Tehillim / Psalms 146, ספר תהילים קמו, Part 2, Reasons all the Nations give Him Praise

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 146:1-10, the psalm opens saying, א הַלְלוּיָהּ הַלְלִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה: ב אֲהַלְלָה יְהֹוָה בְּחַיָּי אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהַי בְּעוֹדִי: 146:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 146:2 I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (NASB) From the depth of David’s soul he praises the Lord. Can you say the same as he does, that all of our being is in the Lord God Almighty? He continues saying, ג אַל-תִּבְטְחוּ בִנְדִיבִים בְּבֶן-אָדָם | שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תְשׁוּעָה: ד תֵּצֵא רוּחוֹ יָשֻׁב לְאַדְמָתוֹ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אָבְדוּ עֶשְׁתֹּנֹתָיו: ה אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁאֵל יַעֲקֹב בְּעֶזְרוֹ שִֹבְרוֹ עַל-יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָיו: 146:3 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. 146:4 His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish. 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, (NASB) David says there is no salvation in man. This suggests that all salvation comes by the hand of God. This means that regardless of by whose hand help comes, all of these things are attributed to the Lord God Almighty. This is demonstrated in God’s abilities, such as His being the One 146:6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; 146:7 Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. 146:8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous; 146:9 The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. (NASB, ו עֹשֶֹה | שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ אֶת-הַיָּם וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּם הַשֹּׁמֵר אֱמֶת לְעוֹלָם: ז עֹשֶֹה מִשְׁפָּט | לַעֲשׁוּקִים נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לָרְעֵבִים יְהֹוָה מַתִּיר אֲסוּרִים: ח יְהֹוָה | פֹּקֵחַ עִוְרִים יְהֹוָה זֹקֵף כְּפוּפִים יְהֹוָה אֹהֵב צַדִּיקִים: ט יְהֹוָה | שֹׁמֵר אֶת-גֵּרִים יָתוֹם וְאַלְמָנָה יְעוֹדֵד וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים יְעַוֵּת: ) Notice how the Lord God Almighty reveals Himself to His people. He is the creator, He gives food, He sets prisoners free, He opens the eyes of the blind, He prepares the hands for war, He loves those who are righteous, He protects strangers, the fatherless, and the widow, and He casts down the plans of the wicked. The Psalmist concludes saying, י יִמְלֹךְ יְהֹוָה | לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר הַלְלוּיָהּ: 146:10 The Lord will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! (NASB) All of these things reveal how the Lord is in control of all things and because of His love for His people, we give Him praises throughout all our generations.

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קמו

א הַלְלוּיָהּ הַלְלִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה: ב אֲהַלְלָה יְהֹוָה בְּחַיָּי אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהַי בְּעוֹדִי: ג אַל-תִּבְטְחוּ בִנְדִיבִים בְּבֶן-אָדָם | שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תְשׁוּעָה: ד תֵּצֵא רוּחוֹ יָשֻׁב לְאַדְמָתוֹ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אָבְדוּ עֶשְׁתֹּנֹתָיו: ה אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁאֵל יַעֲקֹב בְּעֶזְרוֹ שִֹבְרוֹ עַל-יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָיו:

סםר טוביה פרק קמו

א הללויה שבחו אלהא שבחי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה׃ ב אשבח קדם יהוה בחיי אזמר לאלהי בדאיתי׃ ג לא תתרחצון ברברביא בבר נש דלית ליה פורקנא׃ ד תיפוק רוחיה יתוב לעפריה ביומא ההוא הובדו זמיונוי׃ ה טוביה דאלהא יעקב בסעדיה סבריה על יהוה אלהיה׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 146

146:1 αλληλουια Αγγαιου καὶ Ζαχαριου αἴνει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον 146:2 αἰνέσω κύριον ἐν ζωῇ μου ψαλῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἕως ὑπάρχω 146:3 μὴ πεποίθατε ἐπ᾽ ἄρχοντας καὶ ἐφ᾽ υἱοὺς ἀνθρώπων οἷς οὐκ ἔστιν σωτηρία 146:4 ἐξελεύσεται τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπιστρέψει εἰς τὴν γῆν αὐτοῦ ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἀπολοῦνται πάντες οἱ διαλογισμοὶ αὐτῶν 146:5 μακάριος οὗ ὁ θεὸς Ιακωβ βοηθός ἡ ἐλπὶς αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτοῦ

ו עֹשֶֹה | שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ אֶת-הַיָּם וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּם הַשֹּׁמֵר אֱמֶת לְעוֹלָם: ז עֹשֶֹה מִשְׁפָּט | לַעֲשׁוּקִים נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לָרְעֵבִים יְהֹוָה מַתִּיר אֲסוּרִים: ח יְהֹוָה | פֹּקֵחַ עִוְרִים יְהֹוָה זֹקֵף כְּפוּפִים יְהֹוָה אֹהֵב צַדִּיקִים: ט יְהֹוָה | שֹׁמֵר אֶת-גֵּרִים יָתוֹם וְאַלְמָנָה יְעוֹדֵד וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים יְעַוֵּת: י יִמְלֹךְ יְהֹוָה | לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר הַלְלוּיָהּ:

ו דעבד שמיא וארעא ית ימא וית כל די בהון די נטיר קשוט לעלם׃ ז די עבד דינא לטלומין יהב מזון לכפינין יהוה דשרי אסיריא׃ ח יהוה פקח אכסנין דמתילין לסמיין יהוה זקיף כפיפין יהוה רחים צדיקיא׃ ט יהוה נטיר ית גיורא יתם וארמלא יסובר ואורחא דרשיעי יטלטל׃ י ימלוך יהוה לעלם אלהיך ציון לדר ודר הללויה שבחו אלהא׃

146:6 τὸν ποιήσαντα τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν τὴν θάλασσαν καὶ πάντα τὰ ἐν αὐτοῖς τὸν φυλάσσοντα ἀλήθειαν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα 146:7 ποιοῦντα κρίμα τοῖς ἀδικουμένοις διδόντα τροφὴν τοῖς πεινῶσιν κύριος λύει πεπεδημένους 146:8 κύριος ἀνορθοῖ κατερραγμένους κύριος σοφοῖ τυφλούς κύριος ἀγαπᾷ δικαίους 146:9 κύριος φυλάσσει τοὺς προσηλύτους ὀρφανὸν καὶ χήραν ἀναλήμψεται καὶ ὁδὸν ἁμαρτωλῶν ἀφανιεῖ 146:10 βασιλεύσει κύριος εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ὁ θεός σου Σιων εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεάν

Tehillim / Psalms 146

146:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 146:2 I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. 146:3 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. 146:4 His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish. 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, 146:6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; 146:7 Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. 146:8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous; 146:9 The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. 146:10 The Lord will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 146

146:1 Hallelujah! Praise the name of the Lord, O my soul. 146:2 I will sing praise, O Lord, in my lifetime, I will make music to my God while I exist. 146:3 You shall not place your trust in rulers, in a son of man who has no redemption. 146:4 His spirit will go away, he will return to his dust; on that day his plans perish. 146:5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. 146:6 Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, who keeps truth forever. 146:7 Who brings judgment for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry; the Lord, who sets the prisoners free. 146:8 The Lord gives sight to foreigners, who are likened to the blind; the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 146:9 The Lord protects the proselyte; he will support the widow and orphan, but will confound the way of the wicked. 146:10 The Lord will reign forever; your God, O Zion, for all generations. Hallelujah! (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 146

Alleluia, a Psalm of Aggaeus and Zacharias. 146:1 My soul, praise the Lord. 146:2 While I live will I praise the Lord: I will sing praises to my God as long as I exist. 146:3 Trust not in princes, nor in the children of men, in whom there is no safety. 146:4 His breath shall go forth, and he shall return to his earth; in that day all his thoughts shall perish. 146:5 Blessed is he whose helper is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God: 146:6 who made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all things in them: who keeps truth for ever: 146:7 who executes judgment for the wronged: who gives food to the hungry. The Lord looses the fettered ones: 146:8 the Lord gives wisdom to the blind: The Lord sets up the broken down: the Lord loves the righteous: the Lord preserves the strangers; 146:9 he will relieve the orphan and widow: but will utterly remove the way of sinners. 146:10 The Lord shall reign for ever, even thy God, O Sion, to all generations. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 146:1-10, the psalm opens saying, א הַלְלוּיָהּ הַלְלִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה: ב אֲהַלְלָה יְהֹוָה בְּחַיָּי אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהַי בְּעוֹדִי: 146:1 Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! 146:2 I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. (NASB) From the depth of David’s soul he praises the Lord. Can you say the same as he does, that all of our being is in the Lord God Almighty? This reminds us of what is written in Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ (NIV)

Acts 17:24-31

17:24 ‘The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 17:25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 17:26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 17:27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 17:28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 17:29 ‘Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 17:30 ‘Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 17:31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.’ (NASB)

The Lord God has given us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. These things are revealed to us so that we will love the Lord God because He first loved us, and obey Him and hold fast to Him according to His Word. This concept of having all of our being in the Lord has philosophical significance. Jewish and Christian philosophical and Biblical hermeneutics have some overlap and dialogue, but they have distinctly separate interpretative traditions. The Talmudic hermeneutic that is used by Jewish scholars are used for the investigation and determination of the meaning of the Hebrew Bible, as well as rules by which Jewish law could be established. The methods by which the rabbis of the Talmud explore the meaning of scripture may be summarized in the following way:

  • Grammar and exegesis
  • The interpretation of certain words and letters and apparently superfluous and/or missing words or letters, and prefixes and suffixes
  • The interpretation of those letters which, in certain words, are provided with points
  • The interpretation of the letters in a word according to their numerical value (see Gematria)
  • The interpretation of a word by dividing it into two or more words
  • The interpretation of a word according to its consonantal form or according to its vocalization
  • The interpretation of a word by transposing its letters or by changing its vowels
  • The logical deduction of a halakah from a Scriptural text or from another law

The rabbis as we have them written in the Talmud were the receivers and transmitters of the Mishnah (the Oral Torah) providing us with an early interpretive method on the meaning of the scriptures. The significance of the Mishnah is this oral tradition which is believed to set forth the precise, original meanings of the words, revealed at the same time and by the same means as the original scriptures themselves. The interpretive methods listed above (i.e. such as word play and the gematria –letter counting) were never used by the rabbis however as logical proof for the meaning or teaching of a passage in scripture. For the rabbis, a Torah based hermeneutic is of utmost importance. Because of this there is consistency in teachings of Judaism over the centuries. For modern Christianity, in the 19th century, it became increasingly common to read the Scriptures just like any other writing. As a result, different interpretations were developed and often disputed. Both the philosophical and hermeneutic methods were hotly debated. Biblical studies were geared towards understanding the Bible purely as a human and historical document as opposed to being inspired by God Himself. What we have today are a lot of theological and doctrinal principles that were designed to help us in the exegetical interpretation of the Scriptures. This has led to philosophical and linguistic underpinnings of interpretation that are coupled to the presuppositions we bring with us along with the vast diversity of interpretations by Protestants and the replacement theologies of the Catholic Church. R. C. Sproul and J. I. Packer make note of this studying the Protestant theologians being in conflict over biblical interpretation. (Perry, Simon (2005). Resurrecting Interpretation. Bristol Baptist College: University of Bristol) Though there is diverse conflict in interpretation, all claim to be faithful interpretations of the Bible. It is the diverse interpretations that underlie the doctrinal variations in Christianity. If the Scriptures are considered as having been authored by God using the hand of man, rather than an accumulation of disparate individual texts written and edited in the course of history, then any interpretation that contradicts any other part of scripture is not considered to be sound. This is why it is so important for us to return to the Torah, holding fast to God’s Word and understanding all of Scripture from a Torah based hermeneutics. It is interesting having this approach turns traditional Catholic and Protestant theology on its head.

David continues in His Psalm to say the following, ג אַל-תִּבְטְחוּ בִנְדִיבִים בְּבֶן-אָדָם | שֶׁאֵין לוֹ תְשׁוּעָה: ד תֵּצֵא רוּחוֹ יָשֻׁב לְאַדְמָתוֹ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא אָבְדוּ עֶשְׁתֹּנֹתָיו: ה אַשְׁרֵי שֶׁאֵל יַעֲקֹב בְּעֶזְרוֹ שִֹבְרוֹ עַל-יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהָיו: 146:3 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. 146:4 His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish. 146:5 How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Lord his God, (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, ג לא תתרחצון ברברביא בבר נש דלית ליה פורקנא׃ ד תיפוק רוחיה יתוב לעפריה ביומא ההוא הובדו זמיונוי׃ ה טוביה דאלהא יעקב בסעדיה סבריה על יהוה אלהיה׃ ו דעבד שמיא וארעא ית ימא וית כל די בהון די נטיר קשוט לעלם׃ 146:3 You shall not place your trust in rulers, in a son of man who has no redemption. 146:4 His spirit will go away, he will return to his dust; on that day his plans perish. 146:5 Happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God. (EMC) The Hebrew translation states that David says there is no salvation in man. This suggests that all salvation comes by the hand of God. The Aramaic Targum suggests the son of man is not one to be trusted either. Note this is a phrase Yeshua used of himself often in the Apostolic Writings. This phrase (“the son of man”) denotes a messianic expectation and illustrates for us that regardless of by whose hand help comes, all of these things are attributed to the Lord God Almighty. This is what the prophet Jeremiah stated in his Messianic prophecy saying,

