Tehillim / Psalms 132, ספר תהילים קלב, Part 2, The Lord allows a certain amount of Ignorance

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 132:1-18, the psalm opens saying,א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת זְכוֹר-יְהֹוָה לְדָוִד אֵת כָּל-עֻנּוֹתוֹ: ב אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַיהֹוָה נָדַר לַאֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב: ג אִם-אָבֹא בְּאֹהֶל בֵּיתִי אִם-אֶעֱלֶה עַל-עֶרֶשֹ יְצוּעָי: ד אִם-אֶתֵּן שְׁנָת לְעֵינָי לְעַפְעַפַּי תְּנוּמָה: ה עַד-אֶמְצָא מָקוֹם לַיהֹוָה מִשְׁכָּנוֹת לַאֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב: 132:1 Remember, O Lord, on David’s behalf, All his affliction; 132:2 How he swore to the Lord And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 132:3 ‘Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed; 132:4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 132:5 Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.’ (NASB) This psalm appears to be written by David saying that he made a vow to find a resting place for the Lord, to build a Temple for the Lord. It is interesting how David brought the ark to the city of David in a tent and not in the Tabernacle in Shiloh. What was going on in Shiloh that warranted the ark going to a different place? The psalm continues saying, 132:6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the field of Jaar. 132:7 Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool. 132:8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 132:9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy. 132:10 For the sake of David Your servant, Do not turn away the face of Your anointed. 132:11 The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 132:12 ‘If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.’ (NASB) The Psalm speaks of the importance of obeying God’s Word in relation to the covenant promises of God. The psalmist concludes saying, 132:13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 132:14 ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 132:15 ‘I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. 132:16 ‘Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. 132:17 ‘There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. 132:18 ‘His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine.’(NASB) The Lord makes a promise to keep His people, to protect them, to feed them, and to cloth them.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קלב

א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת זְכוֹר-יְהֹוָה לְדָוִד אֵת כָּל-עֻנּוֹתוֹ: ב אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַיהֹוָה נָדַר לַאֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב: ג אִם-אָבֹא בְּאֹהֶל בֵּיתִי אִם-אֶעֱלֶה עַל-עֶרֶשֹ יְצוּעָי: ד אִם-אֶתֵּן שְׁנָת לְעֵינָי לְעַפְעַפַּי תְּנוּמָה: ה עַד-אֶמְצָא מָקוֹם לַיהֹוָה מִשְׁכָּנוֹת לַאֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב: ו הִנֵּה-שְׁמַעֲנוּהָ בְאֶפְרָתָה מְצָאנוּהָ בִּשְֹדֵי-יָעַר:

סםר טוביה פרק קלב

א שירא דאתאמר על מסוקיין דתהומא אידכר יהוה לדוד ית כל סיגופיה׃ ב די קיים קדם יהוה נדר לתקיפא דיעקב׃ ג אין איעול על אתתי אין אסיק על דרגש מצעי׃ ד אין אתן דומכא לעיני לתימורי ניומתא׃ ה עד דאשכח אתר למיבני בית מקדשא דיהוה משכניא לתקיפא דיעקב׃ ו הא שמענא יתה באפרת אשכחנוהא בחקל חורשי לבנן אתר דצליאו אבהת עלמא׃ ז ניעול למשכנוי נסגוד לכיבשא דרגלוי׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 132

132:1 ᾠδὴ τῶν ἀναβαθμῶν μνήσθητι κύριε τοῦ Δαυιδ καὶ πάσης τῆς πρατητος αὐτοῦ 132:2 ὡς ὤμοσεν τῷ κυρίῳ ηὔξατο τῷ θεῷ Ιακωβ 132:3 εἰ εἰσελεύσομαι εἰς σκήνωμα οἴκου μου εἰ ἀναβήσομαι ἐπὶ κλίνης στρωμνῆς μου 132:4 εἰ δώσω ὕπνον τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς μου καὶ τοῖς βλεφάροις μου νυσταγμὸν καὶ ἀνάπαυσιν τοῖς κροτάφοις μου 132:5 ἕως οὗ εὕρω τόπον τῷ κυρίῳ σκήνωμα τῷ θεῷ Ιακωβ 132:6 ἰδοὺ ἠκούσαμεν αὐτὴν ἐν Εφραθα εὕρομεν αὐτὴν ἐν τοῖς πεδίοις τοῦ δρυμοῦ 132:7 εἰσελευσόμεθα εἰς τὰ σκηνώματα αὐτοῦ προσκυνήσομεν εἰς τὸν τόπον οὗ ἔστησαν οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ

ז נָבוֹאָה לְמִשְׁכְּנוֹתָיו נִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַהֲדֹם רַגְלָיו: ח קוּמָה יְהֹוָה לִמְנוּחָתֶךָ אַתָּה וַאֲרוֹן עֻזֶּךָ: ט כֹּהֲנֶיךָ יִלְבְּשׁוּ-צֶדֶק וַחֲסִידֶיךָ יְרַנֵּנוּ: י בַּעֲבוּר דָּוִד עַבְדֶּךָ אַל-תָּשֵׁב פְּנֵי מְשִׁיחֶךָ: יא נִשְׁבַּע יְהֹוָה | לְדָוִד אֱמֶת לֹא-יָשׁוּב מִמֶּנָּה מִפְּרִי בִטְנְךָ אָשִׁית לְכִסֵּא-לָךְ: יב אִם-יִשְׁמְרוּ בָנֶיךָ | בְּרִיתִי וְעֵדֹתִי זוֹ אֲלַמְּדֵם גַּם-בְּנֵיהֶם עֲדֵי-עַד יֵשְׁבוּ לְכִסֵּא-לָךְ: יג כִּי-בָחַר יְהֹוָה בְּצִיּוֹן אִוָּהּ לְמוֹשָׁב לוֹ: יד זֹאת-מְנוּחָתִי עֲדֵי-עַד פֹּה אֵשֵׁב כִּי אִוִּתִיהָ: טו צֵידָהּ בָּרֵךְ אֲבָרֵךְ אֶבְיוֹנֶיהָ אַשְֹבִּיעַ לָחֶם: טז וְכֹהֲנֶיהָ אַלְבִּישׁ יֶשַׁע וַחֲסִידֶיהָ רַנֵּן יְרַנֵּנוּ: יז שָׁם אַצְמִיחַ קֶרֶן לְדָוִד עָרַכְתִּי נֵר לִמְשִׁיחִי: יח אוֹיְבָיו אַלְבִּישׁ בּשֶׁת וְעָלָיו יָצִיץ נִזְרוֹ:

ח קום יהוה שרי בבית מישרוי נייחך את וארון די ביה אוריתך׃ ט כהנייך ילבשון לבושין דזכו וליואי חסידיך ישבחון על קורבנייא׃ י מטול זכותיה דדוד עבדך במיעל ארונא במצע תרעיא לא תתיב אפי שלמה משיחך׃ יא קיים יהוה לדוד בקושטא לא יתוב מינה מן וולדא דמעך אשוי מליך על כורסי די לך׃ יב אין נטרין בנך קיימי וסהידותי דנן דאאליפינון אף אוף בניהון לעלמין יתבון על כורסי די לך׃ יג ארום איתרעי יהוה בציון רגרג רגיג יתה למותב די ליה׃ יד דא נייח שכינתי עד עלמא כא אתיב ארום רגיגתה׃ טו זוודה מברכא אבריך וחשוכהא יסבעון לחמא׃ טז וכהניהא אלביש לבושי פורקן וחסידהא משבחא ישבחון׃ יז תמן אצמח מליך יקיר לבית דוד סדרית שרגא למשיחי׃ יח בעלי דבבוי אלביש לבושין דבהתא ועלוי ועילויה יניץ כליליה׃

