This weeks reading is from Parashat Pinchas (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:10-30:1), the Lord speaks to Moshe saying that Pinchas, the son of Eleazar, has turned away His wrath from the sons of Israel because he was zealous for the Lord. Pinchas’ Jealousy for the Lord is found in Bamidbar / Numbers 25:7-9. Pinchas observed the sin of the sons of Israel and took action, the text says 25:8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked. (NASB) Here in Parashat Pinchas, the people are committing sexual sin with the women of Moab accompanied with idolatry. This is the result of Bilam deceiving the people and giving advise to Balak king of Moab on how to deceive Israel. In the Apostolic Writings, Jude says that “false teachers” follow the “error of Bilam,” (Jude 1:11) that corrupt prophet who desired to curse Israel. The Apostle Peter also mentioned that “the way of Bilam, the son of Beor who loved gain from wrong doing” (2 Peter 2:15). According to Peter, Bilam’s repeated attempt to seek a favorable answer from God three times is understood to have been “the love of gain in wrong doing.” The Apostle John wrote in Revelation 2:14 saying that “the teaching of Bilam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel” suggests the true nature of Bilam who used his talents solely for the purpose of obtaining money, fame, and respect. Bilam sold his services without regard for the truth (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:7 and Devarim / Deuteronomy 23:4-5). Also note that the name Bilam (בלעם) is the combination of two Hebrew words בלי meaning “without or not of” and עם meaning “people.” The very name “Bilam” (“without a people”) illustrates the fact that this man sought to curse the children of Israel and bring them under the judgment of God. Bilam continued to plot against Israel and succeeded by using the women of Moab to seduce the men of the camp at Baal Peor. Bilam realized that the way to curse Israel was to do so by causing the people to sin. However, Bilam did not realize that the Lord God Almighty was not only judge but also Israel’s Salvation. Bilam failed to recognize the purpose of prayer, mercy, and being a blessing to others.
כתבי הקודש / The Holy Scriptures
ספר במדבר פרק לא
טז הֵן הֵנָּה הָיוּ לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל בִּדְבַר בִּלְעָם לִמְסָר-מַעַל בַּיהוָֹה עַל-דְּבַר פְּעוֹר וַתְּהִי הַמַּגֵּפָה בַּעֲדַת יְהוָֹה:
Bamidbar / Numbers 31:16
31:16 Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. (NASB)
Studying this week’s Parashah, Bilam did not understand how to be a blessing to Israel, rather, he was forced by God to speak a blessing rather than a curse. The word for “blessings” (בִּרְכוֹת) is used throughout the Scriptures to refer to the Lord God who gives blessings, the righteous and faithful will abound in blessings, and that rain from heaven is a blessing from God. It is interesting while examining the various occurrences of the word בִּרְכוֹת “blessings” in the Tanach, in the books of the Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes we find the word בִּרְכוֹת “blessings” is translated as “pools” or “ponds.” It may be that the word for “blessings” (בִּרְכוֹת) is translated as pools of water because God rains down His blessing upon the righteous; it is the refreshing result of living in righteousness and justice before our God. Comparing the Hebrew with the Aramaic Targum on Tehillim / Psalms 21:4, something very interesting may be observed. Tehillim / Psalms 21 says ד כִּי-תְקַדְּמֶנּוּ בִּרְכוֹת טוֹב תָּשִׁית לְרֹאשׁוֹ עֲטֶרֶת פָּז: 21:3 For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head. (NASB) and the Aramaic Targum states ד ארום תקדמיניה ברכן טבן תשוי על רישיה כליל דהב סנינא׃ 21:4 For you will make good blessings go before him; you will place on his head a crown of refined gold. (EMC) God will make good blessings to go before the King that David is speaking of; the rabbis say blessings will go before the King Messiah. The idea that is presented here by the rabbis when comparing these translations, is that God is making this King a blessing to mankind or to the world in the sense that blessings will go before Him. The text is written in such a way that it seems the blessing that goes before Him suggests He is made to be a source of blessing to others. Thinking on this reminds us Bilam and his choosing to curse rather than to bless as a result of his desire for money, fame, and respect. Thinking on this a little further, the Apostle John wrote in Revelation 1:6 saying καὶ ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς βασιλείαν, ἱερεῖς τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας [τῶν αἰώνων]: ἀμήν. 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (NASB) Notice the Apostle John’s wording here, he says that Yeshua made us to be βασιλεία (basileia) “kings” (“royal power, kingship, dominion, rule”) This is not to be confused with an actual “kingdom” but rather Yeshua has given us the right or authority to “rule over a kingdom.” John also says that Yeshua made us to be ἱερεύς (heereus) “priests” meaning “a priest, one who offers sacrifices and is generally involved with sacred rites.” Our lives are a sacred rite before the Lord because Yeshua made us to be priests and kings to the Lord God Almighty. Taking these Scriptures into consideration from the psalms, from this week’s Parashah, and our understanding of being a blessing, as being kings and priests, blessings should go forth before each of us who are in Yeshua the Messiah. We are called to be a blessing to others and to bless rather than to curse. In addition to this, we are to bless God in being a blessing toward others. The Rabbis say that the blessing goes before the King Messiah; since blessing is going before the King Messiah, it is desirable to live in the presence of the King. Blessings abound to all of those who stand before the King. Blessings proceed from before the King Messiah through his reign. How important then is it to have the King Messiah ruling and reigning each of us each day? If you do not know Yeshua the King Messiah, my advise is to get to know Him ASAP! Ask Yeshua to come into your heart and to be Lord of your life today!