Here we find Isaiah speaking of what happens when God makes Himself known to His people. The presence of God leads to holiness, purity, and the people who receive His presence: mercy and grace that is rooted in ethical purity and love. In the Scriptures, there is some overlap in the concepts of “purity” (טֹהַר) and “holiness” (קְדֻשָה). The Hebrew word טֹהַר can refer to a positive property. Thomas Kazen writes in His book “Purity and Impurity in Ancient Israel and Early Judaism” that טֹהַר can also mean “shining or radiance” similar to its Ugaritic cognate. Purity or purification is the act of removing dirt or pollution from something. The Hebrew word for “impurity” (טומאה) in the biblical text speaks of contamination, of moral transgression, of some form of impure physical condition. We understand these things from the sense of something that is dirty, or something that has died, disease, etc. Notice how the biblical context categorizes impurity from the sense of behaviors of conduct (morality) such as sexual relations, of the dead, of food avoidances, and idolatrous worship which connects this to spiritual dangers. What this imagery draws in for us is from the sense of turning away from what is impure, turning from what stinks or is smelly, or turning from what may threaten a healthy life. The idea of purification then speaks of the removal of these things from our lives, and sanctification, and healing. It is because of these things that the bible lists certain codes of conduct before God so that we may sanctify our lives as we live as His people. The reason being, the Lord God Almighty Himself dwells in our midst. The idea then is it is possible to transgress, or turn away from the purity that God wants for our lives, and generally speaking when one sins he or she is doing exactly that! The biblical legislation on purity is found mostly in Sefer Vayikra (Book of Leviticus) and speaks of impure creatures, the dead, skin disease, and discharges of the body via seminal emissions or diseased skin. HaSefer Bamidbar (the Book of Numbers) also speaks on corpse impurity. Purification is found in Leviticus, along with the sacrifices, atonement, and holiness laws, which again often utilize purity language to describe the behaviors of God’s people. Often purity language is used in terms of sexual misconduct from the sense of sinning in worshiping foreign gods (note that these may be found in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, etc). Impurity is mentioned in the context of foreign nations and their influence upon God’s people (i.e. Ezra and Nehemiah). The dead sea scrolls also speak much upon the topic of impurity, such as the Damascus Document (1QS, 4QMMT) and the fragment texts from Cave 4. Purity language is also used extensively by Paul in the NT text. The Mishnah and the Tosefta also provide extensive instructions on purity and impurity. So these concepts are relevant for the lives of God’s people and even today in our lives and faith in the Messiah Yeshua! The letters of Paul reveal to us an awareness of the connection between sinful behavior, uncleanness, and what God expects of us for His presence to remain among His people, or in us as individuals. When we study Paul’s letters, we see how his convictions parallel the Tanakh and Judaism’s conclusions on sexual immorality producing an alienation from God using the impurity language that is used throughout these texts. Paul writes that sexual immorality is an outward work of the flesh σάρξ (flesh, see Galatians 5:19). Note the concepts, sexual immorality being connected to idolatry, etc . This is the root-cause of the alienation, for the flesh wars continuously against the Spirit (see Romans 8:6, Galatians 5:17). Paul writes that the flesh has its intent in enmity towards God and does not submit to the Torah of God. This is man’s alienation from God where one makes himself the central focus, setting up an idol, as opposed to making the Lord God Almighty the central focus of one’s life. Note how Paul speaks of these things in Ephesians 5:1-16.
5:1 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; 5:4 Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 5:14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 5:15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (KJV 5 Γίνεσθε οὖν μιμηταὶ τοῦ θεοῦ ὡς τέκνα ἀγαπητὰ 2 καὶ περιπατεῖτε ἐν ἀγάπῃ,* καθὼς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς ἠγάπησεν ⸀ἡμᾶς καὶ παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ⸂ἡμῶν προσφορὰν⸃ καὶ θυσίαν τῷ θεῷ εἰς ὀσμὴν εὐωδίας.* *3 Πορνεία δὲ καὶ ἀκαθαρσία πᾶσα ἢ πλεονεξία μηδὲ ὀνομαζέσθω ἐν ὑμῖν, καθὼς πρέπει ἁγίοις,* 4 ⸀καὶ αἰσχρότης ⸁καὶ μωρολογία ⸀1ἢ εὐτραπελία,* ἃ οὐκ ἀνῆκεν, ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον εὐχαριστία.* 5 τοῦτο γὰρ ἴστε γινώσκοντες, ὅτι πᾶς πόρνος ἢ ἀκάθαρτος ἢ πλεονέκτης, ⸀ὅ ἐστιν εἰδωλολάτρης,* οὐκ ἔχει κληρονομίαν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ ⸂τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ θεοῦ⸃.* 6 Μηδεὶς ὑμᾶς ἀπατάτω κενοῖς λόγοις· διὰ ταῦτα γὰρ ἔρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας.* 7 μὴ οὖν γίνεσθε συμμέτοχοι αὐτῶν·* 8 ἦτε γάρ ποτε σκότος,* νῦν δὲ φῶς ἐν κυρίῳ· ὡς τέκνα φωτὸς περιπατεῖτε 9* — ὁ γὰρ καρπὸς τοῦ ⸀φωτὸς ἐν πάσῃ ἀγαθωσύνῃ καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ καὶ ἀληθείᾳ — 10 δοκιμάζοντες τί ἐστιν εὐάρεστον τῷ ⸀κυρίῳ,* 11 καὶ μὴ συγκοινωνεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τοῖς ἀκάρποις τοῦ σκότους,* μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ ἐλέγχετε.* 12 τὰ γὰρ κρυφῇ γινόμενα ὑπʼ αὐτῶν αἰσχρόν ἐστιν καὶ λέγειν,* 13 τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐλεγχόμενα ὑπὸ τοῦ φωτὸς φανεροῦται,* 14 πᾶν γὰρ τὸ φανερούμενον φῶς ἐστιν. διὸ λέγει·ἔγειρε,* ὁ καθεύδων, καὶ ἀνάστα ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ⸂ἐπιφαύσει σοι ὁ Χριστός⸃. 15 Βλέπετε οὖν ⸂ἀκριβῶς πῶς⸃ περιπατεῖτε μὴ ὡς ἄσοφοι ἀλλʼ ὡς σοφοί,* 16 ἐξαγοραζόμενοι τὸν καιρόν,* ὅτι αἱ ἡμέραι πονηραί εἰσιν.*)
Here Paul insists that as God’s people we are to be in sexual purity. He says 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) (KJV) and says “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” Paul provides this idea of resurrection saying, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” The idea of joining one’s self with those who practice these things is as one who walks foolishly. We are called to walk with wisdom by keeping God’s Word and living our lives according to God’s word. We note Paul speaks of these things often and places the works of the world in antithesis with the works of God, for example from Galatians 5:16–25.
- The World: the works of the flesh: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these
- The People of God: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control
The contrast between these things are the very things that Isaiah is speaking of here in Isaiah 33:13-18, not receiving a bribe, keeping our eyes from seeing evil, etc. Paul goes on being consistent with Isaiah saying according to Colossians 3:5-13.
