Tehillim / Psalms 10, Part 1 and 2, Why do the wicked prosper?

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 10:1-18. David begins His Psalm stating א לָמָה יְהֹוָה תַּעֲמֹד בְּרָחוֹק תַּעְלִים לְעִתּוֹת בַּצָּרָה: “10:1 Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?” (NASB) Pride is not the way of the righteous, pride and arrogance set themselves up against the Lord and prevents one from receiving help from the Lord. יג יִרְאַת יְהֹוָה שְֹנֹאת רָע גֵּאָה וְגָאוֹן | וְדֶרֶךְ רָע וּפִי תַהְפֻּכוֹת שָֹנֵאתִי: 8:13 ‘The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. (NASB) David goes on to say that ב בְּגַאֲוַת-רָשָׁע יִדְלַק עָנִי יִתָּפְשֹוּ | בִּמְזִמּוֹת זוּ חָשָׁבוּ: 10:2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. (NASB) The wicked pursue in their pride, the wicked gives praise in the desire of his soul (הִלֵּל רָשָׁע עַל-תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁו) and the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord (וּבֹצֵעַ בֵּרֵךְ נִאֵץ | יְהֹוָה). The reason that the wicked and greedy spurn and cruse the Lord is because in their arrogance they do not seek Him (ד רָשָׁע כְּגֹבַהּ אַפּוֹ בַּל-יִדְרשׁ אֵין אֱלֹהִים כָּל-מְזִמּוֹתָיו:). In such people, is there any hope of mercy? David continues to describe the wicked, the wicked do not know the judgments of God (His commandments), in his pride he says “I will not be moved throughout all generations, I will not be in adversity/evil” (אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ בַּל-אֶמּוֹט לְדֹר וָדֹר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-בְרָע). The mouth of the wicked is full of curses, deceit, and oppression and his tongue knows only mischief and wickedness. He sits in wait to attack the unsuspecting, and in hiding places to kill the innocent. His eyes watch for the unfortunate so as to lay hold of him like the lion does to his prey. The wicked cause the afflicted to fall down and is full of unspeakable acts of unrighteousness. This is possible because the wicked man says God will not see it (10:11), and the Lord will not require it of me (10:13). David calls out to the Lord saying יב קוּמָה יְהֹוָה אֵל נְשָֹא יָדֶךָ אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח עֲנָיִים [עֲנָוִים]: 10:12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. (NASB) David knows that the Lord has seen the afflicted and asks that the Lord would 10:15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. (טו שְׁבֹר זְרוֹעַ רָשָׁע וָרָע תִּדְרוֹשׁ-רִשְׁעוֹ בַל-תִּמְצָא:) David believes in the power of God saying 10:16 The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. 10:17 O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear 10:18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק י

א לָמָה יְהֹוָה תַּעֲמֹד בְּרָחוֹק תַּעְלִים לְעִתּוֹת בַּצָּרָה: ב בְּגַאֲוַת-רָשָׁע יִדְלַק עָנִי יִתָּפְשֹוּ | בִּמְזִמּוֹת זוּ חָשָׁבוּ: ג כִּי-הִלֵּל רָשָׁע עַל-תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁוֹ וּבֹצֵעַ בֵּרֵךְ נִאֵץ | יְהֹוָה: ד רָשָׁע כְּגֹבַהּ אַפּוֹ בַּל-יִדְרשׁ אֵין אֱלֹהִים כָּל-מְזִמּוֹתָיו:

סםר טוביה פרק י

א למה יהוה תקום ברחיק תטמר במדור קדישין לעידני עקתא׃ ב בגסות בגות רשיעא ידלק ענייא יתאחדון בנכלותא בנבילתא דנן דנא די חשבו למיעבד׃ ג מטול דאשתבח רשיעא על רגרוג רגגה נפשיה דמברך גברא טלומא מרחק רחיק מימרא דיהוה׃ ד רשיעא בגסות רוחיה לא יתבע אלהא ויימר בליביה דלא גלין קדם יהוה כולהון מחשבתוי׃

YALMOI 10

10:1 ἵνα τί κύριε ἀφέστηκας μακρόθεν ὑπερορᾷς ἐν εὐκαιρίαις ἐν θλίψει 10:2 ἐν τῷ ὑπερηφανεύεσθαι τὸν ἀσεβῆ ἐμπυρίζεται ὁ πτωχός συλλαμβάνονται ἐν διαβουλίοις οἷς διαλογίζονται 10:3 ὅτι ἐπαινεῖται ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ ὁ ἀδικῶν ἐνευλογεῖται 10:4 παρώξυνεν τὸν κύριον ὁ ἁμαρτωλός κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῆς ὀργῆς αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐκζητήσει οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ θεὸς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ

ה יָחִילוּ דְרָכָו| [דְרָכָיו] | בְּכָל-עֵת מָרוֹם מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ מִנֶּגְדּוֹ כָּל-צוֹרְרָיו יָפִיחַ בָּהֶם: ו אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ בַּל-אֶמּוֹט לְדֹר וָדֹר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-בְרָע: ז אָלָה פִּיהוּ מָלֵא וּמִרְמוֹת וָתֹךְ תַּחַת לְשׁוֹנוֹ עָמָל וָאָוֶן: ח יֵשֵׁב | בְּמַאְרַב חֲצֵרִים בַּמִּסְתָּרִים יַהֲרֹג נָקִי עֵינָיו לְחֵלְכָה יִצְפֹּנוּ: ט יֶאֱרֹב בַּמִּסְתָּר | כְּאַרְיֵה בְסֻכֹּה יֶאֱרֹב לַחֲטוֹף עָנִי יַחְטֹף עָנִי בְּמָשְׁכוֹ בְרִשְׁתּוֹ: י וִדְכֶּה [יִדְכֶּה] יָשֹׁחַ וְנָפַל בַּעֲצוּמָיו חֵלכָּאִים [חֵיל כָּאִים]: יא אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ שָׁכַח אֵל הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו בַּל-רָאָה לָנֶצַח: יב קוּמָה יְהֹוָה אֵל נְשָֹא יָדֶךָ אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח עֲנָיִים [עֲנָוִים]: יג עַל-מֶה | נִאֵץ רָשָׁע | אֱלֹהִים אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ לֹא תִּדְרשׁ: יד רָאִתָה כִּי-אַתָּה | עָמָל וָכַעַס | תַּבִּיט לָתֵת בְּיָדֶךָ עָלֶיךָ יַעֲזֹב חֵלֶכָה יָתוֹם אַתָּה | הָיִיתָ עוֹזֵר: טו שְׁבֹר זְרוֹעַ רָשָׁע וָרָע תִּדְרוֹשׁ-רִשְׁעוֹ בַל-תִּמְצָא: טז יְהֹוָה מֶלֶךְ עוֹלָם וָעֶד אָבְדוּ גוֹיִם מֵאַרְצוֹ: יז תַּאֲוַת עֲנָוִים שָׁמַעְתָּ יְהֹוָה תָּכִין לִבָּם תַּקְשִׁיב אָזְנֶךָ: יח לִשְׁפֹּט יָתוֹם וָדָךְ בַּל-יוֹסִיף עוֹד לַעֲרֹץ אֱנוֹשׁ מִן-הָאָרֶץ:

ה מצלחין אורחתיה בכל עידן רחיקין דינך דינייך מן קבליה בכל מעיקוי יזעוף בהון׃ ו יימר בלבביה בלביה לא אזוע מדר לדר מלמעבד ביש׃ ז מומתא לוטין פומיה מלי ניכלי ורמיותא תחות לישניה ליאות ליעות ושקר׃ ח יתיב בכמני דורתיא דרתא בטומריא יקטול זכאה עינוי למסכינייא יטשון יטושון׃ ט יכמון בטומריא היך אריא במטלליה יכמון למיתפש עניא יתפש עניא במיגדיה במצדתיה׃ י ידכדך וישוח ויפול בתקוף כמנוי עניא׃ יא יימר בלבביה בליביה אתנשי אלהא טמר אפוי לא חמי לעלמין׃ יב קום יהוה אלהנא קיים שבועת ידך לא תנשי עינוותני׃ יג מטול מה רחיק רשיעא אלהא יימר בלבביה לא תתבעי תתבע׃ יד גלי קדמך מטול דאנת ליאות ליעות ורגיז על רשיעא תסער אסתכל למשלם אגרא טבא לצדיקיא בידך עלך יסוברון ענייך יתם אנת את הוית סעיד׃ טו תבר אדרעהון דרשיעי ובישי יתבעון רשעתהון לא ישכחון׃ טז יהוה מליך לעלמי עלמיא אבדו יבדון עממי מארעיה׃ יז ריגתא רגגת דעינוותני שמיע קדמך יהוה תתקין לבהון תצלי אודנך לצלותהון׃ יח למידן יתם ועניא ומסכן לא יוסיף עוד תוב בני נשא לאתברא מן קדם רשיעי ארעא׃

