Tehillim / Psalms 110, ספר תהילים קי, Part 2, The Lord said to My Lord, Sit at My Right Hand

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 110:1-7, the Psalm opens saying, א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד-אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ: 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ (NASB) The phrase “The Lord said to my Lord” (נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי) is an interesting phrase in which Yeshua uses in Matthew 22:44 to cause the Pharisees to think about what they believed about the Messiah. While studying the Hebrew text, it isn’t a straight forward statement in the sense that two different words are used in the MT, the YHVH and the word Adonai. The One to whom the Lord (YHVH) is speaking to is to sit at the right hand of God, a position of power and authority. These words draw in a significant Torah context for the One to whom the Lord is speaking to. David continues saying ins his Psalm saying, מַטֵּה עֻזְּךָ יִשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה מִצִּיּוֹן רְדֵה בְּקֶרֶב אֹיְבֶיךָ: 110:2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies. (NASB) The scepter is a rod of authority that is mentioned throughout the Torah, for example the rod that Moshe carried while going before Pharaoh in Egypt. He continues saying, ג עַמְּךָ נְדָבֹת בְּיוֹם חֵילֶךָ בְּהַדְרֵי-קֹדֶשׁ מֵרֶחֶם מִשְׁחָר לְךָ טַל יַלְדֻתֶיךָ: 110:3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew. (NASB) What does it mean the people will volunteer freely in the day of God’s power? Why does David uses this language, the womb of the dawn, and the youth as of the dew? He says, ד נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה | וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם אַתָּה-כֹהֵן לְעוֹלָם עַל-דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק: 110:4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek. (NASB) These Scriptures have been used in prophecy of the Messiah over and over again in the Apostolic Writings. David concludes saying, ה אֲדֹנָי עַל-יְמִינְךָ מָחַץ בְּיוֹם-אַפּוֹ מְלָכִים: 110:5 The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. ו יָדִין בַּגּוֹיִם מָלֵא גְוִיּוֹת מָחַץ רֹאשׁ עַל-אֶרֶץ רַבָּה: 110:6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. ז מִנַּחַל בַּדֶּרֶךְ יִשְׁתֶּה עַל-כֵּן יָרִים רֹאשׁ: 110:7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head. (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קי

א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד-אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ: ב מַטֵּה עֻזְּךָ יִשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה מִצִּיּוֹן רְדֵה בְּקֶרֶב אֹיְבֶיךָ:

סםר טוביה פרק קי

א על יד דוד תושבחא אמר יהוה במימריה לשואתי ריבון כל ישראל ברם אמר לי תוב ואוריך לשאול דמן שבטא דבנימן עד דימות ארום לית מלכותא מקרבא אחברתה ובתר כן אשוי בעלי דבבך כביש לריגלך {ת׳׳} אמר יהוה במימריה למיתן לי רבנותא חלף דיתיבית לאולפן אוריתא ימיני אוריך עד דאשוי בעיל דבבך כביש לריגלך׃ {ת׳׳א} אמר ייי מימריה למנאה יתי ארכון על ישראל ברם אמר ייי לי אוריך לשאול דמשבט בנימין עד דיסתלק מן עלמא ובתר כן תחסין מלכותא ואשוי בעלי דבבך כביש לרגלך׃ ב חוטרא דעושנך ישדר יהוה מציון ותהי רדי במצע בעלי דבבך׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 110

110:1 τῷ Δαυιδ ψαλμός εἶπεν ὁ κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἕως ἂν θῶ τοὺς ἐχθρούς σου ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου 110:2 ῥάβδον δυνάμεώς σου ἐξαποστελεῖ κύριος ἐκ Σιων καὶ κατακυρίευε ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ἐχθρῶν σου

ג עַמְּךָ נְדָבֹת בְּיוֹם חֵילֶךָ בְּהַדְרֵי-קֹדֶשׁ מֵרֶחֶם מִשְׁחָר לְךָ טַל יַלְדֻתֶיךָ: ד נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה | וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם אַתָּה-כֹהֵן לְעוֹלָם עַל-דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק: ה אֲדֹנָי עַל-יְמִינְךָ מָחַץ בְּיוֹם-אַפּוֹ מְלָכִים: ו יָדִין בַּגּוֹיִם מָלֵא גְוִיּוֹת מָחַץ רֹאשׁ עַל-אֶרֶץ רַבָּה: ז מִנַּחַל בַּדֶּרֶךְ יִשְׁתֶּה עַל-כֵּן יָרִים רֹאשׁ:

ג עמך דבית ישראל דמתנדבין לאוריתא ביום אגחות קרבך תסתייע עמהון בשיבהורי קודשא רחמין דאלהא יסתרהבון לך היך נחתת טלא יתבין לרוחצן תולדתך׃ ד קיים יהוה במימריה ולא יתוב דאנת מתמני לרבא לעלמא דאתי בגין בגלל זכותא דהויתא מלך זכי׃ ה שכינתא דיהוה על ימינך מחא ביום רוגזיה מלכיא׃ ו אתמנא לדיין על עממיא מלי ארעא גושמי רשיען קטילין מחא רישי מלכיא על ארעא סגיעין לחדא׃ ז מפום נבייא באורחא אולפן יקבל מטול היכנא יזקוף רישא׃

110:3 μετὰ σοῦ ἡ ἀρχὴ ἐν ἡμέρᾳ τῆς δυνάμεώς σου ἐν ταῖς λαμπρότησιν τῶν ἁγίων ἐκ γαστρὸς πρὸ ἑωσφόρου ἐξεγέννησά σε 110:4 ὤμοσεν κύριος καὶ οὐ μεταμεληθήσεται σὺ εἶ ἱερεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κατὰ τὴν τάξιν Μελχισεδεκ 110:5 κύριος ἐκ δεξιῶν σου συνέθλασεν ἐν ἡμέρᾳ ὀργῆς αὐτοῦ βασιλεῖς 110:6 κρινεῖ ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν πληρώσει πτώματα συνθλάσει κεφαλὰς ἐπὶ γῆς πολλῶν 110:7 ἐκ χειμάρρου ἐν ὁδῷ πίεται διὰ τοῦτο ὑψώσει κεφαλήν

Tehillim Psalms 110

110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ 110:2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies.’ 110:3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew. 110:4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.’ 110:5 The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. 110:6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. 110:7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head. (NASB)

Toviyah Psalms 110

110:1 Composed by David, a psalm. The Lord said in his decree to make me lord of all Israel, but he said to me, “Wait still for Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to die, for one reign must not encroach on another;and afterwards I will make your enemies a prop for your feet.” Another Targum: The Lord spoke by his decree to give me the dominion in exchange for sitting in study of Torah. “Wait at my right hand until I make your enemies a prop for your feet.” Another Targum: The Lord said in his decree to appoint me ruler over Israel, but the Lord said to me, “Wait for Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to pass away from the world; and afterwards you will inherit the kingship, and I will make your enemies a prop for your feet.” 110:2 The Lord will send from Zion the rod of your strength, and you will rule in the midst of your enemies. 110:3 Your people are those of the house of Israel who devote themselves to the Torah; you will be helped in the day of your making battle with them; in the glories of holiness the mercies of God will hasten to you like the descent of dew; your offspring dwell securely. 110:4 The Lord has sworn[6] and will not turn aside, that you are appointed leader in the age to come, because of the merit that you were a righteous king. 110:5 The presence of the Lord is at your right hand; he struck down kings on the day of his anger. 110:6 He was appointed judge over the Gentiles; the earth is full of the bodies of the slain wicked; he smote the heads of kings on the earth, very many. 110:7 He will receive instruction from the mouth of the prophet on the way; because of this, he will lift up his head. (EMC)

