Tehillim / Psalms 80, Part 2, The concept of the Lord’s face shining upon us

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 80:1-19, the psalm opens saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל-שׁשַׁנִּים עֵדוּת לְאָסָף מִזְמוֹר: ב רֹעֵה יִשְֹרָאֵל | הַאֲזִינָה נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף ישֵׁב הַכְּרוּבִים הוֹפִיעָה: For the choir director; set to El Shoshannim; Eduth. A Psalm of Asaph. 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! (NASB) Why does Asaph speak of leading Joseph? The Psalm continues saying, ג לִפְנֵי אֶפְרַיִם | וּבִנְיָמִן וּמְנַשֶּׁה עוֹרְרָה אֶת-גְּבוּרָתֶךָ וּלְכָה לִישֻׁעָתָה לָּנוּ: ד אֱלֹהִים הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: 80:2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power And come to save us! 80:3 O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. 80:4 O Lord God of hosts, How long will You be angry with the prayer of Your people? (NASB) He speaks of the Lord feeding the people with the “bread of tears” (80:5), and made Israel to be an object of contention with her neighbors (80:6), and he asks the Lord to cause his face to shine upon them (80:7). Asaph speaks a parable about the Lord taking a vine from Egypt (80:8), and planted in the fertile ground of Israel (80:9), and the vine grew and covered the mountains (80:10), and the growth was so massive that the branches began to spread to the sea and the river. Asaph continues saying, יג לָמָּה פָּרַצְתָּ גְדֵרֶיהָ וְאָרוּהָ כָּל-עֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ: יד יְכַרְסְמֶנָּה חֲזִיר מִיָּעַר וְזִיז שָֹדַי יִרְעֶנָּה: טו אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת שׁוּב-נָא הַבֵּט מִשָּׁמַיִם וּרְאֵה וּפְקֹד גֶּפֶן זֹאת: 80:12 Why have You broken down its hedges, So that all who pass that way pick its fruit? 80:13 A boar from the forest eats it away And whatever moves in the field feeds on it. 80:14 O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, (NASB) The Psalm concludes saying, טז וְכַנָּה אֲשֶׁר-נָטְעָה יְמִינֶךָ וְעַל-בֵּן אִמַּצְתָּה לָּךְ: יז שְֹרֻפָה בָאֵשׁ כְּסוּחָה מִגַּעֲרַת פָּנֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ: יח תְּהִי-יָדְךָ עַל-אִישׁ יְמִינֶךָ עַל-בֶּן-אָדָם אִמַּצְתָּ לָּךְ: יט וְלֹא-נָסוֹג מִמֶּךָּ תְּחַיֵּנוּ וּבְשִׁמְךָ נִקְרָא: כ יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ הָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: 80:15 Even the shoot which Your right hand has planted, And on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself. 80:16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. 80:17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. 80:18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. 80:19 O Lord God of hosts, restore us; Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. (NASB) Asaph believes that the Lord shining His face to the people will save them. How does the shining of the face of God bring salvation to Israel?

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק פ

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל-שׁשַׁנִּים עֵדוּת לְאָסָף מִזְמוֹר: ב רֹעֵה יִשְֹרָאֵל | הַאֲזִינָה נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף ישֵׁב הַכְּרוּבִים הוֹפִיעָה: ג לִפְנֵי אֶפְרַיִם | וּבִנְיָמִן וּמְנַשֶּׁה עוֹרְרָה אֶת-גְּבוּרָתֶךָ וּלְכָה לִישֻׁעָתָה לָּנוּ: ד אֱלֹהִים הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה:

סםר טוביה פרק פ

א לשבחא על יתבי סנהדרין די מתעסקין בסהדות אוריתא על ידוי דאסף תושבחתא שירתא׃ ב פרנסא דישראל אצית דמדבר היך ענא ארונא דיוסף דשכינתיה שריא ביני כרוביא הופע׃ ג קדם אפרים ובנימן ומנשה עורר ית כח גבורתך עלנא ועלך מן דינא למפרוק לנא יתנא׃ ד אלהא אתיב יתנא מגלותנא ואנהר זיו סבר אפך עלנא וניתפריק׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 80

80:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀλλοιωθησομένων μαρτύριον τῷ Ασαφ ψαλμὸς ὑπὲρ τοῦ Ἀσσυρίου ὁ ποιμαίνων τὸν Ισραηλ πρόσχες ὁ ὁδηγῶν ὡσεὶ πρόβατα τὸν Ιωσηφ ὁ καθήμενος ἐπὶ τῶν χερουβιν ἐμφάνηθι 80:2 ἐναντίον Εφραιμ καὶ Βενιαμιν καὶ Μανασση ἐξέγειρον τὴν δυναστείαν σου καὶ ἐλθὲ εἰς τὸ σῶσαι ἡμᾶς

ה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת עַד-מָתַי עָשַׁנְתָּ בִּתְפִלַּת עַמֶּךָ: ו הֶאֱכַלְתָּם לֶחֶם דִּמְעָה וַתַּשְׁקֵמוֹ בִּדְמָעוֹת שָׁלִישׁ: ז תְּשִֹימֵנוּ מָדוֹן לִשְׁכֵנֵינוּ וְאֹיְבֵינוּ יִלְעֲגוּ-לָמוֹ: ח אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: ט גֶּפֶן מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּסִּיעַ תְּגָרֵשׁ גּוֹיִם וַתִּטָּעֶהָ: י פִּנִּיתָ לְפָנֶיהָ וַתַּשְׁרֵשׁ שָׁרָשֶׁיהָ וַתְּמַלֵּא-אָרֶץ: יא כָּסּוּ הָרִים צִלָּהּ וַעֲנָפֶיהָ אַרְזֵי-אֵל: יב תְּשַׁלַּח קְצִירֶהָ עַד-יָם וְאֶל-נָהָר יוֹנְקוֹתֶיהָ: יג לָמָּה פָּרַצְתָּ גְדֵרֶיהָ וְאָרוּהָ כָּל-עֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ: יד יְכַרְסְמֶנָּה חֲזִיר מִיָּעַר וְזִיז שָֹדַי יִרְעֶנָּה: טו אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת שׁוּב-נָא הַבֵּט מִשָּׁמַיִם וּרְאֵה וּפְקֹד גֶּפֶן זֹאת: טז וְכַנָּה אֲשֶׁר-נָטְעָה יְמִינֶךָ וְעַל-בֵּן אִמַּצְתָּה לָּךְ: יז שְֹרֻפָה בָאֵשׁ כְּסוּחָה מִגַּעֲרַת פָּנֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ: יח תְּהִי-יָדְךָ עַל-אִישׁ יְמִינֶךָ עַל-בֶּן-אָדָם אִמַּצְתָּ לָּךְ: יט וְלֹא-נָסוֹג מִמֶּךָּ תְּחַיֵּנוּ וּבְשִׁמְךָ נִקְרָא: כ יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ הָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה:

ה יהוה אלהים צבאות עד אימתי לא קבילתא צלותא דעמך׃ ו אוכלתא להון לחם טמיש בדמעותא ואשקיתן חמר דמעא תלתי׃ ז שויתנא למדנא למדיינא לשיבבנא ובעלי דבבנא יתלעבון להון׃ ח אלהים צבאות אתיב יתנא מגלותנא ואנהר זיו סבר אפך עלנא ונתפריק׃ ט בית ישראל דמתילין לגופנא ממצרים אטילתא תריכתא עמיא עממיא מארעא דישראל ונציבתינון׃ י פניתא מן קדמיהון כנענאי ושרשתא שורשיהון ומלאת ארעא׃ יא חפיין טוריא דירושלם טול בית מקדשא ובתי מדרשיא רבנין אמרין אלימין דמתילין לארזין תקיפין׃ יב שבישת שבשין שדרת תלמידהא עד ימא רבא ולנהר פרת יניקהא׃ יג למה תקיפתא גודהא גודדהא ומכסחין יתה כל עברי אורחא׃ יד י{נו}תברינה חזיר דמן חורשא ותרנגול ברא יתפרנס מינה׃ טו אלהים צבאות תוב כדון אסתכר אסתכל מן שמיא וחמי ואדכר ברחמי גופנא הדא׃ טז ועוברא די נציבת ימינך ועל מלכא משיחא דחיילתא לך׃ יז מתוקדא בנורא ומופרכא ממזופיתא דמן קדמך ייבדון׃ יח תהי אידך על גבר דקיימתא ליה ביד ימינך על בר נש דחיילתא לך׃ יט לא נזור מבתר דחלתך תקיימיננא ובשמך נקרי׃ כ יהוה אלהים צבאות אתיב יתנא מגלותא אנהר זיו סבר אפך עלנא ונתפריק׃

80:3 ὁ θεός ἐπίστρεψον ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπίφανον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου καὶ σωθησόμεθα 80:4 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἕως πότε ὀργίζῃ ἐπὶ τὴν προσευχὴν τοῦ δούλου σου 80:5 ψωμιεῖς ἡμᾶς ἄρτον δακρύων καὶ ποτιεῖς ἡμᾶς ἐν δάκρυσιν ἐν μέτρῳ 80:6 ἔθου ἡμᾶς εἰς ἀντιλογίαν τοῖς γείτοσιν ἡμῶν καὶ οἱ ἐχθροὶ ἡμῶν ἐμυκτήρισαν ἡμᾶς 80:7 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἐπίστρεψον ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπίφανον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου καὶ σωθησόμεθα διάψαλμα 80:8 ἄμπελον ἐξ Αἰγύπτου μετῆρας ἐξέβαλες ἔθνη καὶ κατεφύτευσας αὐτήν 80:9 ὡδοποίησας ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῆς καὶ κατεφύτευσας τὰς ῥίζας αὐτῆς καὶ ἐπλήσθη ἡ γῆ 80:10 ἐκάλυψεν ὄρη ἡ σκιὰ αὐτῆς καὶ αἱ ἀναδενδράδες αὐτῆς τὰς κέδρους τοῦ θεοῦ 80:11 ἐξέτεινεν τὰ κλήματα αὐτῆς ἕως θαλάσσης καὶ ἕως ποταμοῦ τὰς παραφυάδας αὐτῆς 80:12 ἵνα τί καθεῖλες τὸν φραγμὸν αὐτῆς καὶ τρυγῶσιν αὐτὴν πάντες οἱ παραπορευόμενοι τὴν ὁδόν 80:13 ἐλυμήνατο αὐτὴν σῦς ἐκ δρυμοῦ καὶ μονιὸς ἄγριος κατενεμήσατο αὐτήν 80:14 ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἐπίστρεψον δή ἐπίβλεψον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἰδὲ καὶ ἐπίσκεψαι τὴν ἄμπελον ταύτην 80:15 καὶ κατάρτισαι αὐτήν ἣν ἐφύτευσεν ἡ δεξιά σου καὶ ἐπὶ υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου ὃν ἐκραταίωσας σεαυτῷ 80:16 ἐμπεπυρισμένη πυρὶ καὶ ἀνεσκαμμένη ἀπὸ ἐπιτιμήσεως τοῦ προσώπου σου ἀπολοῦνται 80:17 γενηθήτω ἡ χείρ σου ἐπ᾽ ἄνδρα δεξιᾶς σου καὶ ἐπὶ υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου ὃν ἐκραταίωσας σεαυτῷ 80:18 καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀποστῶμεν ἀπὸ σοῦ ζωώσεις ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸ ὄνομά σου ἐπικαλεσόμεθα 80:19 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἐπίστρεψον ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπίφανον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου καὶ σωθησόμεθα

Tehillim / Psalms 80

For the choir director; set to El Shoshannim; Eduth. A Psalm of Asaph. 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! 80:2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power And come to save us!