10:5 βεβηλοῦνται αἱ ὁδοὶ αὐτοῦ ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἀνταναιρεῖται τὰ κρίματά σου ἀπὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ πάντων τῶν ἐχθρῶν αὐτοῦ κατακυριεύσει 10:6 εἶπεν γὰρ ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ σαλευθῶ ἀπὸ γενεᾶς εἰς γενεὰν ἄνευ κακοῦ 10:7 οὗ ἀρᾶς τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ γέμει καὶ πικρίας καὶ δόλου ὑπὸ τὴν γλῶσσαν αὐτοῦ κόπος καὶ πόνος 10:8 ἐγκάθηται ἐνέδρᾳ μετὰ πλουσίων ἐν ἀποκρύφοις ἀποκτεῖναι ἀθῷον οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν πένητα ἀποβλέπουσιν 10:9 ἐνεδρεύει ἐν ἀποκρύφῳ ὡς λέων ἐν τῇ μάνδρᾳ αὐτοῦ ἐνεδρεύει τοῦ ἁρπάσαι πτωχόν ἁρπάσαι πτωχὸν ἐν τῷ ἑλκύσαι αὐτόν 10:10 ἐν τῇ παγίδι αὐτοῦ ταπεινώσει αὐτόν κύψει καὶ πεσεῖται ἐν τῷ αὐτὸν κατακυριεῦσαι τῶν πενήτων 10:11 εἶπεν γὰρ ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ ἐπιλέλησται ὁ θεός ἀπέστρεψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ τοῦ μὴ βλέπειν εἰς τέλος 10:12 ἀνάστηθι κύριε ὁ θεός ὑψωθήτω ἡ χείρ σου μὴ ἐπιλάθῃ τῶν πενήτων 10:13 ἕνεκεν τίνος παρώξυνεν ὁ ἀσεβὴς τὸν θεόν εἶπεν γὰρ ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐκζητήσει 10:14 βλέπεις ὅτι σὺ πόνον καὶ θυμὸν κατανοεῖς τοῦ παραδοῦναι αὐτοὺς εἰς χεῖράς σου σοὶ οὖν ἐγκαταλέλειπται ὁ πτωχός ὀρφανῷ σὺ ἦσθα βοηθῶν 10:15 σύντριψον τὸν βραχίονα τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ καὶ πονηροῦ ζητηθήσεται ἡ ἁμαρτία αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐ μὴ εὑρεθῇ δι’ αὐτήν 10:16 βασιλεύσει κύριος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα καὶ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος ἀπολεῖσθε ἔθνη ἐκ τῆς γῆς αὐτοῦ 10:17 τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν τῶν πενήτων εἰσήκουσεν κύριος τὴν ἑτοιμασίαν τῆς καρδίας αὐτῶν προσέσχεν τὸ οὖς σου 10:18 κρῖναι ὀρφανῷ καὶ ταπεινῷ ἵνα μὴ προσθῇ ἔτι τοῦ μεγαλαυχεῖν ἄνθρωπος ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς

Tehillim / Psalms 10 does not begin as the previous Psalms with an introductory line that describes the purpose of the Psalm. Immediately, David begins asking the Lord א לָמָה יְהֹוָה תַּעֲמֹד בְּרָחוֹק תַּעְלִים לְעִתּוֹת בַּצָּרָה: 10:1 Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? (NASB) Why does the Lord seem to hide Himself in times of calamity (תַּעְלִים לְעִתּוֹת בַּצָּרָה)? The Aramaic translation (Targum Pseudo Jonathan) states א למה יהוה תקום ברחיק תטמר במדור קדישין לעידני עקתא׃ 10:1 Why, O Lord, will you stand afar off, hide yourself in the dwelling of the holy ones in the times of distress? (EMC) The Aramaic translation suggests that the Lord moves to and fro, remaining in the dwelling place (the Tabernacle) and leaving the dwelling place when He comes to help His people. This is similar to David’s words according to Tehillim / Psalms 7:7 that states ח וַעֲדַת לְאֻמִּים תְּסוֹבְבֶךָּ וְעָלֶיהָ לַמָּרוֹם שׁוּבָה: 7:7 Let the assembly of the peoples encompass You, And over them return on high. (NASB) drawing a parallel to the congregation of Israel encamped surrounding the Lord in the wilderness (Bamidbar / Numbers 2). The Scriptures indicate that the congregation of people surround (תְּסוֹבְבֶךָּ) the Lord and the Lord will return on high (to Heaven, לַמָּרוֹם). This suggests that when the Lord helps he descends from Heaven and His presence is manifested in the midst of the people. This was the very thing that happened in the Lord manifesting Himself as a pillar of cloud during the day and fire at night. David concluded that “judgment was commanded” by God. When the Lord does not make manifest His presence, it appears that He is hiding in the tabernacle until a specified time of His choosing.

Tehillim / Psalms 10

10:1 Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? 10:2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. 10:3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord. 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’ 10:5 His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them. 10:6 He says to himself, ‘I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.’ 10:7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. 10:8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. 10:9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. 10:10 He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. 10:11 He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.’ 10:12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. 10:13 Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, ‘You will not require it. 10:14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan. 10:15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. 10:16 The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. 10:17 O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear 10:18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 10

10:1 Why, O Lord, will you stand afar off, hide yourself in the dwelling of the holy ones in the times of distress? 10:2 In brutality the wicked man will pursue the poor man; they will be caught in the scheme that they plotted to carry out. 10:3 For the wicked man is praised for the craving of his soul; he who blesses the violent man abhors the word of the Lord. 10:4 The wicked man in the grossness of his spirit will not seek God, and he will say in his heart that his thoughts are not manifest in the presence of the Lord. 10:5 His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are far from his sight; he will rebuke all his oppressors. 10:6 He will say in his heart, “I will not be shaken from doing evil for all generations.” 10:7 His mouth is curses, full of guile and deceit; under his tongue is misery and falsehood. 10:8 He will sit in the hiding places of the courtyards; in secret places he will kill the innocent; he will hide his eyes against the poor. 10:9 He will lie in wait in secret places like a lion in his covert; he will lie in wait to seize the poor man; he will seize the poor man when he is drawn into his trap. 10:10 The poor man will be crushed, and sink down, and he will fall into the power of his hiding places. 10:11 He will say in his heart, “God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he does not see forever.” 10:12 Arise, O Lord, fulfill the oath of your hand, do not forget the humble. 10:13 Why has the wicked man abhorred God? He will say in his heart, “It will not be sought after.” 10:14 It is manifest in your presence, because you will inflict misery and wrath upon the wicked man; look carefully to pay a good reward to the righteous by your hand; the poor will place their hope on you; you have been a helper to the orphan. 10:15 Break the arm of the wicked; and let the evil seek their wickedness, [and] not find it. 10:16 The Lord is king forever and ever; the Gentiles have perished from his land. 10:17 The desire of the humble is heard in your presence, O Lord; strengthen their heart, incline your ear. 10:18 To judge the orphan and poor man; may the sons of men not again be shattered before the wicked of the earth. (EMC)

Tehillim / Psalms 10

10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why dost thou overlook us in times of need, in affliction? 10:2 While the ungodly one acts proudly, the poor is hotly pursued: the wicked are taken in the crafty counsels which they imagine. 10:3 Because the sinner praises himself for the desires of his heart; and the unjust one blesses himself. 10:4 The sinner has provoked the Lord: according to the abundance of his pride he will not seek after him: God is not before him. 10:5 His ways are profane at all times; thy judgments are removed from before him: he will gain the mastery over all his enemies. 10:6 For he has said in his heart, I shall not be moved, continuing without evil from generation to generation. 10:7 Whose mouth is full of cursing, and bitterness, and fraud: under his tongue are trouble and pain. 10:8 He lies in wait with rich men in secret places, in order to slay the innocent: his eyes are set against the poor. 10:9 He lies in wait in secret as a lion in his den: he lies in wait to ravish the poor, to ravish the poor when he draws him after him: he will bring him down in his snare. 10:10 He will bow down and fall when he has mastered the poor. 10:11 For he has said in his heart, God has forgotten: he has turned away his face so as never to look. 10:12 Arise, O Lord God; let thy hand be lifted up: forget not the poor. 10:13 Wherefore, has the wicked provoked God? for he has said in his heart, He will not require it. 10:14 Thou seest it; for thou dost observe trouble and wrath, to deliver them into thy hands: the poor has been left to thee; thou wast a helper to the orphan. 10:15 Break thou the arm of the sinner and wicked man: his sin shall be sought for, and shall not be found. 10:16 The Lord shall reign for ever, even for ever and ever: ye Gentiles shall perish out his land. 10:17 The Lord has heard the desire of the poor: thine ear has inclined to the preparation of their heart; 10:18 to plead for the orphan and afflicted, that man may no more boast upon the earth. (LXX)

David then states his case saying ב בְּגַאֲוַת-רָשָׁע יִדְלַק עָנִי יִתָּפְשֹוּ | בִּמְזִמּוֹת זוּ חָשָׁבוּ: 10:2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted; Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. (NASB) It is because of the “pride, conceit, haughtiness, vanity, loftiness” (בְּגַאֲוַת) of the wicked that one pursues the soul of the afflicted (יִדְלַק עָנִי יִתָּפְשֹוּ). Note that Aramaic translation says ב בגסות בגות רשיעא ידלק ענייא יתאחדון בנכלותא בנבילתא דנן דנא די חשבו למיעבד׃ 10:2 In brutality the wicked man will pursue the poor man; they will be caught in the scheme that they plotted to carry out. (EMC) It is in “rudeness, crudity, obscenity, lewdness, indecency, gracelessness, profanity,” (בגסות) that the wicked pursue the poor. It is in obscenity that the wicked pursue the righteous, and David says ג כִּי-הִלֵּל רָשָׁע עַל-תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁוֹ וּבֹצֵעַ בֵּרֵךְ נִאֵץ | יְהֹוָה: 10:3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire, And the greedy man curses and spurns the Lord. (NASB) The Aramaic translation states ג מטול דאשתבח רשיעא על רגרוג רגגה נפשיה דמברך גברא טלומא מרחק רחיק מימרא דיהוה׃ 10:3 For the wicked man is praised for the craving of his soul; he who blesses the violent man abhors the word of the Lord. (EMC) According to the Aramaic translation, the one who blesses the violent man abhors the word of the Lord. The Septuagint states 10:3 ὅτι ἐπαινεῖται ὁ ἁμαρτωλὸς ἐν ταῖς ἐπιθυμίαις τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ ὁ ἀδικῶν ἐνευλογεῖται 10:3 Because the sinner praises himself for the desires of his heart; and the unjust one blesses himself. (LXX) The unjust man blesses himself which is drawn in parallel with the praising of himself rather than God. These Scriptures indicate that the wicked “praise” (הִלֵּל) is upon the “lust/passion of his soul” (עַל-תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁוֹ). The righteous praise the Lord whereas the wicked heap praises upon themselves in their evil deeds.