Jeremiah 23:5-6

23:5 ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; And He will reign as king and act wisely And do justice and righteousness in the land. 23:6 ‘In His days Judah will be saved, And Israel will dwell securely; And this is His name by which He will be called, ‘The Lord our righteousness.’ (NASB, ה הִנֵּה יָמִים בָּאִים נְאֻם-יְהֹוָה וַהֲקִמֹתִי לְדָוִד צֶמַח צַדִּיק וּמָלַךְ מֶלֶךְ וְהִשְֹכִּיל וְעָשָֹה מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה בָּאָרֶץ: ו בְּיָמָיו תִּוָּשַׁע יְהוּדָה וְיִשְֹרָאֵל יִשְׁכֹּן לָבֶטַח וְזֶה-שְּׁמוֹ אֲשֶׁר-יִקְרְאוֹ יְהֹוָה | צִדְקֵנוּ:)

The righteous branch the Lord will raise up to Shepard His people. He will lead them in justice and righteousness in the land, He will save Judah, and all of Israel will dwell securely. Jeremiah then says his name will be called “The Lord our righteousness” (וְזֶה-שְּׁמוֹ אֲשֶׁר-יִקְרְאוֹ יְהֹוָה | צִדְקֵנוּ) indicating what we are reading here in the Psalm, our trust is not in rulers (princes) or in mortal men, but in the Lord God Almighty, who places His righteousness upon His people, and upon the one who will lead the people in His truth. The righteous branch (צֶמַח צַדִּיק) we read something similar in Isaiah 11:1.

Isaiah 11:1-5

11:1 Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit. 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. 11:3 And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear; 11:4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. 11:5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist. (NASB, א וְיָצָא חֹטֶר מִגֶּזַע יִשָׁי וְנֵצֶר מִשָּׁרָשָׁיו יִפְרֶה: ב וְנָחָה עָלָיו רוּחַ יְהֹוָה רוּחַ חָכְמָה וּבִינָה רוּחַ עֵצָה וּגְבוּרָה רוּחַ דַּעַת וְיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה: ג וַהֲרִיחוֹ בְּיִרְאַת יְהֹוָה וְלֹא-לְמַרְאֵה עֵינָיו יִשְׁפּוֹט וְלֹא-לְמִשְׁמַע אָזְנָיו יוֹכִיחַ: ד וְשָׁפַט בְּצֶדֶק דַּלִּים וְהוֹכִיחַ בְּמִישׁוֹר לְעַנְוֵי-אָרֶץ וְהִכָּה-אֶרֶץ בְּשֵׁבֶט פִּיו וּבְרוּחַ שְֹפָתָיו יָמִית רָשָׁע: ה וְהָיָה צֶדֶק אֵזוֹר מָתְנָיו וְהָאֱמוּנָה אֵזוֹר חֲלָצָיו:)

Notice the emphasis placed in Isaiah 11:5 state righteousness wil lbe the belt about his loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist. This is important as we know faith and faithfulness are intimately connected. This is a similar thought, the righteous branch, though the words are different (Tzemach Tzadik צֶמַח צַדִּיק, and Netzir ְנֵצֶר) both cases speak of a sprout that will spring forth from the root of the tree that was cut down. This one who by a miracle the Lord God raises up to save His people, again directs us back to the Lord God who we are to trust, rely upon, and who is the only one that can help us in our times of trouble.

This is demonstrated in God’s abilities, such as His being the One 146:6 Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; 146:7 Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. 146:8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; The Lord raises up those who are bowed down; The Lord loves the righteous; 146:9 The Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. (NASB, ו עֹשֶֹה | שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ אֶת-הַיָּם וְאֶת-כָּל-אֲשֶׁר-בָּם הַשֹּׁמֵר אֱמֶת לְעוֹלָם: ז עֹשֶֹה מִשְׁפָּט | לַעֲשׁוּקִים נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לָרְעֵבִים יְהֹוָה מַתִּיר אֲסוּרִים: ח יְהֹוָה | פֹּקֵחַ עִוְרִים יְהֹוָה זֹקֵף כְּפוּפִים יְהֹוָה אֹהֵב צַדִּיקִים: ט יְהֹוָה | שֹׁמֵר אֶת-גֵּרִים יָתוֹם וְאַלְמָנָה יְעוֹדֵד וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים יְעַוֵּת: ) Notice how the Lord God Almighty reveals Himself to His people. He is the creator, He gives food, He sets prisoners free, He opens the eyes of the blind, He prepares the hands for war, He loves those who are righteous, He protects strangers, the fatherless, and the widow, and He casts down the plans of the wicked. In Isaiah 42:7 the Lord says, 42:7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. (NIV) Isaiah states that the Lord wants to open the eyes of the blind. This blindness appears to be towards His truth which sets us free. The opening of the eyes, the knowing of the truth, will free the captives from prison and release those who sit in darkness. This appears to be a reference to those who are deceived by the truth.

Isaiah 42:1-8

הן עבדי אתמך־בו בחירי רצתה נפשי נתתי רוחי עליו משפט לגוים יוציא 42:1 This is My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen one, in whom I delight. I have put My spirit upon him, He shall teach the true way to the nations. לא יצעק ולא ישא ולא־ישמיע בחוץ קולו 42:2 He shall not cry out or shout aloud, Or make his voice heard in the streets. קנה רצוץ לא ישבור ופשתה כהה לא יכבנה לאמת יוציא משפט 42:3 He shall not break even a bruised reed, Or snuff out even a dim wick. He shall bring forth the true way. לא יכהה ולא ירוץ עד־ישים בארץ משפט ולתורתו איים ייחילו (פ) 42:4 He shall not grow dim or be bruised Till he has established the true way on earth; And the coastlands shall await his teaching. כה־אמר האל יהוה בורא השמים ונוטיהם רקע הארץ וצאצאיה נתן נשמה לעם עליה ורוח להלכים בה 42:5Thus said God the LORD, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, Who spread out the earth and what it brings forth, Who gave breath to the people upon it And life to those who walk thereon: אני יהוה קראתיך בצדק ואחזק בידך ואצרך ואתנך לברית עם לאור גוים 42:6 I the LORD, in My grace, have summoned you, And I have grasped you by the hand. I created you, and appointed you A covenant people, a light of nations— לפקח עינים עורות להוציא ממסגר אסיר מבית כלא ישבי חשך 42:7 Opening eyes deprived of light, Rescuing prisoners from confinement, From the dungeon those who sit in darkness. אני יהוה הוא שמי וכבודי לאחר לא־אתן ותהלתי לפסילים 42:8 I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not yield My glory to another, Nor My renown to idols.

