Tehillim / Psalms 101, ספר תהילים קא, Part 2, The Torah Begins and Ends with Grace

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 101:1-8, the Psalm opens saying, א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר חֶסֶד-וּמִשְׁפָּט אָשִׁירָה לְךָ יְהֹוָה אֲזַמֵּרָה: A Psalm of David 101:1 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O Lord, I will sing praises. (NASB) David speaks of singing of the grace (חֶסֶד) of God. He continues saying, ב אַשְֹכִּילָה | בְּדֶרֶךְ תָּמִים מָתַי תָּבוֹא אֵלָי אֶתְהַלֵּךְ בְּתָם-לְבָבִי בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי: ג לֹא-אָשִׁית | לְנֶגֶד עֵינַי דְּבַר-בְּלִיָּעַל עֲשֹה-סֵטִים שָֹנֵאתִי לֹא יִדְבַּק בִּי: 101:2 I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. 101:3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. (NASB) When he says that he will set no worthless thing before his eyes, what do you think he was referring to? Idols or prostitutes? In ancient times, what did David consider worthless things that would go before his eyes? He seems to define what he meant saying, ד לֵבָב עִקֵּשׁ יָסוּר מִמֶּנִּי רָע לֹא אֵדָע: ה מְלָושְׁנִי [מְלָשְׁנִי] בַסֵּתֶר | רֵעֵהוּ אוֹתוֹ אַצְמִית גְּבַהּ-עֵינַיִם וּרְחַב לֵבָב אֹתוֹ לֹא אוּכָל: 101:4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. 101:5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure. (NASB) He speaks of the perverse heart, it seems clear what he is speaking of. Mishley / Provers 11:20 states, 11:20 The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight. (NASB) It is interesting how the deceitfulness of the heart in the sense of the perverse heart, what we look at, men make light of giving short weight or measure to the heart. The heart is a secret place and hidden from the sight of men, however the thoughts of the heart appear to be capable of violating the Torah of God, and so becoming an abomination to the Lord. David continues saying, ו עֵינַי | בְּנֶאֶמְנֵי-אֶרֶץ לָשֶׁבֶת עִמָּדִי הֹלֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ תָּמִים הוּא יְשָׁרְתֵנִי: 101:6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. (NASB) Notice how the Lord speaks of the one who is faithful will minister to Him. What does it mean to minister to the Lord God of Israel? David concludes his psalm saying, ז לֹא-יֵשֵׁב | בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי עֹשֵֹה רְמִיָּה דֹּבֵר שְׁקָרִים לֹא-יִכּוֹן לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי: ח לַבְּקָרִים אַצְמִית כָּל-רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ לְהַכְרִית מֵעִיר-יְהֹוָה כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן: 101:7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. 101:8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity. (NASB) The point is to walk in righteousness, justice, and truth all the days of our lives. Practicing deceit and falsehood does not demonstrate the fruits of our faith, and shows a lack thereof.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קא

א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר חֶסֶד-וּמִשְׁפָּט אָשִׁירָה לְךָ יְהֹוָה אֲזַמֵּרָה: ב אַשְֹכִּילָה | בְּדֶרֶךְ תָּמִים מָתַי תָּבוֹא אֵלָי אֶתְהַלֵּךְ בְּתָם-לְבָבִי בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי: ג לֹא-אָשִׁית | לְנֶגֶד עֵינַי דְּבַר-בְּלִיָּעַל עֲשֹה-סֵטִים שָֹנֵאתִי לֹא יִדְבַּק בִּי: ד לֵבָב עִקֵּשׁ יָסוּר מִמֶּנִּי רָע לֹא אֵדָע:

סםר טוביה פרק קא

א על יד דוד תושבחתא אין חסדא את גמיל עמי אין דינא את עבד עמי על כולא אשבח קדמך יהוה אזמר׃ ב אמר אלהא אשכלינך באורח שלים אימתי תיעול לוותי אמר דוד אתהלך בשלימות לבבי בגו בית אולפני׃ ג לא אשוי ללבי״לקביל עיני מלתא דרשיעא עבדי בישין ושטין וסטיין מן פיקודיא סניתי לא ידבקון בי׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 101

101:1 τῷ Δαυιδ ψαλμός ἔλεος καὶ κρίσιν ᾄσομαί σοι κύριε 101:2 ψαλῶ καὶ συνήσω ἐν ὁδῷ ἀμώμῳ πότε ἥξεις πρός με διεπορευόμην ἐν ἀκακίᾳ καρδίας μου ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ οἴκου μου 101:3 οὐ προεθέμην πρὸ ὀφθαλμῶν μου πρᾶγμα παράνομον ποιοῦντας παραβάσεις ἐμίσησα 101:4 οὐκ ἐκολλήθη μοι καρδία σκαμβή ἐκκλίνοντος ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ τοῦ πονηροῦ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκον

ה מְלָושְׁנִי [מְלָשְׁנִי] בַסֵּתֶר | רֵעֵהוּ אוֹתוֹ אַצְמִית גְּבַהּ-עֵינַיִם וּרְחַב לֵבָב אֹתוֹ לֹא אוּכָל: ו עֵינַי | בְּנֶאֶמְנֵי-אֶרֶץ לָשֶׁבֶת עִמָּדִי הֹלֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ תָּמִים הוּא יְשָׁרְתֵנִי: ז לֹא-יֵשֵׁב | בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי עֹשֵֹה רְמִיָּה דֹּבֵר שְׁקָרִים לֹא-יִכּוֹן לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי: ח לַבְּקָרִים אַצְמִית כָּל-רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ לְהַכְרִית מֵעִיר-יְהֹוָה כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן:

ד ליבא עוקמנא יעדי מיני יצרא בישא לא אדע׃ ה דמישתעי לישן תליתאי על חבריה יתיה אמגר אגמר וילקי בצירעתא דאזיל בגסות עיינין עימיה לא אדור בעלמא׃ ו עיני בקשיטי ארעא למיתב במחיצת צדיקי דאזל באורחא שלים הוא יקום עם שמשי׃ ז לא יתיב יתיתיב במצע בית מוקדשי עביד נכילו די ממלל שיקרין לית ליה רשו לאתכונא קבל עייני׃ ח לעלמא דאתי דאמתיל לנהור צפריא אמגר אגמר כל רשיעי ארעא לשיצאה מן ירושלם קרתא דיהוה כל עבדי שקר׃

101:5 τὸν καταλαλοῦντα λάθρᾳ τοῦ πλησίον αὐτοῦ τοῦτον ἐξεδίωκον ὑπερηφάνῳ ὀφθαλμῷ καὶ ἀπλήστῳ καρδίᾳ τούτῳ οὐ συνήσθιον 101:6 οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου ἐπὶ τοὺς πιστοὺς τῆς γῆς τοῦ συγκαθῆσθαι αὐτοὺς μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ πορευόμενος ἐν ὁδῷ ἀμώμῳ οὗτός μοι ἐλειτούργει 101:7 οὐ κατῴκει ἐν μέσῳ τῆς οἰκίας μου ποιῶν ὑπερηφανίαν λαλῶν ἄδικα οὐ κατεύθυνεν ἐναντίον τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν μου 101:8 εἰς τὰς πρωίας ἀπέκτεννον πάντας τοὺς ἁμαρτωλοὺς τῆς γῆς τοῦ ἐξολεθρεῦσαι ἐκ πόλεως κυρίου πάντας τοὺς ἐργαζομένους τὴν ἀνομίαν

Tehillim / Psalms 101

A Psalm of David 101:1 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O Lord, I will sing praises. 101:2 I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. 101:3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. 101:4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. 101:5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure. 101:6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. 101:7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. 101:8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 101

101:1 Composed by David, a psalm. Whether you show mercy to me or treat me with justice, for both of them I will sing praise; in your presence, O Lord, I will make music. 101:2 God said, “I will make you wise in the perfect way; when will you come unto me?” David said, “I will walk in the perfection of my heart within my house of instruction.” 101:3 I will not set upon my heart the word of the wicked man, the ones who do evil; and those who wander from the commandments I hate, they will not follow me. 101:4 Let the twisted heart pass from me; I shall not know the evil impulse. 101:5 He who relates slander against his fellow – him will I overturn; and he who walks with haughty eyes will be stricken with leprosy; with him I will never dwell. 101:6 My eyes are on the honest of the land, to dwell in the precincts of the righteous; he who walks perfect on the way – he shall stand among my ministers. 101:7 He who acts guilefully will not dwell in the midst of my sanctuary; he who speaks lies has no right to stand before my eyes. 101:8 In the age to come, which is likened to the light of morning, I will overturn all the wicked of the earth, to destroy from Jerusalem, the city of the Lord, all those who work deceit. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 101