132:8 ἀνάστηθι κύριε εἰς τὴν ἀνάπαυσίν σου σὺ καὶ ἡ κιβωτὸς τοῦ ἁγιάσματός σου 132:9 οἱ ἱερεῖς σου ἐνδύσονται δικαιοσύνην καὶ οἱ ὅσιοί σου ἀγαλλιάσονται 132:10 ἕνεκεν Δαυιδ τοῦ δούλου σου μὴ ἀποστρέψῃς τὸ πρόσωπον τοῦ χριστοῦ σου 132:11 ὤμοσεν κύριος τῷ Δαυιδ ἀλήθειαν καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀθετήσει αὐτήν ἐκ καρποῦ τῆς κοιλίας σου θήσομαι ἐπὶ τὸν θρόνον σου 132:12 ἐὰν φυλάξωνται οἱ υἱοί σου τὴν διαθήκην μου καὶ τὰ μαρτύριά μου ταῦτα ἃ διδάξω αὐτούς καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτῶν ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος καθιοῦνται ἐπὶ τοῦ θρόνου σου 132:13 ὅτι ἐξελέξατο κύριος τὴν Σιων ᾑρετίσατο αὐτὴν εἰς κατοικίαν ἑαυτῷ 132:14 αὕτη ἡ κατάπαυσίς μου εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος ὧδε κατοικήσω ὅτι ᾑρετισάμην αὐτήν 132:15 τὴν θήραν αὐτῆς εὐλογῶν εὐλογήσω τοὺς πτωχοὺς αὐτῆς χορτάσω ἄρτων 132:16 τοὺς ἱερεῖς αὐτῆς ἐνδύσω σωτηρίαν καὶ οἱ ὅσιοι αὐτῆς ἀγαλλιάσει ἀγαλλιάσονται 132:17 ἐκεῖ ἐξανατελῶ κέρας τῷ Δαυιδ ἡτοίμασα λύχνον τῷ χριστῷ μου 132:18 τοὺς ἐχθροὺς αὐτοῦ ἐνδύσω αἰσχύνην ἐπὶ δὲ αὐτὸν ἐξανθήσει τὸ ἁγίασμά μου

Tehillim / Psalms 132

132:1 Remember, O Lord, on David’s behalf, All his affliction; 132:2 How he swore to the Lord And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 132:3 ‘Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed; 132:4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 132:5 Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.’ 132:6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the field of Jaar. 132:7 Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool. 132:8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 132:9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy. 132:10 For the sake of David Your servant, Do not turn away the face of Your anointed. 132:11 The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 132:12 ‘If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.’ 132:13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 132:14 ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 132:15 ‘I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. 132:16 ‘Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. 132:17 ‘There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. 132:18 ‘His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine.’(NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 132

132:1 A song that was uttered on the ascents of the abyss. Remember, O Lord, for David, all his affliction. 132:2 Who affirmed before the Lord a vow to the mighty one of Jacob. 132:3 I will not approach my wife, I will not ascend to the couch of my repose, 132:4 I will not give sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids, 132:5 Until I find a place to build the sanctuary of the Lord, tents for the mighty one of Jacob. 132:6 Behold, we have heard it in Ephrat, we have found it in the field of the forests of Lebanon, the place where the fathers of old prayed. 132:7 Let us enter his tents, let us bow down to his footstool. 132:8 Arise, O Lord, abide in the dwelling-place of your rest, you and the ark in which is your Torah. 132:9 Your priests will wear clothing of righteousness, and your pious Levites will sing praise over your sacrifices. 132:10 Because of the merit of David your servant; when the ark comes through the middle of the gates, do not turn back the face of Solomon your anointed. 132:11 The Lord has affirmed to David in truth, he will not turn from it: “One of the children of your belly I will set as a king on your throne.” 132:12 If your sons keep my covenant and this testimony of mine that I shall teach them, then your sons will forever sit on your throne. 132:13 For the Lord is pleased with Zion; he has desired it for his habitation. 132:14 This is the resting place of my presence forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 132:15 Her provisions I will surely bless; and her needy shall have their fill of bread. 132:16 And her priests I will clothe in garments of redemption, and her pious will surely sing praise. 132:17 There I will cause to come forth a glorious king of the house of David; I have prepared a lamp for my anointed. 132:18 His enemies I will clothe with garments of shame; and his crown will glitter upon him.(EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 132

A Song of Degrees. 132:1 Lord, remember David, and all his meekness: 132:2 how he sware to the Lord, and vowed to the God of Jacob, saying, 132:3 I will not go into the tabernacle of my house; I will not go up to the couch of my bed; 132:4 I will not give sleep to mine eyes, nor slumber to mine eyelids, nor rest to my temples, 132:5 until I find a place for the Lord, a tabernacle for the God of Jacob. 132:6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephratha; we found it in the fields of the wood. 132:7 Let us enter into his tabernacles: let us worship at the place where his feet stood. 132:8 Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thine holiness. 132:9 Thy priests shall clothe themselves with righteousness; and thy saints shall exult. 132:10 For the sake of thy servant David turn not away the face of thine anointed. 132:11 The Lord sware in truth to David, and he will not annul it, saying, Of the fruit of thy body will I set a king upon thy throne. 132:12 If thy children will deep my covenant, and these my testimonies which I shall teach them, their children also shall sit upon thy throne for ever. 132:13 For the Lord has elected Sion, he has chosen her for a habitation for himself, saying, 132:14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have chosen it. 132:15 I will surely bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. 132:16 I will clothe her priests with salvation; and her saints shall greatly exult. 132:17 There will I cause to spring up a horn to David: I have prepared a lamp for mine anointed. 132:18 His enemies will I clothe with a shame; but upon himself shall my holiness flourish.(LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 132:1-18, the psalm opens saying,א שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת זְכוֹר-יְהֹוָה לְדָוִד אֵת כָּל-עֻנּוֹתוֹ: ב אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַיהֹוָה נָדַר לַאֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב: ג אִם-אָבֹא בְּאֹהֶל בֵּיתִי אִם-אֶעֱלֶה עַל-עֶרֶשֹ יְצוּעָי: ד אִם-אֶתֵּן שְׁנָת לְעֵינָי לְעַפְעַפַּי תְּנוּמָה: ה עַד-אֶמְצָא מָקוֹם לַיהֹוָה מִשְׁכָּנוֹת לַאֲבִיר יַעֲקֹב: 132:1 Remember, O Lord, on David’s behalf, All his affliction; 132:2 How he swore to the Lord And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob, 132:3 ‘Surely I will not enter my house, Nor lie on my bed; 132:4 I will not give sleep to my eyes Or slumber to my eyelids, 132:5 Until I find a place for the Lord, A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.’ (NASB) This psalm appears to be written by David saying that he made a vow to find a resting place for the Lord, to build a Temple for the Lord. How significant is the finding of a place for the Lord to dwell according to the Scriptures? How strict or how lenient is the Lord in this respect? David did not exactly following the instructions of Moshe according to the Neviim section of the Bible. One example is how David brought the ark to the city of David in a tent and not to the Tabernacle in Shiloh. What was going on in Shiloh that warranted the ark going to a different place? Why was David so important to have the Ark of the Covenant to stay with him in his city? How did the Tabernacle function without the Ark, especially during Yom Kippur? These are all important questions. Could syncretism have played a part in these things in the lives of David and the people of Israel?