Note the context here, Isaiah speaks of the servant in whom the Lord has chosen and places his delight. This servant will teach the true way of God to the nations. Isaiah says the Lord created the heavens and the earth, and then speaks about opening the eyes of the blind and setting the captive free. This is paralleled to Tehillim / Psalms 146:6-9 which says the same. Both Ibn Ezra and the JPS translation suggest this only refers to the release of prisoners.

Ibn Ezra on Isaiah 42:7 Part 1

To bring out the prisoners, etc. To tell Israel that they shall be delivered out of the Babylonian exile. Comp. 49:9

JPS 1985 Footnotes, Isaiah 42:4

An idiom meaning “freeing the imprisoned”; cf. 61.1.

The Apostolic Writings states that this is a reference to sin (Luke 4:18-21, Acts 26:18). Both the Tanach and the Apostolic Writings also provides examples on how the Lord desires for His people to be set free.

Jeremiah 30:8

‘It shall come about on that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will break his yoke from off their neck and will tear off their bonds; and strangers will no longer make them their slaves.

Ezekiel 34:27

“Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure on their land Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke and have delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.

Nahum 1:13

“So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, And I will tear off your shackles.”

We are shown in the Apostolic Writings how the Lord set his disciples free from chains and wrongful imprisonment according to the book of Acts.

Acts 5:19

But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,

Acts 12:7-10

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly “ And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Gird yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. read more.

Acts 16:26

and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened.

There is a difference between being “made free” and being “set free.” This concept of freedom is shown in the Tanach with the future expectation of the Lord God setting us free from bondage, from sin, and ultimately from death. The freedom that is brought by God’s servant, His anointed one, Yeshua the Messiah, is a freedom that is different from being set free from jail. For the person who was in jail, he was “set free.” For the person who is in the Messiah, he is “made free.” Yeshua said the following in John 8:31-36.

John 8:31-36

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

This truth that Yeshua speaks of makes us free. This means that we are made (created) not to sin, and so we have the desire to live according to God’s Word and seek His help to overcome sin in our lives. This is very powerful because those who are set free can still fall back into this form of sin. For the one who has been transformed from the inside out, he has been designed in a manner that sin cannot dwell within him. This is what Paul was speaking of when he said in Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. (NASB)

The Psalmist concludes saying, י יִמְלֹךְ יְהֹוָה | לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר הַלְלוּיָהּ: 146:10 The Lord will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! (NASB) All of these things reveal how the Lord is in control of all things and because of His love for His people, we give Him praises throughout all our generations. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Tehillim / Psalm 24:1). Can you imagine living your whole life on this earth and not knowing to whom it belongs? Not knowing to whom you belong? This is the state of the nations. When the Psalmist states the world is established by God who created all things, this means God’s reign, His sovereignty covers even the basic needs of life, such as rain and the sun rising and a stable planet that doesn’t evaporate, these things are established for both the just and unjust. (Matthew 5:45) These are the reasons all the earth, and all generations give praise to the Lord God Almighty in heaven.

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 146 has 9 part. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 2, 5, 7, and 9. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 146, Part 2, 5, 7, and 9.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 146, Part 2, 5, 7, and 9

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “O put not your trust in princes no in any son of man; for there is no help in them (Tehillim / Psalms 146:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “A man has no right to put his trust in the words of his forebears.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the idea of not placing our trust in the son of man.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis reason how a brother can not redeem a brother if he has no good works.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “As Scripture says, Blessed is everyone that fears the Lord, that walks in His ways. For you will eat the labor of your hands. Happy will you be, and it will be well with you (Tehillim / Psalms 128:2). Hence, it is said, O put not your trust in princes, nor in any son of man; for there is no help in them.”

Part 5

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “No privation is greater, no affliction is greater or more cruel than blindness. What parable fits here?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of how the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. Is this only a physical phenomenon or also a spiritual one?
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis parallel this to a man who loads down a came having a greater burden than the others.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Another comment, Who are the blind? Men of the present generation who go groping like blind men in the Torah, saying, We wait for light, but behold obscurity, for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind (Isaiah 59:9-10). All of them read, but do not know what they read. All of them study, but do not know what they study. In the time to come, however, The eyes of the blind will be opened (Isaiah 53:5).”

Part 7

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The Lord loves the righteous (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “As Scripture says, I love them that love Me (Mishley / Proverbs 8;17), and again For them that honor Me I will honor (1 Samuel 2:30), they love Me, and I love them.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss how the Lord loves the righteous.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis look at how Scripture says those who love the Lord, it is they whom he loves. Though God so loved the world, the men, women, children in the world, His blessing only comes to those who love him and His ways.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “But should a man seek to become righteous; for the righteous do not depend upon a family line, but in their own persons volunteer and come to love the Holy One blessed be He, as it is said Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous (Tehillim / Psalms 33:1). Hence, it is said, The Lord loves the righteous.”

Part 9

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “He upholds the fatherless and the widow (Tehillim 146:9).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Scripture pairs the stranger with the fatherless and with the widow. Why?
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the Lord taking care of the widow and then compares this to those who are fatherless too.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss the reason why the Lord promises to take care of the widow and the fatherless..
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Hence wise Scripture says, The Lord upholds the humble; He brings the wicked down to the ground (Tehillim / Psalms 147:6). And the righteous proclaim the reign of God, as it is said The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, until all generations (Tehillim / Psalms 146:10).”

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “O put not your trust in princes no in any son of man; for there is no help in them (Tehillim / Psalms 146:3).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “A man has no right to put his trust in the words of his forebears.” The entire midrash sates the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קמו סימן ב

ב אל תבטחו בנדיבים. לא יבטח אדם במעשה אבותיו, לא יאמר ישמעאל, אברהם אבי יש לי מחלקו והוא מצילני, לא יאמר עשו, יעקב היה צדיק והוא מצילני, ובזכותו אני נמלט, שנאמר אח לא פדה יפדה איש (תהלים מט ח), אין אחיו של אדם פודה אותו, אם אין אדם עושה טוב בעולם הזה לא יבטח במעשה אבותיו, לכך נאמר אל תבטחו בנדיבים, על מה תבטחו, על מעשיכם, שנאמר אם חכמת חכמת לך וגו׳ (משלי ט יב), וכה״א נפש עמל עמלה לו (שם משלי טז כו), אין אדם אוכל ממעשה אבותיו לעתיד, אלא כל אחד ואחד אוכל משלו, שנאמר כל עמל האדם לפיהו (קהלת ו ז), וכתיב וראיתי כי אין טוב מאשר ישמח האדם במעשיו (שם קהלת ג כב), אין לאדם חלק אלא בעמלו, וכה״א יגיע כפיך כי תאכל וגו׳ (תהלים קכח ב), לכך נאמר אל תבטחו בנדיבים.

