This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 17:1-15, The Psalm begins saying תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד “A prayer of David and he prays asking the Lord to hear his cry, to give ear to his prayer, and that his prayer is not done so with deceitful lips (שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִֹפְתֵי מִרְמָה). David calls for the judgment of God to come forth from his presence and to examine him (17:2). He says that the Lord has tested his heart, come to him by night, and found nothing, and that he has purposed his mouth to not transgress (ג בָּחַנְתָּ לִבִּי | פָּקַדְתָּ לַּיְלָה צְרַפְתַּנִי בַל-תִּמְצָא זַמֹּתִי בַּל-יַעֲבָר-פִּי:). He says that based on the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips, I have kept from the paths of the violent (17:4) suggests that he believes the Torah is the word of God and that keeping God’s word has kept him from evil. ה תָּמֹךְ אֲשֻׁרַי בְּמַעְגְּלוֹתֶיךָ בַּל-נָמוֹטּוּ פְעָמָי: 17:5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. (NASB) The Lord will answer those who seek Him (17:7) and show His favor in His Salvation ז הַפְלֵה חֲסָדֶיךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ חוֹסִים מִמִּתְקוֹמְמִים בִּימִינֶךָ: 17:7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them. (NASB) The wicked are described as those who have and unfeeling heart and speak in their pride (17:10), they surround the people of God and determine to cast God’s people to the ground (17:11). The wicked are like a lion that is eager to tear and lurking int he hiding places (17:12). David asks the Lord saying יג קוּמָה יְהֹוָה קַדְּמָה פָנָיו הַכְרִיעֵהוּ פַּלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי מֵרָשָׁע חַרְבֶּךָ: 17:13 Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low; Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword (NASB) to deliver him with His sword. What is David referring to when he asks to deliver him with the “Sword of God?” He concludes his prayer psalm saying יד מִמְתִים יָדְךָ | יְהֹוָה מִמְתִים מֵחֶלֶד חֶלְקָם בַּחַיִּים וּצְפיּנְךָ [וּצְפוּנְךָ] תְּמַלֵּא בִטְנָם יִשְֹבְּעוּ בָנִים וְהִנִּיחוּ יִתְרָם לְעוֹלְלֵיהֶם: טו אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ אֶשְֹבְּעָה בְהָקִיץ תְּמוּנָתֶךָ: 17:14 From men with Your hand, O Lord, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your treasure; They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes. 17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake. (NASB) In righteousness he will behold the face of God. What a great reason to live in righteousness before the Lord!
עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek
ספר תהלים פרק יז
א תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִֹפְתֵי מִרְמָה: ב מִלְּפָנֶיךָ מִשְׁפָּטִי יֵצֵא עֵינֶיךָ תֶּחֱזֶינָה מֵישָׁרִים: ג בָּחַנְתָּ לִבִּי | פָּקַדְתָּ לַּיְלָה צְרַפְתַּנִי בַל-תִּמְצָא זַמֹּתִי בַּל-יַעֲבָר-פִּי: ד לִפְעֻלּוֹת אָדָם בִּדְבַר שְֹפָתֶיךָ אֲנִי שָׁמַרְתִּי אָרְחוֹת פָּרִיץ:
סםר טוביה פרק יז
א צלותא לדוד קבל יהוה פגיעתי בעותי בצדקא אצית שבוחי תיצלי אודנך לצלותי בדלא סיפוותי ניכלא׃ ב מן קדמך דיני יפוק עינך תהויין חמין תריצותא׃ ג בחנתא לבבי אסערתא עלי בליליא סננתא בחנת לי לא אשכחתא שחיתא חשבית בישותא בישתא לא עברת ית פומי׃
17:1 προσευχὴ τοῦ δαυιδ εἰσάκουσον κύριε τῆς δικαιοσύνης μου πρόσχες τῇ δεήσει μου ἐνώτισαι τῆς προσευχῆς μου οὐκ ἐν χείλεσιν δολίοις 17:2 ἐκ προσώπου σου τὸ κρίμα μου ἐξέλθοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοί μου ἰδέτωσαν εὐθύτητας 17:3 ἐδοκίμασας τὴν καρδίαν μου ἐπεσκέψω νυκτός ἐπύρωσάς με καὶ οὐχ εὑρέθη ἐν ἐμοὶ ἀδικία
ה תָּמֹךְ אֲשֻׁרַי בְּמַעְגְּלוֹתֶיךָ בַּל-נָמוֹטּוּ פְעָמָי: ו אֲנִי קְרָאתִיךָ כִי-תַעֲנֵנִי אֵל הַט-אָזְנְךָ לִי שְׁמַע אִמְרָתִי: ז הַפְלֵה חֲסָדֶיךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ חוֹסִים מִמִּתְקוֹמְמִים בִּימִינֶךָ: ח שָׁמְרֵנִי כְּאִישׁוֹן בַּת-עָיִן בְּצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנִי: ט מִפְּנֵי רְשָׁעִים זוּ שַׁדּוּנִי אֹיְבַי בְּנֶפֶשׁ יַקִּיפוּ עָלָי: י חֶלְבָּמוֹ סָּגְרוּ פִּימוֹ דִּבְּרוּ בְגֵאוּת: יא אַשֻּׁרֵינוּ עַתָּה סְבָבוּניּ [סְבָבוּנוּ] עֵינֵיהֶם יָשִׁיתוּ לִנְטוֹת בָּאָרֶץ: יב דִּמְיֹנוֹ כְּאַרְיֵה יִכְסוֹף לִטְרוֹף וְכִכְפִיר ישֵׁב בְּמִסְתָּרִים: יג קוּמָה יְהֹוָה קַדְּמָה פָנָיו הַכְרִיעֵהוּ פַּלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי מֵרָשָׁע חַרְבֶּךָ: יד מִמְתִים יָדְךָ | יְהֹוָה מִמְתִים מֵחֶלֶד חֶלְקָם בַּחַיִּים וּצְפיּנְךָ [וּצְפוּנְךָ] תְּמַלֵּא בִטְנָם יִשְֹבְּעוּ בָנִים וְהִנִּיחוּ יִתְרָם לְעוֹלְלֵיהֶם: טו אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ אֶשְֹבְּעָה בְהָקִיץ תְּמוּנָתֶךָ:
ד ברם אכסנתא על עובדיהון לבני נשא במימר סיפוותך אנא נטרית אורחות חציפא׃ ה סעיד איסתוורי בהליכתך דלא יזועון יזדעזעון רגלי׃ ו אנא קרית יתך מטול דקביל ארום תקבל צלותי אלהא צלי אודנך קביל צלותי לותי שמע מילולי׃ ז פריש טבוותך זכוותך פריקהון דסוברי פרע להון מן מאן דקיימין עליהון באידא דימינך׃ ח נטר יתי כגילגול היך כבת <בבת> גלגל די במציעות עינא בטלא בטלל דשכינתך תטמור יתי׃ ט מן קדם רשיעייא אילין דמחבאלין יתי בעלי דבבי ברעות נפשהון מחזרן עלי׃ י עתרהון סגא שומנהון כסאו כסיו פומהון מלילו ברברב<נ>ותא׃ יא אסתוורנא השתא חזרו לנא עלנא עיניהון משוון למפשט בארעא׃ יב דמותיה היך אריא דמרגג למתבר וכשחלא דיתיב בטומריא׃ יג קום יהוה אלהא אקדם אפוי חמטיה פצא נפשי מן רשיעא דאתחייב קטול בסייפך׃ יד וצדיקיא דמסרין נפשיהון מטולתך יהוה למיתותא ומשתצון בארעא חולקהון בחיי עלמא וטשיותך טביא טבא יתמליין כריסהון יסבעון בנין וישבקון שיוריהון יתריהון לטליהון׃ טו אנא בקושטא אחמי סבר אפך אשבע בעידן דאתער מן איקר פרצופך׃
17:4 ὅπως ἂν μὴ λαλήσῃ τὸ στόμα μου τὰ ἔργα τῶν ἀνθρώπων διὰ τοὺς λόγους τῶν χειλέων σου ἐγὼ ἐφύλαξα ὁδοὺς σκληράς 17:5 κατάρτισαι τὰ διαβήματά μου ἐν ταῖς τρίβοις σου ἵνα μὴ σαλευθῶσιν τὰ διαβήματά μου 17:6 ἐγὼ ἐκέκραξα ὅτι ἐπήκουσάς μου ὁ θεός κλῖνον τὸ οὖς σου ἐμοὶ καὶ εἰσάκουσον τῶν ῥημάτων μου 17:7 θαυμάστωσον τὰ ἐλέη σου ὁ σῴζων τοὺς ἐλπίζοντας ἐπὶ σὲ ἐκ τῶν ἀνθεστηκότων τῇ δεξιᾷ σου 17:8 φύλαξόν με ὡς κόραν ὀφθαλμοῦ ἐν σκέπῃ τῶν πτερύγων σου σκεπάσεις με 17:9 ἀπὸ προσώπου ἀσεβῶν τῶν ταλαιπωρησάντων με οἱ ἐχθροί μου τὴν ψυχήν μου περιέσχον 17:10 τὸ στέαρ αὐτῶν συνέκλεισαν τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν ἐλάλησεν ὑπερηφανίαν 17:11 ἐκβάλλοντές με νυνὶ περιεκύκλωσάν με τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν ἔθεντο ἐκκλῖναι ἐν τῇ γῇ 17:12 ὑπέλαβόν με ὡσεὶ λέων ἕτοιμος εἰς θήραν καὶ ὡσεὶ σκύμνος οἰκῶν ἐν ἀποκρύφοις 17:13 ἀνάστηθι κύριε πρόφθασον αὐτοὺς καὶ ὑποσκέλισον αὐτούς ῥῦσαι τὴν ψυχήν μου ἀπὸ ἀσεβοῦς ῥομφαίαν σου ἀπὸ ἐχθρῶν τῆς χειρός σου 17:14 κύριε ἀπὸ ὀλίγων ἀπὸ γῆς διαμέρισον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ζωῇ αὐτῶν καὶ τῶν κεκρυμμένων σου ἐπλήσθη ἡ γαστὴρ αὐτῶν ἐχορτάσθησαν υἱῶν καὶ ἀφῆκαν τὰ κατάλοιπα τοῖς νηπίοις αὐτῶν 17:15 ἐγὼ δὲ ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ὀφθήσομαι τῷ προσώπῳ σου χορτασθήσομαι ἐν τῷ ὀφθῆναι τὴν δόξαν σου
The Psalm begins saying תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד “A prayer of David.” Only two times does a Psalm begin with the words תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד “A prayer of David.” in Tehillim / Psalms 17 and 86. David prays asking the Lord to hear his cry, to be attentive in listening (הַקְשִׁיבָה) and give ear to his prayer, that his prayer is not done so with deceitful (מִרְמָה) lips (שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִֹפְתֵי מִרְמָה). The Aramaic text states א צלותא לדוד קבל יהוה פגיעתי בעותי בצדקא אצית שבוחי תיצלי אודנך לצלותי בדלא סיפוותי ניכלא׃ 17:1 A prayer of David. Accept, O Lord, my entreaty; in righteousness hear my praise; you will incline your ear to my prayer, since my lips are without guile. (EMC) and is in agreement with the Hebrew text, and so is the Greek translation (LXX), David is honestly seeking the Lord in prayer for help, he is not trying to deceive the Lord into helping him over come his enemies.