3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: 3:7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 3:9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (KJV *5 Νεκρώσατε οὖν τὰ μέλη ⸆ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς,* πορνείαν ἀκαθαρσίαν πάθος ἐπιθυμίαν °κακήν, καὶ τὴν πλεονεξίαν,* ἥτις ἐστὶν εἰδωλολατρία, 6 διʼ ⸀ἃ ἔρχεται ἡ ὀργὴ τοῦ θεοῦ ⸋[ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῆς ἀπειθείας]⸌.* 7 ἐν οἷς καὶ ὑμεῖς περιεπατήσατέ ποτε, ὅτε ἐζῆτε ἐν ⸀τούτοις· 8 νυνὶ δὲ ἀπόθεσθε καὶ ὑμεῖς τὰ πάντα,* ὀργήν, θυμόν, κακίαν, βλασφημίαν,* αἰσχρολογίαν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ὑμῶν⸆· 9 μὴ ψεύδεσθε εἰς ἀλλήλους,* ἀπεκδυσάμενοι τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον σὺν ταῖς πράξεσιν αὐτοῦ* 10 καὶ ἐνδυσάμενοι τὸν νέον τὸν ἀνακαινούμενον εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν κατʼ* εἰκόνα τοῦ κτίσαντος αὐτόν,* 11 ὅπου οὐκ ἔνι ⸆ Ἕλλην καὶ Ἰουδαῖος, περιτομὴ καὶ ἀκροβυστία, βάρβαρος, Σκύθης, δοῦλος, ⸇ ἐλεύθερος,* ἀλλὰ °[τὰ] πάντα καὶ ἐν πᾶσιν Χριστός. 12 Ἐνδύσασθε οὖν,* ὡς ἐκλεκτοὶ °τοῦ θεοῦ ἅγιοι °1καὶ ἠγαπημένοι,* σπλάγχνα οἰκτιρμοῦ χρηστότητα ταπεινοφροσύνην πραΰτητα μακροθυμίαν,* 13 ἀνεχόμενοι ἀλλήλων καὶ χαριζόμενοι ἑαυτοῖς ἐάν τις πρός τινα ἔχῃ ⸀μομφήν·* καθὼς καὶ ὁ ⸁κύριος ἐχαρίσατο ὑμῖν, οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς·*)
We can see here the contrast that Paul is making, the ways of the world to the ways of our God, the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua! Paul places a strong emphasis upon these things, and with good reason saying, “for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” The cultic worship of the nations incorporates these things, which are an abomination in the eyes of God. This is why we have so much purity language in the biblical texts! Purification, becoming clean, is the natural preparation for having an encounter with God, to have a divine experience, and to have the presence of God in our lives making a dwelling place for our lives! We note that the biblical context demonstrates how purity applies to all aspects of our lives, to persons, objects, places, buildings, even food and drink. This reminds us of the significance of these things, to come out of the world, and to turn from sin, and to draw near to the Lord in His Word and in the application of His Word to our lives!
Isaiah goes on to say the following according to Isaiah 33:13-14.
ספר ישעיה פרק לג
יג שִׁמְעוּ רְחוֹקִים אֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתִי וּדְעוּ קְרוֹבִים גְּבֻרָתִי: יד פָּחֲדוּ בְצִיּוֹן חַטָּאִים אָחֲזָה רְעָדָה חֲנֵפִים מִי | יָגוּר לָנוּ אֵשׁ אוֹכֵלָה מִי-יָגוּר לָנוּ מוֹקְדֵי עוֹלָם:
Isaiah 33:13 states, “Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might. (שִׁמְעוּ רְחוֹקִים אֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתִי וּדְעוּ קְרוֹבִים גְּבֻרָתִי)” Isaiah 33:14 “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? (פָּחֲדוּ בְצִיּוֹן חַטָּאִים אָחֲזָה רְעָדָה חֲנֵפִים מִי | יָגוּר לָנוּ אֵשׁ אוֹכֵלָה מִי-יָגוּר לָנוּ מוֹקְדֵי עוֹלָם)” This verse שִׁמְעוּ רְחוֹקִים אֲשֶׁר עָשִֹיתִי וּדְעוּ קְרוֹבִים גְּבֻרָתִי speaks of all the world hearing of the power and greatness of the God of Israel. The verse speaks of those who are far (רְחוֹקִים) and near (קְרוֹבִים) and reminds us of what it says according to the book of Ezekiel.
ספר יחזקאל פרק כב
א וַיְהִי דְבַר-יְהֹוָה אֵלַי לֵאמֹר: ב וְאַתָּה בֶן-אָדָם הֲתִשְׁפֹּט הֲתִשְׁפֹּט אֶת-עִיר הַדָּמִים וְהוֹדַעְתָּהּ אֵת כָּל-תּוֹעֲבוֹתֶיהָ: ג וְאָמַרְתָּ כֹּה אָמַר אֲדֹנָי יְהֶֹוִה עִיר שֹׁפֶכֶת דָּם בְּתוֹכָהּ לָבוֹא עִתָּהּ וְעָשְֹתָה גִלּוּלִים עָלֶיהָ לְטָמְאָה: ד בְּדָמֵךְ אֲשֶׁר-שָׁפַכְתְּ אָשַׁמְתְּ וּבְגִלּוּלַיִךְ אֲשֶׁר-עָשִֹית טָמֵאת וַתַּקְרִיבִי יָמַיִךְ וַתָּבוֹא עַד-שְׁנוֹתָיִךְ עַל-כֵּן נְתַתִּיךְ חֶרְפָּה לַגּוֹיִם וְקַלָּסָה לְכָל-הָאֲרָצוֹת: ה הַקְּרֹבוֹת וְהָרְחֹקוֹת מִמֵּךְ יִתְקַלְּסוּ-בָךְ טְמֵאַת הַשֵּׁם רַבַּת הַמְּהוּמָה:
22:1 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 22:2 Now, thou son of man, wilt thou judge, wilt thou judge the bloody city? yea, thou shalt shew her all her abominations. 22:3 Then say thou, Thus saith the Lord GOD, The city sheddeth blood in the midst of it, that her time may come, and maketh idols against herself to defile herself. 22:4 Thou art become guilty in thy blood that thou hast shed; and hast defiled thyself in thine idols which thou hast made; and thou hast caused thy days to draw near, and art come even unto thy years: therefore have I made thee a reproach unto the heathen, and a mocking to all countries. 22:5 Those that be near, and those that be far from thee, shall mock thee, which art infamous and much vexed. (KJV)
Here we see how Ezekiel describes Jerusalem as that bloody city, and how the nations both near and far (הַקְּרֹבוֹת וְהָרְחֹקוֹת) will mock her. These sinful nations will mock the holy city when it is taken due to her unrepentant sin. Isaiah 33:14 states “The sinners in Zion are afraid” (פָּחֲדוּ בְצִיּוֹן חַטָּאִים) and rightly so when one turns from the ways of God. The phrase מִי | יָגוּר לָנוּ אֵשׁ אוֹכֵלָה מִי-יָגוּר לָנוּ מוֹקְדֵי עוֹלָם “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings” speaks of hell and the punishment of the wicked. The recognition of the power of God will lead to a terrifying realization that He is ultimately in control. Either we believe in Him and His Messiah and receive the forgiveness of sins, or ignore the gift that God has given us and suffer the consequences. This is what happened starting in King Solomon’s time, the people took the Lord for granted and sought to satisfy their own wants and desires. The people drew close to the ways of the nations, they brought the ways of the nations into intimate contact with their lives and embraced the lie exchanging a lie for the truth. This is when God’s fire will be revealed! We note that both far and near will realize something, they will realize the power of God and His glory, and this will terrify the people. The terror comes due to their realizing what the Torah states concerning their sins, coupled with all the years of disobedience. We note that the fire of God is not a passive thing, but an active thing. It either sets us on fire for God’s truth and life, or it burns us up in our sins. There is hope for those who trust in the Lord. There is no hope for those who do not. The ultimate danger is not realizing these truths and ending up in an endless, eternal, file.
