Tehillim / Psalms 130, ספר תהילים קל, Part 2, Mercy, Forgiveness, and Restoration are the Ways of God

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 130:1-8, the psalm opens saying, א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְהֹוָה: ב אֲדֹנָי שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁבוֹת לְקוֹל תַּחֲנוּנָי: 130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. 130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. (NASB) The psalmist seeks the Lord from the deepest recesses of his heart for the Lord to hear and move in his life to overcome the trial or tribulation he is going through. The psalmist ascribes anthropomorphic attributes to the Lord God in heaven having hears to listen to his prayer. There is nothing wrong with such an assertion, it allows us to visualize how the Lord hears our prayers. The psalmist admits his own short comings in relation to God’s Torah saying the following, ג אִם-עֲוֹנוֹת תִּשְׁמָר-יָהּ אֲדֹנָי מִי יַעֲמֹד: 130:3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? (NASB) David recognizes that all men fall short of the glory of God, that none can stand and relies upon the mercy of God to forgive saying the following, ד כִּי-עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה לְמַעַן תִּוָּרֵא: 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. (NASB) Note how he states the forgiveness of God within the context of fearing the Lord. We are not to take God’s forgiveness for granted! We with great respect and fear approach the Lord with repentant hearts to seek counsel and make petition for forgiveness. He continues saying the following, ה קִוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה קִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי וְלִדְבָרוֹ הוֹחָלְתִּי: ו נַפְשִׁי לַאדֹנָי מִשֹּׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר שֹׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר: 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. (NASB) The Psalmist concludes saying, ז יַחֵל יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶל-יְהוָה כִּי-עִם-יְהֹוָה הַחֶסֶד וְהַרְבֵּה עִמּוֹ פְדוּת: ח וְהוּא יִפְדֶּה אֶת-יִשְֹרָאֵל מִכֹּל עֲוֹנֹתָיו: 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. 130:8 And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities. (NASB) Redemption is found in the Lord, for mercy, forgiveness, and restoration are the ways of God’s love for His people.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קל

א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְהֹוָה: ב אֲדֹנָי שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁבוֹת לְקוֹל תַּחֲנוּנָי: ג אִם-עֲוֹנוֹת תִּשְׁמָר-יָהּ אֲדֹנָי מִי יַעֲמֹד: ד כִּי-עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה לְמַעַן תִּוָּרֵא: ה קִוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה קִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי וְלִדְבָרוֹ הוֹחָלְתִּי: ו נַפְשִׁי לַאדֹנָי מִשֹּׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר שֹׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר: ז יַחֵל יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶל-יְהוָה כִּי-עִם-יְהֹוָה הַחֶסֶד וְהַרְבֵּה עִמּוֹ פְדוּת: ח וְהוּא יִפְדֶּה אֶת-יִשְֹרָאֵל מִכֹּל עֲוֹנֹתָיו:

סםר טוביה פרק קל

א שירא דאתאמר על מסקיין״מסוקין#1#״ דתהומא מן עומקיא קריתך יהוה׃ ב יהוה קביל צלותי תהויין אודניך צייתין לקל צלותי׃ ג אין עויין תטור יה יהוה מן יקום׃ ד ארום גבך שביקותא מן בגלל דתתחמי׃ ה אמתינית יהוה מתינת נפשי ולאיקריה אוריכית׃ ו נפשי אוריכא ליהוה מן נטורי מטרת לצפרא דנטרין לקרבא קרבן צפרא׃ ז מוריך ישראל ליהוה ארום גבי יהוה חסדא וסגי עמיה פורקן׃ ח והוא יפרוק ית ישראל מכל עוייתיה׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 130

130:1 ᾠδὴ τῶν ἀναβαθμῶν ἐκ βαθέων ἐκέκραξά σε κύριε 130:2 κύριε εἰσάκουσον τῆς φωνῆς μου γενηθήτω τὰ ὦτά σου προσέχοντα εἰς τὴν φωνὴν τῆς δεήσεώς μου 130:3 ἐὰν ἀνομίας παρατηρήσῃ κύριε κύριε τίς ὑποστήσεται 130:4 ὅτι παρὰ σοὶ ὁ ἱλασμός ἐστιν 130:5 ἕνεκεν τοῦ νόμου σου ὑπέμεινά σε κύριε ὑπέμεινεν ἡ ψυχή μου εἰς τὸν λόγον σου 130:6 ἤλπισεν ἡ ψυχή μου ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον ἀπὸ φυλακῆς πρωίας μέχρι νυκτός ἀπὸ φυλακῆς πρωίας ἐλπισάτω Ισραηλ ἐπὶ τὸν κύριον 130:7 ὅτι παρὰ τῷ κυρίῳ τὸ ἔλεος καὶ πολλὴ πα αὐτῷ λύτρωσις 130:8 καὶ αὐτὸς λυτρώσεται τὸν Ισραηλ ἐκ πασῶν τῶν ἀνομιῶν αὐτοῦ

Tehillim Psalms 130

130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. 130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. 130:3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. 130:8 And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities. (NASB)

Toviyah Psalms 130

130:1 A song that was uttered on the ascents of the abyss. From the depths I have called you, O Lord. 130:2 O Lord, receive my prayer; may your ears be attentive to the sound of my prayer. 130:3 If you will take note of iniquities, O Yah, Lord, who will remain? 130:4 For there is forgiveness with you, so that you might be seen. 130:5 I have waited, O Lord; my soul has waited, and for his glory I have waited long. 130:6 My soul has waited long for the Lord, more than the watchmen on the morning watch who watch to offer the morning sacrifice. 130:7 Israel waits long for the Lord, for with the Lord is kindness, and with him is much redemption. 130:8 And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (EMC)

