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Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 50/51

Numbers 4:17 - 5:10   -   1 Samuel 6:1-21   -   Psalm 94 - 95   -   1 Corinthians 12:1-31
 

I Adar 20, 5763 / Feb 22, 2003 - see Y2-50

I Adar 27, 5763 / Mar 1, 2003 - see Y2-51

Adar 11, 5766 / Mar 11, 2006

Adar 11, 5769 / Mar   7, 2009

Adar   9, 5772 / Mar   3, 2012

Adar   9, 5775 / Feb 28, 2015

Adar   9, 5778 / Feb 24, 2018

 

Al Tachritu / Do Not Let . . . Be Cut Off     SCRIPTURES (should be read first)

Don’t die!

 

Numbers 4:17

Moses and Aaron were responsible for planning and supervising the work of the Kohathites, so that they did not commit any capital offenses in carrying out their duties. Each of the 2,750 eligible Kohathites, by name (v. 32), was given a specific task to be performed in a specific order, so that there would be no accidental overstepping of boundaries, which would bring death. (V.20) Aaron and his sons were required to wrap the holiest items, and then the Kohathites could carry them, without being able to look upon them.

 

There is a debate about what the problem was: were the Kohathites afraid to perform tasks for the Tabernacle, and therefore had to be assigned definite tasks? Or were they so eager to do the work, that they had to be assigned limited tasks so as not to accidentally push too far and die?

 

1 Samuel 6

Israel experienced a great defeat in battle with the Philistines, losing about 4,000 soldiers (1 Samuel 4:2). So, the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh with them to defeat the enemy. But, the Philistines took the Ark, and killed the two sons of Eli, who were with it. Upon hearing the news, Eli, a heavy, elderly man, fell backwards and broke his neck, dying on the spot. His daughter-in-law gave birth immediately, without showing interest for her child, because of the news about the Ark of Yahweh.

 

Now, the Philistines took the Ark of Yahweh to the house of their god Dagon. The next morning, the great stone Dagon was found lying on the floor. So, he was set upright again. But, the following morning, Dagon was found lying on the floor again, with his head and hands smashed on the threshold. Never again would the priests of Dagon tread on the thresholds of his house.

 

Then, God smote the Philistines with rats, and hemorrhoids so severe that many were dying. The priests of Dagon responded that the Ark should be returned to Israel, with an offering of five golden hemorrhoids and five golden rats!

 

Two cows that were nursing mothers were to pull a new wooden cart with the Ark and a box containing the offerings. If the cows did not turn after their nursing calves, but headed straight to Beit Shemesh (House of the Sun), then they were to know that Yahweh had brought the plagues upon them.

 

When the Ark returned, the cart was broken up for fire-wood, and the cows used for an offering to Yahweh, for the return of the Ark. But, many of the Israelites looked into the Ark, and died there. So, the people of Beit Shemesh sent for the Levites to take the Ark to its appropriate place.

 

The Haftarah tells us that 50,070 Israelites were killed for looking into the Ark, when it was sent back from the land of the Philistines. The people then said: “Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God?” The holiness of Yahweh is a major point of this Torah portion.

 

Psalm 94

Those who take pride in their own ways, pouring forth their own words, are called “stupid ones” in today’s Psalm. Do they think that God, who created eyes, does not see? Or He who created ears, does He not hear? Yahweh knows our thoughts, and blessed are the ones whom He chastens, that they may learn Torah!

 

1 Corinthians 12

Paul tells us how each member of the body has different gifts, all to be used for helping the body to be healthy. Like the consideration of the Kohathite problem, we should earnestly desire gifts to further God’s work, but not push further than is proper. We must not arrogantly claim “gifts” to make a front of being spiritual. We must not pour forth our own words. One who is “prophesying” must expound God’s Words – Torah, regardless of language. “If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” – Isaiah 8:20.

 

In today’s “Messianic” world, we have at least two major areas of spiritual pride: those who claim “spiritual gifts”, such as a false “speaking in tongues” or “words of knowledge”; and Kabalistic teaching, where “reading between the lines” of Torah is taught by those who lack understanding of the real lines of Torah. Those who seek salvation and recognition through this kind of “wonderful works” will hear, “I never knew you; depart from me, you who work iniquity” – Matthew 7:23.

