Tehillim / Psalms 13, Part 2, “My Heart will Rejoice in Your Salvation”

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 13:1-6, The Psalm is introduced as א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: “For the choir director. A Psalm of David.” David begins questioning the Lord asking ב עַד-אָנָה יְהֹוָה תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח עַד-אָנָה | תַּסְתִּיר אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי: 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (NASB) In the midst of your troubles, have you ever wondered whether God has forgotten you or has hidden His face for you? Have you ever wondered why the Lord seems to let us walk through trouble in live alone? David had these same questions in mind while writing this Psalm, we know this because he said ג עַד-אָנָה אָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשִׁי יָגוֹן בִּלְבָבִי יוֹמָם עַד-אָנָה | יָרוּם אֹיְבִי עָלָי: 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (NASB) David seeks the counsel of the Lord God Almighty but He is not answering Him. With David being on the run from Saul, he does not necessarily have the opportunity to go to and spend time at the Ohel Moed (אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, Tent of Meeting). Does God only answer David’s prayers if he is visiting the Tabernacle or given a word from the Lord from a priest or prophet? If the Lord does not answer him, it will be as if he lays down with the dead, based upon what He says in Tehillim / Psalms 13:3, ד הַבִּיטָה עֲנֵנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָי הָאִירָה עֵינַי פֶּן-אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת: 13:3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, (NASB) David asks that the Lord to consider what is happening, how his enemies are coming against the righteous and give an answer for, to enlighten the eye, to reveal or show to his eye the answer of the Lord or else he will lay down and die. If the Lord does not answer, David says ה פֶּן-יֹאמַר אֹיְבִי יְכָלְתִּיו צָרַי יָגִילוּ כִּי אֶמּוֹט: 13:4 And my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. (NASB) Our enemies rejoice when their plans go according to their will. David believes that the Lord has the power to overcome his enemies. This is the reason for his plea to the Lord and for the final statement of the Tehillim / Psalms saying ו ַאֲנִי | בְּחַסְדְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי יָגֵל לִבִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה כִּי גָמַל עָלָי: 13:5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 13:6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק יג

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ב עַד-אָנָה יְהֹוָה תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח עַד-אָנָה | תַּסְתִּיר אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי: ג עַד-אָנָה אָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשִׁי יָגוֹן בִּלְבָבִי יוֹמָם עַד-אָנָה | יָרוּם אֹיְבִי עָלָי: ד הַבִּיטָה עֲנֵנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָי הָאִירָה עֵינַי פֶּן-אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת:

סםר טוביה פרק יג

א לשבחא תושבחתא לדוד׃ ב עד אן יהוה תשלינני לעלמין עד אן תטמור זיו אפך מיני׃ ג עד אן אשוי מלכיא בנפשי דוונא בלבבי ימם עד אן יתרם יתרורם בעיל דבבי עלי׃ ד אסתכל וקבל צלותי יהוה אלהי אנהיר עיני באוריתך דילמא איחוב ואידמוך עם חייבי מותא׃

YALMOI 13

13:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ δαυιδ 13:2 ἕως πότε κύριε ἐπιλήσῃ μου εἰς τέλος ἕως πότε ἀποστρέψεις τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ 13:3 ἕως τίνος θήσομαι βουλὰς ἐν ψυχῇ μου ὀδύνας ἐν καρδίᾳ μου ἡμέρας ἕως πότε ὑψωθήσεται ὁ ἐχθρός μου ἐπ’ ἐμέ 13:4 ἐπίβλεψον εἰσάκουσόν μου κύριε ὁ θεός μου φώτισον τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς μου μήποτε ὑπνώσω εἰς θάνατον

ה פֶּן-יֹאמַר אֹיְבִי יְכָלְתִּיו צָרַי יָגִילוּ כִּי אֶמּוֹט: ו וַאֲנִי | בְּחַסְדְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי יָגֵל לִבִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה כִּי גָמַל עָלָי:

Tehillim / Psalms 13

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 13:3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, 13:4 And my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. 13:5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 13:6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (NASB)

ה דילמא יימר יצרא בעיל דבבי בישא אשלטתיה ביה מעיקי ירנון מטול״ארום אסטי שׂטאתי מאורחתך׃ ו ואנא בטובך בטיבותך התרחצית ירנן לבבי לבי בפורקנך אשבח קדם יהוה מטול דפריע עלי טבתא׃

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 13

13:1 For praise, a hymn of David. 13:2 How long, O Lord, will you neglect me forever? How long will you hide the splendor of your face from me? 13:3 How long will I put warnings in my soul, suffering in my heart daily? How long will my enemy vaunt himself over me? 13:4 Pay heed and receive my prayer, O Lord my God; illumine my eyes by your Torah, lest I sin and sleep with those who deserve death. 13:5 Lest the evil impulse[53] should say, “I have taken control of him,” [lest] my oppressors rejoice because I stray[54] from your paths. 13:6 But I have placed my trust in your goodness, my heart will rejoice in your redemption; I will give praise in the Lord’s presence because he rewards me with good things.. (EMC)

13:5 μήποτε εἴπῃ ὁ ἐχθρός μου ἴσχυσα πρὸς αὐτόν οἱ θλίβοντές με ἀγαλλιάσονται ἐὰν σαλευθῶ 13:6 ἐγὼ δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ ἐλέει σου ἤλπισα ἀγαλλιάσεται ἡ καρδία μου ἐπὶ τῷ σωτηρίῳ σου ᾄσω τῷ κυρίῳ τῷ εὐεργετήσαντί με καὶ ψαλῶ τῷ ὀνόματι κυρίου τοῦ ὑψίστου

Tehillim / Psalms 13

For the end, a Psalm of David. 13:1 How long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me? for ever? how long wilt thou turn away thy face from me? 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrows in my heart daily? how long shall my enemy be exalted over me? 13:3 Look on me, hearken to me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep in death; 13:4 lest at any time mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him: my persecutors will exult if ever I should be moved. 13:5 But I have hoped in thy mercy; my heart shall exult in thy salvation. 13:6 I will sing to the Lord who has dealt bountifully with me, and I will sing psalms to the name of the Lord most high. (LXX)

This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 13:1-6, The Psalm is introduced as א לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: “For the choir director. A Psalm of David.” Tehillim / Psalms 13 is introduced simply as a psalm of David for the choir director to be sung as a song before the Lord. David begins questioning the Lord asking ב עַד-אָנָה יְהֹוָה תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח עַד-אָנָה | תַּסְתִּיר אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי: 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (NASB) David wonders if the Lord has forgotten him and whether He will forget him forever? He then asks how long the Lord will hide His face from him. What did David mean by the hiding of the “face” (פָּנֶיךָ)? The face many times throughout Scripture is the way in which the “presence” of God is described and is also synonymous with the giving of the Word of God in the Torah. Let’s study this concept a little further to help us understand what David is thinking when he asks the Lord why it appears He is hiding his face from him.

Let’s begin by looking at Bereshit / Genesis 3:8. In Bereshit / Genesis 3:8, shortly after the sin of Adam and Eve (Chava) in the Garden of Eden, the text provides for us the importance of the differences between the Hebrew and the Aramaic on the presence of God in the Garden of Eden. According to the Scriptures, comparing the Hebrew and Aramaic texts, the Hebrew text says “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.” (NASB) and the Aramaic Targum says “And they heard the sound of the Word of the Lord God walking in the midst of the garden…” In the Targum Onkelos on 3:8 we read about the Lord walking in the garden as the Memra (מֵימְרָא, Word) of the Lord God.” Here, the Word walking in the Garden is synonymous with God walking in the cool of the day as it is translated by the Rabbis of the 1st and 2nd century CE from the Hebrew Scriptures.

פרשת בראשית ספר בראשית פרק ג פסוק ח

ח וַיִּשְׁמְעוּ אֶת-קוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן לְרוּחַ הַיּוֹם וַיִּתְחַבֵּא הָאָדָם וְאִשְׁתּוֹ מִפְּנֵי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים בְּתוֹךְ עֵץ הַגָּן:

פרשת בראשית תרגום אונקלוס ספר בראשית פרק ג פסוק ח

ח וּשְׁמָעוּ יַת קַל מֵימְרָא דַייָ אֱלֹהִים דִּמְהַלֵּךְ בְּגִנְתָא לִמְנַח יוֹמָא וְאִטַמַר אָדָם וְאִתְּתֵיהּ מִן קֳדָם יְיָ אֱלֹהִים בְּגוֹ אִילַן גִּנְתָא:

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew Scriptures say “They heard the sound of the Lord God walking…” Here the Scriptures are providing an anthropomorphic description alluding to God taking the form of a man to walk in the cool of the garden with two legs. The Aramaic text uses the word “Memra” (מֵימְרָא, Word) suggesting that the Memra (מֵימְרָא, Word) took the form of a man and walked in the cool of the garden. This scripture provides us with a very early description of the Lord, in His Word, walking in the garden making sounds like one who walks. God’s presence is manifested in His Word (Memra) according to the rabbis of the first and second centuries.

