Tehillim / Psalms 3, David and Absalom, Part 2, Rabbinic Commentary

0
276

This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 3: 1-9. The Psalm begins by stating this is A Psalm of David, when he fled from the presence of his son Absalom. Historical events are often used as the motivation for the writing of a particular Psalm. David is crying out to the Lord saying ב יְהֹוָה מָה-רַבּוּ צָרָי רַבִּים קָמִים עָלָי: “3:1 O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me.” David then says ג רַבִּים אֹמְרִים לְנַפְשִׁי אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה לּוֹ בֵאלֹהִים סֶלָה: 3:2 Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ Selah. (NASB) Who was David speaking of when he said that many are saying of his soul that there is no deliverance for him in God? Here David is addressing his complaint about his situation to God and that there are many who trouble him. There are people who even taunt him saying there is no help even from God (see 2 Samuel 16:5-14). Following these statements, is an expression of comfort that David had received from the Lord in the past. God’s protection in the past leads him to realize that the Lord is his shield (מָגֵן) and his glory (כְּבוֹדִי), that the Lord God is the One who is able to lift up his head (וּמֵרִים רֹאשִׁי). David then declares that the Lord has indeed heard his cry and enabled him to sleep and awake (ה קוֹלִי אֶל-יְהֹוָה אֶקְרָא וַיַּעֲנֵנִי מֵהַר קָדְשׁוֹ סֶלָה: ו אֲנִי שָׁכַבְתִּי וָאִישָׁנָה הֱקִיצוֹתִי כִּי יְהֹוָה יִסְמְכֵנִי:, 3:4 I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 3:5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. (NASB)) As a result of the Lord’s past actions, David knows that the He is with him and this gives him a renewed courage to face his enemies (2 Samuel 18:7) even though they number in the thousands (Tehillim / Psalms 3:3-6). The Psalm ends with the acknowledgment of God as the source of Salvation and blessing for His people (Tehillim / Psalms 3:7-8). Looking at the Hebrew Scriptures, it is interesting that in the peoples statement in Tehillim / Psalms 3:2/3 the English translation says David wrote that many are saying to his soul that there is no deliverance for him in God. The Hebrew text states אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה that “there is no salvation” using the word Yeshua (יְשׁוּעָתָה) to describe the very thing the people are saying God is incapable of doing, to save David’s soul from death. David ends by declaring “salvation” (Yeshua, הַיְשׁוּעָה) is from the Lord. From the Scriptures we learn that God saves and isn’t it interesting that He does so in and through His Yeshua (יְשׁוּעָ).

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק ג

א מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד בְּבָרְחוֹ מִפְּנֵי | אַבְשָׁלוֹם בְּנוֹ: ב יְהֹוָה מָה-רַבּוּ צָרָי רַבִּים קָמִים עָלָי: ג רַבִּים אֹמְרִים לְנַפְשִׁי אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה לּוֹ בֵאלֹהִים סֶלָה: ד וְאַתָּה יְהֹוָה מָגֵן בַּעֲדִי כְּבוֹדִי וּמֵרִים רֹאשִׁי: ה קוֹלִי אֶל-יְהֹוָה אֶקְרָא וַיַּעֲנֵנִי מֵהַר קָדְשׁוֹ סֶלָה:

סםר טוביה פרק ג

א תושבחתא לדוד במיערקיה מן קדם אבשלום בריה׃ ב יהוה כמה סגיאין סגיעין מעיקי סגיעין דקיימין עלי׃ ג סגיאין סגיעין אמרין לנפשי לית פורקניה ליה באלוה באלהא לעלמין׃ ד ואנת יהוה תריס עלי יקרי איקרי ומרים ומרורם רישי׃

YALMOI 3

3:1 ψαλμος τω δαυιδ οποτε απεδιδρασκεν απο προσωπου αβεσσαλωμ του υιου αυτου 3:2 κυριε τι επληθυνθησαν οι θλιβοντες με πολλοι επανιστανται επ’ εμε 3:3 πολλοι λεγουσιν τη ψυχη μου ουκ εστιν σωτηρια αυτω εν τω θεω αυτου διαψαλμα

ו אֲנִי שָׁכַבְתִּי וָאִישָׁנָה הֱקִיצוֹתִי כִּי יְהֹוָה יִסְמְכֵנִי: ז לֹא-אִירָא מֵרִבְבוֹת עָם אֲשֶׁר סָבִיב שָׁתוּ עָלָי: ח קוּמָה יְהֹוָה | הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי אֱלֹהַי כִּי-הִכִּיתָ אֶת-כָּל-אֹיְבַי לֶחִי שִׁנֵּי רְשָׁעִים שִׁבַּרְתָּ: ט לַיהֹוָה הַיְשׁוּעָה עַל-עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶךָ סֶּלָה:

Tehillim / Psalms 3

A Psalm of David, when he fled from the presence of his son Absalom. 3:1 O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. 3:2 Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ Selah. 3:3 But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. 3:4 I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 3:5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people Who have set themselves against me round about. 3:7 Arise, O Lord; save me, O my God! For You have smitten all my enemies on the cheek; You have shattered the teeth of the wicked. 3:8 Salvation belongs to the Lord; Your blessing be upon Your people! Selah. (NASB)

ה קלי קדם יהוה אצלי יקביל צלותי מן טור בית מוקדשיה לעלמין׃ ו אנא שכיבית ודמכית איתערית מטול דיהוה סמיך יתי׃ ז לא אידחל ממצותא מרבוון דעם עממין דחזור חזור אתכנשו עלי׃ ח קום יהוה פרוק יתי אלהי ארום מחיתא ית כל בעלי דבבי על ליסתהון ככי רשיעי תברתא׃ ט מן קדם יהוה פורקנא על עמך ברכתך לעלמין׃

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 3

3:1 A psalm of David, when he fled from the presence of Absalom his son. 3:2 O Lord, how many are my oppressors, many who arise against me. 3:3 Many say to my soul, “There is no redemption for him in God forever.” 3:4 But you, O Lord, are a shield over me, my glory and the one who raises my head. 3:5 I pray [with] my voice in the presence of the Lord; he will accept my prayer from the mount of his sanctuary forever. 3:6 I lay down, and I slept; I awoke, because the Lord sustains me. 3:7 I will not be afraid of the strife of people who have gathered against me all around. 3:8 Arise, O Lord, redeem me, O my God; for you have struck all my enemies on their cheek, you have broken the teeth of the wicked. 3:9 Redemption is from the presence of the Lord; your blessings are to your people forever. (EMC)

3:4 συ δε κυριε αντιλημπτωρ μου ει δοξα μου και υψων την κεφαλην μου 3:5 φωνη μου προς κυριον εκεκραξα και επηκουσεν μου εξ ορους αγιου αυτου διαψαλμα 3:6 εγω εκοιμηθην και υπνωσα εξηγερθην οτι κυριος αντιλημψεται μου 3:7 ου φοβηθησομαι απο μυριαδων λαου των κυκλω συνεπιτιθεμενων μοι 3:8 αναστα κυριε σωσον με ο θεος μου οτι συ επαταξας παντας τους εχθραινοντας μοι ματαιως οδοντας αμαρτωλων συνετριψας 3:9 του κυριου η σωτηρια και επι τον λαον σου η ευλογια σου (LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms Chapter 3

A Psalm of David, when he fled from the presence of his son Abessalom. 3:1 O Lord, why are they that afflict me multiplied? many rise up against me. 3:2 Many say concerning my soul, There is no deliverance for him in his God. Pause. 3:3 But thou, O Lord, art my helper: my glory, and the one that lifts up my head. 3:4 I cried to the Lord with my voice, and he heard me out of his holy mountain. Pause. 3:5 I lay down and slept; I awaked; for the Lord will help me. 3:6 I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, who beset me round about. 3:7 Arise, Lord; deliver me, my God: for thou hast smitten all who were without cause mine enemies; thou hast broken the teeth of sinners. 3:8 Deliverance is the Lord’s, and thy blessing is upon thy people. (LXX)

The first thing that catches our attention while reading through Tehillim / Palms 3 is the numbering of the verses. This is the first of a large number of the psalms that contain superscrip­tions describing the contents of the Psalm and the author, and, it is generally assumed, in some cases, the melodies to which they were sung during the services in the Beit HaMikdash (בית המקדש, Temple in Jerusalem). In Jewish tradition, in the transmission of the Hebrew bible, these superscriptions are considered separate verses hence the reason there are 9 verses in the Hebrew bible. In the English translation, the first verse from the Hebrew bible becomes a superscription (description) of the Psalm. These superscriptions are not considered verses in the English translations. Therefore, when comparing the languages, the English verse numbers are offset as compared to the Hebrew verses. This is an odd translational feature and should be kept in mind while referencing the Masoretic text. Therefore, when studying many verses from the Psalms that are referenced in the Apostolic Writings note that the verse numbers in our English Bibles are offset by one or two verses with respect to the Hebrew text.