Toviyah / Psalms 80

80:1 For praise; concerning those who sit in the Sanhedrin who occupy themselves with the testimony of the Torah; composed by Asaph; a psalm. 80:2 Caretaker of Israel, hear; you who guide the coffin of Joseph like a flock; you whose presence abides between the cherubim, shine forth.

Psalmoi / Psalms 80

For the end, for alternate strains, a testimony for Asaph, a Psalm concerning the Assyrian. 80:1 Attend, O Shepherd of Israel, who guidest Joseph like a flock; thou who sittest upon the cherubs, manifest thyself;

Tehillim / Psalms 80

80:3 O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. 80:4 O Lord God of hosts, How long will You be angry with the prayer of Your people? 80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, And You have made them to drink tears in large measure. 80:6 You make us an object of contention to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh among themselves. 80:7 O God of hosts, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. 80:8 You removed a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. 80:9 You cleared the ground before it, And it took deep root and filled the land. 80:10 The mountains were covered with its shadow, And the cedars of God with its boughs. 80:11 It was sending out its branches to the sea And its shoots to the River. 80:12 Why have You broken down its hedges, So that all who pass that way pick its fruit? 80:13 A boar from the forest eats it away And whatever moves in the field feeds on it. 80:14 O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, 80:15 Even the shoot which Your right hand has planted, And on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself. 80:16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. 80:17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. 80:18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. 80:19 O Lord God of hosts, restore us; Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 80

80:3 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up your mighty power for us; and it is right for you to redeem us. 80:4 O God, bring us back from our exile, and shine the splendor of your countenance upon us, and we will be redeemed. 80:5 O Lord God Sabaoth, how long have you not accepted the prayer of your people! 80:6 You fed them bread soaked in tears, and you made them drink the wine of tears in triple measure. 80:7 You made us a source of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies will jeer at them. 80:8 God Sabaoth, bring us back from our exile, and shine the splendor of your countenance upon us, and we will be redeemed. 80:9 The house of Israel, which is likened to a vine, you brought out of Egypt; you chased away the Gentiles from the land of Israel and planted them. 80:10 You cleared out the Canaanites before them, and you uprooted their roots and filled the land. 80:11 The mountains of Jerusalem cover the shadow of the temple, and the academies, say the scholars, are strong, which are likened to mighty cedars. 80:12 You made branches grow, you sent out her pupils to the Great Sea, and her children to the river Euphrates. 80:13 Why have you attacked her walls? and [now] all those who pass on the way are pruning her. 80:14 The boar from the forest will root her up, and the wild cock will be sustained by her. 80:15 God Sabaoth, turn now, look from heaven, and see, and remember this vine in mercy. 80:16 And the branch that your right hand planted, and the King Messiah whom you made mighty for yourself. 80:17 [It is] being burned by fire and crushed; they will perish because of the rebuke that [comes] from your presence. 80:18 Let your hand be on the man to whom you have sworn with your right hand, on the son of man whom you made mighty for yourself. 80:19 We will not turn away from the fear of you; you will sustain us and we will call on your name. 80:20 O Lord God Sabaoth, bring us back from exile; shine the splendor of your countenance upon us and we will be redeemed. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 80

80:2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasse, stir up thy power, and come to deliver us. 80:3 Turn us, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be delivered. 80:4 O Lord God of hosts, how long art thou angry with the prayer of thy servant? 80:5 Thou wilt feed us with bread of tears; and wilt cause us to drink tears by measure. 80:6 Thou has made us a strife to our neighbors; and our enemies have mocked at us. 80:7 Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. Pause. 80:8 Thou hast transplanted a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. 80:9 Thou maddest a way before it, and didst cause its roots to strike, and the land was filled with it. 80:10 Its shadow covered the mountains, and its shoots equaled the goodly cedars. 80:11 It sent forth its branches to the sea, and its shoots to the river. 80:12 Wherefore hast thou broken down its hedge, while all that pass by the way pluck it? 80:13 The boar out of the wood has laid it waste, and the wild beast has devoured it. 80:14 O God of hosts, turn, we pray thee: look on us from heaven, and behold and visit this vine; 80:15 and restore that which thy right hand has planted: and look on the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. 80:16 It is burnt with fire and dug up: they shall perish at the rebuke of thy presence. 80:17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, and upon the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. 80:18 So will we not depart from thee: thou shalt quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. 80:19 Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and make thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.(LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 80:1-19, the psalm opens saying, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ אֶל-שׁשַׁנִּים עֵדוּת לְאָסָף מִזְמוֹר: For the choir director; set to El Shoshannim; Eduth. A Psalm of Asaph. (NASB) The introductory line to the psalm states, El Shoshannim Eduth (אֶל-שׁשַׁנִּים עֵדוּת) meaning, “upon the lilies of the testimony.” Some translations say that this means “lilies of the covenant” where the testimony (עֵדוּת) is connected to the covenant in the sense that the Lord God gives those He is in a covenant relationship with a testimony to speak of His glory and power to deliver His people. The Aramaic Targum states, א לשבחא על יתבי סנהדרין די מתעסקין בסהדות אוריתא על ידוי דאסף תושבחתא שירתא׃ 80:1 For praise; concerning those who sit in the Sanhedrin who occupy themselves with the testimony of the Torah; composed by Asaph; a psalm. (EMC) The rabbis state the introductory phrase may be interpreted as those who are leaders of the people who occupy themselves with the testimony of the Torah. The Torah is considered a lily of the testimony, since the lily is sweet and fragrant and good to the one to whom it is given. The rabbis have further comments on the Torah and the testimony (עֵדוּת) according to Shelah, Shoftim, Torah Ohr 100, 101, and 102.

Shelah, Shoftim, Torah Ohr 100:

Torah is called “day,” as we know from Exodus 19,1 where Israel’s arrival at Sinai- the source of Torah- is described as occurring ביום הזה, “On ‘this’ day they arrived in the desert of Sinai.” Rashi comments that the reason the Torah employs the words ביום הזה, “on this day,” instead of the more appropriate ביום ההוא, “on that day,” is to urge us to love the words of Torah as dearly to-day as on the day they were first received thousands of years ago.

Shelah, Shoftim, Torah Ohr 101:

We know that עבודה is called “day” because the Torah (Leviticus 7,38) writes in connection with the service in the Temple: ביום צוותו, from which we derive that the service has to be performed by day.

Shelah, Shoftim, Torah Ohr 102:

The connection between the pillar גמילות חסדים and “day” is found in Psalms 42,9: יומם יצוה ה’ חסדו, “May G’d command His kindness by day.” Our sages (Chagigah 12) say that anyone who is preoccupied with Torah study at night will have a thread of G’d’s kindness extended across to him from the day.

Shelah Torah Ohr 100 states that Torah is called “day” by reason of Shemot / Exodus 19:1 and the words ביום הזה. Rashi makes a comparison to the manner in which the Hebrew text is written, ביום הזה “on this day,” as opposed to ביום ההוא “on that day,” saying that God’s Word is to be loved and cherished as dearly today as it was when it was first received thousands of years ago. How do we think of the Scriptures from that perspective today? Shelah Torah Ohr 101 states that the word עבודה (service, work) is also called “day,” the interpretation is connected to the Temple service having to be performed by day and the testimony also being a function of one’s service before God, if you are called to do something, do not delay, do what God has called you to do immediately. Shelah Torah Ohr 102 speaks of studying Torah at night time as well as during the day time. When one studies during the night, God extends His Grace, Lovingkindness (חסדו) from the day on into the night. In this sense the study of God’s Word merits mercy from God, and in relation to the testimony, when we give effort to studying God’s Word, believing that the Word is so important for our lives that we integrate it into our daily schedule, we are bearing the testimony to those around us on the importance of Scripture and the power of God and His love for us. Just as the Rabbis interpreted the Aramaic Targum, that El Shoshannim Eduth (אֶל-שׁשַׁנִּים עֵדוּת) as א לשבחא על יתבי סנהדרין די מתעסקין בסהדות אוריתא 80:1 For praise; concerning those who sit in the Sanhedrin (סנהדרין) who occupy themselves (מתעסקין) with the testimony (בסהדות) of the Torah (אוריתא). The leaders of the people occupy themselves in the Scriptures and then express the truths of God to the people, God’s Word is as relevant today as it was thousands of years ago.

The opening statement in the psalm says, ב רֹעֵה יִשְֹרָאֵל | הַאֲזִינָה נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף ישֵׁב הַכְּרוּבִים הוֹפִיעָה: 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! (NASB) Asaph opens by addressing the Lord God in heaven as the רֹעֵה יִשְֹרָאֵל (Shepherd of Israel). This reminds us of Tehillim / Psalms 23 that states, “the Lord is my Shepherd.” In the Apostolic Writings, we are told that the Lord is our shepherd in two ways, (i) as the good shepherd, He laid down his life for His sheep (John 10:11), and (ii) His sheep know His voice and follow Him. (John 10:14) In Tehillim / Psalms 23, the Scriptures use the comparison of the sheep since by their nature, sheep tend to wander off and get lost. As the children of God, we tend to do the same, as Isaiah said in Isaiah 53:6 “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (NASB) Examples of sheep wondering off are given within the context of being attacked, or of killing themselves by drowning or falling off cliffs. Similarly, the parallel is to our lives on the tendency to go astray (Romans 7:5 and 8:8), following the lust of the flesh and of the eyes, or by pursuing the pride of life (1 John 2:16). The various activities in our lives (busyness) cause us to drift away (Hebrews 2:1) and to break God’s commandments. Sheep are helpless creatures and rightly so the Lord God is described as the shepherd here by Asaph in Tehillim / Psalms 80. Sheep are dumb animals, they do not learn well, and are difficult to train, they will not drink from fast flowing streams, they do not have good eye sight and do not hear well, they are slow, do not have claws or sharp hooves or powerful jaws. They are also easily frightened and become confused easily. As a result, the shepherd places his own life in danger to protect the flock due to the helplessness of these animals. David for example put his life in danger to save the flock many times according to 1 Samuel 17:34-35.

Yeshua the Messiah said that He was our shepherd and demonstrated this truth in his own life saying, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). In His actions as the good shepherd, Yeshua “laid down” His life for His sheep (John 10:15-18).Yeshua also warns those who do not believe and listen to Him saying, “I did tell you, but you do not believe … you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:25-28). Note how we are told in Tehillim / Psalm 23:2 of the shepherd leading the sheep “beside the quiet [stilled] waters,” and Tehillim / Psalm 23:3, the Scriptures speaks of “paths” or “well-worn paths or ruts.” In other words, this may be a subtle reference to the Torah of God, of the shepherd who leads the sheep in God’s Torah, along the well-worn paths, the ancient paths as Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 6:16 Thus says the Lord, ‘Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it. (NASB) We are being warned to be careful to not be carried away by strange teachings, or those teachings that are contrary to God’s Word.