Psalmoi Psalms 130

A Song of Degrees. 130:1 Out of the depths have I cried to thee, O Lord. 130:2 O Lord, hearken to my voice; let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication. 130:3 If thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 130:4 For with thee is forgiveness: for thy name’s sake 130:5 have I waited for thee, O Lord, my soul has waited for thy word. 130:6 My soul has hoped in the Lord; from the morning watch till night. 130:7 Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. 130:8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 130:1-8, the psalm opens saying, א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת מִמַּעֲמַקִּים קְרָאתִיךָ יְהֹוָה: ב אֲדֹנָי שִׁמְעָה בְקוֹלִי תִּהְיֶינָה אָזְנֶיךָ קַשֻּׁבוֹת לְקוֹל תַּחֲנוּנָי: 130:1 Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord. 130:2 Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. (NASB) The psalmist seeks the Lord from the deepest recesses of his heart to hear and move in his life to overcome the trial or tribulation he is going through. In Mark 5:21-43 we read two stories about people who are really, truly, desperate. One describes a powerful leader seeking healing for his daughter. The other describes a poor woman seeking healing for herself.

Mark 5:21-43

5:21 When Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around Him; and so He stayed by the seashore. 5:22 One of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up, and on seeing Him, fell at His feet 5:23 and implored Him earnestly, saying, ‘My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her, so that she will get well and live.’ 5:24 And He went off with him; and a large crowd was following Him and pressing in on Him. 5:25 A woman who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years, 5:26 and had endured much at the hands of many physicians, and had spent all that she had and was not helped at all, but rather had grown worse 5:27 after hearing about Jesus, she came up in the crowd behind Him and touched His cloak. 5:28 For she thought, ‘If I just touch His garments, I will get well.’ 5:29 Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. 5:30 Immediately Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around in the crowd and said, ‘Who touched My garments?’ 5:31 And His disciples said to Him, ‘You see the crowd pressing in on You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’‘ 5:32 And He looked around to see the woman who had done this. 5:33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. 5:34 And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.’ 5:35 While He was still speaking, they came from the house of the synagogue official, saying, ‘Your daughter has died; why trouble the Teacher anymore?’ 5:36 But Jesus, overhearing what was being spoken, said to the synagogue official, ‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe.’ 5:37 And He allowed no one to accompany Him, except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 5:38 They came to the house of the synagogue official; and He saw a commotion, and people loudly weeping and wailing. 5:39 And entering in, He said to them, ‘Why make a commotion and weep? The child has not died, but is asleep.’ 5:40 They began laughing at Him. But putting them all out, He took along the child’s father and mother and His own companions, and entered the room where the child was. 5:41 Taking the child by the hand, He said to her, ‘Talitha kum!’ (which translated means, ‘Little girl, I say to you, get up!’). 5:42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. 5:43 And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat. (NASB)

Mark 5:21 opens with Yeshua exiting a boat and the crowds come immediately to find and draw near to him. Jarius was one of those in the crowd desperate and seeking help. Yeshua at this time had only a few faithful disciples who believed he was a teacher, friend, and leader. They sought the Lord God our Father in heaven by drawing near to the Messiah. Jarius was a leader and his daughter was ill. He humbled himself, fell on his knees, and begged for the life of his daughter. Yeshua responds by going with Jarius. While they were walking, a woman crept up behind him and touched his garment thinking all she had to do was touch Yeshua and she would be healed. Healing power left Yeshua and set this woman free from hemorrhaging. In the case of Jarius, a synagogue official, he invited Yeshua into his home and to the bed of his dying daughter. Yeshua took her by the hand and commanded her to raise up. We are told 5:42 Immediately the girl got up and began to walk, for she was twelve years old. And immediately they were completely astounded. 5:43 And He gave them strict orders that no one should know about this, and He said that something should be given her to eat. (NASB) When Jarius trusted our Father in heaven hears Yeshua’s prayers, his daughter was healed. Tehillim / Psalm 105 calls God’s people to give Him thanks and praise in response to his “wonders” (105:5). The Psalm highlights God’s special work with the Israelites, beginning with the covenant with Abraham and focusing on the exodus from Egypt and movement to the Promised Land. Tehillim / Psalms 105:4 urges us to pay attention to the Lord God in a particular way saying, “Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him.” The Hebrew verbs translated here as “search” and “seek” are familiar in where “Search” (darash) suggests care and intentionality in the process of looking for something, such as drashing out a verse. To “seek” (baqash) implies the searching out in eagerness and desire. In this context, Tehillim / Psalm 105:4 may be paraphrased, “Carefully search for the LORD and his strength; continually and eagerly seek him.” How do we seek the Lord and what does this mean for those of us who are in covenant relationship with him? In part, seeking the Lord God is a matter of paying attention, being humble, and drawing near in His Word. We find this nuance in the translation of Tehillim / Psalm 105:4 “Keep your eyes open for GOD, watch for his works; be alert for signs of his presence.” If we’re seeking the Lord, then we are watching for him and his work each day as we go about our business. We pay attention to him from the moment we awake to the moment we close our eyes at night. Seeking the Lord also involves being intentional in our relying upon Him, just as these people did in Mark chapter 5. We are to search for “His strength” by calling out to him for help and allowing His Spirit to guide and empower us. We seek the Lord with purity of heart and a desire to honor him with our lives. The psalmist states we are to seek the Lord “continually.” This includes all areas of our lives, when we are at school, at work, chatting with friends, or colleagues, we are to seek the Lord being open to His guidance, wisdom, and strength. This act of seeking the Lord is intentional to honor Him giving Him the place in our lives knowing He is watching. This enables us to live for His purposes and for His kingdom.

