In Isaiah 28:21 we read the following:
ספר ישעיה פרק כח
כא כִּ֤י כְהַר־פְּרָצִים֙ יָק֣וּם יְהוָ֔ה כְּעֵ֖מֶק בְּגִבְעֹ֣ון יִרְגָּ֑ז לַעֲשֹׂ֤ות מַעֲשֵׂ֨הוּ֙ זָ֣ר מַעֲשֵׂ֔הוּ וְלַֽעֲבֹד֙ עֲבֹ֣דָתֹ֔ו נָכְרִיָּ֖ה עֲבֹדָתֹֽו׃
28:21 For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. (KJV)
Here we read Isaiah says כִּ֤י meaning “for” summarizing what God is going to do, that he will rise up as He had previously, and the covenant that was made with the nations paralleled to death and the grave will fall short, it will collapse. We read in the history of Israel how false prophets used God’s past actions to justify their false prophetic messages. The same is being done here, the false prophets are reassuring the people concerning their false words. The definition of a שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים false prophets is one who spreads false teachings or messages from God while claiming to speak the Word of God. The purpose of the שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים is to deceive. The Scriptures speak against שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים false prophets who lead people astray from the way of God. It is interesting when searching for נביא שקר or “false prophet” in the Tanakh, this term actually first occurs in 1 Kings 22:22-23 and in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah writes in this way saying the following (see also Jeremiah 23:21-33 and Zechariah 10:2):
ספר ירמיה פרק יד
יד וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים נִבְּאִים בִּשְׁמִי לֹא שְׁלַחְתִּים וְלֹא צִוִּיתִים וְלֹא דִבַּרְתִּי אֲלֵיהֶם חֲזוֹן שֶׁקֶר וְקֶסֶם וֶאֱלִול [וֶאֱלִיל] וְתַרְמִות [וְתַרְמִית] לִבָּם הֵמָּה מִתְנַבְּאִים לָכֶם: טו לָכֵן כֹּה-אָמַר יְהֹוָה עַל-הַנְּבִאִים הַנִּבְּאִים בִּשְׁמִי וַאֲנִי לֹא-שְׁלַחְתִּים וְהֵמָּה אֹמְרִים חֶרֶב וְרָעָב לֹא יִהְיֶה בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת בַּחֶרֶב וּבָרָעָב יִתַּמּוּ הַנְּבִאִים הָהֵמָּה: טז וְהָעָם אֲשֶׁר-הֵמָּה נִבְּאִים לָהֶם יִהְיוּ מֻשְׁלָכִים בְּחֻצוֹת יְרוּשָׁלַם מִפְּנֵי | הָרָעָב וְהַחֶרֶב וְאֵין מְקַבֵּר לָהֵמָּה הֵמָּה נְשֵׁיהֶם וּבְנֵיהֶם וּבְנֹתֵיהֶם וְשָׁפַכְתִּי עֲלֵיהֶם אֶת-רָעָתָם::
14:14 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. 14:15 Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. 14:16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them. (KJV)
The difference between a true prophet of God and the שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים false prophets are that the true prophet of God leads men back to God’s holy ways, to obedience to God’s commands. The Lord God Almighty tells Jeremiah to tell the people “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:16, 23:25-32, Ezekiel 13:1-7). In the Apostolic Writings (NT) Yeshua taught against false prophets as well saying the following:
7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (KJV, ܐܷܙܕܱ݁ܗ̄ܪܘ ܡܶܢ ܢܒ݂ܺܝܷ̈ܐ ܕܱ݁ܓܴ̈݁ܠܷܐ ܇ ܕܴ݁ܐܬ݂ܷܝܢ ܠܘܳܬ݂ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܒܱ݁ܠܒ݂ܽܘܫܶܐ ܕܷ݁ܐܡܪܷ̈ܐ ܆ ܡܶܢ ܠܓ݂ܰܘ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܐܻܝܬ݂ܱܝܗܽܘܢ ܕܻ݁ܐܒ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܂ ܚܳܛܾܘ̈ܦ݂ܶܐ ܂ܡܶܢ ܦܻ݁ܐܪܱ̈ܝܗܽܘܢ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܬܷ݁ܕ݁ܥܽܘܢ ܐܷܢܽܘܢ ܂ ܠܡܳܐ ܆ ܠܴܩܛܻܝܢ ܡܶܢ ܟܾ݁ܘ̈ܒܷ݁ܐ ܥܶܢ̈ܒܷ݁ܐ ܞ ܐܱܘ ܡܶܢ ܩܽܘܪ̈ܛܒܷ݁ܐ ܬܻ݁ܐܢܷ̈ܐ ܂ ܗܳܟ݂ܰܢܳܐ ܟܾ݁ܠ ܐܻܝܠܴܢܳܐ ܛܴܒ݂ܳܐ ܂ ܦܻ݁ܐܪܷ̈ܐ ܫܰܦܻ݁ܝܪܷ̈ܐ ܥܳܒ݂ܶܕ݂ ܂ ܐܻܝܠܴܢܳܐ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܒܻ݁ܝܫܳܐ ܂ ܦܻ݁ܐܪܷ̈ܐ ܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܥܳܒ݂ܶܕ݂ ܂ ܠܴܐ ܡܶܫܟܱ݁ܚ ܐܻܝܠܴܢܳܐ ܛܴܒ݂ܳܐ ܦܻ݁ܐܪܷ̈ܐ ܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܫܶܐ ܠܡܶܥܒܱ݁ܕ݂ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܐܻܝܠܴܢܳܐ ܒܻ݁ܝܫܳܐ ܦܻ݁ܐܪܷ̈ܐ ܛܴܒ݂ܷ̈ܐ ܠܡܶܥܒܱ݁ܕ݂ ܂ *15 Προσέχετε ⸆ ἀπὸ τῶν ψευδοπροφητῶν,* οἵτινες ἔρχονται πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν ἐνδύμασιν προβάτων, ἔσωθεν δέ εἰσιν λύκοι ἅρπαγες.* 16 ἀπὸ τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν ἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς.* μήτι συλλέγουσιν ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν ⸀σταφυλὰς ἢ ἀπὸ τριβόλων σῦκα; *17 Οὕτως πᾶν δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς ⸉καλοὺς ποιεῖ⸊,* τὸ δὲ σαπρὸν δένδρον καρποὺς πονηροὺς ποιεῖ. 18 οὐ δύναται δένδρον ἀγαθὸν καρποὺς πονηροὺς ⸀ποιεῖν οὐδὲ δένδρον σαπρὸν καρποὺς καλοὺς ⸁ποιεῖν.*)
Yeshua describes false prophets as wolves who devour representing themselves as sheep. We recognize them through the way they behave, their fruits that result from their words and their actions. Yeshua then draws in the concept of thorn bushes and grapes and thistles and figs. Each species bears the kind of fruit it was made or designed to bear, and thorn bushes and thistles were not designed to bear fruit at all. Yeshua continues to describe in Matthew 7:19-23 of false prophets, saying these are only good for cutting down and casting into the fire. He makes a very perilous statement saying, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” This is a reference back to God’s instructions (Torah) for life. The Scriptures describe false prophets as adulterous (Jeremiah 23:14), treacherous (Zephaniah 3:4), drunkards (Isaiah 28:7), wicked (Jeremiah 23:11), liars (Jeremiah 14:14; 23:14), and these are associated with divination and witchcraft (see Jeremiah 14:14, Ezekiel 22:28, Acts 13:6). The Scriptures also teach us to be diligent in our faith and devotion to the teachings of The Messiah of God so that we will be able to spot false prophets and false teachers quickly (see 2 Peter 1:10, 1:19—2:1, 1 John 4:1). The only way this is possible is to study the Scriptures in order to discern שֶׁקֶר הַנְּבִאִים false prophets so that we are able to know who they are.
Isaiah writes as God broke out upon the Philistines at Mount Perazim (see 2 Samuel 5:20 and 1 Chronicles 14:11) and stuck down the Canaanites fleeing from Gibeon (see Joshua 10:11), so he would fight against his enemies again. The enemies of God are those who do not obey His word (Tehillim / Psalms 139:19-24) which essentially means that one turns from God’s holy ways turning one’s back on God! This is a serious point that Isaiah is making, especially in regard to God’s holy word. How often do we hear people scoffing concerning the Word of God? How about God’s Torah and its application to our lives today? We note that if we are not walking in God’s ways, we are walking in ways that are strange and foreign to Him. This essentially means that He is not walking with such persons because they have chosen a different path. We note that those who scoff are in a form of bondage because of their mockery of God! These are found in the ideologies and presuppositions that are created in one’s mind and heart. These things stem from a refusal to listen to God, to His Holy Word, and obeying. What happens to those who refuse to listen to God according to His Word? (Hebrews 10:26-31, 1 John 5:16-17) When one refuses to listen and obey, one has set himself up to not be able to recognize the truth, which again draws us back to this truth that we need to be in the Word of God daily! Destruction is determined for such persons, but there is hope if one is willing to repent, turn from sin, and seek the God of Israel and The Mashiach Yeshua, The Anointed One of God! Interestingly, a summary of the remainder of Isaiah 28 reveals to us how the Lord God and His holy Word guide and direct us! Isaiah speaks concerning the farmer, when he listens to God, hears, and obeys, he knows the time when he should plow and when to sow. The farmer understands what is needed to be sown (Isaiah 28:24-25) and how to thresh different plants so as not to destroy them (Isaiah 28:27-28) and this is all possible because this farmer listens to the Lord God in heaven, and to His holy Word, which are instructions for life! (Isaiah 28:29) These things teach us the importance of God’s word in our lives! We also understand what the outcome of our sins produce, the fruit is destruction. These things also speak to us concerning hope, that the Lord God disciplines His people, that He loves us enough to draw us back and to turn us again to the ways of life as opposed to the ways of death. The application of these things for our lives today is to take action, to open up our bibles and begin reading, studying, and drawing near to the Lord in His Word! To understand the plan that God has for our lives, and what it means to walk in the footsteps of the Messiah! To take in the wise counsel of God, and to apply that wise counsel to our lives for the glory of God our Father in heaven!
