This weeks reading is from Parashat Va’etchanan (Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11), Parashat Va’etchanan, Moshe is summarizing the main points during Israel’s journey from Egypt to their present location (Beth Peor). Moshe requests to enter the Promised Land but God said to go to the top of mount Pisgah to see the land with his eyes only. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:3 we read לֹא אֶת-אֲבֹתֵינוּ כָּרַת יְהוָֹה אֶת-הַבְּרִית הַזֹּאת כִּי אִתָּנוּ אֲנַחְנוּ אֵלֶּה פֹה הַיּוֹם כֻּלָּנוּ חַיִּים 5:3 ‘The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, with all those of us alive here today. (NASB) Moshe goes on to say (5:5) that אָנֹכִי עֹמֵד בֵּין-יְהוָֹה וּבֵינֵיכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא, the NASB translates as “I stood between the Lord and between you at that time.” The Aramaic Targum from Onkelos states ה אֲנָא הֲוֵיתִי־קָאֵם בֵּין־מֵימְרָא־דַייָ וּבֵּינֵיכוֹן בְּעִדָּנָא הַהִיא לְחַוָּאָה לְכוֹן יַת־פִּתְגָּמָא דַייָ אֲרֵי דְחֶלְתּוּן מִקֳּדָם אֶשָּׁתָא וְלָא סְלֶקְתּוּן בְּטוּרָא לְמֵימַר “I stood between the Word of the Lord and you, to announce to you at that time the word of the Lord; for you were afraid in presence of the fire, and went not up to the mountain.” The Hebrew text reveals to us God’s continued perfect and absolute promise of His covenant coupled with a messianic expectation of the Messiah Yeshua personified in Moshe to be a Prophet (Nevi) and an intermediary (Cohen or priest). Moshe describes his role and leadership over the people אָנֹכִי עֹמֵד בֵּין-יְהוָֹה וּבֵינֵיכֶם בָּעֵת הַהִוא לְהַגִּיד לָכֶם אֶת-דְּבַר יְהוָֹה “I stood between the Lord and between you at that time” and as mediator on behalf of the people. A mediator is one who intervenes, is a peacemaker, and intercedes on behalf of two persons. In this case, Moshe stood between the people and between God to speak the Word of the Lord. The one who stands between God and man is understood to function as a type of Messiah to deliver the people from the wrath of God. Based on this text, on what we know about the scriptures, the role of the Messiah is to deliver to the people the Word of the Lord, to redeem the people, and to make atonement for the people saving them from their sins. Moshe served as an example, a prototypic Mashiach (משיח, Messiah) (see Shemot / Exodus 32:30-33).
כתבי הקודש / The Holy Scriptures
תרגום אונקלוס ספר דברים פרק ה
ה אֲנָא הֲוֵיתִי־קָאֵם בֵּין־מֵימְרָא־דַייָ וּבֵּינֵיכוֹן בְּעִדָּנָא הַהִיא לְחַוָּאָה לְכוֹן יַת־פִּתְגָּמָא דַייָ אֲרֵי דְחֶלְתּוּן מִקֳּדָם אֶשָּׁתָא וְלָא סְלֶקְתּוּן בְּטוּרָא לְמֵימַר: ו אֲנָא יְיָ אֱלָהָךְ דִּי אַפֵּקִתָּךְ מֵאַרְעָא דְמִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עַבְדוּתָא: ז לָא יְהֵי לָךְ אֱלָהּ אָחֳרָן בַּר־מִנִּי:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 1:41-42
“I stood between the Word of the Lord and you, to announce to you at that time the word of the Lord; for you were afraid in presence of the fire, and went not up to the mountain,) saying: I am the Lord thy God, who hath brought thee out of the land of Mizraim, from the house of bondage; there shall not be with thee another god beside Me.” (EMC)
Studying the Torah, the people looked to Moshe when needing to hear a word from the Lord God Almighty. Thus, Moshe said “I stood between the Lord and between you at that time” and the rabbis say Moshe “stood between the Word of the Lord and you, to announce to you at that time the word of the Lord.” The people saw Moshe as a king to go before them and to speak with God. The Hebrew word for king is מלך (melech), derived from the root word מ.ל.ך means “sovereign, monarch, ruler, advisor, to seek or counsel.” The original sense of the word may have been as a counselor if we take the perspective that the counsel of the king was “final” meaning that he had the last word. Note how the people would seek the counsel of Moshe to know the will of the Lord. Moshe’s word that was from God was the “final” word on a given matter? Moshe function as a prophet נביא (Nevi). This word נביא (Nevi) has been applied to many people through the Scriptures, to Abraham, Moshe, Samuel, Elijah, and many more, and is used in such a variety of ways in the Tanach the exact derivation is not well understood. In the end it is defined as “prophet” based on the actions of the person that it is describing. Prophets were also known as roeh, רֹאֶה (shepherd or seer) this word is used metaphorically to refer to the prophet (see 2 Samuel 5:2, 2 Samuel 7:7, Tehillim / Psalms 78:72, Jeremiah 3:15 and 23:2-4, Ezekiel 34:2-23, 1 Chronicles 11:2, and 1 Chronicles 17:6). Moshe was a רֹאֶה (shepherd) in the land of Median for a period of time in his life, so he understood how to take care of and provide for the poeple. Prophets are also called a חֹזֶה (chozeh, or חזון chozen), this word is used as a synonym for “prophet” (2 Samuel 24:11) and means “vision,” or “revelation.” Based upon these Scriptures, the prophet was God’s spokesman, and the true prophet of God, his message would remain consistent regardless of the circumstances and the people to whom he was speaking. According to the use of the words רֹאֶה (seer) and חֹזֶה (choze, or חזון chazon, vision, prophet) the prophet receives wisdom and knowledge through his communication with God, he is made aware by “seeing” future events. The king is known as the person to whom one seeks advise or counsel. The king or prophet then proceeds to seek the advise of the King of the universe (the Lord God Almighty) in order to take the Word of the Lord back to the people. In 1 Samuel 9:16, the word ְנָגִיד (nagid) meaning “a ruler” or “prince,” from the root meaning “the one who stands in front,” appears as if it is used to refer to a king who is set apart for the throne but is yet to reign. This seems to be how the word is used in 1 Samuel 9:16. It is interesting that in Daniel 9:25, the phrase מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד (Mashiach nagid) the “Messiah the prince” is designated as the heir to the throne and the word שר (sar) is also used meaning “a prince,” “captain,” or “chief,” whose root meaning indicates “to rise in splendor.” This term is use of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6 as the “Prince of peace.” Ultimately, studying these various Scriptures, we see that God has intended to show us in and through the history of Israel His plan for the Messiah to become king and ruler over Israel, and all of mankind, according to the prophetic literature. Studying the Torah portion for this week, Moshe “stood between the Lord and between the people at that time” and the rabbis interpreted this to mean that Moshe “stood between the Word of the Lord and the people, to announce to the people at that time the word of the Lord.” For all intents and purposes, Moshe functioned as a king, a prophet, a shepherd, a chozen, and thus midrashically speaking he functioned as a prototypical Mashiach on behalf of the poeple before God. This is meant to direct our attention to God’s Mashiach, the One Mashiach who would draw us back to fellowship with God, who would save us from our enemies (death, disease, people), and save us from sin. This One true Mashiach is Yeshua the Messiah! BTT_Parashat Va’etchanan-2013