A Psalm of David. 101:1 I will sing to thee, O Lord, of mercy and judgment; I will sing a psalm, 101:2 and I will be wise in a blameless way. When wilt thou come to me? I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house. 101:3 I have not set before mine eyes any unlawful ting; I have hated transgressors. 101:4 A perverse heart has not cleaved to me; I have not known an evil man, forasmuch as he turns away from me. 101:5 Him that privily speaks against his neighbour, him have I driven from me: he that is proud in look and insatiable in heart, —with him I have not eaten. 101:6 Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me: he that walked in a perfect way, the same ministered to me. 101:7 The proud doer dwelt not in the midst of my house; the unjust speaker prospered not in my sight. 101:8 Early did I slay all the sinners of the land, that I might destroy out of the city of the Lord all that work iniquity. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 101:1-8, the Psalm opens saying, א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר חֶסֶד-וּמִשְׁפָּט אָשִׁירָה לְךָ יְהֹוָה אֲזַמֵּרָה: A Psalm of David 101:1 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O Lord, I will sing praises. (NASB) From antiquity, David speaks of singing of the grace (חֶסֶד) of God. Modern theologies today take the position that the God of the Tanach (Old Testament) has undergone a sort of transformation through time in regard to differing modes of behavior. Dispensationalism, a religious interpretive theology for the Bible considers Biblical history as divided deliberately by God into defined periods or ages to each of which the Lord has allotted distinctive administrative principles. According to dispensationalist interpretation, each age of the plan of God is therefore administered in a certain way, and humanity is held responsible as a steward during each particular time frame he finds himself living in. This mode of thought is another consequence of the thousands of years of anti-Torah theology, and the theologians attempts to balance the biblical view of Israel in relation to the church. The basic premise of the Church is that the Law has passed with the birth of the Church at Pentacost (the festival of Shavuot, feast of weeks). The major conclusion is the Lord God of Israel does not function in the same manner as He has done throughout history following the event of Pentacost. As a result, the NT descriptions of God are described as “full of grace” in opposition to the God of the OT as being “mean, vengeful, requiring works for salvation, etc.” However, when we study Torah, it becomes clear the grace of God has been demonstrated beginning with the Torah. For example, when Moshe received the Torah on the mountain of Sinai, the Scriptures state:

Shemot / Exodus 34:6

34:6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness (grace) and truth; (NASB, ו וַיַּעֲבֹר יְהוָֹה | עַל-פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָֹה | יְהֹוָה אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת:)

Here at a pivotal point in the Torah, the Lord describes himself in terms of mercy and grace. It is for this reason the psalmist also describes the Lord God as merciful and gracious according to Tehillim / Psalms 103:8, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” In addition, Tehillim / Psalms 19:1-8 speaks of the Torah of God as being restorative to the soul, 19:1 The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. 19:2 Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. 19:4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their utterances to the end of the world. In them He has placed a tent for the sun, 19:5 Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber; It rejoices as a strong man to run his course. 19:6 Its rising is from one end of the heavens, And its circuit to the other end of them; And there is nothing hidden from its heat. 19:7 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. 19:8 The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. (NASB) The psalmist is alluding to Shemot / Exodus 34:6, and knows his listeners will recognize the Scriptures from the Torah. Considering the Scriptural descriptions of the grace of God in the Tanach, it is interesting to take note how the English translations of the Tanach tend to always translate the word חֶסֶד as “lovingkindness” as opposed to “grace.” Whereas, in the Apostolic Writings, חֶסֶד is always translated as “grace” and never translated as “lovingkindness” according to the Hebrew translation. The writings of Paul to the Ephesians illustrates this point. The Hebrew translation of the Greek text always translates “grace” using the word חֶסֶד.

Ephesians 1:1-14

א פּוֹלוֹס שְׁלִיחַ יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ בִּרְצוֹן אֱלהִים אֶל־הַקְּדוֹשִׁים בְּאֶפְסוֹס וְאֶל־אֲשֶׁר נֶאֱמָן לִבָּם לִפְנֵי יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ׃ ב חֶסֶד וְשָׁלוֹם יִתֵּן לָכֶם אֱלהִים אָבִינוּ וְיֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ אֲדֹנֵינוּ׃ ג בָּרוּך הוּא הָאֱלהִים אֲבִי אֲדֹנֵינוּ יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ אֲשֶׁר בֵּרַך אֹתָנוּ מִשְּׁמֵי מְעוֹנוֹ בְּכָל־בִּרְכַּת הַנֶּפֶשׁ בַּמָּשִׁיחַ׃ ד כַּאֲשֶׁר בּוֹ בְחָרָנוּ עַד לא נוֹסְדָה אָרֶץ לִהְיוֹת קְדֹשִׁים וּתְמִימִים לְפָנָיו׃ ה וּבְאַהֲבָתוֹ יְעָדָנוּ מֵרֹאשׁ לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְבָנִים עַל־יְדֵי יֵשׁוּעַ הַמָּשִׁיחַ כְּחֵפֶץ לִבּוֹ הַטּוֹב׃ ו לְתִפְאֶרֶת עֹז חַסְדּוֹ אֲשֶׁר־גָּמַל עָלֵינוּ בִּידִידוֹ׃ ז כִּי־בוֹ נִמְצָא פְדוּת וּסְלִיחָה לְחַטֹּאתֵינוּ בְּדָמוֹ הַשָּׁפוּך כַּהֲמוֹן חֲסָדָיו׃ ח אֲשֶׁר הִרְבָּה עָלֵינוּ בְּכָל־חָכְמָה וּבִינָה׃ ט וַיּוֹדַע לָנוּ אֶת־סוֹד רְצוֹנוֹ כַּעֲצָתוֹ הַטּוֹבָה הַיְעוּצָה בְלִבּוֹ מִקֶּדֶם׃ י לְקַבֵּץ בַּמָּשִׁיחַ בִּמְלאת יְמֵי הַפְּקֻדָּה כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׁמַיִם וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר בָּאָרֶץ וְהָיוּ בוֹ לַאֲחָדִים׃ יא וְגַם עַל־יָדוֹ נַחֲזִיק בַּמּוֹרָשָׁה כַּאֲשֶׁר נִבְחַרְנוּ לָהּ מֵאָז מִטַּעַם הָעֹשֶׂה כֹּל כַּעֲצַת חֶפְצוֹ׃ יב לְמַעַן יֵרָאֶה עָלֵינוּ הֲדַר כְּבוֹדוֹ בִּהְיוֹת אֲנַחְנוּ הָרִאשֹׁנִים אֲשֶׁר בָּטַחְנוּ בַּמָּשִׁיחַ׃ יג וּבוֹ בֹטְחִים גַּם־אַתֶּם אַחֲרֵי אֲשֶׁר שְׁמַעְתֶּם אֶת־דְּבַר הָאֱמֶת אֶת־דְּבַר הַבְּשׁרָה לִתְשׁוּעַתְכֶם וְכַאֲשֶׁר הֶאֱמַנְתֶּם בּוֹ כֵּן גַּם־נֶחְתָּמִים אַתֶּם בְּרוּחַ הַקֹּדֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר׃ יד אֲשֶׁר עֵרָבוֹן הוּא לְמוֹרָשָׁתֵנוּ עַד אֲשֶׁר־תִּגָּאֵל וְהָיְתָה־לָּנוּ לַאֲחֻזָּה לִתְהִלַּת שֵׁם כְּבוֹדוֹ׃

1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: 1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace 1:8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, 1:14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory. (NASB)

This is a significant observation which connects the grace of God to the Messiah, and having a thorough understanding of the MT connects the grace of God to the Torah and all of the Tanach. This illustrates again how theology permeates everything we believe. Our presuppositions, the theologies we have been taught from youth up inexplicably enter into our understanding of God’s word and how the Word of God applies to our lives. By this example of the English translation on grace, we are able to observe how theology enters into the translation of the Scriptures, and therefore we must not only know our bibles, but also to use multiple translations in order to recognize these things. Look at the degree of variation between the different English translations of the Hebrew text. This provides us with a sense on the meaning of the word חֶסֶד and how the translation of “grace” is not a matter of question according to the Tanach.

Translations of Shemot / Exodus 34:6

New International Version

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,

New Living Translation

The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

English Standard Version

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

New American Standard Bible

Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;

King James Bible

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

Holman Christian Standard Bible

Then the LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh–Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth,

International Standard Version

The LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and filled with gracious love and truth.

We know the MT does not show any textual variation on חֶסֶד in the Torah references (Shemot / Exodus 34:6), however, there is a large degree of variation in the English translations. How might this have happened? The variations on the translation state that God’s chesed (חֶסֶד) is His abounding love, unfailing love, steadfast love, His lovingkindness, His abundant goodness, and His gracious love. The English translations do not explicitly state that this is the grace of God, but provides descriptions of what God’s grace means for His people. The grace of God is apparent throughout the Tanach. While the grace of God is apparent in the MT, one cannot escape the warnings of a future time of recompense and judgment which appear throughout the Apostolic Writings and not just in the Old Testament. The New Testament therefore is not exclusively a book of mercy and grace as some would suggest, but warns the children of God of the coming judgment and wrath of God. This judgment will come as a result of wrong doing, and the tragic result of modern theologies, the average Christian does not expect to find grace in the Torah and Judgment and wrath in the New Testament. In the words of Yeshua, there are more references to the fires of eternal punishment than in any part of the Scriptures. The Lord God of Israel is described throughout the Scriptures as the creator God who is unchanging and how there will come a day when everyone will bow in obedience to Him. Each individual is responsible to God for his or her actions and Paul states that each person will give an account before the judgment seat (Romans 14:10).

Modern theologies conclude that the mainstay of Judaism is legalism and is coupled with a misrepresentation of the Torah as preaching a “save yourself by your own good works gospel.” This is nothing less than a continuing contribution to the antisemitism and distorted view of the Jewish faith during the first century period. By having a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures and a working knowledge of the rabbinic literature, the Judaism in the first century period was not a salvation by works faith. Most of the Jewish teachers and rabbis of the time belonged to the sect of the Pharisees, the sect that led to rabbinic Judaism in the following centuries, taught of God’s goodness and willingness to accept all sinners who were willing to repent and turn from their evil ways. E.P. Sanders in his book titled “Paul and Palestinian Judaism” wrote saying:

The theme of mercy – whether put in terms of God’s mercy in electing Israel, God’s mercy in accepting repentant sinners (repentance does not earn a reward, but is responded to by God in mercy), or God’s ‘rewarding’ the righteous because of his mercy – serves to assure that election and ultimately salvation cannot be earned, but depend on God’s grace. One can never be righteous enough to be worthy in God’s sight of the ultimate gifts, which depend only on his mercy.

The Message of divine compassion is strong in the minds of the Jewish religious teachers from the time of the New Testament, just as we find in the later writings of the rabbis according to Metzudat David on psalm 100:5.