Isaiah continues in chapter 28 saying the following according to Isaiah 28:22-23.
ספר ישעיה פרק כח
כב וְעַתָּה אַל-תִּתְלוֹצָצוּ פֶּן-יֶחְזְקוּ מוֹסְרֵיכֶם כִּי-כָלָה וְנֶחֱרָצָה שָׁמַעְתִּי מֵאֵת אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה צְבָאוֹת עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ: כג הַאֲזִינוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ קוֹלִי הַקְשִׁיבוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ אִמְרָתִי:
Isaiah 28:22 states, “Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: (וְעַתָּה אַל-תִּתְלוֹצָצוּ פֶּן-יֶחְזְקוּ מוֹסְרֵיכֶם) for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. (כִּי-כָלָה וְנֶחֱרָצָה שָׁמַעְתִּי מֵאֵת אֲדֹנָי יְהֶוִֹה צְבָאוֹת עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ)” Isaiah 28:23 “Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. (הַאֲזִינוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ קוֹלִי הַקְשִׁיבוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ אִמְרָתִי)” Isaiah’s words of hearing and hearkening remind us of what he said previously according to Isaiah 6:9-10.
ספר ישעיה פרק ו
ט וַיֹּאמֶר לֵךְ וְאָמַרְתָּ לָעָם הַזֶּה שִׁמְעוּ שָׁמוֹעַ וְאַל-תָּבִינוּ וּרְאוּ רָאוֹ וְאַל-תֵּדָעוּ: י הַשְׁמֵן לֵב-הָעָם הַזֶּה וְאָזְנָיו הַכְבֵּד וְעֵינָיו הָשַׁע פֶּן-יִרְאֶה בְעֵינָיו וּבְאָזְנָיו יִשְׁמָע וּלְבָבוֹ יָבִין וָשָׁב וְרָפָא לוֹ:
6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; And see ye indeed, but perceive not. 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, And make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. (KJV)
This is the concept that Yeshua used frequently according to the gospels, he used this phrase 7x actually, and 8x if one includes Mark 4:23 מִי שֶׁאָזְנַיִם לוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ, שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע “he who has ears to hear let him hear.” We read this phrase occurring 7x in the book of Revelation in chapters 2-3, and these words are used as a way to emphasize the importance of something that is being said. This phrase is synonymous to saying “pay attention now to what I am saying!” For example in Matthew 11:14-15 Yeshua informed the people concerning John the Baptist as being the Elijah who was to come and prepare the way. The point of this statement, Yeshua was declaring that He is the Messiah of God spoken of by the prophets! The other places that this phrase is used is found in Matthew 13:9, Mark 4:9, and Luke 8:8, each of which is a parable of the sower and the soil. We note that this parable is connected to the listening and applying God’s word to our lives, and the enemy indicated as the deceiver (HaSatan) comes to steal away the word of God from people so they do not live their lives in the way God wants them to. In Mark 4:23 the subject is God revealing hidden things, and that every detail of God’s plan will be revealed but only the diligent student will comprehend. This teaches us that we shouldn’t be lazy students of the Word of God! Yeshua likewise gave the example of judging others when he said מִי שֶׁאָזְנַיִם לוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ, שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע “he who has ears to hear let him hear” in Mark 4:23-25, he spoke in relation to the measure we use, מִי שֶׁאָזְנַיִם לוֹ לִשְׁמֹעַ, שֶׁיִּשְׁמַע.״ 24 עוֹד אָמַר לָהֶם׃ ״שִׂימוּ לִבְּכֶם אֶל מַה שֶּׁאַתֶּם שׁוֹמְעִים. בַּמִּדָּה שֶׁאַתֶּם מוֹדְדִים יִמָּדֵד לָכֶם וְגַם יִוָּסֵף לָכֶם, 25 כִּי מִי שֶׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ יִנָּתֵן לוֹ, וּמִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ, גַּם מַה שֶּׁיֵּשׁ לוֹ יִלָּקַח מִמֶּנּוּ.״4:23 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 4:25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. (KJV) The idea is that with the measure that you use (the time and effort in study) it will be measured to you on the level of comprehension. These are powerful words in relation to what Isaiah is saying here in his book calling the people to hear, to listen, and to understand that God loves them and seeks for their response through repentance. The text comparison states the following according to Isaiah 28:22-23.
Isaiah says in the LXX, Ἐνωτίζεσθε καὶ ἀκούετε τῆς φωνῆς μου, προσέχετε καὶ ἀκούετε τοὺς λόγους μου “23 Give ear and hear my voice! Pay attention and hear my words!” He is speaking in relation to Isaiah 28:22 which speaks to destruction due to the deeds of the people. We note that this word Ἐνωτίζεσθε is from the word ἐνωτίζομαι meaning “give ear to, hearken to, give ear.” This verb is written in either the middle or passive imperative second person plural form, and is used to translate הַאֲזִ֥ינוּ from the root word אֹ֫זֶן “ear.” We note the NT usage of this word, which occurs 5x. This word is used in the LXX as a metaphor for obliterating sins (see Acts 3:19) and erasing names from the book of life (Revelation 3:5). It is also used for wiping away tears (Revelation 7:17 and 21:4, see Isaiah 25:8). In Colossians 2:14 Paul writes saying, “having wiped out (ἐξαλείψας) the written account with the legal ruling that was against us, which was opposed to us, and he took it from among us, having nailed it to the cross.” Note the term χειρόγραφον was used specifically for debt certificates, and that is undoubtedly the allusion here Paul is making, and not of God doing away with the Torah. The charge or bond is our obligation as God’s creatures to keep his Torah on pain of death, we note that this becomes an actual death warrant as soon as we sin. So when Mashiach came and laid his life down on the cross, the execution stake, he bore our guilt, and took upon himself that death certificate of debt to the Torah of God. This is how Paul describes the work of the Messiah of God, and He is not saying that the Torah has passed away! In the extra biblical usage of this word ἐνωτίζομαι, this verb can mean “to wash over, plaster, whitewash” (Thuc. 3.20.3), “to blot out” (Demosth. Pant. [= Or. 37] 34), “to abrogate, cancel” (laws, Lysias Eratosthenes [= Or. 1] 48), and “to destroy” (Aesch. Cho. 503). The basic understanding for this Greek word is in the Messiah our debt due to sin is wiped away! This is what Paul meant when he talked frequently about being no longer “under the law” it is from this sense of being indebted. The phrase “no longer being under the Law” is a technical term for the indebtedness we have due to violating the Torah command. Paul was not saying the Torah has passed away or that the Law of God, his commandments are no longer obligatory upon us as His people! Simply reading through 1 John 3 makes this very clear. Remember, according to the Torah God gave his commands to a mixed multitude, both Jew and Gentile! In Shemot / Exodus 5:5: Pharaoh, speaking to Moses and Aaron, alludes to the population of Israel by calling them הֵן-רַבִּים עַתָּה עַם-הָאָרֶץ, “they are many now people of the land.”
ספר שמות פרק ה
ה וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה הֵן-רַבִּים עַתָּה עַם-הָאָרֶץ וְהִשְׁבַּתֶּם אֹתָם מִסִּבְלֹתָם:
Shemot / Exodus 5:5
5:5 And Pharaoh said, Behold, the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens. (KJV)
Moshe speaks to the mixed multitude being large, perhaps consisting of thousands or millions of individuals. A mixed people, both Jew and Gentile, we note how Pharaoh does not provide a national identity! The Hebrew words translated mixed multitude in Shemot /Exodus 12:38 is עֵ֥רֶב רַ֖ב which is a general term that Pharaoh uses to describe these people, that they were mixed, and they are many, is quite vague. What we are being presented here in the Torah is the idea of a group of people not bearing a national identity. The word עֵ֥רֶב “mixed” is used 15 times in the Scriptures referring to this kind of thing, being a mixed people, or mixing with the nations. (See Shemot / Exodus 12:38, Bamidbar / Numbers 11:4, Nehemiah 13:3, 13:23, 13:24, Jeremiah 25:20, 25:24, 50:37, Ezekiel 30:5, Daniel 2:43, Ezra 9:1, Tehillim / Psalms 106:35-37) Though this term is vague a careful analysis yields an abundance of information.