The nature of the unrighteous is that in their position they do not seek the Lord. ד רָשָׁע כְּגֹבַהּ אַפּוֹ בַּל-יִדְרשׁ אֵין אֱלֹהִים כָּל-מְזִמּוֹתָיו: 10:4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, ‘There is no God.’ (NASB) The Aramaic translation says “he will say in his heart that his thoughts are not manifest in the presence of the Lord.” (ויימר בליביה דלא גלין קדם יהוה כולהון מחשבתוי). The “discretion, thought, or intent” (מְזִמּוֹתָיו) of the wicked that says “there is no God” (אֵין אֱלֹהִים) is rooted in the pride of life. It is interesting that in 1 John 2:16, the Apostle John wrote that three things (i) the lust of the flesh, (ii) the lust of the eyes, and (iii) the boastful pride of life, are not from our Father in heaven but from the world.

1 John 2:16

2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. (NASB)

16ὅτι πᾶν τὸ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῆς σαρκὸς καὶ ἡ ἐπιθυμία τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν καὶ ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου, οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου ἐστίν.

According to Tehillim / Psalms 10, the wicked “boast” or “give praise” in the midst of their pride. The phrase “pride of life” is found only once in the Scriptures located here in 1 John 2:16. However, the concept of the pride of life is fully developed here in David’s Psalm. John wrote that “pride” is linked to the “lust of the eyes” and the “lust of the flesh.” This draws the connect to the Torah in the temptation of Eve in the Garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Bereshit / Genesis 3:6, ו וַתֵּרֶא הָאִשָּׁה כִּי טוֹב הָעֵץ לְמַאֲכָל וְכִי תַאֲוָה-הוּא לָעֵינַיִם וְנֶחְמָד הָעֵץ לְהַשְֹכִּיל וַתִּקַּח מִפִּרְיוֹ וַתֹּאכַל וַתִּתֵּן גַּם-לְאִישָׁהּ עִמָּהּ וַיֹּאכַל: 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. NASB) This is the very same thing that Satan tempted Yeshua with in the wilderness in Matthew 4:8-10. The pride of life is defined as taking praise upon one’s self by the things “of the world,” this leads to “arrogance, ostentation, pride in self, presumption, and boasting (praising one’s self).” According to the Apostle John and all of Scripture is it clear that anything that produces the “pride of life” comes from a love of the world and “if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15).

The first occurrence of the “pride of life” is found in the temptation in the Garden of Eden, where Eve (Chavah) was tempted by the serpent to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (ד וַיֹּאמֶר הַנָּחָשׁ אֶל-הָאִשָּׁה לֹא-מוֹת תְּמֻתוּן: ה כִּי יֹדֵעַ אֱלֹהִים כִּי בְּיוֹם אֲכָלְכֶם מִמֶּנּוּ וְנִפְקְחוּ עֵינֵיכֶם וִהְיִיתֶם כֵּאלֹהִים יֹדְעֵי טוֹב וָרָע:, 3:4 The serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely will not die! 3:5 ‘For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ NASB) Eve “perceived” (וַתֵּרֶא, saw) that the fruit was “good for food” (טוֹב הָעֵץ לְמַאֲכָל), “pleasing to the eye” (וְכִי תַאֲוָה-הוּא לָעֵינַיִם), and “desirable for gaining wisdom” (וְנֶחְמָד הָעֵץ לְהַשְֹכִּיל). It is interesting to note in Bereshit / Genesis 3:6 the text says “pleasing to the eye” (וְכִי תַאֲוָה-הוּא לָעֵינַיִם) Using the same word in our Tehillim / Psalm 10 תַּאֲוַת meaning “lust/passion of his soul” (עַל-תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁוֹ). According to the Scripture (Bereshit / Genesis 3:6), Eve coveted the fruit in three ways. First, it appealed to her appetite, the “lust of the flesh,” the desire for that which satisfies the physical needs. The English translation (NASB) states that the fruit was also pleasing or delightful to the eye, but the Hebrew text indicates that this was literally the “lust or passion of the eyes.” Finally, Eve perceived that the fruit would make her wise, giving her something that she did not have before, something that would make her “like God, knowing the difference between good and evil” (Bereshit / Genesis 3:5). The “pride of life” therefore sets itself up against God, exactly as the Psalm is stating of the wicked who pursue the soul of the afflicted.

The very nature of the pride of life therefore is anything that exalts one above his/her station and provides the illusion of control having God-like qualities. This is where one boasts in arrogance, in worldly wisdom, and against his neighbor or brother. Eve wanted to be like God in her knowledge, not content to live in a perfect world under His (God’s) perfect design and care for her. Satan attempted to use these same three temptations on Yeshua during His 40 days in the wilderness (see Matthew 4:1-11). He tempted Yeshua with the lust of the flesh (i.e. the bread for His hunger Matthew 4:2-3), the lust of the eyes (i.e. “all the kingdoms of the world with their splendor” Matthew 4:8-9), and the pride of life (i.e. daring Him to cast Himself from the roof of the Temple in order to prove that He was the Messiah by a display of power that was not part of the will of God or His plan for the redemption of mankind Matthew 4:5-6). Yeshua however, though He was “tempted in every way, just as we are” (Hebrews 4:15), resisted the temptation and stood in the Word of God in victory. The Septuagint states 10:4 παρώξυνεν τὸν κύριον ὁ ἁμαρτωλός κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῆς ὀργῆς αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἐκζητήσει οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ θεὸς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ 10:4 The sinner has provoked the Lord: according to the abundance of his pride he will not seek after him: God is not before him. (LXX) Pride will cause a person to not seek after the Lord because of the self sufficient, independence, arrogant nature of pride itself. This self sufficient, independent, arrogant nature of pride in and of itself provokes the Lord because this is the opposite of servant blessing (ברוך, See Tehillim / Psalms 1 study).

David continues stating ה יָחִילוּ דְרָכָו| [דְרָכָיו] | בְּכָל-עֵת מָרוֹם מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ מִנֶּגְדּוֹ כָּל-צוֹרְרָיו יָפִיחַ בָּהֶם: 10:5 His ways prosper at all times; Your judgments are on high, out of his sight; As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them. (NASB) The wicked, their ways appear to prosper at all times. Is the prosperity of the wicked attractive and desirous? The Psalmist in Tehillim / Psalms 73 speaks of the danger of looking upon the way of the unrighteous and desiring what they have.

ספר תהילים פרק עג

א מִזְמוֹר לְאָסָף אַךְ טוֹב לְיִשְֹרָאֵל אֱלֹהִים לְבָרֵי לֵבָב: ב וַאֲנִי כִּמְעַט נָטָוֻי [נָטָיוּ] רַגְלָי כְּאַיִן שֻׁפְּכֻה [שֻׁפְּכֻו] אֲשֻׁרָי: ג כִּי-קִנֵּאתִי בַּהוֹלְלִים שְׁלוֹם רְשָׁעִים אֶרְאֶה: ד כִּי אֵין חַרְצֻבּוֹת לְמוֹתָם וּבָרִיא אוּלָם: ה בַּעֲמַל אֱנוֹשׁ אֵינֵמוֹ וְעִם-אָדָם לֹא יְנֻגָּעוּ: ו לָכֵן עֲנָקַתְמוֹ גַאֲוָה יַעֲטָף-שִׁית חָמָס לָמוֹ: ז יָצָא מֵחֵלֶב עֵינֵמוֹ עָבְרוּ מַשְֹכִּיּוֹת לֵבָב:

Tehillim / Psalms 73:1-7

73:1 Surely God is good to Israel, To those who are pure in heart! 73:2 But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. 73:3 For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 73:4 For there are no pains in their death, And their body is fat. 73:5 They are not in trouble as other men, Nor are they plagued like mankind. 73:6 Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them. 73:7 Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot. (NASB)

The Psalmist states that he had come close to stumbling (כִּמְעַט נָטָוֻי [נָטָיוּ] רַגְלָי) and had almost slipped because he was envious of the arrogant and saw the prosperity of the wicked. Asaf says that the life of the wicked, they do not suffer pain in death and their bodies are fat (a reference to being well fed and prosperous). The wicked do not suffer loss and are not plagued like mankind. Because of these things, their pride is their necklace and the garment of violence covers them, their eyes bulge because of their prosperity and in their arrogance the imaginations of their heart runs wild. The wicked say to themselves (Tehillim / Psalms 10:6) ו אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ בַּל-אֶמּוֹט לְדֹר וָדֹר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-בְרָע: 10:6 He says to himself, ‘I will not be moved; Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.’ (NASB) He says in his heart (אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ) that he will not be moved (בַּל-אֶמּוֹט) From generation to generation and there will be no evil (אֲשֶׁר לֹא-בְרָע). The Aramaic translation states ו יימר בלבביה בלביה לא אזוע מדר לדר מלמעבד ביש׃ 10:6 He will say in his heart, “I will not be shaken from doing evil for all generations.” (EMC) and the Septuagint states 10:6 εἶπεν γὰρ ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ σαλευθῶ ἀπὸ γενεᾶς εἰς γενεὰν ἄνευ κακοῦ 10:6 For he has said in his heart, I shall not be moved, continuing without evil from generation to generation. (LXX) Based upon the translations, the rabbis who translate Tehillim / Psalms 10:6 believe the pride of the wicked, that they will not be moved through all generations and will not see evil or adversity, is synonymous with the wicked saying in his heart that he will not be shaken from doing evil for all generations. The wicked will continue in their evil deeds from generation to generation, wickedness is passed down from generation to generation. The wicked continue in their sin by reason of Tehillim / Psalms 7:15 that says טז בּוֹר כָּרָה וַיַּחְפְּרֵהוּ וַיִּפֹּל בְּשַׁחַת יִפְעָל: יז יָשׁוּב עֲמָלוֹ בְרֹאשׁוֹ וְעַל-קָדְקֳדוֹ חֲמָסוֹ יֵרֵד: 7:15 He has dug a pit and hollowed it out, And has fallen into the hole which he made. 7:16 His mischief will return upon his own head, And his violence will descend upon his own pate. (NASB) The wicked are unrepentant, he has trapped himself, he has dug a pit and has fallen into the hole that he has made and continues in his ways from generation to generation. This reminds us of the Ten Commandments from Shemot / Exodus 20:5 that states ה לֹא-תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לָהֶם וְלֹא תָעָבְדֵם כִּי אָנֹכִי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֵל קַנָּא פֹּקֵד עֲוֹן אָבֹת עַל-בָּנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים לְשֹֹנְאָי: 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, (NASB) Does the son inherit the sins of the father? Studying this Scripture, it says “visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” “Of those who hate me” suggests that the wicked man passes his nature of “unrighteousness, pride, sin, iniquity, transgressions, lies, untruths, and falsehoods” to his children. The wicked who “works or labors” (עָמָל) in sin, this trade is learned by his children who become workers and laborers in sin and then continue doing evil from generation to generation.