Outline

  1. The Psalmist complains of his many enemies (3:2-4)
  2. The Psalmist expresses confidence in God’s ability to answer prayer (3:4-5)
  3. The Psalmist trusts fully in God (3:6-7)
  4. The Psalmist prays for God’s victory (3:8-9)

The word “Selah” (סֶּלָה)

The word “Selah” (סֶּלָה) is used three times in Tehillim / Psalms 3 in verses 3, 5, and 9. In the 5 books of the Psalms the word Selah is used 71 times and a further three times in the book of Habakkuk 3:3, 3:9, 3:15. The etymology of the word and the precise significance of its use is unknown. Brown Driver and Briggs says the word סלה means “weight, measure” or “forgive, pardon” and does not discuss its use within the Psalm. The word Selah is used sometimes at the end of a section (3:3, 5) or at the end of a Psalm (3:9), and sometimes at the end of a quotation (Tehillim / Psalm 44:9). At other times the use of Selah has no apparent reason. The one factor that seems to be fairly certain is that the term had some kind of musical significance with respect to the singing of the Psalm or to the musical instruments. The word Selah is used in the Psalms that have titles identifying them as of David or the Levitical singers, and to the musical directors. Some theories on the meaning of Selah are as follows (i) the Hebrew term might be taken to imply a pause or instrumental interlude or to mean “louder”, (ii) the Palestinian Jewish tradition as represented in the Targum and followed by some early Christian interpreters such as Jerome, took the term to mean “forever” but this etymological basis can not be found, and (iii) the term is understood as referring to points in the use of the song in the context of worship at which the congregation prostrated themselves on the ground in worship to God. (Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 19, Psalms 1-50, 2nd Edition, by Peter C. Craigie and Marvin E. Tate, Thomas Nelson Inc, 2004, p.76) It is commonly said that the word סֶּלָה is from the root word סלל meaning “to raise, lift up” and hence has the meaning to raise the voice or sing louder. Peter Craigie states that in light of the current knowledge on the word סֶּלָה no precise significance can be attributed to this word. One thing though is that this word can be used to remind the reader that the Psalms were originally sung along with a musical instrument. It is interesting in the LXX the word סֶּלָה is translated using the Greek word διαψαλμα meaning “pause.” This adds support for the word as a reference to a musical pause, perhaps it was used to notify the persons singing to pause between phrases contained within the Psalm.

Trusting fully in the Lord

In Masoretic text, the scriptures say ג רַבִּים אֹמְרִים לְנַפְשִׁי אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה לּוֹ בֵאלֹהִים סֶלָה: that “many say to my soul there is no salvation for him in the Lord.” Note that in the English translation the Scripture says there is no “redemption.” Also, the Greek translation (LXX) uses the word σωτηρια meaning “redemption, deliverance” to translate the Hebrew word יְשׁוּעָתָה (yeshuatah) meaning “salvation.” This is interesting because the Scriptures are saying that David’s oppressors are telling him there is no salvation in the Lord God Almighty. The Aramaic translation uses the words לית פורקניה meaning “there is/are not redemption/salvation” these adversaries are trying to discourage David by attacking the Lord and His salvation. The word ישוע (Yeshua) is used twice here in this Psalm as a reference to the Lord’s Salvation. Shemot / Exodus 14:13 states יג וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַל-תִּירָאוּ הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת-יְשׁוּעַת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶֹה לָכֶם הַיּוֹם כִּי אֲשֶׁר רְאִיתֶם אֶת-מִצְרַיִם הַיּוֹם לֹא תֹסִפוּ לִרְאֹתָם עוֹד עַד-עוֹלָם: 14:13 But Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear! Stand by and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today; for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you will never see them again forever. (NASB) The 5 books of Tehillim / Psalms uses this word “Salvation” (ישוע, Yeshua) 20 times, the book of Isaiah lists the word 18 times, and there are many more references to this word throughout the Tanach. Studying the use of this word throughout the Tanach, its meaning is that of “deliverance, preservation, safety, and salvation” all in one. The word ישוע is used to refer to deliverance from the molestation of enemies, in an ethical sense which concludes to the soul’s safety or salvation, of Messianic salvation, and of a future salvation that includes the blessings of God. The blessing of God coupled with His Salvation is indicated in verse 9 of Tehillim / Psalm 3 that says ט לַיהֹוָה הַיְשׁוּעָה עַל-עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶךָ סֶּלָה: “The salvation of the Lord is upon Your people Your blessing, Selah.” Examining the Scriptures on the use of the word “Yeshua” looking at the Hebrew concordance of the NASB, the word Yeshua (יְשׁוּעָה) occurs 79 times out of 77 verses. A short survey of select verses from the Hebrew names version of the Bible shows the following.

Shemot / Exodus 15:2

YHWH is my strength and song, He has become my Yeshua: This is my Elohim, and I will praise him; My father’s God, and I will exalt him.

ב עָזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ וַיְהִי-לִי לִישׁוּעָה זֶה אֵלִי וְאַנְוֵהוּ אֱלֹהֵי אָבִי וַאֲרֹמְמֶנְהוּ:

Tehillim / Psalms 20:5

We will triumph in your Yeshua. In the name of our Elohim we will set up our banners: May YHWH grant all your requests.

ו נְרַנְּנָה | בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ וּבְשֵׁם-אֱלֹהֵינוּ נִדְגֹּל יְמַלֵּא יְהֹוָה כָּל-מִשְׁאֲלוֹתֶיךָ:

Tehillim / Psalm 35:3

Brandish the spear and block those who pursue me. Tell my soul, “I am your Yeshua.”

ג וְהָרֵק חֲנִית וּסְגֹר לִקְרַאת רֹדְפָי אֱמֹר לְנַפְשִׁי יְשֻׁעָתֵךְ אָנִי:

Tehillim / Psalms 35:9

My soul shall be joyful in YHWH. It shall rejoice in his Yeshua.

ט וְנַפְשִׁי תָּגִיל בַּיהֹוָה תָּשִֹישֹ בִּישׁוּעָתוֹ:

Tehillim / Psalms 53:6

Oh that the Yeshua of Yisra’el (Israel) would come out of Tziyon (Zion)! When Elohim brings back the captivity of his people, Then Ya`akov (Jacob) shall rejoice. Yisra’el shall be glad.

Tehillim / Psalms 118:15

The voice of rejoicing and Yeshua is in the tents of the righteous. “The right hand of YHWH does valiantly.

Isaiah 52:10

YHWH has made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the eretz (earth) have seen the Yeshua of our Elohim.

י חָשַֹף יְהֹוָה אֶת-זְרוֹעַ קָדְשׁוֹ לְעֵינֵי כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם וְרָאוּ כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ אֵת יְשׁוּעַת אֱלֹהֵינוּ:

Isaiah 62:1

For Tziyon’s (Zion’s) sake will I not hold my shalom, and for Yerushalayim’s (Jerusalem’s) sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her Yeshua as a lamp that burns.