Multitude. The Hebrew word used for multitude here in Shemot / Exodus 5:5 is רַבִּים plural meaning “great,” “many,” or “large.” The word רַבִּים can refer to people or things, and represents plurality in numbers or amount. In Exodus 5:5 ה וַיֹּאמֶר פַּרְעֹה הֵן-רַבִּים עַתָּה עַם-הָאָרֶץ וְהִשְׁבַּתֶּם אֹתָם מִסִּבְלֹתָם: Pharaoh, speaking to Moshe and Aaron, alludes to the population of Israel mixed with Gentiles calling them רַבִּים, “many.” So, the mixed multitude was large, perhaps consisting of thousands or millions of individuals. This was the whole reason the Pharaoh enslaved the people, because of fear they would join with another nation to fight against Egypt.(See Shemot / Exodus 1:7-14)
Mixed. The Hebrew word translated mixed, עֵ֥רֶב, appears 15 times in the Tanakh. Five times the word עֵ֥רֶב is used for the people mixing (Exodus 12:38, Nehemiah 13:3) in reference to the nations (Gentiles). In Shemot / Exodus 12:38, וְגַם־עֵ֥רֶב רַ֖ב עָלָ֣ה אִתָּ֑ם וְצֹ֣אן וּבָקָ֔ר מִקְנֶ֖ה כָּבֵ֥ד מְאֹֽד we get the strongest indication of its meaning as a reference to both Israel and the non-Israel joining with Israel in the passover and standing before the mountain of Sinai in Shemot / Exodus 19.
The major implication here is that the Lord God Almighty revealed Himself and gave His Torah to both Jew and Gentile at the mountain of Sinai! These things are proof the Torah was not meant only for Israel, but for all people! And due to Israel being the people through whom God would reveal Himself to the world, the non-Jewish person would join his or herself with Israel to serve and worship the God of Israel, being adopted into the family of God. Note how all of these Torah based concepts are elucidated further in the NT text and what God had planned from the beginning! The inclusion of people from every nation, tribe, and tongue means that the Lord God of Israel kept His promise to Abraham according to Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-6 when He said, “in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” (See also Revelation 7:9) Therefore, what Isaiah is saying in Isaiah 28:23 “Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. (הַאֲזִינוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ קוֹלִי הַקְשִׁיבוּ וְשִׁמְעוּ אִמְרָתִי)” he is calling both Jew and Gentile to hear and hearken to what he is saying because God is calling all of us to repentance, faith, and faithfulness because He is Lord over all!
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 28:24-26.
ספר ישעיה פרק כח
כד הֲכֹל הַיּוֹם יַחֲרֹשׁ הַחֹרֵשׁ לִזְרֹעַ יְפַתַּח וִישַֹדֵּד אַדְמָתוֹ: כה הֲלוֹא אִם-שִׁוָּה פָנֶיהָ וְהֵפִיץ קֶצַח וְכַמֹּן יִזְרֹק וְשָֹם חִטָּה שֹוֹרָה וּשְֹעֹרָה נִסְמָן וְכֻסֶּמֶת גְּבֻלָתוֹ: כו וְיִסְּרוֹ לַמִּשְׁפָּט אֱלֹהָיו יוֹרֶנּוּ:
Isaiah 28:24 states, “Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? (הֲכֹל הַיּוֹם יַחֲרֹשׁ הַחֹרֵשׁ לִזְרֹעַ יְפַתַּח וִישַֹדֵּד אַדְמָתוֹ)” Isaiah 28:25 “When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? (הֲלוֹא אִם-שִׁוָּה פָנֶיהָ וְהֵפִיץ קֶצַח וְכַמֹּן יִזְרֹק וְשָֹם חִטָּה שֹוֹרָה וּשְֹעֹרָה נִסְמָן וְכֻסֶּמֶת גְּבֻלָתוֹ)” Isaiah 28:26 “For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. (וְיִסְּרוֹ לַמִּשְׁפָּט אֱלֹהָיו יוֹרֶנּוּ)” We notice how Isaiah speaks rhetorically here analogizing what God is doing to the farmer who plows, breaks open the ground, and sows seed. The idea is the farmer plows only for a short period of time to break open the ground, such that he has a place to sow seed which brings forth the fruit of his labors. The way I read Isaiah 28:26 states, וְיִסְּרוֹ לַמִּשְׁפָּט אֱלֹהָיו יוֹרֶנּוּ “and turned him to justice, his God teaches us.” It is strange how the KJV renders this verse, but is consistent with our rendition. The point is of this plowing as a means to turn a man towards correct principles, justice, truth, righteousness, and holiness! By our faith in Yeshua, if we are made righteous and holy in heaven before our Father God, should He not be involved in turning us here on earth towards righteousness and holiness, justice and truth? Isaiah is teaching us there are both spiritual and physical counterparts, and the way we live our lives should be based upon who God and His Messiah are! Here God is crying out to the people to live according to מִּשְׁפָּט justice and Isaiah is explaining how the Lord God brings things into our lives to humble us, to prepare fallow ground so that He can plant seed that bears much fruit in our lives! The text comparison reveals the following according to the LXX, TgJ, and L-Peshitta.
The TgJ writes saying, “24 The prophets prophesied at all times in order to teach, if peradventure the ears of sinners might be opened, and receive instruction. 25 Is it not so? If the house of Israel would set their faces to do the law, and repent, then behold, He would gather them from among the nations, amongst whom they were dispersed, like fitches and cumin that are scattered: and, behold, he would bring their offspring together according to their tribes, as seed of wheat in the uncultivated field, and barley in the appointed place, and spelt in the borders. 26 All these things are instruction of judgment, that they may know, that our God shows them the right path, in which they ought to walk.” (TgJ) Here the TgJ expands upon the Hebrew text, and offers an alternate interpretation, that the plowing is a reference to the prophets who taught or spoke such that the ears of the sinners would be opened. The prophets focused upon turning the people back in Teshuvah (repentance) and the Torah of God. The Lord God would keep Israel the seed of Abraham gathered together and bring them back to the Land. The point is that God is always working to direct us to the correct path in which we should walk! The LXX writes 24 μὴ ὅλην τὴν ἡμέραν μέλλει ὁ ἀροτριῶν ἀροτριᾶν; ἢ σπόρον προετοιμάσει πρὶν ἐργάσασθαι τὴν γῆν;† 25 οὐχ ὅταν ὁμαλίσῃ αὐτῆς τὸ πρόσωπον, τότε σπείρει μικρὸν μελάνθιον καὶ κύμινον καὶ πάλιν σπείρει πυρὸν καὶ κριθὴν καὶ ζέαν ἐν τοῖς ὁρίοις σου;† 26 καὶ παιδευθήσῃ κρίματι θεοῦ σου καὶ εὐφρανθήσῃ.† “24 Will a plowman plow the whole day? Or will he prepare the seed before working the land? 25 When he levels its face, then does he not sow a little black cumin and cumin, and again he sows wheat barley and millet and emmer within your boundaries? 26 And you will be disciplined by the judgment of God, and you will be cheerful.” (LES) The LXX presents pretty much a word for word translation of the MSS. The idea here of God’s instruction that is being revealed to us follows from the beginning of all these things from the point of the book Shemot / Exodus. We note that in Shemot / Exodus 12, we are given the story of the very first Pesach (Passover). It is here we are introduced to the mixed multitude in relation to God’s command. We note that the Lord God requires circumcision for both the Jew and Gentile in order to participate in the Passover, this is illustrated in the path in which one makes the conscious decision to walk in the ways of God! This draws in the concept of one Torah for those who join themselves with Israel (Shemot / Exodus 12:49). Notice this teaches us that both Jew and Gentile are enslaved to sin, being slaves in Egypt, and the Lord God is offering a way to overcome, to be delivered, and to be saved from this situation! This is the whole reason Paul wrote what he did according to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31.