In the rabbinic literature, the Memra (מֵימְרָא, Word) is understood as the creative work of God, and is the term that is used in the Targum as a reference for the Word of the Lord who goes forth from Heaven according to Bereshit / Genesis 3:8 (see also Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:19). Also in the Hebrew bible the Word of the Lord refers to the creative Word as recorded in Tehilim / Psalms 33:6 (בִּדְבַר יְהֹוָה שָׁמַיִם נַעֲשֹוּ By the word of the Lord the heavens were made). In the Tanakh, the Word of the Lord is also a phrase that denotes the mitzvot (commandments) being given to Israel (Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:5) and the Scriptures also state that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord (Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:3). The Memra also denotes speech addressed to the Patriarchs (Bereshit / Genesis 15:1) and to the prophets (Bamidbar / Numbers 12:6). While comparing the Hebrew text with the Aramaic Targum in the Torah, it is interesting that “The Word” (מֵימְרָא, Memra) functions as an angel or messenger of God. Wherever the Word goes there we find the presence of the Lord. Throughout the Tanakh, God reveals himself in various ways and in the Aramaic translation specifically though the Memra (מֵימְרָא), God’s Word. According to Scripture in the Apostolic Writings in the last days, God revealed himself by His Son according to Hebrews 1:1-2 Πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ, ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων, δι’ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας: (1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. NASB). In Bereshit / Genesis 3:8, the presence of the Lord is revealed to us as one who walks in the garden as a man walks, and the Rabbinic translation (Aramaic) states this is the Word of God. As we move on through the Scriptures, we read the Lord stating that His presence will go with His people, according to the Abrahamic covenant.

Summary of the Abrahamic Covenant

Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-3

  1. Make you a great nation (וְאֶעֶשְֹךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל).
  2. I will Bless you (וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ).
  3. Make your name great in order to be a blessing (וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה).
  4. Bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you (וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר).
  5. All the families will be blessed in you (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה).

    Bereshit / Genesis 22:17-18

  6. Greatly bless you (כִּי-בָרֵךְ אֲבָרֶכְךָ).
  7. Multiply your seed (אַרְבֶּה אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ).
  8. Your seed shall possess the gates of your enemies (וְיִרַשׁ זַרְעֲךָ אֵת שַׁעַר אֹיְבָיו).
  9. In your seed all the nations of the earth are blessed (וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ).

Bereshit / Genesis 26:3-4

  1. Promise of God’s presence and blessing (וְאֶהְיֶה עִמְּךָ) “I will be with you.”
  2. Land given to Isaac and his seed (כִּי-לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אֶתֵּן אֶת-כָּל-הָאֲרָצֹת).
  3. Covenant of Abraham continues through Isaac and his seed (וַהֲקִמֹתִי אֶת-הַשְּׁבֻעָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ).
  4. Multiply his descendants (וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת-זַרְעֲךָ כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם).
  5. By your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed (וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ).

Bereshit / Genesis 28:13-14

  1. The land is given to Jacob and his seed (הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה שֹׁכֵב עָלֶיהָ לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה וּלְזַרְעֶךָ).
  2. Promised the seed will be like the dust of the earth and spread out (וְהָיָה זַרְעֲךָ כַּעֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וּפָרַצְתָּ יָמָּה).
  3. In you and in your seed all the families of the earth will be blessed (וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כָּל-מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה וּבְזַרְעֶךָ).

    In Parashat Va’era (Shemot / Exodus 6:2-9:35), the word וארא (Va’era) meaning “and I appeared” declares that Moshe saw the physical manifestation of God and this word indicates that the Lord appeared unto Moshe, where the very presence of God made His power available to deliver His people. The Lord God spoke to Moshe saying ג וָאֵרָא אֶל-אַבְרָהָם אֶל-יִצְחָק וְאֶל-יַעֲקֹב בְּאֵל שַׁדָּי וּשְׁמִי יְהֹוָה לֹא נוֹדַעְתִּי לָהֶם: 6:3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, Lord (YHVH), I did not make Myself known to them. (NASB) The Lord is declaring here that He is revealing Himself in a new way to His people. In the opening verses we read the reiteration of the covenant promise ד וְגַם הֲקִמֹתִי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אִתָּם לָתֵת לָהֶם אֶת-אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן אֵת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֵיהֶם אֲשֶׁר-גָּרוּ בָהּ: 6:4 ‘I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. (NASB) and the promise that we will be His people and He will be our God (ז וְלָקַחְתִּי אֶתְכֶם לִי לְעָם וְהָיִיתִי לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וִידַעְתֶּם כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם מִתַּחַת סִבְלוֹת מִצְרָיִם:). God tells Moshe and Aaron to go to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh and bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt. These sons of Israel, the heads of the Father’s households are listed in Shemot / Exodus 6:14-26. The Lord declares that He will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that His signs and wonders will be multiplied in Egypt for the purpose of declaring His glory and power (7:1-4).

    In Parashat Shemot (Shemot / Exodus 1:1-6:1), Moshe asked to know God’s Name. Towards the end of the book of Exodus in Parashat Ki Tisa (Shemot / Exodus 30:11-34:35) Moshe asks the Lord this time saying יח וַיֹּאמַר הַרְאֵנִי נָא אֶת-כְּבֹדֶךָ: 33:18 Then Moshe said, ‘I pray You, show me Your glory!’ (NASB); note that the Hebrew text says “and said show me now your glory.” The Lord God shows Moshe His glory and while doing so he declares ו וַיַּעֲבֹר יְהוָֹה | עַל-פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָֹה | יְהֹוָה אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת: ז נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵֹא עָוֹן וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה פֹּקֵד | עֲוֹן אָבוֹת עַל-בָּנִים וְעַל-בְּנֵי בָנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים: ח וַיְמַהֵר מֹשֶׁה וַיִּקֹּד אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ: 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, חֶסֶד) and truth; 34:7 who keeps lovingkindness (Grace, חֶסֶד) for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’ 34:8 Moshe made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. (NASB) Here the Lord God Almighty describes Himself and His divine attributes which we find reiterated throughout scripture (Bamidbar / Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Tehilim / Psalms 103:8,17, 145:8, Jeremiah 32:18-19, Joel 2:13, and Jonah 4:2). Note that what God says about himself falls within the context of Parashat Ki Tisa on the sin of idolatry by the children of Israel and their breaking the newly established covenant with the Lord. In Parashat Ki Tisa, the children of Israel failed to recognize the covenant they had made with the Lord as it says in Shemot / Exodus 20:3 ג לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים עַל-פָּנָי: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The people demanded that Aaron make gods to go before them (32:1 א וַיַּרְא הָעָם כִּי-בֹשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה לָרֶדֶת מִן-הָהָר וַיִּקָּהֵל הָעָם עַל-אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו קוּם | עֲשֵֹה-לָנוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר יֵלְכוּ לְפָנֵינוּ כִּי-זֶה | מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָנוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֹא יָדַעְנוּ מֶה-הָיָה לוֹ:) This was a great sin but yet God fulfilled His promise, in the midst of the sin of the people and the Lord gives Moshe a fresh revelation of His glory by the manifestation of His presence in the cloud. According to Shemot / Exodus 34:1-5 the Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him (Moshe) (34:5, ה וַיֵּרֶד יְהוָֹה בֶּעָנָן וַיִּתְיַצֵּב עִמּוֹ שָׁם וַיִּקְרָא בְשֵׁם יְהוָֹה:) Here the cloud (עָנָן) is associated with the very presence of God. It is interesting that looking at this verse in Shemot / Exodus 34:5 it says “and descended YHVH in the cloud and ‘stood before’ with him there, and proclaimed in the name of YHVH.” Based on the structure of the sentence, the one proclaiming the name is God Himself. The context indicates that the Lord God’s presence descended (His glory descended) and He proclaimed His own Name which consists of the attributes characteristic with the promises that were made to the Patriarchs. In Shemot / Exodus 34:6 God says ו וַיַּעֲבֹר יְהוָֹה | עַל-פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָֹה | יְהֹוָה אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת: 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, חֶסֶד) and truth; (NASB) there is a doubling of God’s Name. The repetition of the Name tells the listener to stop and reflect on the meaning and the description that follows. The meaning of God’s Name was first revealed in Shemot / Exodus 3:14 the Lord said יד וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל-מֹשֶׁה אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה וַיֹּאמֶר כֹּה תֹאמַר לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶהְיֶה שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם: 3:14 God said to Moshe, ‘I AM WHO I AM’; and He said, ‘Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’‘ (NASB) God says to Moshe “I AM WHO I AM” the meaning of the name translated from the first person of the verb היה (to be) refers to God’s life giving existence, the Lord is self existent, He exists and depends upon no one and nothing except His own will! In the attributes God lists of Himself in Shemot / Exodus 34, His compassion was demonstrated in Shemot / Exodus 32:14 and His being favorable is demonstrated in 33:12-17 the process in which Moshe seeks to find favor and God agrees with Him. His slowness to grow angry is attested too in Parashat Ki Tisa and in Shemot / Exodus 14:11-12. All of these things describe His unchanging love and reliability that is demonstrated in the discussion Moshe has with the Lord and being able to plead on behalf of the people. The cancelation (forgiveness) of the people’s disobedience with the golden calf is consistent with what God says נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵֹא עָוֹן וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה פֹּקֵד | עֲוֹן אָבוֹת עַל-בָּנִים וְעַל-בְּנֵי בָנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים 34:7 who keeps lovingkindness (Grace, חֶסֶד) for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;…” The Lord revealed Himself in His works and relationship with His people and proclaimed that in this relationship His presence would be in the midst of the congregation of people..