א לְמַעַן צִיּוֹן לֹא אֶחֱשֶׁה וּלְמַעַן יְרוּשָׁלַם לֹא אֶשְׁקוֹט עַד-יֵצֵא כַנֹּגַהּ צִדְקָהּ וִישׁוּעָתָהּ כְּלַפִּיד יִבְעָר:

The people of the Scriptures (in the Scriptures and in the 1st Century) who study the Torah and the prophetic literatures in the Bible knew the name of the Messiah, it was given many times and this is the reason the Angel said in Matthew 1:21 והיא ילדת בן וקראת את שמו ישוע כי הוא יושיע את עמו מעונותיהם׃ 1:21 ‘She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ (NASB). When Joseph and Mary took Yeshua to be circumcised at the Temple in Jerusalem Simeon said “my eyes have seen Your Salvation.” Did Simeon remember the Psalm of David that says ט לַיהֹוָה הַיְשׁוּעָה עַל-עַמְּךָ בִרְכָתֶךָ סֶּלָה: “The salvation of the Lord is upon Your people Your blessing, Selah?”

ספר לוקוס פרק ב פסוק כט-לב

כט עתה תפטר את עבדך כדברך אדני בשלום׃ ל כי ראו עיני את ישועתך׃ לא אשר הכינות לפני כל העמים׃ לב אור לגלות עיני הגוים ותפארת ישראל עמך׃

Luke 2:29-32

2:29 ‘Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your word; 2:30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation, 2:31 Which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 2:32 A Light of revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.’ (NASB)

When Simeon come up to Joseph and Mary, I am certain he asked them His name, and they told him “Yeshua” and the spirit came upon him and he spoke those words having seen the “salvation” of God. When we survey the Scriptures on the word “Yeshua” we learn that the Lord God is our Yeshua (Salvation) (Shemot / Exodus 15:2), we will triumph in Yeshua (Tehillim / Psalms 20:5), we will rejoice in Yeshua (Tehillim / Psalms 35:9), Yeshua would come out of Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 53:6) consistent with God establishing His Messiah upon the holy mountain of Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 2:4-7), the righteous will rejoice in Yeshua (Tehillim / Psalms 118:15) in the power of God, the nations have seen the power of God’s Salvation (Yeshua) (Isaiah 52:10) in the resurrection of His Messiah, and for Zion’s sake and Jerusalem’s the Lord does not rest until His righteous ones go forth in Yeshua like the lamp that burns (Isaiah 62:1). Remember Yeshua’s words to his disciples following the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) that his followers are to be a light unto the world because we are in Him (Yeshua). The Scriptures say that God is our strength in Yeshua, we triumph in Him, we rejoice in Him, we have seen His power, His glory, His salvation, in only a few Scriptures from the Tanach we realize that it is in Him, in the Messiah, in Yeshua the Lord God Almighty sustains us! Just as David saidו אֲנִי שָׁכַבְתִּי וָאִישָׁנָה הֱקִיצוֹתִי כִּי יְהֹוָה יִסְמְכֵנִי: 3:5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. (NASB) What is it about this sustaining power of God that we can learn from these Scriptures that are directing us to Yeshua the Messiah? The Torah has a lot to add to our understanding of the Messiah of God.

Turn to Parashat Vayelech (Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:21-31:30). Remember what is happening in this portion of Scripture? Moshe is writing about the future generations, the people will rebel and be driven from the land in captivity in the nations. When the people come to their senses, after having been scattered to the nations in rebellion, and remember the Lord their God, that He will restore them from captivity and have compassion (mercy, וְרִחֲמֶךָ) and gather the people from all the nations. (30:1-3) In this repentant-remembrance of the Lord God, He will וּמָל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת-לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ לְאַהֲבָה אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁךָ לְמַעַן חַיֶּיךָ 30:6 ‘Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. (NASB) The scriptures use the term “uncircumcised heart” as a reference to those whose stubbornness and pride make it impossible to obey God’s Mitzvot (Commandments). The uncircumcised heart does not submit to God’s will and it is a person’s uncircumcised heart that guides and directs the will. This promise of God to circumcise the heart of His people results in an inward change that facilitates the removal of the flesh from one’s will allowing the Spirit of God to direct him or her. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:16 God commands us to circumcise our own hearts (וּמַלְתֶּם אֵת עָרְלַת לְבַבְכֶם) but here (30:6) God says that He will circumcise our hearts (וּמָל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-לְבָבְךָ וְאֶת-לְבַב זַרְעֶךָ). In a similar manner, God says that He will cross over into the Promised land ahead of you (יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא | עֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ הוּא-יַשְׁמִיד אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ) and Salvation (Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ , Joshua) will cross over ahead of you as the Lord has spoken (וִירִשְׁתָּם יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הוּא עֹבֵר לְפָנֶיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהוָֹה) indicating the people’s role in taking the land. Can you see the parallels here that the Salvation (Yeshua) of God will go before the people?

In Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:7, the Lord tells us that Salvation (Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ , Joshua) will go out before the people into the Promised Land. According to this text Joshua (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ) is a type of Messiah for the children of Israel. Appropriately, Joshua’s name (Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ) means “Salvation” indicating Joshua’s role in going with the people into the land and bringing them into their inheritance (כִּי אַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֶת-הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָֹה לַאֲבֹתָם).

פרשת נצבים-וילך ספר דברים פרק לא פסוק ז

ז וַיִּקְרָא מֹשֶׁה לִיהוֹשֻׁעַ וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו לְעֵינֵי כָל-יִשְֹרָאֵל חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ כִּי אַתָּה תָּבוֹא אֶת-הָעָם הַזֶּה אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְהוָֹה לַאֲבֹתָם לָתֵת לָהֶם וְאַתָּה תַּנְחִילֶנָּה אוֹתָם:

Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:7

31:7 Then Moses called to Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall give it to them as an inheritance. (NASB)

Unlike Moshe who gave the Torah (God’s instruction/Law) and led the faithless people back into the desert, Joshua (Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ) functions as a “type” of Messiah (savior) who was able to lead the people into the Promised Land.

פרשת נצבים-וילך ספר דברים פרק לא פסוק כג

כג וַיְצַו אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בִּן-נוּן וַיֹּאמֶר חֲזַק וֶאֱמָץ כִּי אַתָּה תָּבִיא אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּעְתִּי לָהֶם וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ:

Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:23

31:23 Then He commissioned Joshua the son of Nun, and said, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the sons of Israel into the land which I swore to them, and I will be with you.’ (NASB)

In Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:23, God reassures Yehoshua that this is the land that He had sworn to the sons of Israel to bring them back into the land again. Here in this verse, the Lord says וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ “and I will be with you.” The Targum Onkelos (Aramaic translation) states וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ meaning “and my Memra (Word) will sustain you.” Here the Aramaic word “ve’saadakh” from the root word “sead” סעד means “support or sustain.” Here the translators of the Aramaic text understood that the Lord’s presence going with Joshua is equal to the Word of the Lord being with him. How important do you think it is to study, memorize, and keep God’s words in our hearts?

The Lord promises Yehoshua that His Word (Memra) will be with him and sustain him as he enters in to take the Promise Land. The Word of God will go forth with Joshua and all of the people and sustain them.