Tehillim / Psalms 17
A Prayer of David. 17:1 Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry; Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips. 17:2 Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity. 17:3 You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. 17:4 As for the deeds of men, by the word of Your lips I have kept from the paths of the violent. 17:5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. 17:6 I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech. 17:7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them. 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye; Hide me in the shadow of Your wings 17:9 From the wicked who despoil me, My deadly enemies who surround me. 17:10 They have closed their unfeeling heart, With their mouth they speak proudly. 17:11 They have now surrounded us in our steps; They set their eyes to cast us down to the ground. 17:12 He is like a lion that is eager to tear, And as a young lion lurking in hiding places. 17:13 Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low; Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword, 17:14 From men with Your hand, O Lord, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your treasure; They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes. 17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake. (NASB)
Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 17
17:1 A prayer of David. Accept, O Lord, my entreaty; in righteousness hear my praise; you will incline your ear to my prayer, since my lips are without guile. 17:2 From your presence my judgment shall come forth; your eyes will behold honesty. 17:3 You have tested my heart; you have visited me at night; you have purified me [and] not found corruption. [If] I thought of evil, it has not passed my mouth. 17:4 Truly you have rebuked the deeds of the sons of men by the word of your lips; I have kept [myself from] the ways of audacity. 17:5 Support my steps in your path, lest my feet be shaken. 17:6 I have called you because you will receive my prayer, O God; incline your ear, receive my prayer. 17:7 Display your goodness, O redeemer of those who hope; from those who rise up against them by your right hand. 17:8 Guard me like the circle that is in the middle of the eye; in the shadow of your presence you will hide me. 17:9 From the presence of the wicked, those who harm me; my enemies, in the desire of their soul, surround me. 17:10 Their wealth has increased, their fat covers [them], their mouth has spoken arrogantly. 17:11 Our steps now have surrounded us; their eyes are fixed to extend throughout the land. 17:12 He resembles a lion who yearns to tear, or a jungle-cat that dwells in secret places. 17:13 Arise, O Lord, forestall him, strike him down; deliver my soul from the wicked man who deserves death by your sword. 17:14 And the righteous who hand over their souls on your account, O Lord, to death in the land, their portion is in eternal life, and their bellies will be filled with your good store; children will be satisfied, and they will leave their surplus to their children. 17:15 I in truth will see your countenance, I will be satisfied at the time that I awake, from the glory of your face. (EMC)
Psalmoi / Psalms 17
A prayer of David. 17:1 Hearken, O Lord of my righteousness, attend to my petition; give ear to my prayer not uttered with deceitful lips. 17:2 Let my judgment come forth from thy presence; let mine eyes behold righteousness. 17:3 Thou has proved mine heart; thou hast visited me by night; thou hast tried me as with fire, and unrighteousness has not been found in me: I am purposed that my mouth shall not speak amiss. 17:4 As for the works of men, by the words of thy lips I have guarded myself from hard ways. 17:5 Direct my steps in thy paths, that my steps slip not. 17:6 I have cried, for thou heardest me, O God: incline thine ear to me, and hearken to my words. 17:7 Shew the marvels of thy mercies, thou that savest them that hope in thee. 17:8 Keep me as the apple of the eye from those that resist thy right hand: thou shalt screen me by the covering of thy wings, 17:9 from the face of the ungodly that have afflicted me: mine enemies have compassed about my soul. 17:10 They have enclosed themselves with their own fat: their mouth has spoken pride. 17:11 They have now cast me out and compassed me round about: they have set their eyes so as to bow them down to the ground. 17:12 They laid wait for me as a lion ready for prey, and like a lion’s whelp dwelling in secret places. 17:13 Arise, O Lord, prevent them, and cast them down: deliver my soul from the ungodly: draw thy sword, 17:14 because of the enemies of thine hand: O Lord, destroy them from the earth; scatter them in their life, though their belly has been filled with thy hidden treasures: they have been satisfied with uncleanness, and have left the remnant of their possessions to their babes. 17:15 But I shall appear in righteousness before thy face: I shall be satisfied when thy glory appears. (LXX)
According to Tehillim / Psalms 17:2, David calls for the judgment of God to come forth from his presence and to examine him (17:2). Based upon what David is saying here in Tehillim / Psalms 17:2, how should we be living our lives knowing and expecting judgment to come from God? Will judgment come from God now that we are in Yeshua the Messiah (Christ)? The Apostle Peter spoke extensively on the topic of judgment in 2 Peter 3:7-18. Let’s read what the Apostle Peter has to say concerning judgment in 2 Peter.
2 Peter 3:7-18
3:7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 3:8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 3:9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 3:12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 3:13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. 3:14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 3:15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness, 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (NASB)
7οἱ δὲ νῦν οὐρανοὶ καὶ ἡ γῆ τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ τεθησαυρισμένοι εἰσὶν πυρί, τηρούμενοι εἰς ἡμέραν κρίσεως καὶ ἀπωλείας τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἀνθρώπων. 8Ἓν δὲ τοῦτο μὴ λανθανέτω ὑμᾶς, ἀγαπητοί, ὅτι μία ἡμέρα παρὰ κυρίῳ ὡς χίλια ἔτη καὶ χίλια ἔτη ὡς ἡμέρα μία. 9οὐ βραδύνει κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ὥς τινες βραδύτητα ἡγοῦνται, ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ εἰς ὑμᾶς, μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι. 10Ηξει δὲ ἡμέρα κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης, ἐν ἧ οἱ οὐρανοὶ ῥοιζηδὸν παρελεύσονται, στοιχεῖα δὲ καυσούμενα λυθήσεται, καὶ γῆ καὶ τὰ ἐν αὐτῇ ἔργα εὑρεθήσεται. 11τούτων οὕτως πάντων λυομένων ποταποὺς δεῖ ὑπάρχειν [ὑμᾶς] ἐν ἁγίαις ἀναστροφαῖς καὶ εὐσεβείαις, 12προσδοκῶντας καὶ σπεύδοντας τὴν παρουσίαν τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμέρας, δι’ ἣν οὐρανοὶ πυρούμενοι λυθήσονται καὶ στοιχεῖα καυσούμενα τήκεται. 13καινοὺς δὲ οὐρανοὺς καὶ γῆν καινὴν κατὰ τὸ ἐπάγγελμα αὐτοῦ προσδοκῶμεν, ἐν οἷς δικαιοσύνη κατοικεῖ. 14Διό, ἀγαπητοί, ταῦτα προσδοκῶντες σπουδάσατε ἄσπιλοι καὶ ἀμώμητοι αὐτῷ εὑρεθῆναι ἐν εἰρήνῃ, 15καὶ τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν μακροθυμίαν σωτηρίαν ἡγεῖσθε, καθὼς καὶ ὁ ἀγαπητὸς ἡμῶν ἀδελφὸς Παῦλος κατὰ τὴν δοθεῖσαν αὐτῷ σοφίαν ἔγραψεν ὑμῖν, 16ὡς καὶ ἐν πάσαις ἐπιστολαῖς λαλῶν ἐν αὐταῖς περὶ τούτων, ἐν αἷς ἐστιν δυσνόητά τινα, ἃ οἱ ἀμαθεῖς καὶ ἀστήρικτοι στρεβλοῦσιν ὡς καὶ τὰς λοιπὰς γραφὰς πρὸς τὴν ἰδίαν αὐτῶν ἀπώλειαν. 17Ὑμεῖς οὖν, ἀγαπητοί, προγινώσκοντες φυλάσσεσθε ἵνα μὴ τῇ τῶν ἀθέσμων πλάνῃ συναπαχθέντες ἐκπέσητε τοῦ ἰδίου στηριγμοῦ, 18αὐξάνετε δὲ ἐν χάριτι καὶ γνώσει τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα καὶ νῦν καὶ εἰς ἡμέραν αἰῶνος. [ἀμήν.]