    Studying the “presence of God” throughout the Scriptures, the Hebrew Bible uses the word for “face” to indicate that a person is present. This is done so that we may understand that the person being spoken of is present and that this is not a servant or representative. For example in 2 Samuel 17:11 יא כִּי יָעַצְתִּי הֵאָסֹף יֵאָסֵף עָלֶיךָ כָל-יִשְֹרָאֵל מִדָּן וְעַד-בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע כַּחוֹל אֲשֶׁר-עַל-הַיָּם לָרֹב וּפָנֶיךָ הֹלְכִים בַּקְרָב: 17:11 ‘But I counsel that all Israel be surely gathered to you, from Dan even to Beersheba, as the sand that is by the sea in abundance, and that you personally go into battle. (NASB) Here the text translates as “you personally go into battle” where the phrase “you personally” is translated from the word וּפָנֶיךָ meaning “and your face.” In Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:37 we read לז וְתַחַת כִּי אָהַב אֶת-אֲבֹתֶיךָ וַיִּבְחַר בְּזַרְעוֹ אַחֲרָיו וַיּוֹצִאֲךָ בְּפָנָיו בְּכֹחוֹ הַגָּדֹל מִמִּצְרָיִם: 4:37 ‘Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them. And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, (NASB) Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:37 it is written that “He (God) personally” brought Israel out of Egypt. The Hebrew text says literally “with His face” (בְּפָנָיו). In Parashat Ki Tisa we read in Shemot / Exodus 33:13-15 יג וְעַתָּה אִם-נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ הוֹדִעֵנִי נָא אֶת-דְּרָכֶךָ וְאֵדָעֲךָ לְמַעַן אֶמְצָא-חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וּרְאֵה כִּי עַמְּךָ הַגּוֹי הַזֶּה: יד וַיֹּאמַר פָּנַי יֵלֵכוּ וַהֲנִחֹתִי לָךְ: טו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אִם-אֵין פָּנֶיךָ הֹלְכִים אַל-תַּעֲלֵנוּ מִזֶּה: 33:13 ‘Now therefore, I pray You, if I have found favor in Your sight, let me know Your ways that I may know You, so that I may find favor in Your sight. Consider too, that this nation is Your people.’ 33:14 And He said, ‘My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.’ 33:15 Then he said to Him, ‘If Your presence does not go with us, do not lead us up from here. (NASB) Here Moshe requests or asks for the presence of the Lord to go with them. God said וַיֹּאמַר פָּנַי יֵלֵכוּ וַהֲנִחֹתִי לָךְ “and said my face will go with you and give you rest” translating “face” as “presence” (פָּנַי). Moshe goes on to say that if your “face/presence” פָּנֶיךָ does not go with them do not lead them from there.

    In the book of Bamidbar / Numbers, God promises to speak to Moshe from between the Cherubim upon the Ark of the testimony (25:22, כב וְנוֹעַדְתִּי לְךָ שָׁם וְדִבַּרְתִּי אִתְּךָ מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים אֲשֶׁר עַל-אֲרוֹן הָעֵדֻת אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר אֲצַוֶּה אוֹתְךָ אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל:). Later on in the scriptures, the Cherubim are used as a reference to the presence of God as shown in the following verses: Bamidbar / Numbers 7:89 פט וּבְבֹא מֹשֶׁה אֶל-אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ וַיִּשְׁמַע אֶת-הַקּוֹל מִדַּבֵּר אֵלָיו מֵעַל הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל-אֲרֹן הָעֵדֻת מִבֵּין שְׁנֵי הַכְּרֻבִים וַיְדַבֵּר אֵלָיו: 7:89 Now when Moshe went into the tent of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim, so He spoke to him. (NASB) 1 Samuel 4:4 the Scriptures say ד וַיִּשְׁלַח הָעָם שִׁלֹה וַיִּשְֹאוּ מִשָּׁם אֵת אֲרוֹן בְּרִית-יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת ישֵׁב הַכְּרֻבִים וְשָׁם שְׁנֵי בְנֵי-עֵלִי עִם-אֲרוֹן בְּרִית הָאֱלֹהִים חָפְנִי וּפִינְחָס: 4:4 So the people sent to Shiloh, and from there they carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts who sits above the cherubim; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. (NASB). Isaiah 37:16 says טז יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל ישֵׁב הַכְּרֻבִים אַתָּה-הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים לְבַדְּךָ לְכֹל מַמְלְכוֹת הָאָרֶץ אַתָּה עָשִֹיתָ אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ: 37:16 ‘O Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, who is enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. (NASB), Tehilim / Psalms 80:2 in the Ketuvim section of the Tanakh says ב רֹעֵה יִשְֹרָאֵל | הַאֲזִינָה נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף ישֵׁב הַכְּרוּבִים הוֹפִיעָה: 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! (NASB), and in Tehillim / Psalms 99:1 we read א יְהֹוָה מָלָךְ יִרְגְּזוּ עַמִּים ישֵׁב כְּרוּבִים תָּנוּט הָאָרֶץ: 99:1 The Lord reigns, let the peoples tremble; He is enthroned above the cherubim, let the earth shake! (NASB) In each of these cases, God is described as sitting between or above the two Cherubim (הַכְּרֻבִים) and in the book of Numbers God speaks to Moshe (Bamidbar / Numbers 7:89) from the Ark and between the Cherubim. The mercy seat is the location that is described as the place of the presence of God. In Ezekiel 10:1-2, Ezekiel has a vision where the Cherubim are described as living creatures that hold up the throne of God. The Divine presence is written in this way ד וַיָּרָם כְּבוֹד-יְהֹוָה מֵעַל הַכְּרוּב עַל מִפְתַּן הַבָּיִת וַיִּמָּלֵא הַבַּיִת אֶת-הֶעָנָן וְהֶחָצֵר מָלְאָה אֶת-נֹגַהּ כְּבוֹד יְהֹוָה: that the “glory of God” (וַיָּרָם כְּבוֹד-יְהֹוָה) ascended from on the Cherub (מֵעַל הַכְּרוּב) from the threshold of the house and the house was filled with the cloud and the brightness of the glory of God. It was from upon the Cherub that God’s glory preceded to the house (temple). This description by Ezekiel is consistent with the description of the Cherubim as the location or place where God speaks from above the Ark of the Covenant. The Cherubim guard the glory of God. Hebrews 9:5 describes the Cherubim on the Ark as “the Cherubim of glory” (ὑπεράνω δὲ αὐτῆς Χερουβὶν δόξης κατασκιάζοντα τὸ ἱλαστήριον: περὶ ὧν οὐκ ἔστιν νῦν λέγειν κατὰ μέρος, 9:5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat; but of these things we cannot now speak in detail NASB). The description of the Χερουβὶν δόξης “Cherubim of glory” is described as such as a result of the cloud of glory that rests upon them. As is indicated in Ezekiel’s vision, the כְּבוֹד (glory) of God rose up from the Cherub to the Temple. The Cherubim are placed at each end of the Mercy Seat with their wings and faces pointed upward and towards each other directing our attention to the center place. This is the place which is anointed with oil, and the blood of the covenant is placed once a year for atonement from sin. God’s presence and His Glory that resides in the very place our atonement is made speaks to us that it is God who saves, He is the one who delivers us, He is the one who gives us forgiveness of sins, and it is by the blood of the covenant that atonement is brought and payment is made for our sins. As it was in the Garden of Eden, the Cherubim guard the way protecting the way so man would not take from the tree of life and save himself, we must rely upon the Lord God for our salvation, the Cherubim guard the way on the Ark of the Covenant to salvation and forgiveness of sins. This reliance upon God for our salvation is consistent with the Lord bringing His Messiah into this world for the forgiveness of our sins, it is the Lord’s doing, and by doing this God is glorified.