The psalmist admits his own short comings in relation to God’s Torah saying the following, ג אִם-עֲוֹנוֹת תִּשְׁמָר-יָהּ אֲדֹנָי מִי יַעֲמֹד: 130:3 If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? (NASB) David recognizes that all men fall short of the glory of God, that none can stand. This statement “all have sinned,” is found also in Romans 3:32 (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”) This basically means that we all have become lawbreakers because sin is the violation of God’s Torah (1 John 3:40). Sin is the general characteristic of unrighteousness, godlessness, and wickedness. Because of the Yetzer Hara (Evil inclination) and man always choosing to give into the Tetzer Hara, we are all guilty before God. We are sinners by nature and by our own acts of transgression against God’s Torah. Note how Paul wrote to the romans that all have sinned indicating that all of mankind has participated in sin in some form or another. This is the death sentence of mankind because of sin. Evangelical scholars interpret Paul’s words in Romans 3 as federal headship, a view that each man had inherited guilt before God from Adam and Eve. The idea is when Adam sinned, he chose for the entire human race to die due to sin. A more Jewish interpretation is the view that “all have sinned” refers only to personal sin arising from our choosing to sin on an individual basis where we are not guilty for what Adam and Eve had done in the garden. Paul wrote in Romans 5:13-17 how personal sin is imputed and then spread, Paul explains why “all die,” because all have committed personal sin. The reason all receive this “death sentence” (5:18) Paul argues it was through Adam’s disobedience, all were “made sinful” (5:19). The verb made means “constituted;” therefore, a man’s choice to sin is in his nature, this is the inherited condition that leads to the sentence of death (5:13-14). This inherited condition is what creates personal sin. We all have sinned, and the consequence to sin is death. This is passed down from generation to generation throughout history. Note how children, even before they are mentally aware of the meaning of sin, they are naturally prone to disobey, to tell lies, and to be mean or bad towards one another or parents. David wrote in Tehillim / Psalms 14:2 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.” David says the Lord states, “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Tehillim / Psalms 14:3).

The quoting commentaries on Tehillim / Psalms 130:4 have the following to say concerning sin and iniquity.

Siftei Chakhamim, Genesis 4:13:2

“And you cannot manage to bear my sin?” This may be understood according to (Tehillim 130:4): “Forgiveness is with You, in order that You be feared.” “Forgiveness is with You” — nothing stops You [from forgiving sin]. “In order that You be feared” — [this forgiveness increases fear of Hashem]. But a human king cannot grant pardon beyond the rules of protocol. Thus a transgressor [against him] thinks, “I am surely lost!” and therefore he will continue to sin more. [However, Hashem’s forgiveness holds man back from further sin.] Accordingly, Kayin said: “You bear the worlds. Everything is Yours and no one holds You back [from forgiving]. Why can You not bear my sin? People will say that You are unable to forgive beyond the rules of protocol, Heaven forbid!” (Tzeidah L’Derech, citing Maharshal)

The significance of this commentary states that forgiveness is with God and this causes Him to be feared. The fear of the Lord leads to obedience to His commands. Note how the transgressor is described in the commentary as one who continues to sin. It states that HaShem holds a man back from further sin. This requires one to humble his life to the sovereign rule of God and the work of His Spirit in our lives. This is not an easy thing. Consider what Peter wrote in his epistle in 1 Peter 4:12-19.

1 Peter 4:12-19

4:12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 4:13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 4:14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 4:15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 4:16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 4:18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 4:19 Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right. (NASB)

Peter speaks of persecution for righteousness sake. He also says, 4:18 And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? (NASB) Notice how he points out salvation for a righteous man is a difficult thing. Our salvation is not an easy matter, which is something that is not taught today in the Christian church. In fact, the church teaches us today that salvation is easy, all you have to do is believe. This doctrine or theology comes from a rejection of God’s Torah and disobedience to His commands under the interpretation that we are under grace and not law. The point is, this doctrine is not taught in the Scriptures. The fruit of the Spirit that lives in us is part of who we are to be a people who are saved. Is it possible to say one is saved if he bears no good fruit?

The psalmist relies upon the mercy of God to forgive saying the following, ד כִּי-עִמְּךָ הַסְּלִיחָה לְמַעַן תִּוָּרֵא: 130:4 But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. (NASB) Note how he states the forgiveness of God within the context of fearing the Lord. We are not to take God’s forgiveness for granted! We with great respect, fear, and trembling approach the Lord with repentant hearts to seek counsel and make petition for forgiveness. The commentary Rabbeinu Bahya on Leviticus 5:10 Part 1 states the following:

Rabbeinu Bahya, Vayikra / Leviticus 5:10 Part 1

וכפר עליו הכהן….ונסלח לו, “and the Priest will provide him atonement….and it shall be forgiven him.” Forgiveness will originate in heaven as the guilt will disappear together with the burning up of the sacrifice. The meaning of וכפר as making atonement occurs for the first time when Yaakov brought gifts (similar to sacrifices) to his brother Esau hoping that he would forgive him (ואכפרה פניו) for obtaining the birthright by trickery (Genesis 32,21). There is a difference between what is described as כפרה “atonement,” and סליחה, “forgiveness.” The latter means that the guilt has been totally forgiven, is now “non-existent” whereas the former is merely concerned with culpability for the sin committed. It is not within the capacity of human beings to grant forgiveness; only G’d Himself can wipe the slate clean completely. This is why David writes in Psalms 130,4: “forgiveness rests with You.” The High Priest, while initiating the process of forgiveness, cannot complete it, only G’d can. When someone was guilty of שבועת בטוי, (verse 4) “a false oath,” there is atonement only. The Torah does not add the words that “it will be forgiven him.” [Swearing a false oath is hardly an unintentional sin qualifying for total forgiveness. Ed.]