Asaph says, ב רֹעֵה יִשְֹרָאֵל | הַאֲזִינָה נֹהֵג כַּצֹּאן יוֹסֵף ישֵׁב הַכְּרוּבִים הוֹפִיעָה: 80:1 Oh, give ear, Shepherd of Israel, You who lead Joseph like a flock; You who are enthroned above the cherubim, shine forth! (NASB) Why does Asaph speak of the Lord leading Joseph rather than Jacob? The people are referred to as “Joseph.” This might be a reference to the Torah in regard to the son who kept the people alive in Egypt, upon which the people might have been known to the Egyptians by the name “the family of Joseph.” This is suggested at according to Shemot / Exodus 1:8 Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph. (NASB) A new king arose who did not know Joseph or his family. Asaph’s reference to Joseph may also be a reference to Manasseh who was the head of the ten northern tribes of Israel. Asaph refers to the One who sits enthroned above the cherubim, having faith in the way the Lord has worked in the past, and as a hopeful expectation of the Lord working in the present and the future in the same manner in which He had worked in the past. This one verse draws in the imagery of the Lord God in heaven who guided the people through the wilderness (Tehillim / Psalm 77:20 and 78:52), and the Lord who is enthroned upon the Cherubim, that the King of the Universe is enthroned in heaven and yet dwelling in the midst of His people (1 Samuel 4:4, 2 Samuel 6:2, 2 Kings 19:15). The Lord’s presence and dwelling in the midst of His people is manifested in the miracles performed in the wilderness in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant (Shemot / Exodus 25:22). Israel is the nation as a whole being referred to as Joseph may represent the Northern Kingdom which is closer to Babylon than that of the Southern Kingdom (Judah).

Asaph continues in His Psalm saying, ג לִפְנֵי אֶפְרַיִם | וּבִנְיָמִן וּמְנַשֶּׁה עוֹרְרָה אֶת-גְּבוּרָתֶךָ וּלְכָה לִישֻׁעָתָה לָּנוּ: 80:2 Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your power And come to save us! (NASB) It is obvious here as Asaph continues that he purposefully chose to refer to Israel as “Joseph” asking the Lord to come and save the people before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh stir up His wrath. It is believed the continuing sins of the Northern Kingdom are being visited upon all of Israel. This is not without good reason since Judah had also been involved in adultery, idolatry, and the other numerous sins detailed in the book of Jeremiah in relation to the Lord sending the nation to Babylon for 70 years.

Asaph continues saying, ד אֱלֹהִים הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: ה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת עַד-מָתַי עָשַׁנְתָּ בִּתְפִלַּת עַמֶּךָ: 80:3 O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. 80:4 O Lord God of hosts, How long will You be angry with the prayer of Your people? (NASB) How does causing the Lord’s face to shine upon the people bring their salvation? The psalmist writes in a very compact fashion, saying “God (אֱלֹהִים) return us (הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ) and the light of your face (וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ) and be saved (וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה).” The Aramaic Targum states, ד אלהא אתיב יתנא מגלותנא ואנהר זיו סבר אפך עלנא וניתפריק׃ 80:4 O God, bring us back from our exile, and shine the splendor of your countenance upon us, and we will be redeemed. (EMC) The light of the face sound as if Asaph has the Aaronic Blessing (Bamidbar / Numbers 6:22-27) in mind when he speaks of the face of God shining and saving the people.

Bamidbar / Numbers 6:22-27

6:22 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6:23 ‘Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: 6:24 The Lord bless you, and keep you; 6:25 The Lord make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; 6:26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 6:27 ‘So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.’ (NASB)

כב וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָֹה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר: כג דַּבֵּר אֶל-אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל-בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר כֹּה תְבָרֲכוּ אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אָמוֹר לָהֶם: ס כד יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָֹה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ: ס כה יָאֵר יְהוָֹה | פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ: ס כו יִשָּׂא יְהוָֹה | פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵֹם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם: ס כז וְשָֹמוּ אֶת-שְׁמִי עַל-בְּנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל וַאֲנִי אֲבָרֲכֵם:

Breaking down the Aaronic blessing (כד יְבָרֶכְךָ יְהוָֹה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ: כה יָאֵר יְהוָֹה | פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ: כו יִשָּׂא יְהוָֹה | פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵֹם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם:), the Hebrew verb ברך (Barakh) means “to kneel,” which is the definition based upon its use in Bereshit / Genesis 24:11. In the Aaronic Blessing, ברך (Barakh) is written in the piel verbal form, and thus it means to show respect or as it is typically translated as “to bless.” In addition, the word ברכה (berakhah) means “gift or present.” Thus, another way of looking at a blessing is to be a blessing by bringing a gift and kneeling, where humbleness and respect are also involved. Based on this word, the Lord God brings blessings upon us by providing for our needs. The next word וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ is from the root verb שמר (shamar), which means “to guard or to protect,” thus saying the Lord God will be a protection for His people. Note that the blessing states to make his face shine upon the people. In a persons face, many times it is possible to discern the mood, emotion, and thoughts of the person by simply looking at one’s face. The word פנים (paniym), means “face,” is generally written in the plural form, but here we find the word written as פָּנָיו a type two third person, singular, masculine possessive pronominal suffix referring to “His face,” the Lord’s face. This word can also be a reference to the “presence” or the “wholeness of being” of an individual, and this is the meaning of its use in Bamidbar / Numbers 6:26. Note that the word פָּנָיו is used twice in the Aaronic Blessing, first (6:25) to describe the Lord’s face shining, and second (6:26) to describing his presence (countenance). The face of God shining is a reference to His looking with approval and to His presence in the midst of His people. We are told “may His face shine upon you” where the word אור (or), as a noun means “light” and as a verb, as it is used here, means to “give light” or to “show forth / shine” and is equated with bringing about order, as a division between the light and dark (Bereshit / Genesis 1), the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous, and something that illuminates or reveals what has been dark. The next word is “and be gracious to you” (וִיחֻנֶּךָּ) where the text does not use the word khesed (חסד). Most theologians will define “grace” as unmerited favor,” but notice the abstractness of these words. The Hebrew verb translated as gracious in the Aaronic blessing is the verb חנן (khanan) and is often paralleled with the meaning “healing, help, being lifted up, finding refuge, strength and rescue.” Finally, we are told the Lord will give (set down for us) peace (וְיָשֵֹם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם). The root word for שָׁלוֹם is שלם (shalam) has been used (Bereshit / Genesis 33:18) as a reference to arriving in safety or in the context of making restitution (Shemot / Exodus 21:36). In the context of the meaning of these words, we are being told in the Aaronic Blessing the Lord God will kneel, bless, and illuminate with His presence, He will guard and protect us, and place before us all that we need to be whole and complete in safety. It may be within this context that Asaph understood to whom it is He is praying, saying, ד אֱלֹהִים הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: ה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת עַד-מָתַי עָשַׁנְתָּ בִּתְפִלַּת עַמֶּךָ: 80:3 O God, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. 80:4 O Lord God of hosts, How long will You be angry with the prayer of Your people? (NASB)

In contrast to this, Asaph says the following,

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 80:5-10

80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, And You have made them to drink tears in large measure. 80:6 You make us an object of contention to our neighbors, And our enemies laugh among themselves. 80:7 O God of hosts, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. 80:8 You removed a vine from Egypt; You drove out the nations and planted it. 80:9 You cleared the ground before it, And it took deep root and filled the land. 80:10 The mountains were covered with its shadow, And the cedars of God with its boughs. (NASB)

ו הֶאֱכַלְתָּם לֶחֶם דִּמְעָה וַתַּשְׁקֵמוֹ בִּדְמָעוֹת שָׁלִישׁ: ז תְּשִֹימֵנוּ מָדוֹן לִשְׁכֵנֵינוּ וְאֹיְבֵינוּ יִלְעֲגוּ-לָמוֹ: ח אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: ט גֶּפֶן מִמִּצְרַיִם תַּסִּיעַ תְּגָרֵשׁ גּוֹיִם וַתִּטָּעֶהָ: י פִּנִּיתָ לְפָנֶיהָ וַתַּשְׁרֵשׁ שָׁרָשֶׁיהָ וַתְּמַלֵּא-אָרֶץ: יא כָּסּוּ הָרִים צִלָּהּ וַעֲנָפֶיהָ אַרְזֵי-אֵל:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 80:6-11

80:6 You fed them bread soaked in tears, and you made them drink the wine of tears in triple measure. 80:7 You made us a source of contention for our neighbors, and our enemies will jeer at them. 80:8 God Sabaoth, bring us back from our exile, and shine the splendor of your countenance upon us, and we will be redeemed. 80:9 The house of Israel, which is likened to a vine, you brought out of Egypt; you chased away the Gentiles from the land of Israel and planted them. 80:10 You cleared out the Canaanites before them, and you uprooted their roots and filled the land. 80:11 The mountains of Jerusalem cover the shadow of the temple, and the academies, say the scholars, are strong, which are likened to mighty cedars. (EMC)

ו אוכלתא להון לחם טמיש בדמעותא ואשקיתן חמר דמעא תלתי׃ ז שויתנא למדנא למדיינא לשיבבנא ובעלי דבבנא יתלעבון להון׃ ח אלהים צבאות אתיב יתנא מגלותנא ואנהר זיו סבר אפך עלנא ונתפריק׃ ט בית ישראל דמתילין לגופנא ממצרים אטילתא תריכתא עמיא עממיא מארעא דישראל ונציבתינון׃ י פניתא מן קדמיהון כנענאי ושרשתא שורשיהון ומלאת ארעא׃ יא חפיין טוריא דירושלם טול בית מקדשא ובתי מדרשיא רבנין אמרין אלימין דמתילין לארזין תקיפין׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 80:5-10

80:5 Thou wilt feed us with bread of tears; and wilt cause us to drink tears by measure. 80:6 Thou has made us a strife to our neighbors; and our enemies have mocked at us. 80:7 Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. Pause. 80:8 Thou hast transplanted a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. 80:9 Thou maddest a way before it, and didst cause its roots to strike, and the land was filled with it. 80:10 Its shadow covered the mountains, and its shoots equaled the goodly cedars. (LXX)

80:5 ψωμιεῖς ἡμᾶς ἄρτον δακρύων καὶ ποτιεῖς ἡμᾶς ἐν δάκρυσιν ἐν μέτρῳ 80:6 ἔθου ἡμᾶς εἰς ἀντιλογίαν τοῖς γείτοσιν ἡμῶν καὶ οἱ ἐχθροὶ ἡμῶν ἐμυκτήρισαν ἡμᾶς 80:7 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἐπίστρεψον ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπίφανον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου καὶ σωθησόμεθα διάψαλμα 80:8 ἄμπελον ἐξ Αἰγύπτου μετῆρας ἐξέβαλες ἔθνη καὶ κατεφύτευσας αὐτήν 80:9 ὡδοποίησας ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῆς καὶ κατεφύτευσας τὰς ῥίζας αὐτῆς καὶ ἐπλήσθη ἡ γῆ 80:10 ἐκάλυψεν ὄρη ἡ σκιὰ αὐτῆς καὶ αἱ ἀναδενδράδες αὐτῆς τὰς κέδρους τοῦ θεοῦ

He speaks of the Lord feeding the people with the “bread of tears” (80:5), and made Israel to be an object of contention with her neighbors (80:6). Each of these things are in direct contrast to what is described according to the Aaronic Blessing. He repeats asking the Lord to make his face to shine upon the people saying, ח אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: 80:7 O God of hosts, restore us And cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. (NASB) The words וְהָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה are all connected, the light of his face shining, and salvation. Light is used in the Scriptures as God’s way of describing bringing about order, His ability in the creation to distinguish and divide between the light and dark (Bereshit / Genesis 1), the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. Asaph’s connection to salvation with the light of His presence, is in regard to his understanding their present disaster is due to their sins, and the Lord dividing between the righteous and the unrighteous, it may be that Asaph is calling for the Lord to have mercy for the sake of the righteous as Abraham did in Parashat Vayera.