In the Scriptures from 2 Peter 3, Peter said that the “day of the Lord” will come like a thief meaning that one does not know the time of arrival of the day. Peter asks the question “what sort of people ought we to be” in the knowledge that this world will be burned up? Since we are looking for a new heavens and earth, we are to be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless, and blameless (3:14). Peter goes on to say that the “untaught and unstable” distort the Scriptures to their own destruction (3:16). A parallel may be drawn to the Psalms in Tehillim / Psalms 17 י חֶלְבָּמוֹ סָּגְרוּ פִּימוֹ דִּבְּרוּ בְגֵאוּת: יא אַשֻּׁרֵינוּ עַתָּה סְבָבוּניּ [סְבָבוּנוּ] עֵינֵיהֶם יָשִׁיתוּ לִנְטוֹת בָּאָרֶץ: 17:10 They have closed their unfeeling heart, With their mouth they speak proudly. 17:11 They have now surrounded us in our steps; They set their eyes to cast us down to the ground. (NASB) This parallels Tehillim / Psalms 17 when David calls for the judgment of God to come forth from his presence (ב מִלְּפָנֶיךָ מִשְׁפָּטִי יֵצֵא עֵינֶיךָ תֶּחֱזֶינָה מֵישָׁרִים). “The LORD our God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God” (Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:24 and Hebrews 12:29). God uses His fire to purify and cleanse the believer and also to bring devastating judgment upon the world (to the unrighteous, the wicked, the ungodly). In 2 Peter 3 the great day of the Lord is accompanied by the consuming fire of God. Examples throughout all of Scripture may be found on the judgment that comes forth from His presence being manifest as a consuming fire, for example, in Bereshit / Genesis 3:24, Adam and Chavah (Eve) were barred from the tree of life by a flaming sword which turned about every way. In Bereshit / Genesis 19:24, the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah with brimstone and fire because of their sin. Their sin was so great that God’s wrath was poured out upon that place “before” the great day of the Lord as indicated in 2 Peter 3. In Egypt from the book of Exodus (9:24) the Lord rained down hail and fire mingled with hail, that if anyone was caught out in the open they died. In Vayikra / Leviticus 10:1-2, Nadav and Avihu went before the Lord with strange fire and there went fire from the Lord and consumed them. In Bamidbar / Numbers 16:35, the men of Korach raised up against God’s anointed and against Moshe and they brought censors to burn incense before the Lord and it says that Fire come forth from before the Lord and consumed them. In 1 Kings 18:10-12, Elijah prayed before the people and the prophets of Baal over the altar of God and fire come down from heaven and consumed everything, including the altar and everything on it. In the Apostolic Writings, Yeshua spoke very graphically of “Hell” (Gehenna) and a fire that will never be quenched (Mark 9:34). He told parables of the rich man who died and was “in torment in this flame” (Luke 16:24). Yeshua also said on the great day of the Lord, He will say “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The Apostle Paul wrote that Yeshua would come “in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Jude mentioned, “others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire…” (Jude 1:23). John wrote, “and whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). All of Scripture speaks of the “fire” of God that results from His judgment which proceeds from His presence in the midst of sin. In Tehillim / Psalms 17, David calls for God’s judgment א תְּפִלָּה לְדָוִד שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִֹפְתֵי מִרְמָה: ב מִלְּפָנֶיךָ מִשְׁפָּטִי יֵצֵא עֵינֶיךָ תֶּחֱזֶינָה מֵישָׁרִים: A Prayer of David. 17:1 Hear a just cause, O Lord, give heed to my cry; Give ear to my prayer, which is not from deceitful lips. 17:2 Let my judgment come forth from Your presence; Let Your eyes look with equity. (NASB) David requests for the Lord to let “his judgment” (מִשְׁפָּטִי) come forth “from his presence” (מִלְּפָנֶיךָ) without fear. The reason being, he has rested in the Lord’s salvation. His prayer is made without deceitfulness and in truth. In Yeshua the Messiah, we have the salvation of God and do not need to fear the judgment of the Lord or that great day when that time comes.
David goes on to say ג בָּחַנְתָּ לִבִּי | פָּקַדְתָּ לַּיְלָה צְרַפְתַּנִי בַל-תִּמְצָא זַמֹּתִי בַּל-יַעֲבָר-פִּי: 17:3 You have tried my heart; You have visited me by night; You have tested me and You find nothing; I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress. (NASB) The Lord has tested him and found nothing. The Aramaic Targum states ג בחנתא לבבי אסערתא עלי בליליא סננתא בחנת לי לא אשכחתא שחיתא חשבית בישותא בישתא לא עברת ית פומי׃ 17:3 You have tested my heart; you have visited me at night; you have purified me [and] not found corruption. [If] I thought of evil, it has not passed my mouth. (EMC) Interestingly, the rabbis translate Tehillim / Psalms 17:3 to say that the Lord testing and finding nothing, is synonymous with the Lord testing and “purifying” (בחנת) like one does to remove base-metals from silver during the refining process. David purposed that his “mouth would not transgress” or that if he had “thought of evil, it has not passed his mouth” meaning that he has not spoken evil. David has chosen to live his life based upon God’s Word, this is antithetical to the ways or deeds of men whose paths are violence and pride (Tehillim / Psalms 17:4). He believes the Torah is the word of God and remaining in God’s word has kept him from evil. The Apostle Paul spoke of the way in which believers are to live their lives before God in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Note that in 2 Peter, the Apostle Peter has made a reference to 1 Thessalonians 5 regarding the great “day of the Lord” and of how we are supposed to live. In context, 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul speaks on how one is to live in Christ the Messiah. Let’s read the text from the Apostolic Writings.
1 Thessalonians 4:1-18
4:1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 4:2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4:4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 4:5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 4:6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 4:7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 4:8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 4:9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 4:10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 4:11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 4:12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NASB)
1Λοιπὸν οὖν, ἀδελφοί, ἐρωτῶμεν ὑμᾶς καὶ παρακαλοῦμεν ἐν κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ, ἵνα καθὼς παρελάβετε παρ’ ἡμῶν τὸ πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς περιπατεῖν καὶ ἀρέσκειν θεῷ, καθὼς καὶ περιπατεῖτε, ἵνα περισσεύητε μᾶλλον. 2οἴδατε γὰρ τίνας παραγγελίας ἐδώκαμεν ὑμῖν διὰ τοῦ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ. 3τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ ἁγιασμὸς ὑμῶν, ἀπέχεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς πορνείας, 4εἰδέναι ἕκαστον ὑμῶν τὸ ἑαυτοῦ σκεῦος κτᾶσθαι ἐν ἁγιασμῷ καὶ τιμῇ, 5μὴ ἐν πάθει ἐπιθυμίας καθάπερ καὶ τὰ ἔθνη τὰ μὴ εἰδότα τὸν θεόν, 6τὸ μὴ ὑπερβαίνειν καὶ πλεονεκτεῖν ἐν τῷ πράγματι τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, διότι ἔκδικος κύριος περὶ πάντων τούτων, καθὼς καὶ προείπαμεν ὑμῖν καὶ διεμαρτυράμεθα. 7οὐ γὰρ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ ἀλλ’ ἐν ἁγιασμῷ. 8τοιγαροῦν ὁ ἀθετῶν οὐκ ἄνθρωπον ἀθετεῖ ἀλλὰ τὸν θεὸν τὸν [καὶ] διδόντα τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ τὸ ἅγιον εἰς ὑμᾶς. 9Περὶ δὲ τῆς φιλαδελφίας οὐ χρείαν ἔχετε γράφειν ὑμῖν, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ὑμεῖς θεοδίδακτοί ἐστε εἰς τὸ ἀγαπᾶν ἀλλήλους: 10καὶ γὰρ ποιεῖτε αὐτὸ εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς [τοὺς] ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ. παρακαλοῦμεν δὲ ὑμᾶς, ἀδελφοί, περισσεύειν μᾶλλον, 11καὶ φιλοτιμεῖσθαι ἡσυχάζειν καὶ πράσσειν τὰ ἴδια καὶ ἐργάζεσθαι ταῖς [ἰδίαις] χερσὶν ὑμῶν, καθὼς ὑμῖν παρηγγείλαμεν, 12ἵνα περιπατῆτε εὐσχημόνως πρὸς τοὺς ἔξω καὶ μηδενὸς χρείαν ἔχητε. 13Οὐ θέλομεν δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, περὶ τῶν κοιμωμένων, ἵνα μὴ λυπῆσθε καθὼς καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ οἱ μὴ ἔχοντες ἐλπίδα. 14εἰ γὰρ πιστεύομεν ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἀπέθανεν καὶ ἀνέστη, οὕτως καὶ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς κοιμηθέντας διὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἄξει σὺν αὐτῷ. 15Τοῦτο γὰρ ὑμῖν λέγομεν ἐν λόγῳ κυρίου, ὅτι ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι εἰς τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ κυρίου οὐ μὴ φθάσωμεν τοὺς κοιμηθέντας: 16ὅτι αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος ἐν κελεύσματι, ἐν φωνῇ ἀρχαγγέλου καὶ ἐν σάλπιγγι θεοῦ, καταβήσεται ἀπ’ οὐρανοῦ, καὶ οἱ νεκροὶ ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστήσονται πρῶτον, 17ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα: καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα. 18Ὥστε παρακαλεῖτε ἀλλήλους ἐν τοῖς λόγοις τούτοις.