1 Corinthians 1:26–31
1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 1:31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. (KJV, ܚܙܰܘ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܐܴܦ݂ ܩܪܴܝܬ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܐܱܚܰܝ̈ ܇ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܣܰܓܻ݁ܝ̈ܐܝܺܢ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܚܰܟܻ݁ܝ̈ܡܶܐ ܒܱ݁ܒ݂ܣܰܪ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܣܰܓܻ݁ܝ̈ܐܝܺܢ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܚܰܝ̈ܠܬ݂ܴܢܶܐ ܂ ܘܠܴܐ ܣܰܓܻ݁ܝ̈ܐܝܺܢ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܒ݁ܢܱ̈ܝ ܛܾܘܗܡܳܐ ܪܱܒܴ݁ܐ ܂ܐܷܠܴܐ ܓ݁ܒ݂ܳܐ ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܠܣܰܟ݂ܠܱܘܗ̄ܝ̈ ܕ݁ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܕ݁ܢܰܒ݂ܗܶܬ݂ ܠܚܰܟܻ݁ܝ̈ܡܶܐ ܂ ܘܰܓ݂ܒ݂ܳܐ ܟ݁ܪܻ̈ܝܗܰܘܗ̄ܝ ܕ݁ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܕ݁ܢܰܒ݂ܗܶܬ݂ ܠܚܰܝ̈ܠܬ݂ܴܢܶܐ ܂ ܘܰܓ݂ܒ݂ܳܐ ܠܱܐܝܠܷܝܢ ܕܱ݁ܒ݂ܨܻܝܪ ܛܾܘܗܡܗܽܘܢ ܒ݁ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܇ ܘܰܠܡܰܣܠܱܝܴ̈ܐ ܂ ܘܠܱܐܝܠܷܝܢ ܕ݁ܠܱܝܬ݁ ܐܷܢܽܘܢ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܢܒ݂ܰܛܷܠ ܠܱܐܝܠܷܝܢ ܕܻ݁ܐܝܬ݂ܱܝܗܽܘܢ ܂ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܢܶܫܬܱ݁ܒ݂ܗܰܪ ܟܾ݁ܠ ܒ݁ܣܰܪ ܩܕ݂ܳܡܰܘܗ̄ܝ ܂ ܐܴܦ݂ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܡܶܢܶܗ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܒ݁ܝܶܫܽܘܥ ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܆ ܗܰܘ ܕܱ݁ܗܘܳܐ ܠܱܢ ܚܶܟ݂ܡܬ݂ܴܐ ܡܶܢ ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܇ ܘܙܰܕܻ݁ܝܩܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܘܩܰܕܻ݁ܝܫܽܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܘܦ݂ܽܘܪܩܳܢܳܐ ܂ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܕܱ݁ܟ݂ܬ݂ܻܝܒ݂ ܂ ܕ݁ܡܰܢ ܕ݁ܡܶܫܬܱ݁ܒ݂ܗܰܪ ܁ ܒ݁ܡܳܪܝܳܐ ܢܶܫܬܱ݁ܒ݂ܗܰܪ ܀ 26 Βλέπετε ⸀γὰρ τὴν κλῆσιν ὑμῶν,* ἀδελφοί, ὅτι οὐ πολλοὶ σοφοὶ κατὰ σάρκα,* οὐ πολλοὶ δυνατοί, οὐ πολλοὶ εὐγενεῖς·* 27 ἀλλὰ τὰ μωρὰ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελέξατο ὁ θεός, ἵνα καταισχύνῃ τοὺς σοφούς, καὶ τὰ ἀσθενῆ τοῦ κόσμου ἐξελέξατο ὁ θεός, ἵνα καταισχύνῃ τὰ ἰσχυρά, 28 καὶ τὰ ἀγενῆ τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὰ ἐξουθενημένα ἐξελέξατο ὁ θεός,* ⸆ τὰ μὴ ὄντα, ἵνα τὰ ὄντα καταργήσῃ, 29 ὅπως μὴ καυχήσηται πᾶσα σὰρξ ἐνώπιον ⸂τοῦ θεοῦ⸃. 30 ἐξ αὐτοῦ δὲ ὑμεῖς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ,* ὃς ἐγενήθη σοφία ἡμῖν ἀπὸ θεοῦ, ⸂δικαιοσύνη τε⸃ καὶ ἁγιασμὸς καὶ ἀπολύτρωσις,* 31 ἵνα καθὼς γέγραπται· ὁ καυχώμενος ἐν κυρίῳ καυχάσθω.)
Paul speaks to our weakness, how we were enslaved in Egypt and need deliverance. The mixed multitude were like the children of Israel being slaves, nobodies! The Lord revealed Himself to the world, to witness the great mercy of God in His people! We note that as long as the mixed multitude remained with Israel God’s people, they were partakers of God’s power, grace, and deliverance. The people who have no name, no nationality, are given a chance to enjoy the blessings of God, those blessings that the Lord God was ready to shower down upon Israel if they lived their lives for Him! We are told in the Scriptures, according to Hebrews 4:1-4, that the gospel was preached in the wilderness, but the word did not profit them because they were mixed in faith. Because of this they died in their sins, dying in the wilderness. These things are a warning to us today! Lacking faith and producing no fruit in faithfulness to God, while Isaiah calls us to hear the voice of God, to listen to His holy instructions for our lives. We should not be a people who fail to reach the potential that God has placed before us! Peter speaks to this truth according to 2 Peter 1:10-11.
2 Peter 1:3–11
1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 1:6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 1:7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 1:11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. (KJV, 3 Ὡς ⸆ πάντα ἡμῖν τῆς θείας δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν δεδωρημένης διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως* τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς ⸂ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ καὶ ἀρετῇ⸃* 4 διʼ ὧν τὰ ♦⸂τίμια καὶ μέγιστα ἡμῖν ἐπαγγέλματα⸃ δεδώρηται,* ἵνα διὰ τούτων γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως ἀποφυγόντες* ♦⸄τῆς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς⸅. 5 καὶ ♦⸂αὐτὸ τοῦτο δὲ⸃ σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἐν τῇ πίστει ὑμῶν τὴν ἀρετήν,* ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν, 6 ἐν δὲ τῇ γνώσει τὴν ἐγκράτειαν, ἐν δὲ τῇ ἐγκρατείᾳ τὴν ὑπομονήν, ἐν δὲ τῇ ὑπομονῇ τὴν εὐσέβειαν,* 7 ἐν δὲ τῇ εὐσεβείᾳ τὴν φιλαδελφίαν,* ἐν δὲ τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ τὴν ἀγάπην. 8 ταῦτα γὰρ ὑμῖν ⸀ὑπάρχοντα καὶ πλεονάζοντα οὐκ ἀργοὺς οὐδὲ ἀκάρπους καθίστησιν εἰς τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐπίγνωσιν·* 9 ᾧ γὰρ μὴ πάρεστιν ταῦτα,* τυφλός ἐστιν μυωπάζων λήθην λαβὼν τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ τῶν* πάλαι αὐτοῦ ♦⸀ἁμαρτιῶν. *10 διὸ μᾶλλον, ἀδελφοί, σπουδάσατε ⸆ βεβαίαν ὑμῶν τὴν κλῆσιν καὶ ἐκλογὴν ⸀ποιεῖσθαι· ταῦτα γὰρ ποιοῦντες οὐ μὴ πταίσητέ °ποτε. 11 οὕτως γὰρ πλουσίως ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται ὑμῖν ἡ εἴσοδος* ⸆ εἰς τὴν αἰώνιον βασιλείαν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ* σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.*)
Peter speaks of the power of God which calls us to godliness and virtue. That we are to be vigilant in our faith, that the fruits of the Spirit should abound in us, and when we see these things, we gain entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah! Peter says that if we are diligent, we make our calling and election secure! (2 Peter 1:10-11) And when we do these things, we will not stumble! Can we see the great potential that God has placed before us today if we are willing to live by His holy word?
Isaiah continues according to Isaiah 28:27-28.
ספר ישעיה פרק כח
כז כִּי לֹא בֶחָרוּץ יוּדַשׁ קֶצַח וְאוֹפַן עֲגָלָה עַל-כַּמֹּן יוּסָּב כִּי בַמַּטֶּה יֵחָבֶט קֶצַח וְכַמֹּן בַּשָּׁבֶט: כח לֶחֶם יוּדָק כִּי לֹא לָנֶצַח אָדוֹשׁ יְדוּשֶׁנּוּ וְהָמַם גִּלְגַּל עֶגְלָתוֹ וּפָרָשָׁיו לֹא-יְדֻקֶּנּוּ:
Isaiah 28:27 states, “For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. (כִּי לֹא בֶחָרוּץ יוּדַשׁ קֶצַח וְאוֹפַן עֲגָלָה עַל-כַּמֹּן יוּסָּב כִּי בַמַּטֶּה יֵחָבֶט קֶצַח וְכַמֹּן בַּשָּׁבֶט)” Isaiah 28:28 “Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. (לֶחֶם יוּדָק כִּי לֹא לָנֶצַח אָדוֹשׁ יְדוּשֶׁנּוּ וְהָמַם גִּלְגַּל עֶגְלָתוֹ וּפָרָשָׁיו לֹא-יְדֻקֶּנּוּ)” Here Isaiah turns his attention to threshing which is the beating, crushing, or trampling grain to separate the edible portions from chaff (Judges 6:11, Ruth 3:2, Jeremiah 51:33, Isaiah 41:15). Here in Isaiah 28:27 there are two hebrew words used for cummin קֶצַח and וְכַמֹּן, where קֶצַח means “black cummin” and וְכַמֹּן means “and cummin.” It is not clear why the KJV translates the word as “fitches.” Corn is milled to break it down into a powder so that it may be used for bread making. We note that the threshing and the milling are meant for the purpose of making the produce into something that is more useful. The idea of the chariot wheel that is used to crush, generally speaking, draws on imagery of an animal moving a large stone that is fastened in the center of a circle, and the animal moves the stone in a circle for the purpose of crushing. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 25:4, Isaiah 41:15, Micah 4:13) All of these things speak to what God is doing to Judah and Jerusalem here, and for us today in our lives so that we may be useful for His kingdom. The Septuagint translates these verses from Isaiah in the following way:
The LXX writes, 27 οὐ γὰρ μετὰ σκληρότητος καθαίρεται τὸ μελάνθιον, οὐδὲ τροχὸς ἁμάξης περιάξει ἐπὶ τὸ κύμινον, ἀλλὰ ῥάβδῳ ἐκτινάσσεται τὸ μελάνθιον, τὸ δὲ κύμινον 28 μετὰ ἄρτου βρωθήσεται. οὐ γὰρ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐγὼ ὑμῖν ὀργισθήσομαι, οὐδὲ φωνὴ τῆς πικρίας μου καταπατήσει ὑμᾶς. 27 For black cumin is not purified by harshness, and a wagon wheel will not be led around over the cumin; rather black cumin is shaken with a rod, and cumin 28 will be eaten with bread, for I will not be angry at you for eternity, nor will the sound of my bitterness trample you. (LES) The Greek translation states οὐ γὰρ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐγὼ ὑμῖν ὀργισθήσομαι “I will not be angry at you forever.” This is significant since it confirms a couple of things, one of the love of God and His faithfulness to the covenant of Abraham, and second to the doors of repentance always being open. We note who we are as God’s beloved children, that we can trust in the covenant of God because our place in God’s covenant is based upon and founded upon truth and God’s word and not upon emotions or the way that we feel about ourselves at a given time. We note that the Lord God told Jeremiah that he was loved before he was even born according to Jeremiah 1:5 and 31:3.
