The remainder of Isaiah 32:15-20 speaks of the Lord pouring out His Spirit and salvation on both the people and the land. With the promise of salvation comes peace and bountiful produce in the land. We note something about what this means concerning the bountiful produce of the land when God’s Spirit is poured out. This draws us back to the Torah context and Devarim / Deuteronomy 28. Remember this chapter is deeply spiritual and is connected to what we are reading here the Lord pouring out His Spirit upon “the land.” What Isaiah is emphasizing here is the power of God in our lives should lead men and women to be merciful, loving, kind, holy, and just in their dealings. All of these things are detailed in the Torah describing how we as God’s people are supposed to be. The warning is when the blessing comes, we still must remain faithful and be on guard. Paul warns us what we must do in order to protect ourselves saying the following in Ephesians 6:10-18.
אִגֶּרֶת שָׁאוּל אֶל הָאֶפֶסִים פרק ו
י סוֹף דָּבָר, חִזְקוּ בָּאָדוֹן וּבְכֹחַ גְּבוּרָתוֹ. יא לִבְשׁוּ אֶת מְלוֹא נֶשֶׁק הָאֱלֹהִים לְמַעַן תּוּכְלוּ לַעֲמֹד נֶגֶד נִכְלֵי הַשָּׂטָן; יב כִּי לֹא עִם בָּשָׂר–וָדָם מִלְחָמָה לָנוּ, אֶלָּא עִם רָשֻׁיּוֹת וּשְׂרָרוֹת, עִם מוֹשְׁלֵי חֶשְׁכַת הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, עִם כֹּחוֹת רוּחָנִיִּים רָעִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם. יג עַל כֵּן קְחוּ אֶת מְלוֹא נֶשֶׁק הָאֱלֹהִים, לְמַעַן תּוּכְלוּ לְהִתְנַגֵּד בַּיּוֹם הָרָע, וְלַעֲמֹד לְאַחַר עֲשׂוֹתְכֶם אֶת הַכֹּל. יד עִמְדוּ כְּשֶׁהָאֱמֶת חֲגוּרָה עַל מָתְנֵיכֶם וְשִׁרְיוֹן הַצֶּדֶק לְבוּשְׁכֶם, טו וּכְשֶׁרַגְלֵיכֶם נְעוּלוֹת נְכוֹנוּת לִבְשׂוֹרַת הַשָּׁלוֹם. טז עִם כָּל אֵלֶּה שְׂאוּ אֶת מָגֵן הָאֱמוּנָה אֲשֶׁר תּוּכְלוּ לְכַבּוֹת בּוֹ אֶת כָּל חִצָּיו הַבּוֹעֲרִים שֶׁל הָרָע. יז וּקְחוּ אֶת כּוֹבַע הַיְשׁוּעָה וְאֶת חֶרֶב הָרוּחַ, שֶׁהִיא דְּבַר הָאֱלֹהִים. יח בְּכָל תְּפִלָּה וּתְחִנָּה הִתְפַּלְּלוּ תָּמִיד בְּרוּחַ. שִׁקְדוּ בִּתְפִלַּתְכֶם וְהַתְמִידוּ בִּתְחִנָּה בְּעַד כָּל הַקְּדוֹשִׁים
6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (KJV *10 ⸂Τοῦ λοιποῦ⸃⸆, ⸀ἐνδυναμοῦσθε ἐν κυρίῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ κράτει τῆς ἰσχύος αὐτοῦ.* 11 ἐνδύσασθε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ πρὸς τὸ δύνασθαι ὑμᾶς στῆναι πρὸς τὰς μεθοδείας τοῦ διαβόλου·* 12 ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ⸀ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ⸂ἀρχάς,* πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας⸃, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους ⸆ τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ⸋ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις⸌.* 13 διὰ τοῦτο ἀναλάβετε τὴν πανοπλίαν τοῦ θεοῦ,* ἵνα δυνηθῆτε ἀντιστῆναι ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ πονηρᾷ καὶ ἅπαντα κατεργασάμενοι στῆναι.* 14 στῆτε οὖν περιζωσάμενοι τὴν ὀσφὺν ὑμῶν ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν θώρακα τῆς δικαιοσύνης* 15 καὶ ὑποδησάμενοι τοὺς πόδας ἐν ἑτοιμασίᾳ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς εἰρήνης,* 16 ⸀ἐν πᾶσιν ἀναλαβόντες τὸν θυρεὸν τῆς πίστεως,* ἐν ᾧ δυνήσεσθε πάντα τὰ βέλη τοῦ πονηροῦ °[τὰ] πεπυρωμένα σβέσαι· 17 καὶ τὴν περικεφαλαίαν τοῦ σωτηρίου °δέξασθε καὶ τὴν μάχαιραν τοῦ πνεύματος,* ὅ ἐστιν ῥῆμα θεοῦ.* 18 Διὰ πάσης προσευχῆς καὶ δεήσεως προσευχόμενοι ἐν παντὶ καιρῷ ἐν πνεύματι,* καὶ εἰς αὐτὸ ἀγρυπνοῦντες ἐν πάσῃ προσκαρτερήσει καὶ δεήσει περὶ πάντων τῶν ἁγίων)
Here Paul warns us to be strong in the Lord in His power that He gives us. He tells us to put on the armor of God so that we can stand against the evil one. The important point here is that having faith and being faithful does not mean we will not be attacked by the evil one. Paul writes saying כִּי לֹא עִם בָּשָׂר–וָדָם מִלְחָמָה לָנוּ that “it is not flesh and blood that we are at war with.” We are at war with the dark spiritual forces of this world, Paul describes these as being in “high places” (עִם כֹּחוֹת רוּחָנִיִּים רָעִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם) which has its parallel in the ancient occult practices who worshiped their false gods in elevated places. Paul goes on to describe the armor, which consists of truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, the sword of the spirit (the Word of God), to persevere in the midst of persecution, and prayer. We notice that these things are not physical but are related to those things which we keep on the inside, in our minds. The reason is the battle is in the mind and this is a difficult battle ground. Paul speaks of these things and states that we need to renew our minds each day. (Romans 12:2) Paul says that this is the way that we renew our minds according to 2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 4:8.
2 Corinthians 10:3–5
10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; (KJV 3 Ἐν σαρκὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦντες οὐ κατὰ σάρκα στρατευόμεθα*, 4 τὰ γὰρ ὅπλα τῆς* ⸀στρατείας ἡμῶν οὐ σαρκικὰ ἀλλὰ δυνατὰ τῷ θεῷ πρὸς καθαίρεσιν ὀχυρωμάτων, λογισμοὺς καθαιροῦντες* 5 καὶ πᾶν ὕψωμα ἐπαιρόμενον κατὰ τῆς γνώσεως τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ αἰχμαλωτίζοντες πᾶν νόημα εἰς τὴν ὑπακοὴν τοῦ Χριστοῦ*)
4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (KJV 7 καὶ ἡ εἰρήνη τοῦ ⸀θεοῦ ἡ ὑπερέχουσα πάντα νοῦν φρουρήσει τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν καὶ τὰ ⸁νοήματα ὑμῶν ἐν ⸀1Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ. 8 Τὸ λοιπόν, ἀδελφοί, ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ, ὅσα σεμνά, ὅσα δίκαια, ὅσα ἁγνά, ὅσα προσφιλῆ,* ὅσα εὔφημα, εἴ τις ἀρετὴ καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος⸆,* ταῦτα λογίζεσθε·* 9 ἃ καὶ ἐμάθετε καὶ παρελάβετε καὶ ἠκούσατε καὶ εἴδετε ἐν* ἐμοί, ταῦτα πράσσετε·* καὶ ὁ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης ἔσται μεθʼ ὑμῶν.)