 

Salvation is by Yeshua, through faith in Him, not by our “wonderful works”. Our gifts and duties here are for the purpose of building-up His church (Matthew 16:18), not for our glory but for God’s glory.

 

God is holy – different from us. Our ways are not His ways. We are to learn holiness – a requirement for seeing Him (Hebrews 12:14).

------------------

Today’s portion is about duties and service.

 

The total number of males from one month old in the tribe of Levi was 22,300. Service-eligible male Levites from age 30 – 50 were: family of Gershon – 2630, Kohath – 2750, Merari – 3200; total 8580. The remaining two-thirds were younger than 30, older than 50, or otherwise ineligible.

 

Their duties were very specifically assigned and supervised. While the family of Kohath was responsible for carrying the sacred articles, all three families were equally important and to be equally honored: this is based on (v.22) God’s instruction that the Gershonites should also be “raised up” – counted.

 

Beside the work of carrying, the “work of service” (v.47) is explained as performing musical accompaniment (Arachin 11a).

 

(Lev 5) Before the Tabernacle could be erected, the camp must be purified of tumah – contamination associated with death or a result of the fall.

__________

 

One who has stolen, failed to repay a loan, or failed to pay wages on time – in order to become clean before God, is required to make confession, repay with an added twenty percent, and bring a ram for atonement. If the victim is deceased with no kin, then the restitution is to be given to the priests serving in the Temple.

 

The Torah is here teaching that it is forbidden for us to take anything that God has not given to us, whether great or small, whether from a wealthy person or someone whom we think “owes us”, or anything we have dedicated – such as tithes separated but not distributed.

 

The person, who would serve God, must have this heart attitude to desire holiness. Continual repentance is a requirement to be clean. Saying, “If I have sinned, forgive me,” is insufficient toward God or man. One needs to seek God’s word to show him his errors, and make restitution, and correction of his ways.

 

So the Psalmist says, (Psalm 95:4-13),

“Make me know Thy ways, O Yahweh; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, for Thou art the God of my salvation; for Thee I wait all the day. Remember, O Yahweh, Thy compassion and Thy lovingkindnesses, for they have been from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to Thy lovingkindness remember Thou me, for Thy goodness' sake, O Yahweh. Good and upright is Yahweh; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way. 1All the paths of Yahweh are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies. For Thy name's sake, O Yahweh, Pardon my iniquity, for it is great. Who is the man who fears Yahweh? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land.”

 

Acts 5

Ananias and Sapphira owned property: it was in their control, and they could have legitimately sold it and kept all of the money. But, they sold it and said that they were giving all of the money to the church – which means it was dedicated to God. However, they actually kept part of the money. Peter said that was “lying to the Holy Spirit” (v.3). Each of them fell dead upon confirming that they had “given the whole price”. They stole dedicated property, and they lied before the church, in order to falsely appear as spiritual as others who gave all.

 

This was written “for our admonition,” that we should know our hearts, and not make a pretense of spirituality.

 

Such fear came upon others, concerning this Holy God, that they were afraid to join the church, though they held it in high esteem! Do we have to see people die for disrespecting God, before we recognize His holiness? Are we convinced, by the religious world of today, that God only attributed sin to former generations; that we live in a different age, when we can do whatever seems right to us? Do outsiders hold us in high esteem because they can recognize the honest level of holiness by which we live?

 

We have an Holy God. We must be truthful, and honest in our dealings. We must learn to repent with confession and restitution, to be in right standing with God. Yeshua did not “do it all,” such that we are “free” to do whatever we wish with impunity.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap” – Galatians 6:7.

He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him – Ephesians 1:4.

Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Yeshua the Messiah. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Messiah” – 1 Peter 1:13-19.

 

The purpose of the Tabernacle and priesthood is to show us God’s holiness, and our promise of future glory in righteousness. We cannot live for sin here, and truthfully say that our hope is in a future righteous state.

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The Kohathites

Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 18 "Do not let the tribe of the families of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites. 19 "But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; 20 but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, or they will die."