    In Tehillim / Psalms 13, David begins by questioning the Lord asking ב עַד-אָנָה יְהֹוָה תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח עַד-אָנָה | תַּסְתִּיר אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי: 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (NASB) David wonders if the Lord has forgotten him and whether He will forget him and he asks how long the Lord will hide His face (פָּנֶיךָ) from him. David was worried because according to the Scriptures, God’s presence meant He was there to save him, and David did not know if the Lord was going to save him and whether He had forgotten him or not.

    David had questions on where is the presence of God (13:1) while writing this Psalm. Tehillim / Psalm 13:2 states ג עַד-אָנָה אָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשִׁי יָגוֹן בִּלְבָבִי יוֹמָם עַד-אָנָה | יָרוּם אֹיְבִי עָלָי: 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (NASB) David seeks the counsel of the Lord God Almighty but He is not answering Him. With David being on the run from Saul, he does not necessarily have the opportunity to go to and spend time at the Ohel Moed (אֹהֶל מוֹעֵד, Tent of Meeting) at Shiloh (1 Samuel 4:4). Does God only answer David’s prayers if he is visiting the Tabernacle or given a word from the Lord from a priest or prophet? In the 400 years preceding up to Yeshua coming into this world, the people of Israel had the same question, “where is the presence of the Lord?” It is recorded in history that the Shekinah glory of God was not manifest in the Second Temple, the Scriptures do not record that the presence of God was manifest on the dedication of the second Temple after the return of the people from Babylonian exile. However, we do know that God was still working in the lives of the people and in John 1:1 we read the function of the creative Word of God, 1Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” When the Apostle John wrote his gospel, he was aware of the “Memra” (מֵימְרִי, Word, λόγος, Logos) and its use in the Tanach (Torah, Neviim, Ketuvim) found within the Aramaic translations. In the oral tradition on the holy Scriptures (the Aramaic translation), the Memra is considered to be equal (synonymous) with God. Note that the “Word of the Lord” (“Memra of Adonai”) is used in substitution for the “Melach Adonai” the “Angel of the Lord” in many places throughout the Torah in the Targum Onkelos (see Parashat Bereshit). The author of the Aramaic translation was saying that the “Memra of God” (“Word of God”) is the very presence of the Lord God Himself. Take the example of the Memra walking in the Garden of Eden as God (i.e. the comparison of the Targum with the Hebrew text from sefer Bereshit / Genesis 3:8). The Aramaic translation states “the Memra of Adonai Elohim walking in the garden” (מֵימְרָא דַייָ אֱלֹהִים דִּמְהַלֵּךְ בְּגִנְתָא) whereas its Hebrew counterpart states “the YHVH Elohim walking in the garden” (יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים מִתְהַלֵּךְ בַּגָּן). In addition to this, the Memra (מֵימְרָא) is through whom the covenant is established when examining he Scriptures in Bereshit / Genesis 17:7. Therefore, the people who were told about the Torah in the first century, and later read from the Targumim (the Aramaic translations of the Torah) understood that the Memra was and is the Word of the living God. By writing about the Word (Logos, λόγος) of God, John was portraying the Messiah as both being a messenger from God who simultaneously shared the very nature of the Lord God Almighty Himself. John 1:14 goes on to say “Sarx egeneto” (σὰρξ ἐγένετο) meaning “flesh became,” the Apostle John is saying the Word of God put on flesh, meaning He became a man. It says that by taking on flesh, the Word of God “eskenosen” (ἐσκήνωσεν) tented, tabernacle, made His dwelling, or pitched His tent. The words of John the Apostle echo (allude to) sefer Shemot / Exodus 25:9 and God’s promise to tabernacle with His people (וְנָתַתִּי מִשְׁכָּנִי בְּתוֹכֲכֶם וְלֹא-תִגְעַל נַפְשִׁי אֶתְכֶם). In John 1 we can see the thought process come full circle in the prophetic covenant God was going to make according to Vayikra / Leviticus 26:11-12 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. The Hebrew translation of the Greek text in John 1:14 says והדבר נהיה בשר which translates as “the Word became flesh” meaning that the Word (מֵימְרָא, Memra) put on flesh like the wearing of clothing and then וישכן בתוכנו “yishcon betocheinu” meaning that when the Memra (Word) put on flesh, He dwelled, or tabernacle (yishcon) in our midst “betocheinu.” The presence of God come into the midst of the congregation of Israel. In addition to this, Yeshua acknowledged that He is the light saying Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου “I am the light of the world” in John 8:12. He also said that εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἔτι μικρὸν χρόνον τὸ φῶς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐστιν. περιπατεῖτε ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, ἵνα μὴ σκοτία ὑμᾶς καταλάβῃ: καὶ ὁ περιπατῶν ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ οὐκ οἶδεν ποῦ ὑπάγει. ὡς τὸ φῶς ἔχετε, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸ φῶς, ἵνα υἱοὶ φωτὸς γένησθε. Ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἐκρύβη ἀπ’ αὐτῶν. “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you, he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12:35-36). As the light of the world, Yeshua brought the salvation of God into the world and revealing to us the meaning of the presence of God in our lives. Yeshua made atonement for us and provides us with the continual presence of God in our lives!

    Reading Tehillim / Psalms 13:2, ג עַד-אָנָה אָשִׁית עֵצוֹת בְּנַפְשִׁי יָגוֹן בִּלְבָבִי יוֹמָם עַד-אָנָה | יָרוּם אֹיְבִי עָלָי: 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? (NASB) Today, we have the counsel of God in the Name of Yeshua the Messiah. The enemy is thrown down, defeated, and conquered. But even in the midst of the salvation God has brought in Yeshua, in this life we still have trouble. Have you ever wondered whether God has forgotten you or has hidden His face for you? Have you ever wondered why the Lord seems to let us walk through trouble in live alone? The reason is the Lord tarries so that we will seek Him and walk by faith. David had to walk in faith that the Lord would save him from his enemies. In Tehillim / Psalms 13:1 it appears he is looking for the Lord to physically manifest His presence to confirm that He has heard his prayer; however, the Lord tarries in order to increase David’s faith. Consider if you are seeking an answer from the Lord today and do not hear from Him, it may be that God is working to increase your faith.

    If the Lord does not answer him, David says that it will be as if he lays down with the dead, based upon what He says in Tehillim / Psalms 13:3, ד הַבִּיטָה עֲנֵנִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָי הָאִירָה עֵינַי פֶּן-אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת: 13:3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; Enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, (NASB) David says that if the Lord does not answer him, he will lay down with or dwell with death (אִישַׁן הַמָּוֶת). Here we can see the desperate cry to seek answers asking the Lord to consider what is happening, how his enemies are coming against the righteous and to provide an answer for, to enlighten the eye, to reveal or show that He is there to save him. The enemies of God boast when they strike down the people of God. On the other hand, as the people of God, what does Scripture say we should do when we see our enemy fall? King Solomon wrote in Mishley / Proverbs 24:17 יז בִּנְפֹל אוֹיִבְיךָ [אוֹיִבְךָ] אַל-תִּשְֹמָח וּבִכָּשְׁלוֹ אַל-יָגֵל לִבֶּךָ: 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; (NASB). In addition to this, Solomon said in Mishley / Proverbs 25:21-22 כא אִם-רָעֵב שֹנַאֲךָ הַאֲכִלֵהוּ לָחֶם וְאִם-צָמֵא הַשְׁקֵהוּ מָיִם: כב כִּי גֶחָלִים אַתָּה חֹתֶה עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ וַיהֹוָה יְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ: 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 25:22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you. (NASB) Reading these verses from David’s son Solomon, our attitude and response towards our enemies is to be different because we are a holy people. David questions the Lord on the lack of apparent action against the wickedness that is around him. He is frustrated with the problems on the attack of his enemies and the seemingly inconsistency with the righteous character of God. The Lord is patient with the wicked and does not intervene for two reasons, the first reason is so we are able to look back and see God’s hand in our deliverance, the second is to show mercy and allow time for the wicked to repent of their ways and turn to Him. We should not ask for or demand judgment from God against our enemies; we should seek the Lord to work in the heart of our enemies and to move them to repent and seek the one true living creator God.

    According to Hebrews 12:11 we read a commentary on how God disciplines His children. A contrast is made between the earthly father and our Father who is in heaven.

