BEMIḎBAR (NUMBERS) 30:1-32:42 –MATTOTH – TRIBES

As we begin this Torah portion we recognise how Mosheh is preparing the children of Yisra’ĕl to receive their allotted inheritance in the land, and in the last Torah portion we ended with looking at the various sacrifices that were required for each Feast, which in essence carries the great picture that deals with the ability in drawing near to יהוה; and in a way we see a great flow here on how we are to ‘loveיהוה and serve Him only, and in this Torah portion we see a clear picture of how we are to relate to one another and ‘love’ our neighbour, as this portion speaks to all the Tribes and renders clear guidance on the very words we speak, both to יהוה and each other, as well as the responsibilities of sharing with each other and being able to stand and fight for one another.

This week’s Torah portion is called “Tribes” or “the tribes” – הַמַּטּוֹת – ‘ha-mattoth’ – which is the plural of the word מַטָּה mattah – Strong’s H4294 meaning, a staff, rod, branch, a tribe, a branch of a vine which comes from the primitive root נָטָה natah – Strong’s H5186 meaning, to stretch out, spread out, extend, incline.

This word is for all the ‘tribes’ (branches) of Yisra’ĕl – all who have ‘spread out’, and when we see the meaning of these words we can quickly be reminded of the words of our Master and Elohim in:

Yoḥanan/John 15: 5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who stays in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit. Because without Me you are able to do naught!

These instructions of יהוה as given through Mosheh are for us, the branches of The Vine (יהושע Messiah), who have been grafted in by the blood of Messiah!

CHAPTER 30: Vows and oaths:

As we look at this chapter we learn how important our words are and are therefore taught to watch what we say at all times, lest we find ourselves being caught or trapped by our idle and vain words by which we are to be responsible for.

Verse 2 – In this verse we see some very critical words that we must understand from a Hebraic perspective in order to grasp fully the importance of the words we speak. It starts of by telling us that when a man makes a vow or swears and oath – he must not break it! The two Hebrew words for vow and oath are as follows:

Vow’ – נֶדֶר neḏer – Strong’s H5088 meaning, vow and ‘to make a vow’ is the word נָדַר naḏar – Strong’s H5087; and to naḏar a neḏer” is to swear to Elohim with an ‘oath’, and therefore bind oneself with what proceeds from one’s mouth. A neder is something promised to Elohim verbally, and anyone who makes a vow is obliged to fulfil/do his promise! In Scripture a vow is always to Elohim and not to man. And the understanding behind a ‘vow’ carries the meaning, to bind or imprison, or to dedicate a specific object or creature to יהוה.

Tehillah/Psalm 61:8 “So I sing praise to Your Name forever, when I pay my vows day by day.

Tehillah/Psalm 116:14 “I pay my vows to יהוה now in the presence of all His people.

Yonah/Jonah 2:9 “But I offer to You with the voice of thanksgiving, I pay what I have vowed. Deliverance is of יהוה.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:33 “Again, you heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to יהוה.’

This can also cause us to recognise that we must be true to the words of our mouth as we do what we say we will, in offering up the commitment to follow Messiah and walk in Him daily!

‘Oath’ - שְׁבֻעָה  sheḇuah – Strong’s H7621 meaning, oath, curse, swear, swornand comes from the root שֶׁבַע sheḇa – Strong’s H7651 meaning, seven, and from this word we get the denominative verb -  שָׁבַע shaḇa – Strong’s H7650 which means, to swear, exchange oaths, take an oath, vow’.

An ‘oath’ is typically and obligation taken upon yourself rather than that which is imposed upon you.

To “swear” in Scripture (which is also the root word שָׁבַע shaḇa) was to give one’s sure and promised unbreakable word in testimony, that the one swearing would faithfully perform some promised deed, or that he would faithfully refrain from some evil act. Occasionally we see in Scripture that one ‘swore’ that he freely acknowledged a truth and would continue to acknowledge it in the future by sticking to what he has heard.

In Hebrew, when one promises to complete something, it is considered ‘done’ and the word could be depended upon, and that what was said would be accomplished.

This is vital for us to grasp, as we see in the world today how so many ‘break their word’ so easily and brush it off without any regard for the consequences of makes rash promises and vows.

What we are to recognize is that the one we make a promise to is in a sense ‘incomplete’ until we fulfill the vow – and so too are we, as we have ‘by our words’ bound ourselves to another and therefore are required to follow through or else we are rendered as not having completed our work and are ‘incomplete’.

When we ‘swear by His Name’ we are identifying ourselves with His character and His clear standards as prescribed in the Torah and therefore יהושע warns us that we are not to ‘swear FALSELY’!

Wayyiqra/Leviticus 19:12 “And do not swear falsely by My Name and so profane the Name of your Elohim. I am יהוה.

To not swear falsely in יהוה's Name is a very serious instruction as many do this as they pass off their own agendas and ideas as that of יהוה. It also speaks of not fulfilling something that we have declared to complete; and now we have all said we will follow His commands and obey them as we have dedicated our lives to following Messiah and therefore we must be careful not to be found faltering in our commitment, for this would be an example of ‘swearing falsely’ in His Name when we fail to do that which we have committed to doing and being marked and sealed as a set-apart nation unto Him!

Messiah reiterates this command by saying we should not swear falsely by anything, but rather let our yes be yes and our no be no as anything beyond this is form the evil one!!! He was not saying that we cannot swear or make an oath – He was saying that we should not do it falsely!!! Do not give your word and then break it!

If we are to be a light to the nations and ‘living letters’ of Messiah, then we had better be careful to ensure that we speak the Truth and follow through on our commitments, which ought to always be for His purposes!

 

The word used for ‘bind’ in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 30:2 is אָסַר asar – Strong’s H631 meaning, to tie, bind, imprison, yoke, hitch’, and in fact it also carries the meaning of being ‘joined in battle’, hence the understanding of a vow or oath that we make is a ‘binding/imprisoning’ us to another. The word ‘himself’ is the Hebrew root word נֶפֶשׁ nephesh – Strong’s H5315 meaning, soul, living being, life, person, desire, appetite, passion, emotion’.

And here we see that the vow or oath is binding on our soul – binding on our life, and to not carry it out can have serious ramifications for our ‘life’.

 

What we must be willing to understand here is that we are to show great integrity in our words for whatever comes from our mouths is a ‘vow’ – meaning, that if I say that I am going to do something and do not do it, reveals not only a lack of integrity, but when understanding the concept of ‘being joined in battle’, and  when looking at the meaning of being ‘bound’, then it is clear that when we do not keep our word we show that we are in fact not battle ready and stand the real possibility of losing some battles that we face along the way, as a result of not sticking to, and accomplishing, our words that we speak!

One of the meanings of the word for ‘bind’ - אָסַר asar – is ‘yoke’ (as mentioned above), and it further emphasises how our words yoke us to another through the promises we make; therefore we must learn not to make promises or agreements with those who do not keep the Torah. Having said that we do understand that while we are in those world and not of the world, we certainly have to make promises to those who are not in Torah – be it our employers or clients or work colleagues – yet what I am stressing here is that we must make sure that we do our utmost to not make promises or agreements with those outside of the Torah if it will in anyway require us to break the Torah!

For example, if one goes for a job interview and they receive new employment, they must make sure upfront that they clearly state that they cannot work on the Shabbat or Feast Days of יהוה, for to enter into an employment contract without making this clear can and will cause great conflict down the road.

That is why we are warned in Scripture to be careful with our words and we must be careful to whom we say “yes” to for oaths involve more that the mere words we speak – they bind us to that person or persons!

Shemoth/Exodus 23:32 “Do not make a covenant with them nor with their mighty ones.

Qorintiyim Bet/2 Corinthians 2:16 “And what agreement has Messiah with Beliya’al? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever?

We must remember that we are what we speak and our words will come toward us, so be careful to do what you say!

