Tehillim / Psalms 14, Part 2, There is no God says the Fool

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 14:1-6, The Psalm is introduced as א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד “For the choir director. A Psalm of David.” David begins saying אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב: 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. (NASB) If we honestly examine our hearts, we must agree with David and his assessment of the heart of man, all are corrupt, all have committed abominable deeds, and no one does good. By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David says that ב יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְֹכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים: 14:2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. (NASB) The Lord is examining the heart of every man to see if there are any who seek after Him. How much have you desired to place God first only to turn in direction and seek the passions of your own heart and not the Lord? David says ג הַכֹּל סָר יַחְדָּו נֶאֱלָחוּ אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב אֵין גַּם-אֶחָד: 14:3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. (NASB) All men have turned aside and together they have become corrupted. It is only by God’s help that we are able to overcome and be free from sin and the corruption of the flesh. David continues saying ד הֲלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן אֹכְלֵי עַמִּי אָכְלוּ לֶחֶם יְהֹוָה לֹא קָרָאוּ: ה שָׁם | פָּחֲדוּ פָחַד כִּי-אֱלֹהִים בְּדוֹר צַדִּיק: 14:4 Do all the workers of wickedness not know, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord? 14:5 There they are in great dread, For God is with the righteous generation. (NASB) When the wicked continue in their ways in the evil of inflicting the righteous and in the atheistic attitude (not believing in or calling upon the name of the Lord), they do not realize that God is with the righteous. The wicked say that the counsel of Israel is a shame, because their refuge is in the Lord (ו עֲצַת-עָנִי תָבִישׁוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה מַחְסֵהוּ: , 14:6 You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, But the Lord is his refuge. NASB) David says however ז מִי-יִתֵּן מִצִּיּוֹן יְשׁוּעַת יִשְֹרָאֵל בְּשׁוּב יְהֹוָה שְׁבוּת עַמּוֹ יָגֵל יַעֲקֹב יִשְֹמַח יִשְֹרָאֵל: 14:7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad. (NASB) Salvation is in the God of Israel, He will restore His people and His people will rejoice and be glad!

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק יד

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב: ב יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְֹכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים: ג הַכֹּל סָר יַחְדָּו נֶאֱלָחוּ אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב אֵין גַּם-אֶחָד: ד הֲלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן אֹכְלֵי עַמִּי אָכְלוּ לֶחֶם יְהֹוָה לֹא קָרָאוּ:

סםר טוביה פרק יד

א לשבחא ברוח נבואה על יד דוד אמר שטיא טפשא בלבביה בליביה לית שולטנא דאלהא בארעא חבילו עובדהון רחקו טבתא ואשכחו עילא לית דעבד טב׃ ב יהוה משמיא אודיק על בני נשא בני אדם למחמי אין אית האית משכיל תבע אולפן מן קדם יהוה׃

YALMOI 14

14:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ δαυιδ εἶπεν ἄφρων ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν θεός διέφθειραν καὶ ἐβδελύχθησαν ἐν ἐπιτηδεύμασιν οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός 14:2 κύριος ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ διέκυψεν ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοῦ ἰδεῖν εἰ ἔστιν συνίων ἢ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν

ה שָׁם | פָּחֲדוּ פָחַד כִּי-אֱלֹהִים בְּדוֹר צַדִּיק: ו עֲצַת-עָנִי תָבִישׁוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה מַחְסֵהוּ: ז מִי-יִתֵּן מִצִּיּוֹן יְשׁוּעַת יִשְֹרָאֵל בְּשׁוּב יְהֹוָה שְׁבוּת עַמּוֹ יָגֵל יַעֲקֹב יִשְֹמַח יִשְֹרָאֵל:

Tehillim / Psalms 14

For the choir director. A Psalm of David. 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. 14:2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. 14:3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. 14:4 Do all the workers of wickedness not know, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord? 14:5 There they are in great dread, For God is with the righteous generation. 14:6 You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, But the Lord is his refuge. 14:7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad. (NASB)

ג כולהון זרו לאחורא כחדא איתרשלו לית דעבד טב אפילו לית אוף חד׃ ד הלא יידעו ידעין כל עבדי שקר סעודי עמי סעדו לחמא שמא דיהוה לא בריכו׃ ה תמן דחלו דחלא דלחו דלוחא דשקר דלא חמי למדלח מטול דמימרא דיהוה בדרא דצדיקי׃ ו מלכת עניא דמכיכן דמכסן להון תבהתון מטול דשוי ביהוה סבריה׃ ז מן ירחיש מציון פורקנא דישראל כד יתיב יהוה גלות עמיה ירנן יעקב יחדי ישראל׃

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 14

14:1 For praise; in the spirit of prophecy through David. The fool said in his heart, “There is no rule of God on the earth.” They corrupted their deeds, they despised goodness and found iniquity. There is none who does good. 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there was any wise man seeking instruction from the presence of the Lord. 14:3 All alike have turned backward, they have become lax; there is none who does good, there is not even one. 14:4 Do they not know, all doers of falsehood? Those among my people who dine have dined on bread [and] not blessed the name of the Lord. 14:5 There they became afraid because the word of the Lord is in the generation of the righteous. 14:6 You will despise the counsel of the poor man, because he has placed his hope in the Lord. 14:7 Who will produce from Zion the redemption of Israel? When the Lord brings back the exile of his people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad. (EMC)

14:3 πάντες ἐξέκλιναν ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν 14:4 οὐχὶ γνώσονται πάντες οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὸν λαόν μου βρώσει ἄρτου τὸν κύριον οὐκ ἐπεκαλέσαντο 14:5 ἐκεῖ ἐδειλίασαν φόβῳ οὗ οὐκ ἦν φόβος ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐν γενεᾷ δικαίᾳ 14:6 βουλὴν πτωχοῦ κατῃσχύνατε ὅτι κύριος ἐλπὶς αὐτοῦ ἐστιν 14:7 τίς δώσει ἐκ σιων τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ ισραηλ ἐν τῷ ἐπιστρέψαι κύριον τὴν αἰχμαλωσίαν τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ ἀγαλλιάσθω ιακωβ καὶ εὐφρανθήτω ισραηλ

Tehillim / Psalms 14

For the end, Psalm of David. 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They have corrupted themselves, and become abominable in their devices; there is none that does goodness, there is not even so much as one. 14:2 The Lord looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there were any that understood, or sought after god. 14:3 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become good for nothing, there is none that does good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known: there is no fear of God before their eyes. 14:4 Will not all the workers of iniquity know, who eat up my people as they would eat bread? they have not called upon the Lord. 14:5 There were they alarmed with fear, where there was no fear; for God is in the righteous generation. 14:6 Ye have shamed the counsel of the poor, because the Lord is his hope. 14:7 Who will bring the salvation of Israel out of Sion? when the Lord brings back the captivity of his people, let Jacob exult, and Israel be glad. (LXX)