Isaiah goes on to describe the righteous saying the following according to Isaiah 33:15-16.
ספר ישעיה פרק לג
טו הֹלֵךְ צְדָקוֹת וְדֹבֵר מֵישָׁרִים מֹאֵס בְּבֶצַע מַעֲשַׁקּוֹת נֹעֵר כַּפָּיו מִתְּמֹךְ בַּשֹּׁחַד אֹטֵם אָזְנוֹ מִשְּׁמֹעַ דָּמִים וְעֹצֵם עֵינָיו מֵרְאוֹת בְּרָע: טז הוּא מְרוֹמִים יִשְׁכֹּן מְצָדוֹת סְלָעִים מִשְֹגַּבּוֹ לַחְמוֹ נִתָּן מֵימָיו נֶאֱמָנִים:
Isaiah 33:15 states, “He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; (הֹלֵךְ צְדָקוֹת וְדֹבֵר מֵישָׁרִים מֹאֵס בְּבֶצַע מַעֲשַׁקּוֹת נֹעֵר כַּפָּיו מִתְּמֹךְ בַּשֹּׁחַד אֹטֵם אָזְנוֹ מִשְּׁמֹעַ דָּמִים וְעֹצֵם עֵינָיו מֵרְאוֹת בְּרָע)” Isaiah 33:16 “He shall dwell on high: his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. (הוּא מְרוֹמִים יִשְׁכֹּן מְצָדוֹת סְלָעִים מִשְֹגַּבּוֹ לַחְמוֹ נִתָּן מֵימָיו נֶאֱמָנִים)” Notice how Isaiah speaks of the change that one must undergo in order to live with God’s presence in their midst! This is a change of character, a change from the inside, to have the desire to walk in righteousness, despise oppression and unrighteous gain, and who refuses to look at evil. This appears to be the minimum standard for life, to walk upright, do justice, and turn from evil! This is the basic formula for the type of character that God is seeking in our lives. The Scriptures also tell us that it is the Lord who helps to change us from who we were to who we are in Yeshua the Messiah. What Separates us from the Lord God Almighty is the attitudes of unholiness and unrighteousness. Again this is why we see in Isaiah and elsewhere in the Scriptures how God’s people are called to live in the way of peace, grace, and mercy towards others. We do not hold grudges against people, we show mercy and forgive. This is what the Children of Israel learned about God at the foot of the mountain of Sinai in Parashat Ki Tisa (Shemot / Exodus 32). God’s mercy is great to forgive, even in the midst of horrible sin He leaves the doors to repentance open for all! Isaiah realizes this fact of what the Torah teaches us, and so he speaks to these things saying if we are to dwell in the presence of God, and if God is going to dwell in us, we must share the character traits that God demonstrates according to the Scriptures! The text comparison LXX and Targum reveal the following concerning these verses.
The LXX writes saying, 15 πορευόμενος ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, λαλῶν εὐθεῖαν ὁδόν, μισῶν ἀνομίαν καὶ ἀδικίαν καὶ τὰς χεῖρας ἀποσειόμενος ἀπὸ δώρων, βαρύνων τὰ ὦτα ἵνα μὴ ἀκούσῃ κρίσιν αἵματος, καμμύων τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ἵνα μὴ ἴδῃ ἀδικίαν, 16 οὗτος οἰκήσει ἐν ὑψηλῷ σπηλαίῳ πέτρας ἰσχυρᾶς, ἄρτος αὐτῷ δοθήσεται, καὶ τὸ ὕδωρ αὐτοῦ πιστόν. 15 One who walks in righteousness, who speaks a straight way, who hates lawlessness and wrongdoing and who shakes off his hands from gifts, who dulls his ears so that he does not hear a judgment of blood, who shuts his eyes so that he does not see wrongdoing. 16 This one will reside in a high cave of a strong rock; bread will be given to him, and his water will be secure. (LES) The LXX explains the various things that lead to corruption and how the righteous turn from such things. He says that the one who does these things is as one who is in a high cave, save, and he is fed by God with bread and water such that he is secure and does not have to leave his secure position. The TgJ writes, אְמַר נְבִיָא יִתֹותְבוּן בַה צַדִיקַיָא כָל דִמהַלֵיך בְזָכוּ וּממַלֵיל כֵיוָנָן מִתרַחַק מִמָמֹון דִשקַר מְרַחֵיק נַפשֵיה מִן אָנֹוסִין מְנַע יְדֹוהִי מִלְקַבָלָא שוּחדָא מְטַמטֵים אוּדנֹוהִי מִלְמִשמַע בְאָשְדֵי דַם זַכַי וְכַלֵי עֵינֹוהִי מִלְמִחזֵי בְעָבְדֵי בִיש׃ הוּא בַאְתַר רָם וּמנַטַל יְהֵי בֵית מִשרֹוהִי בֵית מַקדְשָא תְסַבַע נַפשֵיה מְזֹונֵיה מְסַפַק מֹוהִי קַייָמִין כְמַבוּעַ דְמַיִין דְלָא פָסְקִין מֹוהִי׃ 15 The prophet said, The just shall live in it, everyone who walketh in righteousness, and speaketh honest things; removing himself to a distance from the mammon of iniquity; removing himself from oppressions, that restraineth his hands from holding a bribe, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of the shedding of innocent blood, and shutteth his eyes from looking at the workers of iniquity. 16 The house of his inhabitation shall be in a high and exalted place; in the house of the sanctuary shall his soul be satisfied; his food shall be sufficient; his waters shall continue; like a fountain of water, whose waters fail not. (TgJ) Here the Targum translates that the one who turns from wickedness will dwell in the high and exalted place, the house of the sanctuary of God. We note something that Paul wrote in the NT text concerning our bodies and the Spirit of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20
6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (KJV 19 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ⸂τὸ σῶμα⸃ ὑμῶν ναὸς τοῦ ἐν ὑμῖν ⸉ἁγίου πνεύματός⸊ ἐστιν οὗ ἔχετε ἀπὸ θεοῦ, καὶ οὐκ ἐστὲ ἑαυτῶν;* 20 ἠγοράσθητε γὰρ τιμῆς· δοξάσατε ⸀δὴ τὸν θεὸν ἐν τῷ σώματι ὑμῶν⸆.*)
