Y’hovah. Another result was that he fulfilled [v.10] his call as the MelchiTzadik High Priest. Sha’ul would have tried to explain it to these priests except they were ‘dull of hearing’ [v.11]; AENT says ‘impeded’ and gives a good comment on that choice of words in note 30 on pg. 406.
Vv.12-14 – Some of these priests had been believers that Yeshua is Moshiach for DECADES, but Rav Sha’ul [or his talmid] doesn’t have the time to try to get them to understand mysteries deeper than what he is explaining. After all this time, they should be teachers, not toddlers. It is for that very reason that he is going to spend the next 6 chapters explaining their position and their danger in what I think they were considering; returning to their service in the Temple sacrificial system, particularly the Yom Kippurim atonement, as referenced above [near the top of p.5]. I think he is kinda taking them to the woodshed with the next remark;
… such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Moshe Koniuchowski’s comment on v.12 is instructive;
You have the need that someone teach you AGAIN the first principles of the primary writings of Y’hovah [Torah – MP].
He told them that they are slipping back into the trust in the traditions as equal to, or even superior to, Torah. The author likens the traditions to pablum and Torah to strong food on which you must ruminate and work over with determination to get the best nutrition for your soul. I think that was meant to be an awakening slap in the face to these men who were well trained in Torah and Mishnah. He is trying to get them to see that it is primarily Y’hovah’s Word, not the oral traditions that need to be trusted and obeyed. Not that there is anything WRONG with traditions, per se; but they are just that, men’s traditions and they could be wicked in the extreme;
The heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked: who can know it? I Y’hovah search the heart; try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways; according to the fruit of his doings. [Jer.17.9-10]
Paul [or their brother Kohen] was urging them to think according to Torah.
Ivrit 6.1-3 – And he goes on to ‘leave behind the basics’ and teach them things deeper than the pablum he’d just told them they were swallowing because it was “easier” or would make their lives simpler. He goes on to teach meat, not pablum. But our portion ends with v.3 today, so I am not going to continue beyond this; 6.1-5 is a parallelistic outline showing the good and the evil he’d finished ch.5 unveiling. Let me show you [if I can] what I see there [I hope this works out in the net postings]:
Men who have:
A. Left the Elementary Principles [vv.1-3 lay another foundation for]
1. Repentence from dead works
2. Faith toward Elohim [obedience]
3. Doctrines of Mikvoth [baptism]
4. Laying on of hands
5. Resurrection of the dead
6. Judgement and Reward
B. Continue on to Torah’s perfection [Vv.4-6], for they who have
1. Descended into mikvah [been washed by the pure water of the Word]
2. Tasted the heavenly gift
3. Made partakers of Ruach HaKodesh,
4. Tasted the good Word of Elohim and the
5. Power of the Kingdom and New Creation
Then he iterates the outcome of those who have done all of that and turn aside from it to go back to what will make their lives easier [like going back to the Temple offering system, which is of no efficacy and is an insult to Y’hovah Yeshua and Ruach l’chesed, who bought them with his own blood] to renew them once again to repentance. That is SOBERING, folks. Those who leave behind the Way of Y’hovah Yeshua and his Torah for the elementary things of mens’ traditions have denied the One who bought them, they have walked all over Yeshua, thought Ruach haKodesh’s power is less than worthless.
Our author RE-iterates this in ch.10.26-32; here it is once again, in case you missed it a few minutes ago:
26 For if we sin wilfully [by denying our Master Yeshua and leaving the Way Of Elohim] after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28 He that despised Moshe’s law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of Elohim, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace. 30 For we know him that hath said, “Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith Y’hovah”. And again, “Y’hovah shall judge his people. 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living Elohim”. 32 But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye received mikvah, ye endured a great fight of afflictions …
Live WITH the afflictions. Live THROUGH the afflictions by the power of Ruach haKodesh! Remember what Yeshua would do if you deny him
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. [Mat.10.32-33]
Those priests who turned back to the sacrificial system to make their everyday life easier denied the Master Yeshua. Q&C
End of Notes.