We note again that Paul says that we do not war against the flesh. This is an important point because it means that we do not have to give our bodies to sin. Paul said do not give your bodies to sin as instruments of wickedness. (Romans 6:13) The point many times sin is a function of habitual practice. Paul says that our battle is in the mind to overcome these things, because from the mind sin is conceived and then lived out in the body. The imagination is what needs to be cast down and this is exactly what Paul is saying. He then provides us with the way to overcome by saying that we need to keep our hearts and minds in the Messiah Yeshua. Our thoughts are not always lovely and true, and Paul says that we are to take them captive because the battle again is in the mind. The way we do this is to think upon things that are wholesome, memorize scripture, get on a bible reading program, study who we are in the Messiah, and meditate upon the word. In fact, the Lord has given us the victory stating that Yeshua overcame.
1 Corinthians 15:56–58
15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (KJV 56 τὸ δὲ κέντρον τοῦ θανάτου ἡ ἁμαρτία,* ἡ δὲ δύναμις τῆς ἁμαρτίας ὁ νόμος·* 57 τῷ δὲ θεῷ χάρις τῷ διδόντι ἡμῖν τὸ νῖκος διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.* 58 Ὥστε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί,* ἑδραῖοι γίνεσθε, ἀμετακίνητοι, περισσεύοντες ἐν τῷ ἔργῳ τοῦ κυρίου πάντοτε,* εἰδότες ὅτι ὁ κόπος ὑμῶν οὐκ ἔστιν κενὸς ἐν κυρίῳ.)
Paul says that we have been given the victory through the Messiah of God (Yeshua). This is something that we already have and so we are told to stand in that victory being unmovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord. This again leads us back to what we have been talking about before, of being intentional in our walk with God in our faith coupled with the significance of the Torah in our lives. The people of Isaiah’s day did not devote their lives to serving the God of Israel. Here Paul speaks of the need for us to devote our lives to the God of Israel in Yeshua the Messiah. We note that our efforts are in vain if we seek to do these things outside of our faith and strength in the Messiah! The Torah based perspective directs us to realize that ultimately God’s blessing of fruitful land, rain, and children was not just a physical one, but a spiritual one whereby we understand all of these things are based upon our relationship with God, whether we place Him front and center in our lives or not. Here in Isaiah 32, he speaks of a prophecy of warning (Isaiah 32:9-14) and then speaks of a prophecy of salvation (Isaiah 32:15-20). The warning is very important and demonstrates the need for the work of God in our lives, as Paul writes thanks be to God for giving us the victory in the Messiah (1 Corinthians 15:57). Isaiah here is revealing to us the power of God in our lives, and that we seek the Lord God in heaven for deliverance and trust that our security is in Him. Remember the central theme of Isaiah thus far, he is pointing out and asking the question “in whom or in what do you trust?” This is very important for us today. Do we really believe and trust in the Lord God Almighty, the Creator God, who sent His son Yeshua to die for our sins? Do we really believe that God has given us the victory?
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 32:15-16.
ספר ישעיה פרק לב
טו עַד-יֵעָרֶה עָלֵינוּ רוּחַ מִמָּרוֹם וְהָיָה מִדְבָּר לַכַּרְמֶל וֲכַּרְמֶל [וְהַכַּרְמֶל] לַיַּעַר יֵחָשֵׁב: טז וְשָׁכַן בַּמִּדְבָּר מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה בַּכַּרְמֶל תֵּשֵׁב:
Isaiah 32:15 states, “Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. (עַד-יֵעָרֶה עָלֵינוּ רוּחַ מִמָּרוֹם וְהָיָה מִדְבָּר לַכַּרְמֶל וֲכַּרְמֶל [וְהַכַּרְמֶל] לַיַּעַר יֵחָשֵׁב)” Isaiah 32:16 “Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. (וְשָׁכַן בַּמִּדְבָּר מִשְׁפָּט וּצְדָקָה בַּכַּרְמֶל תֵּשֵׁב)” Here we read about the power of God through His Spirit, what happens when the Spirit is poured out, there is healing, renewal, and righteousness. Here HALOT Lexicon defines the word יֵעָרֶה and how it has been used in the following way:
ערה: MHeb. pi, JArm. af. to pour out; Sam. (Ben-H. Lit. Or. 2:563); Ph. pi. ערי to uncover, reveal (Jean-H. Dictionnaire 221), EmpArm. עריה fem. adj. naked (Cowley Arm. Pap. 216 p. 118, cf. Gesenius-B.); Ug. ʿrw (Dietrich-Loretz Fschr. Elliger 33 on Dietrich-L. Texte 1, 14:i:7: to expose, empty, destroy; L Badre et alt. Syria 53 (1976):96f: to expose, cf. Gordon Textbook §19:1920; Aistleitner 2097); Akk. erû/arû (AHw. 247f) to be naked, D to expose; Syr. adv. ʿaryat naked; Arb. ʿariya to be naked; → עור and ערר Leslau 41. qal: impv. ערו (= עֹרוּ < root ערר), 1QIsa 3211, → ערר qal: to expose oneself (Wernberg-M. JSS 3 (1958):250). † nif: impf. יֵעָרֶה: to be poured out (cf. pi. 2, hif.) רוּהַ Is 32:15. † pi. (Jenni 231): pf. עֵרָה; impf. יְעָרֶה, תְּעַר, ויעָרוּ 2C 24:11 (Bauer-L. Heb. 425); impv. עָ֫רוּ Ps 137:7; inf. עָרוֹת (→ I): —1. a) to expose Is 3:17 → פֹּת; to uncover a shield, remove it from its holder Is 22:6, a bow cj. Hab 3:9 for עֶרְיָה תֵעוֹר prp. עָרֹה תְעָרֶה (BHS); Zeph …
The spirit being poured out is an act of God which describes the field becoming fruitful and becoming a forest from the sense of its producing being so great. We note the parallel of these things to what happens in our lives! Later on in Isaiah, he states according to Isaiah 44:3 saying:
ספר ישעיה פרק מד
ג כִּי אֶצָּק-מַיִם עַל-צָמֵא וְנוֹזְלִים עַל-יַבָּשָׁה אֶצֹּק רוּחִי עַל-זַרְעֶךָ וּבִרְכָתִי עַל-צֶאֱצָאֶיךָ::
44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, And floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, And my blessing upon thine offspring: (KJV)
We note how In Isaiah 44:3 he is making a connection between the land being dry needing water and when our lives are dry and need watering with the Spirit and the Word of God. The Spirit of God is pictured as refreshing water that saves the living and blesses people who are about to pass away due to their being dry and without God. Here Isaiah contrasts אֶצָּק-מַיִם עַל-צָמֵא וְנוֹזְלִים עַל-יַבָּשָׁה “pouring water upon a thirsty and a trickel on the dry ground” to אֶצֹּק רוּחִי עַל-זַרְעֶךָ וּבִרְכָתִי עַל-צֶאֱצָאֶיךָ “pouring out my spirit upon your seed and a blessing upon your offspring.” The Spirit of God is pictured here as live giving waters. Joel later on speaks of a future time when the Lord will pour out His Spirit upon all flesh according to Joel 2:28-32 [3:1-5].