When we consider the Targum translation alongside the NT text, here we read that our bodies are the dwelling place of God. The Targum draws on the idea of our being exalted, lifted up, purified, and being well fed; all of these things being connected to our remaining in the word of God. Paul writes that because of the presence of God in us, we should glorify God in our bodies and in the spirit, both of which belong to God. The point that Isaiah is making, he speaks of closing the eyes to evil, this does not mean that we ignore evil in this world. Take for example the push by the CDC through funding (money) in public schools to promote the LGBTQ and woke ideologies that destroy children’s lives and destroy families, etc. We do not stand silent in the midst of these things in our public schools. If the schools won’t listen, it is time to pull the children out of the public schools. What the government and the CDC are doing is oppressing the children with these ideologies that are harmful and this is forbidden according to Yeshua, he said “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” (Luke 17:1-2) The Lord God detests those who destroy innocent children. We note something, righteous actions alone do not merit the right to be in fellowship with the God of Israel. We must enter into a covenant relationship with God through faith, believing in His redeemer, in Yeshua the Messiah! We note what Paul wrote in Romans 7, that having good character was one thing, and trying to achieve good character by our own methods is a completely different story. Entering into fellowship with God comes only by the mercy of God, by His grace, and this fact is taught in both the Tanakh and the NT texts. The major point is that we recognize the logical order of the covenant relationship. We recognize the mercy and grace of God, we believe by faith in the promises and what the Lord God has done for us, and what / who we are in the Messiah Yeshua. Then by faith live our lives for the glory of God. When we order our lives in this way, this is synonymous to stepping out in faith in our lives, and we can expect the power of God to be present to overcome anything! What we recognize is the importance of our own efforts that are coupled to the work of God in our lives. There is a cooperative work here! We are called to live in righteousness and this doesn’t come by osmosis, but by much effort on our part. Each day we seek to turn from evil, to walk in God’s ways, to live righteous and holy lives because as Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (KJV) The revelation of God our Father in heaven in Yeshua the Messiah should lead us to these things! When we keep the faith through being faithful to God in heaven, this is how one changes his character with the help of God, as we dwell with God in the high places, just like what Isaiah is saying here in Isaiah 33:15-16. Such persons have an infinite source of supply because God is that source in our lives! This is what the bread and water symbolize in Isaiah 33:16, we are supplied the most basic of human needs, and we are satisfied in the Lord. We are not starving spiritually. When we attempt to do things separate from faith in Yeshua the Messiah, we are essentially spiritually starving ourselves because we again are attempting to do things on our own. The major point Isaiah has made consistently throughout his book is that we must trust and rely upon the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah! When we do that both the Messiah and our Father in heaven will be a refuge of peace and truth in our lives that will be lived out for everyone to see!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 33:17-18.
ספר ישעיה פרק לג
יז מֶלֶךְ בְּיָפְיוֹ תֶּחֱזֶינָה עֵינֶיךָ תִּרְאֶינָה אֶרֶץ מַרְחַקִּים: יח לִבְּךָ יֶהְגֶּה אֵימָה אַיֵּה סֹפֵר אַיֵּה שֹׁקֵל אַיֵּה סֹפֵר אֶת-הַמִּגְדָּלִים:
Isaiah 33:17 states, “Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off. (מֶלֶךְ בְּיָפְיוֹ תֶּחֱזֶינָה עֵינֶיךָ תִּרְאֶינָה אֶרֶץ מַרְחַקִּים)” Isaiah 33:18 “Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he that counted the towers? (לִבְּךָ יֶהְגֶּה אֵימָה אַיֵּה סֹפֵר אַיֵּה שֹׁקֵל אַיֵּה סֹפֵר אֶת-הַמִּגְדָּלִים)” The idea here follows, that when one walks in God’s ways, seeks the God in heaven, and believes in the King Messiah, he will see the King in all his beauty and behold the land that is very far off. This provides us with a promise, for those who love the Lord, of the Olam Haba for those who are the children of God. For those who have not trusted in the Lord, when the truth is revealed to them, when one wakes up to realize the error of one’s ways, then terror sets in, which appears to be what Isaiah is saying. It may also be when one trusts in the Lord God of Israel, then the true king will be revealed. Ultimately, the question each person needs to face in his or her life is the question “Who is the king?” Is the king mankind, or more specifically “me?” This is the question of who is king, do we set ourselves as king or do we trust in the Lord God Almighty and establish the King Messiah as our king? Some commentators claim Isaiah 33:17 is a reference to Hezekiah. The way Isaiah organizes chapter 33, this appears to be more than simply an earthly king. For example, Isaiah 33:17 may refer to Hezekiah, in Isaiah 33:18-19 he may be referring to Sennacherib, and in Isaiah 33:24 he speaks of the true benefits of God’s kingdom being spiritual. Therefore the King references here may be to the Lord God Almighty Himself. The point is this world is passing away and is in a state of constant decay. The hope of our salvation speaks of the promise of the world to come, stability, growth, and nearness to the Lord. This should be the outcome of our studying Torah, the Tanakh, and the NT text, nearness to the Lord. When we study and grow in the Lord, we will not be led to have hatred towards others.
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramiac and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a valuable resource for the continued study of the book of Isaiah.