Today’s portion starts with the Kohathites. As was mentioned last week Moses and Aaron were Levites and were also from Kohath.

                                               

Ex 6:18 The sons of Kohath: Amram and Izhar and Hebron and Uzziel; and the length of Kohath's life was one hundred and thirty-three years.

 

Num 26:59 The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt; and she bore to Amram: Aaron and Moses and their sister Miriam.

 

It’s interesting to note that once again we see the pattern of the second born having precedence over the firstborn. Kohath was the second born of Levi and Moses was the second born of Amram. However, Amram was the firstborn of Kohath and would have been the one to carry out the priestly line and Aaron was the firstborn of Amram and was chosen to be the High Priest by God.

The Kohathites were placed above their brothers and given the responsibility to carry the most sacred objects in the Tabernacle. So how were Moses and Aaron “not to let the tribe of the families of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites”?

It was Aaron and his son’s responsibility to make sure that every thing was covered so that when the Kohathites came in to carry it out they didn’t die by simply looking at the sacred objects uncovered.

Targum Pseudo-Jonathan says it this way, “Thou shalt not give occasion for the tribe of the family of Kehath to perish among the Levites. But this appointment make thou for them, that they may live the life of the just, and die not by the flaming fire; they shall turn away their eyes from the Most Holy Place at the time they approach thither. Aharon and his sons shall enter, and appoint them man by man to his service and his burden. But they shall not go in to gaze, when the priests go in to cover the vessels of the sanctuary, that they die not by the flaming fire.

 

The Covering Process

(from last weeks portion)

1.        Aaron and his sons – Kohanim – take down the curtain (that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holiest Place and cover the Ark with it. “Shall put the poles in place…” – This implies that the staves (poles) would now be inserted into the rings. This isn’t really a good translation, unlike the staves (poles) of the Table of Showbread and the Altar, which were inserted only for transport, it is forbidden ever to remove the staves of the Ark from their rings. Ex 25:15 – “The poles shall remain in the rings of the Ark: they shall not be removed from it.” It should be understood to mean that the staves were placed on the shoulders of the Levites, or that they were adjusted within their rings to facilitate the Levites’ task of carrying the Ark (Rambam; Yoma 72a)

2.        Then the table of showbread. The placement of the covers reveals a hierarchy of holiness. The show-bread remained on the Table at all  times – and is therefore called “constant bread” in this verse (v. 7); it was covered with turquoise wool, which symbolized the highest degree of holiness. The utensils were then placed on top and then everything was covered again.

3.        Then the Menorah.

4.        Then the altar of gold. (inner - Altar of Incense)

5.        Then the altar. (outer – where the sacrifices where made)

6.        Then the Kohathites may come and move the objects.

 

The Transporting

The remaining items of the Tabernacle were taken down by the Gershonites and Merarites only after the most sacred objects were covered and removed. Then they were packed and loaded on to carts for transportation. Here’s yet annother difference - the Kohathites actually carried the objects by their poles (Num 7:9) whereas the Gershonites and Merarites used carts to transport the objects under their care (Num 7:6).

The exact point at which the Tabernacle joined in the people’s journeys is a subject of dispute. According to Rashi and Rashbam, it was dismantled after Judah began to journey and it began to move after Reuben. According to Ibn Ezra and Sforno, it traveled between Judah and Reuben. Ibn Ezra qualifies this: The parts of the building moved after Judah, but the more sacred parts, such as the Ark, which were borne by the Kohathites and accompanied by the Kohanim, moved after Reuben.

Whatever the order, it is clear that the centrality of the Tabernacle was preserved even during travel, for the Torah refers to it as the “Tent of Meeting” even after it was taken apart. The Talmud (Menachos 95a; Zevachim 61b, 116b) teaches that the camps retained their relative degrees of sanctity even in transit, so that offerings that had to be eaten within the Israelite camp could still be eaten in transit (R’Hirsch).

The sages say that this is a vital lesson for life: Judaism is not restricted to home, synagogue, and everyday activities. One must maintain his sanctity even as a tourist and traveler.