The term syncretism is an attempt to unify or reconcile opposite tenants or practices in philosophy or religion. Syncretism is the mixing of things that differ. According to the Torah, the Lord has made it clear that He does not accept this kind of unification, the blending of two religious practices that differ. Is this what happened when David brought the Ark to his city and placed the Ark in a tent? In addition, other sacrificial altars were clearly in evidence during the period, including at Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30), Ophrah (Judges 6:24), Zorah (Judges 13:20) (Joshua 24:26), Bethel (Judges 21:4), Ramah (1 Samuel 7:17), Gilgal (1 Samuel 10:8), and others. The central issue deals with holiness as it is related to the separation of God’s people from the ways of the nations. For example, the Shabbat was blessed and set apart for the purpose of rest and drawing near to the Lord from since the creation. The Torah describes the Shabbat as a holy day and time during the week for all of God’s people. From the time of Abraham, the Lord was involved in the lives of His people who belong to Him to set them apart from the rest of the world and its pagan ways. Abram was called away from his people and his land in Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit / Genesis 12) and given a covenant agreement marking him as unique, separate, and set apart from the rest of the world to be a people holy, righteous, and just in a world of darkness. The Lord God preserved Abraham in his old age giving him a son (Isaac) and taking care of his son Jacob, making him into a great nation. The Lord preserved Jacob and his family through the hand of Joseph. In each of these cases, the Lord God brought a people close to Himself to sanctify them, to set them apart, to save them, and to set them free. In the giving of the Torah, these things are made repeatedly clear. Israel was not to be a people who mixed differing religions together, which touched on both the practical and the metaphysical aspects of one’s life. For example, one was reminded to not mix the ways of the nations into their lives by the commands to not mix crops, to not mix different threads (cloths), and to not inter-breed animals. Clean animals were to be separated from unclean, with no admixture allowed. Why? Was there something morally wrong with mixing crops, cotton and linen, or inter-breading animals? Is there a moral issue which separates the clean animal from the unclean? Apparently not. The reason seems to lay specifically with the message the Lord God is trying to give to His people to be consistent in their faith, for the one who calls Him Lord is to love Him with all his heart, all his mind, and all his strength. There is no room for an ad-mixture of the heart (see Ezekiel 14) in relation to the practical, every day laws given to Israel that are illustrated in these things. Whether crops, cloths, livestock, or food, the picture that is presented to us as His people, there is to be no mixing of things that essentially differ.

The Torah is very clear about incorporating pagan practices into the worship of God, all such things are clearly prohibited. There is more than just the prohibition of these things, the language itself describes the Lords utter rejection and hatred of syncretism because it goes contrary to His nature of purity, holiness, righteousness, and truth. A little dirt is not allowed, whereas mankind thinks this is OK. God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all! (1 John 1:5)

Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:9-18

18:9 ‘When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. 18:10 ‘There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 18:11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 18:12 ‘For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. 18:13 ‘You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 18:14 ‘For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so. 18:15 ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him. 18:16 ‘This is according to all that you asked of the Lord your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.’ 18:17 ‘The Lord said to me, ‘They have spoken well. 18:18 ‘I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. (NASB)

Devarim / Deuteronomy 20:17-20

20:17 ‘But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the Lord your God has commanded you, 20:18 so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the Lord your God. 20:19 ‘When you besiege a city a long time, to make war against it in order to capture it, you shall not destroy its trees by swinging an axe against them; for you may eat from them, and you shall not cut them down. For is the tree of the field a man, that it should be besieged by you? 20:20 ‘Only the trees which you know are not fruit trees you shall destroy and cut down, that you may construct siege-works against the city that is making war with you until it falls. (NASB)

The Lord speaks of the utter destruction of the people and of the nations because of their evil ways, the people of Israel are not to learn of their ways and mingle (mix) them with the ways of God. These verses speak of the explicit abhorrence of mixing pagan worship with the worship God describes as holy for His people.

If we consider the history of Israel, in the books of Samuel, there is evidence of the subtle yet real syncretism that was present following Israel having settled in the land of Israel. For instance, the Ark of the Covenant was housed in a tent according to the Torah. But what we read of Eli and his sons, the place they met with the Lord with the Ark was descried as having a door-post, which is something characteristic of a permanent dwelling. (1 Kings 6:31-33, 9:3) It would appear that Eli as high priest had adopted a temple of some sort to house the Ark of God, something that is in direct violation of the Torah which commanded both the destruction of the Canaanite places of worship and conducting true worship in only one place, the place that was chosen (Hamakom, המקום) by God. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:1-14) The sin of Eli and his sons had committed was significant, this place they chose was different than the tent of meeting. The priesthood appears to have neglected God’s careful warnings to His people about mixing things that essentially differ. The effect was sin before God. Eli’s sons we are told had sex with the women at the door of the temple, which parallels the fertility rites of the nations, and we are told they despised the sacrifices which the people brought. Worship of the one true God was to be unique and distinguishable from the worship of pagan practices of the nations. The priests in Eli and Samuel’s time apparently mixed those things that differed from the purity of the ways of God. These appeared to be subtle at first and were not recognizable in the end due to the length of time of the mingling.

Other aspects of syncretism are found throughout the history of Israel, Samuel is pictured for example was laying down in the temple of the Lord where the Ark of God was. This is not possible if the Ark was being housed in the Tent that Moshe set up. In fact, there was no provision for priests to sleep in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, not to mention those who like Samuel had not undergone priestly ordination, etc. In addition, we are told of the priests bringing the Ark out to the battle grounds in the hopes of being able to control God or persuade him by the ritual of bringing an item of the Lord to battle, which is explicitly cultic in nature. This is nothing less than to be like the nations who think they were able to persuade their gods to do their bidding. We also read of David bringing the Ark of God to the city of David in a tent, where the Tabernacle remained in Shiloh. Also, the Torah prescribes the yearly sacrifice as the shelosh regalim, the three times a man is to present himself each year before the Lord. Another example can be found by asking, what exactly was the “annual feast” which David claimed as the reason for being absent from Saul’s Table? In 1 Samuel 20:6, we are told the clan or family was attached to this annual festival which was in Bethlehem? This sounds a lot like a sacrifice which is separate from the Tabernacle in Shiloh. There are many examples similar to these in the history of Israel that stand in direct violation of the command found in the Torah. In Nehemiah 8:17 we are told “And the entire assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in them. The sons of Israel had indeed not done so from the days of Joshua the son of Nun to that day. And there was great rejoicing.” This is interesting because according to this interpretation of the history of Israel, Nehemiah states that the annual celebration of Sukkot was completely neglected during David’s reign as king, and yet he was described as “a man after God’s own heart.” How is this possible? Why did the exiles of Nehemiah’s day so quickly see the neglect and make it right by celebrating the festival of Sukkot? How was it that David and his generation were so blinded to God’s Righteous ways giving up the festivals which the Lord had declared as the three times one is to present himself before the Lord each year? The answer to these questions come by the subtle lies that enter in when mixing the ungodly ways of the nations with God’s ways. Mixing things that differ causes the interaction of unholiness with the soul, it injects the soul with the deadness of paganism and leads the soul away from the truth of God. The most important aspect of this is that the one who is involved in this does not know what is taking place but is deceived and follows in his own ways as if the Lord is delighted with this form of worship, though it stands contrary to the commands. The second most important aspect is that this results from not knowing God’s Word and applying His word to our lives. Sin, whether subtle or overt, when continued grows and leads to failure and deception, the two compounding features of sin.