Asaph speaks of the Lord taking a vine from Egypt (80:8), reminding Him of what He has done, and then of His planting His people in the fertile ground of Israel (80:9), and the vine grew and covered the mountains (80:10), and the growth was so massive that the branches began to spread to the sea and the river. Here we find the vine and the vineyard type of analogy with regard to the Lord bringing Israel into the Land and Israel was planted in what it appears as a well cultivated garden. The result is her vines grew and produced the fruitful works of righteousness that spread to all places in the land, even to the rivers and the sea.

Asaph continues saying the following,

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 80:12-14

80:12 Why have You broken down its hedges, So that all who pass that way pick its fruit? 80:13 A boar from the forest eats it away And whatever moves in the field feeds on it. 80:14 O God of hosts, turn again now, we beseech You; Look down from heaven and see, and take care of this vine, (NASB)

יג לָמָּה פָּרַצְתָּ גְדֵרֶיהָ וְאָרוּהָ כָּל-עֹבְרֵי דָרֶךְ: יד יְכַרְסְמֶנָּה חֲזִיר מִיָּעַר וְזִיז שָֹדַי יִרְעֶנָּה: טו אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת שׁוּב-נָא הַבֵּט מִשָּׁמַיִם וּרְאֵה וּפְקֹד גֶּפֶן זֹאת:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 80:13-15

80:13 Why have you attacked her walls? and [now] all those who pass on the way are pruning her. 80:14 The boar from the forest will root her up, and the wild cock will be sustained by her. 80:15 God Sabaoth, turn now, look from heaven, and see, and remember this vine in mercy. (EMC)

יג למה תקיפתא גודהא גודדהא ומכסחין יתה כל עברי אורחא׃ יד י{נו}תברינה חזיר דמן חורשא ותרנגול ברא יתפרנס מינה׃ טו אלהים צבאות תוב כדון אסתכר אסתכל מן שמיא וחמי ואדכר ברחמי גופנא הדא׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 80:12-14

80:12 Wherefore hast thou broken down its hedge, while all that pass by the way pluck it? 80:13 The boar out of the wood has laid it waste, and the wild beast has devoured it. 80:14 O God of hosts, turn, we pray thee: look on us from heaven, and behold and visit this vine; (LXX)

80:12 ἵνα τί καθεῖλες τὸν φραγμὸν αὐτῆς καὶ τρυγῶσιν αὐτὴν πάντες οἱ παραπορευόμενοι τὴν ὁδόν 80:13 ἐλυμήνατο αὐτὴν σῦς ἐκ δρυμοῦ καὶ μονιὸς ἄγριος κατενεμήσατο αὐτήν 80:14 ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἐπίστρεψον δή ἐπίβλεψον ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ἰδὲ καὶ ἐπίσκεψαι τὴν ἄμπελον ταύτην

Asaph asks why the Lord has broken down the wall (גְדֵרֶיהָ) so that וְאָרוּהָ “to pluck, gather” all, everyone (כָּל-עֹבְרֵי) who pass the path/way (דָרֶךְ). Notice how he is saying all or every person who come this way will pluck from the vine. The nations are now taking of the good things from Israel, as opposed to only the people of Israel partaking in the good things. The Aramaic Targum states that those who pass on the way are pruning her, suggesting that the pruning process is different from simply the picking of the fruit. Note again how Asaph equates these people with the boar (pig), and the idea that the boar roots around in the dirt and uproots everything. The boar eats the roots, the vine dies. The roots are foundational with regard to the vine which produces fruit. The vine is unable to produce fruit if the root is destroyed, the entire plant dies. The way Asaph describes the nations is very important which is connected to Parashat Toldot, Jacob and Esau. In Parashat Toldot, we are told that Esau is out hunting and he is very hungry. He returns home and sees Jacob fixing a pot of soup and the Torah tells us what Esau said to Jacob saying, ל וַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָֹו אֶל-יַעֲקֹב הַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן-הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה כִּי עָיֵף אָנֹכִי עַל-כֵּן קָרָא-שְׁמוֹ אֱדוֹם: 25:30 and Esau said to Jacob, ‘Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.’ Therefore his name was called Edom. (NASB) It is interesting how Esau describes the food that Jacob is making, he says, הַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן-הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה “I want to swallow / consume this red stuff.” Esau uses a Hiphil Imperative verb הַלְעִיטֵנִי meaning “to swallow or greedily devour,” this red stuff (הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה). It is important to note what he calls the food הָאָדֹם from the root אֲדָמָה meaning “earth, ground, soil.” The significance of Esau’s choice of words are explained in Shelah, Shmini, Torah Ohr 19.

Shelah, Shmini, Torah Ohr 19

Edom, on the other hand, is impure, his food habits are worse than those of other nations, as had already been demonstrated by their patriarch Esau when he wanted the lentils Jacob had cooked (Genesis 25:30). He said to Jacob: הלעטני נא מן האדם האדם, “Please pour some of this red, red (food) down my throat.” The exile the Jewish people suffer under the dominion of Edom is by far the worst. The Torah uses the pig as a symbol of the abominable manner in which this animal pretends to be pure, displaying its cleft hooves as proof, while refusing to chew the cud, symbol of pay ing homage to G’d. The mystical dimension of all this is described in Deut. 33:2 וזרח משעיר למו … כל קדושיו בידך והם תכו ברגלך. When food descends in a beneficial manner and is sacred in nature it is described as: “G’d You open Your hand” (Psalms 145:16).

Shelah, Shmini, Torah Ohr 19, draws a parallel to Edom and impure foods. The commentary states that the interpretation of Esau and future Edom is found in his carelessness in the manner in which he describes the food. It was most likely obvious what Jacob was cooking, based upon smell. It would have been all right to ask his brother for a bowl and to ask the contents of the soup, but instead he commanded ַלְעִיטֵנִי נָא מִן-הָאָדֹם הָאָדֹם הַזֶּה “I want to swallow / consume this red stuff.” It almost sounds as if Jacob and Esau did not get along together. The imagery we get here is his having part in the family of God (a child of Isaac), he walked the walk, his father Isaac loved him greatly, however, he was a deceiver and he had a disregard for this birthright and the covenant of God. The commentary describes him with the symbolism of the pig, that the animal pretends to be pure by the outward display in his cleft hoof, but refuses to do what is right internally (chewing the cud), which is symbolic of paying homage or respect to God, he did not do what was right in his heart. We on the other hand are called to do what is right on both the inside and the out. Note that those who behave as the wild boar do not take care to be obedient to God’s commands. This is what Asaph may be trying to describe, the walls have been broken down, this is the work of the Lord, the nations come in like wild animals, they are deceptive as the boar, they take and eat, uproot, and destroy everything. They are careless and they disregard the Word of the Lord.

The Psalm concludes saying, טז וְכַנָּה אֲשֶׁר-נָטְעָה יְמִינֶךָ וְעַל-בֵּן אִמַּצְתָּה לָּךְ: יז שְֹרֻפָה בָאֵשׁ כְּסוּחָה מִגַּעֲרַת פָּנֶיךָ יֹאבֵדוּ: יח תְּהִי-יָדְךָ עַל-אִישׁ יְמִינֶךָ עַל-בֶּן-אָדָם אִמַּצְתָּ לָּךְ: יט וְלֹא-נָסוֹג מִמֶּךָּ תְּחַיֵּנוּ וּבְשִׁמְךָ נִקְרָא: כ יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים צְבָאוֹת הֲשִׁיבֵנוּ הָאֵר פָּנֶיךָ וְנִוָּשֵׁעָה: 80:15 Even the shoot which Your right hand has planted, And on the son whom You have strengthened for Yourself. 80:16 It is burned with fire, it is cut down; They perish at the rebuke of Your countenance. 80:17 Let Your hand be upon the man of Your right hand, Upon the son of man whom You made strong for Yourself. 80:18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. 80:19 O Lord God of hosts, restore us; Cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, טז ועוברא די נציבת ימינך ועל מלכא משיחא דחיילתא לך׃ יז מתוקדא בנורא ומופרכא ממזופיתא דמן קדמך ייבדון׃ יח תהי אידך על גבר דקיימתא ליה ביד ימינך על בר נש דחיילתא לך׃ יט לא נזור מבתר דחלתך תקיימיננא ובשמך נקרי׃ כ יהוה אלהים צבאות אתיב יתנא מגלותא אנהר זיו סבר אפך עלנא ונתפריק׃ 80:16 And the branch that your right hand planted, and the King Messiah whom you made mighty for yourself. 80:17 [It is] being burned by fire and crushed; they will perish because of the rebuke that [comes] from your presence. 80:18 Let your hand be on the man to whom you have sworn with your right hand, on the son of man whom you made mighty for yourself. 80:19 We will not turn away from the fear of you; you will sustain us and we will call on your name. 80:20 O Lord God Sabaoth, bring us back from exile; shine the splendor of your countenance upon us and we will be redeemed. (EMC) The Septuagint states, 80:15 καὶ κατάρτισαι αὐτήν ἣν ἐφύτευσεν ἡ δεξιά σου καὶ ἐπὶ υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου ὃν ἐκραταίωσας σεαυτῷ 80:16 ἐμπεπυρισμένη πυρὶ καὶ ἀνεσκαμμένη ἀπὸ ἐπιτιμήσεως τοῦ προσώπου σου ἀπολοῦνται 80:17 γενηθήτω ἡ χείρ σου ἐπ᾽ ἄνδρα δεξιᾶς σου καὶ ἐπὶ υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου ὃν ἐκραταίωσας σεαυτῷ 80:18 καὶ οὐ μὴ ἀποστῶμεν ἀπὸ σοῦ ζωώσεις ἡμᾶς καὶ τὸ ὄνομά σου ἐπικαλεσόμεθα 80:19 κύριε ὁ θεὸς τῶν δυνάμεων ἐπίστρεψον ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπίφανον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου καὶ σωθησόμεθα 80:15 and restore that which thy right hand has planted: and look on the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. 80:16 It is burnt with fire and dug up: they shall perish at the rebuke of thy presence. 80:17 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, and upon the son of man whom thou didst strengthen for thyself. 80:18 So will we not depart from thee: thou shalt quicken us, and we will call upon thy name. 80:19 Turn us, O Lord God of hosts, and make thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.(LXX) Asaph describes the son whom the Lord has strengthened (planted), and how he is burned with fire. He seeks the Lord God in heaven to restore and strengthen His people, and that they will not depart from the Lord. In His seeking the Lord, he believes the Lord’s restoration will cause the people to call upon the Name. An in doing this, He will cause His face to shine upon them and they will be saved. This is very similar to what is described in Hebrews 1:1-3 which states the following:

Hebrews 1:1-3

1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (NASB)

The idea of “the radiance of His glory” coupled with “the exact representation of His nature” draws in the imagery that Asaph is laying out here in his Psalm with regard to the Lord shining His face upon the people will save them. This is very similar to what the rabbis say in the Targum, 80:20 O Lord God Sabaoth, bring us back from exile; shine the splendor of your countenance upon us and we will be redeemed. (EMC) There seems to be a parallel concept here to the Messiah Yeshua. The Lord God brought the Messiah, he brought us back from exile, He forgave our sins, and the Messiah has made the purification of sins (Hebrews 1:3) on our behalf. This was done yet while we were still in our sins. Asaph seems to call for the salvation of Israel even in the midst of her sins. The radiance and shining forth of the glory of God describes the Lord God blessing and illuminating with His presence in the Messiah. Coupled with these things, (e.g. the Aaronic Blessing) He will guard and protect us, and place before us all that we need to be whole and complete in safety. It is within this context that Asaph understood to whom it is He is praying, and it is within this same context that we understand the Messiah Yeshua and what He has provided for us. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 80 has 8 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 80, Parts 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 80, Part 2, 3, 4, 6, and 8

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel (Tehillim / Psalms 80:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “As a year of redemption brings with it the necessities of life, so a year that brings the necessities of life brings redemption with it.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis begin with comments regarding asking the Lord to hear the prayer.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal speaking of the Lord who gives the necessities of life.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Menahema said in the name of rabbi Abin, As Joseph, whose brothers had required him with evil deeds, requited them with good deeds, even so have we, in a manner of speaking, required You with wicked deeds, having transgressed Your commandments, but You have required us with good deeds. Hence You that led the flock like Joseph.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your might, and come to save us (Tehillim / Psalms 80:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Five heavenly things come in the universe are sleeping…
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the the five things.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal going on to expand upon the five things.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu, Leka the usual form of with You is here written lekah; the added h that fills out the word is to show that all salvation is from You.”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “O God, restore us; and cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved (Tehillim / Psalms 80:4).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Johanan taught, We? We have nothing except the shining of Your face, make Your face to shine.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon the psalmist’s words of the face of God that shines.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal speaking of the tears of the people.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “How much more, then, will You do for us when You come to see that we are humiliated and that we pour out our very souls in weeping.”

Part 6

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The boar out of the wood does ravage it, and that which moves in the field feeds on it (Tehillim / Psalms 80:14)…”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “the boar out of the wood refers to the emperor of Rome, while that which moves in the field refers to his generals in the field.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon the boar who feeds in the field.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal speaking of how the boar behaves.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Phinheas and rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Simon, it happened that a Roman governor who in one day executed several men guilty of sorcery, adultery, and murder, confided in his assessor, in a single night I myself committed all three of these. Of him it is said, The boar out of the wood does Ravage.”

Part 8

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Let Your hand be upon the name of Your right hand (Tehillim / Psalms 80:18)…”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Let Your hand shield the man of Your right hand, that is to say, Isaac.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis comment upon the psalmist’s words using examples of Jacob and Esau
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal by speaking of the blessing Isaac gave Jacob and Esau
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Johanan taught, We? We have nothing except the shining of Your face. Hence, Cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved.”

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel (Tehillim / Psalms 80:2).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, מה שנת גאולה פרנסה, אף שנת פרנסה גאולה “As a year of redemption brings with it the necessities of life, so a year that brings the necessities of life brings redemption with it.” The rabbis use an Epanodos in their description of to listen, to give ear. (Epanodos – a figure of speech where earlier words are repeated in the reverse order.) What is going on here is the rabbis make a statement and then reverse the word order for the purpose of emphasizing the play on the meaning of the words and their interaction. The homiletic introduction states that the year of redemption (שנת גאולה) brings the necessities of life (livelihood, פרנסה) and then reverses the order, the year of necessities (שנת פרנסה) brings redemption (גאולה). The question is how does the year of redemption bring the necessity of life, and how does the year of the necessity of life bring redemption? Now we might be able to gain some insights into the rabbinic use of the epanodos from the Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:6-7.

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:6:

Greater is Torah than priesthood and kingship, for monarchy is obtained with thirty levels, and priesthood with twenty-four, and Torah is obtained with forty-eight things. And they are these: learning, listening of the ear, preparation of speech, understanding of the heart, reverence, awe, humility, happiness, purity, service of Sages, care in [selection of] friends, debate of the students, clarification, reading, learning, minimal commodities, minimal worldly occupation, minimal pleasure, minimal sleep, minimal conversation, minimal laughter, patience, generosity, trust in Sages, acceptance of suffering, knowing one’s place, gladness in one’s portion, erection of a fence to his words, lack of self-aggrandizement, lovableness, love of God, love of the creatures, love of the righteous, love of the upright, love of rebuke, distancing from honor, lack of arrogance in learning, lack of joy in teaching, lifting of a burden with one’s friend, judgment with the benefit of the doubt, standing for the truth, standing for peace, deliberation in study, questioning and responding, hearing and adding, learning in order to teach and learning in order to act, making his master wiser, focusing one’s words, citing the source, for it is taught that one who cites a source brings redemption to the world, as it says (Esther 2:22): “Esther told the king in Mordekhai’s name.” (גדולה תורה יותר מן הכהונה ומן המלכות, שהמלכות נקנית בשלשים מעלות, והכהנה בעשרים וארבע, והתורה נקנית בארבעים ושמונה דברים.ואלו הן, בתלמוד, בשמיעת האזן, בעריכת שפתים, בבינת הלב, באימה, ביראה, בענוה, בשמחה, בטהרה, בשמוש חכמים, בדקדוק חברים, בפלפול התלמידים, בישוב, במקרא, במשנה, במעוט סחורה, במעוט דרך ארץ, במעוט תענוג, במעוט שנה, במעוט שיחה, במעוט שחוק, בארך אפים, בלב טוב, באמונת חכמים, בקבלת היסורין, המכיר את מקומו, והשמח בחלקו, והעושה סיג לדבריו, ואינו מחזיק טובה לעצמו, אהוב, אוהב את המקום, אוהב את הבריות, אוהב את הצדקות, אוהב את המישרים, אוהב את התוכחות, ומתרחק מן הכבוד, ולא מגיס לבו בתלמודו, ואינו שמח בהוראה, נושא בעל עם חברו, ומכריעו לכף זכות, ומעמידו על האמת, ומעמידו על השלום, ומתישב לבו בתלמודו, שואל ומשיב שומע ומוסיף, הלומד על מנת ללמד והלומד על מנת לעשות, המחכים את רבו, והמכון את שמועתו, והאומר דבר בשם אומרו, הא למדת כל האומר דבר בשם אומרו מביא גאלה לעולם, שנאמר (אסתר ב), ותאמר אסתר למלך בשם מרדכי.)

What is important to note from the Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:6 is the relationship of the Torah to redemption and the necessity of life. The rabbis say that the Torah is greater than the priesthood and kingship, and then go on to list the significance using the gematria, where the numeric value of Torah is greater than these other two. They go on to list the added value of the study of Torah, and then they conclude with the one who cites the source brings redemption to the world. Note that there are two aspects to the comment of citing the source. One is in the meaning of the words, that one is to “focus upon one’s words citing the source” meaning to consider your motivation in what you say. The other is in citing the source of the words, whether Scripture, or someone else. Note that in many cases, throughout the Talmud, Mishnah, and Midrashim, the rabbis always cite the source of their comments (interpretation) as a former rabbi. Consider the NT connection of citing the source of our Rabbi Yeshua the Messiah. His words lead to eternal life. Note what Yeshua states concerning the Mitzvot in John 12:50 I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (NASB) Note that Yeshua taught Torah as a way of life. In addition, if Yeshua’s words do lead to eternal life, then citing his words brings redemption to the world, a direct parallel to what the Rabbis are saying here in the Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:6. Note also the relationship of Torah (redemption) with the necessities of life. The list given in Pirkei Avot 6:6 is pretty exhaustive. Each of these words are used to describe what happens to the one who studies Torah. In addition, it is possible to find a NT verse of either Yeshua, the disciples, or Paul speaking of who we are or what we should be in the Messiah. Take for example the words “minimal laughter” where Paul says in Ephesians 5:4 “and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” (NASB) There are many rabbinic parallels in thought and deed to what is taught in the Apostolic Writings. The rabbis continue in the Mishnah on the importance of the Torah saying the following:

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 6:7:

Great is Torah, for it gives life to those who do it in this world and in the next world, as it says: ‘For they are life to those that find them, and healing to all his flesh’ (Proverbs 4:22), and it says ‘It will be healing for your navel, and tonic to your bones’ (Proverbs 3:8). And it says ‘It is a tree of life to those who hold it, and those who grasp it are happy’ (Proverbs 3:18). And it says ‘For they are an accompaniment of grace for your head, and a necklace for your throat’ (Proverbs 1:9). And it says ‘She will give your head an accompaniment of grace; with a crown of glory she will protect you’ (Proverbs 4:9). And it says ‘For by me your days will be multiplied, and you will be given additional years of life’ (Proverbs 9:11). And it says ‘Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left is wealth and honor’ (Proverbs 3:16), and it says ‘For length of days and years of life and peace will be added to you’ (Proverbs 3:2), and it says ‘her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace’ (Proverbs 3: 17). (גדולה תורה שהיא נותנת חיים לעשיה בעולם הזה ובעולם הבא, שנאמר (משלי ד), כי חיים הם למוצאיהם ולכל בשרו מרפא, ואומר (שם ג), רפאות תהי לשרך ושקוי לעצמותיך.ואומר (שם), עץ חיים היא למחזיקים בה ותומכיה מאשר.ואומר (שם א), כי לוית חן הם לראשך וענקים לגרגרתיך.ואומר (שם ד), תתן לראשך לוית חן עטרת תפארת תמגנך.ואומר (שם ט), כי בי ירבו ימיך ויוסיפו לך שנות חיים.ואומר (שם ג), ארך ימים בימינה בשמאולה עשר וכבוד, ואומר (שם), כי ארך ימים ושנות חיים ושלום יוסיפו לך ואומר (שם), דרכיה דרכי נועם וכל נתיבותיה שלום.)