The Apostle Paul begins speaking on “how one ought to walk and please God” and states that is what you do but that you are to excel still more in your walk before the Lord. The will of God Paul states is our sanctification, 3τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, ὁ ἁγιασμὸς ὑμῶν, ἀπέχεσθαι ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ τῆς πορνείας, 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; the most important aspect of our sanctification is to abstain from sexual immorality. Notice how this is something
that we do, this is known in Judaism as “Shomer Mitzvah Shomer Nafsho” taken from Mishley / Proverbs 19:16 (טז שֹׁמֵר מִצְוָה שֹׁמֵר נַפְשׁוֹ בּוֹזֵה דְרָכָיו יָומֻת [יָמוּת]: 19:16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die. KJV). Here, the Jewish thinking on the mitzvot (commandments) is that the mitzvot are not burdensome things but rather opportunities to express gratitude to God for the gift of life. The one who keeps or observes (shomer) the commandment of the Lord guards his own life, for the keeping of the commandment aligns the soul (nefesh) with life. On the other hand, the one who despises his ways will die. The word translated as “despise” comes from the word Bozah (בּוֹזֵה), a verb that means to accord little worth to something. The one who is heedless of his ways or otherwise unconcerned about the high calling of obedience aligns the soul with error and the end thereof is death (Mishley / Proverbs 14:12). In summary, we have a duty to care about our lives, being “Shomer Mitzvah” is a form of wakefulness, where we consciously attend to our actions in light of God’s expressed will for our lives. This is what the Apostle Paul was saying here in 1 Thessalonians 4, the will of God is that we abstain from sexual immorality. So the question that presents itself from this discussion is “can we live lives that are not Shomer Mitzvah and remained saved in the Messiah?” How about rephrasing the question of whether one can live a sexually immoral life and how that affects our salvation? (see 1 Corinthians 6:9). The will of God, throughout the Scriptures, for believers concerning proper sexual behavior is very clear, namely, that we are to abstain from sexual immorality. The Apostle Paul’s previous exhortation was that the Thessalonians are to strive to excel more (4:1–2). From this text, Paul appears to know his readers desired to do God’s will, but he also realized they needed to know more specifically what that will encompasses. The culture of Thessalonica was a permissive culture and the prevailing religion of the region was in homosexual and heterosexual immorality (temple worship with prostitutes). Paul considered abstention from sexual immorality to be the first priority in the Thessalonians’ devotion to God by sanctifying their bodies for Him. Every imaginable sexual vice was rampant in and around Thessalonica; therefore, Paul was especially concerned that the Thessalonians could easily fall back into their former way of life. So he gave them the direct, uncomplicated command to abstain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3). Abstain means that one must withdraw (separate, isolate) one’s self away from any thought or behavior that violates the principles of God’s Word and results in any act of sexual sin. In the Greek text, sexual immorality (πορνείας, porneias) is a term used to describe any form of illicit sexual behavior (see John 8:41, Acts 15:20, 29, 21:25, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 6:13, 18, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, Ephesians 5:3, Colossians 3:5, Revelation 2:21, 9:21). Any sexual activity that deviates from the monogamous relationship between a husband and a wife is immoral by God’s standard (according to the Torah). The Lord blesses the sexual relationship in marriage, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled” (Hebrews 13:4), and the Lord is not pleased with sexual activity outside of marriage, the Scriptures say “for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:24–32, 2:2). Paul’s teaching on the subject of sexual morality extends beyond the physical acts of immorality, as his later teachings to the Ephesians and the Colossians illustrate “But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.” (Ephesians 5:3) “For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory. Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (Colossians 3:3, 5)
In 1 Thessalonians 4:7, Paul said 7οὐ γὰρ ἐκάλεσεν ἡμᾶς ὁ θεὸς ἐπὶ ἀκαθαρσίᾳ ἀλλ’ ἐν ἁγιασμῷ. 4:7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. (NASB) In these passages, the Greek word used is ἀκαθαρσία meaning “1) uncleanness 1a) physical 1b) in a moral sense: the impurity of lustful, luxurious, profligate living 1b1) of impure motives.” In the Hebrew translation of the Apostolic writings, the word טמאה meaning “ritual uncleanness, defiled” and the word used for sanctification in the Greek text is ἁγιασμός meaning “1) consecration, purification 2) the effect of consecration 2a) sanctification of heart and life.” In Ephesians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, the same word for impurity and consecration is used whose meaning extends beyond acts of sexual sin to include how we live, what we do (our actions, what we place into our bodies, i.e. like for example what we eat), and our thought life (unclean thoughts), etc. The teaching of Paul falls in line with Yeshua’s teaching on sexual sin when he said “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27–28, 15:19, Mark 7:21–22). Paul also said “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:15–20) The important point concerning Tehillim / Psalms 17, examining these Scriptures from the Apostolic writings, and what we read in the Aramaic Targum ג בחנתא לבבי אסערתא עלי בליליא סננתא בחנת לי לא אשכחתא שחיתא חשבית בישותא בישתא לא עברת ית פומי׃ 17:3 You have tested my heart; you have visited me at night; you have purified me [and] not found corruption. [If] I thought of evil, it has not passed my mouth. (EMC) David states that God had visited him at night, and he has purified him and not found corruption. The Lord God Almighty has made him pure. Today we are sanctified in Yeshua, but we are also called to live sanctified lives before God. This may be illustrated in the following way:
According to the Scriptures, the Lord God Almighty (Our Father in Heaven), sent His Son Yeshua (the Word of God) to make atonement and bring peace between man and God. In Yeshua, because of what He has done, we are made holy, we are sanctified, and we are made righteous before God. Yeshua, upon his return to Heaven, sends the Holy Spirit to dwell in each of us, and we are convicted of sin by the holy spirit and this is because of the holiness and righteousness of God. As a result of this, we live our lives in righteousness, justice, and holiness before God here on earth, both physically and spiritually. The Word of God confirms this in our lives. This is the process through which God the Father works, through His Son, through the Holy Spirit, in our lives. Shomer Mitzvah occurs (we establish the Torah, see Romans 3:31) because the Lord dwells within us. We do not obey God, observe the mitzvot (Shomer Mitzvah), in order to reach back to heaven, to add merit to our salvation, our salvation is established in Yeshua the Messiah. The question then is if we are not living in righteousness, holiness, and justice in this life, if our lives are dominated by sin, then does such a person have a relationship with God through His Son and by the Holy Spirit that dwells within? If righteousness, holiness, and obeying God is not going on here and now in your life, then your relationship with God needs to be re-examined! David said in Tehillim / Psalms 17:5, ה תָּמֹךְ אֲשֻׁרַי בְּמַעְגְּלוֹתֶיךָ בַּל-נָמוֹטּוּ פְעָמָי: 17:5 My steps have held fast to Your paths. My feet have not slipped. (NASB) Our feet will hold fast and not slip when we take the appropriate steps to walk away from sin and with the help of the Lord God Almighty by the power of the Holy Spirit because of Yeshua the Messiah! Looking at the illustration, we have a vertical relationship with our Father in Heaven because of the Son. If our lives do not measure up horizontally on this earth, then there must be a problem somewhere in the vertical direction, and the problem is not on God’s end but on ours. This is related to the passages from the Apostolic Writings and from the Psalm and the Torah text. In the Apostolic Writings we learn the Greek word used of physical uncleanness is ἀκαθαρσία (akatharsia) and for impurity is ἁγιασμός (agiasmos). ἁγιασμός (agiasmos) is translated in Hebrew as טמאה (tameh) a reference to “ritual uncleanness or defilement.” Our bodies being the dwelling place of God, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, how important is ritual purity today? Have we lost the meaning of purity for our lives because of our culture or because of tradition? With regard to God’s word, it is interesting that the prophet Samuel said in 1 Samuel 15:22, כב וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הַחֵפֶץ לַיהֹוָה בְּעֹלוֹת וּזְבָחִים כִּשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה הִנֵּה שְׁמֹעַ מִזֶּבַח טוֹב לְהַקְשִׁיב מֵחֵלֶב אֵילִים: 15:22 Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. (NASB) To obey is better than sacrifice and to heed God’s Word is better than the fat of rams. How far should we go to obey God’s Word?