Psalmoi Psalms 110

A Psalm of David. 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 110:2 The Lord shall send out a rod of power for thee out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 110:3 With thee is dominion in the day of thy power, in the splendors of thy saints: I have begotten thee from the womb before the morning. 110:4 The Lord swear, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec. 110:5 The Lord at thy right hand has dashed in pieces kings in the day of his wrath. 110:6 He shall judge among the nations, he shall fill up the number of corpses, he shall crush the heads of many on the earth. 110:7 He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim Psalms 110:1-7, the Psalm opens saying, א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד-אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ: 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ (NASB) The phrase “The Lord said to my Lord” (נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי) is an interesting phrase. This is interesting because Yeshua uses Tehillim / Psalms 110:1 in Matthew 22:44 to cause the Pharisees to think about what they believed about the Messiah. The context of Matthew 22 has Yeshua speaking and teaching on the kingdom of God illustrated as a wedding banquet saying “22:11 ‘But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 22:12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 22:13 ‘Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 22:14 ‘For many are called, but few are chosen.’(NASB)” We are called to seek His righteousness which is related to the cloths that we are to wear as God’s People (see Revelation 19:8). Yeshua also taught on the greatest commandment. Following these things, he spoke of Tehillim / Psalms 110:1:

Matthew 22:41-23:12

22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 22:42 ‘What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ 22:43 He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, 22:44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet’’? 22:45 ‘If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son?’ 22:46 No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question. 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples, 23:2 saying: ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; 23:3 therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them. 23:4 ‘They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. 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. 23:6 ‘They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, 23:7 and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men. 23:8 ‘But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 23:9 ‘Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 23:10 ‘Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 23:11 ‘But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 23:12 ‘Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted. (NASB)

Note that here Yeshua asks the Pharisees what they think about “the Christ” which is Greek saying “ma hu hamashiach?” (מה הוא אמשיח). He speaks of the son of David and the Spirit of God calling Him Lord saying, “the Lord says to my Lord.” It is important to consider the MT which states נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי, here we have the YHVH saying to Adoni (my Lord), where the word Adonai has been used in the context to refer to both the Lord God in heaven, and to men or rulers on earth. The term Adonai is used as a form of respect. Adonai is the plural of Adon, meaning “Lord, Lord, LORD, master, or owner” (the word Adon derives from a Ugaritic word meaning “lord” or “father”). In the Tanakh, the word Adon can refer to men and angels as well as to the LORD God of Israel (e.g., Shemot / Exodus 34:23). According to the Torah, God is called the “Lord of lords” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:17) and Tehillim / Psalm 8:1 mentions God as “YHVH our Lord.” The plural form Adonai, like the plural form Elohim, is regularly used with singular verbs and modifiers, so it is best to construe the Name as an “emphatic plural” or a “plural of majesty” in as similar manner as we find for the word Elohim. When the plural is formed using a singular possessive ending (“my Lords”), it always refers to the God of Israel, and occurs over 300 times in the Tanakh in this form. The Masoretes ensured that the sacred Name of the LORD YHVH would not be taken in vain by also putting the vowel marks for Adonai under the letters in the text (ketiv). They did this to remind the reader to pronounce Adonai regardless of the consonants in the text (qere). However, Adon and Adonai also appear as Names of God in the Hebrew Masoretic text. Adonai is also a title variously used to refer to men, angels, and to the true God of Israel, meaning “lord, master, owner.” References include: Joshua 3:11, 3:13, Nehemiah 7:61, Tehillim / Psalms 12:5, 97:5, 105:21, 114:7, Jeremiah 22:18, 34:5; Zechariah 4:14, and 6:5. The word Adonai is also used as a substitute for the sacred Tetragrammaton; emphatic form of Adon (Isaiah 6:1). The first use of the word appears in Bereshit / Genesis 15:2 where Abram addresses God as “Adonai YHVH.” Here however, Yeshua uses the word saying, 22:42 ‘What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?’ They said to Him, ‘The son of David.’ 22:43 He said to them, ‘Then how does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,’ saying, 22:44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet’’? 22:45 ‘If David then calls Him ‘Lord,’ how is He his son? (NASB) Were the Pharisees unaware of the use of the word from the Ugaritic texts as lord or father? Yeshua uses this to put down further questions since not knowing the answers, nobody asked him questions any further.

The rabbis speak of Tehillim / Psalms 110 in the following way:

Rashi on Tehillim Psalms 110:1

נאם ה’ לאדני . רבותינו דרשוהו באברהם אבינו ואני אפרשנו כדבריהם נאם ה’ לאברהם שקראוהו העולם אדוני שמעני אדוני ( בראשית כ”ג ) : שב לימיני . התעכב לתשועתי והתחולל לה’ אין ישיבה אלא עכבה וכן הוא אומר ותשבו בקדש ( דברים א ) לימיני . לתשועת ימיני : עד אשית אויביך . אמרפל וחביריו :

Rashi speaks of the YHVH saying to my Lord (נאם ה’ לאדני) as referring to לתשועת ימיני “for the salvation of the right hand,” making reference to the power and position of the right hand in relation to the psalm א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד-אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ: 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ (NASB) Rashi makes the connection to the right hand of the Lord and the power of God to save.

Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael, Perek 15:5

He pursues them. He passes on, unscathed.” And thus is it written (Psalms 110:1-5) “This is the word of the L rd to my master (David). Sit at My right hand until I make your foes your footstool. The sceptre of your strength will the L rd send from Zion. Your people will offer themselves on the day of (the gathering of) your army. The L rd has sworn and He will not retract. The L rd is at your right hand, etc.” You magnified Yourself greatly against Pharaoh and his army, viz. (Exodus 14:7) “And he (Pharaoh) took six hundred choice chariots, etc.” (Ibid. 15:4) “The chariots of Pharaoh and his host He cast into the sea.” And thus Sisra and all his chariots, viz. (Judges 4:13) “And Sisra called up all his chariots” (Ibid. 5:20) “From the heavens they warred” (against Sisra). Sancheriv and all of his ranks, viz. (Isaiah 37:24) “Through your servants you have blasphemed my L rd, etc.) (II Chronicles 32:21) “and the L rd sent an angel who annihilated every warrior, etc.” Nevuchadnezzar and all his hosts,” viz. (Isaiah 14:83) “You said in your hearts: I will climb to the heavens, etc.” Nevuchadnezzar said: I will make myself a little cloud and I will live within it, viz. (Ibid. 14) “I will mount the heights of a cloud, etc.” The Holy One Blessed be He said: You wished to separate yourself from men. In the end, they will separate themselves from you, viz. (Daniel 4:25-30) “All this befell King Nevuchadnezzar, etc.” (Ibid. 8:1-6) “King Belshazzar made a great banquet, etc.” About this it is written (Habakkuk 2:15) “Woe unto him who makes his neighbor drink! You pour out your wrath even unto intoxication,” and (Ibid. 16) “You will be sated with shame rather than glory.” (Daniel 5:30) “That very night King Belshazzar was killed.”

The Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael, Perek 15:5 provides examples from the Scriptures on the ways in which the Lord saved His people, as it is in reference to Tehillim / Psalms 110:1-5. Note how alcohol is connected to pride and the drinking of God’s wrath down upon one’s self. This warns of drunkenness and sin, as we see in the example of Nadav and Avihu, Aaron’s sons who died in the presence of the Lord due to having drank alcohol. When one drinks and participates in sin, the Scripture that speaks of the Lord putting out enemies down, and even as our foot stool, won’t happen. Within the theme of the deliverer, the greatest enemy of all is sin. The Lord sends His deliverer to take His people out of all forms of bondage, and most importantly, to the deliverance from sin.

Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Sanhedrin 11:119

R. Chana b. Levi said : “Shem the Senior questioned Eliezer, the servant of Abraham: ‘When the kings of the West and East came to fight you, what have you done?’ And he answered: ‘The Holy One, praised be He! took Abraham, sat him down to His right, and we, however, took earth, threw it, and it became swords; straw and they became arrows; as it is said (Ps. 110:1) Sit thou at My right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool, and it is written (Isa. 41:2) Who hath raised up one from the east, at whose steps victory attendeth? He giveth nations before him, and maketh him rule over kings; his sword maketh them as the dust, his bow as driven stubble’.”

Ein Yaakov says that when the kings of the East and West come to fight, Abraham sat to the right of the Lord, and the Lord won the battle. The Lord put down Abraham’s enemies, and the Lord working is connected to the power and position of the right hand. Note how the Rabbis say this victory of the Lord, the deliverance of Israel in the land, that this land has a spiritual equivalent according to Shney Luchot HaVrit, Lech Lecha, Torah Ohr 105.

Shney Luchot HaBrit, Lech Lecha, Torah Ohr 105

Abraham hinted to Lot later that there is an ארץ ישראל העליונה, a spiritual equivalent to the terrestrial land of Israel, as we know from Sanhedrin 90 based on Isaiah 60:21 “Your people are all righteous, they will inherit an eternal land.” Abraham hinted to Lot that both he and Lot would qualify for that future and that they would both reside in Heaven close to G’d.

This commentary comes to the opinion that one day we will be with the Lord and our residence will be in Heaven, close to the Lord God of Israel. This draws in the idea that living in the presence of God necessitates the need for the removal of our sins. This is only accomplished by the forgiveness and power of God.

Shney Luchot HaBrit, Lech Lecha, Torah Ohr 106

Yalkut Shimoni on Psalms 110:1 The Lord said to my lord “sit on my right side while I make your enemies your footstool,” quotes Rabbi Yudon saying that in the future G’d will seat the Messiah on His Right and Abraham on His Left, and that Abraham will feel aggrieved at being assigned the left saying “how can my grandson be assigned the right side while I have to be content with the left side?” G’d will placate him saying: “Your grandson sits on My right, whereas I sit on your right side, וענותך תרבני, “and Your providence has made me great” (based on Samuel II 22:36). Thus far the Yalkut. Here we have Abraham prophesying that both he and Lot would sit next to G’d, but he did not know who would sit on which side of G’d until the time came. This is the deeper meaning of Abraham saying to Lot that one of them would find himself on the Left whereas the other would find himself on the Right.

While studying the Hebrew text, it isn’t a straight forward analysis of the statement “The Lord said to my lord “ in the sense that two different words are used in the MT, the YHVH and the word Adonai. The One to whom the Lord (YHVH) is speaking to is to sit at the right hand of God, a position of power and authority. These words draw in a significant Torah context for the One to whom the Lord is speaking to. But just as we read according to Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Sanhedrin 11:119, the Lord is the One who sets us along side His right hand. According to Shney Luchot HaBrit, Lech Lecha, Torah Ohr 106, Rabbi Yudon interpretation of Tehillim / Psalms 110:1 The Lord said to my lord “sit on my right side while I make your enemies your footstool,” that “in the future G’d will seat the Messiah on His Right and Abraham on His Left.” Notice the importance of the Lord’s deliverer who is being set on the right, because it is through him the Lord is working to deliver His people. This moving of Abraham to the left side is a matter of perspective, where the interpretation is, “Your grandson sits on My right, whereas I sit on your right side,” וענותך תרבני, “and Your providence has made me great” (based on Samuel II 22:36). The significance of this interpretation is that Abraham being moved to the left, has the Lord God of Israel on his right. This is very important, since it relates to the one who lives his life for the Lord in righteousness, justice, and truth. The position of the left, where God is on your right, indicates Abraham has allowed the Lord to be His power and position of authority, as opposed to his having taken matters into his own hands, he allowed the Lord to take the foremost position allowing the Lord to work on his behalf and waiting upon God’s timing.

David continues saying ins his Psalm saying, מַטֵּה עֻזְּךָ יִשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה מִצִּיּוֹן רְדֵה בְּקֶרֶב אֹיְבֶיךָ: 110:2 The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, ‘Rule in the midst of Your enemies. (NASB) The scepter is a rod of authority that is mentioned throughout the Torah, for example the rod that Moshe carried while going before Pharaoh in Egypt. This speaks of a royal scepter which also known as a staff and is frequently mentioned as a weapon in the Scriptures and is symbolic of authority as we see here the Lord stretching forth His rod of authority. In the Torah, Moshe speaks of a blessing and a curse which depends upon whether one listens or does not listen to the mitzvot (commands) of Lord our God. This was illustrated in the interactions between Moshe and Pharaoh. In addition, Moshe also states later that the blessing belongs to those who are in a covenant relationship with the Lord. Consequentially, those who are cursed are those who are outside of a covenant relationship with the Lord. While reading Tehillim / Psalms 23, David makes a similar contrast on the covenant of God in Psalm in 23:4. David says ד גַּם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא-אִירָא רָע כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָּדִי שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ הֵמָּה יְנַחֲמֻנִי: 23:4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. (NASB) According to David, the rod and staff they comfort him. How does the rod and staff of God provide comfort? Taking a closer look at the Psalm, we learn that David uses these two Hebrew Words, שִׁבְטְךָ וּמִשְׁעַנְתֶּךָ. What is David trying to say here in Tehillim / Psalms 23:4 is in relation to protection against our enemies, to discipline, to guide, and to rescue. The staff or rod was also symbolic of authority, as for example the scepter that stands between the king’s feet. David begins his verse saying גַּם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא-אִירָא רָע כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָּדִי “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me.” David is confident the Lord is with him because of the covenant relationship that he has with the Lord. This may be the reason David uses the word שבט which also has the meaning “tribe or clan.” A person who is living among the tribes of Israel are living in the covenant blessing, this applies whether one is native born or a ger (stranger) who lives in the midst of Israel. The words of the rod which the Lord stretches out, are expressive to emphasize the Covenant of God with His people (the tribes of Israel), and the one upon whom we are to lean, an implied reference that we are to lean upon the Lord God Almighty. Remaining in the covenant relationship with the Lord, we are comforted in His presence. This leads to our understanding that He cares for us, protects us, and guides us in His holy word. He is Lord and King over the community, over relationships, over individual lives, and essentially all of who we are.