Note how consistent these words are with Yeshua’s words in John 12:50. If we consider these words from the Mishnah and the homiletic introduction which states that the year of redemption (שנת גאולה) brings the necessities of life (livelihood, פרנסה) and then reverses the order, the year of necessities (שנת פרנסה) brings redemption (גאולה), Asaph’s words calling out to the Lord to give ear, he seeks the Lord God in heaven to hear; the year of redemption is connected to seeking the Lord and the Lord who provides the necessary redemption for His people, which leads to the necessity of life as is found in the Torah, and its connection to the source, Yeshua God’s Messiah. The year of the necessity of life corresponds to the redemption, by reason that when one obtains these necessities which lead to the redemption of the world, one has God’s redemption. Note how the list appears to be the work God begins in us who are in the Messiah, the creating of the new man, our motivation, the changed heart, the plans for our lives to serve Him, to live for Him, all of these things are connected. From a rabbinic context, the year of redemption brings the necessity of life, and the year of the necessity of life brings redemption, because the Lord God in heaven is involved.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פ סימן ב

ב רועה ישראל האזינה. מה שנת גאולה פרנסה, אף שנת פרנסה גאולה, ומה הגאולה בכל יום, אף פרנסה בכל יום, מה הגאולה פלאים, אף פרנסה פלאים, אמר ר׳ שמואל בר נחמני הפרנסה גדולה יותר מן הגאולה שהגאולה תלויה על ידי מלאך, שנאמה המלאך הגואל אותי (בראשית מח יו), והפרנסה על יד הקב״ה, שנאמר האלהים הרועה אותי (שם שם בראשית מ״ח טו), הוי רועה ישראל האזינה. נוהג כצאן יוסף. מה יוסף כינס בשבע שני השבע לשבע שני הרעב, אף אני אכניס מחיי העולם הזה לחיי העולם הבא, מה יוסף כלכל את אחיו לפי מעשיהם, [שנאמר לחם לפי הטף (בראשית מז יב)], אף אתה כלכל אותנו לפי מעשינו. אמר ר׳ מנחמא בשם ר׳ אבין מה יוסף גמלו אחיו רעות והוא גמל עליהם טובות, אף אנו גמלנוך (לך) רעות ואתה גמלת עלינו טובות כביכול שעברנו על מצותיך, הוי נוהג כצאן יוסף.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 2

2. Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel (Tehillim / Psalms 80:2). As a year of redemption brings with it the necessities of life, so a year that brings the necessities of life brings redemption with it. And so redemption sustains us every day, so the necessities of life maintain us every day. As a redemption is miraculous, so the necessities of life are miraculous. Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani taught, The miracle of the necessities of life is greater than the miracle of redemption, for while redemption depends upon an angel, as Jacob said, The angel who has redeemed me form all evil (Bereshit / Genesis 48:16), the necessities of life come from the hand of the Holy One blessed be He, as Jacob said, The God who has been my Shepherd all my life long unto this day (Bereshit / Genesis 48:15). Hence Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel. You that led Joseph like a flock (Tehillim / Psalms 80:2), as Joseph in the seven years of plenty gathered for the seven years of famine, so I will gather in the life of this world for the life in the world to come. As Joseph sustained his brothers according to their deeds, as is said, And Joseph sustained his brethren according to the little ones (Bereshit / Genesis 47:12), do You sustain us according to our deeds. Rabbi Menahema said in the name of rabbi Abin, As Joseph, whose brothers had required him with evil deeds, requited them with good deeds, even so have we, in a manner of speaking, required You with wicked deeds, having transgressed Your commandments, but You have required us with good deeds. Hence You that led the flock like Joseph.

The rabbis state “As a redemption is miraculous, so the necessities of life are miraculous.” Have you ever considered the necessities of life a miracle of God? Consider the following from the Torah in Parashat Ekev, Devarim / Deuteronomy 8:18, טז הַמַּאֲכִלְךָ מָן בַּמִּדְבָּר אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יָדְעוּן אֲבֹתֶיךָ לְמַעַן עַנֹּתְךָ וּלְמַעַן נַסֹּתֶךָ לְהֵיטִבְךָ בְּאַחֲרִיתֶךָ: יז וְאָמַרְתָּ בִּלְבָבֶךָ כֹּחִי וְעֹצֶם יָדִי עָשָֹה לִי אֶת-הַחַיִל הַזֶּה: יח וְזָכַרְתָּ אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי הוּא הַנֹּתֵן לְךָ כֹּחַ לַעֲשֹוֹת חָיִל לְמַעַן הָקִים אֶת-בְּרִיתוֹ אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה: פ יט וְהָיָה אִם-שָׁכֹחַ תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְהָלַכְתָּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וַעֲבַדְתָּם וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוִיתָ לָהֶם הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם כִּי אָבֹד תֹּאבֵדוּן: 8:16 ‘In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end. 8:17 ‘Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand made me this wealth.’ 8:18 ‘But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. 8:19 ‘It shall come about if you ever forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I testify against you today that you will surely perish. (NASB) Notice how Moshe writes concerning the way the Lord fed the people in the wilderness. The purpose was to humble the people and to test them, so that they would not believe it was by their own power they entered into the promised Land. Then Moshe states that it is the Lord God in heaven who gives us the power to make wealth, to confirm the covenant He swore to our fathers. The Lord gives us the ability to obtain the necessities of life. This is so we recognize who it is that gives us life, and so that we do not turn to other gods to serve them. Another interpretation may be the necessities of life being a god or an idol in one’s heart. The same could be said of pride, which is the raising up of ourselves, thinking more of ourselves in our hearts than what we truly are. It is interesting the rabbinic interpretation states:

Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani taught, The miracle of the necessities of life is greater than the miracle of redemption, for while redemption depends upon an angel, as Jacob said, The angel who has redeemed me form all evil (Bereshit / Genesis 48:16), the necessities of life come from the hand of the Holy One blessed be He, as Jacob said, The God who has been my Shepherd all my life long unto this day (Bereshit / Genesis 48:15).

The necessities of life is a greater miracle than the miracle of redemption. The reason being, redemption depends upon a messenger (מלאך, angel), as opposed to the necessity that requires God’s constant hand upon one’s life to sustain and bless as we learn according to Parashat Vayetze and to Parashat Toldot in Joseph and Jacob’s lives, respectively.

The concepts of redemption and the necessities of life are paralleled to Joseph’s life and his God given gifts, coupled with the Lord putting him in a place of power to preserve the people. This is described as God “Gathering in the life of this world for the life in the world to come.” This illustrates God’s role in the work He is performing in our lives to bring us into the world to come. This is then paralleled in God’s working in our lives for the purpose of sustaining us in our deeds. So the idea then is drawn into the context of works which merit the kingdom of God. Do your works have merit for the kingdom of God? If the Lord God is working in your life to produce good works, then the point may be for the need to recognize these things, and to humble ourselves allowing the Lord to work these things in our lives, to do good works, to do justice, and righteousness, to live holy lives, and to help the poor and our neighbor. It is the Lord God who motivates us, but the question is, have you submitted to the call and motivation God is giving you?

Midrash Tehillim 92, Part 2 concludes saying, “Rabbi Menahema said in the name of rabbi Abin, As Joseph, whose brothers had required him with evil deeds, requited them with good deeds, even so have we, in a manner of speaking, required You with wicked deeds, having transgressed Your commandments, but You have required us with good deeds. Hence You that led the flock like Joseph.” The conclusion of the midrash is that in the evil deeds we have done, the Lord God in return does good things for us. The midrash states that God required us with good deeds. The word used here is גמלת meaning “benefited.” Though we have transgressed the Torah command, the Lord benefits us with goodness and righteousness, and calls us back to His ways and to faith in his Messiah, the redeemer. Therefore, the year of redemption (שנת גאולה) brings the necessities of life (livelihood, פרנסה) and the year of necessities (שנת פרנסה) brings redemption (גאולה).

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your might, and come to save us (Tehillim / Psalms 80:3).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Five heavenly things come in the universe are sleeping…” Tehillim / Psalms 44:23 states “Arouse Yourself, why do You sleep, O Lord? Awake, do not reject us forever.” (NASB) The Lord God has allowed the enemy to triumph (Tehillim / Psalms 44:9-16) and the psalm states that they have given him no reason for his desertion of them (Tehillim / Psalms 44:17-22). Is this really true? The Torah lists the things the Lord will bring upon the people if they turn from seeking and serving Him. Why do you think the psalmist questions the Lord when the Scriptures clearly point out the reasons why? It might be because Asaph is a righteous man who is calling out to the Lord why these things are befalling the righteous. The reason may be when the righteous live in the midst of the wicked, the righteous take the chance of being carried away in the wrath of God upon the wicked who surround them. That is why we are told to flee unrighteousness as we read God warning Moshe and Moshe warning the people in Parashat Korach.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פ סימן ג

ג (לבני) [לפני] אפרים ובנימן [ומנשה] עוררה [את] גבורתך. חמשה דברים ישנים הם בעולם, הגבורה, דכתיב עוררה [את] גבורתך, והקשת, דכתיב עריה תעור קשתך (חבקוק ג ט), והחרב, דכתיב חרב עורי על רועי (זכריה יג ז), והזרוע, דכתיב עורי עורי לבשי עוז זרוע ה׳ (ישעיה נא ט), והקנאה, דכתיב כאיש מלחמות יעיר קנאה (שם ישעיהו מב יג), הוי עוררה [את] גבורתך. ולכה לישועתה לנו. אמר ר׳ חלקיה בשם ר׳ אבהו ולכה מלא הוא, שכל הישועה שלך היא.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 3

3. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh, stir up Your might, and come to save us (Tehillim / Psalms 80:3). Five heavenly things come in the universe are sleeping, the might of God, for it is written, Stir up Your might; the rainbow of God, for it is written, Your bow made bare, will awake (Habakkuk 3:9); the sword of God, for it is written, Awake, O sword, against My shepherd (Zechariah 13:7); the arm of God, for it is written, Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord (Isaiah 51:9); and the jealousy of God, for it is written, He will stir up jealousy like a man of war (Isaiah 42:13). Hence Stir up Your might and come to save us. For with You (lekah) is salvation for us (Tehillim / Psalms 80:3). Rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu, Leka the usual form of with You is here written lekah; the added h that fills out the word is to show that all salvation is from You.

The rabbis speak of five things that sleep, (i) the might of God, (ii) the rainbow of God, (iii) the sword of God, (iv) the arm of God, and (v) the jealousy of God. It seems that these five things describes the narrative flow throughout the Torah. The might of God is a reference to God’s creation. The rainbow of God is a reference to His mercy and grace. The sword of God is a reference to God’s mighty deliverance of Israel from bondage, from Egypt. The arm of God to sustain the people in the wilderness for 40 years. And the jealousy of God that is found in the people’s lack of faith and their turning to other gods, to serve, rather than to the Lord God in heaven. These five things appear to outline the Torah narrative and on into the Tanach. The rabbis speak of Benjamin and Manasseh stirring up the wrath of God. This is the first born of Joseph, and the last born of Jacob. The rabbis may be referring to the Northern tribes. The idea is that the wrath of God is poured out upon the entire family, the nation of Israel, when two out of twelve sons are living in sin.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 3 concludes saying, “Rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu, Leka the usual form of with You is here written lekah; the added h that fills out the word is to show that all salvation is from You.” Why do the rabbis say the letter ה shows that all salvation is from the Lord? The following commentaries discuss the significance of the Hebrew letters which may provide some insights into why the letter ה shows that all salvation is from the Lord.

Shelah, Bamidbar, Torah Ohr 15:

This number corresponds to four concepts, each one closer to the “Essence” of things than its preceding one. They correspond to the four letters in the ineffable name of G’d, i.e. י-ה-ו-ה, which in reality contains only three elements, since the letter ה occurs twice in that name. These three letters represent three חכמות, wisdoms, as has been explained in the Sefer Yetzirah. They are the roots of the major קוים, “lines” in the universe, i.e. the line of חסד, love, the line of גבורה, justice, and the line of רחמים, mercy.

Shelach Torah Ohr 15 on Parashat Bamidbar discusses the letters of the YHVH and that each one describes the essence of the Lord God in heaven. The three letters in the YHVH describe the Wisdom (חכמות), Love (חסד), Justice (גבורה, strength or power), and Mercy (רחמים). If we look at the order of the letters and the things these letters represent, the rabbis say the two ה in the YHVH represent Love (חסד) and Mercy (רחמים). Therefore, the letter ה represents God’s love and mercy and so the rabbis conclude the letter ה reveals that all salvation is from the Lord because of His love and mercy.