We read throughout the Scriptures that God is a merciful God and shortly following the settlement of the Promised Land in the book of Judges, the people were not following the commandments of God. They lived according to what they thought was right in their own eyes. They did not sacrifice in Shiloh at the Tabernacle like they were supposed to. They were serving the Baals and the Asherim and forsook the Lord God of their fathers. David said in Tehillim / Psalms 17:7, the Lord will answer those who seek Him and show His favor in His Salvation ז הַפְלֵה חֲסָדֶיךָ מוֹשִׁיעַ חוֹסִים מִמִּתְקוֹמְמִים בִּימִינֶךָ: 17:7 Wondrously show Your lovingkindness, O Savior of those who take refuge at Your right hand From those who rise up against them. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states ז פריש טבוותך זכוותך פריקהון דסוברי פרע להון מן מאן דקיימין עליהון באידא דימינך׃ 17:7 Display your goodness, O redeemer of those who hope; from those who rise up against them by your right hand. (EMC) The Septuagint states 17:7 θαυμάστωσον τὰ ἐλέη σου ὁ σῴζων τοὺς ἐλπίζοντας ἐπὶ σὲ ἐκ τῶν ἀνθεστηκότων τῇ δεξιᾷ σου 17:7 Shew the marvels of thy mercies, thou that savest them that hope in thee. (LXX) In Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:7-8 Moshe said “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” The Apostolic Writings we read the apostles commentary on the salvation of God for those who seek Him in the book of Hebrews that states “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.” (Hebrews 9:13-15) and Paul wrote in Romans 8:1-9 saying “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh [fallen human nature] but according to the Spirit. For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.” These Scriptures describe the mercy of God for sending the Messiah to save us from our sins. Isaiah said in Isaiah 44:9-20 that those who make idols do not understand, the man who does so has shut his eyes so he cannot see. David says that the wicked are those who have and unfeeling heart and speak in their pride (17:10), they surround the people of God and determine to cast God’s people to the ground (17:11). The wicked are like a lion that is eager to tear and lurking int he hiding places (17:12). The wicked willfully shut their own eyes and harden their hearts and pridefully attack the innocent. David asks the Lord to deliver his soul from the enemy, יג קוּמָה יְהֹוָה קַדְּמָה פָנָיו הַכְרִיעֵהוּ פַּלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי מֵרָשָׁע חַרְבֶּךָ: 17:13 Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low; Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword (NASB) to deliver him with His sword. What is David referring to when he asks to deliver him with the “Sword of God?” Studying the Scriptures, the Word of God is described from the following two verses:
Tehillim / Psalms 119:105
קה נֵר-לְרַגְלִי דְבָרֶךָ וְאוֹר לִנְתִיבָתִי: 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. (NASB)
17ἁγίασον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ: ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστιν. 17:17 ‘Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. (NASB)
God’s Word is truth, a light and a lamp for our feet and to see the path with which to walk. We can have confidence that God’s words are accurate, true and unerring. When followed, they guide us without fail in the paths that we need to walk. Scripture also tells us that we can be destroyed by lack of the knowledge of God and His ways (Hosea 4:6), but we will be blessed if we hear and keep the Word of God (Luke 11:28) similar to Samuel’s words that obedience is better than sacrifice. We read in Hebrews 4 12Ζῶν γὰρ ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἐνεργὴς καὶ τομώτερος ὑπὲρ πᾶσαν μάχαιραν δίστομον καὶ διϊκνούμενος ἄχρι μερισμοῦ ψυχῆς καὶ πνεύματος, ἁρμῶν τε καὶ μυελῶν, καὶ κριτικὸς ἐνθυμήσεων καὶ ἐννοιῶν καρδίας: 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (NASB) Keeping Hebrews 4:12 in mind, while studying the five books of Moshe (Torah) it is interesting that there are dual aspects to the Torah. According to the Scriptures, it can give life and it can destroy life. The word “Torah” means “instructions” this is where we obtain the origin of sin being disobedience to God’s Word. 1 John 3:4 states that sin is lawlessness. In Greek, the word for lawlessness is anomia (ἀνομίαν). Nomos is the Greek word for the Hebrew word “Torah” and means “law.” Lawlessness is being without the law, so sin is defined as anything that does not follow the instructions of the law. Romans 3:23 states 23τὰ γὰρ ὀψώνια τῆς ἁμαρτίας θάνατος, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ ζωὴ αἰώνιος ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NASB), all fall short of God’s perfect righteousness. Try as we might, we cannot keep the instructions of the Torah perfectly at all times. As a result, the law stands in opposition to us. When we fail to keep the Torah, we are in a state of sin and the wages of sin is death according to Romans 6:23. This is the Torah’s aspect of condemnation. The Lord God Almighty however does not leave us in a state of condemnation. He brings us eternal life by directing us to the Messiah (Galatians 3:24). The Torah does not give eternal life, but it leads us, directs us to our Savior. Once we are saved, our obedience to the commands of the Torah shows our love for God (see 1 John 5:3) and stores up rewards in heaven (Matthew 5:19). This is the aspect of the law that gives life, it leads us to the Messiah and then gives us a quality of life, a way of life for a holy people who are saved in the Messiah. This is how a life that has been redeemed, that has been saved, lives in obedience to the Word of the Lord. This dual aspect of the Torah, of life and of death, is paralleled to the double-edged sword. The Word of God judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12). If we are in Messiah, we are safe from the condemnation of the Torah and free to walk in the way of God for quality of life, love for God, and blessings in this world and the world to come. The all-powerful sword of the living God is able to cut through every defense our enemy can raise down to the very division of bone and marrow as it says in Hebrews 4:12. When wielded by a servant of God, nothing can withstand its ability to cut straight to the core of a matter and uncover the truth. That means we must submit our lives to God and to His Word. Allow God’s word to work upon our heart and our spirit. As the people of God, it is our responsibility to use His Word to discern the truth and to follow the truth. Therefore, God’s Word therefore shows us things that are wrong in our lives (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). Thus, the sword that David is referring to in Tehillim / Psalms 17:13 יג קוּמָה יְהֹוָה קַדְּמָה פָנָיו הַכְרִיעֵהוּ פַּלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי מֵרָשָׁע חַרְבֶּךָ: 17:13 Arise, O Lord, confront him, bring him low; Deliver my soul from the wicked with Your sword (NASB) is the Word of God.
David concludes his prayer in Tehillim / Psalms 17 saying יד מִמְתִים יָדְךָ | יְהֹוָה מִמְתִים מֵחֶלֶד חֶלְקָם בַּחַיִּים וּצְפיּנְךָ [וּצְפוּנְךָ] תְּמַלֵּא בִטְנָם יִשְֹבְּעוּ בָנִים וְהִנִּיחוּ יִתְרָם לְעוֹלְלֵיהֶם: טו אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ אֶשְֹבְּעָה בְהָקִיץ תְּמוּנָתֶךָ: 17:14 From men with Your hand, O Lord, From men of the world, whose portion is in this life, And whose belly You fill with Your treasure; They are satisfied with children, And leave their abundance to their babes. 17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake. (NASB) In Tehillim / Psalms 11 David said ז כִּי-צַדִּיק יְהֹוָה צְדָקוֹת אָהֵב יָשָׁר יֶחֱזוּ פָנֵימוֹ: 11:7 For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness; The upright will behold His face. (NASB) The judgment of the wicked comes because of the righteousness and justice of God. If we live our lives according to God’s ways, according to the Scriptures, if we do good to those who persecute us and pray for those who do evil to us, then we are truly the sons of our Father in Heaven. If we leave judgment and punishment to the Lord, then our hope is truly and wholly give to Him who is able to deliver us from all troubles, our hope is truly in Yeshua God’s Messiah, and our lives are truly changed purely for the glory of God. Let’s pray!
The rabbinic commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 17 has 14 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 1, 3, 5, and 14. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 17 Parts 1, 3, 5, and 14.
Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 17, Parts 1, 3, 5, and 14
- The Midrash, part 1, opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “A prayer of David. Hear the right, O Lord, attend unto me cry (Tehillim / Psalms 17:1).”
- The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “The words are to be read in the light of the verse ‘the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord (Mishley / Proverbs 15:8)’”
- The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of Balak and Balaam to explain the sacrifices of the wicked.
- The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss what it is about the sacrifice of the wicked that the Lord does not like.
- The Concluding phrase says “Wherein do I take delight? In prayer, as the verse goes on to say, The prayer of the upright is His delight (Mishley / Proverbs 15:8).”
- The Midrash, part 3, opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment, The words Let my judgment come forth from Your presence (Tehillim /Psalms 17:2)…”
- The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “David spoke to the Holy One blessed be He, there is no one but You who can pardon sin.”
- The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis provide parables to help understand why the Lord God Almighty is the only one who can pardon sin.
- The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss the forgiveness of sins and the Lord God who is able to do so.
- The Concluding phrase says “David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, since there is no one other than You, who can pardon, Let my judgment come forth from Your presence.”
- The Midrash, part 5, opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on Let my judgment come forth from Your presence.”
- The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash the rabbis draw a parallel of judgment coming from the presence of God to the Sanhedrin.
- The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the parables given by the rabbis look at judgment of God and deeds of loving kindness that provide merit with regard to the judgment of God.
- The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss the gifts one gives to God, honoring the Lord, and appearing before the Lord in the appointed times.
- The Concluding phrase says “ Finally, by pleasures in In Your right hand there are pleasures, David was referring to this world; and by for evermore he was referring to the world to come.”
- The Midrash, part 14, opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “In another comment the words are read, As for me, I will behold Your presence in loving-kindness, Come and see how great is the strength of loving-kindness!”
- The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “Merely because of the one small coin a man gives to the poor, he gets the right to behold the face of the Shekinah.”
- The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis provide examples of beholding the manifest presence of God.
- The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis discuss how it can be that David beheld the presence of the Lord God Almighty.
- The Concluding phrase says “Because the wicked live in prosperity in this world, even though they deny the Holy One blessed be He, and vex Him, and because the righteous suffer in this world, even though they are willing to die for the hallowing of the name of their Creator, therefore David said, I will not be of those who vex You, but of those who labor in the Torah of which it is written Justice, justice, will you follow (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:20). Hence David said, As for me, I will behold Your presence in justice.”