David continues saying, ג עַמְּךָ נְדָבֹת בְּיוֹם חֵילֶךָ בְּהַדְרֵי-קֹדֶשׁ מֵרֶחֶם מִשְׁחָר לְךָ טַל יַלְדֻתֶיךָ: 110:3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power; In holy array, from the womb of the dawn, Your youth are to You as the dew. (NASB) What does it mean the people will volunteer freely in the day of God’s power? Here the Hebrew word חֵילֶךָ means “strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army a. strength.” David may be referencing the willingness of the people to join the army, or the willingness to join the Lord in the sense of allowing Him to work His power in their lives by their faith. Remember that we are told to pray to the Father in heaven in the Name of Yeshua. To pray “in the Name” is analogous to being “in Him” meaning that we live our lives as he did. Yeshua lived the example for us, the manner in which we are to live our lives for out Father in heaven. As we remain “in” Yeshua, our prayers will be heard.

Why does David uses the language, the womb of the dawn, and the youth as of the dew? Midrash Rabbah Bereishit 39:6 sheds some light upon the meaning of the text:

Midrash Rabbah Bereishit 39:6

Rabbi Yehuda and Rabbi Nehemia [disagreed]. Rabbi Yehuda said: “Get yourself out” (Gen. 12:1) [‘lech’ is written] twice, once from Aram Naharayim and once from Aram Nachor. Rabbi Nehemia said: “Get yourself out” [‘lech’ is written twice, once from Aram Naharayim and from Aram Nachor and once because God flew him [Abraham] from the between the Pieces and brought him to Haran, as it is written: “Your people offer themselves willingly in the day of your warfare” (Psalms 110:3), I was with you when you were in my service going down to the fiery furnace. “In the day of your warfare” at the time when you gathered for me all of the soldiers and the inhabitants. “In adornments of holiness” (ibid.) from the adornments of the world I sanctified You. “From the womb of the dawn” (ibid.) from the womb of the world You free me to [serve] You. “Yours is the dew of your youth” (ibid.) since Abraham our Father was afraid, and said: ‘Suppose that there is sin in me, since I worshiped idols all those years.’ The Holy Blessed One replied: “Yours is the dew of your youth,” just as the dew evaporates, so do your sins; just as the dew is a symbol of blessing forever, so are you a symbol of blessing forever, as it is written: “And I said: ‘Oh that I had wings like a dove! Then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (Psalms 55:7) Why “like a dove”? Rabbi Azariah in the name of Rabbi Yudan said: Because all of the flyers, when they tire they rest on rocks or on trees, but this dove, when it flies and tires, it jumps with one of its wings and flies with the other. “Lo, then would I wander far off” (Psalms 55:8), wanderings, movement after movement. “I would lodge in the wilderness Selah” (ibid.), it is better to lodge in the wilderness of the Land of Israel and not to lodge in the castles of outside Israel, and if you wish to say that Abraham was not glad about the word of God [and therefore did not leave for Israel immediately], but why did he not leave? Because he had not yet inherited. Once he had inherited “And Abraham went just as God has spoken to him, and Lot went with him” (Gen. 12:4). Rabbi Levi said: at the time that Abraham was walking about Aram Naharayim and Aram Nahor, he saw [people] eating and drinking and lazing about. He said: if only I have no portion of this land. Once he arrived at the promontory of Tyre, he saw [people] engaged in hoeing at hoeing time and weeding at weeding time. He said: if only I have a portion in this land. The Blessed Holy One said to him: “To your offspring I will give this land.” (Gen. 12:7)

Note how the Midrash speaks of warfare and of the holiness of the people. Remember how David spoke to the priest at the Tabernacle in Shilo saying that he and his men had kept themselves pure, and this was in response to the priest giving them the consecrated bread to eat as they fled from Saul. David and his men would sanctify themselves, set themselves apart as holy in a time of war because one does not know whether he will die at any given moment. Also, the manner in which one lives has a significant effect upon the blessing of God, if one is involved in sin, God’s blessing will wane as opposed to when one is living according to God’s Word. The words “from the womb of dawn” are interpreted to mean that the Lord had created us to serve Him in acts of righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth.

David writes saying, ד נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה | וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם אַתָּה-כֹהֵן לְעוֹלָם עַל-דִּבְרָתִי מַלְכִּי-צֶדֶק: 110:4 The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek. (NASB) These Scriptures have been used in prophecy of the Messiah over and over again in the Apostolic Writings. Melchizedek is one of the most intriguing characters the Bible says almost nothing about. He is only mentioned in three books of the Bible, but the conversation surrounding Melchizedek is expansive. He is a mysterious figure, and I’ve found that mysterious Bible figures (like Michael the archangel) attract a lot of speculation, which ends up spreading some extra-biblical ideas. This means that when we sit down to study someone like Melchizedek (or a passage that mentions him), we are often looking through folklore-tinted lenses. A good way to approach these figures is to search for every time he is mentioned in the Bible, and create a list of observation-level facts.

  1. Melchizedek is only mentioned in three books of the Bible. (Genesis, Psalms, and Hebrews)
  2. The Apostolic Writings says a lot more about Melchizedek than the Tanakh
  3. Melchizedek was a priest of God
  4. Melchizedek was a king
  5. Melchizedek’s name means king of righteousness (Hebrews 7:2)
  6. The order of Melchizedek was royal and everlasting
  7. Melchizedek was greater than Abraham and Aaron
  8. Melchizedek has no recorded family

The interesting points is there are no mention of a father or mother. No mention of a son. Not really anything. The author of Hebrews makes a pretty big deal out of this. He contrasts the lineage-based priesthood of Aaron with Melchizedek, who has no recorded birth or death or anything (He 7:3, 8). This is where the discussion on Melchizedek gets really interesting, and goes in many different directions. Was he just a righteous man? An apparition of Jesus before he was born in the flesh (called a theophany)? An angel sent to govern the city of Salem? Of course, that is not really the author’s point. The author of Hebrews is more interested in showing off Yeshua’s superior priesthood to the Hebrew converts.

Rashbam states the following:

Rashbam on Genesis 41:10:1

פרעה קצף על עבדיו, the word Pharaoh in Egyptian means “king.” All the Egyptian kings are known as “Pharaoh,” whereas the kings of the Philistines are known as “Avimelech” even as late as the time of King David when the latter pretended to be mentally disturbed (Psalms 34:1) The city of Jerusalem used to be known as “Tzedek,” as we know from Genesis 14:18 as well as Joshua 10:1) During the reign of David, compare Psalms 110:4 G’d refers to Jerusalem as such, seeing that Malki Tzedek is described as “King of Jerusalem. The kings of the nation Amalek were known as “Agag,” [not only the one mentioned in the Book of Samuel. Ed.] (Numbers 24:7 Samuel I 15:8) In our verse here Pharaoh is not the name of an individual but that of the title accorded the Egyptian head of state. The proof for this is simple. Who would dare to address the King by his first name or even by his family name instead of by his title? Certainly not a cup bearer or a recently released prisoner such as Joseph at the time! This is also why Joseph was renamed אברך, meaning אב למלך, “father of the king,” provider. The author of the book לקח טוב has also written in this vein.

It is interesting how the kings of the nations are described here by Rashbam, all Egyptian kings are known as Pharaoh, all Philistine kings were known as Avimelech (my father the king), the kings of the nation of Amalek were known as Agag, etc. The idea is that these names were given as their titles, and it would be in appropriate to call them by their first name or family names. The position of power gave them this title which is descriptive of who they are as rulers of these nations.