 

The Philistines And The Ark

                In our haftarah portion we read that -

 

1 Samuel 6

 

Israel experienced a great defeat in battle with the Philistines, losing about 4,000 soldiers (1 Samuel 4:2). So, the elders of Israel decided to take the Ark of the Covenant of Yahweh with them to defeat the enemy. But, the Philistines took the Ark, and killed the two sons of Eli, who were with it. Upon hearing the news, Eli, a heavy, elderly man, fell backwards and broke his neck, dying on the spot.

 

They had the ark for 7 months. During that time they took the Ark of Yahweh to the house of their god Dagon. The next morning, the great stone Dagon was found lying on the floor. So, he was set upright again. But, the following morning, Dagon was found lying on the floor again, with his head and hands smashed on the threshold.

 

They kept moving the ark around to the different cities and everywhere it went that area was struck with rats and ? and many died.  Some translations have hemorrhoids others have tumors. It seems no one is quite sure what the Hebrew word “emerod” means. I’m not sure how a bunch of people would have died from hemorrhoids and even tumors I wonder about. Is it possible that they were perhaps boils like the plague we saw at Egypt?

 

The priests of Dagon responded that the Ark should be returned to Israel, with an offering of five golden “emerods” and five golden rats!

 

Two cows that were nursing mothers were to pull a new wooden cart with the Ark of the Covenant and a box containing the offerings. If the cows did not turn after their nursing calves, but headed straight to Beit Shemesh (House of the Sun), then they were to know that Yahweh had brought the plagues upon them.

 

When the Ark returned, the cart was broken up for fire-wood, and the cows used for an offering to Yahweh, for the return of the Ark.

 

1Sa 6:15   The Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the box that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to Yahweh.

 

The Levites put it out for all to see…they should have known better.

 

1Sa 6:19   He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of Yahweh. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter.

 

1Sa 6:20   The men of Beth-shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?"

 

The holiness of Yahweh is a major point of this Torah portion.

 

The Body Of Messiah

 

For even as the body is one and {yet} has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Messiah. (I Cor 12:12) For the body is not one member, but many. (I Cor 12:14) But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. If they were all one member, where would the body be? But now there are many members, but one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; and those {members} of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need {of it.} But God has {so} composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that {member} which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but {that} the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if {one} member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. (I Cor 12:18-27)

 

                Like the Levites in today’s Torah portion we see that God has created everyone for a specific task and we are all necessary to get the job done. Even the smallest of jobs is important for the success of the whole.

 

 

Readings:

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who chose us from among all peoples by giving us Your Torah.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

 

Reader 1Amen. 17 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 18 "Do not let the tribe of the families of the Kohathites be cut off from among the Levites. 19 "But do this to them that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign each of them to his work and to his load; 20 but they shall not go in to see the holy objects even for a moment, or they will die."

Reader 2Amen. 21 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 22 "Take a census of the sons of Gershon also, by their fathers' households, by their families; 23 from thirty years and upward to fifty years old, you shall number them; all who enter to perform the service to do the work in the tent of meeting. 24 "This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, in serving and in carrying: 25 they shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tent of meeting with its covering and the covering of porpoise skin that is on top of it, and the screen for the doorway of the tent of meeting, 26 and the hangings of the court, and the screen for the doorway of the gate of the court which is around the tabernacle and the altar, and their cords and all the equipment for their service; and all that is to be done, they shall perform. 27 "All the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their loads and in all their work, shall be performed at the command of Aaron and his sons; and you shall assign to them as a duty all their loads. 28 "This is the service of the families of the sons of the Gershonites in the tent of meeting, and their duties shall be under the direction of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

Reader 3Amen. 29 "As for the sons of Merari, you shall number them by their families, by their fathers' households; 30 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, you shall number them, everyone who enters the service to do the work of the tent of meeting. 31 "Now this is the duty of their loads, for all their service in the tent of meeting: the boards of the tabernacle and its bars and its pillars and its sockets, 32 and the pillars around the court and their sockets and their pegs and their cords, with all their equipment and with all their service; and you shall assign each man by name the items he is to carry. 33 "This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service in the tent of meeting, under the direction of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest."