The very first verse of the Psalm is combined with the introduction, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד “For the choir director. A Psalm of David” and David’s words stating אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב: 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. (NASB) Interestingly, David begins with “Said Nabal in his heart,” here we find the Hebrew word Nabal (נבל). The root meaning of the word Nabal (נבל) is “wilt” (verb), and came to mean “failure,” and eventually gained the figurative meaning of “shameless improprieties.” In David’s life from the first book of Samuel Chapter 25 we read the story of Nabal (נבל) and Abigail. According to a Hebrew lexicon, נבל (Nabal) as an adjective or noun means “villain, scoundrel, rascal, fink, heel, hound, jackal, miscreant, scallywag, scamp,” and as a verb “to wither.” When written as לנבל “to nabal” means “to talk obscenely.” In the Nabal narrative (1 Samuel 25:1-38), he is described as living up to his name (1 Samuel 25:25) being evil, foolish, harsh and ill-tempered. Traditionally Nabal is euphemistically translated as “fool” and hence we find Tehillim / Psalms 14:1 being translated as “the fool.The Scriptures describe Nabal as a rich Calebite who was harsh and ill-tempered. David was not yet King of Israel and he and his men were living off the wilderness of Param because of King Saul (1 Samuel 25:5-11) and were providing protection for the shepherds in the area. The Scriptures say that Nabal lived in the city of Maon, and he owned much land in the Judean town of Carmel as well as men, sheep, and goats. These events that happened occurred during the time of sheep shearing. During this time David sent a small group of men to Nabal with a request for provisions, David instructed his men on exactly what to say when they approached Nabal. He had instructed his men to speak to Nabal in such a way so as to inform him that his wealth would not have been so great if it were not for the protection of David and his men. David extended a great deal of honor to Nabal recognizing him as a nobleman of high stature (1 Samuel 25:6 and thus you shall say, ‘Have a long life, peace be to you, and peace be to your house, and peace be to all that you have. NASB, ו וַאֲמַרְתֶּם כֹּה לֶחָי וְאַתָּה שָׁלוֹם וּבֵיתְךָ שָׁלוֹם וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-לְךָ שָׁלוֹם:). Nabal’s response was to question who David was, his lineage, and insult his men. It is written that when Nabal rejected David’s request, one of the shepherds informed Nabal’s wife (Abigail) of his response and of the situation along with a very positive account of the protection that David and his men had provided. The servant said יז וְעַתָּה דְּעִי וּרְאִי מַה-תַּעֲשִֹי כִּי-כָלְתָה הָרָעָה אֶל-אֲדֹנֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל-בֵּיתוֹ וְהוּא בֶּן-בְּלִיַּעַל מִדַּבֵּר אֵלָיו: 25:17 ‘Now therefore, know and consider what you should do, for evil is plotted against our master and against all his household; and he is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.’ (NASB) Abigail recognized what Nabal had done and chose to intervene in order to avert David’s wrath. In the historical account of Scripture, David armed his men, and set off with 400 of them for Nabal’s home, leaving 200 men behind to look after the supplies, while at the same time Abigail set off with her servants, and a very large quantity of provisions, without telling Nabal. The narrative continues by stating that Abigail meets David and his men before David could reach Nabal and she pleads for David to accept the gifts she has brought with her, and begs that there be no bloodshed, asking to take Nabal’s blame herself, and complimenting David by stating that the Lord would make his dynasty long lasting, and David sinless and divinely protected. In the end, God struck Nabal (the foolish) down and he died of a heart attack. The Scriptures state that it was the Lord who struck him down in 1 Samuel 25:37-38, לז וַיְהִי בַבֹּקֶר בְּצֵאת הַיַּיִן מִנָּבָל וַתַּגֶּד-לוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ אֶת-הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה וַיָּמָת לִבּוֹ בְּקִרְבּוֹ וְהוּא הָיָה לְאָבֶן: לח וַיְהִי כַּעֲשֶֹרֶת הַיָּמִים וַיִּגֹּף יְהֹוָה אֶת-נָבָל וַיָּמֹת: 25:37 But in the morning, when the wine had gone out of Nabal, his wife told him these things, and his heart died within him so that he became as a stone. 25:38 About ten days later, the Lord struck Nabal and he died. (NASB) Nabal was cut off because of his wickedness and boastful tongue. In Tehillim / Psalms 14:1, David may be making a reference to the foolishness of Nabal, using the word “nabal” (נָבָל) to refer to the foolish who say in their heart that there is no God. Based upon Tehillim / Psalms 14:1, corruption, abominations, and no good deeds are the things that categorise the fool who says in his heart that there is no God.

Tehillim / Psalms 14:1 says אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב: 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. (NASB) God has looked down at the hearts of men and concludes that all are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds, and that there is no one who does good. What does this mean, that no one does good? The verse seems to suggest “corruption”and “abominable deeds” is antithetical to “doing good.” The Aramaic translation states א לשבחא ברוח נבואה על יד דוד אמר שטיא טפשא בלבביה בליביה לית שולטנא דאלהא בארעא חבילו עובדהון רחקו טבתא ואשכחו עילא לית דעבד טב׃ 14:1 For praise; in the spirit of prophecy through David. The fool said in his heart, “There is no rule of God on the earth.” They corrupted their deeds, they despised goodness and found iniquity. There is none who does good. (EMC) The rabbis translate the words of David believing what he wrote was “in the spirit of prophecy” (ברוח נבואה) that he is speaking prophetically of man that “nabal” (נָבָל) the fool says in his heart “there is no rule of God on earth” and therefore corrupts their deeds and says literally that such people despise goodness and ואשכחו עילא לית דעבד טב “he has found sin and forsakes serving good.” Sin is not acceptable to God and the mind-set of one who sins continually is that there is no rule of God on earth. For the believer who continues to sin is there any rule of God in his or her life? Is there an inconsistency here with regard to what Scripture says? When we sin we put ourselves first, this by its very nature is a disregard for God, His word, and others. The Scriptures are clear, “you must put them all away…” (Colossians 3:8-9, Galatians 5:19-21), such sins as anger, gossip, malice, enmity, strife, jealousy, slander, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, and lying are to be put away and forsaken. The Apostle Paul’s warning is “that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21). The point is that those who say there is no rule of God on earth, their ways are corrupted and their deeds show a pattern of life providing a clear indication of the inward, hidden, spiritual state. Simply put, such a person is not born of God. True believers do not habitually violate what is planted on the inside (God’s Torah that is written upon the heart, Jeremiah 31). Secret sins are no different. The level of deception used to hide the secret sin, the fool says “there is no rule of God on the earth” in order to continue in their ways. This is the pride of life, the arrogant logic of the fool that provides the cover up. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:8 the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 3:9 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (NASB) Does this mean that as children of the Most High God through faith in Yeshua, that one will not sin? What about struggling with sin? Have the words “struggling with” been used to sanction continual sinning in our lives? Moshe wrote in Bamidbar / Numbers 32:23, כג וְאִם-לֹא תַעֲשֹוּן כֵּן הִנֵּה חֲטָאתֶם לַיהוָֹה וּדְעוּ חַטַּאתְכֶם אֲשֶׁר תִּמְצָא אֶתְכֶם: 32:23 ‘But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out. (NASB) The LXX translation says 14:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμὸς τῷ δαυιδ εἶπεν ἄφρων ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἔστιν θεός διέφθειραν καὶ ἐβδελύχθησαν ἐν ἐπιτηδεύμασιν οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They have corrupted themselves, and become abominable in their devices; there is none that does goodness, there is not even so much as one. (LXX) The way of the foolish who say there is no God is an abomination to the Lord because the fool walks in his ways without regard for the Lord.

David continues saying that ב יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְֹכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים: 14:2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. (NASB) The Lord looks down from heaven upon the sons of men and examines our hearts. He looks to see if mankind is seeking after God. What does it mean to seek after God? How does one seek the Lord? Yeshua said in Matthew 6:33, 33ζητεῖτε δὲ πρῶτον τὴν βασιλείαν [τοῦ θεοῦ] καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ, καὶ ταῦτα πάντα προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν 6:33 ‘But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (NASB) How do we seek the kingdom and His righteousness? Are the kingdom of God and His Righteousness connected? The Lord looks down from heaven and seeks the one who seeks after Him. However, having looked down the Lord says ג הַכֹּל סָר יַחְדָּו נֶאֱלָחוּ אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב אֵין גַּם-אֶחָד: 14:3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. (NASB) The way of mankind is corrupt, and there is none that do good. This is the reason we need the help of our Lord and Savior. It is interesting, while reading the Apostolic Writings, the Apostle Paul was thinking upon these three verses (Tehillim / Psalms 14:1-3) while writing Romans chapter 3:10-12. In Romans 3, Paul is writing concerning this very thing, do we seek God and His righteousness or our own righteousness? Let’s read all of Romans 3 for the proper context.

Romans 3:1-31

3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 3:2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3:3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? 3:4 May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That You may be justified in Your words, And prevail when You are judged.’ 3:5 But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? The God who inflicts wrath is not unrighteous, is He? (I am speaking in human terms.) 3:6 May it never be! For otherwise, how will God judge the world? 3:7 But if through my lie the truth of God abounded to His glory, why am I also still being judged as a sinner? 3:8 And why not say (as we are slanderously reported and as some claim that we say), ‘Let us do evil that good may come’? Their condemnation is just. 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. 3:21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 3:22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 3:25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 3:26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 3:27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith. 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. 3:29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is He not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, 3:30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one. 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law. (NASB)