ספר ירמיה פרק א
ה בְּטֶרֶם אֶצָּורְךָ [אֶצָּרְךָ] בַבֶּטֶן יְדַעְתִּיךָ וּבְטֶרֶם תֵּצֵא מֵרֶחֶם הִקְדַּשְׁתִּיךָ נָבִיא לַגּוֹיִם נְתַתִּיךָ:
5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (KJV)
We note how God told Jeremiah that He had a plan for Jeremiah from before he was born. We note that the Psalmist wrote תְּ֝סֻכֵּ֗נִי בְּבֶ֣טֶן אִמִּֽי׃ meaning that God formed us in the womb of our mother. (Tehillim / Psalms 139:13-16) We note that this foreknowledge describes how the Lord has a plan for each of us, and how the Lord gives life from above as he adopts us as His children (John 1:12, Romans 8:15). Yeshua said that God knows the number of hairs on our head and even the thoughts in our minds (Matthew 10:30, 12:26, Tehillim / Psalms 139:4). The conclusion from the LXX on Isaiah is that we belong to the Lord God, we are loved by God, and He has only the best intentions for us! The לֶחֶם יוּדָק crushing of bread that Isaiah states is compared to the eating the cumin with the bread. The term ἄρτος occurs 300× in the LXX, almost always as the rendering of לֶחֶם which often has the extended sense, “food, nourishment” (see Bereshit / Genesis 3:19, 1 Samuel 20:34, in Tehillim / Psalms 136:25 [LXX 135:25] and elsewhere. Bread was the chief food of Israel. Originally it was made from barley flour mixed with broad beans, lentils, etc. Later wheat bread became more common, but only the better-off could afford it. Barley bread remained the food of the poor. Both types were made from ground grains to which leaven had normally been added. The bread was baked on a griddle (see Vayikra / Leviticus 2:5), or in clay ovens, more or less cylindrically shaped (Hosea 7:4, 7:6-7). The flat loaves were about a half inch thick and could be as much as 20 inches in diameter. There was generally a hole in the middle to make it easier to pull them apart for eating. Bread was often eaten with other foods, such as meat or fish. The NT usage of the word ἄρτος occurs almost 100×. The word can mean “food” and even refer to the support of life in general. The prodigal son in the far country remembers that his father’s paid servants “have food to spare” (Luke 15:17). When Paul says that he did not eat bread from anyone without paying, he means he worked hard for his own sustenance so as not to be a burden to others (2 Thessalonians 3:8). We note that this life giving substance for the maintaining of the body is paralleled to the covenant from the sense of οὐ γὰρ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐγὼ ὑμῖν ὀργισθήσομαι “I will not be angry at you forever.” This is a fantastic picture of the love of God and of His faithfulness which parallel Yeshua quoting Torah concerning bread from heaven, and living by every word that comes from God our Father in heaven!
Isaiah concludes chapter 28 saying the following according to Isaiah 28:29.
ספר ישעיה פרק כח
כט גַּם-זֹאת מֵעִם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת יָצָאָה הִפְלִיא עֵצָה הִגְדִּיל תּוּשִׁיָּה:
Isaiah 28:29 states, “This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working. (גַּם-זֹאת מֵעִם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת יָצָאָה הִפְלִיא עֵצָה הִגְדִּיל תּוּשִׁיָּה)” The point may be that we are to be spiritually sensitive to what the Lord is doing in our lives. Just as the farmer was taught the principles of threshing the harvest, and of plowing (Isaiah 28:24-26) so too we need to train ourselves to be sensitive to the work of God according to the Scriptures. We note that these things in their practical application is the taking of God’s holy Word to heart, listening to His voice, and developing a meaningful life, one that is filled with joy and purpose through knowing God’s will for our lives! The significance of these things is that we are a chosen people according to the Torah!
ספר דברים פרק י
טו רַק בַּאֲבֹתֶיךָ חָשַׁק יְהוָֹה לְאַהֲבָה אוֹתָם וַיִּבְחַר בְּזַרְעָם אַחֲרֵיהֶם בָּכֶם מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים כַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:15
15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. (KJV)
This concept is repeated multiple times in the Torah according to Shemot / Exodus 19:5-6, Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:7-8, 14:2, and Amos 3:2. This is a great blessing and demonstrates the weightiness of being spiritually sensitive to what God is doing in our lives. There is more to these verses found in the Torah concerning being a people specifically chosen as a reference only to Israel. We understand that all of those who are in a relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, those who are not Jewish are also adopted sons and daughters of God and may partake in the blessings of God in the Messiah Yeshua. Paul wrote this saying, “In the Messiah we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11, Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ⸀ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν ⸆ τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ) What an honor this is for us who believe! These things also illustrate the corollary of being a chosen people, that is the responsibility we have to serve betzelem Elohim (in the image of God) as an expression of His love towards the world, which connects to Tikun Olam (repair of the world). This is how the Apostle Peter described these things in his epistle when he wrote 1 Peter 2:9.
1 Peter 2:9
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: (KJV, ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܕܷ݁ܝܢ ܫܰܪܒ݁ܬ݂ܴܐ ܐܱܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܓ݁ܒ݂ܺܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܇ ܕܱ݁ܡܟ݂ܰܗܢܳܐ ܠܡܰܠܟܾ݁ܘܬ݂ܴܐ ܂ ܥܰܡܳܐ ܩܰܕܻ݁ܝܫܳܐ ܂ ܟܷ݁ܢܫܳܐ ܦ݁ܪܻܝܩܳܐ ܂ ܬ݁ܣܰܒ݁ܪܾܘܢ ܬܷ݁ܫܒ݁ܚܴ̈ܬ݂ܷܗ ܕ݁ܗܰܘ ܕܱ݁ܩܪܴܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܡܶܢ ܚܶܫܽܘܟ݂ܳܐ ܠܢܽܘܗܪܷܗ ܡܝܰܬ݁ܪܴܐ ܂ 9 ὑμεῖς δὲ γένος ἐκλεκτόν, βασίλειον ἱεράτευμα, ἔθνος ἅγιον, λαὸς εἰς περιποίησιν, ὅπως τὰς ἀρετὰς ἐξαγγείλητε τοῦ ἐκ σκότους ὑμᾶς καλέσαντος εἰς τὸ θαυμαστὸν °αὐτοῦ φῶς·)
Here Peter says that as a chosen people and a royal priesthood, we should show forth the praises of the One who called us. (See also Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:6 and 32:21) Paul also calls believers the chosen people of God according to Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13. We are to be a light unto the nations (Isaiah 42:6 and 60:3) and based upon God’s promise to Abraham in Bereshit / Genesis 12:3 He has always had the plan that families would come to know Him and His glory and love! This is the blessing of the Messiah, that we have a great redemption and salvation and power to overcome this world through faith in Yeshua the Messiah! The leaders of Jerusalem in Isaiah’s day scoffed at these things, because they were drunk with their pride and missed the significance of what Isaiah is saying to them concerning the covenant of God and repentance. These things again function as a warning for us today, to turn from sinful ways, and to seek the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua! It is only in Yeshua that we may be redeemed from iniquity and be purified as a treasured people (am segulah) who are zealous for good works! (See Ephesians 2:10 and Titus 2:14)
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic interpretation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a very valuable resource for our study of the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק כח:כב-כט