Rabeinu Bahya comments upon the Priest who makes atonement before God on behalf of a person and his sin will be forgiven him. He says “Forgiveness will originate in heaven as the guilt will disappear together with the burning up of the sacrifice.” This suggests forgiveness comes from the Lord alone. The forgiveness comes as being totally forgiven and the charge of guilt is non-existent, ceases to exist before God. The consequences of sin however remain. The commentary states “This is why David writes in Psalms 130,4: “forgiveness rests with You” which is interpreted as forgiveness is initiated by the High Priest, and is completed by God in heaven. We only initiate the process of Teshuvah, and the Lord works in our lives to overcome sin, to turn from unrighteousness, and return to His ways. This is why the Psalmist states, ה קִוִּיתִי יְהֹוָה קִוְּתָה נַפְשִׁי וְלִדְבָרוֹ הוֹחָלְתִּי: ו נַפְשִׁי לַאדֹנָי מִשֹּׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר שֹׁמְרִים לַבֹּקֶר: 130:5 I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. 130:6 My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning. (NASB) Ibn Ezra has the following to say concerning these verses in relation to Isaiah 62.

Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 62:6 Part 1

Watchmen. By this name those that mourn for Zion are meant, who do nothing else but cry, who do not sleep during the night, but are like watchmen upon the walls,

Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 62:6 Part 2

nor do they sleep during the day, while watchmen may at least sleep during the day; comp. They that cause to watch for lying vanities, forsake their idol (Jon. 2:9).4 The prophet himself explains the expression watchmen by the words המזכירים את יי that remind the Lord. מזכירים is a causative verb; lit., that cause the Lord to remember; comp. הזכירני put me in remembrance (43:26)

Ibn Ezra speaks of the watchmen (שֹׁמְרִים) as functioning in mourning for God’s people through the night and sleeping through the day. This is paralleled to watching for the enemy, lying vanities, and reminding the Lord of His people and His promises. Rabbeinu Bahya states the following in relation to the Psalm:

Rabbeinu Bahya Shemot / Exodus 5:22 Part 7

There is an allusion to our present exile under the descendants of Edom in the experience of the Jewish people in their first exile under the Egyptians. The Jews in Egypt had to bear up under increasingly difficult conditions only in order to experience a wonderful redemption and in seeing their oppressors being killed after suffering many plagues and then dying a painful death by drowning. Similarly, when the time comes we will experience a wonderful redemption when the Messiah will arrive, a redemption by comparison to which the Exodus of the Jewish people will fade into relative insignificance. David referred to this redemption in Psalm 130,6 where he described the longing of the כנסת ישראל saying “I am more eager for the Lord than watchmen for the morning.” If in spite of our impatient wait for the redemption it has been delayed then this is only in order to add to the guilt of our oppressors in the interval and in order to punish them more severely for their sins against G’d and against His people. Just as we find that oppression of the Jewish people reached a new intensity after Moses asked that his people be allowed to celebrate a holiday for the Lord in the desert, the redemption in the future will be ushered in after a period of unparalleled suffering by the Jewish people. The initial attempt at bringing about the final redemption will suffer setbacks just as the initial attempt by Moses to secure the release of the Jewish people encountered setbacks.

Our sages in Shemot Rabbah 5,20 comment on verse 20 where Moses and Aaron are being assailed by the overseers of the Jewish laborers for having been instrumental in their situation deteriorating rather than improving, that after 6 months G’d appeared to Moses in Midyan and said to him: “go back to Egypt (4,19) for all the people who wish to kill you have died.” When Moses and Aaron met, the former coming from Midyan and the latter from Egypt, the overseers met them as they emerged from their audience with Pharaoh. We find a similar comment in Midrash Chazita on Song of Songs 2,9: “My beloved is like a gazelle.” Just as a gazelle is visible to the eye one moment, disappears and then reappears, so the first redeemer appeared to the Jewish people, disappeared, and reappeared again in due course. Rabbi Tanchuma said that Moses disappeared for only three months and that this is the meaning of ויפגעו את משה ואת אהרן. [The expression ויפגעו always refers to an unexpected meeting, i.e. since both Moses and Aaron had returned to their previous abodes there was no reason to expect them at the palace gates of Pharaoh at the time (quoted in the name of עץ יוסף)]. When the prophet Micah 7,15 speaks of G’d performing miracles “just as in the days when you came out of Egypt,” he alludes to certain similarities between what preceded the Exodus from Egypt to what will occur when the final redemption will be at hand. We have another Midrash (Sanhedrin 98) according to which the meaning of Isaiah 59,19: “for he will come like a hemmed in stream which the wind of the Lord drives on,” is that if you observe a certain generation being flooded by troubles from all sides like a river, await him (the Messiah), seeing that the prophet Isaiah continued there (verse 20) “for he shall come as a redeemer to Zion and to those who turn back from sin.”