The instruction here is clear – a man must not ‘break’ his word!

The word used in verse 2 for ‘break’ simply means to ‘profane’. What does it mean to profane? The word profane means to treat something set-apart with abuse, irreverence or contempt. The Hebrew word is חָלַל ḥalal (chalal – with a ch.. sound as in loch) – Strong’s H2490 which means, profane, bore to pieces, kill, wound, defile, pollute, violate’.

What is very interesting to me is that the word for praise in Hebrew is הָלַל halal (with a soft sound as in ha)– Strong’s H1984, which means, to shine, be boastful, praise, sing praise

These two words differ with a slight difference is the stroke of the pen by means of a little tiny gap! In Praise the letter ה (hey) is used and in profane the letter ח (ḥet) is used. This may sound a little pedantic to some of you, but for me it makes me realise just how fine line it is between pure worship and profanity! Remember Naḏaḇ and Aḇihu, the sons of Aharon who offered profane fire unto יהוה – they offered a false worship and got zapped!

Let me tell you why I find this very interesting in the closeness of these words – we see in the world today that there are many who claim to be born again believers of the Almighty yet in their worship they are offering profane worship and they cannot distinguish between the set-apart and the profane! The ‘church’ today is profaning the Name of יהוה and have not only brought His Name to nought but have profaned it by treating it with abuse, irreverence and contempt!

Now while we understand this clear difference between profane and praise, we must see that when we ‘break’ our word, we are in fact rendering ‘profane’ worship unto יהוה, as we are clearly told in:

Qolasim/Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.

Our words carry great power and if any word or deed cannot be associated with the pure Name of the Master יהושע. Then we should not speak or do them, lest we ‘profane’ His Name and character!

How do we break/profane our word? By simply not doing what we said we would do; and when we break our word we risk killing any trust being built between ourselves and others, we risk breaking relationships and we can, by breaking our word, destroy any progress we may have achieved in any project and or relationship. When this happens our weapons of warfare get broken down and we end up losing many battles.

This is the simple truth that ought to wake us up drastically:

יהוה’s Word says – KEEP YOUR WORD AND DON’T BREAK IT – so when we do break our word – guess what - WE BREAK HIS WORD!!!

There is a very fine line, as I said between praise and profane as outlined below in this chart:

praise vs profane

Let us look at a few Scriptures in regards to our words and commitments:

Ěḵah/Ecclesiastes 5:4 “When you make a vow to Elohim, do not delay to pay it, for He takes no pleasure in fools. Pay that which you have vowed.

Ya’aqoḇ/James 3:1-6 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we shall receive greater judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many matters. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the entire body. 3 Look, we put bits in the mouths of horses, for them to obey us, and we turn their body. 4 Look at the ships too: although they are so big and are driven by strong winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot intends.  5 So too the tongue is a little member, yet boasts greatly. See how a little fire kindles a great forest! 6 And the tongue is a fire, the world of unrighteousness. Among our members the tongue is set, the one defiling the entire body, and setting on fire the wheel of life, and it is set on fire by Gehenna.

Ya’aqoḇ/James 1:18-22 “So then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, 20 for the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of Elohim. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and overflow of evil, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your lives. 22 And become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

In the event that you find yourself in a position where you have made a promise or have entered into an agreement that would require you to break an Appointed Time of יהוה (His Sabbaths and Feasts), then you must find a way out of that unequal ‘yoke’:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 6:1-5 “My son, if you: Have become guarantor for your friend, Have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger, 2 Have been snared by the words of your own mouth, Have been caught by the words of your mouth – 3 Do this at once, my son, and deliver yourself, For you have come into the hand of your friend: Go, humble yourself, and urge your friend. 4 Give no sleep to your eyes, Nor slumber to your eyelids. 5 Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hunter’s hand, And like a bird from the hand of the trapper.

This passage is very clear – when you realise that you have given your agreement in doing something only to find out that you would be breaking the Torah, then you must act quickly and ‘give no sleep to your eyes’ – in other words do not delay in going and setting straight what was agreed in error – this also applies to ‘working’ agreements that may cause you to break the Sabbath – deliver yourself from the trap that your binding agreement put you under, which means you will have to humble yourself and confront the one with whom you have made or signed the agreement or contract with and get released from any requirements that would cause you to break the Torah - even if it may cost you your job!!

A great example for us in Scripture of a man who kept his word by not breaking his vow to יהוה, is Yiphtaḥ the Gilʽaḏite as recorded in Shophetim/Judges 11. He made a vow to יהוה, that if יהוה gave the children of Ammon into his hands that he would offer up to יהוה whatever or whoever would meet him when he returned in peace. His only daughter came out first and so he offered her up to serve continually in the Temple and kept his word!

We cannot be rash with our words in promises to call something set-apart to only later use it for profane use:

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 20:25 “It is a snare for a man to say rashly, “It is set-apart,” and only later to reconsider his vows.

We must think before we speak. Yiphtaḥ realised and knew that he cannot go back on his word – he tells his daughter, “I have given my word to יהוה and I am unable to turn back!” When we say something we need to be ready to do it and follow through regardless of the circumstances!!! Yes, I suppose Yiphtaḥ could have turned back like so many today would quickly do, however disobedience to יהוה was not an option to him, and that is a great lesson for us today!!!

Another thing we need to realise is that vows do not need to be vocalised in order to be in effect!!! As soon as we say it in our hearts, יהוה knows and expects us to keep it!!!! Ma’asei/Acts 5 is a great example for us in the account of Ḥananyah and his wife, Shappirah – they made a vow when laying down the money as if it were all they had received for the land they sold, but it wasn’t and יהוה saw it in their hearts! The interesting thing to note here too is that nobody forced them to sell the land – they made this vow voluntarily yet still did not follow through with total obedience and we know what happened as a result!!! Shemuʼěl Aleph/1 Samuel 16:7 tells us that man looks at the eyes, but יהוה looks at the heart! 

Ḥananyah was a fool, who not only wanted the praise of men, but also wanted the money that by his own vow was no longer his – he lied to יהוה and paid the price for it.

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 23:21-23 “When you make a vow to יהוה your Elohim, do not delay to pay it, for יהוה your Elohim is certainly requiring it of you, and it shall be sin in you. 22 “But when you abstain from vowing, it is not sin in you. 23 “That which has gone from your lips you shall guard and do, for you voluntarily vowed to יהוה your Elohim what you have promised with your mouth.

Mattithyahu/Matthew 12:35-37 “The good man brings forth what is good from the good treasures of his heart, and the wicked man brings forth what is wicked from the wicked treasure. 36 “And I say to you that for every idle word men speak, they shall give an account of it in the day of judgment. 37 “For by your words you shall be declared righteous, and by your words you shall be declared unrighteous.

יהושע teaches us that we must keep our word by letting our yes be yes and no be no!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 5:33-37 “Again, you heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to יהוה. 34 But I say to you, do not swear [vainly] at all, neither by the heaven, because it is Elohim’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Yerushalayim, for it is the city of the great Sovereign; 36 nor swear by your head, because you are not able to make one hair white or black. 37 “But let your word ‘Yea’ be ‘Yea,’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No.’ And what goes beyond these is from the wicked one.

What יהושע was saying hear is not that you cannot make a vow, for He didn’t nullify Torah, but rather that when you make any form of vow do not do it “falsely” or ‘vainly’ as the Torah tells us! Don’t say yes when you really mean no and vice versa. One thing we see today is that people keep their options open by saying “maybe” – we need to learn to commit to yes and no being yes and no, anything other than that is falsehood and falsehood is from the evil one! To swear falsely is to profane the name of יהוה!