David concludes saying, ה אֲדֹנָי עַל-יְמִינְךָ מָחַץ בְּיוֹם-אַפּוֹ מְלָכִים: 110:5 The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. ו יָדִין בַּגּוֹיִם מָלֵא גְוִיּוֹת מָחַץ רֹאשׁ עַל-אֶרֶץ רַבָּה: 110:6 He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country. ז מִנַּחַל בַּדֶּרֶךְ יִשְׁתֶּה עַל-כֵּן יָרִים רֹאשׁ: 110:7 He will drink from the brook by the wayside; Therefore He will lift up His head. (NASB) The idea is that the unrighteous king he will scatter, cause to go forth in confusion, and loose his kingdom, his people, etc. When judgment comes down upon the king for his sins, the entire nation suffers. The concept of drinking by the brook by the wayside sounds as if he will be humbled by the Lord if he does not humble himself. All of these things coupled together reveal to us that we need to seek the Lord and His ways because we are His children. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 110 has 5 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 110, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 110, Part 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “A Psalm of David. The Lord said unto my lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. (Tehillim / Psalms 110:1)”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Who raised up?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the one who was raised up.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis continue saying it is the man from the east who was raised up.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “ Of this verse, Rabbi Azariah taught, Abraham built an inn, and welcomed wayfarers. Hence it is said, Mercy, also, he roused to attend his steps.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “In a different interpretation, the verse is taken to read, The Righteous One attends his steps (Isaiah 41:2) that is, the Righteous One of the universe accompanied Abraham.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of when Abraham went to wage war against Amraphel.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal speaking of the dust of the land as a parallel to the sword.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Scripture says, sword as the dust and the stubble their bow, and means therefore that when Amraphel threw swords they turned into dust, and when he threw arrows they turned into dust, and when he threw arrows they turned into stubble.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “He pursues them, and passes on safely; the way with his feed he treads not (Isaiah 41:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When Abraham pursued them, the earth contracted before him.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of when Abraham advanced, the earth moved on his behalf.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis say that the earth moved in such a way as one stride of Abraham’s leg moved two to three miles.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “When a child goes out of his house, his feet get soiled in the dust, but not even by so much were the feet of Abraham soiled. Hence, The way with his feet he treads not.”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Rabbi Eleazar son of Pedat taught in the name of Rabbbi Jose son of Zimra that after Abraham slew all the hosts of the enemy, his heart struck him, and he said, Is it possible that there was not one righteous man among them?”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The Holy One blessed be He, reassured him, Where your feet tread, there is no strain of iniquity.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis conclude that it is Abraham who David is speaking of in Tehillim / Psalms 110:1.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying the Lord set Abraham at his right side and draws in the context of the Messiah.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “ He is to read and study the Torah which is called truth, for it is said, The ordinances of the Lord are true (Tehillim / Psalms 19:10); and it is also written, Buy the truth and sell it not (Mishley / Proverbs 23:23). Hence, it is said, And he will sit to it in truth.”

Part 5

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “In a different explanation of The Lord says unto My Lord, Sit at My right hand…”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Shallum the Levite taught that David said, When the Holy One blessed be He, sent the prophet Samuel to anoint me, saying to him, Fill your horn with oil, and go, I will send you to Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1), He meant to seat me as lord and sovereign over Israel.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis parallel the putting of the enemy at one’s feet to Saul son of Kish.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying the messiah will wait at the right hand of God until Saul the son of Kish is put down. This is obviously a reference to David as a Messiah figure.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “In this verse, sit clearly means wait, as it does in the verse sit you also here this night (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:19) which is rendered wait in the Aramaic Targum.”

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “A Psalm of David. The Lord said unto my lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. (Tehillim / Psalms 110:1)” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Who raised up?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קי סימן א

א לדוד מזמור נאום ה׳ לאדוני שב לימיני. זהו שאמר הכתוב מי העיר ממזרח צדק יקראהו לרגלו (ישעיה מא ב), אמר ר׳ ראובן ישינים היו אומות העולם מלבא תחת כנפי השכינה, ומי העירן לבא לחסות תחת כנפיו, אברהם, שנאמר מי העיר ממזרח, ואל תאמר לאומות העולם בלבד העיר אברהם, אלא אף הצדקה היתה ישינה והעירה, כיצד אברהם פתח לו פונדק, והיה מקבל את העוברים ושבים, שנאמר ויטע אשל בבאר שבע (בראשית כא לג), אמר ר׳ עזריה שבנה לו פונדק והיה מקבל עוברים ושבים, הוי צדק יקראהו (לרגליו) [לרגלו].

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 1

1. A Psalm of David. The Lord said unto my lord, Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. (Tehillim / Psalms 110:1) This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Who raised up? The man from the east. Mercy, also, he aroused to attend his steps (Isaiah 41:2). Rabbi Reuben said, Because the nations of the earth were asleep, they did not come under the wings of the Presence. And who roused them up to come take refuge under His wings? Abraham, as is said, who raised up? The man from the east. And say not that Abraham roused up only the nations of the earth; for charity also was asleep, and he roused it. In what way? Abraham opened the inn, and welcomed those who came and went, as is said And Abraham planted a אשל (tamarisk, salt cedar) in BeerSheva (Bereshit / Genesis 21:33). Of this verse, Rabbi Azariah taught, Abraham built an inn, and welcomed wayfarers. Hence it is said, Mercy, also, he roused to attend his steps.

The rabbis speak on Tehillim / Psalms 110:1 saying that the one whom the Lord has raised up is the man from the east. Who is the man from the east? According to Bereshit / Genesis 3:22 Then the Lord God said, ‘Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever’ 3:23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 3:24 So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life. (NASB) It appears as if the Lord had stationed angels on the east side of the garden of Eden in order to protect the way to the tree of life. This would suggest that man had left the garden and migrated east of the garden. This would make sense, since Abraham had come from the North East to the land of Canaan. The midrash states, “Mercy, also, he aroused to attend his steps (Isaiah 41:2). Rabbi Reuben said, Because the nations of the earth were asleep, they did not come under the wings of the Presence. And who roused them up to come take refuge under His wings?” Mercy was raised up to attend to the one who was raised up, the man from the east. The rabbis suggest this one man was through whom we have been called to take rest under the wings of the Lord God of Israel. The conclusion of the midrash is that it was Abraham who was roused up, raised up from the nations of the earth. The raising up of Abraham was for the purpose of guiding others in righteousness, which is the root word for charity in the sense that He showed charity by opening an inn and welcoming in those who were in need (Abraham opened the inn, and welcomed those who came and went, as is said And Abraham planted a אשל (tamarisk, salt cedar) in BeerSheva (Bereshit / Genesis 21:33).) Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 1 concludes saying, “Of this verse, Rabbi Azariah taught, Abraham built an inn, and welcomed wayfarers. Hence it is said, Mercy, also, he roused to attend his steps.” Building a place for shelter to help out others is said to be an act of Mercy (Chesed). The works of mercy have been traditionally divided into two categories, (i) “Corporal works of mercy” which concern the material needs of others, and (ii) “Spiritual works of mercy” which concern the spiritual needs of others. The physical works of mercy include: To feed the hungry, To give water to the thirsty, To clothe the naked, To shelter the homeless, To visit the sick, To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive, and To bury the dead. The spiritual works of mercy include: To instruct the ignorant, To counsel the doubtful, To admonish sinners, To bear patiently those who wrong us, To forgive offenses, To console the afflicted, To pray for the living. The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing the wrongs of others patiently. This is what is believed Abraham performed as a servant of the Lord God Almighty. By his example, we are also to do the same. It is in these things that Yeshua demonstrated his faith, following in the footsteps of Abraham, the father of faith, according to the Scriptures.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “In a different interpretation, the verse is taken to read, The Righteous One attends his steps (Isaiah 41:2) that is, the Righteous One of the universe accompanied Abraham.” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קי סימן ב