Reader 4Amen. 34 So Moses and Aaron and the leaders of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites by their families and by their fathers' households, 35 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered the service for work in the tent of meeting. 36 Their numbered men by their families were 2,750. 37 These are the numbered men of the Kohathite families, everyone who was serving in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of Yahweh through Moses. 38 The numbered men of the sons of Gershon by their families and by their fathers' households, 39 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered the service for work in the tent of meeting. 40 Their numbered men by their families, by their fathers' households, were 2,630. 41 These are the numbered men of the families of the sons of Gershon, everyone who was serving in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of Yahweh.

Reader 5Amen. 42 The numbered men of the families of the sons of Merari by their families, by their fathers' households, 43 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who entered the service for work in the tent of meeting. 44 Their numbered men by their families were 3,200. 45 These are the numbered men of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the commandment of Yahweh through Moses. 46 All the numbered men of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the leaders of Israel numbered, by their families and by their fathers' households, 47 from thirty years and upward even to fifty years old, everyone who could enter to do the work of service and the work of carrying in the tent of meeting. 48 Their numbered men were 8,580. 49 According to the commandment of Yahweh through Moses, they were numbered, everyone by his serving or carrying; thus these were his numbered men, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.

Reader 6Amen. 5:1 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 2 "Command the sons of Israel that they send away from the camp every leper and everyone having a discharge and everyone who is unclean because of a dead person. 3 "You shall send away both male and female; you shall send them outside the camp so that they will not defile their camp where I dwell in their midst." 4 The sons of Israel did so and sent them outside the camp; just as Yahweh had spoken to Moses, thus the sons of Israel did.

Reader 7Amen. 5 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 6 "Speak to the sons of Israel, 'When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against Yahweh, and that person is guilty, 7 then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged. 8 'But if the man has no relative to whom restitution may be made for the wrong, the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to Yahweh for the priest, besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him. 9 'Also every contribution pertaining to all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they offer to the priest, shall be his. 10 'So every man's holy gifts shall be his; whatever any man gives to the priest, it becomes his.'"

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who in giving us Yeshua, the Living Torah, has planted everlasting life in our midst.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, giver of the Torah."

______________________

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Who selected good prophets, delighting in their words which were spoken truthfully.

Blessed are You, Yahweh, Who chose the Torah, Your servant Moses, Your people Israel,

and the prophets of truth and righteousness."

 

1 Samuel 6:1-21      

Reader 8Amen. 1 Now the ark of Yahweh had been in the country of the Philistines seven months. 2 And the Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, "What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Tell us how we shall send it to its place." 3 They said, "If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty; but you shall surely return to Him a guilt offering. Then you will be healed and it will be known to you why His hand is not removed from you." 4 Then they said, "What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to Him?" And they said, "Five golden tumors and five golden mice according to the number of Yahwehs of the Philistines, for one plague was on all of you and on your lords. 5 "So you shall make likenesses of your tumors and likenesses of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel; perhaps He will ease His hand from you, your gods, and your land.

Reader 9Amen. 6 "Why then do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When He had severely dealt with them, did they not allow the people to go, and they departed? 7 "Now therefore, take and prepare a new cart and two milch cows on which there has never been a yoke; and hitch the cows to the cart and take their calves home, away from them. 8 "Take the ark of Yahweh and place it on the cart; and put the articles of gold which you return to Him as a guilt offering in a box by its side. Then send it away that it may go. 9 "Watch, if it goes up by the way of its own territory to Beth-shemesh, then He has done us this great evil. But if not, then we will know that it was not His hand that struck us; it happened to us by chance." 10 Then the men did so, and took two milch cows and hitched them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home. 11 They put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the box with the golden mice and the likenesses of their tumors. 12 And the cows took the straight way in the direction of Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right or to the left. And the lord of the Philistines followed them to the border of Beth-shemesh.