ספר יואל פרק ג
א וְהָיָ֣ה אַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן אֶשְׁפֹּ֤וךְ אֶת־רוּחִי֙ עַל־כָּל־בָּשָׂ֔ר וְנִבְּא֖וּ בְּנֵיכֶ֣ם וּבְנֹֽותֵיכֶ֑ם זִקְנֵיכֶם֙ חֲלֹמֹ֣ות יַחֲלֹמ֔וּן בַּח֣וּרֵיכֶ֔ם חֶזְיֹנֹ֖ות יִרְאֽוּ׃ ב וְגַ֥ם עַל־הָֽעֲבָדִ֖ים וְעַל־הַשְּׁפָחֹ֑ות בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔מָּה אֶשְׁפֹּ֖וךְ אֶת־רוּחִֽי׃ ג וְנָֽתַתִּי֙ מֹֽופְתִ֔ים בַּשָּׁמַ֖יִם וּבָאָ֑רֶץ דָּ֣ם וָאֵ֔שׁ וְתִֽימֲרֹ֖ות עָשָֽׁן׃ ד הַשֶּׁ֨מֶשׁ֙ יֵהָפֵ֣ךְ לְחֹ֔שֶׁךְ וְהַיָּרֵ֖חַ לְדָ֑ם לִפְנֵ֗י בֹּ֚וא יֹ֣ום יְהוָ֔ה הַגָּדֹ֖ול וְהַנֹּורָֽא׃ ה וְהָיָ֗ה כֹּ֧ל אֲשֶׁר־יִקְרָ֛א בְּשֵׁ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה יִמָּלֵ֑ט כִּ֠י בְּהַר־צִיֹּ֨ון וּבִירוּשָׁלִַ֜םa תִּֽהְיֶ֣ה פְלֵיטָ֗ה כַּֽאֲשֶׁר֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה וּבַ֨שְּׂרִידִ֔יםb אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה קֹרֵֽא׃
2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, That I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions: 2:29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids In those days will I pour out my spirit. 2:30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, Blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, Before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. 2:32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: For in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, As the LORD hath said, And in the remnant whom the LORD shall call. (KJV)
The pouring out of God’s spirit includes giving men and women prophetic messages, dreams, and visions, all of which lead to calling the people to repentance and the people calling upon His Name for Salvation and Deliverance. This is a very important point here; we are told in 1 Timothy 2 that Yeshua the Messiah is the mediator between God and us. The Lord God can speak to us through dreams and visions, and we are led by the Spirit of God. Prophetic messages on the other hand are meant to lead us to the Lord, to Teshuvah and turning from sin and returning to God’s Holy Ways! Here Joel speaks of the Lord God Almighty filling His people with His presence. Paul wrote of this saying “be filled with the Spirit” according to Ephesians 5:18 (18 καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ,* ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι,*).
5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; (KJV, 18 καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ,* ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι,*)
Here in the NT text, the word πληροῦσθε is used to describe being filled with the Spirit of God. The Tanakh uses this word in a similar way but speaking of the filling up of sins. God said to Abraham: “The sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure” (Bereshit / Genesis 15:16). Again, when the angel Gabriel interprets the vision of the four godless kingdoms, he states that attainment of the full measure of their sins means the end of their dominion (Daniel 8:23). In 2 Maccabees we read that the misery of the people of Israel is but God’s temporary chastisement, which has come about as a warning (2 Maccabees 6:12). “For in the case of the other nations the Lord waits patiently to punish them until they have reached the full measure of their sins [ἐκπλήρωσιν ἁμαρτιῶν]; but he does not deal in this way with us in order that he may not take vengeance on us afterward when our sins have reached their height” (2 Maccabees 6:14–15). What is noteworthy here is the use of πληρόω to indicate the fulfillment of prophecy. When Solomon removed Abiathar from the priesthood, this action had the result of “fulfilling the word of the LORD that he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh” (see 1 Kings 2:27, 2 Chronicles 36:21, 1 Esd 1:54). And it is God himself who executes that which has been prophesied in his name (1 Kings 8:15, 8:24). The Qumran writings use the Hebrew word מלא to denote the completion of a period of time (see 1QS VII, 20, 22) and also in the eschatological sense that all existence and events are fulfilled to a firm plan that is already fixed by God (1QS III, 16; cf. 1QM XVII, 9). In the time of salvation expected at the end, God will fill his land with the rich bounty of blessing, and all the wealth of the nations will be brought together at Jerusalem (1QM XII, 12–13) just like what we are reading here in Isaiah. The NT usage of this word, the statistics show, used as an adjective πλήρης occurs 16×, as a verb πληρόω occurs 85×, as a noun πλήρωμα is found 17×. There are compound words such as ἀναπληρόω (6×), and πληροφορέω, meaning both “to fulfill” and “to convince” (6×). The remaining terms are used 1–4× each: πληροφορία, “certainty” (4×), συμπληρόω (Luke 8:23; 9:51, Acts 2:1), προσαναπληρόω (2 Corinthians 9:12, 11:9), ἀνταναπληρόω (Colossians 1:24), ἐκπληρόω (Acts 13:33), and ἐκπλήρωσις (21:26). Something to note is how this word is used in Matthew 5:17 and Matthew 3:15. This is in the Sermon on the Mount, and the baptism of Yeshua. In the sermon on the mount Yeshua said that “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them” (Matthew 5:17) while in Matthew 3:15 Yeshua said his baptism is “to fulfill [πληρῶσαι] all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Notice how in Matthew 3:15 the fulfillment did not mean that righteousness would pass away. Similarly in Matthew 5:17 he was not saying the Torah / Law would pass away. This fulfillment of the Torah and of righteousness meant that he is living according to the Torah and righteousness. In fact, He shows us the way how to live our lives according to the Torah and in righteousness. The point of these things demonstrates the background for what Paul was saying in Ephesians concerning being filled up with the Spirit of God. Paul is speaking of an ongoing action literally saying, “keep on being filled.” with the Spirit of God. Here the Lord God is calling us to be continually filled with the Spirit, which means that this is an ongoing process! Not something that happens only once and is indicative of being led by the Spirit of God to live for Him, to live noticeably different lives compared to the world’s standards. We are submitting our lives to be totally under the control of the Holy Spirit. Yielding to the Spirit is essential to keeping our hearts open to the Lord and being able to hear the words of Yeshua! The text comparison shows the following concerning these things:
The LXX translates saying, 15 ἕως ἂν ἐπέλθῃ ἐφʼ ὑμᾶς πνεῦμα ἀφʼ ὑψηλοῦ. καὶ ἔσται ἔρημος ὁ Χερμελ, καὶ ὁ Χερμελ εἰς δρυμὸν λογισθήσεται. 16 καὶ ἀναπαύσεται ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ κρίμα, καὶ δικαιοσύνη ἐν τῷ Καρμήλῳ κατοικήσει, 15 until a wind comes upon you from on high; and Carmel will be deserted, and Carmel will be considered a forest. 16 And fair judgment will rest in the desert, and righteousness will settle in Carmel. (LES) The TgJ translates Isaiah saying, כָל דְנָא עַד דְיֵיתֵי לַנָא רוּחַ מִן קֳדָם דִשכִינְתֵיה בִשמֵי מְרֹומָא וִיהֵי מַדבְרָא לְכַרמְלָא וְכַרמְלָא קִרוִין סַגִיאִין יְתִיב׃ וְיִשרֹון בְמַדבְרָא עָבְדֵי דִינָא וְעָבְדֵי צְדַקתָא יָת כַרמְלָא יְיַתְבוּן׃ 15 All these things shall come upon us until refreshing shall come to us from the face of Him, whose Shekinah is in the highest heavens. The wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be inhabited by many cities. 16 Then they that do justice shall dwell in the wilderness, and those that do righteousness shall inhabit the fruitful field. (TgJ) Here the TgJ translates more consistent with our interpretation on the giving of the Spirit of God for the purpose of becoming fruitful and useful to the work of God. Prophetically speaking, the outpouring of the Spirit of God becomes more and more explicit in the prophetic messages in the Tanakh as something the people should be looking for in their relationship with God. The reasons being as Isaiah is explaining, is that true abundance is only found in being filled with the Spirit of God! These things come down to a matter of to whom we serve, to whom do we humble ourselves, to whom do we obey, to whom do we seek, etc. This is about making the God of Israel Lord over our lives by faith in Yeshua the Messiah! As long as men, women, children choose to usurp the lordship of God in their lives, there will always be unrighteousness, ungodliness, and impotence from the sense of not having the power in one’s life to overcome this world. These things again draw us back to this concept that God is the one who circumcises our hearts, He is the one who gives us faith, and He is the one who enables us to maasim tovim! It is only by the indwelling presence of God that we are able to experience all of these things and more! These things speak to the importance of having the presence of God in our lives. The presence of God is again His empowering in our lives to live righteously and to find true peace. This is how Isaiah goes on in chapter 32 as he says the following according to Isaiah 32:17-18.