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק לג:יג-יח
יג שְמַעוּ צַדִיקַיָא דִנטַרוּ אֹורָיתִי מִלְקַדמִין מָא דַעְבַדִית וְדַעוּ תָבַיָא דְתָבוּ לְאֹורָיתִי קָרִיב גְבוּרְתִי׃ יד אִתְבַרוּ בְצִיֹון חַייָבִין דַחלָא אְחַדַתנוּן לְרַשִיעַיָא דַהְוֹו מְגַנְבִין אֹורחַתְהֹון אָמְרִין מַן יְדוּר לַנָא בְצִיֹון דְבַה זֵיהֹור שְכִינְתָא כְאִישָא אָכְלָא מִן יִתֹותַב לַנָא בִירוּשלַם דְבַה עְתִידִין רַשִיעַיָא לְאִתדָנָא לְאִתמְסָרָא לְגֵיהִנָם יְקֵידַת עָלַם׃ טו אְמַר נְבִיָא יִתֹותְבוּן בַה צַדִיקַיָא כָל דִמהַלֵיך בְזָכוּ וּממַלֵיל כֵיוָנָן מִתרַחַק מִמָמֹון דִשקַר מְרַחֵיק נַפשֵיה מִן אָנֹוסִין מְנַע יְדֹוהִי מִלְקַבָלָא שוּחדָא מְטַמטֵים אוּדנֹוהִי מִלְמִשמַע בְאָשְדֵי דַם זַכַי וְכַלֵי עֵינֹוהִי מִלְמִחזֵי בְעָבְדֵי בִיש׃ טז הוּא בַאְתַר רָם וּמנַטַל יְהֵי בֵית מִשרֹוהִי בֵית מַקדְשָא תְסַבַע נַפשֵיה מְזֹונֵיה מְסַפַק מֹוהִי קַייָמִין כְמַבוּעַ דְמַיִין דְלָא פָסְקִין מֹוהִי׃ יז יָת יְקָר שְכִינַת מַלַך עָלְמַיָא בְתֻשבְחָתֵיה יִחזְיָן עֵינָך תִסתַכַל תִחזֵי בְנָחְתֵי אְרַע גֵיהִנָם׃ יח לִבָך יְחַשֵיב רַברְבָן אֵיכָא סָפְרַיָא אֵיכָא חָשְבַיָא יֵיתוּן אִם יִכְלוּן לְחַשָבָא מִניַן קְטִילֵי רֵישֵי מַשרְיָת גִיבָרַיָא׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 33:13-18
33:13 Hear ye, O righteous, that keep the law from of old, what I have done; and know ye, ye sinners that have returned to my law, that my strength is nigh. 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; terror hath seized the wicked, who, when they were committing theft in their ways, said: Who of us shall dwell in Zion, in which the brightness of His Shekinah is like devouring fire? Who of us shall sojourn in Jerusalem, where the wicked shall be judged, to be delivered into hell, into everlasting burning? 33:15 The prophet said, The just shall live in it, every one who walketh in righteousness, and speaketh honest things; removing himself to a distance from the mammon of iniquity; removing himself from oppressions, that restraineth his hands from holding a bribe, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of the shedding of innocent blood, and shutteth his eyes from looking at the workers of iniquity. 33:16 The house of his inhabitation shall be in a high and exalted place; in the house of the sanctuary shall his soul be satisfied; his food shall be sufficient; his waters shall continue; like a fountain of water, whose waters fail not. 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the Shekinah of the king of the worlds in his beauty; thou shalt behold and see those that descend down to hell. 33:18 Thy heart shalt meditate great things: where are the scribes? Where are the rulers? Where are the mathematicians? let them come, if they are able to count the number of the slain of the chief of the camp of the mighty. (TgJ)
Isaiah 33:13 according to the TgJ draws out a powerful fact concerning the Torah of God and the importance of returning to the ancient Torah of God! The Torah was written down thousands of years ago in the Tanakh and has served as the blueprint for a moral and ethical life for humanity, to live in freedom, in truth, and to have respect towards one another providing values and virtue for all of mankind to live by. This is the point of the Targum stating, יג שְמַעוּ צַדִיקַיָא דִנטַרוּ אֹורָיתִי מִלְקַדמִין מָא דַעְבַדִית וְדַעוּ תָבַיָא דְתָבוּ לְאֹורָיתִי קָרִיב גְבוּרְתִי׃ 33:13 Hear ye, O righteous, that keep the law from of old, what I have done; and know ye, ye sinners that have returned to my law, that my strength is nigh. (TgJ) The Torah mentioned in the NT text has many meanings within the context that it was being used. For example, Paul spoke of the Torah from the context of the entire Tanakh according to Romans 3:9-20 indicated by Paul quoting from the Psalm of David and the Prophets. We see in Matthew 5:17 Yeshua couples the Torah to the Prophets, and in Luke 24:44 Yeshua says, “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.” (KJV) Yeshua referred to the Psalms as the Torah of God according to John 10:34 “Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” (Tehillim / Psalms 82:6) The point is that the Torah is a reference to all of the Scriptures, which serves as a foundation for our faith and our lives! Rashi writes the following concerning Isaiah 33:13.
Rashi on Isaiah 33:13 Parts 1-2
רחוקים. המאמינים בי ועושים רצוני מנעוריהם:
you far-off ones Those who believe in Me and do My will from their youth.
קרובים. בעלי תשובה שנתקרבו אלי מחדש:
you near ones Repentant sinners who have recently drawn near to Me.
Here Rashi characterizes those who are near (הַקְּרֹבוֹת) and those who are far (וְהָרְחֹקוֹת) as both being faithful to the Lord. The far off ones believing and doing the will of God from since one’s youth, and the near ones as being those who have repented and drawn near to the Lord. What these things reveal to us coupled to the Targum rendering of Isaiah’s words, is that the Torah is vital for our lives from the beginning of Creation. Yeshua said the Torah is summed up in loving our neighbor. He also said that authentic faith is one that is lived out for the glory of God. In addition, nowhere does it state in the Torah that man’s salvation before God was meritoriously based, but that obedience to God’s commands comes or flows from our faith! This means that we are to obey the Torah commands in the same way that we are to obey the NT commands, not for the purpose of winning favor of God but because we depend upon His mercy and grace and trust that walking in His ways will bring us lasting joy and happiness. It is in this way that we are able as David said in Tehillim / Psalms 1 to delight in the Torah, meditate upon it day and night, and of its great value for all generations! The Midrash Sifrei Bamidbar 136:1 states the following concerning Isaiah 33:13.
Sifrei Bamidbar 136:1
ויאמר ה’ אליו זאת הארץ. ר’ עקיבא אומר: מגיד הכתוב, שהראהו המקום למשה את כל חדרי ארץ ישראל, כשלחן ערוך, שנא’ ויראהו ה’ את הארץ. ר’ אליעזר אומר: נתן כח בעיניו של משה, וראה מסוף העולם ועד סופו. וכן אתה מוצא בצדיקים שרואים מסוף העולם ועד סופו, שנאמר (ישעיה לג) מלך ביופיו תחזינה עיניך; ונמצאת אתה אומר ב’ ראיות הם: אחת ראייה של נחת ואחת ראייה של צער. באברהם הוא אומר (בראשית יג) שא נא עיניך וראה מן המקום אשר אתה שם – זו היא ראייה של נחת. במשה הוא אומר עלה אל הר העברים, עלה ראש הפסגה – זו היא ראייה של צער. נמצאת אתה אומר שתי קריבות הם: אחת קריבה שהיא לשום שמים ואחת קריבה שאינה לשום שמים. (דברים ד) ותקרבון ותעמדון תחת ההר – זו קריבה לשום שמים. (דברים א׳:כ״ב) ותקרבון אלי כלכם – זו קריבה שאינה לשום שמים: (דברים ג) וצו את יהושע וחזקהו ואמצהו – צוהו על דברי תלמוד. ר’ יהודה אומר: צוהו על הגבעונים, צוהו על המשאות ועל הטרחות ועל הריבות: כי הוא יעבור לפני העם הזה והוא ינחיל אותם – מגיד שאין יהושע נפטר מן העולם עד שהנחיל לישראל את הארץ: אשר תראה – מגיד שראה משה בעיניו מה שלא הלך יהושע ברגליו:
(Devarim 34:4) “And the L-rd said: This is the land, etc.”: R. Akiva says: Scripture hereby apprises us that the L-rd showed Moses all the recesses of Eretz Yisrael as (if it were) a set table, viz. (Ibid. 1) “And the L-rd showed him all the land.” R. Eliezer says: He empowered Moses’ eyes to see from one end of the world to the other. And thus do you find with the tzaddikim — that they see from one end of the world to the other, as it is written (Isaiah 33:13) “The King in His beauty shall your eyes see. They shall see the land roundabout.” We find, then, two kinds of “seeings” — one of pleasure; the other, of pain. Of Abraham it is written (Bereshit 13:14) “Lift up your eyes and see, from the place where you find yourself, etc.” — a seeing of pleasure. Of Moses it is written (Bamidbar 27:12) “Go up to this Mount Avarim, etc.” (Devarim 3:27) “Go up to the summit of Pisgah, etc.” — a seeing of pain. And thus do you find two kinds of “drawing near” — one for the sake of Heaven; the other, not for the sake of heaven. (Devarim 4:11) “And you drew near and you stood at the foot of the mountain” — drawing near for the sake of Heaven. (Ibid. 1:22) “Then all of you drew near to me” — drawing near not for the sake of Heaven. (Ibid. 3:28) “And command Joshua and strengthen him and hearten him” — towards the learning (of Torah). R. Yehudah says: Command him in respect to the Giveonites (i.e., to accept them). Variantly: Command him relative to the trials and tribulations and the contentions. “for he will pass before this people, and he will cause them to inherit, etc.”: We are hereby apprised that he would not die until he had caused them to inherit the land. “the land that you will see”: We are hereby apprised that Moses saw with his eyes what Moses did not traverse with his feet.