When we take a look again at Yiphtaḥ’s ‘vow’, we see that it was twofold – ‘whatever’ would meet him when he returned home would be dedicated to יהוה, if it was a person; and if it was an animal it would be sacrificed! Why do I say that? Well, when you look at Scripture and understand that Yiphtaḥ knew the Torah then this passage makes great sense. He was met by his only daughter, and he gave her or dedicated her to יהוה – to serve יהוה at the tabernacle. We do know from Scripture that women did serve at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting (Shemoth/Exodus 38:8 & Shemuʼěl Aleph/ 1 Samuel 2:22). His daughter having been the first to greet him was now to remain a virgin, never marry, never have kids – never know the joy of motherhood and continue her father’s line of inheritance in Yisra’ĕl. This was enough to cause her and her friends to spend 2 months grieving. What did she mourn? Her virginity! Nowhere in Scripture do we see that Yiphtaḥ actually killed his daughter, nor do we see anyone mourning her death. The emphasis is placed on the fact that she would remain a virgin. It is hard to believe that they would establish a custom to commemorate a sacrifice of a human being; but it is very clear that they would commemorate and celebrate the devotion and obedience of Yiphtaḥ’s daughter in helping her father fulfil his vow. She certainly deserves to stand with Yitsḥaq as an example of a faithful child, willing to obey her father and יהוה, no matter the cost. In Shophetim/Judges 11:31 the word translated “and” is the Hebrew letter ‘ו’ (waw, pronounced – ‘vav’) which can be translated as ‘and’ but also as ‘or’. Yiphtaḥ here is saying that whatever comes out – if it is a person then that person would be dedicated to service unto יהוהor’ if it is an animal it will be offered up as a sacrifice to יהוה presuming that it is a clean animal that is!!! His daughter comes out and she is then dedicated to lifetime service unto יהוה and she willingly obeys – she understood what Sha’ul writes about in Romiyim/Romans 12 – that we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, set-apart and well-pleasing to Elohim – for this is our reasonable act of worship!

When we have accepted יהושע as Saviour and Master, we must realise the cost of that commitment that has been brought forth out of our hearts and spoken from our lips – our word to Him must be kept!!! As we can learn from Yiphtaḥ – it doesn’t matter the circumstances of our upbringing or where we come from – we can know יהוה and be used by Him!

What we have to understand in this account is that Yiphtaḥ knew Torah and child sacrifices were against the Torah:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 12:31 “Do not do so to יהוה your Elohim, for every abomination which יהוה hates they have done to their mighty ones, for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their mighty ones.

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 18:10 “Let no one be found among you who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practises divination, or a user of magic, or one who interprets omens or a sorcerer, …

Human sacrifices were an abomination to יהוה and Yiphtaḥ knew this – he would not willingly make a vow with יהוה that was an abomination to יהוה! The law of vows permitted monetary redemption of persons vowed to יהוה, but a person devoted to יהוה could not be redeemed. Yiphtaḥ committed his daughter to lifelong service to יהוה at the tabernacle, and only priests would have been allowed to offer sacrifices, and Yiphtaḥ was not a priest and the priests would not have sacrificed a human!

In Shophetim/Judges 11: 40 we see that every year the women would ‘lament’ for four days – possibly during one of the feasts. The word we have translated as lament is the Hebrew word תָּנָה tanah – Strong’s H8567 meaning, recount, rehearse, which is only used twice in Scripture and should be correctly translated as celebrated or commemorate or praised and rejoiced. This leads us to correctly assume that the women would go every year to rejoice and celebrate with Yiphtaḥ’s daughter who was serving at the tabernacle.

I have mentioned these critical points in order for us to understand that Yiphtaḥ was not rash or foolish in his vows and then kills his daughter, no he was a man who knew the Torah, lived by it and followed it wholeheartedly by faith and that is what got him listed is the faith hall of fame in Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 11.

Why I share the accounts of Yiphtah in relation to this Torah portion is simply because he is a great example for us to learn from in terms of keeping our word and our vows to יהוה, and not breaking our commitment to Him for any reason whatsoever!

It is not evil to make vows with יהוה, especially when in pursuit or expectation of His mercy. To make vows to יהוה in terms of acceptable service to him, not as a purchase for favour we desire, but as an expression of gratitude to Him and the deep sense we have of our obligation to render unto Him our complete worship according to what he has done for us, is good and pleasing – we must keep our word!

Verse 3-15 – vows and agreements of a woman

In the rest of the chapter we see the clear instructions regarding the words that are expressed as vows or agreements by a woman. Firstly if a woman is still in her father’s house, her father has the authority to nullify her vow or agreement by which she has bound herself, only on the day he hears of it. If he keeps silent after hearing here vow or agreement she has bound herself by, then her vow or agreement stands. Silence implies acceptance and consent!!! If her father, however, forbids her on the day he hears of it, then none of her vows stand and she is pardoned from her vow or agreement by יהוה, because her father nullified it – on the day he heard it!

A father does not have the option of being ‘lazy’ by not making a decision right away, but rather has a responsibility as head of the home to ensure that what is said by his daughter will in no way cause disruption or break the unity within the home.

This is a vital lesson in the life of any home – firstly the man of the house must step up and be the head of the home that he is called to be and ensure that any words, vows or agreements that are made from any of his family does not go against the Torah or else he must nullify it immediately; and secondly we see here that children must obey their parents!

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Master, for this is right.

Qolasim/Colossians 3:20 “Children, obey your parents in all, for this is well-pleasing to the Master.

What is interesting to note here is that these verses deal specifically with a woman who is still under her father’s covering. In Scripture a man is not expected to act on his own until he is of fighting age, which is 20 years old, however if he marries before that he becomes the head of a new home, however a woman remains under authority as long as she is still in her father’s house (that is that she has not married) and here we see the responsibility of the man of a house and how he must manage his household well, and nullify any rash words of his daughter  on the day he hears it. It does not necessarily mean that he may hear of it on the day that she makes the vow, but rather when he hears of it (which may only be days later) he must make an immediate decision – nullify or keep quiet!

Verse 6-7 speaks of a woman who is married and belongs to her husband and may also refer to one who is betrothed, and may not yet be living with her husband as they are in their betrothal period. She is under his authority from the point of betrothal, and he also has the responsibility to either nullify any rash vow or agreement or show consent by remaining silent. This is very interesting as we do not see this being carried out in the world today. The world may call this period ‘engagement’ and for many they do not see this phase or period of engagement as binding, yet in Scriptural terms and in the eyes of Torah, when one becomes ‘betrothed’ the parties are in fact legally married even though they are not yet living together and the groom carries the authority to nullify any rash words spoken by his bride, on the day he hears it!

At the point of agreement to marry, which her father did not nullify, the authority over her is transferred from her father to her husband!

This authority is a great picture of יהושע as Husband over us His Bride, as He has the capacity to nullify any rash words or agreements we make, on the day he hears it! By the husband nullifying the vow or agreement made by his bride, she is pardoned by יהוה. We are the Bride of Messiah under His authority!

We see that when Yisra’ĕl said the ‘I do’ at Mount Sinai – that day she made the vow to marriage which was announced with the first shofar:

Shemoth/Exodus 19:8 “And all the people answered together and said, “All that יהוה has spoken we shall do.” So Mosheh brought back the words of the people to יהוה.

On that day we must clearly recognize that יהוה, The Husband, never nullified the vow of His Bride and so it stands!!!

When Yisra’ĕl ‘joined’ herself to Ba’al Peʽor we see how יהוה nullified it that day by putting to death the leaders:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 25:3-4 “Thus Yisra’ĕl was joined to Ba‘al Peʽor, and the displeasure of יהוה burned against Yisra’ĕl. 4 And יהוה said to Mosheh, “Take all the leaders of the people and hang them up before יהוה, before the sun, so that the burning displeasure of יהוה turns away from Yisra’ĕl.

יהושע tells us that He has given us authority to bind and loose, yet what we must recognise is that if a person vows to ‘never’ eat meat (becoming a vegetarian) then they are in fact, by their vow, ‘nullifying Torah’ which commands us to eat Lamb at Pěsaḥ (Passover)!