Pagan places of worship, and pagan ways of worship have lasted the centuries. We can see this in the modern day practices, and even in the widespread increase in witchcraft and other forms of wickedness. When the kingdom of Israel was divided, Jeroboam feared that the people in the regular pilgrimages (Shelosh regalim) to the Temple in Jerusalem would effect their loyalties to his rule. The way he decided to circumvent what he felt was a problem, he instituted new feasts and erected two golden calves which he proclaimed to be “the gods that brought you up out of Egypt.” He further consecrated new non-levitical priests to carry our the cultic aspects of worship and service to these new gods, and established these new priests in the service to these golden calves. These were blatantly anti-Torah practices, yet most of the people blindly accepted and followed Jeroboam’s idolatry. Rehoboam continued to maintain the high priests in Judah and the Temple service. Eventually, the kings of Judah and the people mingled the worship of God with that of Baal. As a result of these things, we read the following:

1 Kings 15:9-14

15:9 So in the twentieth year of Jeroboam the king of Israel, Asa began to reign as king of Judah. 15:10 He reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 15:11 Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, like David his father. 15:12 He also put away the male cult prostitutes from the land and removed all the idols which his fathers had made. 15:13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother, because she had made a horrid image as an Asherah; and Asa cut down her horrid image and burned it at the brook Kidron. 15:14 But the high places were not taken away; nevertheless the heart of Asa was wholly devoted to the Lord all his days. (NASB)

1 Kings 22:41-43

22:41 Now Jehoshaphat the son of Asa became king over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel. 22:42 Jehoshaphat was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 22:43 He walked in all the way of Asa his father; he did not turn aside from it, doing right in the sight of the Lord. However, the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burnt incense on the high places. (NASB)

2 Kings 11:21-12:3

11:21 Jehoash was seven years old when he became king. 12:1 In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother’s name was Zibiah of Beersheba. 12:2 Jehoash did right in the sight of the Lord all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. 12:3 Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. (NASB)

What we observe here in the history of Israel is the failure to purge Israel of the high places of pagan worship. Though the hearts of the kings were whole heartedly devoted to the Lord, the Lord allowed Israel to mingle these things which were contrary to the Torah.

2 Kings 23:19-23

23:19 Josiah also removed all the houses of the high places which were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made provoking the Lord; and he did to them just as he had done in Bethel. 23:20 All the priests of the high places who were there he slaughtered on the altars and burned human bones on them; then he returned to Jerusalem. 23:21 Then the king commanded all the people saying, ‘Celebrate the Passover to the Lord your God as it is written in this book of the covenant.’ 23:22 Surely such a Passover had not been celebrated from the days of the judges who judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel and of the kings of Judah. 23:23 But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was observed to the Lord in Jerusalem. (NASB)

What we learn here is the command to celebrate the passover was not done so from since the time of the Judges. Again, what happened during the reign of David and Solomon? The syncretism outlined in the history of Israel demonstrates to us that this form of sin always led to the waining of faith in the God of Israel and His ways. The danger of mixing of godly things with ungodly things is so great, even those whose hearts were fully devoted to the Lord (Like David and Asa), were still able to mix what is ungodly with what the Lord wants for our lives. How can this be so? These things describe the deception of sin in men’s hearts. By accepting and practicing the traditions of one’s community without testing them against God’s Word, it is easy to fall into this error. Also, Scripture does not directly say God punishes syncretism immediately. Notice how Israel continued down the spiral of syncretism which inevitably led to increasing levels of compromise in matters of disobedience to God’s Commands. The overt worship of Baal within the context of Israelite worship did not happen overnight. These things begin by first accepting little by little the pagan ways of the nations, which lead to major differences to the true worship of the One True God. One of the most important concepts we can derive from this study is related to borrowing things from other religions, whether it is possible through the passage of time to divorce the underlying spiritual connections when the symbolism have not changed, but its ideological meanings do. The question is whether objects and symbols from other religions maintain their connections to the spiritual realm which they were derived. What we should consider, is whether the spiritual realm (where our battle truly is being fought) continues to view the occult symbols as attached to the demonic womb from which they were born? And then whether we have license in Yeshua (Jesus) to use being free from the spiritual consequences? I have come to believe the spiritual consequences are much greater than we truly understand, and the Lord is grieved by the majority of believers in the Body of the Messiah who neglect to consider the spiritual consequences of festivals which eclipse what God has ordained for His people.

The psalm continues saying, 132:6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, We found it in the field of Jaar. 132:7 Let us go into His dwelling place; Let us worship at His footstool. 132:8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place, You and the ark of Your strength. 132:9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness, And let Your godly ones sing for joy. 132:10 For the sake of David Your servant, Do not turn away the face of Your anointed. 132:11 The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 132:12 ‘If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.’ (NASB) The Psalm speaks of the importance of obeying God’s Word in relation to the covenant promises of God. Moshe knew that at one time in the future, the commandments, statutes, and ordinances in God’s covenant might come to seem like nothing but a burden to the people. Moshe reminds us that the primary purpose of the commandments is to bless us.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:12-13

If you heed these ordinances, by diligently observing them, the Lord your God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty that he swore to your ancestors; he will love you, bless you, and multiply you; he will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your wine and your oil, the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock, in the land that he swore to your ancestors to give you.

Obeying the Lord results in blessing as Moshe wrote in Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:2-7, 11-12.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:2-7, 11-12

If you obey the Lord your God: Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb, the fruit of your ground, and the fruit of your livestock, both the increase of your cattle and the issue of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out…. The Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your livestock, and in the fruit of your ground in the land that the Lord swore to your ancestors to give you. The Lord will open for you his rich storehouse, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all your undertakings.