We note something here, the midrash is describing how the eyes of the righteous see from one end of the world to the other. The midrash speaks of two reasons for drawing near, one is for the sake of heaven, and the other is not for the sake of heaven. The second reason may be the drawing near not for the sake of heaven as one doing so for selfish purposes. On the other hand, drawing near for the sake of heaven reminds us of what the author of the book of Hebrews wrote according to Hebrews 12:1-3.
12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. (KJV *12 Τοιγαροῦν καὶ ἡμεῖς ⸀τοσοῦτον ἔχοντες περικείμενον ἡμῖν νέφος μαρτύρων,* ὄγκον ἀποθέμενοι πάντα καὶ τὴν ⸁εὐπερίστατον ἁμαρτίαν,* διʼ ὑπομονῆς τρέχωμεν τὸν προκείμενον ἡμῖν ἀγῶνα* 2 ἀφορῶντες εἰς τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτὴν* Ἰησοῦν,* ὃς ἀντὶ τῆς προκειμένης αὐτῷ χαρᾶς ὑπέμεινεν ⸆ σταυρὸν αἰσχύνης* καταφρονήσας ἐν δεξιᾷ τε τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ θεοῦ ⸀κεκάθικεν.* 3 ἀναλογίσασθε γὰρ °τὸν τοιαύτην ὑπομεμενηκότα ὑπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν εἰς ⸀ἑαυτὸν ἀντιλογίαν,* ἵνα μὴ κάμητε ταῖς ψυχαῖς °1ὑμῶν ⸁ἐκλυόμενοι.*)
Here the author of Hebrews draws on this idea of the eyes of the righteous seeing from one end of the earth to the other through the “cloud of witnesses” language. We note that the purpose of the cloud of witnesses should lead us to walk in righteousness setting aside sin, and look to Yeshua who is the author and finisher of our faith. We are to consider what Yeshua had done for us, and His endurance to resist sin, and likewise we are to walk turning from sin and not be weary in our minds to continue to do this. Again this draws us back to this concept of obedience to the commands, that obedience comes through our faith because of our trusting in the mercy and grace of God.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to the TgJ, יד אִתְבַרוּ בְצִיֹון חַייָבִין דַחלָא אְחַדַתנוּן לְרַשִיעַיָא דַהְוֹו מְגַנְבִין אֹורחַתְהֹון אָמְרִין מַן יְדוּר לַנָא בְצִיֹון דְבַה זֵיהֹור שְכִינְתָא כְאִישָא אָכְלָא מִן יִתֹותַב לַנָא בִירוּשלַם דְבַה עְתִידִין רַשִיעַיָא לְאִתדָנָא לְאִתמְסָרָא לְגֵיהִנָם יְקֵידַת עָלַם׃ 33:14 The sinners in Zion are afraid; terror hath seized the wicked, who, when they were committing theft in their ways, said: Who of us shall dwell in Zion, in which the brightness of His Shekinah is like devouring fire? Who of us shall sojourn in Jerusalem, where the wicked shall be judged, to be delivered into hell, into everlasting burning? (TgJ) Here the presence of God is described as a devouring fire, and this is due to sin, that sin cannot remain in the presence of God who is Holy, Righteous, and Just. Sin will burst into flames, and the point is that before we can stand before God, we must have our sins taken away. This is the point the Scriptures make that by faith in Yeshua our sins are taken away! (Hebrews 10:10-12, 1 John 3:5) The Talmud has the following discussion concerning this verse in Isaiah 33:14.
Talmud Bavli Berakhot 60a:17
The Gemara relates: This student was once walking after Rabbi Yishmael, son of Rabbi Yosei, in the marketplace of Zion. Rabbi Yishmael saw that the student was afraid. He said to him: You are a sinner, as it is written: “The transgressors in Zion are afraid, trembling has seized the ungodly” (Isaiah 33:14). The student replied: And is it not written: “Happy is the man that fears always” (Proverbs 28:14)? Rabbi Yishmael said to him: That verse is written with regard to matters of Torah, that one should be afraid lest he forget them. For everything else, one must trust in God.
We note how transgressions do lead to fear, the fear of God’s wrath. The talmudic student replies “Happy is the man that fears always.” (Proverbs 28:14) The point of the fear of the Lord is to drive us deeper into God’s Word. We note something about studying God’s Word. The Word of God reveals to us the reasons things happen the way they do, the Word of God also reveals to us who Yeshua is and who our Father God is in heaven. All of these things are meant for us to grow in intimacy with the Lord and to deepen our faith. (See Romans 10:17)
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to the TgJ, טו אְמַר נְבִיָא יִתֹותְבוּן בַה צַדִיקַיָא כָל דִמהַלֵיך בְזָכוּ וּממַלֵיל כֵיוָנָן מִתרַחַק מִמָמֹון דִשקַר מְרַחֵיק נַפשֵיה מִן אָנֹוסִין מְנַע יְדֹוהִי מִלְקַבָלָא שוּחדָא מְטַמטֵים אוּדנֹוהִי מִלְמִשמַע בְאָשְדֵי דַם זַכַי וְכַלֵי עֵינֹוהִי מִלְמִחזֵי בְעָבְדֵי בִיש׃ 33:15 The prophet said, The just shall live in it, everyone who walketh in righteousness, and speaketh honest things; removing himself to a distance from the mammon of iniquity; removing himself from oppressions, that restraineth his hands from holding a bribe, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of the shedding of innocent blood, and shutteth his eyes from looking at the workers of iniquity. טז הוּא בַאְתַר רָם וּמנַטַל יְהֵי בֵית מִשרֹוהִי בֵית מַקדְשָא תְסַבַע נַפשֵיה מְזֹונֵיה מְסַפַק מֹוהִי קַייָמִין כְמַבוּעַ דְמַיִין דְלָא פָסְקִין מֹוהִי׃ 33:16 The house of his inhabitation shall be in a high and exalted place; in the house of the sanctuary shall his soul be satisfied; his food shall be sufficient; his waters shall continue; like a fountain of water, whose waters fail not. (TgJ) Isaiah speaks of what one does who walks in righteousness and speaks honest things, they remove themselves from iniquity, they do things to prevent their becoming corrupt, from being prideful, from shedding blood, etc. These are important points since we are told to do the same things according to the NT text, to turn from sin, to practice the reviewing of the mind through thinking on the things of God, etc. Ein Yaakov writes the following concerning these verses.