Verse 9 tells us that a widow or divorced woman has no direct authority over her and is in a sense expected to be mature enough to watch her words and whatever she binds herself to stands.

Verse 13 – Every vow and every binding oath to ‘afflict’ her being her husband must confirm or nullify!

The word used here for ‘afflict’ is עָנָה anah – Strong’s H6031 meaning, to be bowed down or afflicted, humbled’.

We are commanded to ‘afflict our beings’ on Yom Kippur and this word עָנָה anah can also carry the meaning ‘to be occupied or busy with’. Busy or occupied with what? Well the next word tells us – our beings! That is the word נֶפֶשׁnepheshH5315 which is ‘a soul, a living being, the inner being of a man’.

This phrase ‘to afflict our being’ we see in Scripture is a clear link to fasting, as seen in the command to do so on Yom Kippur, yet also we see in:

Tehillah/Psalm 35:13 “But I, when they were sick, I put on sackcloth; I humbled my being with fastings; And my prayer would return to my own bosom.

We are told in Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58 that the purpose for fasting is to break yokes as well as to feed the hungry and clothe the naked – in other words fasting ins a means of breaking any yokes to the security of ‘self’ and ‘fleshly securities’ that keep us from being faithfully yoked to Messiah!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:6-7 “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loosen the tight cords of wrongness, to undo the bands of the yoke, to exempt the oppressed, and to break off every yoke? 7 “Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, and cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh?

A husband has the authority to confirm or nullify his wife’s vow or oath to afflict her being for the poor and needy!

Of course we certainly recognise that he should not nullify the afflicting of his wife’s being on Yom Kippur, for that would go against the Torah, but here it is in reference to any other times that a wife may ‘fast’ and give of her food and clothing and invite the poor to the house to eat. He has the right to nullify her vow or oath, especially if he sees that her oath or vow may endanger the home in any way, and so once again clearly pictures for us the great responsibility that a man has over his household in protecting and guarding his wife and children in every way.

If he confirms her choice to ‘afflict her being’ by ‘being silent’ on the day that he hears it, then he acknowledges her choice as being within the clear lines of Torah and accepts her vow or oath by which she binds herself.

Verse 15 – if the husband nullifies the vow or oath after he has heard, he shall bear her crookedness!

The word used for ‘after’ in the Hebrew is אַחַר aḥar – Strong’s H310 meaning, the hind part, following part, after, afterwards, behind, following, and in its primitive form means, to remain behind, tarry, delay, linger. What we see here is that this verse is speaking of when a husband nullifies the oath or vow only after – having delayed making a decision – then he bears her crookedness. In other words when he kept quiet when he heard and then afterwards (perhaps a day or so later) says ‘No, you are not allowed to do…’, then he must bear her crookedness. This is the price a husband pays for not doing anything immediately after hearing a foolish or rash vow or agreement that his wife has made! This is a powerful picture for us of our Husband and Saviour, יהושע Messiah, who bore our crookednesses – for He kept silent!

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 53:7 “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, but He did not open His mouth.

Yeshayahu/Isaiah 53:11 “He would see the result of the suffering of His life and be satisfied. Through His knowledge My righteous Servant makes many righteous, and He bears their crookednesses.

יהושע Messiah certainly nullified the oaths that our forefathers made to all the pagan mighty ones which they worshipped, yet since the day had already passed, he had to bear the crookednesses of the Bride He loves!!!

Marqos/Mark 15:15 “But יהושע still gave no answer, so that Pilate marveled.

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 2:24 “who Himself bore our sins in His body on the timber, so that we, having died to sins, might live unto righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed.

יהושע our Husband had the authority to nullify our rash vows and oaths!!!

What made this reading so special this past week for us, is that we had a mikvah (immersion) on the Shabbat, of a new believer, who having come out of a church system that he served for over 40 years, repented and was immersed in the Name of יהושע; and so we all witnessed the practical way of all his rash oaths and vows that he had made in the past being ‘nullified’ by Messiah, our Bridegroom, so that the true oath of Marriage to The Lamb of Elohim could be restored and sealed by the Blood of Messiah, who by immersion into the Name of יהושע he received the true ‘circumcision’ with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Messiah, having been buried with Him in immersion, in which he also was raised with Him through the belief in the working of Elohim, who raised Him from the dead, by the One Messiah who bore all his crookednesses!

Our Husband, יהושע Messiah, had to and does bear our crookednesses that we may be pardoned and restored to right standing in Him, and we ought to therefore take very careful care of the words we speak, lest we nullify His work over us by making rash vows and oaths and sinning after having received a knowledge of the Truth – for then by our adulterous acts we may just be ‘put away’, where there is no more a sacrifice left for us; and as we have seen - a divorced woman’s words by which she binds herself stand against her!!!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 10:26-27 “For if we sin purposely after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a slaughter offering for sins, 27 but some fearsome anticipation of judgment, and a fierce fire which is about to consume the opponents.

 

CHAPTER 31

Verse 2 – Take vengeance on the Miḏyanites

Mosheh was given a clear instruction before he would be gathered to his people – in other words before he would die – and that was to take vengeance for the children of Yisra’ĕl in the Miḏyanites. The words used here for ‘take vengeance’ in the Hebrew are – נְקֹם נִקְמַת – ‘naqam neqamat’– The primitive root for both these words is  נָקַם naqam – Strong’s H5358 which means, take vengeance, avenge, take revenge. The first word is the verb and the second is the noun – ‘take vengeance’, and here the instruction is clear – ‘punish with a vengeance!’ In other words, give them no space to breath, cramp their style!

The actions being called for here are extreme actions as these were the people who seduced Yisra’ĕl into whoring after Ba‘al. This is a call to avenge all that seeks to lead Yisra’ĕl astray!

What we can learn from this today is better understood when we see that the meaning of ‘Miḏyanites’ is:

הַמִּדְיָנִים the (ha) Miḏyanites from Strong’s H4084 which comes from the same word as מָדוֹן maḏon – Strong’s H4066 which means, strife, contention; and so we can understand that the Miḏyanites were a people of ‘strife’; and when the Torah (Mosheh) instructs that we must give no space for ‘strife’ to breath before we can be gathered to our people, then we see how clear this is for us today as we ‘wash ourselves’ and make ourselves ready as a prepared Bride by putting off all strife and contentions!

Give no room to strife and put an end to it is the call for us today!

Titos/Titus 3:9 “But keep away from foolish questions, and genealogies, and strife and quarrels about the Torah, for they are unprofitable and useless.

We would do well to heed this instruction – stay away from strife and quarrels about the Torah! The enemy is always seeking an opportunity to get us into a heated debate and argument over matters of the Torah; and while we are to certainly proclaim the Truth and defend it and guard it by doing it, we must be careful not to fall into useless arguments that just cause strife, which many who refuse to hear the Truth want to do! Give no room for strife!

In Hebrew the word for ‘strife’ or ‘strive’ is רִיב riḇ – Strong’s H7378 which means, strife, or to strive, contend, complain, argue, dispute, quarrel and in the Greek the word for ‘strife’ is μάχομαι  machomai – Strong’s G3164 meaning, to fight, argue, quarrel.

Sha’ul tells Timotiyos where strife comes from – it comes from verbal battles – in speaking of one who teaches falsely he says in:

Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 3:9 “he is puffed up, understanding none at all, but is sick about questionings and verbal battles from which come envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions

We must steer clear of ‘verbal battles’ that lead to strife, slander and all forms of wickedness. And so what we clearly see from the beginning of this chapter in Bemidbar/Numbers 31 is that while we have just learnt to be careful with our words, we must not give any room for strife as a result of verbal battles!!!

Vengeance belongs to יהוה, so what we can see here is that our ability to be ‘slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to become angry’ will allow us the opportunity to ‘squash out’ strife, giving room for the vengeance of יהוה to rightfully run its course!