כב וּכעַן לָא תִתרַשעוּן דִלמָא יִתַקְפוּן יִסוּרֵיכֹון אְרֵי גְמֵירָא וְשֵיצָאָה שְמַעִית מִן קֳדָם יוי אְלֹהִים צְבָאֹות עַל כָל יָתְבֵי אַרעָא׃ כג אְמַר נְבִיָא אַצִיתוּ וּשמַעוּ קָלִי אִתפְנֹו וְקַבִילוּ לְמֵימְרִי׃ כד בְכָל עִדָן מִתנַבַן נְבִיַיָא לְאַלָפָא מָא אִם יִתפַתְחָן אוּדנֵי חַיָיבַיָא וִיקַבְלוּן אוּלפָן׃ כה הְלָא אִם יְשַוֹון בֵית יִשרָאֵל אַפֵיהֹון לְמַעְבַד אֹורָיתָא יְתוּב וִיכַנֵיש יָתְהֹון מִבֵינֵי עַמְמַיָא דְאִנוּן מְבֻדְרִין בֵינֵיהֹון הָא כְקִצחָא וּככַמֹונָא דְמִזדְרֵיק וִיקָרֵיב יָתְהֹון זַרעְיָן זַרעְיָן לְשִבטֵיהֹון הָא כְזַרעֵי חִטִין עַל לִגנִין וּסְעָרִין עַל סִימָנִין וְכוּנָתִין עַל תְחוּמִין׃ כו הָא כָל אִלֵין לְהֹון אוּלפָן דְדִין דְיִדְעוּן דַאְלָהָא מְחַוֵי לְהֹון אֹורחָא דְתָקְנָא דִיהָכוּן בַה׃ כז אְרֵי לָא בְמוּרגֵי בַרזְלָא מַדרְכִין קִצחָא וְגִלגְלֵי עַגלָא עַל כַמוּנָא מַחזְרִין אְרֵי בְחוּטרָא חָבְטִין קִצחָא וְכַמוּנָא בְמַחבֹוטָא׃ כח יָת עְבוּרָא מַדרְכִין אַף יָתֵיה אְרֵי לָא לְעָלְמָא אַדרָכָא יַדרְכוּנֵיה וְמבַלבֵיל בְגַלגְלֵי עַגלָתֵיה וּמַפרֵיש יָת עְבוּרָא וּמַפרַח יָת דוּקָא׃ כט אַף דָא מִן קֳדָם יוי צְבָאֹות נְפַקַת דְאַתקֵין עָלְמָא בְמַחשְבָת דַעתֵיה רַבְתָא אַסגִי עוּבָדֵי בְרֵישִית בִסגֵי חָכמְתֵיה׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 28:22-29
28:22 But now deal not wickedly, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord, the God of hosts, a consummation, and an end, upon all the inhabitants of the land. 28:23 The prophet said, Listen to, and hear my voice, turn and hear my word. 28:24 The prophets prophesied at all times in order to teach, if peradventure the ears of sinners might be opened, and receive instruction. 28:25 Is it not so? If the house of Israel would set their faces to do the law, and repent, then behold, He would gather them from among the nations, amongst whom they were dispersed, like fitches and cumin that are scattered: and, behold, he would bring their offspring together according to their tribes, as seed of wheat in the uncultivated field, and barley in the appointed place, and spelt in the borders. 28:26 All these things are instruction of judgment, that they may know, that our God shows them the right path, in which they ought to walk. 28:27 For they do not tread out the fitches with an iron threshing instrument, nor do they turn the wheels of a cart upon the cumin; but they beat out the fitches with a staff, and the cumin with a rod. 28:28 Corn they tread out, yet they will not continue to tread it out for ever; but he will throw it into confusion with the wheel of his wain, and would separate the corn, and blow away the chaff. 28:29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who in the vast knowledge of His mind hath established the world; He hath multiplied His works in the beginning by His great wisdom. (TgJ)
The words of Isaiah according to the TgJ speaks of not dealing wickedly unless your bands be made strong is an interesting statement, כב וּכעַן לָא תִתרַשעוּן דִלמָא יִתַקְפוּן יִסוּרֵיכֹון אְרֵי גְמֵירָא וְשֵיצָאָה שְמַעִית מִן קֳדָם יוי אְלֹהִים צְבָאֹות עַל כָל יָתְבֵי אַרעָא׃ 28:22 But now deal not wickedly, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord, the God of hosts, a consummation, and an end, upon all the inhabitants of the land. (TgJ) The question is what are these bands that are being made strong when behaving wickedly? This sounds like a form of bondage, that when one sins his bondage or slavery to the sin is strengthened. We note the practical application of this principle is found in many sins, pornography is one such example I can think of that fits this idea! This is also reminiscent of Isaiah 58:6.
ספר ישעיה פרק נח
ו הֲלוֹא זֶה צוֹם אֶבְחָרֵהוּ פַּתֵּחַ חַרְצֻבּוֹת רֶשַׁע הַתֵּר אֲגֻדּוֹת מוֹטָה וְשַׁלַּח רְצוּצִים חָפְשִׁים וְכָל-מוֹטָה תְּנַתֵּקוּ:
58:6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the fetters of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free, And that ye break every yoke?
Here Isaiah interprets the bands as those of the yoke that one is enslaved under. We note that the yoke of slavery that Paul describes is related to serving sin. But for those who are in Yeshua the Messiah, this yoke has been broken by the Messiah, and so now we serve him! This is why Paul states that we are now servants of righteousness, because of the righteousness that we have from the Tzadik, the righteous one of God, Yeshua the Messiah! (Romans 3:22) We note that Paul is teaching Torah here, and a rabbinic concept of needing the righteousness of the Tzadik of God (Righteous One of God). In addition, there is something important Paul wrote according to Galatians 5:1-6. We note context is very important here while reading Paul’s words, in order to understand what he is speaking about. We also note that there were no verse numbers in the original manuscripts!
4:29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 4:30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 4:31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.(KJV, 29 ἀλλʼ ὥσπερ τότε ὁ κατὰ σάρκα γεννηθεὶς ἐδίωκεν τὸν κατὰ πνεῦμα,* οὕτως καὶ νῦν. 30 ἀλλὰ τί λέγει ἡ γραφή;* ἔκβαλε τὴν παιδίσκην καὶ τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς· οὐ γὰρ μὴ ⸀κληρονομήσει ὁ υἱὸς τῆς παιδίσκης μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ ⸂τῆς ἐλευθέρας⸃. 31 ⸀διό, ἀδελφοί, οὐκ ἐσμὲν παιδίσκης τέκνα ἀλλὰ τῆς ἐλευθέρας. 5 ⸂Τῇ ἐλευθερίᾳ ἡμᾶς Χριστὸς ἠλευθέρωσεν· στήκετε οὖν⸃ καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε.* *2 Ἴδε ἐγὼ Παῦλος λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἐὰν περιτέμνησθε,* Χριστὸς ὑμᾶς οὐδὲν ὠφελήσει.* 3 μαρτύρομαι δὲ °πάλιν παντὶ ἀνθρώπῳ περιτεμνομένῳ ὅτι ὀφειλέτης ἐστὶν ὅλον τὸν* νόμον ⸀ποιῆσαι.* 4 κατηργήθητε ἀπὸ Χριστοῦ, οἵτινες ἐν νόμῳ δικαιοῦσθε, τῆς χάριτος ἐξεπέσατε. 5 ἡμεῖς γὰρ πνεύματι ἐκ πίστεως ἐλπίδα δικαιοσύνης ἀπεκδεχόμεθα.* 6 ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ °Ἰησοῦ οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε* ἀκροβυστία ἀλλὰ πίστις διʼ ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη.*)
Paul is speaking in the context of the one who was born after the flesh and the one who was born after the Spirit, from the Torah example of Isaac and Ishmael. This is coupled to the analogy Paul makes saying, καὶ μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε “and not be enslaved to the yoke again.” Here Paul is speaking on the order of the Torah in the life of a believer. That one does not rely upon maasim tovim (good works) as a means for salvation. When one takes this approach (trusting in maasim tovim) one is bound up in pride believing one is justified by the Torah. The point of the Law from a Torah perspective, as was mentioned in previous studies, is that God performs the miracle of salvation, and righteousness is accredited in heaven due to our faith, and because of what we have in heaven, so we should be living down here on earth, and the Torah is the instructions on how to live as an already saved and redeemed people. This is why circumcision is mentioned in Acts 15 and in Galatians 5 because it was believed through Jewish conversion one was given entrance into heaven. The example of Abraham is that of faith, not works of the flesh, and so Paul ties in these concepts to illustrate without a doubt what he is referring to, that of the place of the Torah in the lives of God’s people! Isaiah writes according to the TgJ that when one sins, he reinforces his bonds that keep him in his sin! These things are all connected to pride and disobedience.
The Talmud Bavli Avodah Zarah 18b writes the following concerning these things.
Talmud Bavli Avodah Zarah 18b:13
Rabbi Eliezer says: Concerning anyone who scoffs, suffering will befall him, as it is stated: “Now therefore do not be scoffers, lest your suffering be made strong” (Isaiah 28:22). Similarly, Rava said to the Sages who were sitting before him: Please, I ask of you that you not scoff, so that suffering will not befall you.
Talmud Bavli Avodah Zarah 18b:15
Rabbi Oshaya says, based on the same verse: Anyone who is haughty falls into Gehenna, as it is stated: “A proud and haughty man, scorner is his name, he acts in arrogant wrath” (Proverbs 21:24). And wrath means nothing other than Gehenna, as it is stated: “That day is a day of wrath” (Zephaniah 1:15). Rabbi Ḥanilai bar Ḥanilai says: Anyone who scoffs causes extermination to be wrought upon the world, as it is stated: “Now therefore do not be scoffers, lest your suffering be made strong; for an extermination wholly determined have I heard from the Lord, the God of hosts, upon the whole land” (Isaiah 28:22).