ב דבר אחר צדק יקראהו (לרגליו) [לרגלו]. צדיקו של עולם מלוה אותו, אימתי כשבא לעשות מלחמה עם אמרפל וחביריו. יתן כעפר חרבו (ישעיה שם שם מ״א ב׳). מהו כעפר חרבו, ר׳ יהודה ור׳ נחמיה, ר׳ יהודה אמר אברהם היה נוטל עפר וזורק על אויביו, והיה עושה חרבות, ונוטל קש וזורק ונעשה קשת וחצים, אמר לו ר׳ נחמיה אם כן עקרת את המקרא, מי נאמר עפר וקש, אלא כעפר כקש, אלא היה זורק חרבות, והן נעשין כעפר, והיה זורק חיצים והן נעשים כקש.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 2

2. In a different interpretation, the verse is taken to read, The Righteous One attends his steps (Isaiah 41:2) that is, the Righteous One of the universe accompanied Abraham. When? When Abraham went to wage war against Amraphel and his companions. He makes as the dust their sword, as the driven stubble their bow (Isaiah 41:2). What is meant by As the dust their sword? In their exposition, Rabbi Judah and Rabbi Nehemiah differed, Rabbi Judah said Abraham took up dust and threw it against his enemies, and it turned into swords, and that he took up stubble and threw it, and it turned into bows and arrows. Said Rabbi Nehemiah, In saying this, you distort the text. Does Scripture say, dust into sword and stubble into bow? Scripture says, sword as the dust and the stubble their bow, and means therefore that when Amraphel threw swords they turned into dust, and when he threw arrows they turned into dust, and when he threw arrows they turned into stubble

The midrashic idea behind Isaiah 41:2 ‘Who has aroused one from the east Whom He calls in righteousness to His feet? He delivers up nations before him And subdues kings. He makes them like dust with his sword, As the wind-driven chaff with his bow. (NASB) is that the “Righteous One” accompanies the one He loves. The Lord God Almighty walks along side of us, and we walk along side of the Lord. There is a passage in Devarim / Deuteronomy30 that describes the redemption of God’s people coupled to the commandments that explain what it means to walk along side of the Lord:

Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:1-6

30:1 ‘So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, 30:2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, 30:3 then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. 30:4 ‘If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. 30:5 ‘The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 30:6 ‘Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (NASB)

Devarim / Deuteronomy / 30:7-18

30:7 ‘The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 30:8 ‘And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. 30:9 ‘Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; 30:10 if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. 30:11 ‘For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. 30:12 ‘It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will go up to heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 30:13 ‘Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?’ 30:14 ‘But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it. 30:15 ‘See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; 30:16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 30:17 ‘But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 30:18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You will not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess it. (NASB)

The point is that the Lord walks along side and in our midst, and if we are not walking according to His commandments, He will not recognize us. It is impossible to walk along side of the Lord God if we are not walking in His footsteps. Based upon the Scriptures, obeying the commandments of God brings great blessing into our lives. Modern theologies however teach that the commandments are burdensome and have been done away with in the Messiah Yeshua. The point of the conclusion of the Torah (Devarim / Deuteronomy) is that disobedience (sin) also brings with it a curse. The idea here is that the Lord is searching and seeking out His people. If we are living with no regard for sin in our lives, the Lord will begin to work to draw us back even to bringing calamity into our lives for that specific purpose.

The midrash states “Abraham went to wage war against Amraphel and his companions.” Who is Amraphel? In the Torah, Amraphel (אַמְרָפֶל’) was a king of Shinar in Bereshit / Genesis 14:1 and 14:9, who invaded the west along with Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, and others, and defeated Sodom and the other Cities of the Plain in the Battle of the Vale of Siddim taking Lot captive. The midrash states that Abraham’s sword makes like dust and stubble his enemies. There is a variant interpretation by Rabbi’s Judah and Nehemiah saying that instead, “Abraham took up dust and threw it against his enemies, and it turned into swords, and that he took up stubble and threw it, and it turned into bows and arrows.” The Lord produced a miracle at the hand of Abraham to save Lot and his family from the enemy. The moral of the story is that when we seek the righteousness of God, to live in His righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth, the Lord will be present and His power will be present for our deliverance. The blessing of God will shower down upon us just as the Scriptures say.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 2 concludes saying, “Scripture says, sword as the dust and the stubble their bow, and means therefore that when Amraphel threw swords they turned into dust, and when he threw arrows they turned into dust, and when he threw arrows they turned into stubble.” Again the midrash concludes with a miracle, that the people, their swords, their arrows, they turned into dust when coming against God’s people. This is a midrash which illustrates the significance and importance of seeking the Lord and of the Lord’s response to take care of His people.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “He pursues them, and passes on safely; the way with his feed he treads not (Isaiah 41:3).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When Abraham pursued them, the earth contracted before him.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קי סימן ג

ג ירדפם יעבר שלום ארח ברגליו לא יבא (שם שם ישעיהו מ״א ג). מצאו לרדוף אחריו וקפצה הארץ לפניו, יש אומרים שלשה מילין היתה פסיעתו של אברהם, ויש אומרים שנים, אבל כשבא לא קפצה הארץ לפניו, הוי אורח ברגליו לא יבא. ר׳ הונא הכהן בר אבין בשם ר׳ ביבי אמר אפילו כתינוק שהוא הולך מביתו ורגליו מתלכלכות בעפר, אפילו כן לא נתלכלכו רגליו של אברהם, הוי אורח ברגליו לא יבא.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 3

3. He pursues them, and passes on safely; the way with his feet he treads not (Isaiah 41:3). When Abraham pursued them, the earth contracted before him. Some say that in the pursuit Abraham’s step was three miles long, and others, that it was two miles long, but that Abraham returned, the earth did not contract before him. Hence, it is said, He pursues them, the way with his feet he treads not. Rabbi Huna the Priest son of Abin taught in the name of Rabbi Bebai, When a child goes out of his house, his feet get soiled in the dust, but not even by so much were the feet of Abraham soiled. Hence, The way with his feet he treads not.