Obeying the covenant is meant to be a source of blessing, prosperity, joy, and health for God’s people. The commands were not meant to be a burden. The Apostle Paul wrote, “The law is holy, and the commandment is holy and just and good” (Romans 7:12), and that “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). This is not the same as what is known as the Prosperity Gospel, which incorrectly claims that the Lord just brings wealth and health to individuals who believe in Jesus alone. What we find in the Torah is that if God’s people would live according to His covenant the world would be a better place as we are told we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Christian response is that we are not capable of fulfilling the law through any power we possess. That is why there is a new covenant in Christ, in which God’s grace is made available to us through Christ’s death and resurrection, rather than being limited by our own obedience. However, what we find is by living in the Messiah, and receiving His Holy Spirit, we are able to love and serve God, and obey His commands just as he wrote in the Torah. As a result, we receive the blessings described by Moshe. Obeying God;s commands is the overarching theme that runs throughout the entire Bible. In Yeshua the Messiah, we find the perfect model of obedience. As his disciples, we follow Christ’s example as well as his commands. Our motivation for obedience is love as it says in John 14:15 If you love me, you will keep my commandments. (ESV)

The psalmist concludes saying, 132:13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 132:14 ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 132:15 ‘I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. 132:16 ‘Her priests also I will clothe with salvation, And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy. 132:17 ‘There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed. 132:18 ‘His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine.’(NASB) The Lord makes a promise to keep His people, to protect them, to feed them, and to cloth them. When considering what is being taught here in the Psalm, is salvation that is spoken of here referring to being saved from hell in the afterlife? In the Torah, redemption and salvation are connected to the hear and now, life in this world. This is explained as the Lord God delivering Israel from Slavery in Egypt, and so the Lord also wants to fee us from the slavery to sin in our own lives (Matthew 20:28 and Titus 2:14). Because of these things, the natural outcome is the relation of salvation and redemption to the afterlife. In the Talmud Bavli Makkot 23b the rabbis taught, “The rest of the prayer: [Accept my] song, petition, supplication before Thee for Thy people Israel, which are in need of salvation” (Yoma 70a). Again we cite the Talmud where is implied that salvation is for all Israel: “Said Raba, Samuel may have taken all Israel collectively, using the singular expression [verb], as it is written [elsewhere]: O Israel, thou art saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation, Ye shall not be ashamed?” In the example given from the Talmud, according to the Masoretic Text, salvation comes from the Lord and is a favor bestowed upon the nation as a whole. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:23 Moshe reminds the children of Israel of the consequences of disobedience: dispersion and bondage among the nations, the land becoming desolate, sufferings, and hunger. On the other hand, Devarim / Deuteronomy 30 states that if they repent and turn from their evil ways, their blessings shall be restored (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:1-10). Although present-day Judaism denies the need for individual and personal salvation, it acknowledges the need for forgiveness, atonement, and repentance. In the first century, the Apostle Peter said the people had rejected Yeshua the Messiah of Israel, and then he declares “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). We put our hope in Yeshua the Messiah and our Father in heaven who sent His only begotten son. Faith in the Messiah Yeshua causes the Lord to do as He says in Tehillim / Psalms 132:18 ‘His enemies I will clothe with shame, But upon himself his crown shall shine.’(NASB) Again we are told the Lord will give each one of us who are faithful and remain faithful up until the end.

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 132 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, and 3. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 132, Part 1 2, and 3.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 132, Part 1, 2, and 3

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The Lord has made a faithful oath unto David; He will not turn back from it, Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I will teach them, their children will also sit upon your throne forever more (Tehillim / Psalms 132:11-12).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Three things were given conditionally by the Lord, The Land of Israel; the Temple and the throne of the house of David. The Book of the Torah and the covenant with Aaron, however, were given unconditionally.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis describe the land of Israel, the temple, and the throne of David as conditional, whereas the Torah, the priesthood, and the covenant were unconditional.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis go on to list proofs for the conditional and unconditional aspects of these things.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “The verses, And the Lord said unto Aaron, It is a covenant of salt forever, before the Lord unto you, and to your seed with you (Bamidbar / Numbers 18:1,19); and also the verses, Wherefore said, Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace. And he will have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:12-13).”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “This is My rest forever (Tehillim / Psalms 132:14).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “In connection with these words, the Rabbis differed in their interpretation of the verse, For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord your God gave you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:9).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the rest spoken of in the Psalm in relation to the rest spoken of in the Torah and the Land of Israel.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis continue by describing the conquests of the Land of Canaan.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “In the School of Rabbi Ishmael it was taught that both the one and the other word refer to Shiloh; but according to Rabbi Simeon son of Yohai, both the one and the other refer to Jerusalem.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 132:13).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Until Jerusalem was chosen, any place in the Land of Israel was thought suitable for the sacrifice of burnt offerings.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the issue of the people sacrificing in various locations in the Land of Israel.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis describe the place the Lord chose to establish His name. Was this at Shiloh or at Jerusalem?
  • The Concluding phrase says, “After David was chosen, the rest of the children of Israel were no longer fir, as it is said, Ought you not to know that the Lord, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? (2 Chronicles 13:5). Until the Land of Israel was chosen, all other lands ceased to be suitable.”

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The Lord has made a faithful oath unto David; He will not turn back from it, Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I will teach them, their children will also sit upon your throne forever more (Tehillim / Psalms 132:11-12).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Three things were given conditionally by the Lord, The Land of Israel; the Temple and the throne of the house of David. The Book of the Torah and the covenant with Aaron, however, were given unconditionally.” In the משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis describe the land of Israel, the temple, and the throne of David as conditional, whereas the Torah, the priesthood, and the covenant were unconditional. The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קלב סימן א

א שיר המעלות זכור ה׳ לדוד את כל ענותו, אם ישמרו בניך בריתי. שלשה דברים נתנו על תנאי, ארץ ישראל, ובית המקדש, ומלכות בית דוד, חוץ מספר תורה, ובריתו של אהרן שלא נתנו על תנאי. ארץ ישראל מנין, שנאמר השמרו לכם פן יפתה לבבכם וגו׳ וחרה אף ה׳ בכם ועצר את השמים וגו׳ (דברים יא טז יז). בית המקדש מנין, שנאמר הבית הזה אשר אתה בונה אם תלך בחקותי וגו׳ (מ״א מלכים א׳ ו יב), ואם לאו והבית הזה יהיה עליון כל עובר עליו ישום וגו׳ (שם מלכים א׳ ט ח). מלכות בית דוד מנין, שנאמר אם ישמרו בניך בריתי (ונאמר) ]ואם לאו[ ופקדתי בשבט פשעם (תהלים פט לג), ומנן לספר תורה שלא נתנה על תנאי, שנאמר תורה צוה לנו משה מורשה (דברים לג ד). ומנין לבריתו של אהרן שלא נתן על תנאי, שנאמר ברית מלח עולם (במדבר יח יט), ואומר והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו ברית כהונת עולם (שם במדבר כה יג).

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 1

1. The Lord has made a faithful oath unto David; He will not turn back from it, Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony that I will teach them, their children will also sit upon your throne forever more (Tehillim / Psalms 132:11-12). Three things were given conditionally by the Lord, The Land of Israel; the Temple and the throne of the house of David. The Book of the Torah and the covenant with Aaron, however, were given unconditionally. The proof that the Land of Israel was given conditionally? The verse, Take heed to yourselves lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven so that there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield her fruit; and you perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord gives you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:16-17). The proof that the Temple was given conditionally? The verses As for this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, etc, then will I perform My word with you, in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel (1 Kings 6:12). But, if you do not walk in My statutes, this house which is so high will become desolate, and every one that passes by it will be astonished (1 Kings 9:8). And the proof that the throne of the house of David was given conditionally? The verses, The Lord has made a faithful oath unto David, Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony, their children also will sit upon your throne forever more (Tehillim / Psalms 132:12). But if they do not keep My testimony, then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with strokes (Tehillim / Psalms 89:31-33). And the proof that the book of the Torah was given unconditionally? The verse, The Law which Moshe commanded us is an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob (Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:4). And the proof that the covenant with Aaron was made unconditionally? The verses, And the Lord said unto Aaron, It is a covenant of salt forever, before the Lord unto you, and to your seed with you (Bamidbar / Numbers 18:1,19); and also the verses, Wherefore said, Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace. And he will have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:12-13).