1Τί οὖν τὸ περισσὸν τοῦ Ἰουδαίου, ἢ τίς ἡ ὠφέλεια τῆς περιτομῆς; 2πολὺ κατὰ πάντα τρόπον. πρῶτον μὲν [γὰρ] ὅτι ἐπιστεύθησαν τὰ λόγια τοῦ θεοῦ. 3τί γὰρ εἰ ἠπίστησάν τινες; μὴ ἡ ἀπιστία αὐτῶν τὴν πίστιν τοῦ θεοῦ καταργήσει; 4μὴ γένοιτο: γινέσθω δὲ ὁ θεὸς ἀληθής, πᾶς δὲ ἄνθρωπος ψεύστης, καθὼς γέγραπται, Οπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσεις ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε. 5εἰ δὲ ἡ ἀδικία ἡμῶν θεοῦ δικαιοσύνην συνίστησιν, τί ἐροῦμεν; μὴ ἄδικος ὁ θεὸς ὁ ἐπιφέρων τὴν ὀργήν; κατὰ ἄνθρωπον λέγω. 6μὴ γένοιτο: ἐπεὶ πῶς κρινεῖ ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον; 7εἰ δὲ ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ ψεύσματι ἐπερίσσευσεν εἰς τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, τί ἔτι κἀγὼ ὡς ἁμαρτωλὸς κρίνομαι; 8καὶ μὴ καθὼς βλασφημούμεθα καὶ καθώς φασίν τινες ἡμᾶς λέγειν ὅτι Ποιήσωμεν τὰ κακὰ ἵνα ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀγαθά; ὧν τὸ κρίμα ἔνδικόν ἐστιν. 9Τί οὖν; προεχόμεθα; οὐ πάντως, προῃτιασάμεθα γὰρ Ἰουδαίους τε καὶ Ελληνας πάντας ὑφ’ ἁμαρτίαν εἶναι, 10καθὼς γέγραπται ὅτι Οὐκ ἔστιν δίκαιος οὐδὲ εἷς, 11οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ συνίων, οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν. 12πάντες ἐξέκλιναν, ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν: οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ ποιῶν χρηστότητα, [οὐκ ἔστιν] ἕως ἑνός. 13τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν, ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν, ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν, 14ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει: 15ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα, 16σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν, 17καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν. 18οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν. 19Οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι ὅσα ὁ νόμος λέγει τοῖς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ λαλεῖ, ἵνα πᾶν στόμα φραγῇ καὶ ὑπόδικος γένηται πᾶς ὁ κόσμος τῷ θεῷ: 20διότι ἐξ ἔργων νόμου οὐ δικαιωθήσεται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ, διὰ γὰρ νόμου ἐπίγνωσις ἁμαρτίας. 21Νυνὶ δὲ χωρὶς νόμου δικαιοσύνη θεοῦ πεφανέρωται, μαρτυρουμένη ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν προφητῶν, 22δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ διὰ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, εἰς πάντας τοὺς πιστεύοντας: οὐ γάρ ἐστιν διαστολή: 23πάντες γὰρ ἥμαρτον καὶ ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ, 24δικαιούμενοι δωρεὰν τῇ αὐτοῦ χάριτι διὰ τῆς ἀπολυτρώσεως τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ: 25ὃν προέθετο ὁ θεὸς ἱλαστήριον διὰ [τῆς] πίστεως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ αἵματι εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ διὰ τὴν πάρεσιν τῶν προγεγονότων ἁμαρτημάτων 26ἐν τῇ ἀνοχῇ τοῦ θεοῦ, πρὸς τὴν ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ νῦν καιρῷ, εἰς τὸ εἶναι αὐτὸν δίκαιον καὶ δικαιοῦντα τὸν ἐκ πίστεως Ἰησοῦ. 27Ποῦ οὖν ἡ καύχησις; ἐξεκλείσθη. διὰ ποίου νόμου; τῶν ἔργων; οὐχί, ἀλλὰ διὰ νόμου πίστεως. 28λογιζόμεθα γὰρ δικαιοῦσθαι πίστει ἄνθρωπον χωρὶς ἔργων νόμου. 29ἢ Ἰουδαίων ὁ θεὸς μόνον; οὐχὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν; ναὶ καὶ ἐθνῶν, 30εἴπερ εἷς ὁ θεός, ὃς δικαιώσει περιτομὴν ἐκ πίστεως καὶ ἀκροβυστίαν διὰ τῆς πίστεως. 31νόμον οὖν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως; μὴ γένοιτο, ἀλλὰ νόμον ἱστάνομεν.

Summary of Romans 3

  1. Is there an advantage to being a Jew? (Circumcision, 3:1)
  2. Man cannot nullify the faithfulness of God. (3:3)
  3. Does unrighteousness demonstrate the righteousness of God? (3:5) Some have said “let us do evil that good may come” and Paul says their condemnation is just. (3:8)
  4. Tehillim / Psalms 14:1-3
  5. Paul goes on to describe the nature of the one who does not seek for God, “their throats are an open grave, deceiving tongues, lips are poison, mouth full of swearing and bitterness, feet quick to shed blood, destruction and misery in their path, and they do not know the way of peace because there is no fear of God in their eyes.” (3:13-18)
  6. The Torah was given so that every person cannot boast and is accountable to God.
  7. By the flesh, no one will be justified since by the law comes the knowledge of sin (3:20).
  8. Paul then says “apart from the law the righteousness of God has been manifested being witnessed by the Torah and the Prophets” (referring to Yeshua, 3:21-22).
  9. Paul discusses the mercy, grace, and redemption of God (3:23-25).
  10. God is the one who justifies for righteousness (3:26).
  11. Since God is the one who justifies, there is no one who can boast in their flesh (3:27), God is God of both the Jew and the non-Jew (3:29-30).
  12. Paul concludes that this does not nullify the Torah, on the contrary, this establishes the Torah (3:31).

Here in the midst of Romans 3, Paul uses these verses from Tehillim / Psalms 14:1-3, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְדָוִד אָמַר נָבָל בְּלִבּוֹ אֵין אֱלֹהִים הִשְׁחִיתוּ הִתְעִיבוּ עֲלִילָה אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב: ב יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְֹכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים: ג הַכֹּל סָר יַחְדָּו נֶאֱלָחוּ אֵין עֹשֵֹה-טוֹב אֵין גַּם-אֶחָד: For the choir director. A Psalm of David. 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good. 14:2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. 14:3 They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. (NASB) In Romans 3, Paul is speaking on the topic of whether one is able to obtain righteousness that leads to salvation by the works of the Law. Yeshua said the following in John 8:31-43 concerning this topic.

IWANNHS 8:31-43

Ἔλεγεν οὖν ὁ Ἰησοῦς πρὸς τοὺς πεπιστευκότας αὐτῷ Ἰουδαίους, Ἐὰν ὑμεῖς μείνητε ἐν τῷ λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ, ἀληθῶς μαθηταί μού ἐστε, καὶ γνώσεσθε τὴν ἀλήθειαν, καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια ἐλευθερώσει ὑμᾶς. ἀπεκρίθησαν πρὸς αὐτόν, Σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐσμεν καὶ οὐδενὶ δεδουλεύκαμεν πώποτε: πῶς σὺ λέγεις ὅτι Ἐλεύθεροι γενήσεσθε; ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πᾶς ὁ ποιῶν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν δοῦλός ἐστιν τῆς ἁμαρτίας. ὁ δὲ δοῦλος οὐ μένει ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα: ὁ υἱὸς μένει εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. ἐὰν οὖν ὁ υἱὸς ὑμᾶς ἐλευθερώσῃ, ὄντως ἐλεύθεροι ἔσεσθε. οἶδα ὅτι σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐστε: ἀλλὰ ζητεῖτέ με ἀποκτεῖναι, ὅτι ὁ λόγος ὁ ἐμὸς οὐ χωρεῖ ἐν ὑμῖν. ἃ ἐγὼ ἑώρακα παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ λαλῶ: καὶ ὑμεῖς οὖν ἃ ἠκούσατε παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ποιεῖτε. Ἀπεκρίθησαν καὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Ὁ πατὴρ ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ ἐστιν. λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Εἰ τέκνα τοῦ Ἀβραάμ ἐστε, τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἐποιεῖτε: νῦν δὲ ζητεῖτέ με ἀποκτεῖναι, ἄνθρωπον ὃς τὴν ἀλήθειαν ὑμῖν λελάληκα ἣν ἤκουσα παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ: τοῦτο Ἀβραὰμ οὐκ ἐποίησεν. ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε τὰ ἔργα τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν. εἶπαν [οὖν] αὐτῷ, Ἡμεῖς ἐκ πορνείας οὐ γεγεννήμεθα: ἕνα πατέρα ἔχομεν τὸν θεόν. εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, Εἰ ὁ θεὸς πατὴρ ὑμῶν ἦν, ἠγαπᾶτε ἂν ἐμέ, ἐγὼ γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐξῆλθον καὶ ἥκω: οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀπ’ ἐμαυτοῦ ἐλήλυθα, ἀλλ’ ἐκεῖνός με ἀπέστειλεν. διὰ τί τὴν λαλιὰν τὴν ἐμὴν οὐ γινώσκετε; ὅτι οὐ δύνασθε ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν.