Metzudat David on psalm 100:5

לעולם חסדו . חסד ה’ הוא דבר המתקיים עד עולם ולא כן חסד ב”ו : אמונתו . האמנת הבטחתו קיימת עד כלות כל הדורות :

Forever His grace. God’s grace is something that exists forever and yes kindness B’’O : faith Believed in its promise exists for all possible ages.

The abbreviation ב”ו בו׳ קצוות, בו״ק), b’vav k’tzavot) means “the six directions [right, left, front, up, down, back],” and Kabbalistically it means “in the six extremities; indicating chesed, gevurah, tiferet, netzach, hod, and yesod.” Drawing together all the Jewish concepts of grace as it is connected to this physical world and as being the very foundation (sod) of who God of Israel is at His core. The grace of God is a prominent feature in Jewish theology just as Ben Sira emphasized saying the following:

Sirach 2:10-12

2:10 Think back to the ancient generations and consider this: has the Lord ever disappointed anyone who put his hope in him? Has the Lord ever abandoned anyone who held him in constant reverence? Has the Lord ever ignored anyone who prayed to him? 2:11 The Lord is kind and merciful; he forgives our sins and keeps us safe in time of trouble. 2:12 But those who lose their nerve are doomed—all those sinners who try to have it both ways! (GNT)

Ben Sira emphasizes divine mercy and God’s willingness to forgive our sins. The rabbis of the first century and their successors pushed this message of grace, similar to Yeshua and Paul who further wrote of the grace of God to the gentile churches emphasizing the joy of knowing the God of Israel and His ways. Repentance was a central theme as we read in the Apostolic Writings, similar to what we read Ben Sira saying in his book that the Lord God is ready to receive repentant sinners and even gives them a position of preference when they have devoted their hearts to repentance and to turn from their sins.

This is why the psalmist (David) writes as he does saying, ב אַשְֹכִּילָה | בְּדֶרֶךְ תָּמִים מָתַי תָּבוֹא אֵלָי אֶתְהַלֵּךְ בְּתָם-לְבָבִי בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי: ג לֹא-אָשִׁית | לְנֶגֶד עֵינַי דְּבַר-בְּלִיָּעַל עֲשֹה-סֵטִים שָֹנֵאתִי לֹא יִדְבַּק בִּי: 101:2 I will give heed to the blameless way. When will You come to me? I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart. 101:3 I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. (NASB) When he says that he will set no worthless thing before his eyes, what do you think he was referring to? Idols or prostitutes? In ancient times, what did David consider worthless things that would go before his eyes? What about pornography? What about movies that contain both pornographic materials and foul language? Is it possible for a believer to walk with integrity in heart before God while participating in these things all under the auspices of “we are under grace now?” David seems to define what he meant saying, ד לֵבָב עִקֵּשׁ יָסוּר מִמֶּנִּי רָע לֹא אֵדָע: ה מְלָושְׁנִי [מְלָשְׁנִי] בַסֵּתֶר | רֵעֵהוּ אוֹתוֹ אַצְמִית גְּבַהּ-עֵינַיִם וּרְחַב לֵבָב אֹתוֹ לֹא אוּכָל: 101:4 A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. 101:5 Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure. (NASB) He speaks of the perverse heart, it seems clear what he is speaking of. Mishley / Provers 11:20 states, 11:20 The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight. (NASB) It is interesting how the deceitfulness of the heart in the sense of the perverse heart, what we look at, men make light of giving short weight or measure to the heart. The heart is a secret place and hidden from the sight of men, however the thoughts of the heart appear to be capable of violating the Torah of God, and so becoming an abomination to the Lord. This is coupled with our actions, the things that we do which are motivated by the thoughts of our hearts.

The concept here is that the Lord is powerful to work in our hearts, which lead to the way we live our lives. The salvation of God is coupled to both saving us from our enemies, saving our souls, and empowering us to live for Him. The rabbis speak of the power of the arm of God and His salvation being made known in the following way according to Midrash Rabbah Shemot Parashat 3 Part 6.

Midrash Rabbah Shemot Parashat 3, Part 6

6. And God said to Moses. R. Abba b. Mammel said: God said to Moses: ‘You wish to know My name; I am called according to My deeds. Sometimes I am called “El Shadday”, “Tzveo’ot”, “Elohim”, “YHVH”. When I judge the creations I am called “Elohim” [Judge].When I am waging war against the wicked I am called “Tzveo’ot” [Lord of Hosts]. When I suspend [punishment] for a man’s sins I am called “El Shadday” (Almighty God). When I am merciful towards My world, I am called “YHVH,”’ for “YHVH” only refers to the attribute of mercy, as it is said: “The Lord, the Lord (YHVH, YHVH), God, merciful and gracious.” Hence, “ehyeh asher ehyeh” [I am that I am, or I will be that I will be] – I am called according to My deeds.R. Yitzhak said: God said to Moses: ‘ Tell them, that I am who was, that I am now, and that I will be in the future.’ For this reason the word “eheyeh” is written three times. Another explanation of “ehyeh asher ehyeh”: R. Jacob b. R. Abina in the name of R. Huna of Tzippori: God said to Moses: Tell them, in this servitude I will be with them, and in the continuing servitude I will be with them!’Moses said to God: ‘I should tell them this? An evil is sufficient in its time [I should just mention the present servitude and not its continuation]?’ God replied: ‘No: Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “Ehyeh has sent me to you.” I am [only] revealing this to you, but not to them.’Another interpretation: “Ehyeh.” R. Yitzhak said in the name of R. Ammi: They are standing in clay and bricks and they will go on to [another servitude of] clay and bricks. So too in the case of Daniel: “And I Daniel fainted and was sick” (Daniel 8:27).Moses said to God: ’I should tell them this?’ God replied: ‘No, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: “Ehyeh has sent me to you. ”’ R. Yohanan said: I am that I am to individuals, but regarding the multitude I will rule over them even against their will and desires, even though they break their teeth, as it is said: “As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, will I be King over you” (Ezekiel 20:33). Another interpretation: R. Ananiel b. R. Sasson said: God said: When I desire, one of the angels who is one third of the world, stretches out his hand from heaven and touches the earth, as it says: “And the form of a hand was sent forth, and I was taken by a lock of my head” (ibid. 8:3). And when I desire three of them, I made them sitting beneath a tree, as it is said: “And recline under the tree” (Genesis 18:4). And when I desire, His glory fills the entire world, as it is said: “’Do I not fill heaven and earth?’ says the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24). And when I wished, I spoke with Job from the whirlwind, as it is said: “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1). And when I wish, [I speak] from a thorn-bush.

The rabbis state that the Lord God is known according to His deeds. Are we not also known by how we live our lives? What we do does matter in the eyes of God. The midrash goes on to describe how the Lord is known which is connected to His Name and His actions:

  1. When I judge the creations I am called “Elohim” plural in which the Torah describes as Judge according to the Torah in the context of men (See Shemot / Exodus 22:8-9, ז אִם-לֹא יִמָּצֵא הַגַּנָּב וְנִקְרַב בַּעַל-הַבַּיִת אֶל-הָאֱלֹהִים אִם-לֹא שָׁלַח יָדוֹ בִּמְלֶאכֶת רֵעֵהוּ: ח עַל-כָּל-דְּבַר-פֶּשַׁע עַל-שׁוֹר עַל-חֲמוֹר עַל-שֶֹה עַל-שַֹלְמָה עַל-כָּל-אֲבֵדָה אֲשֶׁר יֹאמַר כִּי-הוּא זֶה עַד הָאֱלֹהִים יָבֹא דְּבַר-שְׁנֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר יַרְשִׁיעֻן אֱלֹהִים יְשַׁלֵּם שְׁנַיִם לְרֵעֵהוּ:) Notice how we are told that if a thief is not caught, the owner of the house is to appear before God (Elohim, אֱלֹהִים) and this is within the context of going before men to receive judgment. Note also how Moshe describes a judge in the Torah, he calls them gods (Elohim, אֱלֹהִים)..
  2. When I am waging war against the wicked I am called “Tzveo’ot” [Lord of Hosts].
  3. When I suspend [punishment] for a man’s sins I am called “El Shadday” (Almighty God).
  4. When I am merciful towards My world, I am called “YHVH,”’ for “YHVH” only refers to the attribute of mercy, as it is said: “The Lord, the Lord (YHVH, YHVH), God, merciful and gracious.”

Note that the word Elohim is used of both man and God in the sense of being a judge of righteousness, justice, and truth. The word tzevo’ot means the “Lord of Hosts” in the sense that He is a God who makes war and is fully capable of overcoming the enemy. He is called El Shaddai because He is the all sufficient One. And finally His name YHVH is connected to His mercy and grace. Notice how there is a sort of progressive revelation of God’s Name found in the Torah that leads up to the grace (mercy) of God. The rabbis discuss the meaning of the Lord being made known by His deeds in these ways. They also say that He will be made known by the way that He serves His people. How does the Lord serve His people? The interpretation is, “I am that I am to individuals, but regarding the multitude I will rule over them even against their will and desires, even though they break their teeth, as it is said: “As I live, says the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, will I be King over you” (Ezekiel 20:33).” Does this suggest that He will force His will upon His people? The antinomians believe the Torah command was something that is evil and was forced upon the people of God, people had to earn their salvation before the coming of the Messiah Yeshua. This interpretation come by reason of the modern theology on grace in the New Testament. Another interpretation that is consistent with the rabbinic tradition and the New Testament is that the rabbis are suggesting that the Lord is working in the lives of His people, where the Apostolic Writings interpretation on this is the Lord transforming us from the inside out according to Paul. The Lord has made us new and empowered us to overcome sin. He has transformed our understanding and created in us a desire to draw near and to live our lives in a manner that is pleasing to Him. The Torah becomes Simchat Torah (the Joy of Torah), in the life of a believer who has been transformed from the inside out for the glory of God. So consequentially, for such a person, the Lord may say “I will rule over them even against their will and desires,” which were formerly rooted in the flesh, and even as believers who are transformed we must daily to walk in the spirit and turn from the fleshly desires.