The rabbis describe the giving of the Torah as unconditional on behalf of the people of Israel. This can be analogized by a Mother’s unconditional Love as being the secret behind the Torah’s transmission to God’s people. When the Torah was given to the Nation of Israel, the Lord God Almighty told Moshe “So shall you say to the house of Jacob and relate to the children of Israel …” (Shemot / Exodus 19:3) The Jewish commentators explain that the “house of Jacob” are the women, and the “children of Israel” are the men. The question arises, “How was the Torah given over to the women?” The midrash explains (rashi in the Mekilta) that the Torah was given first to the women in a gentle voice, and then to the men. Why do you think the midrash speaks of giving the Torah over to the women first in a gentle voice? The reason was because children need love, but the kind of love only a mother can give, that is unconditional love. The first person to give children unconditional love is their mother. In the book of Ruth, a tradition during Shavuot, is a time for celebrating the giving of the Torah to God’s people, and in the Apostolic Writings, the giving of God’s Holy Spirit for the purpose of helping us to overcome sin and being successful in obeying His commands. The reason Ruth merited having an entire book in the Bible named after her was due to her being the great grandmother of King David, but also of the Messiah. Ruth was a righteous woman who knew how to love unconditionally. As parents, we have many expectations for our children, dreams, worries, etc., and we want only the best for our children. We try to direct and guide their lives for their well being with the idea of helping to teach them the meaning of life, the reasons to live (for the Lord) and how to love one another. This is illustrated in a powerful way in the transmission of the Torah, when, and by whom it was received. The Torah calls us to justice, equality, kindness and softness towards others. This gift of the Torah, according to the Apostolic Writings, leads to royalty, a majesty and glory that is given to God’s people to bear the testimonies of God. This is illustrated in the gift to love others unconditionally just as Yeshua taught us, our families, our neighbor, and even our enemies. It is within this context the rabbis view and understand the Torah as having been given unconditionally because of God’s unconditional love for each one of us!

Midrash Tehillim 132 Part 1 states that the Land of Israel was given conditionally. The place that we make our dwelling is based upon our faithfulness to God, His Messiah, and the covenant. The midrash speaks of this in the following way:

The proof that the Land of Israel was given conditionally? The verse, Take heed to yourselves lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them; and the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and He shut up the heaven so that there will be no rain, and the ground will not yield her fruit; and you perish quickly from off the good land which the Lord gives you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:16-17). The proof that the Temple was given conditionally? The verses As for this house which you are building, if you will walk in My statutes, etc, then will I perform My word with you, in that I will dwell therein among the children of Israel, and will not forsake My people Israel (1 Kings 6:12). But, if you do not walk in My statutes, this house which is so high will become desolate, and every one that passes by it will be astonished (1 Kings 9:8). And the proof that the throne of the house of David was given conditionally? The verses, The Lord has made a faithful oath unto David, Of the fruit of your body will I set upon your throne. If your children will keep My covenant and My testimony, their children also will sit upon your throne forever more (Tehillim / Psalms 132:12). But if they do not keep My testimony, then will I visit their transgressions with the rod, and their iniquity with strokes (Tehillim / Psalms 89:31-33). (Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 1)

Note how the covenant is related to the commandments, and our hearts if we turn from the Lord our God in heaven to worship other gods. It is explicitly stated that Solomon turned away from God as the Scriptures say, “when he was old” (see 1 Kings 11:4). Solomon died around 80 years of age. Solomon’s wives played a part in his having fallen away, where his wives had never given up their gods, continually pressured him concerning their religion and how certain forms of worship were required of them. Although Solomon penned Mishley / Proverbs 27:15 A constant dripping on a day of steady rain And a contentious woman are alike; 27:16 He who would restrain her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand. (NASB), he likely became a victim of its dynamics. As we said in Part 1 of this study, syncretism played a large part of Solomon’s falling away as slowing and relentlessly leading to greater amounts of sin. And no doubt this idolatry came upon him little by little, starting small and increasing over time. This is how sin works in our lives. It maybe he first allowed his wives to possess small images. Gradually, perhaps, the idols became bigger, they eventually required shrines and demanded rites and rituals. Solomon had so many wives it also may be he was not able to partake in these rituals but gave his wives an allowance to pay for what they needed in the worship of their gods. However these events took place, it certainly did not happen all at once. Sin increases through neglect and compromise over time. Solomon’s example serves as instruction for God’s people today to not compromise with His ways and to stay away from intermarriage with anyone who is not spiritually like-minded (see 2 Corinthians 6:11-18, 1 Corinthians 7:39). The result of Solomon’s compromise and idolatry was that ultimately Israel was split into two rival kingdoms with the northern kingdom falling deep into idolatry and eventually being utterly destroyed. This illustrates the relationship between the land, the Temple, and the dynasty which are conditional based upon how one responds to the commands of God.

The Midrash continues saying that the Torah and the priesthood are unconditional in the following way:

And the proof that the book of the Torah was given unconditionally? The verse, The Law which Moshe commanded us is an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob (Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:4). And the proof that the covenant with Aaron was made unconditionally? The verses, And the Lord said unto Aaron, It is a covenant of salt forever, before the Lord unto you, and to your seed with you (Bamidbar / Numbers 18:1,19); and also the verses, Wherefore said, Behold, I give unto him My covenant of peace. And he will have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:12-13). (Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 1)

The Torah was given as an inheritance for the people of God. Similar to the priesthood, to the decedents of Aaron, citing the passage from Parashat Pinchas the Lord made a covenant of salt forever with the seed of Aaron. The Law of God being given to His people as an inheritance does not follow the standard teaching of the church today due in large part to replacement theology. Based upon what the Torah states, when we understand and value the glory that awaits us, we are better able to endure whatever comes our way in this life. We can give God praise even during trials because we have His guarantee that we will receive all He has promised, just as Paul wrote to the Corinthians saying, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17). David writes, “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Tehillim / Psalm 16:5-6). And this is why “we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18). That which is eternal is the Lord God in heaven, and His giving of righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth for His people in the commands is also eternal. We can look forward to the Lord working in our lives by His promises. Ephesians 1:11 states, “In [Christ] we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will” (ESV). Other passages that mention a believer’s inheritance include Colossians 3:24 and Hebrews 9:15. Our inheritance is the presence of God going with us each day. This is the sum total of all the Lord God has promised us in salvation. This is why the Torah speaks of the people being the inheritance of the Father in heaven, we are His portion, and He is our heritage if we are willing to live for Him.

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “This is My rest forever (Tehillim / Psalms 132:14).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “In connection with these words, the Rabbis differed in their interpretation of the verse, For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord your God gave you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:9).” The rabbis speak of the rest the Lord had promised to His people as it is connected to the inheritance which the Lord gives us. This reminds us of what we read in Hebrews 4:3-11.