The commentary speaks of God’s people needing to go through difficult conditions in order to experience a wonderful redemption. This includes seeing the enemy being killed. This may be how Paul understood what it meant to be dead to sin. The phrase “dead to sin” originates from Romans 6:11 “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (NASB) Here, Paul draws a contrast saying to be “dead to sin” is to be “alive to God in Yeshua the Messiah.” Those who have come to faith in our Father in heaven through His Son Yeshua are no longer to allow sin to control their lives. Instead, we offer ourselves to the Lord for the purpose of His influence in our lives to bear His testimonies. Paul speaks further on this concept in Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (NASB) The phrase “living sacrifice” is a contradiction as sacrifices do not “live” but die to make atonement. This is the context for our lives as we are dead to sin and alive to God. The emphasis here is on living a different life as a result of the Lord being present in our lives (His indwelling Spirit). We are no longer to follow the pattern of the world but live according to God’s will. Being dead to sin is a life long process, because Paul made it clear he struggled with temptation and sin, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:19-20). Paul considered himself the “worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16), and so we can be assured that our lives will continue to have conflict with sin as we seek the Lord, His kingdom, and His ways.

The Psalmist concludes saying, ז יַחֵל יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶל-יְהוָה כִּי-עִם-יְהֹוָה הַחֶסֶד וְהַרְבֵּה עִמּוֹ פְדוּת: ח וְהוּא יִפְדֶּה אֶת-יִשְֹרָאֵל מִכֹּל עֲוֹנֹתָיו: 130:7 O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is lovingkindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. 130:8 And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities. (NASB) Redemption is found in the Lord, for mercy, forgiveness, and restoration are the ways of God’s love for His people. In light of what we know based upon the Scriptures, one of the most significant aspects of our lives as God’s people is the promise of His presence in our lives to overcome sin. The Lord gave us His Torah to show us the way of righteousness, justice, holiness, and truth. To be dead to sin means we no longer need to be controlled by our evil desires, but are empowered to overcome. Romans 6:17 teaches us “though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance.” Paul says before the coming of the Messiah, we were “slaves” to sin. Placing our faith in the Messiah Yeshua, we have a new Master. Sin continues to exist, but we are no longer dominated by it. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 130 has 2 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1 and 2. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 130, Part 1 and 2

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 130, Part 1 and 2

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “A song of ascents. Out of the depths have I called You, O Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 130:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Jose son of Hanina said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer son of Jacob, A man should never stand upon a high place to pray, but should pray from a low place because it is said, Out of the depths have I called you.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis describe the manner in which we should pray, not going up to the high places, but to be humble and go to the low places because of what the Scriptures state calling out to the Lord from the depths.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis go on to define additional things that one should not do when praying (things not to stand upon).
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Hence, it is said, Out of the depths have I called You, and it is also written, A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed (Tehillim / Psalms 102:1).”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “For with You there is forgiveness (Tehillim / Psalms 130:4).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Abba taught, In the period from New Year’s Day (To the Day of Atonement) forgiveness is held in abeyance from You. Why?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of forgiveness within the context of the day of atonement.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), ask “why?” so that the Lord God Almighty would be feared.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “This is to say, in order that during the Day of Atonement the fear of You might lie upon all Your creatures.”

Midrash Tehillim 130 Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “A song of ascents. Out of the depths have I called You, O Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 130:1).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Jose son of Hanina said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer son of Jacob, A man should never stand upon a high place to pray, but should pray from a low place because it is said, Out of the depths have I called you.” There is something to be said about not going upon a high place in order to call upon the name of the Lord. The rabbinic opinion is that pride is one of the reasons why we are to call from the depths as opposed to the high places. A connection to the Torah text may be found in Parashat Haazinu.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29

33:29 ‘Blessed are you, O Israel; Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, Who is the shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! So your enemies will cringe before you, And you will tread upon their high places.’ (NASB)

כט אַשְׁרֶיךָ יִשְֹרָאֵל מִי כָמוֹךָ עַם נוֹשַׁע בַּיהֹוָה מָגֵן עֶזְרֶךָ וַאֲשֶׁר-חֶרֶב גַּאֲוָתֶךָ וְיִכָּחֲשׁוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ לָךְ וְאַתָּה עַל-בָּמוֹתֵימוֹ תִדְרֹךְ:

The Lord speaks through the song of Moshe saying that Israel is blessed, those who are saved by the Lord, the One who helps them, who shields them, and causes their success over her enemies, will cause them (Israel) to tread upon the high places of the enemy. The enemy establishes his idols in the high places and we know idolatry is paralleled to pride, deceit, falsehood, and immorality. This may be another reason why the rabbis state, based upon the psalm, a man should never stand upon a high place to pray, and that he should pray from a low place because it is said, out of the depths have I called you.

Chizkuni on Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29 Part 1 states the following.

Chizkuni, Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29 Part 1

ויכחשו אויביך לך, “and when your enemies will try to deceive you, etc.;” your enemies will sometimes pretend to be your friends in order to lull you into a sense of security.

This is the way in which sin presents itself, as not being very bad, pretending to be our friend, and lulling us to perform the sin in the sense that we will be OK, just go ahead and sin a little. Chizkuni speaks of spiritual warfare when the enemy wages war against us based upon deceit. Note how the first sin in Parashat Bereshit, the enemy’s use of deception caused Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:3) This truth is what gives such importance to Yeshua’s warning that Satan (the deceiver) is the father of lies (John 8:44) and is ever seeking to deceive us. What is our defense? Our defense is to saturate our hearts in the truth of God’s Word. It is only God’s Word, the truth, that can protect us against the deceptions of the enemy.