    Hebrews 12:6-17

    12:6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, And He scourges every son whom He receives.’ 12:7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 12:8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 12:9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. 12:12 Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 12:13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. 12:14 Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 12:17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. (NASB)

    6ὃν γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ κύριος παιδεύει, μαστιγοῖ δὲ πάντα υἱὸν ὃν παραδέχεται. 7εἰς παιδείαν ὑπομένετε: ὡς υἱοῖς ὑμῖν προσφέρεται ὁ θεός: τίς γὰρ υἱὸς ὃν οὐ παιδεύει πατήρ; 8εἰ δὲ χωρίς ἐστε παιδείας ἧς μέτοχοι γεγόνασιν πάντες, ἄρα νόθοι καὶ οὐχ υἱοί ἐστε. 9εἶτα τοὺς μὲν τῆς σαρκὸς ἡμῶν πατέρας εἴχομεν παιδευτὰς καὶ ἐνετρεπόμεθα: οὐ πολὺ [δὲ] μᾶλλον ὑποταγησόμεθα τῷ πατρὶ τῶν πνευμάτων καὶ ζήσομεν; 10οἱ μὲν γὰρ πρὸς ὀλίγας ἡμέρας κατὰ τὸ δοκοῦν αὐτοῖς ἐπαίδευον, ὁ δὲ ἐπὶ τὸ συμφέρον εἰς τὸ μεταλαβεῖν τῆς ἁγιότητος αὐτοῦ. 11πᾶσα δὲ παιδεία πρὸς μὲν τὸ παρὸν οὐ δοκεῖ χαρᾶς εἶναι ἀλλὰ λύπης, ὕστερον δὲ καρπὸν εἰρηνικὸν τοῖς δι’ αὐτῆς γεγυμνασμένοις ἀποδίδωσιν δικαιοσύνης. 12Διὸ τὰς παρειμένας χεῖρας καὶ τὰ παραλελυμένα γόνατα ἀνορθώσατε, 13καὶ τροχιὰς ὀρθὰς ποιεῖτε τοῖς ποσὶν ὑμῶν, ἵνα μὴ τὸ χωλὸν ἐκτραπῇ, ἰαθῇ δὲ μᾶλλον. 14Εἰρήνην διώκετε μετὰ πάντων, καὶ τὸν ἁγιασμόν, οὗ χωρὶς οὐδεὶς ὄψεται τὸν κύριον, 15ἐπισκοποῦντες μή τις ὑστερῶν ἀπὸ τῆς χάριτος τοῦ θεοῦ, μή τις ῥίζα πικρίας ἄνω φύουσα ἐνοχλῇ καὶ δι’ αὐτῆς μιανθῶσιν πολλοί, 16μή τις πόρνος ἢ βέβηλος ὡς Ἠσαῦ, ὃς ἀντὶ βρώσεως μιᾶς ἀπέδετο τὰ πρωτοτόκια ἑαυτοῦ. 17ἴστε γὰρ ὅτι καὶ μετέπειτα θέλων κληρονομῆσαι τὴν εὐλογίαν ἀπεδοκιμάσθη, μετανοίας γὰρ τόπον οὐχ εὗρεν, καίπερ μετὰ δακρύων ἐκζητήσας αὐτήν.

    According to these Scriptures, the Lord allows trouble and affliction in our lives for our good. The writer of Hebrews says 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (NASB) God’s correction, our sorrow in affliction, these things lead to the fruit of righteousness. In Tehillim / Psalms 13:5 we see David summarizes the sins of his adversaries saying ה פֶּן-יֹאמַר אֹיְבִי יְכָלְתִּיו צָרַי יָגִילוּ כִּי אֶמּוֹט: 13:4 And my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ And my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. (NASB) Our enemies rejoice, they have pride in their evil desires and their evil actions. They boast of the cravings of their hearts, pride leads to drunkenness, immorality, and destruction. The wicked show their approval of evil and sin and approve of other’s sin and worse bless the sins of others. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 1:32 saying 32οἵτινες τὸ δικαίωμα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπιγνόντες, ὅτι οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες ἄξιοι θανάτου εἰσίν, οὐ μόνον αὐτὰ ποιοῦσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ συνευδοκοῦσιν τοῖς πράσσουσιν. 1:32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (NASB) Was Paul thinking of the Psalm of David, that such people revile the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 10:3) and deny the providence of God (Tehillim / Psalms 10:5-6)?

    Despite the plans of the wicked, the Lord indeed continues to reign on high. David realizes this and by faith he believes that the Lord has the power to overcome his enemies. This is the reason for his plea to the Lord and for the final statement of the Tehillim / Psalm saying ו ַאֲנִי | בְּחַסְדְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי יָגֵל לִבִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה כִּי גָמַל עָלָי: 13:5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. 13:6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (NASB) In Tehillim / Psalms 13, we learn that though David questions the Lord on whether He is unconcerned with the unjust situation that he is encountering, God’s intervention is not always obvious. The Lord is in fact at work in times of trouble, we know this because God lives in righteousness and justice, He hears the desire of the afflicted (Tehillim / Psalms 10:17) and defends the fatherless and the oppressed (Tehillim / Psalms 10:18). The Lord holds in balance His patience toward the wicked and His mercy toward the helpless. Therefore, in the Lord we wait anxiously for the day of deliverance from our enemies. As David praises the Lord in the mercy and grace of God, we are also to trust in the mercy and grace of the Lord God Almighty. According to the Apostle John, in 1 John 3:14 he writes 14ἡμεῖς οἴδαμεν ὅτι μεταβεβήκαμεν ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου εἰς τὴν ζωήν, ὅτι ἀγαπῶμεν τοὺς ἀδελφούς: ὁ μὴ ἀγαπῶν μένει ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ. 3:14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. (NASB) The Lord God Almighty, in His mercy, sent Yeshua the Messiah, to save us from sin. It is only in the Messiah that we are able to pass out of death into life and to love one another, especially our enemies. In Christ we become members of the body of believers, and love one another. Such love can only come from the Lord above, this is the meaning of being born from above, the Lord working in our hearts to trust in His mercy and rejoice in His Salvation.

    Rabbinic Commentary

    The rabbinic commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 13 has 5 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 13 Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 13, Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4

    Part 1:

    • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “For the leader. A Psalm of David. How long will You forget me, O Lord? (Tehillim / Psalms 13:1-2).”
    • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, And it came to pass, that He called, and they would not hear, so they will call, and I will not hear, said the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 7:13).”
    • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis turn the question on how long will the Lord forget to the people who forgot the Lord, the four kingdoms that cried out in their distress.
    • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and goes on to expand upon the meaning of the rabbinic twist on those who forget the Lord, the Lord forgets them, and Scripture to support the interpretation.
    • The Concluding phrase says “The needy will not always be forgotten (Tehillim / Psalms 9:19). And yet You forget us.”

Part 2:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “How long will You forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (Tehillim / Psalms 13:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “According to Rabbi Khanina, the congregation of Israel says to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the Universe, in generations past You did fight our battles for us, as is said For then is the Lord gone out before you to smite the host of the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:24).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis again turn the question on how the Lord went out before the people in battle, but today the Lord does not, and how the people have turned their backs on the Lord.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and goes on to expand upon the meaning of the parables laid out to help interpret the meaning of the Dibur Hamathil.
  • The Concluding phrase says “But the Holy One blessed be He, also says to the congregation of Israel, In this world I have hid My face from you, but They will see eye to eye, when the Lord will bring again Zion (Isaiah 52:8) in the time to come.”

Part 3:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “How long will mine enemy be raised high above me? (Tehillim / Psalms 13:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, After these things did Ahasuerus raise Haman high and exalt him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him (Esther 3:1).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis ask the question of what height do they raise Haman?.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and goes on to expand upon the meaning of the height Haman was raised making reference to the letters lamed and yod.
  • The Concluding phrase says “I risk my life on the account of the decrees issued against me by the nations of the earth for the purpose of destroying Your Torah and Your commandments, for their sake, I expose myself to death.”

Part 4:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Behold You, and answer me, O Lord my God, lighten my eyes, lest I sleep of death (Tehillim / Psalms 13:4).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “that is, lest I be worn out in the stupor of banishment among the nations.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis make the discussion between David and the Lord, the Lord asks why he asks peremptory words of the Lord and David responds.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and goes on to expand upon the meaning of the parable to discuss the mercy of God.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Hence it is said I will sin unto the Lord, because He will deal bountifully with me.”

Midrash Tehillim 13 Part 1, opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) the introductory phrase stating from Tehillim / Psalms 13:1-2 “For the leader. A Psalm of David. How long will You forget me, O Lord? The “homiletic introduction” to the Midrash פתיחתא (Petihta) says “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, And it came to pass, that He called, and they would not hear, so they will call, and I will not hear, said the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 7:13).” The rabbis look at the question on how long will the Lord forget David and speak of those who have forgotten the Lord. The נמשל (Nimshal) goes on to expand upon the meaning of the rabbinic question on those who forget the Lord. The midrash states that The Holy One blessed be He, declared, Four times did I ask How long? How long will this people despise Me? (Bamidbar / Numbers 14:27). Four times will you also ask How long? (אמר הקב״ה לפי שאמרתי ארבעה פעמים עד אנה, כדכתיב עד אנה ינאצוני (במדבר יד יא), ועד אנה לא יאמינו בי) The four times complaining is drawn as a parallel to the Lord delivering Israel to four kingdoms, so that the nation will cry out four times in her distress. The four kingdoms are (i) Babylon, (ii) Media and Persia, (iii) Greece, and (iv) Edom. The concept of four kingdoms reminds us of Daniel’s prophecy in the book of Daniel chapter 7 and the four great beasts. Daniel’s vision of the “great image” in Daniel 2:31-43, and the “four great beasts” in chapter seven (7:1-8), are viewed by most students of the Scriptures as representing four successive world kingdoms. These four kingdoms, as seen by most, begin with Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and end with a revived Roman Empire under Antichrist.