Question: What is the meaning of the “bulging eyes” of The wicked as compared to “the eye that wastes away” Of The afflicted? (see Tehillim / Psalms 6:7-9)

The violence that is plotted in the heart shows forth by the words he says (i.e. in his mouth) and by his actions, ז אָלָה פִּיהוּ מָלֵא וּמִרְמוֹת וָתֹךְ תַּחַת לְשׁוֹנוֹ עָמָל וָאָוֶן: 10:7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness. (NASB) The Aramaic text says that the tongue is full of misery and mischief (ז מומתא לוטין פומיה מלי ניכלי ורמיותא תחות לישניה ליאות ליעות ושקר׃) and the Septuagint states the mouth is full of bitterness, fraud, and in the tongue is trouble and pain (10:7 οὗ ἀρᾶς τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ γέμει καὶ πικρίας καὶ δόλου ὑπὸ τὴν γλῶσσαν αὐτοῦ κόπος καὶ πόνος). This is the context that the Apostle Paul was thinking on while writing Romans 3:10-24.

Romans 3:10-24

3:10 as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; 3:11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 3:12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.’ 3:13 ‘Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,’ ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; 3:14 ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’; 3:15 ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood, 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their paths, 3:17 And the path of peace they have not known.’ 3:18 ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (NASB)

10καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὐκ ἔστιν δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς, 11οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ συνίων, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν. 12πάντες ἐξέκλιναν, ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν: οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ποιῶν χρηστότητα, [οὐκ ἔστιν] ἕως ἑνός. 13τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν, ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν, 14ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει: 15ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα, 16σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν, 17καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν. 18οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν. 19Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὅσα ὁ νόμος λέγει τοῖς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ λαλεῖ, ἵνα πᾶν στόμα φραγῇ καὶ ὑπόδικος γένηται πᾶς ὁ κόσμος τῷ θεῷ: 20διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, διὰ γὰρ νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτίας. 21Νυνὶ δὲ χωρὶς νόμου δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ πεφανέρωται, μαρτυρουμένη ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν, 22δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας: οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή: 23πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ, 24δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ:

Paul says 13τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν, ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν, 3:13 ‘Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,’ ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; (NASB) Sin is so powerful that with the knowledge of sin (the Torah) the works of the flesh, the “lust/passion of his soul” (עַל-תַּאֲוַת נַפְשׁוֹ) increases and this is by reason of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. This is why we have no choice but to seek the mercy of God and His Righteousness. The Lord God Almighty sent his Son Yeshua the Messiah so that through faith we obtain the righteousness of God. God changes us on the inside (by His Spirit) so that we obey the Law of Righteousness, we are enabled to live righteous before God and obey Him and His Holy word.

David continues to describe the wicked in Tehillim / Psalm 10:8 saying of the wicked ח יֵשֵׁב | בְּמַאְרַב חֲצֵרִים בַּמִּסְתָּרִים יַהֲרֹג נָקִי עֵינָיו לְחֵלְכָה יִצְפֹּנוּ: 10:8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the hiding places he kills the innocent; His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate. (NASB) ט יֶאֱרֹב בַּמִּסְתָּר | כְּאַרְיֵה בְסֻכֹּה יֶאֱרֹב לַחֲטוֹף עָנִי יַחְטֹף עָנִי בְּמָשְׁכוֹ בְרִשְׁתּוֹ: 10:9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net. י וִדְכֶּה [יִדְכֶּה] יָשֹׁחַ וְנָפַל בַּעֲצוּמָיו חֵלכָּאִים [חֵיל כָּאִים]: 10:10 He crouches, he bows down, And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones. יא אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ שָׁכַח אֵל הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו בַּל-רָאָה לָנֶצַח: 10:11 He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.’ The rabbis translating the Aramaic (Targum Pseudo Jonathan) and Greek (Septuagint) equate the unfortunate ones (חֵלכָּאִים) and the afflicted (עָנִי) to the “poor, miserable, pauper, wretched, destitute, needy, impecunious, almsman, humble” man.

In Tehillim / Psalms 10, David speaks of only two types of people, the righteous and the wicked. These terms are antithetical and are synonymous with “godly or ungodly,” “saved or unsaved,” “sheep or goats,” “slave of righteousness or slave of sin,” “child of God or child of the devil,” or “wheat or tares.” There are many ways in which the antithetical nature of the righteous and the unrighteous are described in the Scriptures.

Aramaic (Targum Pseudo Jonathan) – Greek (Septuagint)

סםר טוביה פרק י

ח יתיב בכמני דורתיא דרתא בטומריא יקטול זכאה עינוי למסכינייא יטשון יטושון׃ ט יכמון בטומריא היך אריא במטלליה יכמון למיתפש עניא יתפש עניא במיגדיה במצדתיה׃ י ידכדך וישוח ויפול בתקוף כמנוי עניא׃

10:8 He will sit in the hiding places of the courtyards; in secret places he will kill the innocent; he will hide his eyes against the poor. 10:9 He will lie in wait in secret places like a lion in his covert; he will lie in wait to seize the poor man; he will seize the poor man when he is drawn into his trap. 10:10 The poor man will be crushed, and sink down, and he will fall into the power of his hiding places. (EMC)

YALMOI 10

10:8 ἐγκάθηται ἐνέδρᾳ μετὰ πλουσίων ἐν ἀποκρύφοις ἀποκτεῖναι ἀθῷον οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν πένητα ἀποβλέπουσιν 10:9 ἐνεδρεύει ἐν ἀποκρύφῳ ὡς λέων ἐν τῇ μάνδρᾳ αὐτοῦ ἐνεδρεύει τοῦ ἁρπάσαι πτωχόν ἁρπάσαι πτωχὸν ἐν τῷ ἑλκύσαι αὐτόν 10:10 ἐν τῇ παγίδι αὐτοῦ ταπεινώσει αὐτόν κύψει καὶ πεσεῖται ἐν τῷ αὐτὸν κατακυριεῦσαι τῶν πενήτων

10:8 He lies in wait with rich men in secret places, in order to slay the innocent: his eyes are set against the poor. 10:9 He lies in wait in secret as a lion in his den: he lies in wait to ravish the poor, to ravish the poor when he draws him after him: he will bring him down in his snare. 10:10 He will bow down and fall when he has mastered the poor. (LXX)

Characteristics Of The Wicked According to Scripture

The following Scriptures provide a short survey of the Bible that illustrate and describe the nature of the wicked.

  1. The Wicked are sexually immoral:

    Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom both young and old surrounded the house. They called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.” (Bereshit / Genesis 19:4-5) … and said, “No, my friends. Don’t do this wicked thing. (Bereshit / Genesis 19:7)

    While they were enjoying themselves, some of the wicked men of the city surrounded the house. Pounding on the door, they shouted to the old man who owned the house, “Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him.” (Judges 19:22)

    So he left in Joseph’s care everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate. Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice of Joseph and said, “Come to bed with me!” (Bereshit / Genesis 39:6-7) … No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” (Bereshit / Genesis 39:9)

    Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD. (1 Samuel 2:12) … Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? I hear from all the people about these wicked deeds of yours.” (1 Samuel 2:22,23)

    “Don’t, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me. Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. (2 Samuel 13:12) … But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. (2 Samuel 13:14)

    It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. (1 Corinthians 5:1) … God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:13)

  2. The Wicked lie, deceive, slander, speak of violence, etc.

    Do not drag me away with the wicked, with those who do evil, who speak cordially with their neighbors but harbor malice in their hearts. (Tehillim / Psalms 28:3)

    Why should I fear when evil days come, when wicked deceivers surround me (Tehillim / Psalms 49:5)

    For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things. (Isaiah 59:3)

    The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful. (Mishley / Proverbs 12:5)

    The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked. (Mishley / Proverbs 10:11)

    Even from birth the wicked go astray; from the womb they are wayward and speak lies. (Tehillim / Psalms 58:3)

    The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse. (Mishley / Proverbs 10:32)

    The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful; he has ceased to be wise and to do good. (Tehillim / Psalms 36:3)

    Note, does Tehillim / Psalms 36:3 suggest that a righteous person can become wicked or that the wicked are capable of being wise and good? The wicked can become righteous by turning from sin to the Lord God Almighty and the righteous can turn away from God to wickedness. Therefore, the righteous must guard themselves against evil and wickedness.

  3. The Wicked get drunk:

    Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, “How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine.” (1 Samuel 1:13,14) … Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief.” (1 Samuel 1:16)

    His name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. She was an intelligent and beautiful woman, but her husband, a Calebite, was surly and mean in his dealings. (1 Samuel 25:3) … Now think it over and see what you can do, because disaster is hanging over our master and his whole household. He is such a wicked man that no one can talk to him.” (1 Samuel 25:17) … May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name is Fool, and folly goes with him. But as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my master sent. (1 Samuel 25:25)…When Abigail went to Nabal, he was in the house holding a banquet like that of a king. He was in high spirits and very drunk. So she told him nothing until daybreak. (1 Samuel 25:36)

    But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. (Matthew 24:48,49)…He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:51)

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, NASB)

  4. The Wicked oppress and scheme against others:

    And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning (1 Chronicles 17:9)

    1 Chronicles 17:9 is consistent with Tehillim / Psalms 10 that the wicked oppress the innocent, the poor, the afflicted, etc.