Midrash Tanchuma Parashat 1, Part 1

In the beginning God created. This is per the verse (Prov. 3:19): “God with wisdom founded the earth” and when the Holy One Blessed Be He created His world, he consulted the Torah and created His World, as it says (Prov. 8:14) “I have counsel and sound wisdom, I am understanding, I have strength.” And with what was the Torah written? With black flame on white flame, as it is said (Song of Songs 5:11) “his hair is wavy, black as a raven.” What is meant by קוצותיו תלתלים (“his hair is wavy”)? That on every קוצ (thorn)^(that is, every serif of every letter of the Torah) hang תילי תילים (locks and locks) of laws. How so? It is written in it [the Torah] (Lev. 22:32): And do not desecrate [תחללו] My holy Name. If you change the [ח] to a [ה] you destroy the world ^(by making techalelu into tehalelu, and making the verse mean do not praise My holy Name). “Every soul shall praise [תהלל] God” (Psalms 150:6), if you change the [ה] a [ח] ^(techalel – shall desecrate) you destroy the world. Likewise, (Deut. 6:4) “Hear O’Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One [אחד].” If you change the [ד] to a [ר] you destroy the world, as it is said (Exo. 34:14) “You will not bow down to other gods.” [Elsewhere it is stated] (Jer. 5:12) “They have belied Hashem.” If you change the [ב] to a [כ] you destroy the world. [Elsewhere it is stated] (1 Shmuel 2:2) “There is none holy as Hashem.” If you change the [כ] to a [ב] you destroy the world. And if just a letter is like this, how much more so a whole word. For this is it stated, “his locks are like tresses.” Therefore David praised and said, (Psalms 119:96) “Your commandment is exceedingly broad.” [Likewise] it is said (Iyov 11:9) “the measure thereof is longer than the earth…” And it [the Torah] was the guide for all creation, as it is said (Prov. 8:30) “then I was by Him, as a nursling.” Do not read it as אמון [nursling], but rather as אומן [guide].

Midrash Tanchuma Parashat 1, Part 1 discusses what happens when one changes the ח (khet) to a ה, they say if this is done you destroy the world. The comparison is to the word Halleluia (הללויה) where הללו means “praise” and Yah (יה) is a circumlocution for the YHVH meaning “Lord.” If the letter ה were changed to a ח, we would spell חלל meaning “curse.” So the idea is if a scribe made the mistake of exchanging these letters, one would curse the name rather than praise the name and thus one would destroy the world. The midrash mentions other common copiest mistakes, exchanging the letters ד with the letter ר and the letter ב with the letter כ. This midrash illustrates the importance of taking care when copying the Hebrew Scriptures, and the application may be coupled to the idea of our taking care to obey the command of God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 12) as we copy and write what God has said upon our hearts. We are to be careful not to profane the name in the way in which we live for the Lord. Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 3 conclusion saying, “Rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Abbahu, Leka the usual form of with You is here written lekah; the added h that fills out the word is to show that all salvation is from You.” (אמר ר׳ חלקיה בשם ר׳ אבהו ולכה מלא הוא, שכל הישועה שלך היא) This is a significant conclusion because salvation in this world is a function of the manner in which we live, if we live profaning the name of God, these five things will appear to sleep, and the power of God will not be available until we get our hearts right with God. We take care to honor God according to His word in our lives, the Lord will see this and have compassion on us in the messiah Yeshua and then as it says in the midrash, הישועה שלך היא “He will send His Salvation.”

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “O God, restore us; and cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved (Tehillim / Psalms 80:4).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Johanan taught, We? We have nothing except the shining of Your face, make Your face to shine.” What does Rabbi Johanan mean by “we have nothing except the shining of God’s face?” This might be a reference to the concept that all things in this life is a gift from God. Even the wicked, the unrighteous receive gifts from God, though they do not recognize it is God how gives them life. The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פ סימן ד

ד אלהים [השיבנו] והאר פניך ונושעה. אמר ר׳ יוחנן אנו אין לנו אלא הארת פניך האר פניך. האכלתם לחם דמעה [ותשקמו בדמעות שליש]. ר׳ אלעזר אומר שלש דמעות הוריד עשו מעיניו, אחת של ימין, ואחת של שמאל, והשלישית היתה קשורה בעינו, שנאמר ותשקמו בדמעות שליש, שלש אינו אומר, אלא שליש, ר׳ ברכיה אומר שליש דמעה הוריד, בדמעות שליש אחד משליש לדמעה. ר׳ אבין אומר ואית דאמרי משמיה דרבי שמלאי, אמרה כנסת ישראל לפני הקב״ה רבונו של עולם בזכות שלש דמעות שהוריד השלטתו מסוף העולם ועד סופו, ונתת לו שלוה בעולם הזה, כשתבא לראות עלבוננו וכשנשפוך נפשנו על אחת כמה וכמה.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 4

4. O God, restore us; and cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved (Tehillim / Psalms 80:4). Rabbi Johanan taught, We? We have nothing except the shining of Your face, make Your face to shine. You have fed them with the bread of tears, yes, given them tears to drink because of three (salis) (Tehillim / Psalms 80:6). Rabbi Eleazar taught, Esau shed three tears, one from the right eye, one from the left, and a third hung in his eye, for it is said, You have given them tears to drink because of three (salis). The verse does not read salos, the unusual word for three, but salis. Therefore, taught rabbi Berechiah, Esau shed only a third of a tear, for the exact meaning of salis is one third, hence, only a third of a tear. Rabbi Abin taught, some say, in the name of Rabbi Simlai, that the congregation of Israel said to the Holy One blessed be He, Master of the universe. Because of three tears which Esau shed, You made him ruler from one end of the earth to the other and gave Him prosperity in this world. How much more, then, will You do for us when You come to see that we are humiliated and that we pour out our very souls in weeping.

The midrash draws a parallel of God’s face shining upon us to the Lord feeding the people with the bread of tears because of three (שליש). They say this refers to Esau who shed three tears, one from the right eye, one from the left, and one hung in his eye. Then they focus upon the way in which the word three is spelled saying, “The verse does not read salos (שלש), the unusual word for three, but salis (שליש).” The translation states that שליש means one third as opposed to שלש meaning three, this suggests that one third of a tear remained. The conclusion is that because of the tears that Esau shed, this made him ruler from one end of the earth to the other and the Lord gave him prosperity. The difference between these two words is the letter yod (י). The following references discuss the meaning of the letter Yod (י).

Penei Dovid on Bereshit / Genesis 1:1

It is possible to hint that the word bereishit is [made up of] the letters, “beareshet yod (by expression of ten),” which hints to (Avot 5:1), “with ten proclamations was the world created.” And see what is written in Petach Einayim on the Mishna, “In ten proclamations,” with God’s help. And I heard from an old God-fearing man that the words, Bereishit bara including the numerical equivalent of two [for these two words] is the numerical equivalent (gematria) of “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One” (Deuteronomy 6:4). Up to here are his words, may His memory be a blessing for life in the world to come. And he gave me pleasure, since in the beginning of the Torah, there is found a hint to His unity, may He be blessed, and [also] all of the kavannot (mystical meditations) that are in the secret of the unification are hinted in these words, as it is stated in the Zohar and in the writings of Ari, of blessed and righteous memory – all of them are hinted in the beginning of our holy Torah. And after much time, I briefly chanced upon the book, Tsvi Kodesh, and I see at the end of page 2, that he wrote this gematria, and added that it is for this reason that our holy Rabbi (Rabbi Yehuda Hanassi) started the [corpus of the] Mishna with the commandment of reading the Shema, see there. (אפשר לרמוז כי תיבת בראשית הוא אותיות בארשת י’ שם רמז בעשרה מאמרות נברא העולם. ועיין מה שכתוב בפתח עינים במשנת בעשרה מאמרות בס”ד. ואני שמעתי מזקן אחד ודחיל חטאין דתיבות בראשית ברא עם ב’ כוללים גימטריא שמע ישראל ה’ אלהינו ה’ אחד עד כאן דבריו זלה”ה. והנאני כי תחילת התורה שם רמז יחודו יתברך וכל הכונות אשר בסוד היחוד שהן רמוזות בתיבות אלו כמו שאמר בזהר וכתבי האר”י זצ”ל הכל רמוז בתחילת תורתינו הקדושה ואחר זמן רב נזדמן לידי לשעה ס’ צבי קדש וראיתי בסוף דף ב’ שכתב גמטריה זו והוסיף דמ”ה פתח רבינו הקדוש בתחילת המשנה במצות ק”ש ע”ש: )

Mishnah Pirkei Avot 5:1:

With ten utterances the world was created. Couldn’t it have been created by one? Rather, [it was done this way] in order to punctuate the guilt of the wicked who destroy a world that was created with ten sayings and to add merit to the righteous who sustain a world that was created with ten utterances. (בַּעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת נִבְרָא הָעוֹלָם. וּמַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר, וַהֲלֹא בְמַאֲמָר אֶחָד יָכוֹל לְהִבָּרְאוֹת, אֶלָּא לְהִפָּרַע מִן הָרְשָׁעִים שֶׁמְּאַבְּדִין אֶת הָעוֹלָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בַּעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת, וְלִתֵּן שָׂכָר טוֹב לַצַּדִּיקִים שֶׁמְּקַיְּמִין אֶת הָעוֹלָם שֶׁנִּבְרָא בַּעֲשָׂרָה מַאֲמָרוֹת:)

The rabbinic understanding of the Yod (י) is that the world was created with ten things. The commentary Penei Dovid on Bereshit / Genesis 1:1 takes a kabbalistic approach to the letter Yod with the gematria to explain its meaning in relation to the creation. The Mishnah Pirkei Avot 5:1 states the world was created with ten utterances, but that the Lord God could have created with only one. The ten utterances are in relation to the destruction or creation of a world. In Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 4, the rabbis draw a parallel of God’s face shining upon us to the Lord feeding the people with the bread of tears because of three (שליש). The differences in the Yod (י) is related to the Lord’s face shining to bring blessing, as it is related to the creation of a world, the world of Israel that is planted in the Promised Land. Though the Lord brings tears due to her sin, He does not completely destroy Israel and promises to restore her to a future glory.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 4 concludes saying, “How much more, then, will You do for us when You come to see that we are humiliated and that we pour out our very souls in weeping.” The idea here is found in the people humbly and diligently seeking the Lord, He will hear their prayers. It is believed when the Lord hears our prayers, he will move to deliver us from our suffering. The pouring out is compared to taking all that we are on the inside and setting it before the Lord, our souls weep for Him to move to deliver us from our troubles.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 6 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The boar out of the wood does ravage it, and that which moves in the field feeds on it (Tehillim / Psalms 80:14).” The boar here is a reference to those who do not have concern for what is holy and righteous, as we had discussed earlier. An example is to draw a parallel to the wild boar who roots through the ground for food. If one were to pour good food down on the ground, the boar would root through it without regard for the surrounding filth and so in the process, the good will be mingled with the bad, and the boar will consume both at the same time. We are not called to live our lives in that way, we are called to be holy and righteous, and these two things are counter intuitive to imagery of the boar. The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “the boar out of the wood refers to the emperor of Rome, while that which moves in the field refers to his generals in the field.” The homiletic introduction makes a further distinction by clarifying who the rabbis are referring to, Rome, and more specifically the generals in the field of battle. The rabbis continue saying, Another comment, that which moves in the field refers not to the beasts of the field, but also the fowl of the air.” In a similar fashion to the boar, the birds of the air fly down to eat portions from the dead, having a disregard for what is clean and unclean. The birds of the air, generally of the scavenger type, circle and circle until hunger overcomes them and they descend to taste of the dead.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פ סימן ו