ספר ישעיה פרק לב
יז וְהָיָה מַעֲשֵֹה הַצְּדָקָה שָׁלוֹם וַעֲבֹדַת הַצְּדָקָה הַשְׁקֵט וָבֶטַח עַד-עוֹלָם: יח וְיָשַׁב עַמִּי בִּנְוֵה שָׁלוֹם וּבְמִשְׁכְּנוֹת מִבְטַחִים וּבִמְנוּחֹת שַׁאֲנַנּוֹת:
Isaiah 32:17 states, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. (וְהָיָה מַעֲשֵֹה הַצְּדָקָה שָׁלוֹם וַעֲבֹדַת הַצְּדָקָה הַשְׁקֵט וָבֶטַח עַד-עוֹלָם)” Isaiah 32:18 “And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places; (וְיָשַׁב עַמִּי בִּנְוֵה שָׁלוֹם וּבְמִשְׁכְּנוֹת מִבְטַחִים וּבִמְנוּחֹת שַׁאֲנַנּוֹת)” The presence of God leads to abundant righteousness and true peace. These are the earmarks for what happens to those who place their trust in the Lord and seek for the presence of God in their lives! What Isaiah is describing here is that the person who has received the mercy and grace of God for the forgiveness of sins is truly at peace with God! Note that when one has the presence of God inside, he will not oppress others, he will be an encouragement and leader to righteousness; this is the testimony of those who are called the children of God. It is important to note something that Paul wrote that is related to these things what Isaiah is speaking of.
3:12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 3:16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. 3:17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (KJV 12 Οὐχ ὅτι ἤδη ἔλαβον ⸆ ἢ ἤδη τετελείωμαι,* διώκω δὲ εἰ °καὶ καταλάβω,* ἐφʼ ᾧ καὶ κατελήμφθην ὑπὸ Χριστοῦ °1[Ἰησοῦ]. 13 ἀδελφοί, ἐγὼ ἐμαυτὸν ⸀οὐ λογίζομαι κατειληφέναι· ἓν δέ,* τὰ μὲν ὀπίσω ἐπιλανθανόμενος τοῖς δὲ ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενος, 14 κατὰ σκοπὸν ⸀διώκω ⸁εἰς τὸ βραβεῖον τῆς ⸂ἄνω κλήσεως⸃ ⸄τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ⸅.* 15 Ὅσοι οὖν τέλειοι,* τοῦτο ⸀φρονῶμεν· καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε, καὶ τοῦτο ὁ θεὸς ὑμῖν ἀποκαλύψει· 16 πλὴν εἰς ὃ ⸀ἐφθάσαμεν, ⸂τῷ αὐτῷ στοιχεῖν⸃.* 17 Συμμιμηταί μου γίνεσθε,* ἀδελφοί, καὶ σκοπεῖτε τοὺς οὕτως περιπατοῦντας καθὼς ἔχετε τύπον ἡμᾶς. 18 πολλοὶ γὰρ περιπατοῦσιν οὓς πολλάκις ἔλεγον ὑμῖν, νῦν δὲ καὶ κλαίων λέγω,* ⸆ τοὺς ἐχθροὺς τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῦ Χριστοῦ,*)
Notice how Paul writes that even though he has attained all of these things in the Messiah Yeshua, he counts himself as not having apprehended them, that it is the Lord God who has given these things, and that he continues to press forward toward the mark, meaning that he continues throughout his life to seek God our Father in heaven, to seek Yeshua His Messiah, to seek the filling of the Spirit, and to press forward for the prize of being counted worthy. Paul says that we have attained these things in the Messiah of God, and having received these things we should likewise live by them! This is again the concept of what God has done for us in heaven in the blood of Yeshua, being made righteous and holy, so too we are to live as having already attained these things! Notice how the battle ground for these things are in the mind. Here Paul is reasoning with us how we are to persevere to keep ourselves from sin, and to continually seek the righteousness of God all the days of our lives! This is a matter of the mind, we condition our minds to seek these things according to God’s word.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 32:19.
ספר ישעיה פרק לב
יט וּבָרַד בְּרֶדֶת הַיָּעַר וּבַשִּׁפְלָה תִּשְׁפַּל הָעִיר: כ אַשְׁרֵיכֶם זֹרְעֵי עַל-כָּל-מָיִם מְשַׁלְּחֵי רֶגֶל-הַשּׁוֹר וְהַחֲמוֹר:
Isaiah 32:19 states, “When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place. (וּבָרַד בְּרֶדֶת הַיָּעַר וּבַשִּׁפְלָה תִּשְׁפַּל הָעִיר)” Isaiah 32:20 “Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass. (אַשְׁרֵיכֶם זֹרְעֵי עַל-כָּל-מָיִם מְשַׁלְּחֵי רֶגֶל-הַשּׁוֹר וְהַחֲמוֹר)” These two verses are a bit difficult to understand when Isaiah says וּבָרַד בְּרֶדֶת הַיָּעַר “when it hails down on the forest” where the forest was the blessed land that was producing fruit due to the blessings of God. And the idea of וּבַשִּׁפְלָה תִּשְׁפַּל הָעִיר the word שׁפל means “humiliated, abased, oppressed” is like saying “humiliated humiliated is the city” as the KJV translates “and the city shall be low in a low place.” In addition, the phrase אַשְׁרֵיכֶם זֹרְעֵי עַל-כָּל-מָיִם “blessed are you that sow upon or beside all waters,” this is difficult as well, since the concept of all waters seems odd from the sense of the nations. Here those who are in the kingdom of God live peacefully and their fields are filled with watercourses. We note that this is how Egypt is watered in the low-lying lands. This could be why Isaiah is speaking of the city being in a low place. Israel on the other hand is on a high place, so these things suggest a spiritual meaning with God on our side we cast our seed and the Lord causes the growth. Note the parallels to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:10. The point may be that when one is blessed, such a person is seeking the God of Israel, and in doing so one must abase himself, humble himself to make God Lord of his or her life! This is how the Psalmist David understood these things when he said what he did according to Tehillim / Psalms 1.
ספר תהילים פרק א
א אַשְׁרֵי-הָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר לֹא הָלַךְ בַּעֲצַת רְשָׁעִים וּבְדֶרֶךְ חַטָּאִים לֹא עָמָד וּבְמוֹשַׁב לֵצִים לֹא יָשָׁב: ב כִּי אִם-בְּתוֹרַת יְהֹוָה חֶפְצוֹ וּבְתוֹרָתוֹ יֶהְגֶּה יוֹמָם וָלָיְלָה: ג וְהָיָה כְּעֵץ שָׁתוּל עַל-פַּלְגֵי מָיִם אֲשֶׁר פִּרְיוֹ | יִתֵּן בְּעִתּוֹ וְעָלֵהוּ לֹא יִבּוֹל וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יַעֲשֶֹה יַצְלִיחַ: ד לֹא-כֵן הָרְשָׁעִים כִּי אִם-כַּמֹּץ אֲשֶׁר-תִּדְּפֶנּוּ רוּחַ: ה עַל-כֵּן | לֹא-יָקֻמוּ רְשָׁעִים בַּמִּשְׁפָּט וְחַטָּאִים בַּעֲדַת צַדִּיקִים: ו כִּי-יוֹדֵעַ יְהֹוָה דֶּרֶךְ צַדִּיקִים וְדֶרֶךְ רְשָׁעִים תֹּאבֵד:
Tehillim / Psalm 1:1-6
1:1 Blessed is the man That walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor standeth in the way of sinners, Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; And in his law doth he meditate day and night. 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, That bringeth forth his fruit in his season; His leaf also shall not wither; And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 1:4 The ungodly are not so: But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 1:5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: But the way of the ungodly shall perish. (KJV 1900)
Here the blessed man (שְׁרֵי-הָאִישׁ) is the one who does not seek the counsel of the ungodly but delights in the Torah of God. This idea of being blessed through the Torah is paralleled to being planted by rivers of water such that one never thirsts and is never scattered like the ungodly are, confused in all things, even in how the live their lives (gender identity issues, LGBTQ, liberal ideologies, etc). It is also important to note that the wicked, they may appear to be blessed through their financial wealth. We can look around and see this all over the place in our modern world. Many authors in the Tanakh asked this question, “why do the wicked prosper” (Job 21:7, Tehillim / Psalms 73, Jeremiah 12:1). It is important to note that God grants them the power to prosper. The wicked and sinners prosper in life because God, the God of the righteous, has made it so. Yeshua said “… for he [God] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45) God is good to the wicked and the sinner just as He is to the righteous person. It is also important to note how the wicked use this power that is given them to prosper, through oppression, corruption, and sin. Take for example the politicians who enter into their political office and become extremely wealthy through insider trading and corruption. So, if one has great wealth, one should seek to know whether that wealth is brought via sin and corruption, or via the blessing of God. Again we note how this draws us back to Devarim / Deuteronomy 28 and the blessings and the curses, the spiritual state of a man should be examined very closely to see if there is any unrighteousness that is present in its acquisition. All of the Scriptures are deeply spiritual, meant to help us to examine ourselves, one of the purposes of the Torah as a plumbline for living our lives for the Lord. God is merciful, and so if a person examines himself, finds sin, he is called to repent and turn from that wicked way, this is how God spares his people from the curse of death, through the forgiveness of sins in His mercy, and in His Son Yeshua the Messiah.