The work of the Torah is to gather us in a legitimate way and put an end to strife so that we can take possession of our coming inheritance!

Mosheh commands the people to ‘arm’ themselves for the campaign of taking vengeance on the Miḏyanites, and here we see that it is everyone’s responsibility to be ‘armed’ with the Torah to make sure no room is given for strife in the camp!

He then chooses 12 000 armed ones (1 000 from each tribe) to go and take vengeance! Why only 12 000 and not the whole army? This was a sure way to make sure all the surrounding nations would see the power of יהוה whose vengeance it is to put to death and keep alive! So 12 000 armed men against 5 kings and their armies would be a very powerful display of the mighty and power of יהוה. Each tribe had a 1 000, showing that each tribe is equally responsible in their role of guarding safety in the body and refuting all forms of strife, no matter how big or small you are!

Pineḥas was sent with the 12 000 and this is a powerful picture of Messiah who is our Captain and Chief Priest who leads us and fights for us and Pineḥas is certainly a picture of being an agent of salvation as it was through his boldness of standing up and putting to death the whoring in the camp that the plague of death had stopped, therefore representing for us the need for us to always be armed for battle with Messiah as our head. To try to fight any battles without Him would be in vain – but with Him we need not fear the size or strength of the enemy!

Pineḥas had the trumpets for sounding in his hand and this too is a picture of Messiah, who calls us to battle:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 14:8 “For indeed, if the trumpet makes an indistinct sound, who shall prepare himself for battle?

We are told in:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 20:4 “for יהוה your Elohim is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Neḥemyah/Nehemiah 4:20 “In whatever place you hear the sound of the ram’s horn, join us there. Our Elohim fights for us.

Pineḥas represents for us a physical and visible sign of the presence of יהוה who leads us and fights for us!

What we must also take very clear not of here is that not one of the 12 000 armed men were injured!!!

During the battle, the Yisra’ĕlites succeeded in killing every man, including Bilʽam. The women who followed Bilʽam’s advice and caused the moral decay in the camp of Yisra’ĕl, however, were captured and brought into the camp along with the children, herds, flocks and plundered goods. When Mosheh saw how יהוה’s vengeance had not been upheld, he ordered the killing of all young boys, as well as women who had slept with a man, while the virgin girls were to be spared and kept alive.

 

Verse 8 – 5 kings killed along with Bilʽam

We are told in this verse that Yisra’ĕl killed the sovereigns of Miḏyan and as we look at each one’s name we can see how this represents a victory we can have as we walk in unity under the leading and guidance of the Torah, walking of course as יהושע Messiah did, who is “The Living Torah”. Each of these 5 kings represents for us the very things that ‘rule’ a ‘striving people’!

Let us look at their names and meanings:

1 - אֱוִי  Ewi – Strong’s H189 meaning, my lust/my desire.

2 - רֶקֶם  Reqem – Strong’s H7552 meaning, having many colours which comes from the primitive root רָקַם  raqam – Strong’s H7551 which means, to variegate, embroider, skilfully wrought. To variegate means ‘to diversify in external appearance’! This can speak of putting on a variety of masks and not being true to who you are, but ‘putting on a show or display’ to appease others and pictures for us a type of ‘hypocrisy’!

3 - צוּר  Tsur – Strong’s H6698 meaning, rock and we know that it was his daughter, Kozbi (which means ‘my lie’), that was the Miḏyanite woman who was struck by Pineḥas!  So while his name means ‘rock’ it is a picture of a ‘false rock’!

4 - חוּר  Ḥur – Strong’s H2354 meaning, holeand comes from the primitive root חָוַר ḥavar – Strong’s H2357 meaning, to be or grow pale, turn pale. One turns pale when you are sick!

5 -  רֶבַע  Reḇa – Strong’s H7254 meaning, four or fourth part and comes from the primitive root word רָבַע  raḇa – Strong’s H7250 meaning, to lie stretched out, lie down, breed together, mate.

When we recognize that Rome is the fourth horn that scattered the children of Yisra’ĕl, we also see that we are not to ‘lie down’ with her! The word רָבַע raḇa is only used 3 times in Scripture and twice is in the clear instruction for a woman to not ‘lie down’ with a beast and the other is to not let livestock mate with another kind! So this is a picture of whoring that is abominable and strictly forbidden.

 

As we consider all of these 5 kings, we can certainly begin to understand the very things that we must kill in order to keep ‘strife’ out of our midst. All lust of the flesh and fleshly desires we must put to death:

Kěpha Aleph/2 Peter 2:11 “Beloved ones, I appeal to you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts which battle against the life

We are to destroy all forms of hypocrisy from our midst:

Romiyim/Romans 12:9 “Let love be without hypocrisy. Shrink from what is wicked, cling to what is good.

We also must not fall for the ‘false rock’ so to speak, whose daughter is ‘my lie’ and will do whatever it takes to corrupt the camp of Yisra’ĕl.

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:31 “For their rock is not like our Rock – Even our enemies are judges.

The return of the two houses will be preceded by a time of distress – cries of fear and terror will be heard instead of cries of peace and Yirmeyahu describes this by comparing it with the anguish of men clutching themselves in fear to a women in labour, and so this coming calamity will not be nice, in fact there is none like it in comparison.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 30:6 “Ask now, and see if a man is giving birth. Why do I see every man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour, and all faces turned pale?

We must make sure that we do not lie down with the whore of Baḇelon and drink of her adulteries, but rather we must put to death and keep far from our tent all her temptations and falsehood:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 6:18 “Flee whoring. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits whoring sins against his own body.

A great lesson for us in ensuring that we keep ‘strife’ far from us! What we also see here is that the false prophet Bilʽam was put to death with these kings! And Bilʽam means, ‘not of the people’ so in a nutshell we must kill and have nothing to do with all that is not of the people of Yisra’ĕl! And we must also give no room for the false prophets that are leading the charge against obedience to the Torah by falsely claiming it is of no longer importance – these prophets/ teachers/preachers who say such nonsense are not of the Truth and are proclaiming only falsehood and deceit, which we must stay very far from:

Timotiyos Aleph/1 Timothy 6:3-5 “If anyone teaches differently and does not agree to the sound words, those of our Master יהושע Messiah, and to the teaching which is according to reverence, 4 he is puffed up, understanding none at all, but is sick about questionings and verbal battles from which come envy, strife, slander, wicked suspicions, 5 worthless disputes of men of corrupt minds and deprived of the truth, who think that reverence is a means of gain – withdraw from such.

 

Verse 19 - be cleansed on the 3rd and on the 7th!

We see some the requirements in all that had killed a being or touched a dead body was to cleanse themselves on the third day and on the seventh day. When we see verses like this we must also take note of what Kěpha tells us to make sure we understand:

Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:8But, beloved ones, let not this one matter be hidden from you: that with יהוה one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Why Kěpha places a huge emphasis on this fact is that if we neglect to understand the Appointed Times of יהוה and how the 7 days of Creation reflect the 7 millennia and that by sticking to the much needed and required obedience of keeping His cycle of His Feasts then we will be lost and without a Shepherd!!!

Anyone who touches the dead is unclean for 7 days – well since Aḏam sinned, we have all been ‘born in sin’, since the uncleanness lasts for 7 days = 7000 years! It is only in the 8th day (8th Millennium) that we will see a total end to sin and death and a new heaven and new earth be established. In the 7 day period that we now find ourselves in, יהוה through His Torah provided a means for us to become clean. In this torah of being cleansed on the 3rd and 7th day we see the need for us to accept and apply the work of Messiah, who by the fulfilling of the red heifer sacrifice has provided for us the ‘water of cleansing.

If we are not cleansed by the Blood of יהושע then we will not be able to reign with Him!

The 3rd day  - this speaks of the power of the resurrection of Messiah, who rose on the 3rd day, and so in effect to make oneself clean on the 3rd day is to accept the life, death and resurrection for Messiah, repent and be immersed in His Name for the forgiveness of sins.