Summary of Daniel’s Visions

  1. The head of gold (2:32, 38) and the first great beast (7:4) deal with the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and his successor, his son, Belshazzar (605 B.C. to 538 B.C.)
  2. The breast and arms of silver (2:32, 39) and the second great beast (7:5) have to do with the Medo-Persian kingdom, beginning with Darius and Cyrus, rulers of Media and Persia at the time of the conquest (538 B.C. to 330 B.C.).
  3. The belly and thighs of brass (2:32, 39) and the third great beast (7:6) have to do with the Grecian kingdom (330 B.C. to 323 B.C. and beyond), beginning with a conquest of the Medo-Persian kingdom by Alexander the Great, who died seven years later (323 B.C.). The kingdom was then divided into four parts, with Alexander the Great’s four generals each commanding a part. And the kingdom, over time, gradually faded from existence as a world power.
  4. The legs of iron and feet part of iron and part of clay (2:33, 40-43) and the fourth great beast (7:7-8) have to do with the Roman Empire, forming a Roman kingdom (27 B.C. to 476 A.D.), followed by a revived Roman Empire, forming a future Roman kingdom.

This is the position set forth in the Scofield Reference Bible, a position followed by most premillennial commentators. The only part of the prophecy where the interpretation is really in question, aside from understanding that there is an inseparable connection with Babylon throughout, would be the fourth part of the image and the corresponding fourth beast. Viewing the great image and the great beasts together, Daniel identifies the first three parts of the image and the corresponding first three beasts as particular nations that either began in Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom) or later came in and conquered the nation ruling in Babylon (the Medes and the Persians, and then Greece). And this part of the prophecy has been fulfilled and is a matter of history (i.e. Daniel 2:38, 5:18, 5:22-31,8:3-8, 8:20-22). But should the fourth part of the image (or the fourth beast) be identified as Rome? There are two main reasons why people interpret the prophecy after this fashion: (1) Rome was the next world power following Greece; and (2) the words, “and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary,” in Daniel 9:26, are usually associated with a Roman destruction in history (under Titus in 70 A.D.) and a Roman prince (Antichrist) in prophecy both connected with the fourth part of the image or the fourth beast.

In the midrash, the fourth kingdom related to the four times asking “How long” is that of Edom. The midrash quotes Tehillim / Psalm 13:2-3 saying How long will You forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long will I take counsel in my soul How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” In the first kingdom (Babylon) the people will cry “how long will You forget me, O Lord? Forever?” In the second kingdom (Media and Persia) the people cry “how long will you hide Your face from me?” In the third kingdom (Greece), the people will cry “how long will I take counsel in my soul?” And in the fourth kingdom (Edom), the people will cry “how long will mine enemy be exalted over me?” It is interesting that at this point in the midrash, the rabbis say that the verse is read “In another comment, the verse is read How long, O Lord? Will You forget, O Strength (Tehillim / Psalms 13:2)” (דבר אחר עד אנה ה׳ תשכחני נצח), here the “Lord” is replaced with “Strength” and the congregation of Israel asks the Lord is one a king without a throne, is one a king without a crown, is a king without a palace? And the people refer to 1 Samuel 15:29, כט וְגַם נֵצַח יִשְֹרָאֵל לֹא יְשַׁקֵּר וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם כִּי לֹא אָדָם הוּא לְהִנָּחֵם: 15:29 ‘Also the Strength of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.’ The Lord is the strength of Israel.

Hebrew

ב עַד-אָנָה יְהֹוָה תִּשְׁכָּחֵנִי נֶצַח עַד-אָנָה | תַּסְתִּיר אֶת-פָּנֶיךָ מִמֶּנִּי: 13:1 How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (NASB)

Aramaic

ב עד אן יהוה תשלינני לעלמין עד אן תטמור זיו אפך מיני׃ 13:2 How long, O Lord, will you neglect me forever? How long will you hide the splendor of your face from me? (EMC)

Greek

13:2 ἕως πότε κύριε ἐπιλήσῃ μου εἰς τέλος ἕως πότε ἀποστρέψεις τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ 13:1 How long, O Lord, wilt thou forget me? for ever? how long wilt thou turn away thy face from me? (LXX)

The midrash then goes on to explain how God is not a liar, He is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent (Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19). The second half of Midrash Tehillim 13, part 1, rabbis begin a new discussion to reason that God is not a liar that he should forget and give various examples to prove this is so. God remembered Israel while in bondage, and He judged that nation that had afflicted Israel 400 years (Bereshit / Genesis 15:13-14). The Lord said to Abraham, that in Isaac will seed be called to you (Bereshit / Genesis 21:12). The Lord told Abraham to take his only son and offer him as a sacrifice (Bereshit / Genesis 22:2), the Lord remembered his promise. God is not a man that He should lie. The midrash concludes saying that from a teachers chair a certain man was expounding on the words You will not afflict any widow, or fatherless child (Shemot / Exodus 22:21). A widow heard him and came to him and the man said to her “go away” and she replied “had I not heard you say You will not afflict any widow or fatherless child, I would not have come to you.” Even so Israel said to the Holy One blessed be He, we would not have come to You, had we not depended on your mercy for you declared “The needy will not always be forgotten (Tehillim / Psalms 9:19). And yet You forget us.” Based upon the midrash and the Scripture references that were made, we know that God has not forsaken us, and he will never leave us. In history we see how God chastised his children sending them into the nations and calling them back to the Promised Land of Israel. The three kingdoms, Babylon, Media and Persia, and Greece, the Lord delivered Israel. In the kingdom to come, at the end of the age, even though times may be desperate and though we may go through great trials, we can rest assured that the Lord has not forgotten us. The Lord remembers you and I because He loves us.

Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 2 introduces the commentary with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) again asking the question “How long will You forget me, O Lord? Forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? (Tehillim / Psalms 13:2).” The homiletic introduction to the Psalm, the פתיחתא (Petihta) states “According to Rabbi Khanina, the congregation of Israel says to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the Universe, in generations past You did fight our battles for us, as is said For then is the Lord gone out before you to smite the host of the Philistines (2 Samuel 5:24).” The rabbis look at Tehillim / Psalms 13:2 and ask the question, based upon the Scriptures, how the Lord went out before the people in battle, but today the Lord does not, has the Lord cast off His people because he presently is not going to battle for them? The rabbis say that the people have turned their backs on the Lord. In the midrash specifically they say that the people have turned their faces and their backs from the habitation of the Lord. What does it mean to turn one’s back on the habitation of the Lord? Can you think of any examples today where God’s children have turned their backs on the habitation of the Lord? The Scripture references in the midrash are from 2 Chronicles and Jeremiah (2 Chronicles 29:6 ‘For our fathers have been unfaithful and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs., Jeremiah 2:27 Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ And to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their back to Me, And not their face; But in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us.’ NASB) The Concluding phrase says “But the Holy One blessed be He, also says to the congregation of Israel, In this world I have hid My face from you, but They will see eye to eye, when the Lord will bring again Zion (Isaiah 52:8) in the time to come.” The concluding statement of Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 2 makes a reference to the bringing again Zion in the time to come, that in this world God has hid his face, but in the world to come we will see Him face to face (eye to eye). Studying Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 2, can we say that the Lord is not going to battle for us if our enemies have surrounded us on all sides? If a person has turned his back to the Lord, essentially walking away from God, is there any hope for such a person? What about the person who turns from the commandments and begins to walk according to what he feels is right in his own mind and not according to the Word of God? Is there hope for deliverance from enemies when living in such a state? These questions are very important for us today, how we are to live, how we are to treat others, and out relationship with the Lord God of Israel. All of Scripture is important for us to live by, not only a few, or a selection of verses that we feel are the best to neglect the rest.

In Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 3, the midrash is introduced with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “How long will mine enemy be raised high above me? (Tehillim / Psalms 13:3).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” directs our attention to another Scripture saying “These words are to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, After these things did Ahasuerus raise Haman high and exalt him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him (Esther 3:1).” A parallel is drawn to David asking how long will his enemy be raised above him and Haman who wanted to kill all of the Jews in the book of Esther. Rabbi Akiba asked “to what height did Ahasuerus raise up Haman?” To the height of the gallows that was fifty cubits high. One line in the commentary uses the gematria is saying the letters כ (20)and ל (30) in the word כל (all) add up to 50, however it is unclear whether this has any particular meaning on the interpretation of Tehillim / Psalms 13:3, the line is kind of left hanging. All of Tehillim / Psalms 13:3 states “How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me?” (NASB) The rabbis say “Although I am sorrowfully oppressed by the kingdoms, yet I continue with my whole heart to observe the Torah and the commandments which You gave me on Sinai. I practice circumcision, I keep the Shabbat, and I set aside the priest’s portion of the bread.” (עד אנה אשית עצות בנפשי. אף על פי שאני משועבדת במלכיות, תורה ומצות שנתת לי בסיני אני מקיים בנפשי, מילה אני עושה, שבת אני משמרת, חלה אני מפרשת.) Here the rabbis suggest that observing the mitzvot (commandments), particularly these three things, circumcision, the Shabbat, and setting aside the priest’s portion of the bread, that these three things should some how cause their enemies to not be raised up. What is the purpose of observing the command? It seems that this would be the historical understanding on the commandments, a man earns his way to safety, to well being, and to God’s favor. But what is the purpose of the commandments? The Chabad-Lubavitch, a Chasidic movement in Orthodox Judaism, one of the world’s larger and best-known Chasidic movements, teaches that the Ten Commandments highlight or outline the entire Torah. A Midrash on Shemot / Exodus 20 (Yalkut Shimoni to Exodus 20:2) makes the statement that “it says the first word of the Ten Commandments is in the Egyptian language.” The Ten Commandments were heard from God by all the people of Israel at the mountain of Sinai. The first Command, “I am God, your God, who took you out of the Land of Egypt” is the basic statement of our relationship with the Lord. The first word, Anokhi, meaning, “I am” indicating that God is speaking of Himself, and communicating with us. The Midrash on Shemot / Exodus 20 says that this first word Anokhi is Egyptian, because the Lord wanted to speak to the people in the language they had learned while in Egypt. This tells us something about the nature of Torah and of being a child of God. The Lord does not want to relate to us only on the sacred, spiritual level of our lives, represented by the Hebrew, the holy language. He wants to touch us in the earthly “Egyptian” dimension, at the level of our day to day lives. The Lord is at work to ultimately transform our lives into something holy, separate unto God. The Lord is the one who helps us to have transformed lives therefore “For this reason Anokhi, the first word of the Ten Commandments, is in Egyptian: it reaches down to the “Egyptian” person inside us and transforms him or her into a Jew.” (Lubavitcher Rebbe’s Likkutei Sichot vol.3, p.893) We know when studying the Scriptures, that God called them “His Children” and that He heard the cry of Israel in their affliction. God delivered the children of Israel from bondage, and then brought them to the mountain of Sinai. It was only then that He gave the Torah to Moshe and to the people. It was not in the reverse order, God did not tell the people to observe the Torah then I will deliver you, observe the Torah and then I will save you. Vayikra / Leviticus 11:44 shows this interpretation to be true.

Vayikra / Leviticus 11:44

11:44 ‘For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth. 11:45 ‘For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.’‘ (NASB)

מד כִּי אֲנִי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתֶּם וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי וְלֹא תְטַמְּאוּ אֶת-נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם בְּכָל-הַשֶּׁרֶץ הָרֹמֵשֹ עַל-הָאָרֶץ: [מפטיר] מה כִּי | אֲנִי יְהֹוָה הַמַּעֲלֶה אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים וִהְיִיתֶם קְדֹשִׁים כִּי קָדוֹשׁ אָנִי:

God told the people to consecrate themselves and to be holy because He is holy, and the reason being is that the Lord delivered the people and brought them up out of Egypt to be their God, therefore be holy because He is holy. There is a lead-lag relationship here, the Lord leads, we follow. Similarly to the account of the Apostolic Writings and the life of Yeshua, He led the way, we follow. He laid down his life for us, we should lay our lives down for others. He served us, we are to do likewise and serve others. In Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 3, the rabbis say “In a different interpretation, the verse is read How long will I take counsel against my life, having sorrow in my heart daily? (Tehillim / Psalms 13:3). I risk my life on the account of the decrees issued against me by the nations of the earth for the purpose of destroying Your Torah and Your commandments, for their sake, I expose myself to death.” (דבר אחר בנפשי, אני מתחייבת בנפשי מפני הגזירות שאומות העולם גוזרין עלי לבטל תורתך ומצותיך, ומוסרת נפשי עליהם.) In another interpretation on Tehillim / Psalms 13:3, the rabbis say they risk their lives because the nations cast judgment against us for the purpose of destroying the Torah and God’s commandments. It is because of our faith in God and in His Messiah Yeshua, that we live the way we do as a holy people before God. The Scriptures say in Tehillim / Psalms 2 א לָמָּה רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם וּלְאֻמִּים יֶהְגוּ-רִיק: ב יִתְיַצְּבוּ | מַלְכֵי-אֶרֶץ וְרוֹזְנִים נוֹסְדוּ-יָחַד עַל-יְהֹוָה וְעַל-מְשִׁיחוֹ: 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, nations rage, (NASB) Studying the Scriptures, we know when the nations rage the Lord is still at work and is working to not only transform us into His likeness but also to defeat our enemies in their wicked plans.

Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 4 is introduced with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Behold You, and answer me, O Lord my God, lighten my eyes, lest I sleep of death (Tehillim / Psalms 13:4).” The homiletic introduction (פתיחתא, Petihta) states “that is, lest I be worn out in the stupor of banishment among the nations.” The lack of a answer from God is as to sleep in death, and is paralleled to being warn out in the stupor of banishment among the nations. The rabbis postulate a discussion that may have taken place between David and the Lord, saying When the Holy One blessed be He, asked David, the insolence of you to speak of such peremptory words to Me. David Answered, because I trust in Your mercy, In Your mercy do I trust (Tehillim / Psalms 13:6)” In the נמשל (Nimshal) the rabbis expand these words between the Lord and David and discuss the mercy of God.

אני בוטח על חסדך, ואני בחסדך בטחתי, באותו החסד שנאמר בך, חסד ה׳ מלאה הארץ (תהלים לג ה), וכתיב אם אמרתי מטה רגלי חסדך ה׳ יסעדני (תהלים צד יח). דבר אחר ואני בחסדך בטחתי. בתורתך, שכתוב בה ותורת חסד על לשונה (משלי לא כו). יגל לבי בישועתך.

In Your mercy do I trust (Tehillim / Psalms 13:6), in the mercy ascribed to You in the verse The earth, O Lord, is full of Your mercy (Tehillim / Psalms 119:64), and again in the verse When I said MY foot slips, Your mercy O Lord, held me up (Tehillim / Psalms 94:18), Your mercy being Your Torah, which is called The Torah of mercy (Mishley / Proverbs 31:26). My heart will rejoice in Your salvation (Tehillim / Psalms 13:6).