Midrash Tehillim 146, Part 2

2. O put not your trust in princes no in any son of man; for there is no help in them (Tehillim / Psalms 146:3). A man has no right to put his trust in the words of his forebears. Ishmael has no right to say, Abraham is my father, I am a part of him, and he will help me. Esau has no right to say, Jacob was righteous, and he will help me, by virtue of his works I will be redeemed. For the verse, No man can by any means redeem his brothers (Tehillim / Psalms 49:8) means that a man’s brother cannot redeem him; if a man does no good in this world, he has no right to put his trust in the works of his forebears. Hence, it is said, O put not your trust in princes, nor in any son of man; for there is no help in them. In what should you put your trust? In your own wise labors, for it is said, If you are wise, you are wise for yourself (Mishley / Proverbs 9:12). Likewise, Scripture says, He that labors, labors for himself (Mishley / Proverbs 16:26). In the time to come, no man will eat because of his forebears’ labor; but each and every man will eat because of his own, for it is said, All the labor of man is for his own mouth (Ecclesiastes 6:7). It is also written, Wherefore I perceived that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion (Ecclesiastes 3:22). That is, a man has not portion in anything other than his own works. As Scripture says, Blessed is everyone that fears the Lord, that walks in His ways. For you will eat the labor of your hands. Happy will you be, and it will be well with you (Tehillim / Psalms 128:2). Hence, it is said, O put not your trust in princes, nor in any son of man; for there is no help in them.

This midrash almost appears to be anti-messianic in nature. Notice how the midrash begins with Tehillim / Psalms 146:3 “O put not your trust in princes no in any son of man; for there is no help in them” with the Petihta saying that a man has no right to put his trust in the words of his forebears going on to say “Ishmael has no right to say, Abraham is my father, I am a part of him, and he will help me. Esau has no right to say, Jacob was righteous, and he will help me, by virtue of his works I will be redeemed.” The midrash is arguing that one man cannot redeem another based upon his works because all fall short of the glory of God. The rabbinic reasoning is “For the verse, No man can by any means redeem his brothers (Tehillim / Psalms 49:8) means that a man’s brother cannot redeem him; if a man does no good in this world, he has no right to put his trust in the works of his forebears. Hence, it is said, O put not your trust in princes, nor in any son of man; for there is no help in them. In what should you put your trust?” Here the rabbis use the phrase “son of man” in reference to putting our trust in princes and ask a leading question to whom should we trust? Sixty-nine times in the NT Yeshua calls himself the “Son of man” (בן–אדם, ὁ υἱὸς τοὺ ἀνθρώπου). This is a Greek expression which in its Aramaic (and Hebrew) background could be an oblique way for indicating the speaker’s own self (e.g., Matthew 8:20), or else simply mean “someone” or “a human being” (as in Tehillim / Psalms 8:4). Yeshua’s usage however was much more than declaring his being a man. A summary usage of the son of man phrase is the following:

Summary

In Matthew 18:11 Yeshua states that the Son of man came to serve and states, “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” In the Gospel of Mark 10:35-45 this takes place shortly after Yeshua predicts his death. In Mark 2:27-28, Matthew 12:8 and Luke 6:5 record the “Lord of the Sabbath” story where Yeshua tells the Pharisees “The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, so that the Son of man is lord even of the sabbath.” Christian theologians commonly take the phrase “son of man” in this passage to refer to Yeshua himself as being human with the presupposition that He is God in the flesh. In Matthew 12:38-42, Mark 8:11-13, and Luke 11:29-32 we read the following, “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and indeed a greater than Solomon is here.” (NKJV) Most scholars and theologians agree that the use of Son of man in this story is consistent with that of referring to himself. In explaining the Parable of the Weeds in Matthew 13:37,41-42 Yeshua said, “He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of man…. The Son of man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” Christian theologians commonly take the phrase “son of man” in this passage to refer to himself, rather than humanity in general. When Yeshua predicts his death in Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:32-34, and Matthew 20:17-19 we read the following, “Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.” But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.” Mark 8:31-38 states, “He then began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him….If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” Mark 10:35-45 refers to (Son of man came to serve) saying, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Referring to the Second Coming Mark 8:38-9:1 (NRSV), Matthew 16:27-28, and Luke 9:26-27 states “Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’ And he said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.’” At this trial before the Sanhedrin, Yeshua says in Mark 14:62 (ESV) and Matthew 26:64 “And Jesus said, ‘I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” Matthew 24:30 states, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 25:31-32 states, “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

A good number for scholars refer to the “Son of man” phrase as a reference to his humanity only, as Geza Vermes states that “the son of man” in the New Testament is unrelated to Hebrew Bible usages. If we look at the Tanach, it is interesting to note the attributes given to “the Son of man” in the scriptures seem to correspond with those found in the Book of Daniel 7:13-14 “As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him. To him was given dominion and glory and kingship, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed.” Daniel provides a messianic perspective on the “Son of man” having power, and authority, dominion, glory, and kingship that is connected to God that is found in the Messiah, God’s deliverer. In addition, Matthew 8:20 and Luke 9:58 have Yeshua saying “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.” The way this is written, this seems to tie in with the Tanach prophetic expressions used by such prophets as Ezekiel, and it shows Yeshua’s understanding of himself as the “man” that God has singled out as a representative, and as the Messiah. Studying the book of Ezekiel there are many ways in which this prophet and what he said was taught by Yeshua. Take for example in Ezekiel 14, men having put before their hearts an idol, something that sets itself first in their lives as opposed to the Lord God Almighty taking the foremost position. Not to mention the future expectation of the Lord working powerfully to establish His name again in Jerusalem, etc.