Hoshěa/Hosea 6:2 “After two days He shall revive us, on the third day He shall raise us up, so that we live before Him.

The 7th day speaks of the final work of atonement being completed on the 7th day when Messiah comes out of His Set-Apart Hěḵal on Yom Kippur and treads the winepress of His wrath and gathers unto Himself a washed and cleansed Bride – that is those who have washed themselves in the 3rd day and have held fast to the testimony of Messiah and have guarded His commands.

This 3rd day and 7th day principle has varying pictures for us in Scripture which all point to the full and complete work of a Bride being made clean for Her Husband. In the ‘creation week’ we see that it was on the 3rd day that the dry land was brought forth and on the 7th day, when יהוה completed His work and rested, we can see in type a bringing forth of the ‘heavens’ or rather His heavenly reign! His Kingdom Come – that is that on the 7th day – his rule and reign will be firmly established here on earth, and in the mean time we who live as sojourners here and have been cleansed on the 3rd day so to speak by the work of Messiah, choose to live according to His Kingdom rules as set forth in His Torah.

Another aspect to the 3rd day and 7th day cleansing is seen at Mount Sinai when Yisra’ĕl were given to days to get ready and on the 3rd day present themselves at the foot of the Mountain. When we understand that it was on the 4th day of Creation that the lights were ‘made’ to rule the day and the night and the Appointed Times were established, we can recognise that יהושע, the Light of the world, came on the 4th day to separate the light from the dark and call a people out of darkness and has given us the means and the garments to get ready for 2 days and on the 3rd be presented unto Him as a ready Bride without blemish! From the 4th day when He came we have been given 2 days – day 5 and day 6 – to get ready and on the 7th be dressed and be ready as a Bride prepared, when He comes down to take up His Bride to be with Him forever!!!

If we do not receive the cleansing of the 3rd day – we cannot be cleansed on the 7th!

The Torah of the red heifer has provided for us the necessary means to be clean and stay clean until our Messiah comes again!

Verse 19 tells us that any who had killed any being or touched a slain one was to ‘cleanse themselves’. The root word used here for ‘cleanse’ is  חָטָא ḥata – Strong’s H2398 meaning, ‘to miss the mark, do wrong, incur guilt, fail to reach’, and when understand the root meaning of ‘Torah’ (point/aim in the right direction and move in that direction), one clearly sees that to sin (missing the mark) is to walk against or contrary to the Torah, for:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:4 “Everyone doing sin also does lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.

Now with these words here in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 31:19 we recognise that we are to cleanse our lives and be done with sin and to be done with sin means that we choose to walk in His Torah and no longer be lawless!

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 3:6 “Everyone staying in Him does not sin. Everyone sinning has neither seen Him nor known Him.

The way to be done with sin is to stay in the Master – and this is how we ‘cleanse ourselves’ – by staying in Him and walking in Righteousness – which is to hear, guard and do all His commands!!!

Ya’aqoḇ/James 4:8 “Draw near to Elohim and He shall draw near to you. Cleanse hands, sinners. And cleanse the hearts, you double-minded!

We are able to draw near to Elohim because of the red heifer sacrifice which, in a way pictures the fullness of all the sacrifices, which point to and foreshadow the complete work of Messiah! Cleanse hands is an idiom to clean up our ‘works’ and ways and cleansing our hearts is an expression that tells us to get deceit out and ensure that through the meditation of His Torah we guard that which He writes upon our hearts – His Torah – His Renewed Covenant in the Blood of Messiah that cleanses us and sets us apart in Him. When we recognise just what He has done and how He has cleansed us form all defilement – even burnt up all the ‘dung’ so to speak (red heifer sacrifice was burned with the dung), may we be careful to guard our hearts and minds in Messiah and keep ourselves from all defilement of the flesh as we stay in Him and are done with sin!

In understanding this concept of cleansing ourselves from sin, we see that by implication this renders the need to ‘die to self’ or in a sense ‘lose oneself’; and Messiah makes it clear for us in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 10:39 “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he that has lost his life for My sake shall find it.

Verse 20-23 – Purify all!

There was a need to cleanse the plunder that had been brought from the spoils of their victory, and we see that all everything that could be passed through fire was to be passed through the fire to be cleansed and all other objects were to be washed with water for uncleanness, and what we see here is that all Miḏyan had to be cleansed out of everything – even their objects, so that no reminder of Miḏyan would be in the camp at all!

What is interesting to note is the clear mention of objects of leather, goats hair and wood – as these were materials used in the building of the Tabernacle and were materials used in the Most Set-Apart Place for the coverings; and what we can see here is that they were to purify all forms of Miḏyanite ‘covering’ so to speak in the camp and give no room for the leading of falsified teachings and worship practices of Miḏyan. We too must cleanse ourselves and our homes from all that which defiles and all that which we were previously submitted under!

Verse 27 – The spoil divided into two parts!

The spoil was divided into 2 parts – between those who went out on the campaign and fought and the rest of the congregation. Only after everything was purified did the Yisra’ĕlites proceed to divide up the spoils.

Before taking possession of the goods, the army was to set aside a “levy” to יהוה through El’azar the priest of 1/500 (1 for every 500) of man, cattle, donkeys and sheep. The levy that was offered to יהוה by the Yisra’ĕlite community to the Lěwites before taking the goods for themselves was 1/50 (1 for every 40) of man, cattle, donkeys and sheep.

The word used in this chapter for ‘levy’ is מֶכֶס meḵes – Strong’s H4371 meaning, computation, proportion to be paid, tax, levy. What is interesting to note is that this word is only used in this chapter and is used 6 times, and each time it refers to the levy unto יהוה! What we can learn from this is that we must in all things recognise that what we have is as a result of it being given to us by יהוה, and we must acknowledge Him in all. This was a commanded levy and we see that those who did the fighting are not taxed nearly as much as those who did not.

This is what was taken in plunder besides all the booty of ornaments of gold, silver, garments etc.:

Sheep – 675 000

Cattle – 72 000

Donkeys – 61 000

People – 32 000 (all women who had not known a man)

The portion given to El’azar from the half portion given to the men who went out on the campaign (1 for every 500):

Sheep – 675

Cattle – 72

Donkeys – 61

People – 32

The portion to the Lěwites from the half portion given to the congregation (1 for every 50):

Sheep – 6750

Cattle – 720

Donkeys – 610

People – 320

After all was divided up and the levies paid, the men who went to battle came and brought a freewill offering for יהוה, which amounted to 1 6750 shekels of gold. What we must remember is that not one man was injured and here they came and gave freely in thanksgiving! One shekel is approximately 11.4 grams and so to put into perspective what they gave in today’s value at around R 442.92 per gram for the current gold price (2014), we can estimate that the value of their freewill offering was approx.. 190kg’s of gold which at today’s price would be in the region of:

R 84,189,305 (over R 84 Million Rand!)… and this was just ten gold that they gave as a freewill offering, besides the rest!

They recognised that this battle was called for by יהוה and the victory was יהוה’s and these men gave a thank offering that certainly declared their gratitude and thanks to Elohim who fights for us; and while we may not have millions to give, may we recognise that our whole lives (that is our gifts, talents, time, resources, intellect) must be given over to Him as a freewill thanksgiving offering on which we cannot place a price!!!!