David continues saying, ו עֵינַי | בְּנֶאֶמְנֵי-אֶרֶץ לָשֶׁבֶת עִמָּדִי הֹלֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ תָּמִים הוּא יְשָׁרְתֵנִי: 101:6 My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. (NASB) Notice how the Lord speaks of the one who is faithful will minister to Him. What does it mean to minister to the Lord God of Israel? The rabbinic commentary speaks of ministering to the Lord in the following way.

Daat Zekanim on Shemot / Exodus 28:1

לכהנו לי, “to minister unto Me.” Whenever the word לי is used in such a context it means that the instruction is of permanent validity. Compare Numbers 8:7 כי לי כל בכור בבני ישראל, “for every firstborn among the Israelites is Mine;” compare also Leviticus 25:55 כי לי בני ישראל עבדים, “for the Children of Israel are My slaves.” Compare further Leviticus 25:23 כי לי הארץ, “for the earth is Mine.”

Akeidat Yitzchak 53:52

We see from all this, that far from precipitating or even participating in the sin, Aaron had used his best efforts to teach the people a lesson of faith in the Lord. This is why, at a later stage, G’d was able to say to Moses “You shall cause your brother Aaron to come close to Me, to be My priest” (Exodus 28:1)

Daat Zekanim looks at the Hebrew text and says that this phrase לכהנו לי means “to minister unto me” literally “to be a cohen (priest) unto me” and that this is a permanent instruction. Note David’s words are alluding to the average man, whereas in Shemot / Exodus 28:1 is in reference to the Levites who will serve in the Temple before the Lord. Faithfulness and to be Tamim (תָּמִים) blameless are in the context of the one who will minister unto the Lord, as referring to those who are in the Land of Israel. Is David referring to the priesthood or to the average man? This may also be applied to the average person, who according to Shemot / Exodus 19:5-6 has been chosen as a special people, and made to be a nation of kings and priests.

Shemot / Exodus 19:5-6

19:5 ‘Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 19:6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.’ (NASB, ה וְעַתָּה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת-בְּרִיתִי וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים כִּי-לִי כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: ו וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ-לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ אֵלֶּה הַדְּבָרִים אֲשֶׁר תְּדַבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל:)

Akeidat Yitzchak 53:52 states that this text shown in Shemot / Exodus 28:1, א וְאַתָּה הַקְרֵב אֵלֶיךָ אֶת-אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְאֶת-בָּנָיו אִתּוֹ מִתּוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל לְכַהֲנוֹ-לִי אַהֲרֹן נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אֶלְעָזָר וְאִיתָמָר בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן: 28:1 ‘Then bring near to yourself Aaron your brother, and his sons with him, from among the sons of Israel, to minister as priest to Me Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. (NASB) is meant to teach the people a lesson of faith in the Lord. We are called to live our lives as the people of faith that we say we are in Yeshua the Messiah.

David concludes his psalm saying, ז לֹא-יֵשֵׁב | בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי עֹשֵֹה רְמִיָּה דֹּבֵר שְׁקָרִים לֹא-יִכּוֹן לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי: ח לַבְּקָרִים אַצְמִית כָּל-רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ לְהַכְרִית מֵעִיר-יְהֹוָה כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן: 101:7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. 101:8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity. (NASB) The point is to walk in righteousness, justice, and truth all the days of our lives. Practicing deceit and falsehood does not demonstrate the fruits of our faith, and shows a lack thereof. Sforno comments on the manna that fell to feed the people in the wilderness, saying the following:

Sforno on Shemot / Exodus 16:28

יצאו מן העם, from their camp to the area where during the week the manna had been falling. These people thought that they would find some manna, possibly outside the usual parameter. This was a demonstration of lack of faith in the word of G’d.

The people chose to not listen and obey, they thought they could collect manna on the Shabbat what Sforno calls “outside he usual parameter,” and this demonstrated a lack of faith. The purpose of the manna in the wilderness according to the Torah was for remembering the hand of the Lord in our lives, and to produce faith in the people at that time.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:11-19

8:11 ‘Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God by not keeping His commandments and His ordinances and His statutes which I am commanding you today; 8:12 otherwise, when you have eaten and are satisfied, and have built good houses and lived in them, 8:13 and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and gold multiply, and all that you have multiplies, 8:14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 8:15 ‘He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. 8:16 ‘In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 8:17 ‘Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 8:18 ‘But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 8:19 ‘It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. speak of the manna, bread from heaven, how the Lord God provided this to test the people, and the Lord’s prayer? (NASB, יא הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן-תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְבִלְתִּי שְׁמֹר מִצְוֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם: יב פֶּן-תֹּאכַל וְשָֹבָעְתָּ וּבָתִּים טֹבִים תִּבְנֶה וְיָשָׁבְתָּ: יג וּבְקָרְךָ וְצֹאנְךָ יִרְבְּיֻן וְכֶסֶף וְזָהָב יִרְבֶּה-לָּךְ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-לְךָ יִרְבֶּה: יד וְרָם לְבָבֶךָ וְשָׁכַחְתָּ אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הַמּוֹצִיאֲךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים: טו הַמּוֹלִיכֲךָ בַּמִּדְבָּר | הַגָּדֹל וְהַנּוֹרָא נָחָשׁ | שָֹרָף וְעַקְרָב וְצִמָּאוֹן אֲשֶׁר אֵין-מָיִם הַמּוֹצִיא לְךָ מַיִם מִצּוּר הַחַלָּמִישׁ: טז הַמַּאֲכִלְךָ מָן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדְעוּן אֲבֹתֶיךָ לְמַעַן עַנֹּתְךָ וּלְמַעַן נַסֹּתֶךָ לְהֵיטִבְךָ בְּאַחֲרִיתֶךָ: יז וְאָמַרְתָּ בִּלְבָבֶךָ כֹּחִי וְעֹצֶם יָדִי עָשָֹה לִי אֶת-הַחַיִל הַזֶּה: יח וְזָכַרְתָּ אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי הוּא הַנֹּתֵן לְךָ כֹּחַ לַעֲשֹוֹת חָיִל לְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת-בְּרִיתוֹ אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה:)

Considering these Scriptures, the purpose of the Manna was for humbling the people, and so they would know that it was the Lord God of Israel that caused their prosperity and not by their own hand. Belief that their wealth was made by their own hand would be a lack of faith. When we consider these things, it is interesting how Matthew records Yeshua teaching his disciples the manner in which to pray.

Matthew 6:7-15

6:7 ‘And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 6:8 ‘So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. 6:9 ‘Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 6:10 ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. 6:11 ‘Give us this day our daily bread. 6:12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 6:13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]’ 6:14 ‘For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 6:15 ‘But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions. (NASB)

Within the prayer that Yeshua describes as a template for praying, note in Matthew 6:11 he says “Give us this day our daily bread.” This is a significant part of the prayer when taken from a Torah context, if the daily bread was a reference to the manna the Lord God of Israel sends from heaven. In the past I have always thought this reference to the bread was calling upon the Lord to supply our food needs. However, this may have been Yeshua’s way of directing us to maintain out faithfulness, to seek our Father to increase our faith, and to be humble before the Lord on a daily basis. This is a powerful context in light of this request that is followed by our forgiving others and to deliver us from evil, and the power of the kingdom of God in our lives as His children. The psalmist states, ז לֹא-יֵשֵׁב | בְּקֶרֶב בֵּיתִי עֹשֵֹה רְמִיָּה דֹּבֵר שְׁקָרִים לֹא-יִכּוֹן לְנֶגֶד עֵינָי: ח לַבְּקָרִים אַצְמִית כָּל-רִשְׁעֵי-אָרֶץ לְהַכְרִית מֵעִיר-יְהֹוָה כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן: 101:7 He who practices deceit shall not dwell within my house; He who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me. 101:8 Every morning I will destroy all the wicked of the land, So as to cut off from the city of the Lord all those who do iniquity. (NASB) This is a clear warning and exhortation for us to seek the righteousness, justice, and truth of God all the days of our lives.

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 101 has 4 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, and 4. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 101, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 101, Part 1, 2, 3, and 4

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto You, O Lord, will I sing praises (Tehillim / Psalms 101:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, But the Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness (Isaiah 5:16) that is, when there is judgment, then the Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and when there is righteousness, then God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis say that the Lord is sanctified in mercy and exalted in judgment.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), David says that whether the Lord shows him mercy or judgment, he will praise the Lord.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Then I called upon the name of the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 116:3-4) and I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 116:13) imply that either way, I call unto You, O Lord.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Upon the meaning of I will give heed unto the way of integrity, He that walks in a way of integrity he will minister unto Me (Tehillim / Psalms 102:2, 6)”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah differed.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis ask the question from which tribe should the Cohen be chosen?
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal going through each tribe until the tribe of Levi.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “According to Rabbi Nehemiah, some maintain that it was rabbi Hama speaking in the name of rabbi Simeon son of Lekish, the words Mine eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me imply that the Holy One blessed be He, said, Whoever ministers to Me in this world, will also minister to Me in the world to come.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “He that works deceit will not dwell within My house (Tehillim / Psalms 101:7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Joshua son of Levi said, A man should be humble in his own house, and all the more so in the house of the Holy One blessed be He.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis connect being humble should occur both in one’s own house and in the Holy Temple.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal describing those who are not humble before the Lord or at home.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “A hypocrite cannot come before Him (Job 13:16); the company of slanderers, as is said, Whoso slanders his neighbor in secret, him (oto) I cannot abide (Tehillim / Psalms 101:5) read not oto, him, but itto, with him; and the company of liars, as it is written He that tells lies will not tarry in My sight.”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “On mornings’ account, will I destroy all the wicked of the land (Tehillim / Psalms 101:8).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “According to Rabbi Johanan, God said, Because of the two mornings upon which the children of Israel brought freewill offerings for the work of the Tabernacle, as is said, They brought yet unto him freewill offerings on one morning and on the next morning (Shemot / Exodus 36:3)…
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the merit of bringing a free will offering before the Lord.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal describing what the Lord will do as a result of the people bringing the free will offering.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Aibu said in the name of Rabbi Meir, The oxen are designated for the punishment of the wicked in the world to come, as is said, With the oxen will I destroy all the wicked of the land.”