Isaiah 32:20 states, אַשְׁרֵיכֶם זֹרְעֵי עַל-כָּל-מָיִם מְשַׁלְּחֵי רֶגֶל-הַשּׁוֹר וְהַחֲמוֹר “Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.” This speaks of one being near a source of agricultural life, where plants need nutrients, sunlight, and water in order to grow. This means that one is near a source of life, and the field that becomes bountiful, etc this draws us to the idea of our being near the source of life. This is the outcome of what happens to those who come to realize that the God of Israel is the source of spiritual abundance, peace, and life! The commentators ask when has this part of Isaiah been fulfilled? The point may be that what Isaiah is speaking of here is figurative of the lives of God’s people when they seek the God of Israel, repent, and turn from their sins, and seek to live their lives for the glory of God. These things come when we place our faith in Yeshua the Messiah, and receive the Holy Spirit of God, the presence of God in our lives. Notice how these things always draw us back to the Torah centric principles of God dwelling in our midst. This is why Paul said what he did to the Galatians about how the Torah leads and directs us to the Messiah of God!
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore it is a valuable resource for our continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק לב:טו-כ
טו כָל דְנָא עַד דְיֵיתֵי לַנָא רוּחַ מִן קֳדָם דִשכִינְתֵיה בִשמֵי מְרֹומָא וִיהֵי מַדבְרָא לְכַרמְלָא וְכַרמְלָא קִרוִין סַגִיאִין יְתִיב׃ טז וְיִשרֹון בְמַדבְרָא עָבְדֵי דִינָא וְעָבְדֵי צְדַקתָא יָת כַרמְלָא יְיַתְבוּן׃ יז וִיהֹון עָבְדֵי צְדַקתָא שְלָם וּמַפלְחֵי צְדַקתָא יִשקְטוּן וְיִשרֹון לְרוּחצָן עַד עָלְמָא׃ יח וְיִתְבוּן עַמִי בִמדֹורֵיהֹון שְלָם וְעַל אְרַעהֹון לְרֻחצָן וּבקִרוֵיהֹון שְלֵיוָא׃ יט וְיֵחֹות בַרדָא וִיקַטֵיל מַשרְיָת עַמְמַיָא וִיצַדֹון וִיסוּפוּן דָיְרֵיהֹון׃ כ טוּבֵיכֹון צַדִיקַיָא עְבַדתוּן לְכֹון עוּבָדִין טָבִין דְאַתוּן דָמַן לִדזָרְעִין עַל שִקיָא דִמשַלְחִין לְאַדרָכָא בְתֹורַיָא וּלמִכנַש בִחמָרַיָא׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 32:15-20
32:15 All these things shall come upon us until refreshing shall come to us from the face of Him, whose Shekinah is in the highest heavens. The wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be inhabited by many cities. 32:16 Then they that do justice shall dwell in the wilderness, and those that do righteousness shall inhabit the fruitful field. 32:17 And they that do righteousness shall be at peace, and those that adorn righteousness shall be in quietness, and they shall be in safety for ever. 32:18 And my people shall dwell in their habitations in peace, and in their land in safety, and in their cities at ease. 32:19 And hail shall descend and shall slay the armies of the nations, and their encampments shall be laid desolate, and come to an end. 32:20 Blessed are ye, O just, ye work out for yourselves good works: because ye are like those, who sow by watered places, sending the oxen to tread out the corn, and asses to gather it in. (TgJ)
The Targum translation modifies this verse from Isaiah speaking of a time of refreshing which comes from the face / presence of God, and how the fruitful field is inhabited by many cities. טו כָל דְנָא עַד דְיֵיתֵי לַנָא רוּחַ מִן קֳדָם דִשכִינְתֵיה בִשמֵי מְרֹומָא וִיהֵי מַדבְרָא לְכַרמְלָא וְכַרמְלָא קִרוִין סַגִיאִין יְתִיב׃ 32:15 All these things shall come upon us until refreshing shall come to us from the face of Him, whose Shekinah is in the highest heavens. The wilderness shall become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be inhabited by many cities. (TgJ) The commentary Nefesh HaChayim on this verse speaks of the Ruach (Spirit) of God resting upon God’s people.
Nefesh HaChayim, Gate I 6:26
And in parshat K’doshim 86b: “When a person does his actions below conforming to the straight path… a supernal spirit-Ruakh of holiness is drawn out, issues and rests upon him…, and as a result of those same actions a spirit-Ruakh of holiness settles upon him, a supernal spirit-Ruakh to be sanctified thereby. If he comes to be sanctified, they sanctify him, as is written ‘you shall sanctify…’.” And in parshat Nahso (128, top): “that he draws upon himself the supernal spirit-Ruakh of holiness, as was stated (Yeshayahu 32:15) ‘until a spirit-Ruakh from on high will be poured out upon us”, refer there [for more details].
Here the commentary speaks of a person’s actions that lead to the drawing out the Ruach of holiness. On the surface, this may seem strange. The way the text writes that when one’s actions conform to the straight path, which means that one is obeying the Torah, then the Ruach of God is drawn out, to some this may sound like legalism. What the commentary is speaking of is on the one who lives by their faith, which means their faith affects their actions and their actions demonstrate their faith. This is synonymous to stepping out in faith in what God is calling us to do. This requires us to trust in the Lord. It is important to note that when one steps out in faith, many times it is only at this point that the power of God becomes available. It can be hard for us to accept the idea since our culture promotes that idea that we are sufficient in ourselves. This again is our culture promoting the idol of self. When one steps out in faith, this is analogous to making public what he believes and not being ashamed of our faith. We note the commentary speaks of being sanctified. Again, sanctification is a process of separation here on this earth, being set apart for God and to then be used by God. The NT text speaks of these things from the context of what Yeshua has done on our behalf, sanctifying, making atonement for us, redeeming us in His blood before our Father in heaven. The point of our sanctifying ourselves here on earth is to actively seek the ways of God and to walk in them because of our status of who we are before our Father in heaven. Rashi agrees with this assessment regarding the pouring out of the Spirit of God in His commentary on Isaiah 32:15.
Rashi on Isaiah 32:15 Parts 1-2
עד יערה עלינו. ישפוך עלינו כמו ותער כדה (בראשית כ״ד:כ׳) ל’ שפיכה נופל על הרוח כמו ושפכתי על בית דוד רוח חן (יואל ג׳:א׳) וכן אשפוך רוחי על כל בשר (זכריה י״ב:י׳):
Until…be poured upon us (יֵעָרֶה) He shall pour upon us. Comp. (Gen. 24:2) “And she emptied (וַתְּעַר) her pitcher.” An expression of pouring applies to spirit. Comp. (Zech. 12:10) “And I will pour upon the house of David…a spirit of grace.” Comp. also (Joel 3:1) “I will pour My spirit upon all flesh.”
ליער יחשב. קירוין סגיאין כיער הזה שהוא מלא עצים:
shall be regarded as a forest (Jonathan renders:) Great cities, like this forest, which is full of trees.