Midrash Tehillim Part 1 opens (דיבור המתחיל, Dibur Hamathil) on the verse “A prayer of David. Hear the righteous, O Lord, attend unto me cry (Tehillim / Psalms 17:1).” The Midrash then states א תפלה לדוד שמעה ה׳ צדק. זהו שאמר הכתוב זבח רשעים (תועבה) [תועבת ה׳] (משלי טו ח) where rabbis say that this verse of David calling out to God to hear the righteous is to be read in light of a verse from Proverbs that speak on the sacrifice of the wicked being an abomination to the Lord. Why is the sacrifice of the wicked an abomination to the Lord? David prays asking the Lord to hear his cry, to be attentive in listening (הַקְשִׁיבָה) and give ear to his prayer, that his prayer is not done so with deceitful (מִרְמָה) lips (שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִֹפְתֵי מִרְמָה). The Aramaic text states א צלותא לדוד קבל יהוה פגיעתי בעותי בצדקא אצית שבוחי תיצלי אודנך לצלותי בדלא סיפוותי ניכלא׃ 17:1 A prayer of David. Accept, O Lord, my entreaty; in righteousness hear my praise; you will incline your ear to my prayer, since my lips are without guile. (EMC) and is in agreement with the Hebrew text. David said that in his righteous acts asking the Lord to hear his prayer. Prayer can be a form of worship and praise. Throughout Scripture, especially in the Psalms, prayer is used as a form of worship and praise. How does God regard our worship today? Looking closely at Mishley / Proverbs 15:8, the Scripture says ח זֶבַח רְשָׁעִים תּוֹעֲבַת יְהֹוָה וּתְפִלַּת יְשָׁרִים רְצוֹנוֹ: 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight. (NASB) Notice how we gain some insight from the verse in Mishley / Proverbs 15:8, sacrificing and prayer are given as two examples of acts of worship. Note that the Hebrew text translates literally as “the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord and prayer of the upright is His will!” The sacrifice of the wicked is an “abomination” (תּוֹעֲבַת) and the prayer of the righteous is His “Will” (רצון). The wicked person is “He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.” (Mishley / Proverbs 28:9, ט מֵסִיר אָזְנוֹ מִשְּׁמֹעַ תּוֹרָה גַּם-תְּפִלָּתוֹ תּוֹעֵבָה:) This kind of person does not have a heart for the Lord, note that this is not someone who is specifically a “criminal” by earthly standards, but that it is someone who does not have a heart for the Lord. Accordingly there is no surprise that the Scripture in Mishley / Proverbs 28:9 goes on to say that his prayer is an abomination (תּוֹעֵבָה). In Isaiah’s time, the Lord described Israel’s worship saying “This people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their heart far from me” (Isaiah 29:13, יג וַיֹּאמֶר אֲדֹנָי יַעַן כִּי נִגַּשׁ הָעָם הַזֶּה בְּפִיו וּבִשְֹפָתָיו כִּבְּדוּנִי וְלִבּוֹ רִחַק מִמֶּנִּי וַתְּהִי יִרְאָתָם אֹתִי מִצְוַת אֲנָשִׁים מְלֻמָּדָה:). The outward appearance of worship was present, but their hearts were not; they were insincere in coming before God and therefore He would not accept it. In the unrighteous person, God is not glorified in anything he does. The KJV states that even the “plowing of the wicked, is sin.” (Mishley / Proverbs 21:4). The Hebrew text states ד רוּם עֵינַיִם וּרְחַב-לֵב נִר רְשָׁעִים חַטָּאת: using the word נִר meaning lamp or light, so the light of the wicked, their deeds, are sin. That thing that shines forth from the wicked (their light) is nothing but sin. The point is that wicked in their work, teaching, building, all that they do is done without regard to God’s glory and without a sense of dependence upon Him. Those who do not acknowledge their sin, will therefore not look to the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah for salvation. In the midrash the rabbis speak of Balak and Bilaam (Balaam, בִּלְעָם) to explain the sacrifices of the wicked and how the Lord did not respond to their request that was made in the blood of bulls. Their request is made deceitfully for the purpose of harming God’s people. On the other hand, David could in all honesty pray and seek the Lord because his prayer is not done so with deceitful (מִרְמָה) lips (שִׁמְעָה יְהֹוָה | צֶדֶק הַקְשִׁיבָה רִנָּתִי הַאֲזִינָה תְפִלָּתִי בְּלֹא שִֹפְתֵי מִרְמָה) or a deceitful heart. The Lord delights in the prayer of the upright. The Midrash concludes stating “Wherein do I take delight? In prayer, as the verse goes on to say, The prayer of the upright is His delight (Mishley / Proverbs 15:8).” The Lord desires to take care of His people, but we must seek Him for our help. Scripture says in 2 Chronicles 7:14-15, יד וְיִכָּנְעוּ עַמִּי אֲשֶׁר נִקְרָא-שְׁמִי עֲלֵיהֶם וְיִתְפַּלְלוּ וִיבַקְשׁוּ פָנַי וְיָשֻׁבוּ מִדַּרְכֵיהֶם הָרָעִים וַאֲנִי אֶשְׁמַע מִן-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶסְלַח לְחַטָּאתָם וְאֶרְפָּא אֶת-אַרְצָם: טו עַתָּה עֵינַי יִהְיוּ פְתֻחוֹת וְאָזְנַי קַשֻּׁבוֹת לִתְפִלַּת הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה: 7:14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 7:15 ‘Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place. (NASB) What an awesome call and pleading from the Lord for His people to humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn for their wicked ways.
Midrash Tehillim 17, Part 3 opens on Tehillim / Psalms 17:2 “Another comment, The words Let my judgment come forth from Your presence.” The פתיחתא (Petihta, “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash) says “David spoke to the Holy One blessed be He, there is no one but You who can pardon sin.”
The rabbis say that only God (The Holy One blessed be He) is able to pardon sin (אמר דוד לפני הקב״ה אין אחד יכול למחול עונות אלא אתה, לפיכך כתיב מלפניך משפטי יצא) and therefore it is written to let judgment come forth from the Lord. We then read that Rabbi Levi taught on the judgment that comes forth from the Lord and the angel (messenger) of the Lord, let’s read this section of the midrash.
Midrash Tehillim 17, Part 3
Rabbi Levi taught, When the Holy One blessed be He, sent an angel to the children of Israel to go before them, what did He say? Behold, I send an angel before you (Shemot / Exodus 23:20), and then added, Take heed of him, and harken unto his voice; be not rebellious against him; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in him (Shemot / Exodus 23:21). According to Rabbi Levi, what can My name is in him mean but that every courier angel of the Holy One blessed be He, bears a kind of seal graven in his heart. Thus Scripture, in saying The chariots of God thousands of angels; the Lord is among them (Tehillim / Psalms 68:18), implies that the name of the Holy One blessed be He, is a part of the name of each angel, as in the names of Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael.
אמר ר׳ לוי בשעה ששלח הקב״ה מלאך לישראל לילך לפניהם, מה כתיב שם, הנה אנכי שולח מלאך לפניך (שמות כג כ), וכתיב בתריה, השמר מפניו [וגו׳, כי שמי בקרבו] (שם שם שמות כ״ג כא), אמר ר׳ לוי מה כי שמי בקרבו, טבלרין של הקב״ה חקוקין על לבן של מלאכים, כמין איסטרטיגוס, הדא הוא דכתיב רכב אלהים רבותים אלפי שנאן ה׳ בם סיני בקדש (תהלים סח יח), שמו של הקב״ה משותף עמהן, מיכאל גבריאל אוריאל רפאל
Here rabbi Levi says that the Lord sends an angel to the children of Israel to go before them referencing Shemot / Exodus 23:20, and states that you are to take heed of him and to listen to his voice, and do not be rebellious because he will not pardon your transgressions because the Name of the Lord is in him (Shemot / Exodus 23:21). It is interesting that according to the Scriptures, and the rabbis statements here in the midrash, the angel the Lord sends forth before the people is not as forgiving as the Lord God Almighty Himself. The reason that is given is that the angel bears the seal of God upon his heart, and the rabbis state that this is why the word God (אל) is in the name of each of His angels Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael (מיכאל, גבריאל, אוריאל, רפאל). The interesting point is that the angels of heaven do not have the power to forgive sins, only God Himself. This is interesting because in the Apostolic Writings, Yeshua says that “the Son of Man” also has the authority on earth to forgive sins. This is different from the angels and suggests for us that the Messiah would come as someone more than simply a messenger of God. This is stated in three of the gospels:
Matthew 9:6 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins “– then He said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” (NASB) 6ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας τότε λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ, Ἐγερθεὶς ἆρόν σου τὴν κλίνην καὶ ὕπαγε εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου.
Mark 2:12 “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins “– He said to the paralytic, (NASB) 10ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς λέγει τῷ παραλυτικῷ,
Luke 5:24 “But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins,”– He said to the paralytic– “I say to you, get up, and pick up your stretcher and go home.” (NASB) 24ἵνα δὲ εἰδῆτε ὅτι ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐξουσίαν ἔχει ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἶπεν τῷ παραλελυμένῳ, Σοὶ λέγω, ἔγειρε καὶ ἄρας τὸ κλινίδιόν σου πορεύου εἰς τὸν οἶκόν σου.
In addition to this, following the resurrection, Yeshua gives the disciples the Holy Spirit and then he also gives them the power to forgive sins according to John 20:19-23.
20:19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20:20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 20:21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 20:23 “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.” (NASB)
19Οὔσης οὖν ὀψίας τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τῇ μιᾷ σαββάτων, καὶ τῶν θυρῶν κεκλεισμένων ὅπου ἦσαν οἱ μαθηταὶ διὰ τὸν φόβον τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἔστη εἰς τὸ μέσον καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν. 20καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἔδειξεν τὰς χεῖρας καὶ τὴν πλευρὰν αὐτοῖς. ἐχάρησαν οὖν οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰδόντες τὸν κύριον. 21εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς [ὁ Ἰησοῦς] πάλιν, Εἰρήνη ὑμῖν: καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς. 22καὶ τοῦτο εἰπὼν ἐνεφύσησεν καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον: 23ἄν τινων ἀφῆτε τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἀφέωνται αὐτοῖς, ἄν τινων κρατῆτε κεκράτηνται.