Ein Yaakov (Glick Edition), Bava Batra 1:20
R. Chiya b. Abba, in the name of R. Jochanan, said: “It is written (Ib. 11, 4) Riches profit not in the day of wrath; but tzedaka (righteousness) delivereth from death; and (Ib. 10, 2) Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but tzedaka delivereth from death.” What do the two tzedakas mean? One, that it will save him from an unnatural death; the other, that it will save him from Gehenna.” Which one speaks of Gehenna? The one in which the day of wrath is mentioned, as it is written (Zeph. 1, 15) A day of wrath is that day, referring to Gehenna. And what kind of tzedaka saves one from unnatural death? (Ib. b.) If he gives, and knows not to whom, and he who receives it knows not from whom he gets it. Giving and knowing not to whom, excludes the act of Mar Ukba. “The receiver does not know from whom,” excludes the act of R. Abba. But how then shall one give charity? By giving through the charity collector. An objection was raised from the following Baraitha: What shall one do that he should have male children. R. Elazar says: “He should distribute his money among the poor.” R. Joshua b. Karcha says: “He should make his wife joyful.” And R. Eliezerb. Jacob said: “He shall not give a coin for the treasury of charity unless the treasurer is like unto R. Chanina b. Tradion.” [Hence to a charity collector is not the best method?] The above Baraitha means also when the treasurer was of that kind. R. Abahu said: “Moses said before the Holy One, praised be He: ‘Sovereign of the Universe, how may the horn of Israel be exalted?’ To which he answered: ‘You should take charity from every one of Israel who is to be counted (Ex. 30, 12).'” R. Abahu said again: “King Solomon b. David was questioned: ‘How great is the power of charity?’ And he answered: ‘Go and see how David, my father, explained this (Ps. 112, 9) He distributeth , he giveth to the needy: his righteousness endureth forever, his horn shall be exalted in honor.'” Raba, however, said from the following passage (Is. 33, 16) He shall dwell on high; rocky strongholds shall be his refuge; his bread shall be given him; his water shall be sure; i.e., why shall he dwell on high, etc.? Because he is sure that to the poor he has given his bread, and to the down-trodden his water.”
The idea here is that wealth will not save a person on the day of God’s wrath. Righteousness on the other hand will deliver one from death. There is great value in living our lives according to God’s holy and righteous ways. The rabbis speak of there being two tzedaka’s, one that is connected to this world, and the other connected to heaven. This parallels the NT scriptures which speak of both walking in righteousness here on earth and seeking the righteousness of God in heaven for salvation. The righteousness that is here on earth will deliver one from the earthly woes, and the one that is from heaven delivers one from hell. Note the emphasis upon charity here in Ein Yaakov’s commentary. The importance of charity is related to what Yeshua said, that we are to love God and love our neighbor, and especially to live with mercy and grace towards others. This is the central point of our faith as the children of God. This is how we are supposed to behave towards others, as opposed to lording over others in positions of influence, and being prideful to never forgive a transgression of a brother or sister who is in the Lord. We note how the Lord blesses those who do these things, and this is why Ein Yaakov writes “He shall dwell on high; rocky strongholds shall be his refuge; his bread shall be given him; his water shall be sure; i.e., why shall he dwell on high” quoting from Isaiah 33:16 because such a person had charity towards the poor and needy, he demonstrated his faith through mercy and grace. The same mercy and grace that God gives to us who seek His forgiveness of sins!
Isaiah goes on saying according to the TgJ, יז יָת יְקָר שְכִינַת מַלַך עָלְמַיָא בְתֻשבְחָתֵיה יִחזְיָן עֵינָך תִסתַכַל תִחזֵי בְנָחְתֵי אְרַע גֵיהִנָם׃ 33:17 Thine eyes shall see the Shekinah of the king of the worlds in his beauty; thou shalt behold and see those that descend down to hell. יח לִבָך יְחַשֵיב רַברְבָן אֵיכָא סָפְרַיָא אֵיכָא חָשְבַיָא יֵיתוּן אִם יִכְלוּן לְחַשָבָא מִניַן קְטִילֵי רֵישֵי מַשרְיָת גִיבָרַיָא׃33:18 Thy heart shalt meditate great things: where are the scribes? Where are the rulers? Where are the mathematicians? let them come, if they are able to count the number of the slain of the chief of the camp of the mighty. (TgJ) So these verses according to the TgJ are a bit difficult to understand concerning making a count of those who are slain. In Isaiah 33:17, we read the slain going to hell. In Isaiah 66:22-24 we read of the righteous one’s looking at those who have been slain who are burning and their worm never dies. This parallels what Isaiah is saying here in the TgJ “thou shalt behold and see those that descend down to hell.” This parallels to what we read in the book of Revelation, “9 And a third angel followed them, calling out in a loud voice, ‘If anyone worships the beast and its image, and receives its mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he too will drink the wine of God’s anger, poured undiluted into the cup of His wrath. And he will be tormented in fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. Day and night there is no rest for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.’”… (Revelation 14:9-11) Yeshua also spoke of these things saying, “Go into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels!” (Matthew 25:41) These things emphasize the importance of seeking the Lord, His mercy and grace! Again what is being emphasized here is how the rabbinic texts such as the TgJ are consistent with the NT text. Many of the NT concepts are rooted in the rabbinic mindset. Akeidat Yitzchak writes the following concerning these verses.