Look at the concepts here that Rashi draws out from Isaiah 32:15, that God will pour out His Spirit, it is a Spirit of Grace, and he draws in Joel 3:1 His pouring out His Spirit on all flesh. This is a description of the Lord God pouring out His Spirit in abundance upon His people, upon believers. These things demonstrate the mercy of God and again illustrate the importance of stepping out in faith and putting our faith into action. Actually, putting our faith into action is so important, this is what it means when Moshe wrote וְהָיָ֗ה אִם־שָׁמֹ֤ועַ תִּשְׁמַע֙ בְּקֹול֙ יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ לִשְׁמֹ֤ר לַעֲשֹׂות֙ אֶת־כָּל־מִצְוֹתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיֹּ֑ום וּנְתָ֨נְךָ֜ יְהוָ֤ה אֱלֹהֶ֨יךָ֙ עֶלְיֹ֔ון עַ֖ל כָּל־גֹּויֵ֥י הָאָֽרֶץ׃ וּבָ֧אוּ עָלֶ֛יךָ כָּל־הַבְּרָכֹ֥ות הָאֵ֖לֶּה וְהִשִּׂיגֻ֑ךָ כִּ֣י תִשְׁמַ֔ע בְּקֹ֖ול יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃ (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1-2). This abundance of God, the NT text describes as having His presence in our lives, being empowered to overcome this world, and to be confident to proclaim the mercies of God to the world and not be ashamed in front of a godless unrighteous world! Isaiah goes on to describe who it is that Isaiah 32:15 is speaking about saying the following according to the TgJ, טז וְיִשרֹון בְמַדבְרָא עָבְדֵי דִינָא וְעָבְדֵי צְדַקתָא יָת כַרמְלָא יְיַתְבוּן׃ 32:16 Then they that do justice shall dwell in the wilderness, and those that do righteousness shall inhabit the fruitful field. יז וִיהֹון עָבְדֵי צְדַקתָא שְלָם וּמַפלְחֵי צְדַקתָא יִשקְטוּן וְיִשרֹון לְרוּחצָן עַד עָלְמָא׃ 32:17 And they that do righteousness shall be at peace, and those that adorn righteousness shall be in quietness, and they shall be in safety for ever. (TgJ) Here the TgJ writes that the righteous, הוא את מי עוֹשֶׂה צְדָקָה וּמִשְפָּט “he whom does righteousness and justice” will inherit these things, will dwell in the fields and the cities which are described as being fruitful. The commentary Shemirat HaLashon, Book I, The Gate of Remembering 11:11 writes the following concerning these things.
Shemirat HaLashon, Book I, The Gate of Remembering 11:11
Come and see how great is the power of peace. For in the beginning of the creation of the universe the Holy One Blessed be He employed Himself in the creation of an instrument of peace, as it is written (Bereshith 1:3): “And G-d said: ‘Let there be light’ — and there was light.” And how do we know that light is peace? For it is written (Isaiah 45:7): “He fashions light and creates darkness; He makes peace and creates evil.” On this basis, our teachers of blessed memory ruled (Shabbath 23b): “As between a candle for his house and wine for kiddush, to sanctify the Sabbath [if he can afford only one], a candle for his house takes precedence because of the peace of his household.” What is more, our sages enacted many ordinances in pursuit of the paths of peace, viz. (Gittin 59a): “They declared the following in pursuit of the paths of peace: ‘The Cohein reads first [in the Torah], then the Levite, then the Israelite, because of “the paths of peace.”‘” An eruv [a halachic enabling device] is placed in an old house, because of “the paths of peace.” The pit nearest the irrigation canal is filled first because of “the paths of peace.”‘” And so is it written (Proverbs 3;17): “Its [Torah’s] ways are ways of pleasantness and all of its paths are peace.” And thus did our sages of blessed memory say in the aggadah (Bamidbar Rabbah 15:13, Tanchuma Beha’alothecha 11): “There are thirteen things that the Holy One Blessed be He loved, and of all of them, He “doubled” [in profusion of love], only “peace.” They [(the thirteen)] are: Cohanim, Levites, Israel, Sanhedrin [the high court], the first-born, the offerings of the tabernacle, the sacrifices, the oil of anointment, the Land of Israel, Jerusalem, the Temple, the kingdom of the house of David, and the silver and the gold. The Cohanim — (Shemoth 28:41): “And they shall be priests unto Me.” the Levites (Numbers 3:41): “And I shall take the Levites unto Me.” Israel — (Shemoth 19:6): “And you [Israel] shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests.” Sanhedrin — (Numbers 11:16): “Gather unto Me seventy men.” The first-born — (Shemoth 13:2) “Sanctify unto Me every first-born.” The offerings of the tabernacle — (Ibid. 25:2): “And they shall take unto Me an offering.” The sacrifices — (Numbers 28:2): “You shall heed to sacrifice unto Me in its appointed time.” The oil of anointment — (Shemoth 30:31): “The holy oil of anointment shall this be unto Me for your generations.” The Land of Israel — (Ibid. 19:5): “For unto Me is all the land.” Jerusalem — (I Kings 11:36): “The city that I have chosen unto Me.” The Temple — (I Chronicles 17:12): “He shall build unto Me a habitation.” The kingdom of the house of David — (I Samuel 16:1): “For I have seen in his sons a king unto Me.” The silver and the gold — (Chaggai 2:8): “Mine is the silver, and Mine is the gold.” But, of all of these, none was doubled [in profusion of love] but “peace,” as it is written (Isaiah 27:5): “Or let him take hold of My strength. He shall make peace unto Me; peace shall he make unto Me.” Great is peace, which takes precedence to praise of the Blessed One Himself. For when Yithro came to Moses, immediately (Exodus 18:7): “And each made inquiry of the other’s peace,” whereas only afterwards (Ibid. 8): “And Moses related to his father-in-law all of the miracles that the Holy One Blessed be He had wrought for Israel.” What is more, for all of the mitzvoth that the wicked perform in this world, the Holy One Blessed be He gives them their reward in this world — such as wealth, property, years, honor, and the like — except peace, which He does not give them, as it is written (Isaiah 57:21): “There is no peace, says my G-d, for the wicked.” And, what is more, the Holy One Blessed be He gives peace as a reward to the righteous, as it is written (Ibid. 32:17): “And the reward for righteousness shall be peace…” What is more, it is with peace that He draws near to Him converts and penitents, as it is written (Ibid. 57:19): “He creates the utterance of the lips: ‘Peace, Peace,’ for the far and the near, says the L-rd, and I will heal him.” Great is peace, for in regard to all of the journeyings in the desert it is written “And they journeyed and they rested,” journeying in strife and resting in strife. But when they came to Mount Sinai, they made one great “resting,” as it is written (Shemoth 19:2): “And Israel rested there, before the mountain.” For as long as they are at peace with one another, the Shechinah is among them. And thus is it said (Devarim 33:5): “And He was a King in Yeshurun when the heads of the people were gathered, together with the tribes of Israel.” When does the kingdom and the Shechinah of the Blessed One abide in Israel? When they are all gathered together as one. Come and see how great is the power of peace; for it is through the power of peace that the world endures. For thus have our sages of blessed memory said (Avoth 1:18): “On three things does the world stand: on judgment, on truth, and on peace, as it is written (Zechariah 8:16): ‘Truth and a judgment of peace shall you judge in your gates.'” What is more, when there is peace among men, there is blessing in their fruits, as it is written (Ibid. 12): “For as the seed of peace, the vine shall give its fruit, and the earth shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give its dew, and I shall bequeath all of these to the remnant of this people.” And thus is it written (Psalms 147:14): “He makes peace on your borders and sates you with the fatness of wheat.” Our sages have said (Vayikra Rabbah 9:9): “Great is peace, for if one erases one letter of G-d’s name, he transgresses a negative commandment, as it is written (Devarim 12:3): ‘And you shall wipe out their [the idols’] name from that place,’ followed by (Ibid. 4): ‘You shall not do so to the L-rd your G-d.’ Yet to make peace between a man and his wife, the Torah says (Numbers 5:23): ‘And the Cohein shall write these curses [containing G-d’s name] in a book and erase them into the bitter waters.’ The Holy One Blessed be He says: ‘Let My name, which was written in holiness, be erased by the waters.'” And Chazal have said further (Vayikrah Rabbah 9:9): “Great is peace, for all of the goodly blessings and consolations that the Holy One Blessed be He convokes upon Israel conclude with “peace.” The Shema — “He spreads a canopy of peace.” The Amidah — “He makes peace.” The priestly blessing — “And He shall repose peace upon you.” “Therefore, my sons, be circumspect in this trait — to love peace and to pursue peace. For there is no end to the reward for loving peace and pursuing peace.” Until here, the language of Ma’aloth Hamiddoth.