John 8:31-43

8:31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.’ 8:33 They answered Him, ‘We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?’ 8:34 Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. 8:35 ‘The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son does remain forever. 8:36 ‘So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 8:37 ‘I know that you are Abraham’s descendants; yet you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 8:38 ‘I speak the things which I have seen with My Father; therefore you also do the things which you heard from your father.’ 8:39 They answered and said to Him, ‘Abraham is our father.’ Jesus said to them, ‘If you are Abraham’s children, do the deeds of Abraham. 8:40 ‘But as it is, you are seeking to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth, which I heard from God; this Abraham did not do. 8:41 ‘You are doing the deeds of your father.’ They said to Him, ‘We were not born of fornication; we have one Father: God.’ 8:42 Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me. 8:43 ‘Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot hear My word. (NASB)

Here Yeshua is speaking of His Words (“My Words,” λόγον τὸν ἐμόν) and of “hearing” (ἀκούειν) His Words. In Parashat Ki Tavo we read in Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1 “if you listen to the voice of the Lord your God” (וְהָיָה אִם-שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לִשְׁמֹר לַעֲשֹוֹת) in Hebrew, the phrase שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע using the imperfect verb form indicates that listening or hearing the voice of the Lord is an ongoing process that is not yet complete that illustrates our relationship with God is an ongoing life long process. The hearing of the voice of the Lord God is hearing the Word of God and is paralleled with “to keep” (לִשְׁמֹר) and “to do” (לַעֲשֹוֹת) what God has commanded. It is with this understanding that Yeshua is teaching in John 8:31. Yeshua was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (NASB). Here Yeshua contrasts obeying, continuing, or keeping His Words with being true disciples. In the Apostolic Writings, Yeshua acknowledges who he is speaking to are the “descendents of Abraham” (σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐστε) in Greek literally means “seed of Abraham you are.” The interesting point is that though the Pharisee’s were the seed of Abraham, they were not Abraham’s “children” because they do not do the things that Abraham did out of faith. Do you see the connection here to Tehililm / Psalms 14, Romans 3, and Yeshua’s words? The entire discussion is centered on λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ “My Words,” the words that He is speaking, the Word of God according to the Torah, and being true children of Abraham. To be a true child of Abraham, one needs have the Word of God inside in order to sustain, support, and give us life. The Torah principle that Yeshua is teaching here in John 8:31-34, and what Paul is teaching in Romans 3, is about the Lord’s Salvation, the Lord’s Righteousness, the Lord’s Redemption, the Lord’s Deliverance all of which is found in His Messiah. At the time the Pharisee’s thought that their place in heaven was guaranteed by their birthright or that by their works they could gain eternal life. Yeshua acknowledged their birthright but corrected their understanding that they are not guaranteed a place in Heaven. The true children of Abraham are those who do the works of Abraham (τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἐποιεῖτε: νῦν). The work of Abraham is to live our salvation by faith. To hear the voice of the Lord God (שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ) and then to live and to do by faith! So, when Paul quoted from Tehillim / Psalms 14 in Romans 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.’ (NASB) His point was that righteousness is a gift of God, but this does not exclude us from living righteously before the Lord in our day to day lives. We should have an ongoing desire that is given from the Lord through the Holy Spirit to live a life of righteousness. This is what he meant when he wrote in Romans 3:28 “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law” and then saying 3:31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law (NASB)? It is when we rest in Yeshua and His finished work that God empowers us by the Holy Spirit to live a life that “establishes the Law” as it says in Romans 3:31. The Lord God is working to build a relationship with us first and foremost so that we become His people and He would be Our God (וְהָיִיתִי לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים וְהֵמָּה יִהְיוּ-לִי לְעָם). Based upon these scriptures, the Messiah come to bring righteous standing before the Father by faith; then we, as His people, strive to live a righteous life by faith (Romans 3:31) according to the Torah.

David continues saying ד הֲלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן אֹכְלֵי עַמִּי אָכְלוּ לֶחֶם יְהֹוָה לֹא קָרָאוּ: 14:4 Do all the workers of wickedness not know, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord? (NASB) Those who work evil in their lives, eat up the people of God as bread and do not call upon the Lord. There seems to be a parallel with having table fellowship (eating bread) where the wicked do not bless the Lord in the provision of food, whereas God’s people call upon the name of the Lord and give thanks. The rabbis translate this verse in the Targum (Aramaic) saying ד הלא יידעו ידעין כל עבדי שקר סעודי עמי סעדו לחמא שמא דיהוה לא בריכו׃ 14:4 Do they not know, all doers of falsehood? Those among my people who dine have dined on bread [and] not blessed the name of the Lord. (EMC) They find a similar parallel and translate this verse to say that the workers of falsehood who dine and eat bread do not bless the name of the Lord. There is no fellowship with the wicked and the righteous. The LXX says 14:4 οὐχὶ γνώσονται πάντες οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὸν λαόν μου βρώσει ἄρτου τὸν κύριον οὐκ ἐπεκαλέσαντο 14:4 Will not all the workers of iniquity know, who eat up my people as they would eat bread? they have not called upon the Lord. (LXX) The rabbis translating the Hebrew text into Greek follow a more literal translation saying “do not all the workers of iniquity know, they consume my people, they consume bread, they do not call upon the Lord.” This is very interesting on how the verse in Tehillim / Psalms 14:4 is translated, the wicked do not bless the Lord in the bread that is before them and that they are able to commit wicked deeds against God’s people and then sit down and eat. The wicked do not recognize the bread that is a gift from God above; a parallel is found in the true bread from heaven, the wicked do not recognize Yeshua the Messiah, the bread that our Father in heaven has provided for each and every one of us. There is a certain condemnation that the wicked are calling upon themselves by sitting down and eating, while destroying the people of God and not calling upon the name of the Lord. As a result of this, Tehillim / Psalms 14:5 says ה שָׁם | פָּחֲדוּ פָחַד כִּי-אֱלֹהִים בְּדוֹר צַדִּיק: ו עֲצַת-עָנִי תָבִישׁוּ כִּי יְהֹוָה מַחְסֵהוּ: 14:5 There they are in great dread, For God is with the righteous generation. 14:6 You would put to shame the counsel of the afflicted, But the Lord is his refuge. (NASB) Because of this the wicked come under dread / fear (פָחַד) because the Lord is with this righteous generation of people. The Aramaic Targum says ה תמן דחלו דחלא דלחו דלוחא דשקר דלא חמי למדלח מטול דמימרא דיהוה בדרא דצדיקי׃ ו מלכת עניא דמכיכן דמכסן להון תבהתון מטול דשוי ביהוה סבריה׃ 14:5 There they became afraid because the word of the Lord is in the generation of the righteous. 14:6 You will despise the counsel of the poor man, because he has placed his hope in the Lord. (EMC) The wicked despise the counsel of the poor because their hope is in the Lord. (Note the wealthy do not call upon the Lord because their hope and trust is in their wealth thereby making them unrighteous.) Studying these verses, there is certain condemnation for the person who does not examine himself before God, who does not bless the name of the Lord, and who is set to work sin in his life to destroy the people of God. The Aramaic translation says the wicked become afraid because the “word of the Lord” is in the generation of the righteous. The way the wicked behave before the Lord reminds us of something the Apostle Paul wrote in the Apostolic Writings in 1 Corinthians 11:22-34.

PROS KORINQIOUS A 11:22-34

22μὴ γὰρ οἰκίας οὐκ ἔχετε εἰς τὸ ἐσθίειν καὶ πίνειν; ἢ τῆς ἐκκλησίας τοῦ θεοῦ καταφρονεῖτε, καὶ καταισχύνετε τοὺς μὴ ἔχοντας; τί εἴπω ὑμῖν; ἐπαινέσω ὑμᾶς; ἐν τούτῳ οὐκ ἐπαινῶ. 23Ἐγὼ γὰρ παρέλαβον ἀπὸ τοῦ κυρίου, ὃ καὶ παρέδωκα ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ κύριος Ἰησοῦς ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ἧ παρεδίδετο ἔλαβεν ἄρτον 24καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ εἶπεν, Τοῦτό μού ἐστιν τὸ σῶμα τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν: τοῦτο ποιεῖτε εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. 25ὡσαύτως καὶ τὸ ποτήριον μετὰ τὸ δειπνῆσαι, λέγων, Τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ ἐμῷ αἵματι: τοῦτο ποιεῖτε, ὁσάκις ἐὰν πίνητε, εἰς τὴν ἐμὴν ἀνάμνησιν. 26ὁσάκις γὰρ ἐὰν ἐσθίητε τὸν ἄρτον τοῦτον καὶ τὸ ποτήριον πίνητε, τὸν θάνατον τοῦ κυρίου καταγγέλλετε, ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ. 27Ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον ἢ πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου ἀναξίως, ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου. 28δοκιμαζέτω δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἑαυτόν, καὶ οὕτως ἐκ τοῦ ἄρτου ἐσθιέτω καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ποτηρίου πινέτω: 29ὁ γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων κρίμα ἑαυτῷ ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα. 30διὰ τοῦτο ἐν ὑμῖν πολλοὶ ἀσθενεῖς καὶ ἄρρωστοι καὶ κοιμῶνται ἱκανοί. 31εἰ δὲ ἑαυτοὺς διεκρίνομεν, οὐκ ἂν ἐκρινόμεθα: 32κρινόμενοι δὲ ὑπὸ [τοῦ] κυρίου παιδευόμεθα, ἵνα μὴ σὺν τῷ κόσμῳ κατακριθῶμεν. 33ὥστε, ἀδελφοί μου, συνερχόμενοι εἰς τὸ φαγεῖν ἀλλήλους ἐκδέχεσθε. 34εἴ τις πεινᾷ, ἐν οἴκῳ ἐσθιέτω, ἵνα μὴ εἰς κρίμα συνέρχησθε. Τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ ὡς ἂν ἔλθω διατάξομαι.