  5. The wicked are violent:

    O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure. (Tehillim / Psalms 7:9)

    The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates. (Tehillim / Psalms 11:5)

    The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right. (Mishley / Proverbs 21:7)

  6. The wicked sometimes exclude God and lack the fear of God:

    In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. (Tehillim / Psalms 10:4)

    Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account?” (Tehillim / Psalms Psa 10:13)

    An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. (Tehillim / Psalms 36:1)

  7. The wicked target the poor, weak, needy and righteous:

    The wicked plot against the righteous and gnash their teeth at them; but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he knows their day is coming. (Tehillim / Psalms 37:12-13)

    The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright. (Mishley / Proverbs 29:27)

    The wicked draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and needy, to slay those whose ways are upright. (Tehillim / Psalms 37:14)

    The scoundrel’s methods are wicked, he makes up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just. (Isaiah 32:7)

    The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives (Tehillim / Psalms 37:32)

    The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them. (Mishley / Proverbs 12:6)

    Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch men. (Jeremiah 5:26)

    The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. (Mishley / Proverbs 29:7)

    Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. (Habakkuk 1:4)

    In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. (Tehillim / Psalms 10:2)

  8. The wicked are dishonest in dealing with money:

    The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously; (Tehillim / Psalms 37:21)

    A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the course of justice. (Mishley / Proverbs 17:23)

  9. The wicked are cruel and unforgiving:

    A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. (Mishley / Proverbs 12:10)

    The wicked man craves evil; his neighbor gets no mercy from him. (Mishley / Proverbs 21:10)

    I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.” (Jeremiah 15:21)

    Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before him. “Be patient with me,” he begged, “and I will pay back everything.” The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. “Pay back what you owe me!” he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.” But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. (Matthew 18:23-35)

  10. The Wicked refuse God’s truth and serve and worship false gods:

    These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt completely useless! (Jeremiah 13:10)

    They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thessalonian 2:10)

  11. The wicked do not serve God

    Then the man who had received the one talent came. “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.” His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25:24-30)

    And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. (Malachi 3:18)

    One shows himself wicked (or righteous) by his words and/or his behavior (John 5:29, Romans 2:7-10, and Revelation 21:8).

    Throughout the Scriptures there are only two types of people characterized as either the righteous or the wicked. There is no such thing as being in the middle or neutral. These terms, the righteous and the wicked, are antithetical meaning “contrary, opposed, involving antithesis, being in direct and unambiguous opposition” to one another.

    Because of the wickedness of those who were coming against David, he asked the Lord saying יב קוּמָה יְהֹוָה אֵל נְשָֹא יָדֶךָ אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח עֲנָיִים [עֲנָוִים]: 10:12 Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted. (NASB) David sought for the Lord to “not forget” (אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח) the afflicted or poor (עֲנָיִים). The Aramaic translation states יב קום יהוה אלהנא קיים שבועת ידך לא תנשי עינוותני׃ 10:12 Arise, O Lord, fulfill the oath of your hand, do not forget the humble. (EMC) In the covenant relationship, both parties of the covenant agrees to not harm but to protect; according to the Targum, the Rabbis translated the Lord “bearing upon his hand the remembrance of the poor” (אֵל נְשָֹא יָדֶךָ אַל-תִּשְׁכַּח עֲנָיִים) with the oath/swearing of the hand (קיים שבועת ידך) it sounds like what David is thinking and making a reference here to the phylacteries commanded in the Torah to be bound upon the hand. Phylacteries are known by modern Jews as tefillin (i.e., “prayers”). Tefillin are mentioned in the Apostolic Gospels (i.e. Matthew 23:5 ‘But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. NASB) They consist of strips of parchment on which are inscribed Shemot / Exodus 13:1-10, and 11-16, Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:18-21, and are enclosed in a square leather case, on one side of which was inscribed the Hebrew letter shin. This case is fastened by straps to the forehead just between the eyes. The “making broad the phylacteries” refers to the enlarging of the case so as to make it conspicuous. Another form of the phylactery consisted of two rolls of parchment, on which the same texts were written, enclosed in a case of black calfskin. This was worn on the left arm near the elbow, to which it was bound by a leather strap. It is called “Tefillah on the arm.” It is highly likely that David is thinking upon the phylacteries asking God to remember the poor and afflicted since they are literally bound to His arm in the covenant relationship Israel has with God.

    David then asks יג עַל-מֶה | נִאֵץ רָשָׁע | אֱלֹהִים אָמַר בְּלִבּוֹ לֹא תִּדְרשׁ: יד רָאִתָה כִּי-אַתָּה | עָמָל וָכַעַס | תַּבִּיט לָתֵת בְּיָדֶךָ עָלֶיךָ יַעֲזֹב חֵלֶכָה יָתוֹם אַתָּה | הָיִיתָ עוֹזֵר: 10:13 Why has the wicked spurned God? He has said to himself, ‘You will not require it. 10:14 You have seen it, for You have beheld mischief and vexation to take it into Your hand. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan. (NASB) There is an asked and answered question here, the wicked spurn God because he has said within himself that the Lord God will not require his sins to be paid (לדרוש, to demand; seek; look for).

    The Psalmist then asks the Lord to טו שְׁבֹר זְרוֹעַ רָשָׁע וָרָע תִּדְרוֹשׁ-רִשְׁעוֹ בַל-תִּמְצָא: טז יְהֹוָה מֶלֶךְ עוֹלָם וָעֶד אָבְדוּ גוֹיִם מֵאַרְצוֹ: יז תַּאֲוַת עֲנָוִים שָׁמַעְתָּ יְהֹוָה תָּכִין לִבָּם תַּקְשִׁיב אָזְנֶךָ: יח לִשְׁפֹּט יָתוֹם וָדָךְ בַּל-יוֹסִיף עוֹד לַעֲרֹץ אֱנוֹשׁ מִן-הָאָרֶץ 10:15 Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer, Seek out his wickedness until You find none. 10:16 The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. 10:17 O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear 10:18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (NASB) The wicked do not seek the Lord, however, the Lord will seek out the wicked person and require payment for his sins.

    When looking at the wicked, have you ever asked the question: “These people are behaving so wickedly, why are they being blessed?” The reason this question is asked is often because we equate happiness, contentment and blessing with money even though we know true happiness and contentment cannot be bought with money. David asked why do the wicked prosper, while God’s chosen people barely escape with their lives? David is not the only one who asked this question. Jeremiah and Job ask a similar thing.

    Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? (Jeremiah 12:1)

    Why do the wicked live and become old, yes, become mighty in power? Their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their bull breeds without failure; their cow calves without miscarriage. They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They sing to the tambourine and harp, and rejoice to the sound of the flute. They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment [in peace, Moffatt] go down to the grave. (Job 21:7-13)

    Just as this question pops up in the Psalms (“Lord, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph?” Tehillim / Psalm 94:3) we see this asked of many prominent men throughout the Scriptures. The prosperity of the wicked seems to offend the human sense of justice and order when the unrighteous are afflicted. We desire justice, that evil is cursed and destroyed and the good is blessed and promoted uniformly no matter what. David says that טז יְהֹוָה מֶלֶךְ עוֹלָם וָעֶד אָבְדוּ גוֹיִם מֵאַרְצוֹ: יז תַּאֲוַת עֲנָוִים שָׁמַעְתָּ יְהֹוָה תָּכִין לִבָּם תַּקְשִׁיב אָזְנֶךָ: יח לִשְׁפֹּט יָתוֹם וָדָךְ בַּל-יוֹסִיף עוֹד לַעֲרֹץ אֱנוֹשׁ מִן-הָאָרֶץ 10:16 The Lord is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. 10:17 O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear 10:18 To vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, So that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror. (NASB) The Lord is King forever, and one day the Lord will avenge the righteous. The Scriptures say literally that the Lord will “break the seed of the wicked” (שְׁבֹר זְרוֹעַ רָשָׁע), the seed in many instances is a reference to children, and arm of the wicked because their wicked deeds are passed down from generation to generation.

    The Lord God Almighty inspired David to write these Psalms. The Psalms show us the vileness of sin and wickedness. According to the Scriptures, it takes only one sin to be indebted to God and make one unrighteous. To be included among the wicked, one does not need to have many sins, neither does one need to be an adult. Mishley / Proverbs 20:11 says “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.” To walk in unrighteousness and wickedness according to Tehillim / Psalms 10, one neglects the salvation of God, disobeys God, and fails to make one’s heart right in God’s sight. Those who are separated from God are called the wicked. One sin separates a person from the Lord. The Prophet Isaiah said to the people in Isaiah 59:2 “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you.” Solomon said in Mishley / Proverbs 15:29 “The LORD is far from the wicked.” Since people are not punished immediately following their sin, this does not mean that God does not see and does not know about their sins. To David it appeared that God was not observing the great wickedness in the lives of these people. David talked to the Lord about the wicked and he prayed these Psalms directly to the Lord. He sought the Lord to save him, and to search his heart for any unrighteous deeds. In following David’s example, let us seek the Lord for all of our needs, to help us in our times of trouble, and to save us from our sins in Yeshua His Messiah. Let’s Pray!

    Rabbinic Commentary

    The rabbinic commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 10 has 8 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 1, and 8. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 10 Parts 1, and 8.

    Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 10, Parts 1 and 8

    Part 1:

    • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Why stand You afar off, O Lord, why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? For the wicked boast of his heart’s desire and the covetous renounces, yea, condemn the Lord. The wicked in the pride of his own countenance, say He will not require; all his thoughts are, There is no God. (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1,3-4).”
    • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, And he will speak great words against the Most High, and he will wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and he will think to change the seasons and the law, and they will be given into his hand until a time and times and a half a time (Daniel 7:25).”
    • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis taught saying “Rabbi Jose taught, the wicked never attack without first renouncing and condemning the Holy One blessed be He, and then the verse goes on to say of the wicked that he will wear out the holy ones of the Most High, that is the children of Israel, to whom it is said You will be holy (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:2).”
    • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) stating that we are hallowed for God’s purpose, that we are set a little higher than the people of the world being God’s children, the nations of the earth try to change the Torah and to change the times and seasons (Moedim).
    • The Concluding phrase says “Hence it is said Why stand You afar off, O Lord? Why hide Yourself in the times of trouble?”