ו יכרסמנה חזיר מיער. זה השר צבא. וזיז שדי ירענה. זה איסטרטיקולין. [דבר אחר] וזיז שדי ירענה. זה וזה. דבר אחר יכרסמנה חזיר מיער. אם זכיתם מיאור, ואם לאו מיער, מן חיותא דחורשא, כיוצא בדבר אתה אומר משא מדבר ים (ישעיה כא א), אם ים למה מדבר, ואם מדבר למה ים, אלא אם זכיתם הרי הם כחיות הים שעולות ליבשה ומיד מתים, ואם לא זכיתם הרי הם כחיות המדבר, הוי מדבר ים. דבר אחר מדברים, אלו ארבע מלכיות שנמשלו כחיות הים הדא הוא דכתיב וארבע חיון רברבן סלקן מן ימא (דניאל ז ג). ר׳ פנחס ור׳ חלקיה בשם ר׳ סימון אמרו למה לא פירש הנביא בשביל מלכות הרביעית, אלא משה ואסף, משה אמר ואת החזיר כי מפריס פרסה הוא (ויקרא יא ז), מה החזיר הזה פורש טלפיו ואומר אני טהור, כך עשו הרשע מסייע ליה (כימיה) [בימה] בפרהסיא מה שהוא חומס וגונב וגוזל, ונראין כאלו הן דינין של אמת. אסף אמר יכרסמנה חזיר מיער, אמר ר׳ פנחס ור׳ חלקיה בשם ר׳ סימון מעשה היה בשלטון אחד שדן ביום אחד כשפנין ונואפין ורצחנין, אמר (לסנקוטס) [לסנקליטוס] שלו שלשתן עשיתי בלילה אחת, הוי יכרסמנה חזיר מיער.

Midrash Tehillim Part 6

6. The boar out of the wood does ravage it, and that which moves in the field feeds on it (Tehillim / Psalms 80:14), the boar out of the wood refers to the emperor of Rome, while that which moves in the field refers to his generals in the field. Another comment, that which moves in the field refers not to the beasts of the field, but also the fowl of the air. A different comment on The boar out of the wood does ravage it, If you, Israel, are found worthy, the kingdoms are as harmless as a fish out of water, but if you are found unworthy, the kingdoms ravage like something out of the forest, like a wild boar that comes out of the wood. The verse, The burden of the desert of the sea (Isaiah 21:1) has a similar import. For if sea, how desert? And if desert, how sea? The import of the verse however, is that if you are found worthy, behold, the kingdoms are like creatures of the sea which die as soon as they come up on the dry land; but if you are found unworthy, behold, the kingdoms are like beasts of the desert. Hence, The burden of the desert of the sea. Another comment, The desert of the sea alludes to the four kingdoms which are likened to the beasts of the sea, of which it is written, And four great beasts came up from the sea (Daniel 7:3). Rabbi Phinehas and rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Simon, Why did the prophet Daniel not give the name of the beast which stands for the fourth kingdom? Because Moshe and Asaph had already done so. For Moshe, in saying And the boar because he parts the hoof, and is cloven footed, but does not chew the cud, he is unclean to you (Vayikra / Leviticus 11:7), meant, Like the boar which displays its cloven hoof, as if to say, I am clean, so wicked Esau displayed himself so openly on the seats of justice that the legal tricks whereby he robs, steals, and plunders appear to be just proceedings. And likewise, Asaph named the fourth beast in saying, The boar and out of the word does ravage it. Rabbi Phinheas and rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Simon, it happened that a Roman governor who in one day executed several men guilty of sorcery, adultery, and murder, confided in his assessor, in a single night I myself committed all three of these. Of him it is said, The boar out of the wood does Ravage.

The rabbis discuss the boar as the nations who ravage other nations depending upon the worthiness of one as opposed to the other. The worthiness is related to weakness, if one perceives the other to be less worthy, they attack. The rabbis speak a parable saying, “The verse, The burden of the desert of the sea (Isaiah 21:1) has a similar import. For if sea, how desert? And if desert, how sea?” The question is how is the sea like a desert and the desert like the sea? One is dry, and the other is wet. There does not seem to be any apparent similarities. The differences in the wet verses dry is not what the rabbis are referring to, the reference is most likely found in the confines of food, there is no food or drink in the desert. Similarly, for those who have been lost at sea, the water is salty, it cannot be consumed, and there is no food. The interpretation of the desert and sea is with regard to being worthy, the rabbis say, “behold, the kingdoms are like creatures of the sea which die as soon as they come up on the dry land; but if you are found unworthy, behold, the kingdoms are like beasts of the desert. Hence, The burden of the desert of the sea.” So the concept is of the type of creature that lives in both places, on dry land, the sea creature is found to be unworthy, and visa versa.

The midrash continues with another interpretation saying, “Another comment, The desert of the sea alludes to the four kingdoms which are likened to the beasts of the sea, of which it is written, And four great beasts came up from the sea (Daniel 7:3). Rabbi Phinehas and rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Simon, Why did the prophet Daniel not give the name of the beast which stands for the fourth kingdom? Because Moshe and Asaph had already done so. For Moshe, in saying And the boar because he parts the hoof, and is cloven footed, but does not chew the cud, he is unclean to you (Vayikra / Leviticus 11:7), meant, Like the boar which displays its cloven hoof, as if to say, I am clean, so wicked Esau displayed himself so openly on the seats of justice that the legal tricks whereby he robs, steals, and plunders appear to be just proceedings. And likewise, Asaph named the fourth beast in saying, The boar and out of the word does ravage it.” The prophecy of Daniel is paralleled to the creatures of the sea, and the reason Daniel does not name the fourth beast is because the fourth beast is a reference to Esau, and the one who pretends to be clean on the outside, but on the inside is not (chewing of the cud, the boar). Esau is described as perverting the seat of justice, and using legal tricks to rob, steal, and plunder under the pretense that these are just proceedings. How many people do you know who do these kinds of things today, perverting justice and using legal tricks to do as they please? Could we draw a parallel to those who use the Torah as a reason to be mean towards others? Are there any examples of this today too?

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 6 concludes saying, “Rabbi Phinheas and rabbi Hilkiah taught in the name of rabbi Simon, it happened that a Roman governor who in one day executed several men guilty of sorcery, adultery, and murder, confided in his assessor, in a single night I myself committed all three of these. Of him it is said, The boar out of the wood does Ravage.” The false pretense that is given by the image of the pig, faining to be clean on the outside, while unclean on the inside, filled with all sorts of evils, sins, covetousness, murders, adulteries, etc, the Rome and the Roman governor are paralleled, in the sense that the governor put to death one who committed sorcery, adultery, and murder, while he himself committed all three of these in one single night being guilty of the same sins. We are not to behave in such a manner. As the children of God, we are called to walk holy lives, to live righteously, and to do justice. We are to be honest with the Lord God in heaven and with others, and be merciful because the Lord God in heaven has been merciful to us.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 8 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Let Your hand be upon the name of Your right hand (Tehillim / Psalms 80:18)…” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Let Your hand shield the man of Your right hand, that is to say, Isaac.” The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק פ סימן ח

ח תהי ידך על איש ימינך. תהא ידך מגנת על איש ימינך, זה יצחק. דבר אחר תהי ידך מצוייה להפרע מעשו הרשע אותה השבועה שנשבעת לו בימינך, שנאמר הנה משמני הארץ יהיה מושבך (בראשית כז לט). על בן אדם אמצת לך ולא נסוג ממך תחיינו [ובשמך נקרא]. בשביל שמך, שנאמר כי לא יטוש ה׳ את עמו (ש״א שמואל א׳ יב כב). ה׳ אלהים צבאות השיבנו האר פניך ונושעה. אמר ר׳ יוחנן אנו אין לנו אלא הארת פניך הוי האר פניך.

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 8

8. Let Your hand be upon the name of Your right hand (Tehillim / Psalms 80:18), Let Your hand shield the man of Your right hand, that is to say, Isaac. Another comment. Let Your hand seek out the wicked Esau to make him pay for the fruits of that oath which You did swear with Your right hand, Saying, Behold of the fat places of the earth will be your dwelling, you will have the dominion (Bereshit / Genesis 27:39-40). Make him pay for Jacob’s sake, for the son of man whom You have chosen for yourself. So will we not turn back from You, quicken us, for we call upon Your name (Tehillim / Psalms 80:18-19), quicken us for the sake of Your name, as Scripture says, The Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake (1 Samuel 12:22). O Lord God of hosts, restore us; cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved (Tehillim / Psalms 80:20). Rabbi Johanan taught, We? We have nothing except the shining of Your face. Hence, Cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved.

The rabbis reference Bereshit / Genesis 27:39-40 which states the following, לט וַיַּעַן יִצְחָק אָבִיו וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו הִנֵּה מִשְׁמַנֵּי הָאָרֶץ יִהְיֶה מוֹשָׁבֶךָ וּמִטַּל הַשָּׁמַיִם מֵעָל: מ וְעַל-חַרְבְּךָ תִחְיֶה וְאֶת-אָחִיךָ תַּעֲבֹד וְהָיָה כַּאֲשֶׁר תָּרִיד וּפָרַקְתָּ עֻלּוֹ מֵעַל צַוָּארֶךָ: 27:39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him, ‘Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, And away from the dew of heaven from above. 27:40 ‘By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.’ (NASB) The rabbis believe that Isaac’s words are those of the Lord God in heaven. Isaac’s words state that Esau will live by the sword and serve his brother Jacob. They say, “Make him pay for Jacob’s sake, for the son of man whom You have chosen for yourself. So will we not turn back from You, quicken us, for we call upon Your name (Tehillim / Psalms 80:18-19), quicken us for the sake of Your name, as Scripture says, The Lord will not forsake His people for His great name’s sake (1 Samuel 12:22).” What had Esau done to make him pay for the sake of Jacob? In the Torah, neither Jacob or Esau went to war with one another (see both Parshiot Toldot and Vayetze). Over time Edom had come against Israel, but based on the Torah narrative, what had Esau done to Jacob that required payment?

Midrash Tehillim 80, Part 8 concludes saying, “Rabbi Johanan taught, We? We have nothing except the shining of Your face. Hence, Cause Your face to shine, and we will be saved.” The radiance and shining forth of the glory of God describes the Lord God blessing and illuminating with his presence. These things are described in the lives of both Jacob and his son Joseph. We also find this in the Messiah Yeshua. Asaph calls for the salvation of Israel in the midst of her sins. It is the Lord God in heaven who protects us, and He gave His son Yeshua to make redemption on our behalf. In doing so, He will guard and protect us, and place before us all that we need to be whole and safe and spiritually healthy, if we turn from sin, and seek Him daily. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 80-Part1-and-2

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