פרשת נצבים-וילך תרגום אונקלוס ספר דברים פרק לא פסוק כג

כג וּפַקִּיד יַת יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בַּר נוּן וַאֲמַר תְּקַף וְאַלִּים אֲרֵי אַתְּ תָּעֵל יַת בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל לְאַרְעָא דִּי קַיֵּמִית לְהוֹן וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ:

It is interesting reading the Targum Onkelos on Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:23, we see the translation into Aramaic saying that the Word (Memra) of the Lord will sustain Yehoshua (וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ). The Targum translation paraphrases and comments on the Hebrew Scriptures. It is believed that the people of the first century were very familiar with the Aramaic translations. Therefore this scripture in Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:23 was well known that says וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ “and my Memra (Word) will sustain you.” There is a definitive doctrine that was in place on the understanding that God’s Word is life sustaining for the righteous. Specifically, the life of the righteous man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, does not stand in the path of the sinner and does not sit in the seat of the scornful but delights in the Torah of God. We are made complete, made whole, and sustained by the Word of God and in His Messiah Yeshua the Living Word of God. This is why Yeshua taught on the importance of His words and being true disciples and the children of Abraham (read John 8). Do you see the consistency throughout Scripture, the Messiah whom God established will save His people?

In John chapter 8, Yeshua went to the Mount of Olives and then to the Temple in Jerusalem (Beit HaMikdash, בֵּית־הַמִּקְדָּשׁ). Yeshua began to speak about who He is and about the One who had sent him (God our Father in Heaven). Studying the Aramaic text that says וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ “and my Memra (Word) will sustain you” there appears to be an interesting message contained within the life giving Word of God in Yeshua’s Words in John 8:31-43. Yeshua acknowledges that those who he is speaking to are the “descendents of Abraham” (σπέρμα Ἀβραάμ ἐστε) in Greek literally means “seed of Abraham you are.” The interesting thing is that though the Pharisee’s were the seed of Abraham, they were not Abraham’s “children” because they do not do the things that Abraham did out of faith. Can you see the connection here in Yeshua’s words and with the Torah Portion from Parashat Ki Tavo and Vayelech along with our Psalm? The entire discussion is centered on λόγῳ τῷ ἐμῷ “My Words,” the words that Yeshua is speaking, the Word of God according to the Torah (Tanakh), and being true children of Abraham. To be a true child of Abraham needs to have the Word of God on the inside in order to sustain and support him like God said to Joshua וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ. It is interesting that Joshua (Yehoshua) whose name means “the Lord’s salvation” will be sustained by God’s Memra (His Word). The Torah principle that Yeshua is teaching here in John 8:31-34, is about himself, the living Word of God (John 1:1-14), the light of the world (John 8:12), the Lord’s Salvation, His Messiah. This Torah principle of the life sustaining Word of God is what David was thinking of in Tehillim / Psalms 3:5.

The Pharisees in this time thought that their place in heaven was guaranteed by their birthright. Yeshua acknowledged their birthright but corrected their understanding that they are not guaranteed a place in heaven. The true children of Abraham are those who do the works of Abraham (τὰ ἔργα τοῦ Ἀβραὰμ ἐποιεῖτε: νῦν). The works of Abraham are to live out our salvation by faith just like David was doing in the midst of his troubles with his son Absalom He trusted in the Lord God and in His Word. David heard the voice of the Lord God (שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ) and then lived to do according to that faith! Are we living with this kind of faith?

John 8:31-43

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

John 8:31-43

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

The work of the Messiah is understood based on the scriptures (Tanakh) to deliver the people from exile and to bring them into the Promised Land which involved having a correct relationship with the Lord in the way one lived and by faith. Having a correct relationship with the Lord was synonymous with being the children of Abraham, believing in God’s Word and having God’s Word written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:31-35). This is consistent with the first century thought process understanding God’s promise that וְאָנֹכִי אֶהְיֶה עִמָּךְ “I will be with you” and וּמֵימְרִי יְהֵי בְסַעֲדָךְ “my Memra (Word) will sustain you.” The Lord God is working to build a relationship with us first and foremost so that we could become His people and He would be Our God (Vayikra / Leviticus 26, וְהָיִיתִי לָהֶם לֵאלֹהִים וְהֵמָּה יִהְיוּ-לִי לְעָם). The purpose of the sustaining power of God’s Word is to bring us, the people of God, into a correct relationship with the Lord God Almighty. We need to be able to hear His voice (שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמַע בְּקוֹל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ), and hear Yeshua’s Words (ἀκούειν τὸν λόγον τὸν ἐμόν). And most importantly, to glorify His name! The promise of Abraham was that all the nations would be blessed in his seed as the Lord said in Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit / Genesis 12, ב וְאֶעֶשְֹךָ לְגוֹי גָּדוֹל וַאֲבָרֶכְךָ וַאֲגַדְּלָה שְׁמֶךָ וֶהְיֵה בְּרָכָה: ג וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה:). Yeshua’s Words are life sustaining and it is the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah that sustains us in His salvation.

According to the Hebrew Scriptures, David named his son “Absalom” (אַבְשָׁלוֹם) a name that consists of two words אַב (Father) and שָׁלוֹם (Peace) most likely to say the “peace of his father” or “his father’s peace” referring to David the father of Absalom. Unfortunately, everything about Absalom’s life did nothing to bring peace to David. In Tehillim / Psalms 3 David is crying out to the Lord saying ב יְהֹוָה מָה-רַבּוּ צָרָי רַבִּים קָמִים עָלָי: “3:1 O Lord, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me.” David then says ג רַבִּים אֹמְרִים לְנַפְשִׁי אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה לּוֹ בֵאלֹהִים סֶלָה: 3:2 Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ Selah. (NASB) The cross references on these verses direct our attention to 2 Samuel 16:5-14.

ספר שמואל ב פרק טז פסוק ה-יג

ה וּבָא הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִד עַד-בַּחוּרִים וְהִנֵּה מִשָּׁם אִישׁ יוֹצֵא מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת בֵּית-שָׁאוּל וּשְׁמוֹ שִׁמְעִי בֶן-גֵּרָא יֹצֵא יָצוֹא וּמְקַלֵּל: ו וַיְסַקֵּל בָּאֲבָנִים אֶת-דָּוִד וְאֶת-כָּל-עַבְדֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ דָּוִד וְכָל-הָעָם וְכָל-הַגִּבֹּרִים מִימִינוֹ וּמִשְּׂמֹאלוֹ: ז וְכֹה-אָמַר שִׁמְעִי בְּקַלְלוֹ צֵא צֵא אִישׁ הַדָּמִים וְאִישׁ הַבְּלִיָּעַל: ח הֵשִׁיב עָלֶיךָ יְהֹוָה כֹּל | דְּמֵי בֵית-שָׁאוּל אֲשֶׁר מָלַכְתָּ תַּחְתָּו [תַּחְתָּיו] וַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה אֶת-הַמְּלוּכָה בְּיַד אַבְשָׁלוֹם בְּנֶךָ וְהִנְּךָ בְּרָעָתֶךָ כִּי אִישׁ דָּמִים אָתָּה: ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֲבִישַׁי בֶּן-צְרוּיָה אֶל-הַמֶּלֶךְ לָמָּה יְקַלֵּל הַכֶּלֶב הַמֵּת הַזֶּה אֶת-אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶעְבְּרָה-נָּא וְאָסִירָה אֶת-רֹאשׁוֹ: י וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ מַה-לִּי וְלָכֶם בְּנֵי צְרֻיָה כֹּי [כֹּה] יְקַלֵּל וכֹּי [כִּי] יְהֹוָה אָמַר לוֹ קַלֵּל אֶת-דָּוִד וּמִי יֹאמַר מַדּוּעַ עָשִֹיתָה כֵּן: יא וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִד אֶל-אֲבִישַׁי וְאֶל-כָּל-עֲבָדָיו הִנֵּה בְנִי אֲשֶׁר-יָצָא מִמֵּעַי מְבַקֵּשׁ אֶת-נַפְשִׁי וְאַף כִּי-עַתָּה בֶּן-הַיְמִינִי הַנִּחוּ לוֹ וִיקַלֵּל כִּי אָמַר-לוֹ יְהֹוָה: יב אוּלַי יִרְאֶה יְהֹוָה בְּעֵונִי [בְּעֵינִי] וְהֵשִׁיב יְהֹוָה לִי טוֹבָה תַּחַת קִלְלָתוֹ הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: יג וַיֵּלֶךְ דָּוִד וַאֲנָשָׁיו בַּדָּרֶךְ ס וְשִׁמְעִי הֹלֵךְ בְּצֵלַע הָהָר לְעֻמָּתוֹ הָלוֹךְ וַיְקַלֵּל וַיְסַקֵּל בָּאֲבָנִים לְעֻמָּתוֹ וְעִפַּר בֶּעָפָר:

2 Samuel 16:5-14

16:5 When King David came to Bahurim, behold, there came out from there a man of the family of the house of Saul whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; he came out cursing continually as he came. 16:6 He threw stones at David and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were at his right hand and at his left. 16:7 Thus Shimei said when he cursed, ‘Get out, get out, you man of bloodshed, and worthless fellow! 16:8 ‘The Lord has returned upon you all the bloodshed of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Lord has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. And behold, you are taken in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!’ 16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.’ 16:10 But the king said, ‘What have I to do with you, O sons of Zeruiah? If he curses, and if the Lord has told him, ‘Curse David,’ then who shall say, ‘Why have you done so?’‘ 16:11 Then David said to Abishai and to all his servants, ‘Behold, my son who came out from me seeks my life; how much more now this Benjamite? Let him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him. 16:12 ‘Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.’ 16:13 So David and his men went on the way; and Shimei went along on the hillside parallel with him and as he went he cursed and cast stones and threw dust at him. 16:14 The king and all the people who were with him arrived weary and he refreshed himself there. (NASB)

Studying the life of David, according to 2 Samuel 13, Ammon lusted for his half sister Tamar and raped her. She was disgraced, and as a result no man would want to marry her. When her brother Absalom found out about the rape he remained silent and took her in to live with him. David heard about this, was angry, but did not take any action. In his love for his children he did not do the right thing to have Ammon punished for rape and incest of his sister. This was a clear violation of God’s commands. As a result of David’s failure to take action against Ammon, Tamar was further disgraced because of the injustice that was occurring at the hand of David the king. Because the king did not do anything, Absalom was filled with anger, resentment, and revenge. Two years later Absalom made arrangements to have Ammon killed by his servants while attending a party at his house. Absalom then fled the country in fear of his father David. These events led to the fulfillment of the curse Nathan the prophet pronounced upon him as a result of his sin with Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 12:10-12. David did not punish his sons, and then wanted to make reconciliation with Absalom, to allow him to return to Jerusalem. With reconciliation in the eyes of the people between the king and his son, Absalom proceeded to steal away the hearts of the men of Israel. Then in the course of 4 years he persuaded many from among the tribes of Israel to pronounce him king over Israel. David then fled from Jerusalem. When King David came to Bahurim a man come out from the family of the house of Saul a Benjamite and cursed and threw stones at David. As a result of these things, Abishai wanted to kill the man (16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over now and cut off his head.’ (NASB)) however David said יב אוּלַי יִרְאֶה יְהֹוָה בְּעֵונִי [בְּעֵינִי] וְהֵשִׁיב יְהֹוָה לִי טוֹבָה תַּחַת קִלְלָתוֹ הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה: 16:12 ‘Perhaps the Lord will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.’ (NASB) Eventually a battle broke out between the armies of David and Absalom. And in 2 Samuel 18 we read of the battle that took place in the forest of Ephraim.

ספר שמואל ב פרק יח פסוק ה-ח

ה וַיְצַו הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת-יוֹאָב וְאֶת-אֲבִישַׁי וְאֶת-אִתַּי לֵאמֹר לְאַט-לִי לַנַּעַר לְאַבְשָׁלוֹם וְכָל-הָעָם שָׁמְעוּ בְּצַוֹּת הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת-כָּל-הַשָּׂרִים עַל-דְּבַר אַבְשָׁלוֹם: ו וַיֵּצֵא הָעָם הַשָּׂדֶה לִקְרַאת יִשְֹרָאֵל וַתְּהִי הַמִּלְחָמָה בְּיַעַר אֶפְרָיִם: ז וַיִּנָּגְפוּ שָׁם עַם יִשְֹרָאֵל לִפְנֵי עַבְדֵי דָוִד וַתְּהִי-שָׁם הַמַּגֵּפָה גְדוֹלָה בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא עֶשְֹרִים אָלֶף: ח וַתְּהִי-שָׁם הַמִּלְחָמָה נָפֹצֶות [נָפוֹצֶת] עַל-פְּנֵי כָל-הָאָרֶץ וַיֶּרֶב הַיַּעַר לֶאֱכֹל בָּעָם מֵאֲשֶׁר אָכְלָה הַחֶרֶב בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא:

2 Samuel 18:5-8

18:5 The king charged Joab and Abishai and Ittai, saying, ‘Deal gently for my sake with the young man Absalom.’ And all the people heard when the king charged all the commanders concerning Absalom. 18:6 Then the people went out into the field against Israel, and the battle took place in the forest of Ephraim. 18:7 The people of Israel were defeated there before the servants of David, and the slaughter there that day was great, 20,000 men. 18:8 For the battle there was spread over the whole countryside, and the forest devoured more people that day than the sword devoured. (NASB)

It is interesting in the later years of David’s life, in the written record we do not see David praying and asking the Lord what to do in these matters. He does not seek the will of God as he did in his youth. In his youth David “inquired of the Lord” on numerous occasions before making important decisions such as is written in 1 Samuel 23:2 or 30:8. He desperately wanted to do God’s will and know whether God was leading him to do the right thing. Yet somehow in his later years after he became king, he began to rely on the advice of others around him and his own personal feelings. Obedience to God’s word and the use of wisdom and discernment were abandoned for natural thinking and worldly understanding. The Scriptures tell us that because of the blood shed during his forty years as king, he was not allowed to build the temple for God. The bloodshed that had occurred through his life affected his heart and his relationship with the Lord. There was so much sin on his hands. As a result, the construction of the 1st Temple was given for his son Solomon to complete. Then finally, when the time drew near for David to die, he gave this charge to Solomon in 1 Kings 2:2. ב אָנֹכִי הֹלֵךְ בְּדֶרֶךְ כָּל-הָאָרֶץ וְחָזַקְתָּ וְהָיִיתָ לְאִישׁ: ג וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת-מִשְׁמֶרֶת | יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו לִשְׁמֹר חֻקֹּתָיו מִצְוֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו וְעֵדְוֹתָיו כַּכָּתוּב בְּתוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה לְמַעַן תַּשְֹכִּיל אֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶֹה וְאֵת כָּל-אֲשֶׁר תִּפְנֶה שָׁם: ד לְמַעַן יָקִים יְהֹוָה אֶת-דְּבָרוֹ אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר עָלַי לֵאמֹר אִם-יִשְׁמְרוּ בָנֶיךָ אֶת-דַּרְכָּם לָלֶכֶת לְפָנַי בֶּאֱמֶת בְּכָל-לְבָבָם וּבְכָל-נַפְשָׁם לֵאמֹר לֹא-יִכָּרֵת לְךָ אִישׁ מֵעַל כִּסֵּא יִשְֹרָאֵל: 2:2 ‘I am going the way of all the earth. Be strong, therefore, and show yourself a man. 2:3 ‘Keep the charge of the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, His commandments, His ordinances, and His testimonies, according to what is written in the Law of Moses, that you may succeed in all that you do and wherever you turn, 2:4 so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’ (NASB) David says וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת-מִשְׁמֶרֶת | יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ “Observe what the Lord your God requires” that is “to walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws” walking in righteousness and justice “so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a man on the throne of Israel.” These are things David forgot to do later on in his own life. We need study the Scriptures and learn from his mistakes so that we do not repeat them.