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 2 concludes saying, “In the time to come, no man will eat because of his forebears’ labor; but each and every man will eat because of his own, for it is said, All the labor of man is for his own mouth (Ecclesiastes 6:7). It is also written, Wherefore I perceived that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion (Ecclesiastes 3:22). That is, a man has no portion in anything other than his own works. As Scripture says, Blessed is everyone that fears the Lord, that walks in His ways. For you will eat the labor of your hands. Happy will you be, and it will be well with you (Tehillim / Psalms 128:2). Hence, it is said, O put not your trust in princes, nor in any son of man; for there is no help in them.” This midrash almost seems to be an anti-messianic polemic against trusting in Yeshua and His deeds for the forgiveness of our sins as he used the phrase “the son of man.” Something to note, carefully reading the Masoretic Text which states, 146:3 Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. (NASB) and the Aramaic Targum which sates, 146:3 You shall not place your trust in rulers, in a son of man who has no redemption. (EMC) Yeshua the Messiah brought with him salvation and redemption. His merits were not useless but as having great value for all men to be saved because he overcome sin and death.

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 5 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The Lord opens the eyes of the blind (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “No privation is greater, no affliction is greater or more cruel than blindness. What parable fits here?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קמו סימן ה

ה ה׳ פוקח עורים. אין צער גדול ואין יסורין גדולים וקשים כעורון עינים, למה״ד למי שהיה מעביר משאות של גמלים ושל חמורים טעונין ועוברין בדרך, נתנו על אחד מהם משאוי שוה לכלם, ועוד טענו מזונותיהן של כלם על א׳ מהם, והיה מזהיר עליו ואומר הזהרו בו שלא תבן נתון בו, אלא אני יודע מה נתתי עליו, נכנסו למדינה באו להתיר מן הבהמה, אמר להן בעל הבית מזה התירו תחלה שטענתי עליו יותר מכלן, כך הקב״ה מצוה על העורים שאין יסורין גדולים מהם, וכה״א ארור משגה עור בדרך (דברים כז יח), וכשיבא לרפאות העולם, אינו מרפא תחלה אלא העורים, שנאמר ה׳ פוקח עורים. ומי הן העורים, הדורות האלו שהולכות בתורה כעורים, שנאמר נגששה כעורים קיר (ישעיה נט י), כלם קורין ואין יודעין מה הן קורין, שונין ואין יודעין מה הן שונין, אבל לעתיד לבוא אז תפקחנה עיני עורים (שם ישעיהו

Midrash Tehillim 146, Part 5

5. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8). No privation is greater, no affliction is greater or more cruel than blindness. What parable fits here? That of a man who carried freight on camels and on donkeys. Once they were loaded, they would set out on their route. He loaded one of the animals with a burden as great as all the other together carried, and he also loaded it with fodder for all the others. Then he commanded concerning this animal, Take special care of this one, for it is not merely straw that is loaded on him. I know well what a load I put upon him. When they came into the city and were about to unload the animals, the man said, Unload this one first, for I put a greater burden upon him than upon all the others. Even so, the Holy One blessed be He, gave special commandments concerning the blind, for no affliction is greater than theirs. Scripture says, Cursed be he that makes the blind to go astray in the way (Devarim / Deuteronomy 27:18). Indeed, when God comes to heal the world, He will certainly first heal the blind, as it is said, The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up them that are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord preserves the strangers; He upholds the fatherless and the widow (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8-9). Another comment, Who are the blind? Men of the present generation who go groping like blind men in the Torah, saying, We wait for light, but behold obscurity, for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind (Isaiah 59:9-10). All of them read, but do not know what they read. All of them study, but do not know what they study. In the time to come, however, The eyes of the blind will be opened (Isaiah 53:5).

The Midrash speaks of the Lord God Almighty opening the eyes of the blind. The rabbis respond with the comment that no affliction is greater or more cruel than blindness. There are two forms of blindness, (i) physical and (ii) spiritual. The former is said to be the greatest affliction, not being able to see physically. To be spiritually blind is not being able to see the truth of God (Colossians 1:15-16, 2 Corinthians 4:6). Having spiritual blindness is also a grievous condition that has the capability of deception to not believe in God, His Messiah, or His Word. (Romans 2:8, 2 Thessalonians 2:12) Those who reject the Messiah are lost (see John 6:68-69). Believing in the Messiah Yeshua is said to be given from above (Matthew 16:17, Luke 10:21-22). To be spiritually blind is to be perishing (2 Corinthians 4:3-4, Revelation 3:17). The one who is perishing chooses not to accept God’s Word on the revelation of His Messiah or the Messiah’s teaching and authority in their lives (Matthew 28:18). In addition to this, such persons are blind to the miracles of God as revealed throughout His Word and His Messiah (John 1:1, Acts 28:26-27). They are described as those who “do not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Rabbis apply a parable to the one who is blind saying the following:

What parable fits here? That of a man who carried freight on camels and on donkeys. Once they were loaded, they would set out on their route. He loaded one of the animals with a burden as great as all the other together carried, and he also loaded it with fodder for all the others. Then he commanded concerning this animal, Take special care of this one, for it is not merely straw that is loaded on him. I know well what a load I put upon him. When they came into the city and were about to unload the animals, the man said, Unload this one first, for I put a greater burden upon him than upon all the others. Even so, the Holy One blessed be He, gave special commandments concerning the blind, for no affliction is greater than theirs. Scripture says, Cursed be he that makes the blind to go astray in the way (Devarim / Deuteronomy 27:18). Indeed, when God comes to heal the world, He will certainly first heal the blind, as it is said, The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up them that are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord preserves the strangers; He upholds the fatherless and the widow (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8-9)

The parable speaks of camels and donkeys who were overloaded with weight, and when entering into the city, it is commanded to take care of the one who has had the greater burden placed upon its shoulders. This is paralleled to the one who is blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down. This is applicable to those who are humble and seek the Lord for His help. In the Apostolic Writings, Peter spoke of scoffers who will come in the last days disbelieving following their own sinful desires (2 Peter 3:3). Those who reject God’s Messiah and His Word are spiritually blind and cannot understand the truth. (Isaiah 37:23 and 1 Corinthians 1:18). The Scriptures describe those deny God as foolish (Tehillim / Psalm 14:1, Matthew 7:26). Because of their blindness and rejection of God and His Word, they are in a perilous and chaotic condition (John 12:48, Hebrews 2:2-4).