Hebrews 4:3-11

4:3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said, ‘As I swore in My wrath, They shall not enter My rest,’ although His works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4:4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day ‘And God rested on the seventh day from all His works’; 4:5 and again in this passage ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ 4:6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience, 4:7 He again fixes a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before, ‘Today if you hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.’ 4:8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that. 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 4:10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 4:11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (NASB)

The author of Hebrews speaks of entering into the rest the Lord has promised making reference to the seventh day rest (the Shabbat), and obedience to the commands. Hebrews 4:6 states that the people in the wilderness had the gospel message preached to them but they failed to grasp hold of it due to their disobedience. The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קלב סימן ב

ב זאת מנוחתי עדי עד. תנו רבנן כי לא באתם עד עתה אל המנוחה ואל הנחלה וגו׳ (דברים יב ט). [מנוחה] זו שילה, ואמאי קרי ליה מנוחה דנחו מכיבוש הארץ. נחלה זו ירושלים. וכה״א היתה לי נחלתי כאריה ביער (ירמיה יב ח), ואומר העיט צבוע נחלתי לי (שם שם ירמיהו י״ב ט), דברי ר׳ יהודה, ר׳ שמעון אומר מנוחה זו ירושלים, וכה״א זאת מנוחתי עדי עד, ואומר כי בחר ה׳ בציון אוה למושב לו, ואמאי קרי ליה מנוחה על שם מנוחת הארון, נחלה זו שילה דכתיב (ויחלק להם יהושע ויפל להם הגורל בשילה) [וישלך להם יהושע גורל בשילה לפני ה׳ ויחלק שם יהושע את הארץ (יהושע יח י)], (ר׳ ישמעאל אומר) [תנא דבי ר׳ ישמעאל] זה וזה שילה, רבי שמעון בן יוחאי אומר זה וזה ירושלים.

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 2

2. This is My rest forever (Tehillim / Psalms 132:14). In connection with these words, the Rabbis differed in their interpretation of the verse, For you are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord your God gave you (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:9). Rabbi Judah said, The word rest refers to Shiloh, and why is Shiloh termed rest? Because after the conquest of the Land, the children of Israel rested at Shiloh. And the word inheritance refers to Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is so termed in the verse, My heritage is become unto Me as a lion in the forest (Jeremiah 12:8), and also in the verse, Is My heritage unto Me as a speckled bird of prey? (Jeremiah 12:9) But Rabbi Simeon said, The word rest refers to Jerusalem, because Jerusalem is so termed in the verse, This is My rest forever (Tehillim / Psalms 132:14), and also the verse, For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 132:13). And why is Jerusalem termed rest? Because the resting place of the Ark of the Covenant was in Jerusalem. And the word inheritance refers to Shiloh, because it is written, And Joshua cast lots for them in Shiloh before the Lord; and there Joshua divided the land unto the children of Israel according to their divisions (Joshua 18:10). In the School of Rabbi Ishmael it was taught that both the one and the other word refer to Shiloh; but according to Rabbi Simeon son of Yohai, both the one and the other refer to Jerusalem.

The rabbis speak of the rest that is intended for Israel is a reference to Shiloh because after the conquest of the Promised Land, the people rested at Shiloh. The rest that is spoken of here is connected to the inheritance. This is the meaning of the threat which the Psalmist expresses in the terms, “they shall not enter into my rest.” The biblical texts cited above clearly prove that the settlement in the land of the promised inheritance is itself the rest spoken of. The book of Hebrews states 4:9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. 4:10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. 4:11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience. (NASB) The idea here is the Lord empowers His people to enter into the rest promised to God’s People according to the Torah. There is a struggle that wages and is at war in our bodies due to sin. The Lord gives us His Spirit and empowers us to overcome sin. Though we struggle, we can rest in the knowledge that we struggle because we are His children. The concept of entering into God’s rest is brought out in the midrash and is spoken of in Hebrews 3-4. What is this “rest” the author of Hebrews is writing about? How do we enter it? And how do we fail to enter it? The writer to the Hebrews begins his discussion of God’s rest in chapter 3, where he references the Israelites wandering in the desert. In giving them the land of Canaan, God had promised them that He would go before them and defeat all their enemies in order that they could live securely (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:9-10). Based upon what is written in the Torah, all that was required of God’s people was to fully trust in Him and His promises. However, they refused to obey Him. Instead, they murmured against Him, even desiring to return back to their bondage under the Egyptians (Shemot / Exodus 16:3, 17:1–7, Bamidbar / Numbers 20:3–13). The particular rest that is being referenced here is to being at peace in the Land of Canaan. The Psalm states 132:11 The Lord has sworn to David A truth from which He will not turn back: ‘Of the fruit of your body I will set upon your throne. 132:12 ‘If your sons will keep My covenant And My testimony which I will teach them, Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forever.’ 132:13 For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation. 132:14 ‘This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it. 132:15 ‘I will abundantly bless her provision; I will satisfy her needy with bread. (NASB) The midrash slightly modifies Tehillim / Psalms 132:14 saying “this is My rest” whereas the Psalm states, “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.” Hebrews 3:11 states the Israelites who disobeyed Him would never enter. They had been disobedient to the commands. The Lord had worked miracles in their midst on a daily basis (manna) and the Lord God had warned and entreated them; He had caused His mercies to pass before them, and had visited them with judgments in vain; and He now declares that because of all their rebellion they should be excluded from the Promised Land (Hebrews 3:16-19). The next generation however did place their faith in God and, by following the leadership of Joshua, they, some forty years later, entered into God’s rest entering into the Land of Canaan (Joshua 3:14-17). The author of Hebrews used the example of Israel in the wilderness not resting in God’s promises saying, “Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it” (Hebrews 4:1). The promise of God is to be at peace with one another and with the Lord God in heaven. Faith is the key to entering God’s rest. The book of Hebrews speaks of the people in the wilderness having the gospel preached to them, just as the Israelites knew the truth about God, but the messages were of “no value to them, because those who heard did not combine it with faith” (Hebrews 4:2). The kind of faith being spoken of is that of relying upon the Lord working in our lives to being faithful in the commandments of God. Hebrews 4:10–13 explains the nature of this faith. The kind of faith that the Lord puts in our hearts, the Lord working in our lives leads to our being able to rest in Him. The author of Hebrews states, “For anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience” (Hebrews 4:10-11). What this means is that we must submit our lives to the Lord God and His word. It is within this submissiveness to God that our efforts are to be made. Being submissive to God’s Word is not about trusting in ourselves. Being submissive is about fully trusting in the Lord and His promises. We enter into God’s rest by first understanding our inability to enter God’s rest on our own. We enter God’s rest by our faith in the Messiah and our obedience to God and His will (the commandments). The Scriptures state, “And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief” (Hebrews 3:18-19).

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 2 concludes saying, “In the School of Rabbi Ishmael it was taught that both the one and the other word refer to Shiloh; but according to Rabbi Simeon son of Yohai, both the one and the other refer to Jerusalem.” The midrash speaks of the inheritance of the people and of God. The Lord chose a place to establish His name at Shiloh, but as we study the history of Israel, only a few frequented the Tabernacle and obeyed God’s commands to bring the peace offerings, and to obey the Shelosh Regalim. The Lord empowers us in the Messiah to be at peace with all men, and to be at peace with Him.