The rabbis in the Talmud describe Isaiah 28:22 as those who scoff will suffer and the reason is their scoffing will lead to their suffering being made strong. This is so significant that those who are prideful will fall into Gehenna (Hell). Another interpretation is that when one scoffs it causes extermination to be brought upon the world. This is the warning Isaiah has been speaking about through his book thus far concerning pride. He calls out saying the following, כג אְמַר נְבִיָא אַצִיתוּ וּשמַעוּ קָלִי אִתפְנֹו וְקַבִילוּ לְמֵימְרִי׃ 28:23 The prophet said, Listen to, and hear my voice, turn and hear my word. כד בְכָל עִדָן מִתנַבַן נְבִיַיָא לְאַלָפָא מָא אִם יִתפַתְחָן אוּדנֵי חַיָיבַיָא וִיקַבְלוּן אוּלפָן׃ 28:24 The prophets prophesied at all times in order to teach, if peradventure the ears of sinners might be opened, and receive instruction. (TgJ) We note how this is the call of God upon the hearts of His people and to those who do not know Him, to listen, to hear the voice of God, and to respond to the calling. The opening of the ears is synonymous to the receiving of the instruction of God, that is to repent, to turn from sin, and to walk in God’s ways believing in Him and in His Mashiach! This is why it is such an honor to be called, to be chosen, to know the God of Israel, and to live for Him according to His Holy Word. Paul again says, “In the Messiah we too have been claimed as God’s own possession, since we were predestined according to the one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.” (Ephesians 1:11, Ἐν ᾧ καὶ ⸀ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν ⸆ τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ) What an honor this is how the Lord God Almighty had put together a plan, he predestined this plan to be conformed unto the likeness of His son Yeshua.! Rashi goes on to describe these verses in the following way:
Rashi on Isaiah 28,24 Parts 1-3
הכל היום. לשון תמיהה הוא לכך נקוד חטף פתח: all day This is the interrogative. Therefore, it is voweled with a hataf pattah.
יחרוש. מי שחורש לזרוע וכי החורש כדי לזרע לעולמים חורש א”כ מה יועיל אף הנביאים מוכיחים אתכם להחזירכם למוטב הלעולמים יוכיחו ולא יועילו: shall…plow One who plows to sow – does the one who plows to sow plow forever? If so, what does he accomplish? Similarly, the prophets admonish you to bring you back to do good deeds. Shall they admonish forever and not accomplish?
יפתח וישדד אדמתו. וכי לעולם לא יזרע אלא תמיד יפתח את האדמ’ באתים ובכלי מחרישה, וישדד לשון עבודת שדה יפתח וישדד בתחלה הוא עושה תלמים רחבים וסוף הוא עושה תלמים קטנים במדרש ר’ תנחומא: Shall he open and harrow his soil? Shall he never sow but always open the soil with plowshares and plowing implements? יְשַׂדֵּד is an expression of work of the field. Shall he open and harrow? First he makes wide furrows and later he makes small furrows. This we learned in the Midrash of Rabbi Tanhuma.
Rashi describes the prophets as admonishing the people to turn them back towards the ways of God as Rashi puts it למוטב הלעולמים “to good deeds.” He turns his interpretation to the fields and God plowing, which is the work of the field, analogized to the Lord God working in our lives for His purposes. This is how Paul speaks concerning those who are in the Messiah according to Philippians 2:12-16.
2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. 2:14 Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 2:16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (KJV, ܡܶܟܻ݁ܝܠ ܚܰܒܻ݁ܝ̈ܒ݂ܰܝ ܆ ܐܱܝܟܱ݁ܢܳܐ ܕܱ݁ܒ݂ܟ݂ܽܠܙܒ݂ܰܢ ܐܷܫܬ݁ܡܰܥܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܆ ܠܴܐ ܟܱ݁ܕ݂ ܩܰܪܻܝܒ݂ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܠܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܒܱ݁ܠܚܽܘܕ݂ ܂ ܐܷܠܴܐ ܗܳܫܳܐ ܕ݁ܪܱܚܺܝܩ ܐ̱ܢܳܐ ܡܶܢܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܆ ܝܰܬܻ݁ܝܪܴܐܝܺܬ݂ ܒ݁ܕ݂ܶܚܠܬ݂ܴܐ ܘܒ݂ܰܪܬ݂ܻܝܬ݂ܴܐ ܇ ܦ݁ܠܾܘܚܘ ܦܾ݁ܘܠܚܳܢܳܐ ܕ݁ܚܰܝܰܝ̈ܟܾ݁ܘܢ ܂ܐܱܠܴܗܳܐ ܗ̄ܘ ܓܷ݁ܝܪ ܡܚܰܦܷ݁ܛ ܒ݁ܟ݂ܽܘܢ ܆ ܐܴܦ݂ ܠܡܶܨܒܴ݁ܐ ܁ ܐܴܦ݂ ܠܡܶܣܥܰܪ ܇ ܗܰܘ ܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܕ݁ܨܴܒ݂ܶܝܢ ܐܢ̄ܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܂ ܟܾ݁ܠܡܶܕܷ݁ܡ ܗܘܰܝܬܾ݁ܘܢ ܥܳܒ݂ܕܻ݁ܝܢ ܞ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܪܷܛܢܳܐ ܘܰܕ݂ܠܴܐ ܦܾ݁ܘܠܴܓ݂ ܇ ܕ݁ܬ݂ܷܗܘܽܘܢ ܬܱ݁ܡܺܝ̈ܡܶܐ ܘܰܕ݂ܠܴܐ ܡܽܘܡ ܂ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܒ݁ܢܰܝܴ̈ܐ ܕ݁ܟ݂ܰܝܴ̈ܐ ܕܱ݁ܐܠܴܗܳܐ ܇ ܕ݁ܥܳܡܪܻܝܢ ܒ݁ܕ݂ܳܪܴܐ ܥܰܣܩܳܐ ܘܰܡܥܰܩܡܳܐ ܂ ܘܶܐܬ݂ܚܙܰܘ ܒܱ݁ܝܢܳܬ݂ܗܽܘܢ ܐܱܝܟ݂ ܢܰܗܺܝܪܷ̈ܐ ܒ݁ܥܳܠܡܳܐ ܇ ܕܻ݁ܐܝܬ݂ܱܝܟܾ݁ܘܢ ܠܗܽܘܢ ܒ݁ܕ݂ܽܘܟܱ݁ܬ݂ ܚܰܝܷ̈ܐ ܠܫܽܘܒ݂ܗܳܪܝ ܕܻ݁ܝܠܝ ܒ݁ܝܰܘܡܶܗ ܕܱ݁ܡܫܺܝܚܳܐ ܆ ܕ݁ܠܴܐ ܗ̄ܘܳܐ ܐܻܝܩܺܐ ܪܷܗܛܷܬ݂ ܘܠܴܐ ܣܪܻܝܩܳܐܝܺܬ݂ ܥܶܡܠܷܬ݂ ܂ 12 Ὥστε, ἀγαπητοί μου, καθὼς πάντοτε ὑπηκούσατε, μὴ °ὡς ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ μου μόνον ἀλλὰ νῦν πολλῷ μᾶλλον ἐν τῇ ἀπουσίᾳ μου, μετὰ φόβου καὶ τρόμου τὴν ἑαυτῶν σωτηρίαν κατεργάζεσθε·* 13 ⸆ θεὸς γάρ ἐστιν ὁ ἐνεργῶν ἐν ὑμῖν καὶ τὸ θέλειν καὶ τὸ ἐνεργεῖν ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας.* 14 Πάντα ποιεῖτε χωρὶς γογγυσμῶν καὶ διαλογισμῶν,* 15 ἵνα ⸀γένησθε ἄμεμπτοι καὶ ἀκέραιοι, τέκνα θεοῦ ⸁ἄμωμα μέσον γενεᾶς σκολιᾶς καὶ διεστραμμένης,* ἐν οἷς φαίνεσθε ὡς φωστῆρες ἐν κόσμῳ,* 16 λόγον ζωῆς ἐπέχοντες,* εἰς καύχημα ἐμοὶ εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ, ὅτι οὐκ εἰς κενὸν ἔδραμον οὐδὲ εἰς κενὸν ἐκοπίασα.)