Part 8:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on Why stand You afar off, Or Lord? (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, With their flocks and with their herds they will go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him. He has drawn off from them (Hosea 5:6).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta) on why the Lord stands afar off beginning with a discussion between Rabban Gamaliel and a sophist asking why Gamaliel still says the Lord will deliver us?
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) expanding on the conversation between the Gamaliel and the Sophist, Gamaliel uses the example of the Halizah (Levirate law) on why God will deliver us.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Thus also Scripture says, I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had drawn away, and was gone (Song of Solomon 5:6). Accordingly, the children of Israel cried, Why stand You afar off, O Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1)?”

In Midrash Tehillim 10, a significant portion of the Midrash is devoted to the understanding of why the Lord would stand afar off from His people. In Midrash Tehillim 10 Part 1 we are presented with the opening verse (דיבור המתחיל) “Why stand You afar off, O Lord, why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? For the wicked boast of his heart’s desire and the covetous renounces, yea, condemn the Lord. The wicked in the pride of his own countenance, say He will not require; all his thoughts are, There is no God. (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1,3-4).” The Midrash quotes from the first verse of the Hebrew Scriptures א לָמָה יְהֹוָה תַּעֲמֹד בְּרָחוֹק תַּעְלִים לְעִתּוֹת בַּצָּרָה: 10:1 Why do You stand afar off, O Lord? Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? (NASB) where David asks why the Lord seems to hide Himself in times of calamity (תַּעְלִים לְעִתּוֹת בַּצָּרָה)? The Aramaic translation (Targum Pseudo Jonathan) states א למה יהוה תקום ברחיק תטמר במדור קדישין לעידני עקתא׃ 10:1 Why, O Lord, will you stand afar off, hide yourself in the dwelling of the holy ones in the times of distress? (EMC) and the Septuagint states 10:1 ἵνα τί κύριε ἀφέστηκας μακρόθεν ὑπερορᾷς ἐν εὐκαιρίαις ἐν θλίψει 10:1 Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why dost thou overlook us in times of need, in affliction? (LXX) so the question remains why the Lord appears to stand afar off in the midst of the wickedness of the nations who afflict His people. Let’s read Midrash Tehillim 10 Part 1.

Midrash Tehillim, Chapter 10, Part 1

1. Why stand You afar off, O Lord, why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble? For the wicked boast of his heart’s desire and the covetous renounces, yea, condemn the Lord. The wicked in the pride of his own countenance, say He will not require; all his thoughts are, There is no God. (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1,3-4). These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, And he will speak great words against the Most High, and he will wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and he will think to change the seasons and the law, and they will be given into his hand until a time and times and a half a time (Daniel 7:25). Rabbi Jose taught, the wicked never attack without first renouncing and condemning the Holy One blessed be He, and then the verse goes on to say of the wicked that he will wear out the holy ones of the Most High, that is the children of Israel, to whom it is said You will be holy (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:2). By this command the Holy One blessed be He, meant, Since you were hallowed for My purpose even before I created the earth, therefore you are to be holy as I am holy, You will be unto Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation (Shemot / Exodus 19:6). As I am higher than the world, so will you be, for like the letter lamed highest of all the letters, so will you be the highest of all peoples of the earth, even though at the beginning, like the letter yod, least of all the letters, you were least, as is said You were the least of all peoples (Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:7). In what verse is Israel said to be the highest? In the verse The Lord your God will set you on high above all the nations of the earth (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1). A parable of a man who had a vineyard. Thieves tried to enter it, but could not because it was surrounded by a fence. What did the thieves do? They broke down the fence and then entered the vineyard. Likewise, the nations of the earth come to attack Israel, the vineyard of the Holy One blessed be He, as it is said The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel (Isaiah 5:7), Firs they renounce the Holy One blessed be He, and then they attack Israel, as is said first of the wicked, he will speak great words against the Most High, and then is said he will ear out the saints of the Most High. Next, the nations of the earth try to change the Torah, as is said he will think to change the seasons of the law (Daniel 7:25), seasons referring to festivals seasons, and fiery law for them (Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:2). Now because this verse goes on to say, And they will be given into his hand, does the verse mean forever? No, for the verse concludes, until a time and times and a half a time. In the meantime, we suffer all sorts of oppressions, because You have removed yourself far from us. Hence it is said Why stand You afar off, O Lord? Why hide Yourself in the times of trouble?

מדרש תהלים פרק י סימן א

א למה ה׳ תעמוד ברחוק תעלים לעתות בצרה. זהו שאמר הכתוב ומלין לצד עילאה ימלל (דניאל ז כה), [אמר ר׳ יוסי] אין הרשעים מזדווגין אלא אם כן מחרפין ומגדפין להקב״ה, שנאמר ומלין לצד עילאה ימלל, זה הקב״ה, ואחר כך (לקדושי עליונים) [ולקדישי עליונין יבלא] (שם שם דניאל ז׳), כמה דאת אמר קדושים תהיו (ויקרא יט ב), [אמר להם הקב״ה, הואיל ונתקדשתם לשמי עד שלא בראתי העולם, היו קדושים כשם שאני קדוש, שנאמר ואתם תהיו לי ממלכת כהנים וגוי קדוש (שמות יט ו), וכשם שאני עליון על כל העולם, כך אתם תהיו לי, וכשם שהלמ״ד עליון על כל האותיות, כך אתם, וכשם שהיו״ד קטנה, כך אתם קטנים, שנאמר כי אתם המעט מכל העמים (דברים ז ז)]. ומנין שנקראו ישראל עליונים, שנאמר ונתנך ה׳ אלהיך עליון וגו׳ (דברים כח א), משל לאדם שיש לו כרם, והיו הלסטים רוצים ליכנס בתוכו ולא היו יכולין, שהיה מסוייג בגדר, מה עשו פרצו את הגדר, ואחר כך נכנסו לתוך הכרם, כך אומות העולם באים ומזדווגים לישראל, שהן כרמו של הקב״ה, שנאמר כי כרם ה׳ צבאות בית ישראל (ישעיה ה ז), והן מחרפין להקב״ה ואחר כך לישראל, שנאמר ומלין לצד עילאה ימלל (דניאל ז כה), ואח״כ לקדושי עליונים, ואח״כ רוצין לבטל את התורה, שנאמר (להשנא זימניא) [להשניה זימנין] ודת (שם דניאל ז׳), (זימניא) [זימנין] אלו המועדות, ודת זו התורה, שנאמר מימינו אש דת למו (דברים לג ב), ויתיהבון בידיה (דניאל שם ז׳), יכול לעולם, תלמוד לומר עד עידן ועידנין ופלג עידן (שם שם דניאל ז׳), ולמה אנו משתעבדין כל השעבודין הללו, על שהרחקת עצמך ממנו, לכך נאמר למה ה׳ תעמוד ברחוק.

As is the typical style of the rabbinic commentary, the פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, And he will speak great words against the Most High, and he will wear out the holy ones of the Most High, and he will think to change the seasons and the law, and they will be given into his hand until a time and times and a half a time (Daniel 7:25).” The משל (mashal) “the parable,” takes the lead from the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis taught saying that the wicked never attack without first renouncing and condemning God. The נמשל (Nimshal) begins in the expansion upon the משל (mashal) stating that we are hallowed for God’s purpose, even before the Lord created the earth and therefore are to be holy as the Lord God Almighty is holy (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:2). According to the Midrashic commentary, the rabbis state that we were hallowed for God’s purpose before the Lord created the earth (אמר להם הקב״ה, הואיל ונתקדשתם לשמי עד שלא בראתי העולם, היו קדושים כשם שאני קדוש). Studying the Scriptures, it is interesting that we find in the Apostolic Scriptures in various passages the concept of “the world” and the things that happened “before” the world began. Take for example what Yeshua said in John 17:5.

John 17:5

17:5 ‘Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. (NASB)

5καὶ νῦν δόξασόν με σύ, πάτερ, παρὰ σεαυτῷ τῇ δόξῃ ἧ εἶχον πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι παρὰ σοί.

Here we find in John 17:5 Yeshua speaking of the glory which he had before the world existed. Yeshua is looking forward to the glory that he once had, this “before the world” is an indication of Yeshua’s preexistence. This verse appears to speak of the glory which the Son was looking forward to once again sharing with the Father.

While studying the concept of “the foundation of the world” in the Apostolic Scriptures, there are two ways in which this is being used.

  1. Things that occurred “prior to” the “foundation of the world.”
  2. Things that occurred “from” the “foundation of the world.”

The expression “the foundation of the world” occurs ten times in the Apostolic Scriptures, eight of which are shown below.

Matthew 13:35

13:35 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: ‘I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things hidden since the foundation of the world.’

35ὅπως πληρωθῇ τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος, Ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου, ἐρεύξομαι κεκρυμμένα ἀπὸ καταβολῆς [κόσμου].

Matthew 25:34

25:34 ‘Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

34τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ, Δεῦτε, οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου:

Luke 11:50

11:50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation,

50ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης,

Hebrews 4:3

4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.

3εἰσερχόμεθα γὰρ εἰς [τὴν] κατάπαυσιν οἱ πιστεύσαντες, καθὼς εἴρηκεν, Ὡς ὤμοσα ἐν τῇ ὀργῇ μου, Εἰ εἰσελεύσονται εἰς τὴν κατάπαυσίν μου, καίτοι τῶν ἔργων ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου γενηθέντων.

Hebrews 9:26

9:26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

26ἐπεὶ ἔδει αὐτὸν πολλάκις παθεῖν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου: νυνὶ δὲ ἅπαξ ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τῶν αἰώνων εἰς ἀθέτησιν [τῆς] ἁμαρτίας διὰ τῆς θυσίας αὐτοῦ πεφανέρωται.

Revelation 13:8

13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

8καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου.