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto You, O Lord, will I sing praises (Tehillim / Psalms 101:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, But the Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness (Isaiah 5:16) that is, when there is judgment, then the Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and when there is righteousness, then God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness.” Here the rabbis draw upon the prophet Isaiah to say the Lord is exalted through judgment and sanctified through righteousness.

Isaiah 5:16

5:16 But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. (NASB,טז וַיִּגְבַּהּ יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וְהָאֵל הַקָּדוֹשׁ נִקְדָּשׁ בִּצְדָקָה:)

Isaiah 33:5

33:5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. (NASB,ה נִשְֹגָּב יְהֹוָה כִּי שֹׁכֵן מָרוֹם מִלֵּא צִיּוֹן מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה:)

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קא סימן א

א לדוד מזמור חסד ומשפט אשירה [לך ה׳ אזמרה]. זהו שאמר הכתוב ויגבה ה׳ צבאות במשפט [והאל הקדוש נקדש בצדקה] (ישעיה ה טז), אם במשפט ויגבה ה׳ צבאות במשפט, ואם בצדקה והאל הקדוש נקדש בצדקה. אמר ר׳ הונא בשם ר׳ אחא כך אמר [דוד] לפני הקב״ה אם חסד אתה עושה עמי אשירה, ואם משפט אתה עושה עמי אשירה, בין כך ובין כך לך ה׳ אזמרה. אמר ר׳ יהודה בן פלייא [הוא שאיוב אמר] ה׳ נתן וה׳ לקח [יהי שם ה׳ מבורך] (איוב א כא), כשנתן הוא לבדו, וכשלקח הוא ובית דינו, ברוך הוא כשנתן, וברוך הוא כשלקח, בין כך ובין כך יהי שם ה׳ מבורך, הוי לך ה׳ אזמרה. אמר ר׳ ברכיה בשם ר׳ לוי ואתה מרום לעולם ה׳ (תהלים צב ט), ידך מן עיליתא, תמן תנינן על הטוב מברך הטוב והמטיב, ועל הרעה ברוך דיין האמת. אמר ר׳ תנחום בר יודן באלהים אהלל דבר בה׳ אהלל דבר (תהלים נו יא), אם בא עלי בדין, כדבר שנאמר אשר ירשיעון אלהים (שמות כב ח), אף על פי כן אהלל דבר, ואם בא עלי ברחמים, כדבר שנאמר ה׳ ה׳ אל רחום וחנון (שם שמות לד ו), אהלל דבר, בין כך ובין כך אהלל דבר. ורבנן אמרי צרה ויגון אמצא ובשם ה׳ אקרא (תהלים קטז ג ד), [כוס ישועות אשא ובשם ה׳ אקרא (שם שם תהלים קט״ז יג)], (הוי לך ה׳ אזמרה) [בין כך ובין כך לך ה׳ אקרא].

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 1

1. A Psalm of David. I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto You, O Lord, will I sing praises (Tehillim / Psalms 101:1). Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, But the Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness (Isaiah 5:16) that is, when there is judgment, then the Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and when there is righteousness, then God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness. Rabbi Huna said in the name of Rabbi Akha that David spoke thus to the Holy One, blessed be He, Whether You deal with me in mercy, I will sing, or whether You deal with me in judgment, I will sing. Either way, Unto You O Lord, will I sing praises. Rabbi Judah son of Palya taught, When Job said, The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord (Job 1:21), he meant that when God gave, He alone gave; but when God took away, He together with His court of judgment took away. Blessed was He, when He gave; and blessed was He, when He took away. Either way, Blessed be the name of the Lord. Hence, I will sing of mercy and judgment; unto You O Lord, will I sing praises. Rabbi Berechiah taught in the name of Rabbi Levi, But You O Lord, are Most High for evermore (Tehillim / Psalms 92:9) that is, Your hand, O God, is always uppermost. In the Mishnah we learned, For good tidings one says, Blessed are You who are good and does good. For bad tidings one says, Blessed are You the true Judge. Rabbi Tankhum son of Yudan taught, In the verse In God, I will praise His word, In the Lord, I will praise His word (Tehillim / Psalms 56:11), the first part of the verse implies that when God comes upon me with judgment, as when it is said Whom God will condemn (Shemot / Exodus 22:8), I will nevertheless praise His word. The second part of the verse implies that the lord comes to me with mercy, as when it is said The Lord, the Lord, God, merciful and gracious (Shemot / Exodus 34:6), I will praise His word. Either way, I will praise His word. The Rabbis said, The verse I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 116:3-4) and I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 116:13) imply that either way, I call unto You, O Lord.

Isaiah opens with a vision of the sinfulness of Judah, and ends with a promise of redemption to those who would perform Teshuvah (Repentance). Note how the Midrash states the Lord is exalted in judgment. The reason this is so, the Lord God of Israel is working in the lives of His people to draw them back to Himself, and when the people come to their senses and turn from their evil ways, they repent and the Lord is glorified. Isaiah 2 opens with the kingdom of God and Israel at its center. Isaiah 2 seems to speak of a messianic kingdom in the sense that the Torah of God is being sent throughout all the world, and the nations are streaming to Jerusalem to inquire of the Lord and of His people. Isaiah describes the glorious kingdom of God which is founded upon righteousness offering hope for the people of the world. His vision describes these things in the context of the mountain of the house of the Lord being established as the highest of the mountains. The Mountain of the Lord carries with it the symbolism of a kingdom and of power (Jeremiah 51:25) in the sense that the coming kingdom of the Lord would be greater than all other kingdoms. In the context of the Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, and Luke 17:21, this carries a high significance.

Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

How do we press the witnesses in a capital case? We bring them in [to the court’s chambers] and press them: “Perhaps what you say [isn’t eyewitness testimony] is but your own assessment, or from rumors, or your witnessing an actual witness testify, or your reporting what a trustworthy said. Or perhaps you were unaware that by the end we’d interrogate you, with examination and inquiry. Know that capital cases are not like monetary ones. In monetary cases, [a false witness] can return the money and achieve atonement. But in capital cases, the blood of [the victim [and all his future offspring hang upon you until the end of time. For thus we find in regard to Cain, who killed his brother, “The bloods of your brother scream out!” (Genesis 4:10) – the verse does not say blood of your brother, but bloods of your brother, because it was his blood and also the blood of his future offspring [screaming out]! [Another explanation of the verse: for his blood was splattered over the trees and rocks [there was more than one pool of blood]. [The judges’ speech continues] “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.” And also, to promote peace among the creations, that no man would say to his friend, “My ancestors are greater than yours.” And also, so that heretics will not say, “there are many rulers up in Heaven.” And also, to express the grandeur of The Holy One [blessed be He]: For a man strikes many coins from the same die, and all the coins are alike. But the King, the King of Kings, The Holy One [blessed be He] strikes every man from the die of the First Man, and yet no man is quite like his friend. Therefore, every person must say, “For my sake ‎the world was created.”‎ [The judges’ speech continues:] “Maybe you [the witnesses] will now say, ‘What do we need this, and all this anxiety for [let’s not come forward even with true testimony]!’ But Scripture has already spoken: “If he be a witness – having seen or known – if he does not express it, he shall bear his sin.” (Lev. 5:1) Maybe you will now say, ‘What do we need this, to be responsible for another man’s death?’ But Scripture has already spoken: “When the wicked are destroyed there is rejoicing.” (Prov. 11:10)” כיצד מאיימין את העדים על עדי. נפשות. היו מכניסין אותן ומאיימין עליהן. שמא תאמרו מאומד. ומשמועה. עד מפי עד ומפי אדם נאמן שמענו. או שמא אי אתם יודעין שסופינו לבדוק אתכם בדרישה ובחקירה. הוו יודעין שלא כדיני ממונות דיני נפשות. דיני ממונות אדם נותן ממון ומתכפר לו. דיני נפשות דמו ודם זרעיותיו תלוין בו עד סוף העולם שכן מצינו בקין שהרג את אחיו. שנאמר (בראשית ד, י) דמי אחיך צועקים. אינו אומר דם אחיך אלא דמי אחיך. דמו ודם זרעיותיו. דבר אחר דמי אחיך שהיה דמו מושלך על העצים ועל האבנים. לפיכך נברא אדם יחידי ללמדך. שכל המאבד נפש אחת מישראל. מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו איבד עולם מלא. וכל המקיים נפש אחת מישראל מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו קיים עולם מלא. ומפני שלום הבריות. שלא יאמר אדם לחבירו אבא גדול מאביך. ושלא יהו מינין אומרים הרבה רשויות בשמים. ולהגיד גדולתו של הקדוש ברוך הוא. שאדם טובע כמה מטבעות בחותם אחד וכולן דומין זה לזה. ומלך מלכי המלכים הקדוש ברוך הוא טבע כל אדם בחותמו של אדם הראשון ואין אחד מהן דומה לחבירו. לפיכך כל אחד ואחד חייב לומר בשבילי נברא העולם. ושמא תאמרו מה לנו ולצרה הזאת. והלא כבר נאמר (ויקרא ה, א) והוא עד או ראה או ידע אם לא יגיד וגומר. ושמא תאמרו מה לנו לחוב בדמו של זה. והלא כבר נאמר (משלי יא, י) באבוד רשעים רנה:

Luke 17:20-21

17:20 Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, 17:21 nor will people say, `Here it is,’ or `There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” (NASB)

The rabbis say, according to the Mishnah, that in the case of the murder of Able, the blood of Abel cried out unto the Lord, but not just the blood of Abel, the blood of all his future offspring also cried out unto the Lord. This is based upon the interpretation of the words דְּמֵי אָחִיךָ using the plural construct form for blood in reference to his brother. The rabbis go on in their interpretation saying that the blood was splattered on the trees and rocks, there were spots (pools) of blood everywhere, not just one pool of blood but many, and this is interpreted as, “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.” The Mishnah describes one man as an entire world of peoples, based upon Bereshit / Genesis 4:10. The interesting thing is that one of the great commentators (Rambam) states that not only will Mashiach bring peace to the world, and he will also build God’s Temple. As we had seen earlier, most of the anti-missionary questions about Mashiach when He comes will facilitate peace in the entire world, work in the hearts of men to bring back the exiles, restore the religious courts of justice, end wickedness, end sin, and end heresy. The Mashiach will reward the righteous, rebuild the Temple (Jeremiah 33:18), and establish a central world government for both the Jew and gentile (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:10, 42:1). Note the NT parallels, our body being the Temple of God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and the Lord Mashiach making peace in our hearts by His entering into our hearts, bringing peace to our world. He establishes his government over our lives for both the Jew and Gentile. He establishes His presence in our midst, in our hearts, and we are the ones who must allow him to do so on an individual level. Based upon the Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5 Yeshua did all of these things exactly as Judaism teaches.

The mountain of the Lord having preeminence and power over all the other kingdoms, it is important to note that in our lives, we rule over our thoughts and actions, and bow down and submit our lives, our kingdoms, unto the kingdom of our God and of His Messiah Yeshua. Isaiah pictures the nations of the earth flowing to his glorious kingdom. Why are they going there? Isaiah 2:3, states “Many peoples shall come, and say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” The people make their way to the mountain because they have the desire to be taught by God and walk in his paths. This was a contrast to the physical nation who was rebelling against God, or to our lives and our sinful bodies which also have a tendency to rebel against the Lord God of Israel. Isaiah’s vision speaks of all peoples desiring to participate in the glorious kingdom when it arrives. What is interesting is according to the rabbinic literature, and Yeshua’s words in the Apostolic Writings (see Luke 17:21), access to the kingdom is made available to all peoples, where the very kingdom of God is being established in the hearts of men, for both Jew and Gentile. As Isaiah says (2:4) the people will submit their lives to His rule and by the standard of righteousness will all matters be judged. The standard in this kingdom will be the message of peace and reconciliation (Ephesians 2:17) and of the mercy of the Lord God of Israel. The midrash states “In the Mishnah we learned, For good tidings one says, Blessed are You who are good and does good. For bad tidings one says, Blessed are You the true Judge.” How important do you feel it is to have the right motivations and pure intentions before the Lord? True followers of the Messiah desire to hear the word of the Lord, to be taught in the ways of the Lord, and desire to walk in the Lord’s paths. They long to enjoy the scriptures and also invite others to learn. The Messiah’s people do not have the attitude that they “don’t have to read the Bible.” According to Isaiah, spending time in the scriptures and serving God is what they want to do. Rather than having a desire for the word of the Lord and conforming to God’s teachings, the people today have put their trust in:

  • Worldliness (2:6)
  • Their wealth (2:7)
  • Horses and chariots (2:7)
  • And are filled with idolatry (2:8)

The world is not going to bring us happiness. We will not find peace trusting in our wealth. This nation’s army wont bring security and well being, and there are so many things today that have literally become an idol that is worshiped in society, our culture, and people today. Today there are many things that take away our pursuit, our attention, and our desire from passionately pursuing the Lord.

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 1 concludes saying, “The Lord, the Lord, God, merciful and gracious (Shemot / Exodus 34:6), I will praise His word. Either way, I will praise His word. The Rabbis said, The verse I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 116:3-4) and I will lift up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 116:13) imply that either way, I call unto You, O Lord.” The application of the Midrash is that we are to praise the Lord no matter the circumstance, and we are to be aware of the Lord working in our lives, that He is exalted in judgment and sanctified (made holy) in righteousness.

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Upon the meaning of I will give heed unto the way of integrity, He that walks in a way of integrity he will minister unto Me (Tehillim / Psalms 102:2, 6)” What does it mean to walk in integrity? Radak states the following:

Radak on Tehillim / Psalms 15:2 Part 1

He that walketh perfectly : – If תמים (perfect) is an adjective, his meaning is, One who walks in a perfect way, as, “He that walketh in a perfect way, he shall minister unto me” (ibid. 101:6) ; while if it is a noun, (it is used) as (in the passage) “if in truth and perfectness (בתמים)” (Judges 9:16). He means: He who walks in perfectness (integrity), as, “But as for me I will walk in mine integrity (בתמי)” (Ps. 26:11). But in either case the meaning is the same. The perfect is he who occupies himself in the affairs of this world in the way of perfectness (integrity), who does not engage his deepest purpose in (the prosecution of) worldly schemes.

According to Radak, walking in integrity is synonymous to walking perfectly (תמים) before the Lord. It is related to the way one walks before the Lord, that one does not allow the way of the world to effect the manner in which he lives which has a direct impact on a relationship with the Lord God of Israel. In a similar way, the commentary Sefer HaChinukh Mitzvah 611:1 states the following:

Sefer HaChinukh Mitzvah 611:1

It is a Mitzvah to walk and resemble the ways of the Holy Blessed one – as we are commanded to perform all actions in a manner of goodness and integrity with all our strength. To turn aside all our words that are between us and beside us, it is a way of kindness and compassion, when we found out from our Torah that this is the way of God, and this is God’s desire for God’s creations, so that you merit God’s goodness, because his desire is kindness as it is written (Deuteronomy 28:9): walk in God’s ways, and God added to this in another place, as it is written (Deuteronomy 10:12:11:22): walk in all God’s ways. ואמרו זכרונם לברכה (בספרי עקב יא כב) בפרוש זאת המצוה, מה הקדוש ברוך הוא נקרא רחום, אף אתה היה רחום, מה הקדוש ברוך הוא נקרא חנון, אף אתה היה חנון, מה הקדוש ברוך הוא נקרא צדיק, אף אתה היה צדיק, מה הקדוש ברוך הוא נקרא קדוש, אף אתה היה קדוש. והענין כלו לומר שנלמד נפשנו ללכת בפעלות טובות כאלו ומדות נכבדות אשר יסופר בהם יתברך על דרך משל לומר שמתנהג במדות טובות אלו עם בריותיו. והוא ברוך הוא יתעלה על כל עלוי גדול, שאין בנו כח ודעה להשיג גודל מעלתו ורוב טובו ולא בכל הנבראים, ועל הדרך הזה שאמרנו (רמב’’ם דעות פ’’א ה’’ו) יקראו הנביאים לאל ברוך הוא כל הכנויים: צדיק, ישר, תמים, גבור, חזק, רב חסד, ארך אפים, כי באמרם ארך אפים אין הענין חלילה שיהיה כעס לפניו לעולם, כי אשר בידו להמית ולהחיות, למחות עולם ולבראת, ואין אומר לו מה תעשה למה יכעס? גם כי הכעס איננו שלמות בכועס, ואליו ברוך הוא כל השלמות. אבל הענין באמת על הדרך שזכרנו, כלומר שהן המדות המעולות שמתנהג עם בריותיו, ויש לנו ללמוד ולעשות כל דרכינו בדמיונו.

A biblical example of this may be found in Joseph’s life. Joseph’s commitment to sexual integrity made him resist the temptation to violate the marriage of his Egyptian boss. His integrity landed him in jail, but the long term results were beyond measure because the Lord was watching (see Bereshit / Genesis 39-48)

The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah differed.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קא סימן ב

ב אשכילה בדרך תמים. ר׳ יהודה ור׳ נחמיה, ר׳ יהודה אומר אמר הקב״ה למשה מנה לי כהן גדול, אמר לפניו מאי זה שבט אקח, משבט ראובן, אמר לו לאו, לא אשית לנגדי עיני דבר בליעל (תהלים ק״א פסוק ג), שעשה דבר בליעל, שנאמר וילך ראובן וישכב את בלהה פילגש אביו (בראשית לה כב), אמר לו אמנה לך משבט שמעון, אמר לו לאו, עשה סטים שנאתי (תהלים ק״א פסוק ג), שנאתיו על מעשה שעשה בשטים זמרי בן סלוא [לכך לא ידבק בי (תהלים ק״א שם)], אמר לו אמנה לך משבט דן, אמר לו לאו, לבב עקש יסור ממני (שם תהלים קא ד), [שנאמר] ויקימו להם בני דן את הפסל (שופטים יח ל), שהיו עובדי ע״ז, ולא היה לבם שלם לבוראם, אלא עקש שהמרו להקב״ה ועבדו לע״ז [ועברה עם ישראל בים שנאמר] ועבר בים צרה (זכריה י יא), זה פסל מיכה, הוא שאמר משה פן יש בכם איש או אשה או משפחה או שבט [אשר לבבו פונה היום מעם ה׳ וגו׳] (דברים כט יז), אמר לו אמנה לך משבט יוסף, אמר לו לאו, מלשני בסתר רעהו (תהלים ק״א פסוק ה), שאמר לשון הרע על אחיו, שנאמר ויבא יוסף את דבתם רעה אל אביהם (בראשית לז ב), אמר לו אמנה לך משבט יהודה, אמר לו לאו, גבה עינים ורחב לבב (תהלים ק״א פסוק ה), שנאמר ויראה יהודה ויחשבה לזונה (שם בראשית לח טו), אמר לו אמנה לך משבט לוי, אמר לו הן, שנאמר עיני בנאמני ארץ לשבת עמדי (תהלים ק״א פסוק ו), וכן אתה כמו שבטיך, שנאמר לא כן עבדי משה בכל ביתי נאמן הוא (במדבר יב ז), ר׳ נחמי׳ אמר, ואית דאמרי לה אמר ר׳ חמא בשם ר׳ שמעון בן לקיש אמר הקב״ה מי שמשרתני בעולם הזה הוא ישרתני בעולם הבא.