CHAPTER 32

After the allocation of the spoils, the children of Re’uḇĕn and Gaḏ saw that they had much livestock and wanted to settle in the land of Yaʽzĕr and the land of Gilʽaḏ, which was a good land for livestock. We must bear in mind that each tribe had just received a great number of livestock – when you add the portion given to the 1000 men from each tribe who went to the campaign add the portion given to each tribe, you will see that each tribe received well over 55 000 sheep, almost 6 000 cattle, over 5 000 donkeys. It may be that Re’uḇĕn and Gaḏ already had a great number of livestock, that caused them to ask to settle in the land before them and not cross over Yardĕn. Now we are not told whether they had more than the other tribes, but what we do recognise here is the desire to settle their livestock sooner rather than later, possibly with the hope to increase their wealth as they saw room for their livestock to grow much bigger! Did they want to ‘stay out of the land’ for wealth??? We can certainly learn a great deal from these accounts – both positive and negative. In one sense this is a picture of 2 tribes who were looking at their wealth rather than at the promise, and were satisfied to settle where they were at. In a sense it was as if they thought to themselves, “we have arrived” and many today do the same thing when they let their lives becomes settles on the basis of their possessions and do not feel the need to move forward.

Having not yet even seen the Promised Land, these two tribes were certain that this land that lay east of the Yardĕn was better than what יהוה had for them across the Yardĕn! They would have certainly had many deep discussions over this matter before even approaching Mosheh, and they had in a way made their own decisions about their future and the future of their generations to come and took matters into their own hands so to speak.

How many times have so many of us done the same thing, by making decisions for ourselves and others that we are certain that יהוה would approve of, before even consulting Him and His Word???

There was certainly a danger of infecting the other tribes into wanting to stay this side of the Yardĕn too, while their request was done in a way that revealed how they were more focused on their wealth and because of this they were willing to give up the promise made to Aḇraham, in order to serve their possessions!

Possessions are meant to serve us and not the other way round!

What is a very clear picture being given here for us to learn from is that one hand it seems as though these 2 tribes were willing to trade their rightful share in the Kingdom for security right now. As we consider this very real danger that so many face today, we must stop and ask ourselves if our possessions or even the desire and lust for possessions is keeping us from the fullness of the presence of יהוה?

Mattithyahu/Matthew 19:23 “And יהושע said to His taught ones, “Truly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter into the reign of the heavens.

In regards to the rich man who had many possession and came and asked יהושע what he should do to inherit everlasting life, he thought he was ok because he had kept the ‘letter’ of the Torah and when יהושע told him that he still lacked one thing – and that was to go and sell all his possession and give to the poor and then follow Messiah…:

Marqos/Mark 10:22-23 “But he, being sad at this word, went away grieved, for he had many possessions. 23 And יהושע, looking around, said to His taught ones, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter into the reign of Elohim!

Are we there yet? Often when going on a long journey, many times the kids may ask repeatedly this very question and it is due to frustration and the need to get to where we need to be … now! We must recognise that here at this stage of the journey it was not ‘home’ for the Yisra’ĕlites, despite the adequate and exceeding provision that they had amassed!

Mosheh feared that their motives were all wrong, and while we have looked at some of the negative applications of their desire to settle where they were at, we can also see some great positive insights of how we are to be willing to fight for our brothers, who may not yet have received their inheritance, so to speak!

Mosheh was afraid that יהוה would do the same to Yisra’ĕl as he did 40 years earlier when the spies brought back a negative report, and Mosheh rebukes them for their request.

What we can see here is a measure of maturity that is seen by the children of Re’uḇĕn and Gaḏ, as they received the rebuke and were bold and confident that Mosheh would see their point of view, if they would just be able to explain their hearts behind their motives.

They made a great commitment to say that they would build shelters for their livestock and homes for their little ones while they would go armed before the rest of Yisra’ĕl into the Promised land and would not return to their possessions and families until all Yisra’ĕl had settled in their inheritance!

This relieved Mosheh and so he gave them the land they requested.

One of the primary lessons we can take form these events is this: we should not sit back comfortably while our brothers and sisters are fighting spiritual battles alone!

What is interesting to note is that these two tribes and the half tribe of Menashsheh  who chose to stay on the east side of the Yardĕn, were the first to be taken into exile… 8 years before the others:

Diḇre haYamim Aleph/1 Chronicles 5:26So the Elohim of Yisra’ĕl stirred up the spirit of Pul sovereign of Ashshur, even the spirit of Tiglath-Pileser sovereign of Ashshur. And he took the Re’uḇĕnites, and the Gaḏites, and the half-tribe of Menashsheh into exile, and brought them to Ḥalaḥ, and Ḥaḇor, and Hara, and the river of Gozan, unto this day.

Perhaps this was the result or consequence of their decisions taken before Yisra’ĕl entered the Promised Land!

This generation was not like the last – they were committed to fight for their brothers and go before them armed, and we can learn something from this on a positive note. There are many of our brothers and sisters who have not yet fully grasped the truth and are still battling to get rid of the junk of Mitsrayim and Baḇelon twisted theologies; and we who have come out of these and are walking in the Torah, must fight for those who have not yet understood or accepted that the lies our father’s inherited are lies that are keeping many out of the promises of the Kingdom, and we need to arm ourselves and fight the good fight, so that they can see the truth!

While we most certainly must fight and lead the fight against the enemies of the kingdom, what we must take from this passage is that the fact of the matter is that while the children of Re’uḇĕn and Gaḏ and the half tribe of Menashsheh received their allotment east of the Yardĕn, we must understand that this was not the original plan and they could not fully receive their inheritance until they fulfilled their promise. They had to keep their word!!!

They were also warned that if they did not do as they said, then their sin would find them out!

Romiyim/Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the favourable gift of Elohim is everlasting life in Messiah יהושע our Master.”

The children of Re’uḇĕn and Gaḏ and the half tribe of Menashsheh completed their mission as we see recorded in:

Yehoshua/Joshua 22:1-4 “Then Yehoshua called for the Re’uḇĕnites, and the Gaḏites, and half the tribe of Menashsheh,  2 and said to them, “You, you have guarded all that Mosheh the servant of יהוה commanded you, and have obeyed my voice in all that I commanded you. 3 “You have not left your brothers these many days, up to this day, but have guarded the Charge, the command of יהוה your Elohim. 4 “And now יהוה your Elohim has given rest to your brothers, as He promised them. So now, return and go to your tents and to the land of your possession, which Mosheh the servant of יהוה gave you beyond the Yardĕn.

What we can take from this Torah portion is the clear fact that our words are very important and we must do all that we can to make sure that our words line up with the Word of יהוה. We also recognise how our commitment toward each other is vitally important for us to ensure the much needed unity for us as the Bride of Messiah to fully enter in and inherit the Promise of the Covenants of Promise, by which we have been brought near and grafted into by the Blood of Messiah. Let us also recognise that while we are sojourning as strangers in a foreign land, we have not yet arrived but rather we must ‘press on’:

Pilipiyim/Philippians 3:12-14 “Not that I have already received, or already been perfected, but I press on, to lay hold of that for which Messiah יהושע has also laid hold of me. 13 Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold of it yet, but only this: forgetting what is behind and reaching out for what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of Elohim in Messiah יהושע.

 

It is time for us to arm ourselves in the Torah and fight the Good Fight of our Belief and not be settled in the comfort of our possessions but fix our eyes on Messiah:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:1-2 “We too, then, having so great a cloud of witnesses all around us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race set before us, 2 looking to the Princely Leader and Perfecter of our belief, יהושע, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the stake, having despised the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of Elohim.

 

May we also be reminded by what Kěpha tells us in Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 1:9 – that the goal of our belief is the deliverance of lives – so we must arm ourselves with the Torah and the Truth of the Word of יהוה, so that out words are pure and live giving:

Kěpha Aleph/1 Peter 4:11 “If anyone speaks, let it be as the Words of Elohim. If anyone serves, let it be as with the strength which Elohim provides, so that Elohim might be praised in it all through יהושע Messiah, to whom belong the esteem and the rule forever and ever. Aměn.

 

Herein lies the call to follow יהוה completely! In Bemiḏbar/Numbers 32:12 we see how Mosheh reminds the children of Gaḏ and Re’uḇĕn, that from the previous generation, it was only Yehoshua and Kalěḇ that followed יהוה completely!