Revelation 17:8

17:8 ‘The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

8τὸ θηρίον ὃ εἶδες ἦν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν, καὶ μέλλει ἀναβαίνειν ἐκ τῆς ἀβύσσου, καὶ εἰς ἀπώλειαν ὑπάγει: καὶ θαυμασθήσονται οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ὧν οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα ἐπὶ τὸ βιβλίον τῆς ζωῆς ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, βλεπόντων τὸ θηρίον ὅτι ἦν καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν καὶ παρέσται.

The point that is being established here in the phrase “the foundation of the world” is in the plan God had established for His people, to redeem His people, to make His people holy, and that our salvation is in Yeshua so that our hope and faith might be placed in God. Take for example words from the first epistle of Peter.

1 Peter 1:20-21

1:20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 1:21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (NASB)

20προεγνωσμένου μὲν πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, φανερωθέντος δὲ ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων δι’ ὑμᾶς 21τοὺς δι’ αὐτοῦ πιστοὺς εἰς θεὸν τὸν ἐγείραντα αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρῶν καὶ δόξαν αὐτῷ δόντα, ὥστε τὴν πίστιν ὑμῶν καὶ ἐλπίδα εἶναι εἰς θεόν.

These things that were established “before or from” the “foundation of the world” was demonstrated in the patriarchal promises. This is how the rabbis are able to conclude that God had planned to hallow (make us holy) before the creation of the earth specifically for His purposes (אמר להם הקב״ה, הואיל ונתקדשתם לשמי עד שלא בראתי העולם, היו קדושים כשם שאני קדוש). The concept of God establishing something from “before or from” the time of the foundation of the world is a very rabbinic concept that both Yeshua, His disciples, and the Apostle Paul were well aware of that was specifically derived from the first five books of Moshe. The Midrash continues stating that being made holy for His purposes, the Lord has set us a little higher than the people of the world because we are God’s children. The concept of “Holiness” is in the highest sense the understanding that something has been separated from common use and belongs to God (see Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 15:4). Take for example being consecrated to God’s service as far as the Levitical priesthood in the Torah is concerned or our being conformed in all things to the will of God in Yeshua (see Romans 6:19-22, Ephesians 1:4, Titus 1:8, and 1 Pet. 1:15). God has separated for Himself us as a people, and in doing so the Lord has described how we are to live our lives (Personal holiness). This holiness can only be understood according to God’s commandments in the Torah. The midrash continues stating that the nations of the earth try to change the Torah and to change the times and seasons (Moedim, ואח״כ לקדושי עליונים, ואח״כ רוצין לבטל את התורה, שנאמר (להשנא זימניא) [להשניה זימנין] ודת (שם דניאל ז׳), (זימניא) [זימנין] אלו המועדות, ודת זו התורה, שנאמר מימינו אש דת למו (דברים לג ב)). Are the Rabbis saying that it is possible the Lord “stands afar off” because his people no longer keep His appointed times? David, and including all of God’s people suffer all sorts of oppressions at the hands of the wicked, we see this throughout the world today, God’s people are being persecuted for their faith. The question of why God stands afar off was not answered, but in the midrashic sense from Tehillim / Psalms 10, the rabbis ask and answer in parable for the purpose of seeking the answer, and seeking God for our help. Therefore, the rabbis conclude stating “Hence it is said Why stand You afar off, O Lord? Why hide Yourself in the times of trouble?”

Midrash Tehillim 10, Part 8 continues stating in the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on Why stand You afar off, Or Lord? (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1)” and the פתיחתא (Petihta) that states“This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, With their flocks and with their herds they will go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him. He has drawn off from them (Hosea 5:6).” In part 8 we read the rabbis discussing Tehillim / Psalms 10:1 on the reasons why the Lord stands afar off. The Midrash picks up with the conversation that is taking place between Rabban Gamaliel and a sophist asking why Gamaliel still says the Lord will deliver us? The נמשל (Nimshal) provides an explanation on Gamaliel’s belief using the example of the Halizah (Levirate law) on why God will deliver us. The Biblical definition of the “levirate marriage” also known as Yibbum, Halizah (or Chalitzah, חליצה) is the ceremony by which a widow and her husband’s brother could avoid the duty to marry after the husband’s death. The ceremony involves the taking off of a brother-in-law’s shoe by the widow of a brother who has died childless, through which ceremony he is released from the obligation of marrying her, and she becomes free to marry whomever she desires (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 25:5-10). Only one brother-in-law need perform the ceremony. The custom of the levirate marriage that is spoken of in Bereshit / Genesis 38:8, more details are provided in Deuteronomy given by Moshe, permitted the surviving brother to refuse to marry his brother’s widow, provided he submits to the ceremony of Halizah. In the Talmudic period the tendency against the original custom was intensified by apprehension that the brother-in-law might desire to marry his brother’s widow for motives other than that of “establishing a name unto his brother.” This might have been the case in the story found in Bereshit / Genesis 38 and the death of the sons of Judah. Therefore, many Talmudic and later rabbis preferred halizah to actual marriage (Talmud Bavli, Yevamot 39b). Therefore, the ancient institution of the levirate marriage fell into disuse, so that at present Halizah is the general rule and marriage the rare exception (see Shulkhan Arukh, Eben ha-’Ezer, 165). Gamaliel, in the Midrash, uses the example of Halizah to show how God may have stood afar off, but Israel has not drawn off from Him. Rabban Gamaliel concludes with the Scripture “Thus also Scripture says, I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had drawn away, and was gone (Song of Solomon 5:6). Accordingly, the children of Israel cried, Why stand You afar off, O Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1)?”

Midrash Tehillim , Chapter 10, Part 8

8. Another comment on Why stand You afar off, Or Lord? (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1). This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, With their flocks and with their herds they will go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him. He has drawn off from them (Hosea 5:6). A certain sophist asked Rabban Gamliel, Is it possible that you still say, We wait for the Lord who will deliver us? Rabban Gamliel answered, Yes. The Sophist said, You are uttering a lie. God will never return to you, for does not scripture say, He has drawn off from them (Hosea 5:6)? Can a childless widow who, performing the ceremony of Halisah, draws the shoe off her brother in law’s foot, except to have her dead husband return to her? And therefore does it not follow that God will not return to you? Whereupon Rabban Gamliel asked the sophist, In the ceremony of Halisah, who draws off the shoe, the woman or the man? The sophist answered, The woman draws the shoe off. Rabban Gamliel then said, God has drawn off from us, but we have not drawn off from Him. If the surviving brothers drew the shoe off the woman’s foot, what validity would such an act have? Therefore, does Scripture say, He has allowed them to draw off from Him? Thus also Scripture says, I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had drawn away, and was gone (Song of Solomon 5:6). Accordingly, the children of Israel cried, Why stand You afar off, O Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 10:1)

מדרש תהלים פרק י סימן ח

ח דבר אחר למה ה׳ תעמוד ברחוק. זהו שאמר הכתוב בצאנם ובבקרם ילכו לבקש את ה׳ ולא ימצאו חלץ מהם (הושע ה ו), פילוסופיס אחד שאל את רבן גמליאל יש לכם לומר מקוים אנו למקום שיגאלנו, אמר לו הן, אמר לו שקר אתם אומרים, אינו שב אליכם, ולא אמר הכתוב חלץ מהם (שם הושע ה׳), וכי יש אשה חולצת [ויכול בעלה לשוב אליה, מכאן שאינו שב אליכם, השיבו רבן גמליאל מי חולץ האשה או האיש, אמר לו האשה חולצת], אמר ליה הוא חלץ אותנו, ואנו לא חלצנו לו, יבמה דחלצו לה אחין מידי מששא אית ביה, מי כתיב חלץ להם, מהם כתיב, וכן הוא אומר קמתי אני לפתוח לדודי ודודי חמק עבר (שה״ש שיר השירים ה ה ו), התחילו קוראין למה ה׳ תעמוד ברחוק.

It is interesting while studying Midrash Tehillim 10 Part 8, the Midrash mentions Gamaliel the Elder also known as Rabban Gamaliel I (רבן גמליאל הזקן, Greek: Γαμαλιήλ ο Πρεσβύτερος). Rabban Gamaliel was a leading authority in the Sanhedrin in the 1st century CE and he witnessed the ruling of the Sanhedrin to put Yeshua to death on the cross. He was son of Simeon ben Hillel, and grandson of the great Jewish teacher Hillel the Elder. Rabban Gamaliel died twenty years before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (70 CE). He fathered a son, whom he called Simeon, after his father (see The Jewish Encyclopedia article on Gamliel I by Solomon Schechter and Wilhelm Bacher) and a daughter, whose daughter (i.e., Gamaliel’s granddaughter) married a priest named Simon ben Nathanael (Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 3:10). The name Gamaliel is the Greek form of the Hebrew name meaning “reward of God.” He became a respected scholar of the Torah according to Acts 5:34 in the 1st century, and was a member of the Sanhedrin and was known for his mastery of Jewish oral law (Mishnah). He was also the first to be granted the title of rabban (רבן). A generation before Yeshua was born there were two great rabbis, Hillel and Shammai. Generally speaking, many of the rabbinic debates of the first century come down to the opinion of either Hillel or Shammai. With respect to Hellenism, Hillel was more open to Hellenism than Shammai and was therefore more open to cooperation with the Romans. Hillel’s openness and cooperation no doubt influenced Gamaliel’s opinions on the interpretation of Scripture and may have influenced him in his speaking up in the Sanhedrin concerning the Apostle Peter in Acts 5. Gamaliel is known to have followed the Hillel tradition of non-violence and allowing God to deal with parties that were against the Jews or the Romans.

Gamaliel the elder is in fact mentioned in Scripture in the Apostolic Writings. When Peter was speaking to the council in Jerusalem, Gamaliel a Pharisee stood and spoke (Acts 5:34-40) keeping the Sanhedrin from putting Peter to death.