1 Corinthians 11:22-34

11:22 What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you. 11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 11:27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 11:28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 11:29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 11:30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 11:31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. 11:33 So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. 11:34 If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come. (NASB)

Paul was admonishing the people of what he had heard when they gathered together for the Passover meal. He asks whether they have houses in which to eat and drink because they come together in remembrance of the deliverance of God what Yeshua had done laying down his life. Some gather together and eat and drink until they are drunk. (Have you ever heard of the tradition to get drunk on Passover night?) These people seem to follow the pattern of the wicked in Tehillim / Psalms 14:4, they sit and eat bread and do not bless the name of the Lord. Pauls says 27Ὥστε ὃς ἂν ἐσθίῃ τὸν ἄρτον ἢ πίνῃ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦ κυρίου ἀναξίως, ἔνοχος ἔσται τοῦ σώματος καὶ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου. 28δοκιμαζέτω δὲ ἄνθρωπος ἑαυτόν, καὶ οὕτως ἐκ τοῦ ἄρτου ἐσθιέτω καὶ ἐκ τοῦ ποτηρίου πινέτω: 29ὁ γὰρ ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων κρίμα ἑαυτῷ ἐσθίει καὶ πίνει μὴ διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα. 11:27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 11:28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 11:29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. (NASB) Eating the bread that represents the body of Christ, and drinking the wine which represents the blood of Christ that was poured out for our salvation, needs to be taken very seriously. Those men who sat to eat and drink in 1 Corinthians 11, do they not know they drink judgment upon themselves like those who eat up God’s people and do not call upon the name of the Lord? ד הֲלֹא יָדְעוּ כָּל-פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן אֹכְלֵי עַמִּי אָכְלוּ לֶחֶם יְהֹוָה לֹא קָרָאוּ: 14:4 Do all the workers of wickedness not know, Who eat up my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord? (NASB)

David concludes in Tehillim / Psalms 14:7 saying ז מִי-יִתֵּן מִצִּיּוֹן יְשׁוּעַת יִשְֹרָאֵל בְּשׁוּב יְהֹוָה שְׁבוּת עַמּוֹ יָגֵל יַעֲקֹב יִשְֹמַח יִשְֹרָאֵל: 14:7 Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores His captive people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad. (NASB) The Salvation (יְשׁוּעַת) of Israel is the Lord God Himself, and He sent His word forth to make atonement for our sins. In the midst of this wicked world, God provides His Salvation. Praise God, truly our hope is in the Lord!

Rabbinic Commentary

The rabbinic commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 14 has 7 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 2, 3, and 6. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 14 Parts 2, 3, and 6.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 14, Parts 2, 3, and 6

Part 2:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment, The fool has said in his heart (Tehillim / Psalms 14:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “that is, the wicked are ruled by what is in their heart.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis draw a parallel to men in the Scriptures who were ruled by their hearts, such as, Esau, Jeroboam, Haman, and Nebuchadnezzar.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and the rabbis goes on to expand upon the meaning of being ruled by what is in one’s heart by giving examples from the lives of these men.
  • The Concluding phrase says “ So, too, when Ezekiel declared to Esau’s descendants, You have said, these two nations and these two countries will be mine, and we will possess it (Ezekiel 35:10),it may be asked Who made known to Ezekiel what Esau had said in his heart? The Lord who was there.”

Part 3:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “A further comment on The fool has said in his heart, It was the wicked Esau who said one thing with his mouth, but said another thing in his heart.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash leads the reader to think upon the contradiction of the inward and outward actions saying “He said in his heart, Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand (Bereshit / Genesis 27:41), but with his mouth he said to his father, Here am I (Bereshit / Genesis 27:1).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis focus upon Esau, that he does one thing yet he has abominations in his heart saying In your words to your father, you speak in a tone of entreaty, saying to him, Have you but on blessing, my father? (Bereshit / Genesis 27:38), yet of such as Esau it is said, When he speaks fair, believe him not; for there are seven abominations of his heart (Mishley / Proverbs 26:25).”
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and the rabbis goes on to expand upon the types of abominations the Lord hates that are in the heart of a man.
  • The Concluding phrase says “ But the conclusion of the verse speaks of the righteous, saying, To the counselors of peace is joy. To whom shall peace be given? To the people of Israel, of whom it is said The Lord will bless His people with peace (Tehillim / Psalms 29:11).”

Part 6:

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! (Tehillim / Psalms 14:7).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash focuses upon Zion and all of the blessings that come from God from out of Zion.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis list the various things that come out of Zion.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) and rabbis goes on to expand upon the things that are poured out upon us from out of Zion
  • The Concluding phrase says “ The prince was looking forward to his wedding joy, and the princess also was looking forward to her wedding joy. But what delayed their union? The festivities that were going on before the wedding. So, too, the Holy One blessed be He. Yet what causes the deadly? The festivities before their union. First comes The day of vengeance that is in MY heart, then comes My year of redemption (Isaiah 63:4).”

The Midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 14 contains 7 parts; the first three parts contain comments on Tehillim / Psalms 14:1 that states “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.” Part 2 of Midrash Tehillim 14 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Another comment, The fool has said in his heart (Tehillim / Psalms 14:1).” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash (פתיחתא, Petihta) draws the readers attention to the foolish person who says there is no God, such a wicked person is “ruled by what is in his heart.” The rabbis draw a parallel to those who live and are ruled by the passions of the heart to four men, Esau, Jeroboam, Haman, and Nebuchadnezzar. The example given for Esau is from Bereshit / Genesis 27:41. Esau had previously sold his birthright for a bowl of soup, he forsook the promises of God, he married from the daughters of Canaan, and Jacob had taken his blessing from his father Isaac. As a result of these things, Esau said in Bereshit / Genesis 27:41 מא וַיִּשְֹטֹם עֵשָֹו אֶת-יַעֲקֹב עַל-הַבְּרָכָה אֲשֶׁר בֵּרֲכוֹ אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָֹו בְּלִבּוֹ יִקְרְבוּ יְמֵי אֵבֶל אָבִי וְאַהַרְגָה אֶת-יַעֲקֹב אָחִי:So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, ‘The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.’ (NASB) Esau had determined in his heart to kill his brother Jacob after the death of his father Isaac. The rabbis say that Esau was so wicked, that he would speak with Ishmael to kill Isaac while he kills Jacob (מה חשב, אמר אין דרך שאהרג את אבא, אלא אני אומר לישמעאל אחיו, והוא הורגו, ואני אהרוג את יעקב אחי, ואני והוא יורשין את העולם) and then Esau and Ishmael will possess the world. They say further that when Ishmael has slain his father Isaac and Esau had slain Jacob, then Esau said in his heart that he will slay Ishmael and therefore he alone will possess the world. The remainder of the midrash states:

“But the Holy One blessed be He, exposed him. How are the things of Esau searched out. How are his hidden things bare, I have uncovered his secret places (Jeremiah 49:10), by which is meant that the Holy One blessed be He, said to Esau, I know what you said in your heart. So, too, when Ezekiel declared to Esau’s descendants, You have said, these two nations and these two countries will be mine, and we will possess it (Ezekiel 35:10),it may be asked Who made known to Ezekiel what Esau had said in his heart? The Lord who was there.” (Midrash Tehillim 14, Parr 2)

Because of Esau’s hatred of his brother, his heart was full of murder. Yeshua taught in Matthew 5:21-22, anyone angry with his brother is a murderer and in danger of being cast into hell. Anger is equated to murder and here the example in the rabbinic commentary is Esau, he hated his brother, he hated his father, and he even hated his uncle Ishmael. As a result of this, his heart was full of murder, when one is ruled by their heart, by their emotions, what good may come of it? Mishley / Proverbs 18:12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor. (NASB) Jeremiah 17:9 ‘The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? (NASB)

The rabbis also speak of Jeraboam in 1 Kings 12:26.