We note how Paul speaks of our working out our salvation with fear and trembling. This is an interesting way to phrase exactly what Rashi is saying God turning us to למוטב הלעולמים “to good deeds.” The idea here is that we listen and obey the Word of God, and this works out in the production of the fruit of the Spirit. This concept of working out our salvation is that we are daily carefully examining ourselves to determine whether we are producing the fruit of the Spirit. When we see this happening, this demonstrates that God is working in our lives, just as Paul wrote in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (KJV) Paul goes on saying ἵνα ⸀γένησθε ἄμεμπτοι καὶ ἀκέραιοι “you are to be ἄμεμπτοι blameless and ἀκέραιοι innocent” as sons of God. Notice how this parallels the Torah narrative that Moshe writes in the Torah twice and once in 1 Kings. For example:
- Bereshit / Genesis 17:1-3, ‘And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, tho Lord appeared unto Abram, and said unto him, I am Almighty God: walk before Me, and be thou perfect. And I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him.’ (KJV, וַיְהִ֣י אַבְרָ֔ם בֶּן־תִּשְׁעִ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה וְתֵ֣שַׁע שָׁנִ֑ים וַיֵּרָ֨א יְהוָ֜ה אֶל־אַבְרָ֗ם וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ אֲנִי־אֵ֣ל שַׁדַּ֔י הִתְהַלֵּ֥ךְ לְפָנַ֖י וֶהְיֵ֥ה תָמִֽים׃ וְאֶתְּנָ֥ה בְרִיתִ֖י בֵּינִ֣י וּבֵינֶ֑ךָ וְאַרְבֶּ֥ה אֹותְךָ֖ בִּמְאֹ֥ד מְאֹֽד׃ וַיִּפֹּ֥ל אַבְרָ֖ם עַל־פָּנָ֑יו וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר אִתֹּ֛ו אֱלֹהִ֖ים לֵאמֹֽר׃)
- Devarim / Deuteronomy 18:13, ‘Thou shall be perfect with the Lord thy God.’ (KJV, תָּמִ֣ים תִּֽהְיֶ֔ה עִ֖ם יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶֽיךָ׃ ס)
- 1 Kings 8:61, ‘Let your heart be perfect with the Lord our God to walk in His statutes.’ (KJV, וְהָיָ֤ה לְבַבְכֶם֙ שָׁלֵ֔ם עִ֖ם יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֑ינוּ לָלֶ֧כֶת בְּחֻקָּ֛יו וְלִשְׁמֹ֥ר מִצְוֹתָ֖יו כַּיֹּ֥ום הַזֶּֽה׃)
That command came not only to Abraham, the Torah reveals to us how Moshe gave this command to all the people of Israel. This means that this is for all who call Abraham avinu (our father), to every believer, this includes adopted sons as well. This is how Paul used the Torah in his letter to the Philippians.
Isaiah goes on saying, כה הְלָא אִם יְשַוֹון בֵית יִשרָאֵל אַפֵיהֹון לְמַעְבַד אֹורָיתָא יְתוּב וִיכַנֵיש יָתְהֹון מִבֵינֵי עַמְמַיָא דְאִנוּן מְבֻדְרִין בֵינֵיהֹון הָא כְקִצחָא וּככַמֹונָא דְמִזדְרֵיק וִיקָרֵיב יָתְהֹון זַרעְיָן זַרעְיָן לְשִבטֵיהֹון הָא כְזַרעֵי חִטִין עַל לִגנִין וּסְעָרִין עַל סִימָנִין וְכוּנָתִין עַל תְחוּמִין׃ 28:25 Is it not so? If the house of Israel would set their faces to do the law, and repent, then behold, He would gather them from among the nations, amongst whom they were dispersed, like fitches and cumin that are scattered: and, behold, he would bring their offspring together according to their tribes, as seed of wheat in the uncultivated field, and barley in the appointed place, and spelt in the borders. כו הָא כָל אִלֵין לְהֹון אוּלפָן דְדִין דְיִדְעוּן דַאְלָהָא מְחַוֵי לְהֹון אֹורחָא דְתָקְנָא דִיהָכוּן בַה׃ 28:26 All these things are instruction of judgment, that they may know, that our God shows them the right path, in which they ought to walk. (TgJ) Here the Rabbis expand upon Isaiah’s words to speak of repentance, turning from sin, and the gathering of the people. This again illustrates the reason for their dispersion, due to their unrepentant sin. The Talmud Bavli draws out this aspect of these verses saying the following:
Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 105a:6
With regard to the verse: “And chastise in judgment; his God will instruct him” (Isaiah 28:26), Rabba bar bar Ḥana says that the prophet said to the Jewish people: Repent. They said to him: We cannot, since the evil inclination dominates us. He said to them: Chastise your inclinations. They said to him: “His God will instruct him,” i.e., God should instruct the evil inclination to allow us to overcome him, as we are incapable of doing so on our own.
Something very interesting about the rabbinic conclusion here is that we need God’s help to overcome our sinful desires. In Judaism the yetzer hara (יֵצֶר הַרַע) is the congenital inclination to do evil which is defined as doing evil violates the will of God. The term is derived from the phrase “the imagination of the heart of man [is] evil” (יֵצֶר לֵב הָאָדָם רַע), which occurs twice at the beginning of the Torah (Bereshit / Genesis 6:5 and 8:21). The Hebrew word “yetzer” appears twice in Genesis and occurs again at the end of the Torah, “I knew their devisings that they do”. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 31:21) These things reveal how from the beginning the heart’s “yetzer” (plan) is continually bent on evil. However, the Torah which began with blessing (Bereshit / Genesis 1:1-2:3) anticipates future blessing (Devarim / Deuteronomy 33) which will come as a result of God circumcising the heart in the latter days. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 30:6) In traditional Judaism, the yetzer hara is not a demonic force, but rather man’s misuse of things the physical body needs to survive. Thus, the need for food becomes gluttony due to the yetzer hara. The need for procreation becomes promiscuity, lust, fornication, and so on. The Jewish concept of the yetzer hara is similar to the Christian concept of a “sin nature” which is the tendency of mankind to sin. According to the Talmudic tractate Avot de-Rabbi Natan, a boy’s evil inclination is greater than his good inclination until he turns 13 (bar mitzvah), at which point the good inclination is “born” and able to control his behavior. In addition to this, the rabbis have also concluded that “The greater the man, the greater his [evil] inclination.” (Talmud Bavli Sukkah 52a) This is interestingly consistent with what Isaiah is speaking about concerning pride and those who are in leadership positions. These things remind us to be weary of our own desires, and to beat them down as Paul speaks about in his epistles (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Isaiah goes on saying, כז אְרֵי לָא בְמוּרגֵי בַרזְלָא מַדרְכִין קִצחָא וְגִלגְלֵי עַגלָא עַל כַמוּנָא מַחזְרִין אְרֵי בְחוּטרָא חָבְטִין קִצחָא וְכַמוּנָא בְמַחבֹוטָא׃ 28:27 For they do not tread out the fitches with an iron threshing instrument, nor do they turn the wheels of a cart upon the cumin; but they beat out the fitches with a staff, and the cumin with a rod. כח יָת עְבוּרָא מַדרְכִין אַף יָתֵיה אְרֵי לָא לְעָלְמָא אַדרָכָא יַדרְכוּנֵיה וְמבַלבֵיל בְגַלגְלֵי עַגלָתֵיה וּמַפרֵיש יָת עְבוּרָא וּמַפרַח יָת דוּקָא׃ 28:28 Corn they tread out, yet they will not continue to tread it out for ever; but he will throw it into confusion with the wheel of his wain, and would separate the corn, and blow away the chaff. כט אַף דָא מִן קֳדָם יוי צְבָאֹות נְפַקַת דְאַתקֵין עָלְמָא בְמַחשְבָת דַעתֵיה רַבְתָא אַסגִי עוּבָדֵי בְרֵישִית בִסגֵי חָכמְתֵיה׃ 28:29 This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, who in the vast knowledge of His mind hath established the world; He hath multiplied His works in the beginning by His great wisdom. (TgJ) These last three verses speak to the Lord God working in our lives, which are paralleled to farming, harvest, and the separation of the seed from the chaff. All of these things represent the ways in which God is working in our lives for His glory. The Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 26b has the following to say concerning these verses:
Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 26b:7
The Gemara answers: As it is written: “He raises up the poor out of the dust, He lifts up the needy from the dung hill, to make them sit with princes and inherit the throne of glory; for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and He has set [vayyashet] the world upon them” (I Samuel 2:8). Since the righteous are considered the foundations of the world, this verse is interpreted in reference to them. And if you wish, say instead that it is derived from here: “Wonderful is His counsel, and great His wisdom [tushiyya]” (Isaiah 28:29). Accordingly, the wise, righteous people are called shatot.
Here the Talmudic opinion is that the Lord God Almighty has established the earth upon pillars of righteousness. This again speaks to the idea that God created the earth for the righteous and not for the wicked. The righteous are considered the foundation of the world, and without the righteous the earth would be destroyed, the example is from Bereshit / Genesis 18 with Abraham, Lot, and Sodom and Gomorrah. All of these things bring us back to this idea of being a chosen people according to the Torah, and the disciples emphasize this in their epistles speaking of the Torah, that we are a royal priesthood and because of this we should show forth the praises of the One who called us. (Devarim / Deuteronomy 7:6 and 32:21) For this reason Paul calls believers the chosen people of God according to Ephesians 1:4 and 2 Thessalonians 2:13. For this reason we are also called to be a light unto the nations (Isaiah 42:6 and 60:3) and based upon God’s promise to Abraham in Bereshit / Genesis 12:3 He has always had the plan that families would come to know Him and His glory and love and walk in that love! It is pretty easy to see the continuity through all of Scripture and the consistency with rabbinic thought these things are! In the Messiah Yeshua, we have the greatest blessing of all, in the redemption and salvation that God our Father has provided for us! What a wonderful God we serve and love! B”H