If only God can forgive sins and we read that Yeshua has the ability to forgive sins, how are we to understand the meaning of the Scriptures when Yeshua says to the disciples that “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained?” How are we to understand this verse? According to the Tanach, the Lord God carries out three specific functions that only He is able to do.
- He forgives sins (many references).
- He heals diseases (Bamidbar / Numbers 12:9-15, Devarim / Deuteronomy 24:8-9).
- Tehillim / Psalms 103:2-5 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” ג הַסֹּלֵחַ לְכָל-עֲוֹנֵכִי הָרֹפֵא לְכָל-תַּחֲלֻאָיְכִי: ד הַגּוֹאֵל מִשַּׁחַת חַיָּיְכִי הַמְעַטְּרֵכִי חֶסֶד וְרַחֲמִים: ה הַמַּשְֹבִּיַע בַּטּוֹב עֶדְיֵךְ תִּתְחַדֵּשׁ כַּנֶּשֶׁר נְעוּרָיְכִי:
- Isaiah 43:25 “I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” כה אָנֹכִי אָנֹכִי הוּא מֹחֶה פְשָׁעֶיךָ לְמַעֲנִי וְחַטֹּאתֶיךָ לֹא אֶזְכֹּר:
- Micah 7:18-19 “Who is a God like thee, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger for ever because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion upon us, he will tread our iniquities under foot.” יח מִי־אֵל כָּמֹוךָ נֹשֵׂא עָוֹן וְעֹבֵר עַל־פֶּשַׁע לִשְׁאֵרִית נַחֲלָתֹו לֹא־הֶחֱזִיק לָעַד אַפֹּו כִּֽי־חָפֵץ חֶסֶד הֽוּא׃ יט יָשׁוּב יְרַֽחֲמֵנוּ יִכְבֹּשׁ עֲוֹֽנֹתֵינוּ וְתַשְׁלִיךְ בִּמְצֻלֹות יָם כָּל־חַטֹּאותָֽם׃
- 1 Kings 8:39 “then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and act, and render to each whose heart thou knowest, according to all his ways (for thou, thou ONLY, knowest the hearts of all the children of men);” לט וְאַתָּה תִּשְׁמַע הַשָּׁמַיִם מְכוֹן שִׁבְתֶּךָ וְסָלַחְתָּ וְעָשִֹיתָ וְנָתַתָּ לָאִישׁ כְּכָל-דְּרָכָיו אֲשֶׁר תֵּדַע אֶת-לְבָבוֹ כִּי-אַתָּה יָדַעְתָּ לְבַדְּךָ אֶת-לְבַב כָּל-בְּנֵי הָאָדָם:
The three functions only the He is able to do is to forgive sins, heal diseases, and know the hearts of men. When the disciples were given the Holy Spirit of God, they were able to go forth and heal in Yeshua’s name and to forgive sins. They did not know the thoughts of the hearts of men. On the other hand, Yeshua, according to the gospels, knew the heart of man (see Matthew 9:4, Luke 6:8, and John 2:24). In addition to this, at Yeshua’s birth, he was given his name “Yeshua” because he would save his people from their sins according to the angel sent from the Lord in Matthew 1:18-23. This explains why his Apostles went around teaching that Yeshua is the One who enables Israel to repent and personally forgives the nation of their sins:
- Acts 3:26 ‘For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.’ (NASB) 26ὑμῖν πρῶτον ἀναστήσας ὁ θεὸς τὸν παῖδα αὐτοῦ ἀπέστειλεν αὐτὸν εὐλογοῦντα ὑμᾶς ἐν τῷ ἀποστρέφειν ἕκαστον ἀπὸ τῶν πονηριῶν ὑμῶν.
- Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, ‘We must obey God rather than men.
- 5:30 ‘The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. 5:31 ‘He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 5:32 ‘And we are witnesses of these things; and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him.’ (NASB) 29ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Πέτρος καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι εἶπαν, Πειθαρχεῖν δεῖ θεῷ μᾶλλον ἢ ἀνθρώποις. 30ὁ θεὸς τῶν πατέρων ἡμῶν ἤγειρεν Ἰησοῦν, ὃν ὑμεῖς διεχειρίσασθε κρεμάσαντες ἐπὶ ξύλου: 31τοῦτον ὁ θεὸς ἀρχηγὸν καὶ σωτῆρα ὕψωσεν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, [τοῦ] δοῦναι μετάνοιαν τῷ Ἰσραὴλ καὶ ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν. 32καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐσμεν μάρτυρες τῶν ῥημάτων τούτων, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ὃ ἔδωκεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς πειθαρχοῦσιν αὐτῷ.
- Acts 26:15 ‘And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 26:16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 26:17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’ (NASB) 15ἐγὼ δὲ εἶπα, Τίς εἶ, κύριε; ὁ δὲ κύριος εἶπεν, Ἐγώ εἰμι Ἰησοῦς ὃν σὺ διώκεις. 16ἀλλὰ ἀνάστηθι καὶ στῆθι ἐπὶ τοὺς πόδας σου: εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ὤφθην σοι, προχειρίσασθαί σε ὑπηρέτην καὶ μάρτυρα ὧν τε εἶδές [με] ὧν τε ὀφθήσομαί σοι, 17ἐξαιρούμενός σε ἐκ τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ ἐκ τῶν ἐθνῶν, εἰς οὓς ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω σε 18ἀνοῖξαι ὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτῶν, τοῦ ἐπιστρέψαι ἀπὸ σκότους εἰς φῶς καὶ τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ Σατανᾶ ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν, τοῦ λαβεῖν αὐτοὺς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν καὶ κλῆρον ἐν τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις πίστει τῇ εἰς ἐμέ.
Based on the teaching of the disciples from the book of Acts, Yeshua has the ability to forgive sins and he has come to personally save his own from their iniquities. In other words, Yeshua does not merely pardon a person from his or her sins but actually grants forgiveness by saving sinners through his death and subsequent resurrection. According to the rabbis in Midrash Tehillim 17, Part 3, only God can forgive sins on earth. According to the Scriptures, the Lord God Almighty provides for each and every one of us His Word, that took bodily form to make atonement for sins on our behalf. The Midrash concludes saying that “David said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe, since there is no one other than You, who can pardon, Let my judgment come forth from Your presence.” Forgiveness, mercies, grace, love, all of these things are the very nature of God Himself, He is the perfect judge, a loving and merciful God, rightly so David asks that judgment come forth from His presence.
In Midrash Tehillim 17, Part 5, the rabbis continue on the topic of judgment coming forth from the Lord stating in the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Another comment on Let my judgment come forth from Your presence.” In part 5 of the midrash, the rabbis draw a parallel of judgment coming from the presence of God to the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin (סַנְהֶדְרִין) is the highest court of ancient Israel during the Second Temple Period that ruled on administrative, judicial, and religious issues. The word Sanhedrin means “sitting together” and therefore is derived the meaning of “assembly” or “council.” The assembly of the Sanhedrin consisted of twenty to twenty three men appointed in every city in the land if Israel. In Mishnah Sanhedrin 1:1, the number 23 is derived from the exegesis of Bamidbar / Numbers 35:24-25, the minimum size for a community is 10 men which is derived from Bamidbar / Numbers 14:27 for the 10 spies sent into the Promised Land. The great Sanhedrin consisted of a leader called the Nasi, sometimes this position was held by the Kohen HaGadol (High Priest), a chief justice (Av Beit Din), and sixty nine general members. During the second Temple period, the Great Sanhedrin met in the Hall of Hewn Stones in the Temple in Jerusalem. The court convened every day except on the moedim and during Shabbat. The Sanhedrin is mentioned in the Apostolic Writings (in the gospels) in relation to the trial of Yeshua and in the Acts of the Apostle on the death of Stephen.
The Talmud Bavli, tractate Sanhedrin, identifies two classes of rabbinic courts called the Sanhedrin, the Great Sanhedrin (בית דין הגדול) and the Lesser Sanhedrin (בית דין הקטן). Each city in Israel could have its own lesser Sanhedrin of 23 judges, but there could be only one Great Sanhedrin of 71, which among other roles acted as the Supreme Court, taking appeals from cases decided by lesser courts. The numbers of judges were predicated on eliminating the possibility of a tie and the last to cast their vote was the head of the court. By the end of the Second Temple period, the Sanhedrin reached its pinnacle of importance, legislating all aspects of Jewish religious and political life within the parameters laid down by Biblical and Rabbinic tradition. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, the Sanhedrin was re-established in Yavneh with reduced authority. The imperial Roman government and legislation recognized it as the Palestinian Patriarchate, the ultimate authority in Jewish religious matters. The seat of the Patriarchate moved to Usha under the presidency of Gamaliel II in 80 CE. In 116 it moved back to Yavneh, and then again back to Usha. It moved in 140 to Shefaram under the presidency of Shimon ben Gamliel II, and to Beit Shearim and Sephoris in 163, under the presidency of Judah I. Finally, it moved to Tiberias in 193, under the presidency of Gamaliel III (193–230) ben Judah haNasi, where it became more of a consistory, but still retained, under the presidency of Judah II (230–270), the power of excommunication.