The Midrash begins describing God as a God of peace and draws in the creation account connecting Isaiah 45:7 to light / righteousness being peaceful, “He fashions light and creates darkness; He makes peace and creates evil.” Here the rabbis describe the pursuit of peace (the paths of peace) starting with the lighting of the Erev Shabbat candles. The Midrash goes on speaking of the Cohen reciting the Torah, and then the Levite, and then the Israelite. This describes how the Torah (All of Scripture in this case) is not simply reserved for priests or the clergy, but for all people (all of Israel). In both the Rabbinic literature and in the Scriptures Torah (the Word of God) is described as the light to the Nation of Israel and to the world. “Its [Torah’s] ways are ways of pleasantness, and all of its paths are peace.” (Mishley / Proverbs 3;17) The rabbis then speak of thirteen things that the Lord loved and created for peace.
- Sanhedrin [the high court]
- the first-born
- the offerings of the tabernacle
- the sacrifices
- the oil of anointment
- the Land of Israel
- the Temple
- the kingdom of the house of David
- the silver and the gold.
We note the commonality here is the inheritance of the Lord. How we are the inheritance of the Lord. If we are God’s inheritance, then we need to live as if this is true, walking in righteousness, holiness, and truth, and believing in the promises that God has given us according to the Scriptures. The midrash states that of all these 13 things, only peace was doubled due to the love of God. To me this describes (i) peace here on earth and (ii) a spiritual peace with God. It is interesting how the conclusion of these things is coupled to this idea of the wicked performing mitzvot and they receive a reward of wealth, property, years, honor, etc this is the earthly peace. The do not however receive God’s peace because they have not entered into a covenant relationship with God, i.e. Isaiah 57:21 “There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked.” This is an important concept here as it directs us to understand the place of the Torah in our lives. The first thing that we must have is faith believing in the God of Israel and in His Mashiach! Primarily, one must enter into a relationship with God through faith and then obeying God’s word comes as a function of one’s faith to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit. Those who are counted righteous will be those who receive this spiritual peace with God which then leads to being at peace with others here on earth. The Lord God gives us the peace that surpases all understanding. (Philippians 4:7) The Midrash organizes these things in this particular way to illustrate how having faith believing in the Lord, the Lord God then works a miracle in one’s heart. The Torah then describes how following these things that God will give His people the Torah, (Vayikra Rabbah 9:9): “The Holy One Blessed be He said: ‘The time has now arrived for Me to give Torah to My children.'” These things describe the continuity of these concepts throughout the bible, from the beginning (Bereshit / Genesis) to the end (Revelation). When one has faith and walks in God’s ways, God gives His peace. Because of all these things the conclusion is “Therefore, my sons, be circumspect in this trait — to love peace and to pursue peace. For there is no end to the reward for loving peace and pursuing peace.” We note how these things are consistent with the NT text which John writes in his epistle saying the following:
1 John 1:5–10
1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1:10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (KJV 5 Καὶ ⸉ἔστιν αὕτη⸊ ἡ ⸀ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν,* ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία ⸉1ἐν αὐτῷ οὐκ ἔστιν⸊ οὐδεμία.* 6 ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετʼ* αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ σκότει περιπατῶμεν,* ψευδόμεθα καὶ οὐ ποιοῦμεν τὴν ἀλήθειαν·* 7 ἐὰν* ♦⸆ἐν τῷ φωτὶ περιπατῶμεν,* ὡς αὐτός ἐστιν ἐν τῷ φωτί, κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετʼ ἀλλήλων,* καὶ τὸ αἷμα ⸂Ἰησοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ⸃ ⸀καθαρίζει ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἁμαρτίας. 8 ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι ἁμαρτίαν οὐκ ἔχομεν,* ἑαυτοὺς πλανῶμεν καὶ ἡ ἀλήθεια ⸆ ♦⸉οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν⸊.* 9 ἐὰν ὁμολογῶμεν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν, πιστός ἐστιν καὶ δίκαιος, ἵνα ἀφῇ ἡμῖν τὰς ἁμαρτίας ⸆ καὶ ⸀καθαρίσῃ ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἀδικίας.* 10 ἐὰν εἴπωμεν ὅτι οὐχ ⸀ἡμαρτήκαμεν, ψεύστην ποιοῦμεν αὐτόν,* καὶ ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ ⸉οὐκ ἔστιν ἐν ἡμῖν⸊.)
Note what John is saying here, that if we walk in the light we will have fellowship with God and His Messiah Yeshua. Here again light represents righteousness, and so by faith we are to live in Teshuvah (Repentance) and walk in God’s ways! Isaiah goes on saying the following, יח וְיִתְבוּן עַמִי בִמדֹורֵיהֹון שְלָם וְעַל אְרַעהֹון לְרֻחצָן וּבקִרוֵיהֹון שְלֵיוָא׃ 32:18 And my people shall dwell in their habitations in peace, and in their land in safety, and in their cities at ease. יט וְיֵחֹות בַרדָא וִיקַטֵיל מַשרְיָת עַמְמַיָא וִיצַדֹון וִיסוּפוּן דָיְרֵיהֹון׃ 32:19 And hail shall descend and shall slay the armies of the nations, and their encampments shall be laid desolate, and come to an end. כ טוּבֵיכֹון צַדִיקַיָא עְבַדתוּן לְכֹון עוּבָדִין טָבִין דְאַתוּן דָמַן לִדזָרְעִין עַל שִקיָא דִמשַלְחִין לְאַדרָכָא בְתֹורַיָא וּלמִכנַש בִחמָרַיָא׃32:20 Blessed are ye, O just, ye work out for yourselves good works: because ye are like those, who sow by watered places, sending the oxen to tread out the corn, and asses to gather it in. (TgJ) Again we note that these things come due to God’s people living their lives by faith walking in God’s holy ways. The TgJ writes explicitly that the righteous work out maasim tovim (good works). On the other hand, if one claims to have faith, but not to turn from the ways of the world and sin, then these things will not come to be that are described here in Isaiah, and as John wrote in 1 John 1:1-10, such a person is lying to himself about what he believes! Ein Yaakov goes on to describe these things in the following way:
Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Bava Kama 1:4
א״ר יוחנן משום רבי שמעון בן יוחאי מ״ד (ישעיה לב כ) אשריכם זורעי על כל מים משלחי רגל השור והחמור כל העוסק בתורה ובגמילות חסדים זוכה לנחלת שני שבטים שנאמר אשריכם זורעי ואין זריעה אלא צדקה שנאמר (הושע י יב) זרעו לכם לצדקה קצרו לפי חסד ואין מים אלא תורה שנאמר (ישעיה נה א) הוי כל צמא לכו למים וזוכה לנחלת שני שבטים זוכה לכילה כיוסף דכתיב (בראשית מט כב) בן פורת יוסף גו’ בנות צעדה עלי שור וזוכה לנחלת יששכר דכתיב (שם מט יד) יששכר חמור גרם. איכא דאמרי אויביו נופלין לפניו כיוסף דכתיב ביה (דברים לג יז) עמים ינגח יחדו אפסי ארץ וזוכה לבינה כיששכר דכתיב (ד״ה א יב לב) ומבני יששכר יודעי בינה לעתים לדעת מה יעשה ישראל וגו׳:
R. Jochanan said in the name of R. Simon b. Jochai: “What does the passage (Is. 32, 20) Happy are ye that sow beside all waters, freely sending forth the feet of the ox and the ass, mean? Those who occupy themselves with the study of the Torah with loving kindness will be rewarded with the inheritance of two tribes; as it is said (Ib., ib., ib.) Happy are ye who sow. Sowing, refers to charity, as it is said (Hos. 10, 12) Sow then for yourselves after righteousness, that you may reap [the fruit] of kindness. Water, refers to the Torah, as it is said (Is. 55, 1) Ho, everyone of ye that thirsteth, come ye to the water — will be rewarded with the inheritance of two tribes; i.e., he will be rewarded with a canopy [of honor] as Joseph was, concerning whom it is written (Ex. 79, 22) Joseph is a canopy [of honor] … the daughters [of Egypt] run over the walls; and he will also be rewarded with the inheritance of Issachar, concerning whom it is written (Ib.) Issachar is a strong-boned ass. Others explain this to mean that he will overcome his enemies as the tribe of Joseph, concerning whom it is written (Ib., ib. 17) With them shall he push nations together to the ends of the earth — and he acquires understanding as the tribe of Issachar, concerning whom it is written (I. Chr. 12, 32) And of the children of Issachar, those who had understanding of the times to know what Israel ought to do.”
Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Avodah Zarah 1:13
אמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי בנאה מאי דכתיב (ישעיה לב כ) אשריכם זורעי על כל מים משלחי רגל השור והחמור אשריהם ישראל שבזמן שהם עוסקים בתורה ובגמילות חסדים יצרם מסור בידם ולא הם מסורים ביד יצרם שנאמר אשריכם זורעי על כל מים ואין זריעה אלא צדקה שנאמר (הושע י יב) זרעו לכם לצדקה ואין מים אלא תורה שנאמר (ישעיה נה א) הוי כל צמא לכו למים משלחי רגל השור והחמור. תנא דבי אליהו לעולם ישים אדם עצמו על דברי תורה כשור לעול וכחמור למשאוי:
R. Jochanan said in the name of R. B’na’a: “What is the meaning of the passage (Is. 32, 20) Happy are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth freely the feet of the ox and the ass? [This means] Happy is Israel! For at the time when they are occupied with the study of the Torah and with loving kindness, the evil spirit is delivered into their hands, and not vice versa; for it is said, Happy are ye that sow beside all waters. The word, sow, refers to charity, as it is said (Hos. 10, 12) Sow to yourselves according to righteousness; and water refers to the Torah, as it is said (Is. 5, 1) Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye for water. Concerning that send forth freely the feet of the ox and the ass, it was taught at the college of Elijah: One should always consider himself in his relations to the laws of the Torah, as an ox to its yoke, and an ass to its load.
Here there are a number of significant points that are drawn out according to Ein Yaakov’s commentary. We note that the main focus is upon the people remaining in God’s word through the statements that the people “occupy themselves with the study of the Torah.” Continuing in God’s word leads to sowing righteousness which is connected to the fruit of kindness. In addition, the refreshing waters are connected to God’s Word, and to the overcoming of one’s enemies. Here we see how the Torah is not just connected to this physical world, but also to the spiritual world. In Ein Yaakov’s commentary on Avoda Zara (idolatry) he says that when one occupies himself with studying God’s Word (Torah) by the mercy and grace of God, evil spirits are delivered into our hands and not vice versa. The rabbis say that when one neglects the study of God’s word, then we will be delivered into the hands of an evil spirit. This is a very important concept in relation to what Paul writes in His epistles. We note something that happened to David that is related to these things.
ספר דברי הימים א פרק כא
א וַיַּעֲמֹד שָֹטָן עַל-יִשְֹרָאֵל וַיָּסֶת אֶת-דָּוִיד לִמְנוֹת אֶת-יִשְֹרָאֵל: ב וַיֹּאמֶר דָּוִיד אֶל-יוֹאָב וְאֶל-שָֹרֵי הָעָם לְכוּ סִפְרוּ אֶת-יִשְֹרָאֵל מִבְּאֵר שֶׁבַע וְעַד-דָּן וְהָבִיאוּ אֵלָי וְאֵדְעָה אֶת-מִסְפָּרָם: ג וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹאָב יוֹסֵף יְהֹוָה עַל-עַמּוֹ | כָּהֵם מֵאָה פְעָמִים הֲלֹא אֲדֹנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ כֻּלָּם לַאדֹנִי לַעֲבָדִים לָמָּה יְבַקֵּשׁ זֹאת אֲדֹנִי לָמָּה יִהְיֶה לְאַשְׁמָה לְיִשְֹרָאֵל: ד וּדְבַר-הַמֶּלֶךְ חָזַק עַל-יוֹאָב וַיֵּצֵא יוֹאָב וַיִּתְהַלֵּךְ בְּכָל-יִשְֹרָאֵל וַיָּבֹא יְרוּשָׁלָם: ה וַיִּתֵּן יוֹאָב אֶת-מִסְפַּר מִפְקַד-הָעָם אֶל-דָּוִיד וַיְהִי כָל-יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶלֶף אֲלָפִים וּמֵאָה אֶלֶף אִישׁ שֹׁלֵף חֶרֶב וִיהוּדָה אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת וְשִׁבְעִים אֶלֶף אִישׁ שֹׁלֵף חָרֶב: ו וְלֵוִי וּבִנְיָמִן לֹא פָקַד בְּתוֹכָם כִּי-נִתְעַב דְּבַר-הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת-יוֹאָב: ז וַיֵּרַע בְּעֵינֵי הָאֱלֹהִים עַל-הַדָּבָר הַזֶּה וַיַּךְ אֶת-יִשְֹרָאֵל:
1 Chronicles 21:1–7
21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 21:2 And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beer-sheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it. 21:3 And Joab answered, The LORD make his people an hundred times so many more as they be: but, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? why then doth my lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of trespass to Israel? 21:4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Wherefore Joab departed, and went throughout all Israel, and came to Jerusalem. 21:5 And Joab gave the sum of the number of the people unto David. And all they of Israel were a thousand thousand and an hundred thousand men that drew sword: and Judah was four hundred threescore and ten thousand men that drew sword. 21:6 But Levi and Benjamin counted he not among them: for the king’s word was abominable to Joab. 21:7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore he smote Israel. (KJV)
What we note here is that Satan stood up against Israel by provoking David to number the men who are able to fight in war. This illustrates for us how the battle that we have is a spiritual one, and it is a battle for the mind. Satan incited David with thoughts in his head to number Israel. Elsewhere we read in John 13:2 which states that Satan had already put into the heart of Judas to betray Yeshua to death. In Acts 5:3 we read how Satan had put into the mind of Ananias and his wife to lie to the holy spirit and to the apostles. So what these things reveal to us is how the battle that we have is in the mind, it is not in the flesh and blood of this world. This is where Paul got his understanding saying we wrestle not against flesh and blood.
12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (KJV 12 ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ⸀ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ⸂ἀρχάς,* πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας⸃, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους ⸆ τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ⸋ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις⸌.*)
This appears to be the rabbinic understanding of studying Torah and evil spirits being given into our hands, as opposed to those who do not study God’s Word they are given into the hands of evil spirits. The reason is due to this battle for the mind. Now one may make the statement that when we are in Yeshua we are not given into any evil spirit’s hands. The question we should ask ourselves is do I have thoughts such as “I am stupid” or “I am dumb” or “I am ugly” or “I am no good” or “I have depression,” or “I have thoughts of suicide,” or any kind of self-loathing thoughts, lusts, confusion on gender, being inflamed with lust for the same sex, etc? These are the result of influences from evil spirits, and we are told in Yeshua we can be free of these things. The point of these things is that the battle is for our minds since what is conceived in the mind is lived or acted out in our lives. And this illustrates the importance of studying God’s Word, for the purpose of transforming our minds and most importantly seeking God’s help by the power of His presence in our lives to walk in His ways, to turn from sin, and live for Him by faith in Yeshua the Messiah!