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 2

2. Upon the meaning of I will give heed unto the way of integrity, He that walks in a way of integrity he will minister unto Me (Tehillim / Psalms 102:2, 6), Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah differed. According to Rabbi Judah, when the Holy One blessed be He, said to Moshe, Appoint A High Priest for Me, Moshe asked God, From what tribe should I appoint him? Should I appoint him out of the tribe of Reuben? God replied, No! I will set no base thing before My eyes (Tehillim / Psalms 101:3). For Reuben had done a base thing, as is said, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine (Bereshit / Genesis 35:22). When Moshe asked God, Should I appoint a High Priest for You out of the tribe of Simeon? God replied, No! I hate the work of them that turn aside (Tehillim / Psalms 101:3). I hate the tribe of Simeon because of the act of turning aside when Zimri, the son of Salu, was guilty of at Shittim. Therefore, It will not cleave unto Me (Tehillim / Psalms 101:3). When Moshe asked God, Should I appoint a High Priest for You out of the tribe of Dan? God answered, No! A perverse heart will depart from Me (Tehillim / Psalms 101:4). For it is said, And the children of Dan set up for themselves a graven image (Judges 18:30), and they served the graven image because their hearts were not wholly given to their creator, but were perverse. And they offended the Holy One blessed be He, in that they served the graven image which, accompanying the people of Israel, passed over the Red Sea, affliction in the words, and over the sea affliction did pass (Zechariah 10:11) refers to Micah’s graven image, which Moshe has in mind when he said, Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from the Lord our God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:17). When Moshe asked God, will I appoint a High Priest for You out of the tribe of Joseph? God answered, No! Whoso slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I destroy (Tehillim / Psalms 101:5). For Joseph slandered his brothers, as is said, Joseph brought evil report of them unto their father (Bereshit / Genesis 37:2). When Moshe asked God, Should I appoint a High Priest for You out of the Tribe of Judah? God answered, No! Whoso is haughty of eye and proud of heart, him will I not suffer (Tehillim / Psalms 101:5). For of Judah, it is said, When Judah saw her, he thought her to be a harlot (Bereshit / Genesis 38:15). Moshe then asked God, should I appoint a High Priest out of the tribe of Levi? And God answered, Yes. My eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me (Tehillim / Psalms 101:6). For what you are, so is your tribe, and of you it is said, My servant Moshe is trusted in all My house (Bamidbar / Numbers 12:7). According to Rabbi Nehemiah, some maintain that it was rabbi Hama speaking in the name of rabbi Simeon son of Lekish, the words Mine eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me imply that the Holy One blessed be He, said, Whoever ministers to Me in this world, will also minister to Me in the world to come.

The rabbis discuss the reasons for the Lord’s choice of the tribe of Levi for the priesthood. Reuben slept with his fathers concubine, he was disqualified. The tribe of Simeon was disqualified because he turned aside when Zimri was guilty at Shittim. The tribe of Dan was disqualified because he was perverse of heart setting up a graven image. The tribes from Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) were disqualified because Joseph brought an evil report of his brothers to his father. Judah was disqualified because of having a haughty eye (pride). The tribe of Levi was chosen saying this people are faithful in the land desiring to dwell with the Lord God of Israel. Jacob’s twelve sons (in order of birth) were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin, with the exception of Joseph, whose two sons Manasseh and Ephraim, who were adopted by Jacob. (see Bereshit / Genesis 48) Those tribes that were missing from the list in the midrash, are Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, and Benjamin. Why do you think the Midrash neglects to mention these tribes? Note the tribes of Naphtali, Gad, and Asher were the sons of the concubine wives which may explain why they were not mentioned. Benjamin was also not mentioned, and this may be by reason of the sons of Belial. (read Judges 19:22, 20:13) Since the midrash speaks of those who live by faith, this is an indication as the reason why they were not mentioned.

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 2 concludes saying, “For what you are, so is your tribe, and of you it is said, My servant Moshe is trusted in all My house (Bamidbar / Numbers 12:7). According to Rabbi Nehemiah, some maintain that it was rabbi Hama speaking in the name of rabbi Simeon son of Lekish, the words Mine eyes are upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me imply that the Holy One blessed be He, said, Whoever ministers to Me in this world, will also minister to Me in the world to come.” So the idea is that the tribe of Levi ministered unto the Lord God of Israel in this world and were chosen to be His servants in the temple service. The midrash illustrates a very important concept, that we should devote our lives to living and serving the Lord, and the reason being we will be given service to the Lord God in the world to come. This sounds a lot like what Yeshua taught in Luke 16:10 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.” (NASB) We are called to be faithful, and the Lord allows us to make the choice to live for Him. The context is that we are to be faithful in all we do because we do not know what reward the Lord will have for us in the world to come. In addition, our motivation should not be for the reward, but because of our love for the Lord and the mercy of God and by reason of His great love for us.

Midrash tehillim 101, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “He that works deceit will not dwell within My house (Tehillim / Psalms 101:7).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Joshua son of Levi said, A man should be humble in his own house, and all the more so in the house of the Holy One blessed be He.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קא סימן ג

ג לא ישב בקרב ביתי עושה רמיה. אמר ר׳ יהושע בן לוי צריך אדם להיות עלוב בתוך ביתו, וכל שכן בביתו של הקב״ה. דובר שקרים לא יכון לנגד עיני. ארבע כיתות אינן רואות פני השכינה, ואלו הן. [כת לצים, דכתיב ובמושב לצים לא ישב (תהלים א א), כת חנפים, דכתיב כי לא לפניו חנף יבוא (איוב יג טז), כת מספרי] לשון הרע, שנאמר מלשני בסתר רעהו אותו [אצמית גבה עינים ורחב לבב אותו] לא אוכל (תהלים ק״א פסוק ה), אל תקרי אותו אלא אתו, כת שקרים, דכתיב דובר שקרים לא יכון לנגד עיני.

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 3

3. He that works deceit will not dwell within My house (Tehillim / Psalms 101:7). Rabbi Joshua son of Levi said, A man should be humble in his own house, and all the more so in the house of the Holy One blessed be He. He that tells lies will not tarry in My sight. There are four companies of men who will not behold the presence of God, the company of scorners, for it is written, He will not sit in the seat of the scornful (Tehillim / Psalms 1:1); the company of hypocrites; as it is written, A hypocrite cannot come before Him (Job 13:16); the company of slanderers, as is said, Whoso slanders his neighbor in secret, him (oto) I cannot abide (Tehillim / Psalms 101:5) read not oto, him, but itto, with him; and the company of liars, as it is written He that tells lies will not tarry in My sight.

What does it mean to work deceit? Deceit is a noun meaning “the act or practice of deceiving; concealment or distortion of the truth for the purpose of misleading.” Many people profess to serve the Lord God faithfully, however, are we really doing what we know we should, or are we just deceiving others and maybe even ourselves? Are we giving of ourselves, our bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-3), or our hearts and minds to the Lord, something we know God wants, or is it just a pretense? (Jeremiah 7:4-11; 3:10 , Tehillim / Psalms 78:35-37, Galatians 2:14, Acts 5:1-9) Note what the prophet Malachi states concerning deceit and the sacrifices of the Lord:

Malachi 1:6-14

1:6 ‘‘A son honors his father, and a servant his master. Then if I am a father, where is My honor? And if I am a master, where is My respect?’ says the Lord of hosts to you, O priests who despise My name. But you say, ‘How have we despised Your name?’ 1:7 ‘You are presenting defiled food upon My altar. But you say, ‘How have we defiled You?’ In that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is to be despised.’ 1:8 ‘But when you present the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And when you present the lame and sick, is it not evil? Why not offer it to your governor? Would he be pleased with you? Or would he receive you kindly?’ says the Lord of hosts. 1:9 ‘But now will you not entreat God’s favor, that He may be gracious to us? With such an offering on your part, will He receive any of you kindly?’ says the Lord of hosts. 1:10 ‘Oh that there were one among you who would shut the gates, that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar! I am not pleased with you,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘nor will I accept an offering from you. 1:11 ‘For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,’ says the Lord of hosts. 1:12 ‘But you are profaning it, in that you say, ‘The table of the Lord is defiled, and as for its fruit, its food is to be despised.’ 1:13 ‘You also say, ‘My, how tiresome it is!’ And you disdainfully sniff at it,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and you bring what was taken by robbery and what is lame or sick; so you bring the offering! Should I receive that from your hand?’ says the Lord. 1:14 ‘But cursed be the swindler who has a male in his flock and vows it, but sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord, for I am a great King,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and My name is feared among the nations.’ (NASB)

Malachi states when one pretends to offer a sacrifice to the Lord God of Israel but refuses to give what He knows God wants, he is a deceiver and accursed of God. What Malachi is describing is a form of hypocrisy, putting on a show for others, or disregarding the importance of the command in the sense of offering a blemished sacrifice taking both the Scriptures and the Sacrifices with disregard. The Apostle Paul wrote that those who depart from the truth speak lies (1 Timothy 4:2) and equating this distortion, concealment, working of deceit as a form of lying. Peter wrote in his epistle saying, 1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. (NASB) All of these things are equated, guile (deceit), hypocrisy, and evil speaking. Peter tells us to put these things aside as being members of the body of the Messiah. Here hypocrisy is associated with deceit where hypocrisy is deceit because the hypocrite puts on a false front and he pretends to be better than he truly is. Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 3 states, “He that tells lies will not tarry in My sight. There are four companies of men who will not behold the presence of God, the company of scorners, for it is written, He will not sit in the seat of the scornful (Tehillim / Psalms 1:1); the company of hypocrites; as it is written, A hypocrite cannot come before Him (Job 13:16); the company of slanderers, as is said, Whoso slanders his neighbor in secret, him (oto) I cannot abide (Tehillim / Psalms 101:5) read not oto, him, but itto, with him; and the company of liars, as it is written He that tells lies will not tarry in My sight.” The one who lies is not welcome in the presence of God. Lying is a difficult thing to overcome if it is something one has done on a regular basis for years. By the power of God however, it is possible to overcome and to be overcomer’s. Peter says 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 2:3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. (NASB) The method to overcome is by studying God’s Word and hiding God’s Word in our hearts. Do you have the motivation to seek the Lord, to study His word, and honestly desire to see change in your life?