David wrote Tehillim / Psalms 3 when he fled from the presence of Absalom (א מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד בְּבָרְחוֹ מִפְּנֵי | אַבְשָׁלוֹם בְּנוֹ:) according to the first verse in the Hebrew bible. While David did not seek the direction of the Lord God Almighty, he still understood that God is our deliverer and our savior. In the midst of the trouble he was going through, the taunts of the people, and his son desiring to see him killed, David expressed words of comfort that the Lord had given him in the past. God’s protection in the past led him to realize that the Lord is his shield (מָגֵן) and his glory (כְּבוֹדִי), that the Lord God is the One who is able to lift up his head (וּמֵרִים רֹאשִׁי). The text indicates that in the midst of his worrying David had some trouble sleeping, however, realizing that the Lord has heard his cry has enabled him to sleep and awake (ה קוֹלִי אֶל-יְהֹוָה אֶקְרָא וַיַּעֲנֵנִי מֵהַר קָדְשׁוֹ סֶלָה: ו אֲנִי שָׁכַבְתִּי וָאִישָׁנָה הֱקִיצוֹתִי כִּי יְהֹוָה יִסְמְכֵנִי:, 3:4 I was crying to the Lord with my voice, And He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. 3:5 I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the Lord sustains me. (NASB)) David believed even in the midst of what was coming upon him and his family, his hope was in the restoration of God’s grace upon his life we understand this from his words of mercy to those who were cursing him (2 Samuel 16:12). The most important thing from David’s life that we can glean from is that no matter how much David had sinned he still believed, trusted, and repented, and continued on in faith in the Lord God Almighty. As a result of the Lord’s past actions, David believes that God is with him and this gives him a renewed courage to face his enemies (2 Samuel 18:7) even though they number in the thousands (Tehillim / Psalms 3:3-6). The final statement acknowledging the Lord as the source of Salvation and blessing for His people (Tehillim / Psalms 3:7-8) we realize that throughout history God has moved to establish His covenant with each and every one of us. The world tells us אֵין יְשׁוּעָתָה “there is no salvation” but we know God has provided for us His “salvation” (Yeshua, הַיְשׁוּעָה)! Truly Salvation is from the Lord and contained within the Scriptures we know that God saves and He does so in and through His Messiah Yeshua. Let’s Pray.

Rabbinic Commentary

The Midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 3 has 7 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Part 1. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 3 Part 1.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 3, Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm as a Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his Son.
  • The דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “the beginning word” is the “Psalm of David.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash is the phrase “it is written or the verse, it is a joy to the righteous to do judgement” (הכתוב שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט) taken from Mishely / Proverbs 21:15.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable” is the question of what this verse may mean in light of the verse, “when He who executes judgement, it is a joy to the Righteous One of the world.”
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” is that The Lord of hosts is exalted through judgement and that judgment is a joy to the righteous.
  • The Concluding statements is to look at the life of David, as soon as God’s judgment come upon him David began to rejoice and compose a Psalm.

Midrash Tehillim 3, Part 1 is short enough to included in the study (shown below) and was chosen because there are a number of interesting points that can be made concerning the comments the rabbis are giving on the verse “a Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his son.” The דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “the beginning word” directs our attention to the “Psalm” or “Song” (מזמור) of David. The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash is taken from Mishley / Proverbs 21:15 that states “it is a joy to the righteous to do judgment” (שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט). It is a little difficult to establish the משל (mashal) “the parable” the rabbis are using in part 1 but it appears that they are trying to explain the Petihta of what this verse may mean in relation to the opening verse “a song of David when he fled from Absalom.” The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” is that The Lord of hosts is exalted through judgement and that judgment is a joy to the righteous and Part 1 concludes with directing our attention back to David and the מעשה צדקים (maasei tzedikim) “the works of righteousness” he did when judgment come upon him and his family as a result of his previous sin. The most interesting things to discuss come out of the נמשל (Nimshal) expansive sections of this Midrash.

Midrash Tehillim, Chapter 3, Part 1

A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son (Tehillim / Psalms 3:1). Consider these words in the light of the verse, it is a joy to the righteous to do judgment (Mishley / Proverbs 21:15). This verse may mean that when He executes judgment, it is a joy to the Righteous One of the world. Why? Because He is thereby exalted in the world, as it is said The Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment, and God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness (Isaiah 5:16). On the verse It is a joy to the righteous to do judgment may mean when He dealt the measure of judgment to His Holy Temple and destroyed it, it was a joy to the Righteous One of the world, as it is said O God awful are You because of Your holy place (Tehillim / Psalms 68:36). Rabbi Johanan, commenting on what God did to His holy places, said, Since God did not spare His own House and His own Temple, how much more awesomely will He deal with those of others when He comes to punish the others. Or the verse It is a joy to the righteous to do judgment may mean that when He executes judgment upon righteous men, it is a joy to them, because He cleanses them of their transgressions. That this is true you can see from the example of David. As soon as the measure of God’s judgment struck him, David began to rejoice and to compose A Psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

מדרש תהלים פרק ג סימן א

א. מזמור לדוד בברחו מפני אבשלום בנו. זהו שאמר הכתוב שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט (משלי כא טו), שמחה לצדיקו של עולם כשהוא עושה את הדין, למה שהוא מתרומם בעולם, שנאמר ויגבה ה׳ צבאות במשפט (ישעיה ה יו). דבר אחר שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט, שמחה לצדיקו של עולם שנעשה מדת הדין בביתו והחריבו, שכן הוא אומר נורא אלהים ממקדשיך (תהלים סח לו), אמר ר׳ יוחנן ממה שעשו במקדש, השתא מה אם לביתו ולמקדשו לא נשא פנים, לאחרים על אחת כמה וכמה שהוא עתיד להפרע מאחרים. דבר אחר שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט. שמחה לצדיקים שעושה בהם משפט, שהוא מנקה אותם מעוונותיהם, תדע לך שהוא כן, שהרי דוד כיון שפגעה בו מדת הדין התחיל שמח ומזמר מזמור לדוד.

Reading through the Midrash (Part 1) and extracting the expansive sections (Nimshal) from the Midrash we obtain the following outline.

Interesting Points

  1. The Lord of hosts is exalted through judgment and God the Holy One is sanctified through righteousness (Isaiah 5:16).
  2. God did not spare His own house (the Temple in Jerusalem).
  3. How will God deal with others when judgment comes?
  4. When He executes judgment upon the righteous it is a joy to them.

    These four things pointedly stick out in the נמשל (Nimshal) expansive section of this Midrash. The questions that arise from the outline are: “how is God exalted in judgment?” “Is this because judgment comes as a result of His holiness and righteousness?” “Our bodies are God’s Temple, what will happen if we defile the Temple of our bodies, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit?” “Is it really a joy to the righteous when God’s judgment comes upon them?” These are all very interesting questions and each comes from these points listed above. While thinking upon these questions, more questions come to mind, judgment comes as a result of sin. Sin in my life, or in the lives of a nation of people, such as in the case of Israel shown in the Scriptures throughout history. I want to live a righteous life, how do I live a righteous life? How does God want me to live righteously before Him? How is God’s Torah (Law) to be applied to my life as the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 1:2 ב כִּי אִם-בְּתוֹרַת יְהֹוָה חֶפְצוֹ וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ יֶהְגֶּה יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה: 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. (NASB)? When questioning sin and righteousness, have you ever wondered how heavy is the sin in my heart as compared to the sin I commit in my body? Does the one outweigh the other? If I only think about sin and do not act upon it, would that bring the wrath of God and His judgement upon me?