Reader 10Amen. 13 Now the people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they raised their eyes and saw the ark and were glad to see it. 14 The cart came into the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite and stood there where there was a large stone; and they split the wood of the cart and offered the cows as a burnt offering to Yahweh. 15 The Levites took down the ark of Yahweh and the box that was with it, in which were the articles of gold, and put them on the large stone; and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices that day to Yahweh. 16 When the five lords of the Philistines saw it, they returned to Ekron that day.

Reader 11Amen. 17 These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to Yahweh: one for Ashdod, one for Gaza, one for Ashkelon, one for Gath, one for Ekron; 18 and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both of fortified cities and of country villages. The large stone on which they set the ark of Yahweh is a witness to this day in the field of Joshua the Beth-shemite. 19 He struck down some of the men of Beth-shemesh because they had looked into the ark of Yahweh. He struck down of all the people, 50,070 men, and the people mourned because Yahweh had struck the people with a great slaughter. 20 The men of Beth-shemesh said, "Who is able to stand before Yahweh, this holy God? And to whom shall He go up from us?" 21 So they sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, "The Philistines have brought back the ark of Yahweh; come down and take it up to you."

 

Psalms 94 - 95     (To be sung.)

 

94:1 O Yahweh, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth! 2 Rise up, O Judge of the earth, Render recompense to the proud. 3 How long shall the wicked, O Yahweh, How long shall the wicked exult? 4 They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; All who do wickedness vaunt themselves. 5 They crush Your people, O Yahweh, And afflict Your heritage. 6 They slay the widow and the stranger And murder the orphans. 7 They have said, "Yahweh does not see, Nor does the God of Jacob pay heed." 8 Pay heed, you senseless among the people; And when will you understand, stupid ones? 9 He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see? 10 He who chastens the nations, will He not rebuke, Even He who teaches man knowledge? 11 Yahweh knows the thoughts of man, That they are a mere breath. 12 Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O Yahweh, And whom You teach out of Your law; 13 That You may grant him relief from the days of adversity, Until a pit is dug for the wicked. 14 For Yahweh will not abandon His people, Nor will He forsake His inheritance. 15 For judgment will again be righteous, And all the upright in heart will follow it. 16 Who will stand up for me against evildoers? Who will take his stand for me against those who do wickedness? 17 If Yahweh had not been my help, My soul would soon have dwelt in the abode of silence. 18 If I should say, "My foot has slipped," Your lovingkindness, O Yahweh, will hold me up. 19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul. 20 Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, One which devises mischief by decree? 21 They band themselves together against the life of the righteous And condemn the innocent to death. 22 But Yahweh has been my stronghold, And my God the rock of my refuge. 23 He has brought back their wickedness upon them And will destroy them in their evil; Yahweh our God will destroy them.

 

95:1 O come, let us sing for joy to Yahweh, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. 3 For Yahweh is a great God And a great King above all gods, 4 In whose hand are the depths of the earth, The peaks of the mountains are His also. 5 The sea is His, for it was He who made it, And His hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us worship and bow down, Let us kneel before Yahweh our Maker. 7 For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, 8 Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah, As in the day of Massah in the wilderness, 9 "When your fathers tested Me, They tried Me, though they had seen My work. 10 "For forty years I loathed that generation, And said they are a people who err in their heart, And they do not know My ways. 11 "Therefore I swore in My anger, Truly they shall not enter into My rest."

 

1 Corinthians 12:1-31

Reader 12Amen. 1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware. 2 You know that when you were pagans, you were led astray to the mute idols, however you were led. 3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Yeshua is accursed"; and no one can say, "Yeshua is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit. 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. 6 There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. 7 But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills.

Reader 13Amen. 12 For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Messiah. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.

Reader 14Amen. 19 If they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now there are many members, but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23 and those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, 24 whereas our more presentable members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25 so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are Messiah's body, and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29 All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30 All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31 But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.

 

"Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, King of the Universe,

Rock of Ages, righteous throughout all generations.

You are the faithful God, promising and then performing, speaking and then fulfilling,

for all Your words are true and righteous.

Faithful are You, Yahweh our God, and faithful are Your words,

for no word of Yours shall remain unfulfilled;

You are a faithful and merciful God and King.

Blessed are You, Yahweh our God, Who are faithful in fulfilling all Your words."

 


© 2006  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)