Rashi on Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29 Part 4

ואתה על במותימו תדרך AND THOU SHALT TREAD UPON THEIR HIGH PLACES, just as it is said, (Joshua 10:24) “Put your feet upon the necks of these kings” (cf. Onkelos).

Rashi concludes treading upon the enemy is synonymous to placing our feet upon the necks of the enemy, upon the kings who sought to destroy us.

Rabbeinu Bahya has the following to say concerning Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29.

Rabbeinu Bahya, Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29 Part 1

אשריך ישראל מי כמוך, “Hail to you, Israel;” this verse is an explicit promise to the Jewish people concerning life in the hereafter. Seeing that in the previous verse Moses had discussed the destination(s) of the body i.e. what is good for the body, such as the blessings bestowed on earth, abundant crops, conditions of secure tenure of the land, such as a land with ample supplies of grain and wine, a land benefiting from the beneficial dews descending from the skies, and even the promise that should the people ever be exiled, no conquering nation would ever feel at home in their land, now Moses addresses his attention to matters of benefit to the soul.

We know about this already from Bileam’s blessing in Numbers 23,9: “they are a nation which dwells in solitary splendor,” הן עם לבדד ישכון; Moses now takes up this theme when he refers to Israel being בדד. (verse 28) He is at pains to point out that the rosy future of the Jewish people comprises more than a secure and worry-free existence in Eretz Yisrael, accompanied by an abundance of material blessings. This is why he introduces the subject by describing a unique feature of the Jewish people, i.e. “hail to you Israel, who is like you?” He means that whereas all the other nations, at best, can look forward to a worry-free life of plenty on terrestrial earth, Israel will experience an additional dimension of life in the celestial spheres. This is the meaning of the words עם נושע בה’ תשועת עולמים, “a nation delivered by Hashem Who extends His deliverance into 2 worlds” [עולמים, pl. Ed.]. A true deliverance must include life in the world to come, or it is by definition not a true deliverance. [One may understand the words “true deliverance” as a deliverance from the initial curse that came on upon mankind, i.e. death, when Adam ate from the tree of knowledge. Every “true” deliverance should free one from that. Ed.]

After having told the people that there would indeed be a reward for keeping the Torah in the world to come, Moses proceeds to offer the Jewish people proof of this in the form of a miracle. He tells the people that G’d Himself would be their shield, that they would be able to boast about G’d being their “sword,” מגן עזרך. This promise includes the attribute of Justice, even. The word מגן, shield, is an allusion to the attribute of Justice, seeing a shield is generally worn on the left, and the attribute of Justice is perceived as on the left side of the diagram of the emanations. David also speaks of G’d being Israel’s shield in Psalms 18,36, when he said: ותתן לי מגן ישעך, “You gave me the shield of Your protection.” He elaborates further in Psalms 84,12, saying: כי שמש ומגן ה’ אלו-הים, “for the Lord is both sun and shield.” In that verse David refers to the tetragrammaton, Hashem, as “sun,” and to the attribute of Justice, אלו-הים, as “shield.” Moses reassures the people that constant military success on earth against all their enemies is proof that they have a future in the very regions from which this success emanates, is orchestrated on their behalf by G’d.

You may consider it a rule that all the various promises to the people of Israel as a whole, such as at the beginning of the portion Bechukotai, do not concern them themselves merely with the promise of reward in this finite world of ours. They are all similes for the kind of reward awaiting us in celestial regions after the death of our bodies. The success promised by the Torah in our terrestrial world is only to be viewed as proof of the far greater reward in store for us (if we keep the commandments) in a far better world than the terrestrial globe on which we have been born. It is most appropriate that the King of Israel, Moses, on the day when he himself readied himself for entry into that better world, tells his charges that he blessed them in this fashion, that all of them could look forward to that kind of a future.

Rabbeinu Bahya on Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:29 interprets the verse to say this is an explicit promise to the Jewish people concerning life in the hereafter. Moses refers to Israel being בדד (verse 28) addressing matters of benefit to the soul. Rabbeinu Bahya states “A true deliverance must include life in the world to come, or it is by definition not a true deliverance. [One may understand the words “true deliverance” as a deliverance from the initial curse that came on upon mankind, i.e. death, when Adam ate from the tree of knowledge.” This is why the message of the Gospel is so important, Yeshua was sent from our Father in heaven to deliver us from the initial curse that came upon mankind. Yeshua provides us with a true deliverance. Our faith in Yeshua causes the Lord God in heaven to send His Spirit to dwell within us. The power of the indwelling of God’s Spirit empowers us, changes our hearts to turn from sin, and gives us success in our obedience to His commands. This is described in the following way, “After having told the people that there would indeed be a reward for keeping the Torah in the world to come, Moses proceeds to offer the Jewish people proof of this in the form of a miracle. He tells the people that G’d Himself would be their shield, that they would be able to boast about G’d being their “sword,” מגן עזרך.” The point is the Lord God in heaven helps us to overcome sin in our lives to the obedience of His commands. The reward is in relation to our pursuit of His ways, to be consistent in our desire to serve the Lord each day.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קל סימן א

א שיר המעלות ממעמקים קראתיך ה׳. אמר רבי יוסי בר חנינא משום ר׳ אליעזר בן יעקב לעולם אל יעמוד אדם במקום גבוה ויתפלל [אלא במקום נמוך ויתפלל] משום שנאמר ממעמקים קראתיך. תניא נמי הכי לעולם לא יעמוד אדם לא על גבי מטה ולא על גבי כסא ולא על גבי ספסל, ולא על גבי שרפרף, ולא במקום גבוה ויתפלל [אלא במקום נמוך ויתפלל] שאין גבהות לפני המקום, שנאמר ממעמקים קראתיך ה׳, [וכתיב תפלה לעני כי יעטוף].