1 Kings 12:22-28

12:22 But the word of God came to Shemaiah the man of God, saying, 12:23 ‘Speak to Rehoboam the son of Solomon, king of Judah, and to all the house of Judah and Benjamin and to the rest of the people, saying, 12:24 ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘You must not go up and fight against your relatives the sons of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing has come from Me.’’‘ So they listened to the word of the Lord, and returned and went their way according to the word of the Lord. 12:25 Then Jeroboam built Shechem in the hill country of Ephraim, and lived there. And he went out from there and built Penuel. 12:26 Jeroboam said in his heart, ‘Now the kingdom will return to the house of David. 12:27 ‘If this people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will return to their lord, even to Rehoboam king of Judah; and they will kill me and return to Rehoboam king of Judah.’ 12:28 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ (NASB)

Jeroboam built Shechem a Canaanite city and then he built Penuel, a city that was torn down by Gideon because of the wicked men that lived there (Judges 8:8, 1 Kings 12:25). Jeroboam rebuilding these evil cities demonstrates the intent of his heart. He desires his own will (ruled from his own heart) and he constructed two golden calves and said 12:28 So the king consulted, and made two golden calves, and he said to them, ‘It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem; behold your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.’ (NASB) So Jeroboam was telling the people they do not have to go up to Jerusalem, he was changing (destroying) the Torah command and instructing the people to serve false gods (read Devarim / Deuteronomy 12). Jeroboam sinned in his heart obeying the rule of his heart and made false gods believing they were the ones who delivered Israel from Egypt. Here is the connection to the foolish that say in there heart there is no God (Tehillim / Psalms 14:1).

Haman and Nebuchadnezzar were both prideful men. Haman desired to be lifted up and honored among men and hated the Jews so much so that he tried to devise a plan to kill everyone. In the end, the God of Heaven protected His people, just as it says in the Psalm that God hears the cry of the poor and the afflicted and rescues them. Nebuchadnezzar in his pride said in his heart according to Isaiah 14:13-14 ‘But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ (NASB) Nebuchadnezzar knew of the Most High God of Israel and boasted of his own accomplishments and in arrogance believed in his heart that he could ascend even to heaven above the stars of God. We learn from Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 2 in the concluding phrase that says “So, too, when Ezekiel declared to Esau’s descendants, You have said, these two nations and these two countries will be mine, and we will possess it (Ezekiel 35:10),it may be asked Who made known to Ezekiel what Esau had said in his heart? The Lord who was there.” The Lord knows the heart of the wicked that his ways are murder towards others. There is a very strong scripture basis Yeshua’s words in Matthew 5:21-22, anyone angry with his brother is a murderer and in danger of being cast into hell.

Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 3 begins on “A further comment on The fool has said in his heart, It was the wicked Esau who said one thing with his mouth, but said another thing in his heart.” The homiletic introduction to the Midrash leads the reader to think upon the contradiction of the inward and outward actions in the story of Esau saying that “He said in his heart, Let the days of mourning for my father be at hand (Bereshit / Genesis 27:41), but with his mouth he said to his father, Here am I (Bereshit / Genesis 27:1).” Comparing Bereshit / Genesis 27:1 with 27:41 we see the contradiction of saying one thing and doing another, or at least desiring to do another. How often do we know what we should do, say what we should do, and turn around and do something opposite? Is this sort of thing especially prevalent in your private life? The rabbis say that Esau, had abominations in his heart saying in the midrash “In your words to your father, you speak in a tone of entreaty, saying to him, Have you but on blessing, my father? (Bereshit / Genesis 27:38), yet of such as Esau it is said, When he speaks fair, believe him not; for there are seven abominations of his heart (Mishley / Proverbs 26:25).” According to Mishley / Proverbs 6:16-19, there are Seven abominations unto the Lord:

Seven Abominations

  1. A proud look
  2. A lying tongue
  3. Hands that shed innocent blood
  4. An heart that devises wicked imaginations
  5. Feet that be swift in running to mischief
  6. A false witness that speaks lies, and
  7. He that sows discord among brethren.

    Pride is the first abomination that is in the list, the reason being, pride is the primary factor which drives the disobedience and rebellion of mankind against God’s laws. Based upon our study of the Psalms thus far, all of the remaining abominations listed are the outcome of wounded pride. The Scriptures say that pride can occupy a place very deep within a man’s heart. This is why pride is at the top of the list. In addition to this, Scripture says elsewhere “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished” (Mishley / Proverbs. 16:5), “The Lord shall cut off… the tongue that speaks proud things” (Tehillim / Psalm 12:3), “God resists the proud…” (James. 4:6), and “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon everyone that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and ‘he shall be brought low” (Isaiah 2:12). Pride is the must subtle of sins being capable of infiltrating the heart and soul defiling a man. According to the Apostolic Writings, pride can even enter into prayer life (i.e. standing on the street corner before all men, etc), our faith (Could one observe Torah out of pride? i.e. I’m better than you because I do this or that in the Torah.), our obedience to God, our willingness to self sacrifice, our bible knowledge, our ability to speak, and even our patience towards others. Pride gives one a sense of self esteem and superiority over others. Thinking on this topic of pride, it is a scary thing and is something we must guard ourselves against each day. The Apostle Peter said “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

    The lying tongue is an abomination to God because he is the God of truth. Yeshua said “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) and we are told that “God is not a man, that He should lie.” (Bamidbar / Numbers 23:19) The Lord is truth and so the lying tongue is listed as one of the things that He hates because a lie is contrary to the very character of God. The man who is ruled by what is in his heart by pride will resort to lying to protect his image. If someone detects that he has lied, then the wicked devises a plan to protect his image and sheds innocent blood. For examples of those who sed innocent blood see Cain and Abel (Bereshit / Genesis 4:8-12), Manasseh (2 Kings 21:15-16), and the putting to death of Yeshua the Messiah (Matthew 23:31-38). When pride and lying are involved, the wantonness of the wicked is expressed in Proverbs as “running,” the wicked are so powerfully motivated to do evil that they are not content and hasten to run towards evil deeds rather than to God and His Word.

    The false witness speaks a lie, and the Torah states that “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” (Shemot / Exodus 20:16) To bear false witness against someone is to lie about and slander falsely the innocent. Something to keep in mind, according to Tehillim / Psalms 14:2, ב יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְֹכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים: 14:2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. (NASB) The Lord looks down from heaven as the silent listener to every conversation and will execute judgment on those who bear false witness. He will also vindicate the righteous just as it says in Tehillim / Psalms 101:5-6, “Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; the one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure. My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he who walks in a perfect way, he shall serve me.” The apostle James wrote at length on the need to guard our tongues, to be careful what we say (see James 1).

    Romans 16:17-18 states 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. 16:18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. (NASB) Here the Apostle Paul is instructing to avoid those who cause divisions and sow discord amongst the brethren. If we think about these things the God hates, they are all related to our thoughts, our speech, our actions, and our influence to others. These things we need to be consistently monitor, so that one does not fall into pride. We need to fall before the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah Yeshua and seek help in our walk in righteousness, justice, and holiness. According to Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 3, the wicked speak one thing and think in their hearts another. Esau was known in the Scriptures as a wicked man and the rabbis call him Nabal because he was foolish to devise schemes against his family. Rabbi Judah explained in the name of Rabbi Samuel, Because he filled the whole earth with obscenity, Everywhere he set up thrones for gods who are no more than thorns, refuges for deities who are mere refuse, ribald theatres, and bloody circuses. But rabbi Huna said, Esau was called nabal because he filled the earth with Israel’s corpses, as it is said O God the dead bodies of Your servants have given to be food unto the birds of the heavens (Tehillim / Psalms 79:1-2)” (ר׳ יהודה בשם ר׳ שמואל אמר על שם שמילא את כל העולם נבלות, העמיד בתי קוצים, בתי קיקלין, בתי טרטיאות, ובתי קרקיסיאות, בתי עבודה זרה. ר׳ הונא אומר על שם שמילא כל הארץ מנבלתם של ישראל, שנאמר נתנו את נבלת עבדיך מאכל לעוף השמים (תהלים עט ב)). Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 3 concludes saying “Rabbi Yudan said in the name of rabbi Simon, Nabal is the same as Laban, One is an anagram of the other. Even as Laban was a deceiver, so a nabal is a deceiver. Of such men Solomon said, Deceit is in the heart of them that devise evil (Mishley / Proverbs 12:20). But the conclusion of the verse speaks of the righteous, saying, To the counselors of peace is joy. To whom shall peace be given? To the people of Israel, of whom it is said The Lord will bless His people with peace (Tehillim / Psalms 29:11).” Our take away thought from Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 3 is that “the fool says in his heart there is no God” the wicked deceive themselves believing that God does not see their evil ways. According to Tehillim / Psalms 14:2, however the Lord is looking down from heaven examining the hearts of all men, ב יְהוָה מִשָּׁמַיִם הִשְׁקִיף עַל-בְּנֵי-אָדָם לִרְאוֹת הֲיֵשׁ מַשְֹכִּיל דֹּרֵשׁ אֶת-אֱלֹהִים: 14:2 The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men To see if there are any who understand, Who seek after God. (NASB) The Lord examines the heart of man and find them unclean and impure as compared to God’s holiness. In Christ our spirit has been made righteous, holy, and pure, however our outward actions do not always speak of such. Each day as we live our lives, we need to feed our spirit with the Word of God. As we feed our spirit God will transform our minds and our actions will follow.

    Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 6 begins with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! (Tehillim / Psalms 14:7).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash focuses upon Zion and all of the blessings that come from God from out of Zion. The midrash states the following:

    “Rabbi Levi said, All the blessings, boons, and comforts which the Holy One blessed be He, will bring to the people of Israel, He will bring them out of Zion, Thus the Law of the Lord will go forth out of Zion, as is said For out of Zion will go forth the law (Isaiah 2:3); divine blessing will be bestowed out of Zion, as is said The Lord bless you out of Zion (Tehillim 128:5, 134:3); a shining will come forth out of Zion, as is said Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shined forth (Tehillim / Psalms 50:2); a strengthening will come out of Zion, as is said The Lord strengthen you out of Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 20:2); life will come out of Zion, as is said As the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life forever more (Tehillim / Psalms 133:3); greatness will come out of Zion, as is said The Lord is great in Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 99:2); salvation will come out of Zion, as is said Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion.” (ר׳ לוי כל הברכות והטובות והנחמות שמביא הקב״ה על ישראל, מציון מביאין, תורה מציון, שנאמר כי מציון תצא תורה (ישעיה ב ג), ברכה מציון, שנאמר יברכך ה׳ מציון (תהלים קכח ה וקלד ג), הופעה מציון, שנאמר מציון מכלל יופי אלהים הופיע (שם תהלים נ ב), סעד מציון, שנאמר ומציון יסעדך (שם תהלים כ ג), חיים מציון, שנאמר כטל חרמון שיורד על הררי ציון כי שם צוה ה׳ את הברכה חיים עד העולם (שם תהלים קלג ג), גדולה מציון, שנאמר ה׳ בציון גדול (שם תהלים לט ב), ישועה מציון, שנאמר מי יתן מציון ישועת ישראל (שם תהלים יד ז).) (Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 6).

    Summary of what comes out of Zion

    1. All blessings, boons and comforts the Lord will bring to the people of Israel from out of Zion.
    2. The Law of the Lord will go froth out of Zion.
    3. Divine blessing will be bestowed out of Zion.
    4. The Lord blesses out of Zion.
    5. Shining will come froth out of Zion.
    6. Perfection and beauty will come out of Zion.
    7. The Lord strengthens you out of Zion.
    8. Life will come out of Zion.
    9. Dew descends upon the mountain of Zion, there the Lord commands blessing and eternal life.
    10. Greatness will come out of Zion.
    11. Salvation will come out of Zion.

Have you ever wondered what is Zion and why does Scripture and the rabbis in the midrash say “…from out of Zion” comes so many things? The word Zion is transliterated from the Hebrew word ציון‎. The name Zion is often used as a reference (name) that is a synonym for Jerusalem. (Tremper Longman, Peter Enns (2008). Tremper Longman, Peter Enns. ed. Dictionary of the Old Testament: wisdom, poetry & writings, Volume 3 (Illustrated ed.). InterVarsity Press. p. 936. ISBN 0-8308-1783-2, 9780830817832, Terry R. Briley (2000). Isaiah, Volume 1 – The College Press NIV commentary: Old Testament series. College Press. p. 49. ISBN 0-89900-890-9, 9780899008905). The word is first found in 2 Samuel 5:7, ז וַיִּלְכֹּד דָּוִד אֵת מְצֻדַת צִיּוֹן הִיא עִיר דָּוִד: 5:7 Nevertheless, David captured the stronghold of Zion, that is the city of David. (NASB) and dates back to 630-540 BCE according to modern scholarship. Zion is commonly referred to as a specific mountain near Jerusalem (Mount Zion) on which stood a Jebusite fortress of the same name that was conquered by David and then renamed as the “City of David” (2 Samuel 5:7). The term Zion come to designate the area of Jerusalem where the fortress stood, and later as a reference for Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, the city of Jerusalem and also as the World to Come.

The etymology of the word Zion (ציון‎) is uncertain. (Geoffrey W. Bromiley (1982). Geoffrey W. Bromiley. ed. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: E-J Volume 2 (Revised ed.). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 1006. ISBN 0-8028-3782-4, 9780802837820) We do know that Zion (ציון‎) is mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Samuel (2 Samuel 5:7) as the name of the Jebusite fortress conquered by King David, and its origin likely predates Israel entering into the Promised Land. If Semitic, it may be derived from the Hebrew root Tziyya (“dry land,” Jeremiah 51:43, מג הָיוּ עָרֶיהָ לְשַׁמָּה אֶרֶץ צִיָּה וַעֲרָבָה אֶרֶץ לֹא-יֵשֵׁב בָּהֵן כָּל-אִישׁ וְלֹא-יַעֲבֹר בָּהֵן בֶּן-אָדָם: 51:43 ‘Her cities have become an object of horror, A parched land and a desert, A land in which no man lives And through which no son of man passes. NASB). The word Zion (ציון‎) appears 108 times in the Tanakh, and once as HaTzion (הציון) in 2 Kings 23:17.

The Psalms frequently cite the word Zion such as is the case in Tehillim / Psalms 137.

Tehillim / Psalms 137:1-9

137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion. 137:2 Upon the willows in the midst of it We hung our harps. 137:3 For there our captors demanded of us songs, And our tormentors mirth, saying, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion.’ 137:4 How can we sing the Lord’s song In a foreign land? 137:5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, May my right hand forget her skill. 137:6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. 137:7 Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom The day of Jerusalem, Who said, ‘Raze it, raze it To its very foundation.’ 137:8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, How blessed will be the one who repays you With the recompense with which you have repaid us. 137:9 How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock. (NASB)

ספר תהילים פרק קלז

א עַל-נַהֲרוֹת | בָּבֶל שָׁם יָשַׁבְנוּ גַּם-בָּכִינוּ בְּזָכְרֵנוּ אֶת-צִיּוֹן: ב עַל-עֲרָבִים בְּתוֹכָהּ תָּלִינוּ כִּנֹּרוֹתֵינוּ: ג כִּי שָׁם שְׁאֵלוּנוּ שׁוֹבֵינוּ דִּבְרֵי-שִׁיר וְתוֹלָלֵינוּ שִֹמְחָה שִׁירוּ לָנוּ מִשִּׁיר צִיּוֹן: ד אֵיךְ נָשִׁיר אֶת-שִׁיר יְהֹוָה עַל אַדְמַת נֵכָר: ה אִם-אֶשְׁכָּחֵךְ יְרוּשָׁלָם תִּשְׁכַּח יְמִינִי: ו תִּדְבַּק-לְשׁוֹנִי | לְחִכִּי אִם-לֹא אֶזְכְּרֵכִי אִם-לֹא אַעֲלֶה אֶת-יְרוּשָׁלַם עַל רֹאשׁ שִֹמְחָתִי: ז זְכֹר יְהֹוָה | לִבְנֵי אֱדוֹם אֵת יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלָם הָאֹמְרִים עָרוּ | עָרוּ עַד הַיְסוֹד בָּהּ: ח בַּת-בָּבֶל הַשְּׁדוּדָה אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁיְשַׁלֶּם-לָךְ אֶת-גְּמוּלֵךְ שֶׁגָּמַלְתְּ לָנוּ: ט אַשְׁרֵי | שֶׁיֹּאחֵז וְנִפֵּץ אֶת-עֹלָלַיִךְ אֶל-הַסָּלַע:

The phrase Bat Tzion (בת ציון, Daughter of Zion) is mentioned 26 times in the Tanakh (2 Kings 19, Isaiah 1, 10, 16, 37, 52, Jeremiah 4, 6, Micah 4, Zephaniah 3, Zechariah 2, Tehillim / Psalms 9, and Lamentations 2 and 4). The Biblical phrase “Daughter of Zion” (Hebrew “bat Tzion”) is also used as a reference to Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount) in Jerusalem. A cryptic verse in Zechariah 4:7 says (מי אתה הר הגדול לפני זרבבל למישר והוציא את האבן הראשה תשאות חן חן לה׃, ‘What are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become a plain; and he will bring forth the top stone with shouts of ‘Grace, grace to It!’’ NASB), seems to refer to Mount Moriah, but may be ambiguous and depends upon the pronunciation. In Hebrew it reads “mi-ata har-hagadol lifnei zerubavel lemishor…” the plain text has no punctuation, but the Masoretic Text suggests a pause following Har-haGadol (הר הגדול), to mean “Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel, ‘you will become just’ a plain…” However, if the pause is placed following Zerubbabel, it would mean instead “What are you, “great mountain” before Zerubbabel? ‘You are just’ a plain…” Since this hill is where Zerubbabel built the Second Temple, it appears to be a reference to the “Daughter of Zion” (the hill), as distinct from Zion (the mountain). However, the phrase “Daughter of Zion” along with a variety of other names like “Daughter of Jerusalem” might also be interpreted as referring to Jerusalem, the Holy Temple, and the Jewish people personified, instead of a Mount Moriah specifically. (Jaap Dekker, Zion’s rock-solid foundations: an exegetical study of the Zion text in Isaiah 28:16, BRILL, 2007, pp.269-270)

Zion is the Hebrew name for the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and was the seat of the first and second Holy Temple. It is the most holy place in the world according to the Scriptures, seen as the connection between God and humanity. Observant Jews recite the Amidah three times a day facing Zion in Jerusalem, praying for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, the restoration of the Temple service, the redemption of the world, and for the coming of the Messiah. In the New Testament the “Daughter of Zion” is a reference to the bride of Christ, also known as the Ecclesia, according to the writer of the book of Matthew and John (Matthew 21:5 ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold your King is coming to you, Gentle, and mounted on a donkey, Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ and John 12:15 ‘Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your King is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.’ NASB) making reference to the Tanach as prophecy fulfilled. The Naming of the holy city as “Daughter of Zion” was a common practice in the Hebrew culture. The practice of calling Jerusalem “daughter” was also a practice employed of other cities, such as Babylon, Tyre and Tarshish were referred to as “daughter.”