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “On mornings’ account, will I destroy all the wicked of the land (Tehillim / Psalms 101:8).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “According to Rabbi Johanan, God said, Because of the two mornings upon which the children of Israel brought freewill offerings for the work of the Tabernacle, as is said, They brought yet unto him freewill offerings on one morning and on the next morning (Shemot / Exodus 36:3)…” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קא סימן ד

ד לבקרים אצמית כל רשעי ארץ. אמר ר׳ יוחנן לשני בקרים הביאו נדבה למלאכת המשכן, שנאמר והם הביאו אליו עוד נדבה בבקר בבקר (שמות לו ג), בזכות כך אצמית כל רשעי ארץ. (ויקחו לי תרומה (שם שמות כה ב)) [ויאמר ה׳ אל משה לאמר קח מאתם (במדבר ז ד ה)] אמר לו הקב״ה צא ואמור להם דברי כבושין, ואמור להם מעלה אני עליכם כאילו הייתי צריך דבר לטעון בעולמי, ואיזה דבר שיטעון בעולמי, זה המשכן, כיון שהביאו הנשיאים את העגלות ואת הבקר אמר הקב״ה למשה קח מאתם, אמר משה שמא נביא חידש להם את הדבר הזה, או שמא הם עשו מעצמן, אמר לו הקב״ה והיו (לעבודת המשכן) [לעבוד את עבודת אהל מועד] (שם שם במדבר ז׳ ה), ועד כמה הן קיימות, ר׳ חנינא בשם בר קפרא ור׳ יודן בשם ר׳ שמואל בר נחמני עד הגלגל, שנאמר בגלגל שורים זבחו (הושע יב יב), ר׳ אבא בר כהנא אמר עד נוב עיר הכהנים [היו קיימות], ר׳ אבהו אומר עד (גדעון) [גבעון], רב חמא בר חנינא אמר עד שנבנה בית המקדש והקריבן שלמה. אמר ר׳ לוי מאי טעמא דרב חמא בר חנינא דכתיב ויזבח [המלך] שלמה את זבח הבקר (דה״ב דברי הימים ב׳ ז ה), בקר אין כתיב כאן אלא הבקר, שהביאו הנשיאים לטעון את המשכן, ר׳ אייבו בשם ר׳ מאיר אומר לעתיד לבא הן מתוקנות להפרע מן הרשעים, שנאמר לבקרים אצמית כל רשעי ארץ.

Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 4

4. On mornings’ account, will I destroy all the wicked of the land (Tehillim / Psalms 101:8). According to Rabbi Johanan, God said, Because of the two mornings upon which the children of Israel brought freewill offerings for the work of the Tabernacle, as is said, They brought yet unto him freewill offerings on one morning and on the next morning (Shemot / Exodus 36:3), and because of the merit thus gained, I will destroy all the wicked of the land. And it came to pass on the day that Moshe had made an end of setting up the Tabernacle, that the princes of Israel brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen, and they presented them before the Tabernacle. And the Lord spoke unto Moshe, saying, Take, it is of them, in order that the wagons may serve for carrying the Tent of Meeting; and you will give them unto the Levites (Bamidbar / Numbers 7:1-5). The Holy One blessed be He, said to Moshe, Go forth, will reckon the offering to your credit as though I needed something to carry My world. And what is it that carries My world? It is the Tabernacle. Now, when the princes brought covered wagons and the oxen, the Holy One blessed be He, said to Moshe, Take, it is of them, for Moshe had asked, Can some prophet have decreed that the princes bring these things? Or can the princes have brought them of their own free will? The Holy One blessed be He, replied, Take, it is of them, in order that the wagons may serve for carrying the Tent of Meeting (Bamidbar / Numbers 7:5). How long did the oxen remain alive? Rabi Hanina said in the name of Bar Kappara, and Rabbi Yudan said in the name of Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani, Until the children of Israel came to Gilgal, for it is said, in Gilgal they sacrificed the bullocks (Hosea 12:12). Until Nob became a city of priests, Rabbi Abba son of Kahana said. Until the time of Gibeon, Rabbi Abbahu said. Until the Temple was built and Solomon offered them as a sacrifice, Rabbi Hama son of Hanina said. Rabbi Levi taught, Was what Rabbi Hama son of Hanina’s proof? The verse, And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of the oxen (2 Chronicles 7:5), Note that it is not written, a sacrifice of oxen, but a sacrifice of the oxen, that is, a sacrifice of the oxen that the princes brought for carrying the Tabernacle. Rabbi Aibu said in the name of Rabbi Meir, The oxen are designated for the punishment of the wicked in the world to come, as is said, With the oxen will I destroy all the wicked of the land.

The rabbis open with the concept of the free will offerings in relation to Tehillim / Psalms 101:8 which states “On mornings’ account, will I destroy all the wicked of the land.” Rashi on Vayikra / Leviticus 1:17 states that “the term soul (nefesh) is not used for any of the sacrifices other than the mincha, for who was most likely to volunteer a mincha? A poor person. Thus God says, whomever offers to me a mincha I will treat as if they have offered to me their soul (nefesh).” This is a very significant observation regarding the Torah text in connection to the wicked in the land and the Lord saying that He will destroy the wicked from the land for the mornings’ account. This is said to have earned the people merit before the Lord God for the purpose of destroying the wicked from the land. This is an important observation because it demonstrates the correct motivation of the heart, we live humble lives (as the poor) and offering ourselves, our nefesh, our souls, unto the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua. On account of our tamim (תמים) pure intentions, the Lord will bring justice and root out wickedness from amongst His people. The Midrash continues saying that when the Tabernacle was completed, the leaders offered wagons and oxen for the Tabernacle for the purpose of carrying the Tabernacle. The Midrash states “The Holy One blessed be He, said to Moshe, Go forth, will reckon the offering to your credit as though I needed something to carry My world. And what is it that carries My world?” This is significant because the Midrash has the Lord calling the Tabernacle His world. In the Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5, the rabbis comment upon the death of Abel and Cain’s actions as it is related to future generations and its effect upon the world.

Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5

For thus we find in regard to Cain, who killed his brother, “The bloods of your brother scream out!” (Genesis 4:10) – the verse does not say blood of your brother, but bloods of your brother, because it was his blood and also the blood of his future offspring [screaming out]! [Another explanation of the verse: for his blood was splattered over the trees and rocks [there was more than one pool of blood]. [The judges’ speech continues] “It was for this reason that man was first created as one person [Adam], to teach you that anyone who destroys a life is considered by Scripture to have destroyed an entire world; and anyone who saves a life is as if he saved an entire world.” And also, to promote peace among the creations, that no man would say to his friend, “My ancestors are greater than yours.” And also, so that heretics will not say, “there are many rulers up in Heaven.” And also, to express the grandeur of The Holy One [blessed be He]

Note how the Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 4 calls the Tabernacle of God an entire world, a place in which there is peace and fellowship with me and with God and the Mishnah states that each individual is also considered an entire world. We mentioned earlier that one of the great commentators (Rambam) states that not only will Mashiach bring peace to the world, he will also build God’s Temple. Note the connections here to the Tabernacle, each individual man, and the will of God for His people to be Lord of our lives instructing us in His ways of righteousness, justice, and truth. Note also that most of the anti-missionary claims about Mashiach when He comes will facilitate peace in the entire world, work in the hearts of men to bring back the exiles, restore the religious courts of justice, end wickedness, end sin, and end heresy. The Mashiach will reward the righteous, rebuild the Temple (Jeremiah 33:18), and establish a central world government for both the Jew and gentile (Isaiah 2:2-4, 11:10, 42:1). In a similar fashion, Yeshua the Messiah also believed and taught the same, saying “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). It is not difficult to understand how the Apostolic Writings come up with the interpretations that we find regarding Yeshua. With the correct context, it is easy to see He is the Messiah sent of God according to the Tanach, the Apostolic Writings, and the Rabbinic literature.

The Midrash continues with the interpretation on this verse from Tehillim / Psalms 101:8 speaking of the oxen and how long they remained alive to carry the Tabernacle and provide various places that these oxen may have been slaughtered. Midrash Tehillim 101, Part 4 concludes saying, “Rabbi Aibu said in the name of Rabbi Meir, The oxen are designated for the punishment of the wicked in the world to come, as is said, With the oxen will I destroy all the wicked of the land.” The point of the Midrash may be related to the merit of the sacrifice before the Lord God and the observation of having the correct motivation of the heart, we live humble lives (as the poor) and offering ourselves, our nefesh, our souls, unto the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua. The tamim (תמים) pure intentions of our heats is related to the manner in which the Lord God of Israel works in our lives by the power of His Spirit and through faith in His Son Yeshua the Messiah. The Lord will bring justice and root out wickedness from amongst His people, and this begins with each one of us on the individual basis, based upon the interpretation that we are His world, our bodies function as a holy Tabernacle unto the Lord God in heaven. With these things in mind, what kind of people should we be, and how significant should we strive for the righteousness of God in our lives? Let’s Pray!

tehillim-101-part1-and-2

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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!