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 132:13).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Until Jerusalem was chosen, any place in the Land of Israel was thought suitable for the sacrifice of burnt offerings.” Does this reasoning give justice to the people of Israel worshiping the Lord in any place they desired, even upon the high places, the former places of worship by the nations to their gods? The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קלב סימן ג

ג כי בחר ה׳ בציון. עד שלא נבחרה ירושלים היתה ארץ ישראל כשרה למזבחות, משנבחרה ירושלים יצאת ארץ ישראל שנאמר השמר לך פן תעלה עולותיך וגו׳ [כי אם במקום אשר יבחר] (דברים יב יג יד). עד שלא נבחר בית עולמים, היתה ירושלים ראויה לשכינה, משנבחרה יצתה ירושלים, שנאמר כי בחר ה׳ בציון, ואומר זאת מנוחתי עדי עד. עד שלא נבחר אהרן היו כל ישראל ראויין לכהונה, משנבחר אהרן יצאו כל ישראל, שנאמר ברית מלח עולם היא לפני ה׳ (במדבר יח יט), ואומר והיתה לו ולזרעו אחריו וגו׳ (שם במדבר כה יג). עד שלא נבחר דוד היו כל ישראל ראויין למלכות, משנבחר יצאו ישראל, שנאמר הלא לכם לדעת כי ה׳ [אלהי ישראל] נתן (הממלכה) [ממלכה] לדויד [על ישראל לעולם לו ולבניו ברית מלח] (דה״ב דברי הימים ב׳ יג ה). עד שלא נבחרה ארץ ישראל היו כל הארצות כשרות לדברות [משנבחרה ארץ ישראל יצאו כל הארצות].

Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 3

3. For the Lord has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 132:13). Until Jerusalem was chosen, any place in the Land of Israel was thought suitable for the sacrifice of burnt offerings. But after Jerusalem was chosen, the sacrifice elsewhere in the Land of Israel ceased to be suitable, as it is said, Take heed to yourself that you offer not your burn offerings in every place that you see; but in the place which the Lord will choose in one of your tribes, there will you offer your burnt offerings (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12:13-14). Until the eternal habitation was chosen, the whole of Jerusalem was suitable for the Divine Presence. But after the eternal habitation was chosen, the rest of Jerusalem ceased to be suitable, as it is said, For the Lord has desired it for His habitation, This is My rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it (Tehillim / Psalms 132:13-14). Until Aaron was chosen, all the children of Israel were thought fit for the priesthood. But after Aaron was chosen, the rest of the children of Israel were no longer thought fit, as it is said, And the Lord said unto Aaron, It is a covenant of salt forever. Before the Lord unto you, and to your seed with you (Bamidbar / Numbers 18:19), and as it is also said, Wherefore say, Behold I give unto him My covenant of peace. And he will have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:12-13). Until David was chosen, all the children of Israel were fit for kingship. After David was chosen, the rest of the children of Israel were no longer for, as it is said, Ought you not to know that the Lord, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? (2 Chronicles 13:5). Until the Land of Israel was chosen, all other lands ceased to be suitable.

What we have in the opening of the midrash is the issue of the people sacrificing in various locations in the Land of Israel. Some of the best known high places are visible today such as those at Gezer. It was there that the gods of the nations were worshiped, the gods of wood, stone, and trees (Bamidbar / Numbers 33:52). We do not know how many high places existed in Israel, but it is probably safe to assume there was at least one for each nation. In the book of Joshua we are told in Joshua 12:7-24 there were thirty-one nations that Israel defeated when they entered the land. Joshua 13:2-6 states that Israel had left five nations in the land (Philistines, Canaanites, Sidonians, Gebalites and all Lebanon). This would make a total of thirty-six nations where six would have remained. Therefore, the number would possibly be between 6 and 36. We do not know for sure how many high places existed or where exactly they were located. The high places were places of religious worship. Based upon the Scriptures, five religious activities occurred at these places, (1) animal sacrifices (1 Kings 3:2), (2) sexual sin (temple prostitutes, Jeremiah 3:2), (3) the burning of incense (1 Kings 3:3), (4) daughters walking through fire (Jeremiah 32:35), and (5) human sacrifices (2 Kings 23:20 and Jeremiah 7:31). The Scriptures also tell us there were sacred pillars at the high places (2 Kings 17:8-12). These pillars were hand crafted to represent the male and female deities. We are told each high place had priests (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:41). The gods that were worshiped at the high places included Baal (Bamidbar / Numbers 22:41), Asherah (2 Kings 21:3), Asherim (2 Chronicles 17:6), Topheth (Jeremiah 7:31), and the gods of the sun, the moon, the constellations, and all the host of heaven (2 Kings 23:5 and 2 Chronicles 33:3). These gods at the high places were depicted as carved and molten images (2 Chronicles 34:3). The Midrash states, “Until the eternal habitation was chosen, the whole of Jerusalem was suitable for the Divine Presence. But after the eternal habitation was chosen, the rest of Jerusalem ceased to be suitable, as it is said, For the Lord has desired it for His habitation, This is My rest forever; here will I dwell; for I have desired it (Tehillim / Psalms 132:13-14).” After Jerusalem was chosen, the Midrash states, a specific place in Jerusalem was where the people were to worship. The Midrash also states, “Until Aaron was chosen, all the children of Israel were thought fit for the priesthood. But after Aaron was chosen, the rest of the children of Israel were no longer thought fit, as it is said, And the Lord said unto Aaron, It is a covenant of salt forever. Before the Lord unto you, and to your seed with you (Bamidbar / Numbers 18:19), and as it is also said, Wherefore say, Behold I give unto him My covenant of peace. And he will have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood (Bamidbar / Numbers 25:12-13).” This makes sense because the Lord tells us in the Torah that through Aaron is the priesthood. The Torah speaks of the habitation of God in the midst of His people. The Torah defines the details of worship, service, and the place in which the Lord establishes His name. What do we learn about this from the history of Israel and the high places of worship? To go up the mountain may have been an attempt to get closer to their gods. There was a psychological appeal to going up the mountain on high. This provided the people with a sort of spiritual experience. We know based upon the Tanach, there was also a sexual experience that was a part of their worship. All of these things together provided the people with a spiritual high. It is interesting how today many people seek the spiritual highs. Note how the first place the Lord chose to place His Tabernacle was in the valley of Shiloh and not a high place. The Torah tells us that God’s concept of worship is not to seek the spiritual high, sexual experiences, burning your children, or causing your children to walk or pass through the fire. The Lord God of Israel calls us to love Him, to love others, to seek Him, and to know Him by His commandments. What is interesting today is how often Christians go to a seminar or to camp and then come home with a religious and/or a spiritual high, but two weeks later it is gone. Have you ever wondered why? The answer is that the church today spends more time teaching a doctrine as opposed to teaching the people how to draw near to the Lord God of Israel in His word and by His commandments. True peace is to have a love for God that captures our entire person (Matthew 22:36-39) that is manifest in the lives of His people in the commandments. By our choosing to live for the Lord, we state to the Lord, our love for Him as being found in our obedience to His Word (Romans 12:1-2). Midrash Tehillim 132, Part 3 concludes saying, “Until David was chosen, all the children of Israel were fit for kingship. After David was chosen, the rest of the children of Israel were no longer for, as it is said, Ought you not to know that the Lord, the God of Israel, gave the kingdom over Israel to David forever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt? (2 Chronicles 13:5). Until the Land of Israel was chosen, all other lands ceased to be suitable.” The words of the midrash speak of the Lord God having a plan for His people and for the Land of Israel. His people and the Land of Israel were to demonstrate what it means to be the children of God which incorporated His blessings, and to declare to all the world the Lord God in heaven desires all peoples to come to Him. This coming to the Lord involves turning from the former ways of living and serving other gods. We are to humble our lives for His service and to do so is to obey the commandments. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 132-Part1-and-2

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