The rabbis speak on Tehillim Psalms 110:1-3 which states, א לְדָוִד מִזְמוֹר נְאֻם יְהֹוָה | לַאדֹנִי שֵׁב לִימִינִי עַד-אָשִׁית אֹיְבֶיךָ הֲדֹם לְרַגְלֶיךָ: 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ (NASB) making reference to Isaiah 41:3 ג יִרְדְּפֵם יַעֲבוֹר שָׁלוֹם אֹרַח בְּרַגְלָיו לֹא יָבוֹא: 41:3 ‘He pursues them, passing on in safety, By a way he had not been traversing with his feet. (NASB) The midrash states that “in the pursuit Abraham’s step was three miles long, and others, that it was two miles long, but that Abraham returned, the earth did not contract before him.” This seems to be analogous to one’s prayer being “earth moving,” or “earth shaking,” in the sense that He prayed and the Lord answered his prayer by a great miracle to save Lot and his family. We know that the people in Mesopotamia did not worship God. They worshiped all kinds of idols and followed the wicked ways of Nimrod and his people. The Lord God saw that Abram was the only one who was righteous and God fearing. We are told according to the Torah that the Lord God appeared to Abram and said: “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. And I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and I will aggrandize your name, and [you shall] be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you.” (Bereshit / Genesis 12) Abram did as God told him, at the age of seventy-five years, he left Haran, accompanied by his wife Sarai, and nephew Lot, the son of his brother Haran. They wandered into the land of Canaan and setup their tents near the city of Shechem, in the oak groves of Moreh, The Lord God again appeared to Abram and said, “This land I shall give to your children.” Abram built an altar to the Lord and traveled throughout the country to spread the knowledge of the one true God wherever he went.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 3 concludes saying, “When a child goes out of his house, his feet get soiled in the dust, but not even by so much were the feet of Abraham soiled. Hence, The way with his feet he treads not.” The idea of getting one’s feet soiled is a parallel to the way that we walk before the Lord. This reminds us of John 13:10-11, when Yeshua speaks to his disciples concerning washing of one’s feet in a spiritual sense. He says: “He who has bathed needs nothing further than to wash his feet (which have been soiled again by the road); rather is he (except as to this necessary cleansing of the feet) clean in his entire body.” Yeshua seems to be speaking in a moral sense, saying “He who has already experienced moral purification in general and on the whole in fellowship with me, like him who has cleansed his whole body in the bath, requires only to be freed from the sinful defilement in individual things which has been again contracted in the interactions of life; as one who has bathed only requires again the washing of his feet, but in other respects he is clean as to his whole moral personality.” These statements suggest that we need daily purification in the sense of repentance and the Word of God. This purification of repentance was illustrated in the act of foot washing which later also come in the sense of baptism as it is related to one turning his or her life in repentance and then performing a mikvah. Note that Baptism (the Mikvah) was 1400 years old by the time Yeshua was on earth. Yeshua taught a repent life was foundational in the life of his disciples.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Rabbi Eleazar son of Pedat taught in the name of Rabbbi Jose son of Zimra that after Abraham slew all the hosts of the enemy, his heart struck him, and he said, Is it possible that there was not one righteous man among them?” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The Holy One blessed be He, reassured him, Where your feet tread, there is no stain of iniquity.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קי סימן ד

ד אמר ר׳ אלעזר בן פדת בשם ר׳ יוסי בן זימרא כיון שהרג אברהם כל האוכלסין הללו נוקפה לבו, אמר אפשר שלא היה ביניהם צדיק, אמר לו הקב״ה לא ברגליך לכלוך עון, אורח ברגליו לא יבא, מי עשה כל אותן המלחמות, אפשר אברהם בשמונה עשר ושלש מאות נלחם כנגד כולם, אמר ר׳ יוחנן בנו של ר׳ יוסי בן קיסמא עבדו אליעזר היה עמו ולא יותר, אליעז״ר בגימטריא שי״ח, ומי עשה כל המלחמות האלו, הקב״ה שאמר לו שב לימיני ואני עושה לך מלחמות, ואינה מפורשת כאן, ומי פירשה דוד, נאום ה׳ לאדוני שב לימיני, וכן הוא אומר למשיח והוכן בחסד כסאו וישב עליו באמת באוהל דוד (ישעיה טז ה), אמר הקב״ה הוא ישב ואני אעשה מלחמה, לכך וישב עליו באמת באהל דוד, ומה עליו לעשות, לקרות ולשנות בתורה שנקראת אמת, שנאמר משפטי ה׳ אמת (תהלים יט י), וכתיב אמת קנה ואל תמכור (משלי כג כג), הוי וישב עליו באמת.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 4

4. Rabbi Eleazar son of Pedat taught in the name of Rabbbi Jose son of Zimra that after Abraham slew all the hosts of the enemy, his heart struck him, and he said, Is it possible that there was not one righteous man among them? The Holy One blessed be He, reassured him, Where your feet tread, there is no stain of iniquity. The way with his feet he treads not. Who fought all the battles? Could Abraham with only three hundred and eighteen men have fought against Amraphel and all his hosts? Indeed, according to Rabbi Johanan, the son of Rabbi Jose son of Kisma, only Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, was with him and no one else, for three hundred and eighteen is the sum of the numerical value of the letters in the name Eliezer. Who, then, fought all the battles? It was the Holy One blessed be He, He said to Abraham Sit at My right hand and I will fight the battles for you. That God did so is not made plain in the narrative. Who made it plain? David, who said, The Lord says unto my Lord, Sit at My right hand. To the Messiah also it will be said, And in mercy will the throne be established, and he will sit to it in truth in the tent of David, judging (Isaiah 16:5). That is, the Holy One blessed be He, declared, The Messiah will sit, and I will fight the battles. Hence, he will sit to it in truth in the tent of David. What, then, is the Messiah to do? He is to read and study the Torah which is called truth, for it is said, The ordinances of the Lord are true (Tehillim / Psalms 19:10); and it is also written, Buy the truth and sell it not (Mishley / Proverbs 23:23). Hence, it is said, And he will sit to it in truth.

Note how the midrash states, “The Holy One blessed be He, reassured him, Where your feet tread, there is no stain of iniquity” in the sense of Abraham slaying the men who took his nephew Lot and questioning whether there was a righteous man among them, drawing in the context of righteousness. This is again a parallel to John 13:10-11 in relation to the foot washing and repentance. The midrash continues saying:

The way with his feet he treads not. Who fought all the battles? Could Abraham with only three hundred and eighteen men have fought against Amraphel and all his hosts? Indeed, according to Rabbi Johanan, the son of Rabbi Jose son of Kisma, only Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, was with him and no one else, for three hundred and eighteen is the sum of the numerical value of the letters in the name Eliezer. Who, then, fought all the battles? It was the Holy One blessed be He, He said to Abraham Sit at My right hand and I will fight the battles for you. That God did so is not made plain in the narrative. Who made it plain? David, who said, The Lord says unto my Lord, Sit at My right hand. To the Messiah also it will be said, And in mercy will the throne be established, and he will sit to it in truth in the tent of David, judging (Isaiah 16:5). That is, the Holy One blessed be He, declared, The Messiah will sit, and I will fight the battles. Hence, he will sit to it in truth in the tent of David. What, then, is the Messiah to do?