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 14:24 “But My servant Kalěḇ, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me completely, I shall bring into the land where he went, and his seed shall inherit it.

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 1: 35-36 “Not one of these men of this evil generation shall see that good land of which I swore to give to your fathers, 36 except Kalěḇ son of Yephunneh. He shall see it, and to him and his children I give the land on which he walked, because he followed יהוה completely.

In Yehoshua/Joshua 14 we see that 3 times this terminology of following יהוה completely is being used of Kalěḇ – he followed יהוה completely. The reason why I am emphasising this is simply because it is very important for us to understand just how our walk ought to be in Messiah and the question remains continually for us whether we are following יהוה completely or not! Are you or are you not?

The Word ‘complete’, as an adjective, simply means ‘to have all the necessary or normal parts or components’. In other words you have it all. The word ‘completely’ is an adverb – that is, a word that serves as a modifier of a verb (in other words it is a ‘doing’ word); and strengthens that action of the verb. ‘Completely’ therefore means literally, ‘to a full extent; to be complete with everything necessary; highly proficient; thorough; total; absolute’.

Well then, in “following יהוה completely”, do we have all we need? The answer is a resounding yes – we have all we need, given us freely by His favour through the Blood of יהושע Messiah to all who believe in Him. As we all know faith without works is dead – faith without active living in obedience to His Word and His instructions – that is His Torah – is dead!!! Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 2:6 tells us that if stay in Him then we are to walk as He did! Yoḥanan 15 speaks of the vine and the branches - יהושע Messiah is the True Vine and we are told by Him that if we stay in Him we will bear much fruit for we can do nothing without Him and if we stay in Him then we may ask whatever we wish and it shall be done. If we do not stay in Him we will be thrown away and dry up only to be gathered for the fire!!! We are to stay in His love and this is love for Elohim – that we obey His commands and they are not heavy!

So what am I saying here? Simply this – to stay in Him and to completely follow Him speaks of the same thing.

The Hebrew word translated as ‘completely’ is the root verb מָלֵא male’(maw-lay) – Strong’s H4390 and carries the meaning, to be full, to fill, complete, covered, dedicate, fulfil, ordain. Kalěḇ was a complete and fully dedicated servant of Elohim!

When Kěpha was in prison and bound between two guards, the Messenger of יהוה struck Kěpha’s side and commanded him to follow:

Ma’asei/Acts 12:8 “And the messenger said to him, “Gird yourself and bind on your sandals,” and he did so. And he said to him, “Put on your garment and follow me.

The Greek word translated as ‘follow’ in verse 8 is ἀκολουθέω akoloutheō – Strong’s G190 and comes from: Α, α alpha – Strong’s G1 which is the first letter of the Greek language and is used here as a participle of union, along with the word κέλευθος keleuthos – which means, a road, or way and therefore this word ἀκολουθέω akoloutheō expresses the intention to ‘follow closely or going behind someone who leads the way’ or ‘to attend, to accompany, to go with or follow a teacher.

Luqas/Luke 9:61-62 “And another also said, “Master, I shall follow You, but let me first say good-bye to those in my house.” 62 But יהושע said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the reign of Elohim.

The equivalent expression in Hebrew for ‘I will follow you’ is  - וְאֵלְכָה אַחֲרֶיךָ – ‘v’elḵa  aḥarey’ḵa – and is from two root words: הָלַךְ  halaḵ – Strong’s H1980 meaning, ‘to walk, to go, to live, manner of life, cause to live’ and literally speaks of how one lives. It is used as a verb indicating that it is an active expression of one’s life. This verb is written in the ‘qal active’ tense and therefore renders the meaning, to go, to walk, come, proceed, depart, move, go away, to die, live, manner of life (figuratively), and the other root word is אַחַר aḥar – Strong’s H310 meaning, the hind part, following part, after, afterwards, behind, following, which is used here in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 32:12 for ‘followed’. And so in the Hebraic mind-set to say that you will follow declares that you will live and walk as the one you are following, and do as they do. To follow Messiah is not for those who just want to go for a stroll to see what happens – it is a commitment to walk and live as He walks and lives!

You cannot follow the Master if you are not girded about with truth and have not put on righteousness, as you will be unable to walk as He walked!

If you are not properly girded in the Truth and bound in your walk of uncompromised obedience, then even the greatest intentions to follow will be rendered as invalid, when the things of the world are still chained to you!

 

Verse 15 – if you turn away from following Him!

The clear warning is given here to the children of Gaḏ and Re’uḇĕn, and that is that if they turn away from following יהוה, they will cause many to be destroyed in the Wilderness! From this we must learn to be careful of not making  short-lived promises that are quickly broken, for this will affect many! What flows from our lives, in word and deed, can either bring life to others or pollute them. This was a scary thought that was given to these two tribes, and so it should be to us as well. Just think how our short lived and vain promises could actually causes many to not enter into the Promises of Elohim!

We have been given the wonderful opportunity to take up the Torah and walk wholeheartedly in it by following יהוה completely, and if we do not do this, we may be the cause of not being able to enter into the promised reign, not only for ourselves, but for others too!

In Verse 18-19 the children of Gaḏ and Re’uḇĕn told Mosheh that they would fight for their brothers, and set aside their inheritance until they made sure that their brothers had inherited their possession across the Yardĕn.

They had now made a very clear ‘vow’, and they were told very clearly that if they break it, they would suffer!

Verse 20 – arm yourselves before יהוה for battle!

The word for ‘battle’ is מִלְחָמָה milḥamah – Strong’s H4421 meaning, battle, war, warfare, military comes from the word לָחַם laḥam – Strong’s H3898 which means, to fight, do battle, conquer and can also carry the meaning, consume, to use as food, eat, and it is from this root word that we get the word לֶחֶם leḥem – Strong’s H3899 which means, bread, food, provision. Understanding that the word for war/battle comes from the same root word from which bread comes from, which as we know is Scripture that bread is a symbol or picture of community, then it helps us further understand how when we stand up and fight against ‘self’ and the lusts of the flesh that wage war in our lives then we are in fact feeding the community with growth as we conquer that which does not belong in order to enrich the community or body we are made a part of!

The root word for ‘arm’ in verse 40 is חָלַץ ḥalats – Strong’s H2502 and means, ‘be equipped, armed, to draw out, plunder, remove, tear out’.

We have a huge responsibility for each other in the body, and we are to be daily ‘armed for battle’, as we stand dressed in the armour of Elohim, and walk in His Torah!

Verse 23

Here we are given the reality of how one’s sin will be found out. If you claim to be walking in the Master and have committed your life to standing firm in Him, committed to being dressed in His Armour and walk as a faithful priesthood in service to one another, then you better make sure that you do not miss the mark, because when you do, you will be found out! Mosheh then commands them to go and do what they have promised, and in the Hebrew this is literally rendered as, ‘do what goes forth from your mouth’, and further emphasises to us here that the Torah clearly teaches us to keep our promises!

When we neglect to do what we have promised to others, we sin against יהוה, and it will catch up to you, even when you may have forgotten about it!

The children of Gaḏ and Re’uḇĕn confirmed their acceptance of this, as they answered Mosheh by saying that they will do as יהוה has commanded them! They proved this day that they were indeed a different generation to the one who had perished in the Wilderness for disobedience! They were not only willing to help their brothers, but they also were eager to go in first and displayed a true ‘following’ heart that יהוה seeks!

As we consider this chapter that speaks of the commands given to the tribes, and the necessity of ensuring that we keep our promises and commitments faithfully, we must take care to be a people who do not swear falsely, but do all, whether in word or deed, in the name of our Master:

Qolasim/Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Master יהושע, giving thanks to Elohim the Father through Him.

Qolasim/Colossians 3:23-25 “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Master and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Master you shall receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Master, Messiah, you serve. 25 But he who does wrong shall be repaid for the wrong which he has done, and there is no partiality.

 Shalom!