Midrash Tehillim 130, Part 1

1. A song of ascents. Out of the depths have I called You, O Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 130:1). Rabbi Jose son of Hanina said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer son of Jacob, A man should never stand upon a high place to pray, but should pray from a low place because it is said, Out of the depths have I called you. It is also taught, A man should never stand upon a bed, upon a chair, upon a bench, upon a stool, or upon any high place to pray, but should pray from a low place, for there must be no haughtiness in the presence of the Lord. Hence, it is said, Out of the depths have I called You, and it is also written, A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed (Tehillim / Psalms 102:1).

The rabbis speak of the high places that are forbidden for God’s people to approach to seek counsel of the Lord. They expand the idea of the high place saying, “It is also taught, A man should never stand upon a bed, upon a chair, upon a bench, upon a stool, or upon any high place to pray, but should pray from a low place, for there must be no haughtiness in the presence of the Lord.” The high place is presented in parallel to pride in the presence of the Lord. Midrash Tehillim 130 Part 1 concludes saying, “Hence, it is said, Out of the depths have I called You, and it is also written, A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed (Tehillim / Psalms 102:1).” When the Psalmist speaks of “out of the depths,” we learn deep waters are a common metaphor for distress and danger. The Psalmist does not think merely of personal suffering but also of national suffering, and the burden the enemy places upon all peoples. The prayer of affliction is one that seeks not only deliverance and help for one’s self, but also for one’s brothers and sisters and all people who are oppressed and who need to be set free by the Lord God in heaven.

Midrash Tehillim 130 Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “For with You there is forgiveness (Tehillim / Psalms 130:4).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Abba taught, In the period from New Year’s Day (To the Day of Atonement) forgiveness is held in abeyance from You. Why?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קל סימן ב

ב כי עמך הסליחה. אמר רבי אבא הסליחה מופקדת אצלך מראש השנה, וכל כך למה, למען תורא, בשביל ליתן אימתך על בריותיך ביוה״כ.

Midrash Tehillim 130, Part 2

2. For with You there is forgiveness (Tehillim / Psalms 130:4). Rabbi Abba taught, In the period from New Year’s Day (To the Day of Atonement) forgiveness is held in abeyance from You. Why? That You may be feared. This is to say, in order that during the Day of Atonement the fear of You might lie upon all Your creatures.

The rabbis say between the New Year (Rosh Hashanah, רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה‎, Vayikra / Leviticus 23:23–32, September 9-11, 2018) and the Yom Kippur (Yom Kippur, יוֹם כִּיפּוּר‎, Vayikra / Leviticus 23:27, September 18-19, 2018) forgiveness from God is held at bay. The number of days between the New Year and Yom Kippur is 7 days. The midrash states for seven days the Lord holds back his forgiveness. For what purpose? The rabbis say “That You may be feared.” The Tanach and the Apostolic Writings use the word “fear” more than 300 times in reference to the Lord God in heaven. This is an important point to be made. The fear of the Lord should not be something we do not understand. The mystery that is found within the fear of the Lord is illustrated in 1 John 4:18 which states, “perfect love expels all fear.” So, this is understood in the sense that the fear of the Lord is showing a healthy respect and reverence for the Lord. Scripture is full of examples of how fearing God is a positive rather than a negative thing. For example in Bereshit / Genesis 42:18, Joseph wins his brothers’ trust when he declares he is a God-fearing man (יח וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵהֶם יוֹסֵף בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי זֹאת עֲשֹוּ וִחְיוּ אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים אֲנִי יָרֵא:). It was because the midwives feared God that they obeyed him instead of the authorities by sparing the Hebrew babies (Shemot / Exodus 1:17, יז וַתִּירֶאן ָ הַמְיַלְּדֹת אֶת-הָאֱלֹהִים וְלֹא עָשֹוּ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר אֲלֵיהֶן מֶלֶךְ מִצְרָיִם וַתְּחַיֶּין ָ אֶת-הַיְלָדִים:). Pharaoh brought disaster on his nation because he did not fear God (Shemot / Exodus 9:29-31, כט וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו מֹשֶׁה כְּצֵאתִי אֶת-הָעִיר אֶפְרֹשֹ אֶת-כַּפַּי אֶל-יְהוָֹה הַקֹּלוֹת יֶחְדָּלוּן וְהַבָּרָד לֹא יִהְיֶה-עוֹד לְמַעַן תֵּדַע כִּי לַיהוָֹה הָאָרֶץ: ל וְאַתָּה וַעֲבָדֶיךָ יָדַעְתִּי כִּי טֶרֶם תִּירְאוּן מִפְּנֵי יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהִים: לא וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה וְהַשְּׂעֹרָה נֻכָּתָה כִּי הַשְּׂעֹרָה אָבִיב וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה גִּבְעֹל:). Moshe chose leaders to help him on the basis that they feared God and wouldn’t take bribes (Shemot / Exodus 18:21, כא וְאַתָּה תֶחֱזֶה מִכָּל-הָעָם אַנְשֵׁי-חַיִל יִרְאֵי אֱלֹהִים אַנְשֵׁי אֱמֶת שֹֹנְאֵי בָצַע וְשַֹמְתָּ עֲלֵהֶם שָֹרֵי אֲלָפִים שָֹרֵי מֵאוֹת שָֹרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְשָֹרֵי עֲשָֹרֹת:) and told the Hebrews that God met with them in a terrifying display of his power so that they wouldn’t sin (Shemot / Exodus 20:20, יז וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ כִּי לְבַעֲבוּר נַסּוֹת אֶתְכֶם בָּא הָאֱלֹהִים וּבַעֲבוּר תִּהְיֶה יִרְאָתוֹ עַל-פְּנֵיכֶם לְבִלְתִּי תֶחֱטָאוּ:). The Torah cites the fear of God as a reason to treat the disabled and elderly with love and respect (Vayikra / Leviticus 19:14, 32, יד לֹא-תְקַלֵּל חֵרֵשׁ וְלִפְנֵי עִוֵּר לֹא תִתֵּן מִכְשֹׁל וְיָרֵאתָ מֵּאֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי יְהוָֹה: [שני] [חמישי כשהן מחוברין] לב מִפְּנֵי שֵֹיבָה תָּקוּם וְהָדַרְתָּ פְּנֵי זָקֵן וְיָרֵאתָ מֵּאֱלֹהֶיךָ אֲנִי יְהוָֹה:). Note also that Yeshua said, “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). And Paul says to work toward complete holiness because we fear God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Based upon these select passages, fearing God is a good thing because it saves us from indulging in our sinful nature. Those who fear the Lord are trustworthy because they are more likely to keep their word and treat others with kindness. Paul wrote to the Romans saying the following:

Romans 3:9-20

3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin; 3:10 as it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; 3:11 There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; 3:12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one.’ 3:13 ‘Their throat is an open grave, With their tongues they keep deceiving,’ ‘The poison of asps is under their lips’; 3:14 ‘Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness’; 3:15 ‘Their feet are swift to shed blood, 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their paths, 3:17 And the path of peace they have not known.’ 3:18 ‘There is no fear of God before their eyes.’ 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin. (NASB)

Based upon these verses, the fear of God is good, and the nature of sin, those who indulge in wickedness, there is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18).

Midrash Tehillim 130 Part 2 concludes saying, “This is to say, in order that during the Day of Atonement the fear of You might lie upon all Your creatures.” The first mention of the fear of God in the Hebrew Bible is in Bereshit / Genesis 22:12, where Abraham is commended for putting his trust in God that is illustrated in his faithfulness to God’s Word. In Isaiah 11:1-3, the prophet describes the shoot that shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (א וְיָצָא חֹטֶר מִגֶּזַע יִשָׁי וְנֵצֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶה: ב וְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהֹוָה רוּחַ חָכְמָה וּבִינָה רוּחַ עֵצָה וּגְבוּרָה רוּחַ דַּעַת וְיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה: ג וַהֲרִיחוֹ בְּיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה וְלֹא-לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו יִשְׁפּוֹט וְלֹא-לְמִשְׁמַע אָזְנָיו יוֹכִיחַ:) Solomon states in Mishley / Proverbs 9:10 says that “fear of the Lord” is “the beginning of wisdom.” The Hebrew words יִרְאַ֣ת (yiraṯ) is most commonly used word to describe the fear of God. Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12 states, “And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul.” The Talmud Bavli Berekhot 17a states the following

Talmud Bavli Berekhot 17a

מרגלא בפומיה דאביי לעולם יהא אדם ערום ביראה (משלי טו, א) מענה רך משיב חמה ומרבה שלום עם אחיו ועם קרוביו ועם כל אדם ואפילו עם נכרי בשוק כדי שיהא אהוב למעלה ונחמד למטה ויהא מקובל על הבריות It was a favorite saying of Abbai: A man should always be cunning in the fear [of God], giving the soft answer that turns away wrath (cf. Prov. xv. 1), increasing peace with his brethren and relatives and with all men, even the heathen in the street; so that he may be beloved above and popular on earth, and acceptable to his fellow-creatures.

The Talmud states a man should always be cunning in the fear of God. The word cunning draws in the context of being wise to understand the purpose of fearing the Lord. The Hebrew text states אדם ערום ביראה “a man is to be naked in fear” suggesting that one is to not put on a show but to be authentic in his fear of the Lord at the heart of the motivation for his actions. The purpose of fearing God is to turn away His wrath due to our sins, and this has its application amongst men, of being at peace with others in this world.

The Talmud Bavli Bava Metzia 58b states the following:

Talmud Bavli Bava Metzia 58b

אם היו יסורין באין עליו אם היו חלאים באין עליו או שהיה מקבר את בניו אל יאמר לו כדרך שאמרו לו חביריו לאיוב (איוב ד, ו) הלא יראתך כסלתך תקותך ותום דרכיך זכר נא מי הוא נקי אבד If torments are afflicting a person, if illnesses are afflicting him, or if he is burying his children, one may not speak to him in the manner that the friends of Job spoke to him: “Is not your fear of God your confidence, and your hope the integrity of your ways? Remember, I beseech you, whoever perished, being innocent?” (Job 4:6–7). Certainly you sinned, as otherwise you would not have suffered misfortune.

The rabbis state it is due to one’s sins that a man is afflicted, burying his children, or having trouble with enemies. The fear of the Lord that is lacking is what has led one to this place. There are two types of fear that are described in the Tanach, one is a lower type of fear, that is the fear of punishment, the second is a higher type of fear that is related to being in awe of the glory of God. Maimonides categorized the fear of God as a positive commandment, as the feeling of human insignificance deriving from contemplation of God’s “great and wonderful actions and creations.” (“Fear of God” Jewishvirtuallibrary.org) In light of all of these things, it is in fear and awe we are to live our lives before the Lord. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 130-Part1-and-2