Those who are blind to the truth are unable to understand God’s Word. (Matthew 13:13, Devarim / Deuteronomy 29:4). Yeshua said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:15-17). Paul spoke of this when he told the believers in Rome, “Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” (Romans 8:8-9). Those who are apart from the Messiah of God, because their lives are steeped in the things of the world with all its passions, their eyes and ears are blind to the truth of God. The Apostle John said, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” but that person’s love “is from the world.” (1 John 2:15-16) Paul wrote that the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelivers to keep them from seeing the light of God’s truth, the glory of His Messiah, and the redemption and salvation that is found in him (2 Corinthians 4:4). Paul refers to Satan as the god of this world who is for the destruction of the body (1 Corinthians 5:5), masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14) and causes God’s people to fall into temptations (Luke 4:2, Hebrews 4:15, 1 Corinthians 7:5). The evil one rejoices in deceiving God’s people and keeping the unbeliever trapped (2 Corinthians 2:11, Ephesians 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:26). The goal of the evil one is to devour the weak who fall prey to temptation, fear, loneliness, worry, depression, and persecution (1 Peter 5:8-9). Without the help of the Lord, we succumb to the enemy and become entangled in the affairs of the world and its moral darkness that in the end leads us over to spiritual blindness and eternal condemnation (John 12:40, Romans 1:24-32). As a child of God, we have the Spirit of God reigning in our lives to guide and lead us against the debilitating effects of the world. (1 John 4:13) John tells us, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in Him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15). The weapons of the enemy are deceitful to make us doubt and stumble. (2 Corinthians 2:11, Ephesians 4:14). The Lord God Almighty has provided us with powerful weapons to overcome the enemy. (Ephesians 6:10-18) As believers we can overcome the evil one and remain in the Light and never become spiritually blind. Yeshua gave us this promise, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) If we continue in the Messiah, we will continue in the truth of God.

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 5 concludes saying, “Another comment, Who are the blind? Men of the present generation who go groping like blind men in the Torah, saying, We wait for light, but behold obscurity, for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind (Isaiah 59:9-10). All of them read, but do not know what they read. All of them study, but do not know what they study. In the time to come, however, The eyes of the blind will be opened (Isaiah 53:5).” The rabbis are saying that the men who grope about like blind men even have the Torah, but at a future time, the eyes of the blind will be opened. This suggests the Lord God working in the hearts and lives of these men to see the truth. Having the Torah is one thing, but understanding the Torah, its application, and its deeper spiritual truths are not revealed until one has believed in God’s Messiah and received God’s Holy Spirit into his/her heart.

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 7 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The Lord loves the righteous (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “As Scripture says, I love them that love Me (Mishley / Proverbs 8;17), and again For them that honor Me I will honor (1 Samuel 2:30), they love Me, and I love them.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קמו סימן ז

ז ה׳ אוהב צדיקים. וכה״א אני אוהבי אהב (משלי ח יז), ואומר כי מכבדי אכבד (ש״א שמואל א׳ ב ל), הן אוהבין אותי ואני אוהב אותן, ולמה אוהב לצדיקים שאינן נחלה לא ממשפחת הכהנים, ולא ממשפחת הלוים, למה שהכהנים בית אב, והלוים בית אב, שנאמר בית אהרן ברכו את ה׳ בית הלוי ברכו את ה׳ (תהלים קלה יט), לפיכך אם מבקש אדם להיות לוי או להיות כהן, אינו יכול, מפני שלא היה אביו לא לוי ולא כהן, אבל מבקש להיות צדיק, אפילו היה גוי, יכול להיות צדיק, שאין הצדיקים באין מבית אב אלא מעצמן התנדבו ואהבו את הקב״ה, שנאמר רננו צדיקים בה׳ (שם תהלים לג א), ולכך נאמר ה׳ אוהב צדיקים.

Midrash Tehillim 146, Part 7

7. The Lord loves the righteous (Tehillim / Psalms 146:8). As Scripture says, I love them that love Me (Mishley / Proverbs 8:17), and again For them that honor Me I will honor (1 Samuel 2:30), they love Me, and I love them. And why does God love the righteous? Because their righteousness is not something inherited as is the priesthood in a family of priests or in a family of Levites. The priests, rather, are part of a family line, and the Levites, too, are part of a family line, as it is said O house of Aaron, bless you the Lord; O house of Levi, bless you the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 135:19). Therefore, should a man seek to become a Levite, or to become a priest, he cannot become one because his father was not a Levite, or a priest. But should a man seek to become righteous; for the righteous do not depend upon a family line, but in their own persons volunteer and come to love the Holy One blessed be He, as it is said Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous (Tehillim / Psalms 33:1). Hence, it is said, The Lord loves the righteous.

We are told the Lord loves those who are righteous based upon Tehillim / Psalms 146:8. The proof texts for this is from Mishley / Proverbs 8:17 which says “I love them that love Me.” We are told in 1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment. The one who fears has not been perfected in love. 4:19 We love because He first loved us. 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen… Now the teaching on this topic from the Apostolic Writings is as follows:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10

6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous1 will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 6:10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 5:21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do2 such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5

5:5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Hebrews 1:9

1:9 understanding this, that the slaw is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers,

Hebrews 12:14

12:14 Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

The Apostle Paul observes that the unrighteous will not inherit eternal life, they will not enter the kingdom of God. The apostle John concluded that God’s love to us is prior to our love to him; his love is from everlasting, as well as to everlasting; for He loves his people just as he does his Son, and he loved him before the foundation of the world. The Lord God Almighty had made a covenant of mercy with his people that is coupled with our faith in Yeshua the Messiah, and the promise of eternal life. The antiquity of God’s love (its ancientness) is demonstrated to us in His Son and the gift of mercy through him. As a part of the mercy of God, we receive His Holy Spirit to empower our lives, to overcome sin, and to believe in the One He sent to show us the way of righteousness. Note how the midrash states, “And why does God love the righteous? Because their righteousness is not something inherited as is the priesthood in a family of priests or in a family of Levites. The priests, rather, are part of a family line, and the Levites, too, are part of a family line, as it is said O house of Aaron, bless you the Lord; O house of Levi, bless you the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 135:19).” The important point here is on the idea of inheritance. Righteousness is not a matter of inheritance. The comparison is to the priesthood as a family line of Levities where these have the gift of drawing near to the Lord through the ritual laid out in the Torah. Righteousness is being distinguished from something inherited because righteousness is a choice. We are called to walk in God’s ways, just as John is exhorting us saying, “let us love him” with a subjunctive mood, “we should love him,” as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic translations of the NT and the Codex Alexandrinus reads “because God first loved us.”

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 7 concludes saying, “Therefore, should a man seek to become a Levite, or to become a priest, he cannot become one because his father was not a Levite, or a priest. But should a man seek to become righteous; for the righteous do not depend upon a family line, but in their own persons volunteer and come to love the Holy One blessed be He, as it is said Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous (Tehillim / Psalms 33:1). Hence, it is said, The Lord loves the righteous.” We cannot force the Word of God to fit our personal situations. For example, replacement theology offers the opportunity for any man to become a priest of God. This is similar to sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who created a different system of worship (two golden idols) and commanding Israel to worship there instead of in Jerusalem, and then making anyone a priest of these idols to those who would bring the proper sacrifices and money to become a priest. Righteousness is a choice, and is achieved only by walking in God’s ways (see Romans 12), and by believing in His Messiah.