Acts 5:33-42

5:33 But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them. 5:34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law, respected by all the people, stood up in the Council and gave orders to put the men outside for a short time. 5:35 And he said to them, ‘Men of Israel, take care what you propose to do with these men. 5:36 ‘For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody, and a group of about four hundred men joined up with him. But he was killed, and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. 5:37 ‘After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 5:38 ‘So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; 5:39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God.’ 5:40 They took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 5:41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. 5:42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. (NASB)

34ἀναστὰς δέ τις ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ Φαρισαῖος ὀνόματι Γαμαλιήλ, νομοδιδάσκαλος τίμιος παντὶ τῷ λαῷ, ἐκέλευσεν ἔξω βραχὺ τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ποιῆσαι, 35εἶπέν τε πρὸς αὐτούς, Ἄνδρες Ἰσραηλῖται, προσέχετε ἑαυτοῖς ἐπὶ τοῖς ἀνθρώποις τούτοις τί μέλλετε πράσσειν. 36πρὸ γὰρ τούτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ἀνέστη Θευδᾶς, λέγων εἶναί τινα ἑαυτόν, ᾧ προσεκλίθη ἀνδρῶν ἀριθμὸς ὡς τετρακοσίων: ὃς ἀνῃρέθη, καὶ πάντες ὅσοι ἐπείθοντο αὐτῷ διελύθησαν καὶ ἐγένοντο εἰς οὐδέν. 37μετὰ τοῦτον ἀνέστη Ἰούδας ὁ Γαλιλαῖος ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς ἀπογραφῆς καὶ ἀπέστησεν λαὸν ὀπίσω αὐτοῦ: κἀκεῖνος ἀπώλετο, καὶ πάντες ὅσοι ἐπείθοντο αὐτῷ διεσκορπίσθησαν. 38καὶ τὰ νῦν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπόστητε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τούτων καὶ ἄφετε αὐτούς: ὅτι ἐὰν ᾖ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἡ βουλὴ αὕτη ἢ τὸ ἔργον τοῦτο, καταλυθήσεται: 39εἰ δὲ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐστιν, οὐ δυνήσεσθε καταλῦσαι αὐτούς μήποτε καὶ θεομάχοι εὑρεθῆτε. ἐπείσθησαν δὲ αὐτῷ, 40καὶ προσκαλεσάμενοι τοὺς ἀποστόλους δείραντες παρήγγειλαν μὴ λαλεῖν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι τοῦ Ἰησοῦ καὶ ἀπέλυσαν. 41Οἱ μὲν οὖν ἐπορεύοντο χαίροντες ἀπὸ προσώπου τοῦ συνεδρίου ὅτι κατηξιώθησαν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος ἀτιμασθῆναι: 42πᾶσάν τε ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ κατ’ οἶκον οὐκ ἐπαύοντο διδάσκοντες καὶ εὐαγγελιζόμενοι τὸν Χριστόν, Ἰησοῦν.

In addition to this, Gamaliel was a Pharisee doctor of Jewish Law and the Apostle Paul stated that he sat at the foot of Gamaliel when giving his testimony of his conversion when He met Yeshua on the road to Damascus in Acts 22:1-22.

Acts 22:1-22

22:1 ‘Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.’ 22:2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said, 22:3 ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. 22:4 ‘I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 22:5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. 22:6 ‘But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, 22:7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 22:8 ‘And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 22:9 ‘And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 22:10 ‘And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ 22:11 ‘But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus. 22:12 ‘A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 22:13 came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. 22:14 ‘And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. 22:15 ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. 22:16 ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ 22:17 ‘It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, 22:18 and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ 22:19 ‘And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. 22:20 ‘And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’ 22:21 ‘And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’‘ 22:22 They listened to him up to this statement, and then they raised their voices and said, ‘Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!’ (NASB)

Here in Acts 22:3, Paul said 3Ἐγώ εἰμι ἀνὴρ Ἰουδαῖος, γεγεννημένος ἐν Ταρσῷ τῆς Κιλικίας, ἀνατεθραμμένος δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ, παρὰ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιὴλ πεπαιδευμένος κατὰ ἀκρίβειαν τοῦ πατρῴου νόμου, ζηλωτὴς ὑπάρχων τοῦ θεοῦ καθὼς πάντες ὑμεῖς ἐστε σήμερον, 22:3 ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today (NASB). The Greek texts says that Paul claimed he was taught literally “at the foot of Gamaliel” (παρὰ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιὴλ). What did Paul mean by saying he sat at the foot of a rabbi? Jacob Neusner said the following concerning the Jewish education system.

Quotation:

Many of the people, rich and poor alike, received an education in the main disciplines of Jewish tradition. This education centered on religious learning, was sufficiently broad to impart civilizing and humanizing lessons. The ordinary people learned about the Holy Scriptures. They considered the history of the world from the creation onward. They were taught lessons about their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to emulate patriarchal hospitality to men and faithfulness to God. Studied the laws of the Torah and understood the requirements of the covenant relationship with God. They were instructed on their obligations to the poor and week, orphaned, homeless, the stranger and the outsider.

“First-Century Judaism in Crisis: Yohanan Ben Zakkai and the Renaissance of Torah,” By Jacob Neusner

The institution known as the “beit midrash” (בית מדרש, house of interpretation/learning) “beit rabban” (house of the teacher), or the “beit safra” or “beit sefer” (house of the book), is said to have been originated by Ezra (459 BCE) and his Great Assembly, who provided a public school in Jerusalem to secure the education of fatherless boys of the age of sixteen years and upward. However, the school system did not develop until Joshua ben Gamla (64 CE) the high priest who caused public schools to be opened in each town for all children above six or seven years of age (see Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 21a, and Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of Tannaim, Vol. 1 p217-220, by George Foot Moore, Hendrickson Publishers). Education began at the age of six or seven and continued throughout life; basic education was completed before marriage at the age of about 18 years old.

In the Beit Midrash, the student would begin sitting in the back of the class room. As the student learned more becoming proficient in the written and oral laws, and the rulings of the rabbis in ages past, he would move forward. When the student found himself sitting at he feet of the rabbi, it is said that he is ready to take the place of the rabbi.

The standard education texts were the written Scriptures and Mishnah (Oral tradition) in the first century (Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of Tannaim, Vol. 1 p217-220, by George Foot Moore, Hendrickson Publishers) and today consists of the Mishnah (משנה), the Talmud (תלמוד), and the Gemara (גמרא). The Mishnah was originally only memorized, until following the destruction of the Second Temple where it was believed necessary to hand-write and later print the sayings, rulings, and interpretations of the rabbis in order to preserve Judaism. In the first century, emphasis was placed on developing good memory skills in addition to comprehension by the practice of oral repetition. Sitting at the foot of the rabbi meant that the student was the most proficient and best from all the rest.

In Ancient Israel, the child would be taught from the six broad subject areas into which the Mishnah is divided, including:

  • Zeraim (“Seeds”), dealing with agricultural laws and prayers.
  • Moed (“Festival”), pertaining to the laws of the Shabbat and the Festivals.
  • Nashim (“Women”), concerning marriage and divorce.
  • Nezikin (“Damages”), dealing with civil and criminal law.
  • Kodashim (“Holy things”), regarding sacrificial rites, the Temple, and the dietary laws.
  • Tohorot (“Purities”), pertaining to the laws of purity and impurity, including the impurity of the dead, the laws of ritual purity for the priests (Kohanim), the laws of “family purity” (the menstrual laws).

It was mentioned earlier that many of the rabbinic debates of the first century come down to the opinion of either Hillel or Shammai. With respect to Hellenism, Hillel was more open to Hellenism than Shammai and was therefore more open to cooperation with the Romans. Hillel was therefore more of the spirit of cooperation and tolerance allowing God to work whereas Shammai was considered more of the hardliner (radical). Reading the book of Acts, Paul was a ruthless persecutor who sought to stop what he saw as an aberration within Judaism. Is it possible that Paul was not of the Hillel form of Pharisaism even though he said that he sat at the foot of Gamaliel who followed the teachings of Hillel? Was Paul possibly more radical like the Shammai party? N. T. Wright in his book titled “What Paul really said, was Paul of Tarsus really the founder of Christianity, 1997, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company; 1 edition p192” describes the Shammai Pharisee as “a militant hardliner that was willing to work with Rome just as long as they could study the Torah.” Paul was a Diaspora Jew who claimed to have been raised in a family which kept the Jewish traditions without fault. Did Paul find fault in the liberal way of Hillel? He was an conservative Jew reacting to what he perceived as a dangerous teaching that Yeshua was the Messiah whereby the High Priest killed him. It required the hand of God to change Paul’s heart and perspective on the interpretation of the Scriptures concerning the Messiah. Paul tells of how Yeshua changed his life in a mighty way in Acts 22:3-10.

Acts 22:3-10

22:3 ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. 22:4 ‘I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, 22:5 as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. 22:6 ‘But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, 22:7 and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 22:8 ‘And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ 22:9 ‘And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. 22:10 ‘And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ (NASB)

When Yeshua showed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus it changed his life. Following this moment in his life, Paul made a personal commitment to Yeshua. From the reading of the text in Acts 9:26-28 it seems to be implied that Paul went directly from Damascus to Jerusalem, however, he states in Galatians 1:16-17 that he “conferred not with flesh and blood” nor consulted with the Apostles in Jerusalem; but the Lord’s choice for him was to go to Arabia. In Arabia Paul studied the Scriptures in order that he might receive greater revelations concerning the mysteries of the Gospel of Christ (the Messiah). The Scriptures do not indicate which part of Arabia he went to, but we can safely assume it was somewhere east of Damascus. At that time the area known as Arabia included the region governed by Aretas (2 Corinthians 11:32) which extended from Damascus and east of the Jordan River south to Edom. In Galatians 1:17-18 Paul wrote that upon his return from Arabia he came back to the city of Damascus. Exactly how long Paul’s stay in Arabia lasted is not clear, but combined with his return visit to Damascus was a period of three years. Paul then integrated his new found faith into his whole life. Paul’s life was radically changed by his faith in Yeshua God’s Messiah. Today, has your faith in Yeshua radically changed your life? Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 10-Part1-and-2 Notes: Notes_Psalms_10

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!