    These questions draw to mind a fundamental principle in rabbinic exegesis known as the “Kal Vachomer” (קל וחומר). The Kal Vachomer” (קל וחומר) is a fortiori inference, and a fundamental principle of rabbinic exegesis. This is a rule of logical argumentation by means of which two cases are compared, one lenient and the other more stringent. The Kal Vachomer principle asserts that if the law is stringent in a case where we are usually lenient, then it will certainly be stringent in a more serious case. What is the more serious case here with respect to judgment of sin in our lives? It is interesting to note that Yeshua used many “Kal Vachomer” arguments during His teaching ministry while here on earth. Many of the Kol Vachomer arguments that Yeshua used was directly related to our relationship with God and with others. This relationship that we have with God is the very thing that Yeshua was teaching and focusing upon in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. Yeshua told His disciples saying ויאמר ישוע אל תלמידיו אמן אמר אני לכם קשה לעשיר לבוא אל מלכות השמים׃ (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ, Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι πλούσιος δυσκόλως εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν.) in Matthew 19:23 “… truly I say unto you, difficult for the rich to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.” (NASB) The reason it is difficult of the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven is because trust is placed in one’s wealth over trusting in God. Trusting in the Lord God for everything is directly connected to the relationship a father has with his son and the provision of life, food, home, and wealth truly comes from our Father in Heaven and not by our own making (note Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:18). This relationship that we have with the Lord God of Heaven is very important, as a result of this importance, Yeshua taught at length on this topic in Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7. We can summarize Matthew 5, 6, and 7 as follows:

    Summary of Matthew 5, 6, and 7

    1. The Blessedness (Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12)
      • Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ πενθοῦντες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ παρακληθήσονται. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοὶ κληρονομήσουσιν τὴν γῆν. Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ πεινῶντες καὶ διψῶντες τὴν δικαιοσύνην, ὅτι αὐτοὶ χορτασθήσονται. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ ἐλεήμονες, ὅτι αὐτοὶ ἐλεηθήσονται. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ, ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ εἰρηνοποιοί, ὅτι αὐτοὶ υἱοὶ θεοῦ κληθήσονται. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (NASB)
      • μακάριοι οἱ δεδιωγμένοι ἕνεκεν δικαιοσύνης, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NASB)
      • μακάριοί ἐστε ὅταν ὀνειδίσωσιν ὑμᾶς καὶ διώξωσιν καὶ εἴπωσιν πᾶν πονηρὸν καθ’ ὑμῶν [ψευδόμενοι] ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ: Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. (NASB)
  1. Salt of the earth and light of the world. (Matthew 5:13-14) Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς: ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων. Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ φῶς τοῦ κόσμου. οὐ δύναται πόλις κρυβῆναι ἐπάνω ὄρους κειμένη: 5:13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 5:14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; (NASB)
  2. The Torah will not pass away (Matthew 5:17-19) Μὴ νομίσητε ὅτι ἦλθον καταλῦσαι τὸν νόμον ἢ τοὺς προφήτας: οὐκ ἦλθον καταλῦσαι ἀλλὰ πληρῶσαι. ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἕως ἂν παρέλθῃ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ γῆ, ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία οὐ μὴ παρέλθῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ νόμου ἕως ἂν πάντα γένηται. ὃς ἐὰν οὖν λύσῃ μίαν τῶν ἐντολῶν τούτων τῶν ἐλαχίστων καὶ διδάξῃ οὕτως τοὺς ἀνθρώπους, ἐλάχιστος κληθήσεται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν: ὃς δ’ ἂν ποιήσῃ καὶ διδάξῃ, οὗτος μέγας κληθήσεται ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τῶν οὐρανῶν. 5:17 ‘Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 5:18 ‘For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 5:19 ‘Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (NASB)
  3. Personal Relationships (Matthew 5:21-48)
    • Matthew 5:21-22, Anyone angry with his brother is a murderer and in danger of being cast into hell.
    • Matthew 5:23-26, Before bringing an offering before God make right with your brother and then come back and bring your offering. This demonstrates how our relationships here on earth affect our relationship with God.
    • Matthew 5:27-28, Anyone looking upon and lusting for a woman has already committed adultery.
    • Matthew 5:29-30, If your eye causes you to stumble pluck it out, cut off your hand if it causes you to sin, it would be better to lose a body part than to be cause into hell.
    • Matthew 5:31-32, Marriage and divorce.
    • Matthew 5:33-37, Making an oath or a false vow before God and men.
    • Matthew 5:38-42, The Torah says an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth, Yeshua raises the standard to not exact punishment upon someone if they have wronged you but to give to someone willingly and to go with the person the extra mile.
    • Matthew 5:43-48, It is said to love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Yeshua says to love your enemies, the sun raises on both the righteous and the unrighteous, and we are to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
  1. Giving to the poor and prayer (Matthew 6:1-14). Give to the poor in secret and pray in private, the reason being our reward is from our Father in Heaven not from men.
  2. Fasting, true treasure, and wealth (Matthew 6:16-24). When we fast do so without letting others know, do not store up treasures on this earth but store up treasures in heaven, and we cannot serve two masters, we either serve God or money.
  3. Not to worry about this world (Matthew 6:25-34). Do not worry what we will eat, drink, or wear, trust in the Lord, our Father in Heaven will provide.
  4. Judging others (Matthew 7:1-6). If we judge others harshly, we will be judged with the same standard.
  5. Prayer and the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:7-12). Looking to our Father in Heaven to provide for us and to treat other people in the same way we would like to be treated.
  6. The Narrow and Wide Gate (Matthew 7:13-14) the way to everlasting life is narrow, it does not follow down the easy path which is wide that leads to destruction.
  7. A tree and its Fruit and the Judgment day (Matthew 7:15-23). Beware of false prophets; a good tree bears good fruit. Finally here Yeshua states saying Οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγων μοι, Κύριε κύριε, εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἀλλ’ ὁ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. πολλοὶ ἐροῦσίν μοι ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Κύριε κύριε, οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δαιμόνια ἐξεβάλομεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν; καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς ὅτι Οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς: ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν. 7:21 ‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter 7:22 ‘Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 7:23 ‘And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (NASB)
  8. Two Foundations (Matthew 7:24-28). The man who hears the words of Yeshua and acts upon them will stand firm and unmoved. The person who does not act upon them will result in a great fall.

The scriptures in Matthew chapter 5 through 7 can be divided into twelve major sections (divisions). In section 11 (Matthew 7:15-23) we are warned to beware of false prophets and then Yeshua speaks saying a good tree bear’s good fruit. Then Yeshua speaks of the final days standing before the judgment throne saying: Οὐ πᾶς ὁ λέγων μοι, Κύριε κύριε, εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν, ἀλλ’ ὁ ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς. πολλοὶ ἐροῦσίν μοι ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Κύριε κύριε, οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δαιμόνια ἐξεβάλομεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν; καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς ὅτι Οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς: ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν. 7:21 ‘Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter 7:22 ‘Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 7:23 ‘And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (NASB) The specific point being made here in Matthew 7:21 is ποιῶν τὸ θέλημα τοῦ πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς “He who makes/does (ποιῶν) the will of what God wishes to be done (ποιῶν) will enter heaven.” The question here is “what is the will of our Father in Heaven” and “what is Yeshua saying here within the context of these verses?” Matthew 7:22 states saying πολλοὶ ἐροῦσίν μοι ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, Κύριε κύριε, οὐ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι ἐπροφητεύσαμεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δαιμόνια ἐξεβάλομεν, καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν; “did we not prophesy (ἐπροφητεύσαμεν) in your name, cast out (ἐξεβάλομεν) demons in your name, and by the strength of your name do many things (ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν)?” The literal translation of the text (7:22) states καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν “And in the strength of your name do many things (to make, produce, construct, form, fashion, to be the authors of, etc)?” The Greek text does not give the word for miracle here, but alludes to something even more remarkable. The people who stood before God were detailing all of the things they had done “in the power of His Name.” They were saying that they had done many things on this Earth in their lives in Yeshua’s name. Yet Yeshua said that He will say καὶ τότε ὁμολογήσω αὐτοῖς ὅτι Οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς: ἀποχωρεῖτε ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν. “And at that time I will say to him I never knew you (ὅτι Οὐδέποτε ἔγνων ὑμᾶς), depart from me (as in separation) you worker of lawlessness (ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν).” What we are reading here is Yeshua telling us the one who enters Heaven will be the one who does the will of the Father in Heaven, however, there will be persons who are there at that time who will give examples of what they had done “in the power of His Name” but yet Yeshua will say depart from me I never knew you. Should this not strike fear in our hearts while reading this? What is the difference between the two groups of people? Both did things in the power of the name of Yeshua but the later group Yeshua says “I never knew you.” What is Yeshua trying to say? Studying the surrounding context of this verses (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) (i) the beatitudes, (ii) salt of the earth and light of the world, (iii) the Torah will not pass away, (iv) personal relationships of not committing murder in our hearts, not committing adultery, marriage and divorce, (v) giving to the poor, (vi) fasting, prayer, (vii) the golden rule and judging others, (viii) the narrow and wide gate and (ix) building of our house on two foundations, it seems that these people lived in a way that in all outward appearances was in line with the will of God but yet it really was not.