Akeidat Yitzchak 41:1:7
When Shemot Rabbah 25, suggests that in answer to the question of why we observe the Sabbath, we should point out the fact that no Manna fell on the Sabbath, it means that we have seen proof that He created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh day. The falling of the Manna was associated with three miracles, (a) it did not fall on the Sabbath, to teach the sanctity of the Sabbath; (b) the fact that the daily ration collected was exactly adequate for each individual, there was no shortfall. This teaches that one should not chase after material goods and seek to accumulate them; (c) the double portion that fell on Fridays, teaching that the Sabbath was the day of rest, and that only those people would eat it who had prepared for it on Sabbath eve. The lazy people would starve. Compare Isaiah 65,13, “behold, My servants will eat, but you will starve!” (See Shabbat 153) (10) Since “seeing is believing,” keeping a day’s supply of Manna bottled up for future generations would reinforce the belief of future generations of Jews that Manna had indeed been also been spiritual nourishment, and as such had benefited even the later generations. (11) The repetition of “they ate Manna for forty years etc.,” is to emphasize that both their physical and their spiritual needs were met by consuming Manna during all these years. Alas, when the Manna stopped, and there was no longer visible evidence of G-d’s Providence, Israel began to depart from the level of Torah observance it had practiced up to that point. The Midrash quoted at the outset reflects the lesson of the Manna. Before explaining this in detail, we must understand some of the details in the parable. Why had G-d placed the table in the garden of Eden and not in the desert? Where were the angels Michael and Gabriel, if G-d sat the head and the righteous at His feet? Why did they divide the fruit of the garden and the fruit of the tree of life into separate courses? How does one accord honor to G-d if one portrays Him as asking others to recite grace? This is especially curious in view of the fact that that honor was declined by most of those who had been invited to say grace? Since the angels did not participate in the meal, how could they possibly have been asked to recite grace? What prompted David to bless G-d more than the other participants at that meal? Since G-d’s activities both within nature and when supernatural, are all designed to afford man a greater understanding of who He is, what He is, the extent of His power etc., eating at His table is symbolic of being allowed to share some of these insights. This is the reason the Midrash quotes the verses in Isaiah 33,16-22, in which G-d is featured as the Provider of parnassah, livelihood. When these verses describe how G-d established Israel in the choice land of Israel and Jerusalem, this refers to the Manna. Just as the Manna was food par excellence, so the land of Israel was soil and climate par excellence, providing the best in crops and agricultural products. Its advantages were similar to the advantages of Manna over ordinary food. Proverbs 30,7-9, expresses our attitude to earthly belongings. “Do not make me too poor or too rich.” This is the reason that parnassah became known as shulchan aruch (see haggadah sheI Pessach) The term means that all necessities are at hand. The “fruit” represents the food for the body of elevated man, referred to earlier in this chapter. The bodies of such people are to be treated as separate from their spirit, and therefore rate vegetable matter as their proper nourishment. The fruit from the tree of life represents food offered to the mind and spirit. Since the latter is also the nourishment that sustains angels, it was quite in order for them to recite grace for what they had received from their Host. Honoring G-d by allowing Him to choose the order of who should recite grace, is a way of saying that G-d’s involvement in all that goes on in our world is not merely indirect, He being the ultimate Source, but that it is immediate. He remains in charge, overlords all that goes on in our world. Since the angels Michael and Gabriel had not been listed as guests participating at that meal, their mention may symbolize two different stages of human development. Michael is symbolic of the primordial intellect, something that represents merely man’s potential. Gabriel, on the other hand, symbolizes the mind and spirit that have matured, achieved their potential. According to Chagigah 16, these are the two angels that accompany man at all times, never leave him. G-d first asked Michael to recite grace, since he first and foremost is in need of the nourishment offered, and has to acknowledge what he has received from the Lord. Next comes the angel Gabriel, who has to give thanks for the spiritual sustenance received. It is this which enables the most refined part of man to achieve its perfection. Next in line are the ancestors who, though they owe many of their moral and ethical achievements to their own efforts, could not have done so without the nourishment (guidance) provided by Him. The ancestors in turn ask David to give thanks, since he is the king chosen by them; it is fitting that the human representative of Royalty, acknowledge the Royalty of the entire universe by this manner of thanksgiving. David was especially representative, since G-d had assisted him in an unparalleled manner. Therefore, it is he who says “I will pronounce the benedictions.” It is worthwhile to recall another aggadah in Pessachim 119. In that instance, at the feast G-d prepares for the righteous in the future, “on the day He performs kindness with the offspring of Isaac,” G-d offers the honor of reciting grace first to Abraham, who declines, citing inadequacies having sired Ishmael. Then Isaac declines, because he had sired Esau. Jacob also declines feeling inadequate having married two sisters during their lifetimes, something later on prohibited by Torah law. Moses declines not having been worthy to enter the holy land, whereas Joshua declines for not having been worthy to have a son. David, however, accepts the honor with alacrity. Actually, David had better reason to decline seeing he had transgressed Torah laws in effect during his lifetime. The answer, however is as stated. No one had received a cup so full of salvations, i.e. no one else had experienced so many acts of G-d’s Personal Providence as had David. It was fitting therefore that he, more than anyone else should lift the chalice in thanksgiving to the Lord. David’s entire lifestyle of praising the Lord in song, reflects his constant awareness of all G-d’s kindness he had experienced. Having appreciated the foregoing, we can understand the inner connection between the Midrash with the Manna in the desert. (12) When Israel reached the oasis Refidim, which contained all the necessities of life except water, they thought that this was proof that Moses had acted on his own all along. They believed that Moses had finally miscalculated, having forced Israel to march through the desert. They challenged Moses to produce water. They argued that if G-d was indeed the force behind every one of Moses’s instructions, surely they were entitled to a miracle. Moses, realizing that it was not really water they had requested, but that they had made the availability of water an issue to discredit his leadership, upraided them for “trying the Lord.” If you have a quarrel with me, he said, do not bring the Lord into it. Moses was not angry at the request for water, but at the pretext this request served for. Only after the pangs of thirst grew stronger, and the people were actually afraid of perishing from thirst, did Moses call upon G-d to ask for help. This was both because the people were thirsty, and because he felt threatened personally. When the people accused Moses of taking them out of Egypt into a deathtrap, they did not refer to G-d, against whose leadership they would not have complained. Moses presented the people’s case against himself as apparently justified. If succor would not be forthcoming, he argued, the people would be entitled to stone him, as is the fate of a false prophet. So as to remove such doubts from the people’s mind, he was commanded to take the elders with him when he would perform the great miracle of producing water from the rock by means of the very staff that had up to now served to produce plagues, afflictions and death on the Egyptians. The episode of Massa and Merivah taught the lesson that G-d continued to guide the everyday lives of the Jewish nation.
Akeidat Yitzchak opens with a discussion on the Shabbat, the manna that God provided Israel in the wilderness halted for the Shabbat and a miracle of double portion was realized for the sabbath day. The idea of the daily ration of manna that was collected as adequate for each individual. The Torah states that one gathered much, and another gathered little, and both was sufficient or adequate for each person. This teaches us to not chase after material goods. Here Isaiah 33:16-22 are used to demonstrate how God is the provider of parnassah (livelihood). The rabbis speak of two kinds of livelihood, one that nourishes the body, and one that nourishes the spirit. These things speak to the importance of God’s word, drawing near to the Lord means that we are getting close, wanting to be with the one who we love. This is a heart attitude, this is why Isaiah said, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6) When we consider what Ein Yaakov wrote concerning charity, genuine love will lead to great labor. Love however is not synonymous with labor. It has a deeper meaning than labor since it is prior to labor and actually enables labor. We note that there are many people laboring for God and neighbors but who do not do it out of love. Love is more than religious practices and humanitarian services. That’s why Paul said what he did according to 1 Corinthians 13:3, “If I give away all I have and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have no love, I gain nothing.” We note that “Love is from God” (1 John 4:7) therefore love is given from God and is spiritual. This again is why Paul writes what he does in Galatians 5:6, “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love.“ The source of love is from faith. This is also why Paul wrote in Galatians 5:22, that love is the fruit of the Spirit. In other words, love is something we cannot produce without God’s enablement. Love therefore is a fruit of the Spirit and the outward working of faith. Paul told Timothy, “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.” (1 Timothy 1:5) All of these things draw on the importance of God’s Word, hearing, believing, and living. The path that God wants us to walk upon is one of peace, truth, mercy, and grace, and we should not forget “forgiveness!” This is the love of God that we express in our lives towards others. True-genuine-faith is issued forth through love!