From the word “Zion” comes the term “Zionism” that was first coined by Austrian Nathan Birnbaum, and was derived from the German rendering of Tzion in his journal Selbstemanzipation (Self Emancipation) in 1890. (De Lange, Nicholas, An Introduction to Judaism, Cambridge University Press (2000), p. 30. ISBN 0-521-46624-5) Zionism as a political movement began in 1897 and supported a ‘national home’, and later a state, for the Jewish people in Israel. The Zionist movement declared the re-establishment of its State of Israel in 1948, following the United Nations Partition Plan for Israel. Since then and with varying ideologies, Zionists have focused on developing and protecting the state of Israel.

Based on the biblical account (Tehillim / Psalms 137), the Jewish longing for Zion, started with the deportation and enslavement of Jews during the Babylonian captivity, and was adopted as a metaphor by Christian Black slaves in the United States, and after the Civil War by blacks who were still oppressed. Thus, Zion symbolizes a longing by wandering peoples for a safe homeland. For others, it has taken on a more spiritual meaning as a reference to a safe spiritual homeland, like in heaven, or a kind of peace of mind in one’s present life.

Today, Mount Zion refers to a hill south of the Old City’s Armenian Quarter, not to the Temple Mount. This is an apparent misidentification that dates from the Middle Ages, when Christian pilgrims mistook the relatively large, flat summit (the highest point in ancient Jerusalem) for the original site of the Jewish Temple. The Dormition Church is currently located upon the hill currently called Mount Zion. It is a good thing the Temple Mount was miss identified or early Christians may have built a church on that location.

According to Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 6, many things come out of Zion:

  1. All blessings, boons and comforts the Lord will bring to the people of Israel from out of Zion.
  2. The Law of the Lord will go froth out of Zion.
  3. Divine blessing will be bestowed out of Zion.
  4. The Lord blesses out of Zion.
  5. Shining will come froth out of Zion.
  6. Perfection and beauty will come out of Zion.
  7. The Lord strengthens you out of Zion.
  8. Life will come out of Zion.
  9. Dew descends upon the mountain of Zion, there the Lord commands blessing and eternal life.
  10. Greatness will come out of Zion.
  11. Salvation will come out of Zion.

It is mentioned in the midrash of the man who says in his heart there is no God (Tehillim / Psalms 14:1), if one is a fool and has said this in his heart, he would miss the salvation that comes out of Zion. It is interesting the rabbis state that neither the words of the Master nor the words of the disciple are to be fulfilled in this world but in the world to come.

Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 6

Why did David repeat this verse? Rabbi Levi explained David spoke once in behalf of the master, and once again in behalf of the disciple. He spoke the first time in behalf of the master Moshe who said, Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:26); and, as a disciple, he spoke the second time in his own behalf, Oh that Israel’s salvation were come out of Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 53:7). Another comment, David spoke the first time in behalf of the Master, the Holy One blessed be He, who said Oh that they had such a heart as this always, to fear Me, and keep My commandments (Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:26); and he spoke the second time in behalf of the disciple Moshe who said, Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets (Bamidbar / Numbers 11:29). Neither the words of the Master nor the words of the disciple are to be fulfilled in this world, but the words of both will be fulfilled in the world to come, the words of the Master, A new heart also will I give you and you will keep My ordinances (Ezekiel 36:26), will be fulfilled; and the words of the disciple, I will pour out My spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters will prophecy (Joel 3:1)

ולמה, אמר ר׳ לוי כנגד הרב וכנגד התלמיד, [הרב זה משה, אמר מי יתן והיה לבבם זה להם (דברים ה כו), והתלמיד זה דוד, אמר מי יתן מציון ישועת ישראל (תהלים יד ז ונג ז). דבר אחר] הרב זה הקב״ה, שאמר מי יתן והיה לבבם זה להם (דברים ה כו), התלמיד זה משה, שאמר ומי יתן (את) כל עם ה׳ נביאים (במדבר יא כט), ולא נתקיימו דברי הרב ודברי התלמיד בעולם הזה, אבל לעתיד לבא מתקיימים דברי שניהם, דברי הרב ונתתי לכם לב חדש (יחזקאל לו כו), ודברי התלמיד אשפוך [את] רוחי על כל בשר (יואל ג א)

The rabbis ask why David repeated the verse, and rabbi Levi said that he spoke once on behalf of the Master and once on behalf of the servant. On behalf of the master that the people would have a heart for God and would fear God referring to Devarim / Deuteronomy 5:26, and on behalf of the servant that Israel’s salvation comes out of Zion. Having a heart for the Lord is connected to the Salvation of God. The reference to Zion in this section of the midrash suggest that Zion also is a reference to the world to come since the rabbis state that neither the words of the Master nor the words of the disciple are to be fulfilled in this world but in the world to come. This reasoning may be the result of the Lord tarrying before delivering His people from their enemies. The Midrash concludes with a parable saying:

Midrash Tehillim 14 Part 6

A parable of a prince betrothed to a princes, a certain day was appointed for festivities before a wedding. The prince was looking forward to his wedding joy, and the princess also was looking forward to her wedding joy. But what delayed their union? The festivities that were going on before the wedding. So, too, the Holy One blessed be He. Yet what causes the deadly? The festivities before their union. First comes The day of vengeance that is in MY heart, then comes My year of redemption (Isaiah 63:4).

משל לבן מלך שאירס לבת המלך, וקבעו פרוסטגמיא ביום פלוני, בנו של מלך מצפה לשמחתו, בתה של מלך מצפה לשמחתה, ומי מעכב, הוי אומר פרוסטגמיא מעכב, כך הקב״ה מצפה לישועתן של ישראל, וישראל מחכין לישועתו של הקב״ה, ומי מעכב, פרוסטגמיא, שנאמר כי יום נקם בלבי [ושנת גאולי באה] (ישעיה סג ד).

The rabbis conclude Part 6 of Midrash Tehillim 14 with a parable of the bride and groom that is meant to help us understand the reason for the delay of justice and God’s redemption. The parable speaks of the prince and princess that look forward to their wedding joy. Their union in wedding was delayed due to the festivities that were going on before the wedding. A part of the festivities are the days of preparation for that great day. The rabbis parallel the delay that is due to festivities to the delay of justice and vengeance. The rabbis parallel Isaiah 63:4 ד כִּי יוֹם נָקָם בְּלִבִּי וּשְׁנַת גְּאוּלַי בָּאָה: 63:4 ‘For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come. (NASB) the time of redemption is now. In this world, we are preparing for the coming of our Messiah upon the clouds. This is the great day of preparation. In the preparation some forget the one to whom they are preparing for Yeshua the Messiah. In fact when a young man desired to marry a young woman in ancient Israel, he would prepare a contract or covenant to present to the young woman and her father at the young woman’s home. The contract showed his willingness to provide for the young woman and described the terms under which he would propose marriage. The most important part of the contract was the bride price, the price that the young man was willing to pay to marry the young woman. This payment was to be made to the young woman’s father in exchange for his permission to marry. The bride price was generally quite high. Sons were considered to be more valuable than daughters since they were physically more able to share in the work of farming and other heavy labor. The bride price compensated the young woman’s family for the cost to raise a daughter and also indicated the love that the young man had for the young woman (i.e. the young woman was very valuable to the young man.) In similar fashion, Yeshua came to the home of His bride (this world) to present His marriage contract. The marriage contract provided by Yeshua is the new covenant, which provides for the forgiveness of sins of God’s people in His blood. Yeshua paid the bride price with His life. During the last Pesach (Passover) meal, while breaking bread, He spoke of the price He was paying saying “…This is my body given for you…” (Luke 22:20). Hebrews 8:15 states that Yeshua died as the price for the new covenant saying “…Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance.” He died as a ransom to set us free from the sins committed in this life. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Peter 1:18-19, Acts 20:28 and John 3:29). In this way the Lord sending His Son Yeshua, Salvation has truly come out of Zion. All blessings and comforts the Lord has brought from out of Zion. Praise the Lord for such a wonderful salvation! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 14-Part1-and-2  Notes: Notes_Psalms_14

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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!