Midrash Tehillim 146, Part 9 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “He upholds the fatherless and the widow (Tehillim 146:9).” The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Scripture pairs the stranger with the fatherless and with the widow. Why?” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קמו סימן ט

ט יתום ואלמנה יעודד. זיוג את הגר ליתום ולאלמנה למה, אמר הקב״ה שלשתן עלובים ועניים, וכן משה אמר עושה משפט יתום ואלמנה ואוהב גר (דברים י יח), לכך נאמר יתום ואלמנה יעודד, ומי היתומים אלו ישראל, שנאמר יתומים היינו ואין אב (איכה ה ג), ומי הן אלמנות, אלו ציון וירושלים, שנאמר העיר רבתי עם היתה כאלמנה (שם איכה א א), לכך נאמר יתום ואלמנה יעודד, וכי כל היתומים והאלמנות הוא מעודד, לאו אלא אם היו צדיקים, וכה״א אבי יתומים וגו׳ (תהלים סח ו), אבל אם היו רשעים כתוב בהם ודרך רשעים יעות, וכי הוא מעות דרכים, אלא הוא גוזר על כל הצדיקים והרשעים, והם עולים לירושלים וג״ע זה הוא דרך לשתיהן, והצדיקים והרשעים הם באים לירושלים, כיון שהגיעו לשם הקב״ה מכניס הצדיקים לג״ע, ומעות דרכן של רשעים, ומוליכן בדרך לגיהנם, לכך נאמר ודרך רשעים יעות, וכן הוא אומר מעודד ענוים ה׳ משפיל רשעים עדי ארץ (תהלים קמז ו), והצדיקים ממליכין להקב״ה, שנאמר ימלוך ה׳ לעולם אלהיך ציון לדור ודור.

Midrash Tehillim 146, Part 9

9. He upholds the fatherless and the widow (Tehillim 146:9). Scripture pairs the stranger with the fatherless and with the widow. Why? Because the Holy One blessed be He, said, The three of them are lowly and poor. Moshe also said, He does execute justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:18). Hence, it is said, The Lord preserves the strangers; God upholds the fatherless and the widow. And who are the fatherless? The children of Israel, who say, we are become orphans and fatherless (Lamentations 5:3). And who is the widow? Zion, and also Jerusalem, as it is said, The city that was full of people. How is she become as a widow. (Lamentations 1:1). Hence it is said, He upholds the fatherless and the widow. Does God, then, uphold all the fatherless and all the widows? No; only if they are righteous, for it is only to such that Scripture says, Sing unto God, sing praises to His name, exult you before Him. A Father of the fatherless, and a Judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 148:9). Does God make ways crooked? He decrees that all, the righteous and the wicked, should go up to Jerusalem and to the Garden of Eden, for the same way leads to both places, and both the righteous and the wicked come to Jerusalem. And soon as they arrive there, the Holy One blessed be He, brings the righteous into the Garden of Eden; but He twists the way of the wicked and leads them onto the road to Gehenna. Hence wise Scripture says, The Lord upholds the humble; He brings the wicked down to the ground (Tehillim / Psalms 147:6). And the righteous proclaim the reign of God, as it is said The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, until all generations (Tehillim / Psalms 146:10).

The rabbis speak of the Lord God Almighty taking care of the widow, the fatherless, and the stranger. The reasoning behind these statements are the following:

Because the Holy One blessed be He, said, The three of them are lowly and poor. Moshe also said, He does execute justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:18). Hence, it is said, The Lord preserves the strangers; God upholds the fatherless and the widow. And who are the fatherless? The children of Israel, who say, we are become orphans and fatherless (Lamentations 5:3). And who is the widow? Zion, and also Jerusalem, as it is said, The city that was full of people. How is she become as a widow. (Lamentations 1:1). Hence it is said, He upholds the fatherless and the widow. Does God, then, uphold all the fatherless and all the widows? No; only if they are righteous, for it is only to such that Scripture says, Sing unto God, sing praises to His name, exult you before Him. (Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 9)

The midrash discusses the widow, the fatherless, and the stranger in the context of Israel and the Land of Israel. The fatherless are analogized to the children of Israel, the widow is analogized to Zion and Jerusalem. The question is asked does the Lord take care of all the fatherless and widows? The answer is only those who are righteous. It is only for those who seek the righteousness of God, for in doing so one seeks the Lord Himself. If we study our culture today, many people claim to be believers in Yeshua and obey God’s word, but their lives are no different than those who do not know Yeshua as Savior. The gospel message that Paul talked about was to urge the people to “repent and turn to God’s ways, to perform deeds appropriate to repentance.” (Acts 26:20) Believers are to be Zealous for the Lord God of Israel and for good deeds. (Titus 2:14) We are not called to live to ourselves, we are called to serve the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua and to lay down selfish interests for the sake of others. We are to turn from selfishness and turn our love of self to love and serve one another (Galatians 5:13). This is the way of righteousness, the way of God. This is why Paul, the disciples, and Yeshua himself spoke in terms of practical good deeds, which is what we read in God’s Torah, as a way to minister to others. We do not support those who live for their own pleasure. For example, Paul wrote that if one refused to work, he should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Midrash Tehillim 146 Part 9 concludes saying, “Does God make ways crooked? He decrees that all, the righteous and the wicked, should go up to Jerusalem and to the Garden of Eden, for the same way leads to both places, and both the righteous and the wicked come to Jerusalem. And soon as they arrive there, the Holy One blessed be He, brings the righteous into the Garden of Eden; but He twists the way of the wicked and leads them onto the road to Gehenna. Hence wise Scripture says, The Lord upholds the humble; He brings the wicked down to the ground (Tehillim / Psalms 147:6). And the righteous proclaim the reign of God, as it is said The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, until all generations (Tehillim / Psalms 146:10).” It is interesting how the rabbis say both roads (the righteous and the wicked) lead to the Garden of Eden. This may be a reference to that great judgment day, no man will be exempted from standing before God to give an account. But as the midrash states, in relation to righteousness and wickedness, one enters into heaven (the Garden of Eden) and the other goes to hell (Gehenna). This is paralleled to those who choose to do good deeds, to take care of the needy, the elderly, the widows, as opposed to those who do not choose to do so. In America today, there is a lack of concerned for the aged. This tends to be related to our present day society who places lower values on the elderly. Both the Scriptures and the rabbis state the importance of taking care to love and work in a practical way for those whom we love. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 146-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!