In Midrash Tehillim 17, Part 5, the rabbis say “And David answered, Master of the universe, You did write in Your Torah, you will take no gift (Shemot / Exodus 23:8), and the members of the Sanhedrin are afraid to take a gift from me and then pass judgment on me. But as for You, it is Your will to take a gift, and then to Let my judgment come forth from Your presence. And the proof that the Holy One blessed be He takes a gift? The verse He takes a gift out of the bosom of a wicked man to pervert the ways of judgment (Mishley / Proverbs 17:23). And what are the gifts that God takes from the wicked in this world? Repentance, prayer, and charity. Hence, David said, Let my judgment come forth from Your presence.” (אמר ליה דוד רבונו של עולם כתבת בתורתך ושוחד לא תקח (שמות כג ח), והן מתייראין ממני ליקח שוחד ולדונני, אבל אתה רצונך שתקח שוחד מלפניך משפטי יצא, ומנין שהקב״ה לוקח שוחד, [שנאמר] ושוחד מחיק רשע יקח (משלי יז כג), ומה השוחד שנוטל מן הרשעים בעולם הזה, תשובה ותפלה וצדקה) A discussion proceeds that the Sanhedrin does not receive gifts because of the possibility of bribery, whereas the Lord God in heaven receives the gifts of “Repentance, Prayer, and Charity (Righteous deeds).” Are these three things considered bribes for the Lord to rule in one way or another? Is Ma’aseh HaTorah (מעשה התורה) “works of the Torah/Law” a form of bribery for God? The conclusion of part 5 of the midrash states “Another comment, By path of life in You show me the path of life, David meant the Torah, A tree of life to them that lay hold upon her (Mishley / Proverbs 3:18); by fullness of joy David meant the text of Scripture, the Mishnah, the Talmud, the traditional laws, moral lessons, subtle interpretation of Biblical laws, and the subtleties of rabbinic enactments. Nay more! You also make Your presence to shine upon me, as is said In Your presence, Finally, by pleasures in In Your right hand there are pleasures, David was referring to this world; and by for evermore he was referring to the world to come.” The rabbis say that David meant by “the paths of life” he was referring to the Scriptures, the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Traditions, Moral lessons, Interpretations of the Biblical laws, and rabbinic enactments, are the pathway to life. Looking at these statements, we don’t always agree upon all of the rabbinic rulings, but the important point to take away is living in obedience to God’s Word (the Scriptures) is the path of life and peace before God. This is why we read the rabbis saying the Torah is the path of life, the Scriptures truly are a way of life for us! The Mishnah, the Talmud, the traditions, interpretations, enactments, etc all are part of the rabbinic way of living out the word of God in Judaism. The most important thing to remember is while living out Scripture in our lives, we do so to honor God in His word, not as a form of bribery or working of merit for justification, but being obedient to His word as the children of God and a Holy People (note 1 Samuel 15:22).
Midrash Tehillim 17, Part 14 opens with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “In another comment the words are read, As for me, I will behold Your presence in loving-kindness, Come and see how great is the strength of loving-kindness!” And the homiletic introduction to the Midrash (פתיחתא, Petihta) states “Merely because of the one small coin a man gives to the poor, he gets the right to behold the face of the Shekinah.” How does giving a small coin to the poor give one the right to behold the face of the manifest presence of God (Shekinah)? Two scriptures from Mark 12:41-44 and Luke 21:1-4 may shed some light on this question.
12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. 12:42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. 12:43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; 12:44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.’ (NASB)
41Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον: καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά: 42καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο, ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης. 43καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον: 44πάντες γὰρ ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τῆς ὑστερήσεως αὐτῆς πάντα ὅσα εἶχεν ἔβαλεν, ὅλον τὸν βίον αὐτῆς.
21:1 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury. 21:2 And He saw a poor widow putting in two small copper coins. 21:3 And He said, ‘Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all of them; 21:4 for they all out of their surplus put into the offering; but she out of her poverty put in all that she had to live on.’ (NASB)
1Ἀναβλέψας δὲ εἶδεν τοὺς βάλλοντας εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον τὰ δῶρα αὐτῶν πλουσίους. 2εἶδεν δέ τινα χήραν πενιχρὰν βάλλουσαν ἐκεῖ λεπτὰ δύο, 3καὶ εἶπεν, Ἀληθῶς λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν: 4πάντες γὰρ οὗτοι ἐκ τοῦ περισσεύοντος αὐτοῖς ἔβαλον εἰς τὰ δῶρα, αὕτη δὲ ἐκ τοῦ ὑστερήματος αὐτῆς πάντα τὸν βίον ὃν εἶχεν ἔβαλεν.
Here in the Gospel of Mark and Luke, the Greek word γαζοφυλάκιον is used that is translated as “treasury” in the NASB translation. The definition for the word γαζοφυλάκιον is as follows “1) a repository of treasure, especially of public treasure, a treasury It is used to describe the apartments constructed in the courts of the temple, in which the not only the sacred offerings and things needful for the service were kept, but in which the priests, etc, dwelt: Neh. 13:7; of the sacred treasury in which not only treasure but also public records were stored, and the property of widows and orphans was deposited. Josephus speaks of treasuries in the women’s court of Herod’s temple. In the N.T. near the treasury seems to used of that receptacle mentioned by the rabbis to which were fitted thirteen chests or boxes, i.e. trumpets, so called from their shape, and into which were put the contributions made voluntarily or paid yearly by the Jews for the service of the temple and the support of the poor.” Here the word “treasury” seems to be a receptacle that was used to collect money from the people (the tithe of 10% as defined in the Torah) the purpose was that it is the responsibility of the people, according to the Torah, to help others financially and to place the money into the hands of the priesthood for the support of the priests and for assisting the poor of the land. The woman according to the text is described as a “poor widow” meaning that she was a working woman who made her living by herself having lost her husband. According to the Gospels She was not wealthy having only two copper coins and yet Yeshua describes her small gift as greater than all the monies given by those who had more wealth and gave more in terms of quality and appearance of their gift rather than from their heart. The Midrash (פתיחתא, Petihta) states “Merely because of the one small coin a man gives to the poor, he gets the right to behold the face of the Shekinah.” Because the poor woman gave out of her poverty, she gave with greater faith than those who give out of wealth. The Scriptures say that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” ESV (Matthew 6:24) The giving of the gift by the poor woman was not only a gift of finances but a gift of herself, of her time and effort to the Lord. According to Matthew 5:8, Yeshua said 8μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται. 5:8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (NASB) (ח אַשְׁרֵי בָּרֵי לֵבָב כִּי־הֵם יֶחֱזוּ אֶת־הָאֱלׂהִים׃) In these Scriptures, Yeshua is saying that those who hunger and thirst after righteousness will be satisfied, the Lord God is the One who brings satisfaction. Those who are pure in heart will see God. Inner purity is the place from which righteous deeds flow. Tehillim / Psalms 24:3-5 states ג מִי-יַעֲלֶה בְהַר יְהֹוָה וּמִי-יָקוּם בִּמְקוֹם קָדְשׁוֹ: ד נְקִי כַפַּיִם וּבַר לֵבָב אֲשֶׁר לֹא-נָשָֹא לַשָּׁוְא נַפְשִׁי וְלֹא נִשְׁבַּע לְמִרְמָה: ה יִשָּׂא בְרָכָה מֵאֵת יְהֹוָה וּצְדָקָה מֵאֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעוֹ: 24:3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord? And who may stand in His holy place? 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood And has not sworn deceitfully. 24:5 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord And righteousness from the God of his salvation. (NASB) The purity of the heart and the reward of a pure heart is the thirst and hunger for more and more of the righteousness of God. Because of this woman’s righteous act, giving all that she had, two copper coins into the treasury, her gift was greater than all the rest because what she did was from a pure heart. The Rabbis saying in the Midrash that one small coin a man gives to the poor gives him the right to behold the face of the Shekinah, they must have been thinking on the poor who give from their poverty because of the purity and righteousness of their heart and motivation to do so because of God’s command. (Think on this when observing the mitzvot!) The pure heart involves the inward commitment to seek the Lord God Almighty, this is how giving to the poor one small coin enables one to see the Shekinah glory of God. According to Yeshua in Matthew 5:8, the blessedness of the person who has a pure heart is that they will see God. Studying the Scripture we know that God is a spirit and therefore invisible to the eyes of men (John 1:18, 4:24, Colossians 1:15, 1 Timothy 1:17). In Parashat Ki Tisa, the Lord instructed Moshe that he cannot see His face for no man can see God and live (Shemot / Exodus 33:20). In Parashat Yitro (Shemot / Exodus 24:9-10) the Scriptures say that Moshe, Aharon, Nadav and Avihu, and the seventy elders of Israel saw the God of Israel. And in Tehillim / Psalms 17:15 it says טו אֲנִי בְּצֶדֶק אֶחֱזֶה פָנֶיךָ אֶשְֹבְּעָה בְהָקִיץ תְּמוּנָתֶךָ: 17:15 As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake. (NASB) Seeing God and beholding His face are all connected to the purity of heart and the righteousness things that we do in the innocence and purity of heart before God. The blessedness that is attached to righteousness and the purity of heart is that a person will come to know God (to see Him) perfectly and completely. The concluding phrase of part 14 of the midrash says “Because the wicked live in prosperity in this world, even though they deny the Holy One blessed be He, and vex Him, and because the righteous suffer in this world, even though they are willing to die for the hallowing of the name of their Creator, therefore David said, I will not be of those who vex You, but of those who labor in the Torah of which it is written Justice, justice, will you follow (Devarim / Deuteronomy 16:20). Hence David said, As for me, I will behold Your presence in justice.” David concludes with beholding the Lord (His presence) in justice, that is derived from the same word צדק for righteousness. The Lord revealed His righteousness and justice in bringing His son to bear our sins. This is the revelation of the Father on Heaven, that His Son Yeshua died and rose again so that we too will have the power to live in righteousness and justice before Him, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord what a wonderful God we serve! Let’s pray!