The midrash asks the question of whether Abraham would have been able to overcome Amraphel with only 318 men and the conclusion, the Lord God Almighty is the One who gave him success. The miracle of the Lord giving success to Abraham is further emphasized on an alternate interpretation saying the Eliezer was the only one who went with Abraham because the numerical sum of the letters of his name are 318. It is the Lord God Almighty who fights our battles for us, just as it is the Lord, according to the midrash, that caused Abraham to sit at God’s right hand saying that “I” (the Lord) will fight all the battles for you. What is significant is how the midrash connects these things to a prophetic message about David, according to the Psalm, and then to the Messiah in which his throne will be established forever in truth and in the tent of David. Notice how all of these things are distilled down to the concept that the Lord will bring one man (Yeshua the Messiah) to lead the way, to be seated at the right hand of God, drawing in the context of the power and presence of God in the midst of His people who are walking in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. Now the fact of the matter is that we all fall short of these things, and this is the context of the Torah and the mercy of God that he shows towards us, His empowering our lives to get back up, repent, and turn from our former ways, and begin again. This is the message of the Torah. It is not a message of condemnation as the modern church theologies would have one believe. The message of the Torah is one of repentance, seeking the Lord God and his Mashiach, and starting over again! This is the message that we receive as Yeshua was our example according to the Apostolic Writings (see John 13:15, John 14:21-23, 1 John 2:4-6, 1 John 5:3) To summarize the point, Yeshua said in John 15:13 “For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” We are told that Yeshua washed his disciples’ feet, that he might teach us to think nothing of ourselves but to think of others. 1 John 2:6 He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he. (NASB) Just as the midrash states, “Hence, he will sit to it in truth in the tent of David.” The meaning of the word “sit” is to dwell, therefore, we are to “dwell” in the truth, meaning that we are to look to the Messiah of God and do as he did living his life according to God’s Word. The midrash asks the question, “What, then, is the Messiah to do?” Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 4 concludes saying, “ He is to read and study the Torah which is called truth, for it is said, The ordinances of the Lord are true (Tehillim / Psalms 19:10); and it is also written, Buy the truth and sell it not (Mishley / Proverbs 23:23). Hence, it is said, And he will sit to it in truth.” This is exactly what Yeshua did, he taught the Torah as a way of life, to seek the righteousness of God and to walk in that righteousness, to live a holy life, to seek justice and to dwell in God’s truth (in His Word).

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 5 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “In a different explanation of The Lord says unto My Lord, Sit at My right hand…” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קי סימן ה

ה דבר אחר נאום ה׳ לאדוני שב לימיני. אמר ר׳ שלום הלוי כך אמר דוד, אמר הקב״ה לשיתני אדון ומלך על ישראל בזמן ששלח את שמואל הנביא למשחני, שנאמר מלא קרנך שמן (ש״א שמואל א׳ טז א), וכיון שראה שאין מלכות נוגעת בחבירתה אפילו כמלא נימא אמר לי שב לימיני, המתן לשאול בן קיש איש ימיני כי עדיין יש לו שעה, ואחרי מות שאול תמלוך, אשית אויביך הדום לרגליך, ואין שב אלא המתן, שנאמר שבו נא בזה (במדבר כב יט), ומתרגמינן אוריכו.

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 5

5. In a different explanation of The Lord says unto My Lord, Sit at My right hand, Rabbi Shallum the Levite taught that David said, When the Holy One blessed be He, sent the prophet Samuel to anoint me, saying to him, Fill your horn with oil, and go, I will send you to Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1), He meant to seat me as lord and sovereign over Israel. But since God knew that no reign aught to overlap another by even a hair’s breadth, he said to me, Sit at My right hand. Await the end of Saul the son of Kish, the Benjamite, for he has still a little while. After Saul’s death, you will reign until I make your enemies your footstool. In this verse, sit clearly means wait, as it does in the verse sit you also here this night (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:19) which is rendered wait in the Aramaic Targum.

The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Shallum the Levite taught that David said, When the Holy One blessed be He, sent the prophet Samuel to anoint me, saying to him, Fill your horn with oil, and go, I will send you to Jesse (1 Samuel 16:1), He meant to seat me as lord and sovereign over Israel.” The new interpretation given in Midrash Tehillim 110 Part 5, in relation to Tehillim / Psalms 110:1, is in relation to Kind David and King Saul. The idea is that the Lord sent David to Samuel the prophet, and he was instructed to wait saying, “But since God knew that no reign aught to overlap another by even a hair’s breadth, he said to me, Sit at My right hand. Await the end of Saul the son of Kish, the Benjamite, for he has still a little while.” Back in David’s time, the people were looking for a messiah figure, one who would go out before them to fight their battles. This was the whole reason they chose to have a king rule over them instead of the Lord God of Israel. When we come forward in time to the first century period, the people were looking for a particular anointed one who would save them from their captors, the Romans. As we study the Scriptures, we find the Lord brought various anointed (mashiach) ones for the purpose of leading the people to the Lord, and saving the people from their enemies. These people the Lord brought were first from individuals, then from the prophets, and then from the kings. There were a number of prophecies about individuals (plural) who were to come in the future who were anointed of God to perform a mission on behalf of the Lord in the Tanach. In the first century period, before the coming of the Messiah Yeshua, the anticipation of a Messiah to save Israel was intense. The Jewish people at the time were not sure if there was to be one major Mashiach who would be the great king from David, or another from the priestly tribe (Levi), or whether a he was to come from Joseph of the tribe of Ephraim? Moshe spoke of a time when the people will again hear the word of God personally. This person would be a Law giver like a Moshe. He says that whatever he tells you, you should listen to do.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:17–19

18:17 ‘The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18:18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 18:19 ‘It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. (NASB)

The Lord God Almighty Himself spoke to Moshe with this powerful testimony to the work of the Messiah that was to come at a future time. According to Parashat Shemot (Shemot / Exodus 4:16) Moshe was given the authority of Elohim and it is said that he would be known as Elohim to Pharaoh and Aaron would be his prophet. Due to Moshe’s words here in the Torah, in the first century, Israel had the expectation of a person like Moshe, an anointed individual of the Lord. When Yeshua Jesus appeared on the scene and began to do his miracles in the cities of Israel, the people looked upon him and their judgments were that he was fulfilling the role prophesied by Moshe. In Tehillim / Psalms 110, Yeshua uses Tehillim / Psalms 110:1 in Matthew 22:44 to cause the Pharisees to think about what they believed about the Messiah. This type of Messiah was said to be from the line of King David. Tehillim / Psalm 89 summarizes the prophetic teaching concerning the Messiah from David who was to come.

Tehillim / Psalms 89:1-4

89:1 I will sing of the lovingkindness of the Lord forever; To all generations I will make known Your faithfulness with my mouth. 89:2 For I have said, ‘Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens You will establish Your faithfulness.’ 89:3 ‘I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant, 89:4 I will establish your seed forever And build up your throne to all generations.’ Selah. (NASB)

This prophecy is of the genealogy of David that his kingdom would continue for “all” generations. Tehillim / Psalms 89:19-20 speaks of the Lord making this person a Mashiach (anointed one). The role of the Messiah is to draw his people back to the covenant of God, to stand in the place between our Father in heaven to intercede on our behalf, and to go ahead of us to fight our battles. Returning and remaining in the covenant relationship with the Lord, we are comforted in His presence. This leads to our understanding that He cares for us, protects us, and guides us in His holy word. The Messiah takes on the role of Lord and King over the community, over relationships, over individual lives, and essentially all of who we are. Notice how all of these things are distilled down to the concept that the Lord will bring one man (Yeshua the Messiah) to lead the way, to be seated at the right hand of God, drawing in the context of the power and presence of God in the midst of His people who are walking in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth. It is within this context the Lord God Almighty was leading His people with Moshe as their Mashiach (See Parashat Beshalach).

Midrash Tehillim 110, Part 5 concludes saying, “In this verse, sit clearly means wait, as it does in the verse sit you also here this night (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:19) which is rendered wait in the Aramaic Targum.” The midrash speaks of David waiting patiently on the Lord to work His battles out and to set him in the place He would have him to be, as king over Israel. In a similar way, Yeshua the Messiah also waited patiently until the plan that was laid out for his life was complete, and waited patiently but yet continued to live his life for the Lord, even when called to do something he didn’t want to, such as the burden of the Cross. Yeshua lived the example for us to do the same! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 110-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!