Speaking of the mercy of God, the Rabbis make a reference to Mishley / Proverbs 31:26 that states כו פִּיהָ פָּתְחָה בְחָכְמָה וְתוֹרַת-חֶסֶד עַל-לְשׁוֹנָהּ: 31:26 She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the Torah [teaching] of mercy/grace [kindness] is on her tongue. (NASB) Reading this verse from Proverbs and the comments made by the rabbis in Midrash Tehillim 13 Part 4, this seems to stand contrary to Christian interpretation (exegesis) that has had a tendency to regard the law of the Tanach (the “old” covenant) as irrelevant because of the grace of God which is revealed in the Apostolic Writings (the New Testament). Popular Christian theology, especially that of the dispensationalists, often maintains that Yeshua (Jesus) has somehow transformed God from a God of legalism and law in the Old Testament, into the God of grace and love in the New. It is taught that the Old Testament is characterized as a book which endorses legalism in order to bring each individual to faith. Moreover, contained within the exegetical technique of Christianity, Judaism of the time of Yeshua is described as a works-righteousness religion where every individual is required to earn his or her own salvation through personal merit and good deeds. This fundamental misunderstanding of early Jewish thought and the relationship between the Tanach (Old Testament) and the faith of the early church has caused a serious problem on the perception of the Apostle Paul, that Paul’s opinion and purpose his epistles supports this theology. The fact of the matter is that the God of the Tanach has not undergone a strange metamorphosis to different patterns of behavior. We must recognize that God is God of both the Old Testament and the New. Reading in Parashat Ki Tisa, in Shemot / Exodus 34:6, the Lord God answers Moshe saying ו וַיַּעֲבֹר יְהוָֹה | עַל-פָּנָיו וַיִּקְרָא יְהוָֹה | יְהֹוָה אֵל רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חֶסֶד וֶאֱמֶת: ז נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵֹא עָוֹן וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה פֹּקֵד | עֲוֹן אָבוֹת עַל-בָּנִים וְעַל-בְּנֵי בָנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים: ח וַיְמַהֵר מֹשֶׁה וַיִּקֹּד אַרְצָה וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ: 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, חֶסֶד) and truth; 34:7 who keeps lovingkindness (Grace, חֶסֶד) for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’ 34:8 Moshe made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship. (NASB) Here the Lord God Almighty describes Himself and His divine attributes which we find reiterated throughout scripture (Bamidbar / Numbers 14:18, Nehemiah 9:17, Tehilim / Psalms 103:8,17, 145:8, Jeremiah 32:18-19, Joel 2:13, and Jonah 4:2). Note that what God says about himself falls within the context of the sin of idolatry by the children of Israel and their breaking the newly established covenant that they have made with the Lord. In Parashat Ki Tisa, the children of Israel failed to recognize the covenant they had made with the Lord as it says in Shemot / Exodus 20:3 ג לֹא-יִהְיֶה לְךָ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים עַל-פָּנָי: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” The people demanded that Aaron make gods to go before them (32:1 א וַיַּרְא הָעָם כִּי-בֹשֵׁשׁ מֹשֶׁה לָרֶדֶת מִן-הָהָר וַיִּקָּהֵל הָעָם עַל-אַהֲרֹן וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו קוּם | עֲשֵֹה-לָנוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר יֵלְכוּ לְפָנֵינוּ כִּי-זֶה | מֹשֶׁה הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָנוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֹא יָדַעְנוּ מֶה-הָיָה לוֹ:) This was a great sin but yet God fulfilled His promise, in the midst of the sin of the people and the Lord gives Moshe a fresh revelation of His glory. According to Shemot / Exodus 34:1-5 the Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him (Moshe) (34:5, ה וַיֵּרֶד יְהוָֹה בֶּעָנָן וַיִּתְיַצֵּב עִמּוֹ שָׁם וַיִּקְרָא בְשֵׁם יְהוָֹה:) Here the cloud (עָנָן) is associated with the very presence of God. It is interesting while looking at this verse in Shemot / Exodus 34:5 it says “and descended YHVH in the cloud and ‘stood before’ with him there, and proclaimed in the name of YHVH.” Based on the structure of the sentence, the one proclaiming the name of God is God Himself. The context indicates that the Lord God descended (His glory descended) and He proclaimed His own Name which consists of the attributes consistent with the promises that were made to the Patriarchs. In the attributes God lists of Himself in Shemot / Exodus 34, His compassion was demonstrated in 32:14 and His being favorable is demonstrated in 33:12-17 the process in which Moshe seeks to find favor and God agrees with Him. His slowness to grow angry is attested too in Shemot / Exodus 14:11-12. All of these things describe His unchanging love and reliability that is demonstrated in the discussion Moshe has with the Lord and being able to plead on behalf of the people. The cancelation (forgiveness) of the people’s disobedience with the golden calf is consistent with what God says נֹצֵר חֶסֶד לָאֲלָפִים נֹשֵֹא עָוֹן וָפֶשַׁע וְחַטָּאָה וְנַקֵּה לֹא יְנַקֶּה פֹּקֵד | עֲוֹן אָבוֹת עַל-בָּנִים וְעַל-בְּנֵי בָנִים עַל-שִׁלֵּשִׁים וְעַל-רִבֵּעִים 34:7 who keeps lovingkindness (Grace, חֶסֶד) for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;…” Here in Shemot / Exodus and throughout the Torah, the Lord reveals Himself in His works and relationship with His people. He is described as being full of grace and mercy in both testaments. Even when Moshe received the Torah on the mountain of Sinai, the Scripture says, “The LORD passed before him, and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love…” Here in the heart of the giving of the law, on the mountain of Sinai itself, the Lord is described in terms of mercy and grace. In fact, this is not the only place in the Hebrew Bible where mercy and grace are attributed to the LORD. The same description appears in many other passages and most significantly in the Psalms of David. Consider for example the words of Tehillim / Psalm 103:8, ח רַחוּם וְחַנּוּן יְהֹוָה אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב-חָסֶד: “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” The Psalmist is hinting at Shemot / Exodus 34:6 because he knew that his hearers would be acquainted with this verse and the grace message that is flowing throughout the words of the Torah. The LORD God of Israel loves his people and shows them compassion. The Jewish mind set of the Hebrew authors of the Bible was dominated by the concept of divine mercy, and we can see this in the Midrash on Tehillim 13 (Part 4).

The grace and mercy of God is apparent throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, however, we need to be aware also of the warnings of future recompense and judgment which appear not only in the Old Testament but also in the New Testament. Just as the Tanach is not exclusively a book of retribution and judgment, the Apostolic Writings (New Testament) is not exclusively a book of mercy and grace. Numerous warnings of the coming wrath of God appear in the New Testament. It is because many times the preaching of the Gospels and all of the New Testament is focused on one side (grace) therefore the way many Christian teachers have taught, we do not expect judgment for wrong in the New Testament and grace in the Torah. In the words of Jesus, however, there are more references to the fires of eternal punishment than in any other part of sacred scripture. The book of the Revelation of John describes the “lake of fire.” This imagery presents us with a very strong warning; the God who is described in both testaments, is the Lord of creation to whom every human being owes obedience. Each individual is responsible to God for his or her actions. According to the apostle Paul, every person must give an account before the judgment seat (Romans 14:10, 10σὺ δὲ τί κρίνεις τὸν ἀδελφόν σου; ἢ καὶ σὺ τί ἐξουθενεῖς τὸν ἀδελφόν σου; πάντες γὰρ παραστησόμεθα τῷ βήματι τοῦ θεοῦ:, 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. NASB). Studying the Midrashic literature, the rabbis cultivated the idea that the Torah contained mercy and grace and promoted the significance of divine compassion, that God’s mercy will be given to the sinner.

The most effective way to correct these our understanding on the interpretations of Paul’s epistles is to translate the Scriptures with a sensitivity to the face that God is merciful and full of grace (Shemot / Exodus 34) according to the Torah and that Paul is speaking to a culture that is very sensitive to this very context. In addition to this, the understanding Paul’s use of the term “righteousness” is a complex and a interesting issue of exegesis. In light of the mercy and grace of God, often the term righteousness is to be translated as “life of righteousness” or “way of righteous living,” that our being justified in the Messiah (Christ) we are to live in and walk in righteousness before God. According to the Scriptures, we are to talk in the way of righteousness believing in Yeshua and receiving empowerment from the Holy Spirit. The “life of righteousness” or “way of righteous living” is the evidence of our salvation or true redemption, because God is working in our lives to transform us into His likeness and into the likeness of His Son. The disciple becomes involved in the redemptive actions of helping others as a consequence of his or her relationship with God through faith in Yeshua. The hungry need food, the destitute must receive clothing, the homeless require shelter, the sick and those in prison need personal attention. The conceptual values of grace and faith in Paul’s teachings are riveted in Torah. Faith leads to righteousness. Grace opens the door for the individual to experience God in the dynamics of every day life. Paul boldly proclaims in Romans 6:22-23 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In Midrash Tehillim 13, Part 4, “Rabbi Abbahu taught, This is one of those difficult verses which declare that the salvation of the Holy One blessed be He, depends upon the salvation of the people of Israel. Note that it is not written My heart will rejoice in my salvation, but in Your salvation, by which David meant, Your salvation depends upon our salvation. Another comment, In the kingdom of Babylon we said in Your mercy do I trust, in the kingdom of Persia and Media we said MY heart will rejoice in Your salvation, in Greece we said I will sing unto the Lord, and in Rome we say because He will deal bountifully with me.” (אמר ר׳ אבהו זה אחד מן המקראות הקשות שישועתן של הקב״ה הוא ישועתן של ישראל, יגל לבי בישועתי אין כתיב כאן, אלא בישועתך, אמר דוד ישועתך היא ישועתנו. דבר אחר ואני בחסדך בטחתי. במלכות בבל. יגל לבי בישועתך. במלכות פרס ומדי. אשירה לה׳. כיון. כי גמל עלי. באדום. דבר אחר כי גמל עלי.) The rabbis speak of the salvation of the Lord depends upon the salvation of His people. This means that the Lord is working in our lives, He saved us, He has saved us and He is going to save us. This has past, present, and future implications. The children of Israel were saved by the hand of God in the deliverance from bondage in Egypt, The Psalm states that ו וַאֲנִי | בְּחַסְדְּךָ בָטַחְתִּי יָגֵל לִבִּי בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה כִּי גָמַל עָלָי: 13:5 But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. (NASB) David rejoiced in the salvation of the Lord because he trusted in His grace (בְּחַסְדְּךָ, lovingkindness). The midrash concludes with the phrase saying “Hence it is said I will sin unto the Lord, because He will deal bountifully with me” concluding with Tehillim / Psalms 13:6 אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה כִּי גָמַל עָלָי: 13:6 I will sing to the Lord, Because He has dealt bountifully with me. (NASB) In Yeshua the Messiah, the Lord has truly dealt bountifully with us. What a wonderful God we serve! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 13-Part1-and-2 Notes: Notes_Tehillim_13

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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!