How does this relate to the Kol Vachomer” argument referred to earlier? The Kol Vachomer exegetical technique, a rule of logical argumentation by means of which two cases are compared, one lenient and the other more stringent, can be found in Matthew 5:21-22 and 5:27-28. In Matthew 5:21-22, Yeshua says that any man who is angry with his brother is a murderer and in danger of being cast into hell. On the one hand, murder is very “heavy” and the penalty is death, whereas if someone thinks in their heart of murder or killing someone but does not act upon it is not judged. No man knows the thoughts of another man, so thoughts of murder are lenient until acted upon which would become heavy. In Matthew 5:27-28, Yeshua said that any man who looks upon a woman and lusts for her has already committed adultery and is guilty. Similarly, the act of adultery is “heavy” and the penalty is death, whereas our thoughts are considered light, even today we are very lenient on the way we think, the thoughts of our minds as compared to our actions. This is closely related to our relationship with others and with God, especially with regard to our hearts, the very thing that we judge leniently upon but is the very place, the dwelling place of God’s Holy Spirit. Taking this perspective that Yeshua sends the Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts, within our bodies, how “heavy” then does what Yeshua is saying become if we have murder or lust in our hearts regardless of whether we act upon them physically?

As you and I know, it is possible to go through the motions, give all the outward appearances of doing God’s will but inwardly being very far from God. Think on this for a moment, can we be doing the will of our Father in Heaven while at the same time judging our brother and consigning a person to hell (judging a person to death) because they do not do what we do? Isaiah said יג וַיֹּאמֶר אֲדֹנָי יַעַן כִּי נִגַּשׁ הָעָם הַזֶּה בְּפִיו וּבִשְֹפָתָיו כִּבְּדוּנִי וְלִבּוֹ רִחַק מִמֶּנִּי וַתְּהִי יִרְאָתָם אֹתִי מִצְוַת אֲנָשִׁים מְלֻמָּדָה: 29:13 And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw nigh unto me , and with their mouth and with their lips to honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them; (ASV) Isaiah reports what the Lord said that the people honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him (וְלִבּוֹ רִחַק מִמֶּנִּי), the fear of the Lord was the commandment of men that was learned (וַתְּהִי יִרְאָתָם אֹתִי מִצְוַת אֲנָשִׁים מְלֻמָּדָה). According to the prophet Isaiah, God was stating that the people honor Him with their lips and yet keep their hearts were far from Him. Is this the source material for the Kol Vachomer exegetical technique utilized by the rabbis in Yeshua’s day? Is this the thing that Yeshua was teaching in Matthew 5, 6, and 7? Would this adequately explain the differences between the two groups of people in Matthew 7? The people who did things “in the power of His Name” (καὶ τῷ σῷ ὀνόματι δυνάμεις πολλὰς ἐποιήσαμεν) did so having their hearts far from God and from a desire to be honored by men? Is it possible to live in a continual state of lawlessness on the inside and appear to live correctly on the outside? I believe that is absolutely possible! Take for example, every time one looks to pornography he or she is living in a state of lawlessness in the heart! Another example would be relying upon ones observance of the Torah (Law) to make it to heaven, though one may be doing something “in the power of the Name” the reliance on the mitzvot (commandments) causes one to rely upon his or her work and not upon the absolute mercy of God. The way we live our lives is not a “means to an end.” The purpose and reason for living our lives for the Lord is because we are a Holy people in the Messiah, in Yeshua the Christ! We have entered into a relationship with the Lord in the blood of the covenant and by faith. As a covenant people we live in the way God desires for us to live, and as Peter wrote in 1 Peter chapter 1, be holy as I am holy (ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸν καλέσαντα ὑμᾶς ἅγιον καὶ αὐτοὶ ἅγιοι ἐν πάσῃ ἀναστροφῇ γενήθητε, διότι γέγραπται [ὅτι] Αγιοι ἔσεσθε, ὅτι ἐγὼ ἅγιος [εἰμι].) 1:15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 1:16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (NASB) We are to live as a holy people in the commandment of God, just as the Apostle Peter wrote in his epistle. However, living with righteousness and justice, this is done on the inside which then pours out through and into what we do and how we live and interact with others, without murder in our hearts, or adultery in our minds, or taking pride in the service that we offer unto the Lord “in the power of His Name.” We must trust in the mercy of God for our salvation in Yeshua His Savior.

Looking at the outline of Midrash Tehillim 3, Part 1, the Midrash concludes saying David rejoiced when God’s judgement came upon him and he composed a Psalm.

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm as a Psalm of David when he fled from Absalom his Son.
  • The דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “the beginning word” is the “Psalm of David.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash is the phrase “it is written or the verse, it is a joy to the righteous to do judgement” (הכתוב שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט) taken from Mishely / Proverbs 21:15.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable” is the question of what this verse may mean in light of the verse, “when He who executes judgement, it is a joy to the Righteous One of the world.”
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” is that The Lord of hosts is exalted through judgement and that judgment is a joy to the righteous.
  • The Concluding statements is to look at the life of David, as soon as God’s judgment come upon him David began to rejoice and compose a Psalm.

It appears that the composition of the Psalm is equated to the joy of David having judgement come upon him. Studying the Psalms, it does not appear that in every Psalm David is rejoicing but struggling on how to deal with the situations that God is allowing or causing to come upon him as a result of his sin, or in the enemies that surround him threatening to take his life. The Midrash states in the Nimshal “Or the verse It is a joy to the righteous to do judgment may mean that when He executes judgment upon righteous men, it is a joy to them, because He cleanses them of their transgressions” (דבר אחר שמחה לצדיק עשות משפט. שמחה לצדיקים שעושה בהם משפט, שהוא מנקה אותם מעוונותיהם) the word used here is מנקה appears to be from the root word “to take” saying that God has taken away or is cleansing the righteous from his sin (iniquity) in judgment. It appears that the rabbis are saying David was forgiven but he must still take his punishment for his sin that God has taken or cleansed him from. There are consequences for our actions in this life. The joy of the righteous person in the judgment of God is knowing that God is still working in the person’s life. God is glorified because when judgment comes, He delivers the righteous and reestablishes him, lifts, and rises up the head (וּמֵרִים רֹאשִׁי) of the righteous. Tehillim / Psalms 3 provides for us the glorious salvation of God, His Salvation prevails and it is in the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah we are to place our trust forever. Amen! Let’s pray!

Notes

Today we know that the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Aramaic known as the Targumim. The earliest date for the Aramaic translations is believed to be written from the time of the Babylonian Exile and then return to Israel according to the books of Ezra and Nehemiah from the Ketuvim (writings) in the Tanakh. The Aramaic translations were designed to meet the needs of uneducated people who did not know the Hebrew language. After the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem (70 AD), the Targum Onkelos became the standard Aramaic text in the synagogues where scripture was read aloud with the translation in Aramaic.

 Tehillim 3-Part1-Part2

Previous articleTehillim / Psalms 3 Study, David and Absalom, Part 1
Next articleTehillim / Psalms 4, An Evening Prayer, Part 1 and 2
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!