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Commentary - Year 2 Sabbath 10

Exodus 21:1 - 22:24   -   Isaiah 56:1-7   -   Psalm 55  -   Matthew 5:38-42,  7:1-5
 

Sivan   7, 5762 / May 18, 2002

Sivan 11, 5765 / June 18, 2005

Sivan 11, 5768 / June 14, 2008

Sivan   9, 5771 / June 11, 2011

Sivan   9, 5774 / June   7, 2014

Sivan   9, 5777 / June   3, 2017

 

V'elleh haMishpatim / These are the Judgments    SCRIPTURES (should be read first)  

 

V. 21:1 Business halacha is part of holiness, along with the preceding civil and Altar laws.

 

V. 21:2-6  One may sell himself into servitude due to extreme poverty (Lev 25:39), or a thief may be sold by court order for six years for restitution (v. 22:2), the case herein. The court is called Elohim, because the court carries out God’s law. Le-olam (forever) here means until the Jubilee (fiftieth) year.

 

V. 21:7-11  A father may sell a prepubescent girl, for her benefit (not his), for the expectation that either the master or his son will marry her. If neither of them marry her, Torah considers this a betrayal of the girl (V.8). A father should not ordinarily exercise this right (Kiddushin 41a), but he may in order to provide a better opportunity for her than would otherwise exist.

 

V. 21:12-14  Premeditated murder requires the death penalty, even for a priest about to serve at the altar. One who kills unintentionally but through carelessness is exiled to a city of refuge (Num 35 & Deut 19).

 

V. 22:1-3  Killing is permitted for self-defense, but not to save property.

 

Righteous Judgment

 

There are several Hebrew and Greek words translated “judge” in our Bibles.

 

The Hebrew word “palil” means to judge or distinguish the difference between things. As to the difference between gods, we read in Deuteronomy 32:31, “Indeed our Rock is not like their rock, even our enemies themselves judge this.

 

The Hebrew word “din” is about Yahweh – the God of grace and mercy – defending His people. We may recognize it from the term “Beit Din,” the house of halachic judgment. Halachic judgment is about elected judges making determinations of how we are to walk to fulfill Torah – this is not an individual’s right to decide. “Din” is the root of the name “Dan,” the tribe whose name means judge. The word “din” is used in 1 Samuel 2:10, “Yahweh will judge the ends of the earth”, and in Psalm 135:14, “Yahweh will judge His people and have compassion on His servants”.

 

The Hebrew word “shaphat” refers to judging sin. In Genesis 18:25 we see Abraham, talking about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, saying that Elohim is “Judge of all the earth.” In Deuteronomy 1:16, God instructs judges to “judge righteously,” and in verse 17:12, the man who will not listen to the judge “shall die.”

 

The Hebrew word “mishpat” is from the previous word “shaphat.” In Habakkuk, we see that Yahweh appointed the Chaldeans to judge – to bring destruction on nations for their sin.

 

Now we come to the word “mishpatim” – the plural of “mishpat”. The mishpatim / judgments are the moral laws by which God will judge the world that does not walk with Him.

 

(V.1) “These are the judgments” – the moral and ethical laws, the first of three categories of commandments.

 

The three Biblical Categories of Commandments:

 

1) Mishpatim - Judgments . . . moral and ethical laws.

That the moral and ethical laws apply to today’s followers of Yeshua is seldom questioned. Yeshua himself stressed that hating a brother is sin under the commandment against murder, and lust is covered by the commandment against adultery (Matthew 5).

 

2) Edos - Ordinances or Witnesses . . . rituals and festivals showing religious truths.

While baptism was taught by John the baptizer and the apostles, it is seldom seen today as the ordinance of the Torah concerning ritual immersions in the mikvah. A detailed explanation is given in the page Mikvah/Baptism.

Yeshua and the apostles also taught concerning the application of festive ordinances to us - even gentiles. For examples, the applicability and messianic nature of Sabbath and Festivals are shown in those pages.

 

3) Hukim - Statutes or Decrees . . . commandments bonding God and man, having no obvious reason.

The statutes include kosher diet (which cannot all be explained by health reasons), and circumcision.

 

(V. 22) “He shall pay as the judges decide.” These are rules for the judges to use in making fair resolutions. They were never intended as rules for taking personal retribution.

 

Several words of different meanings are translated “judge” in various Scriptures. The “Do not judge” in Matthew 7 means “Do not condemn”, as in “do not place yourself in the position reserved for the elected judges.” However, we are required to make personal judgments of the type where we determine what the actions of another might require of us.

 

For an extreme example: If I see someone trying to violently take another’s life, I should immediately “judge” whose side to take, and what kind of response I should make. If the perpetrator is successful, it is not my right to take personal vengeance (I am not excluding a right of defense – to use deadly force to stop a murder); however, it is my duty to be a witness to the judges. If the judges find the perpetrator guilty, then they are to require life for life. In the Biblical setting, following a guilty verdict for a capital offense, witnesses normally cast the first stones.

 

[From the discussion:] One who was himself guilty of a certain crime could not be an acceptable witness against another for that type of crime. In the case of the adulteress brought to Yeshua, a case was being sought against Yeshua as an unqualified judge. Firstly, He properly “judged”/discerned the sin; secondly, He properly “judged”/decided the appropriate response; thirdly, He did not “judge”/condemn the woman, because He was not currently in the position of a judge. Additionally, He caused the witnesses to be convicted, because they were too guilty to be appropriate witnesses.

 

Matthew 5:

Fair judgment (an eye for an eye) means that a proportionate judgment is to be meted for the loss that was caused. For the loss of an eye, the injured party should be awarded an amount to make up for his loss, including wages and suffering: the defendant’s eye is not put out in retribution. So, we see that Yeshua was correcting a misuse of Torah (“You have heard that it was said”, concerning personal retribution); He was not changing Torah. We are still required to give witness before judges after being an eye-witness to criminal behavior.

 

 

There are priorities in the commandments: some take precedence over others. On one hand, saving a life takes precedence over most other commandments. I went to a store and made a purchase on a Sabbath for my mother when she was dying, while considering how easily my motives might be misjudged if certain people would see me. On the other hand, “precedence” may be misused as an excuse for violating God’s instruction, in order to please oneself.

 

Matthew 7:

Before we try to force correction upon a brother for a perceived wrong perspective, we should consider the propriety of our own perspective. This often applies to judging / condemning another’s motives. It applies to having a critical attitude. We are not forbidden – we are required – to judge / make decisions about who is best suited for various positions in our lives; but we are not to be prejudiced, which means judging before we have a proper basis for making a decision.

 

 

Isaiah concludes (haftarah) today’s Torah portion, speaking of just judgment, and walking in Torah: “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed’.” Then he speaks of gentiles: “Also the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh, to minister to Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant; even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer.”

 

The Psalmist writes prophetically concerning a wrong judgment of Yeshua, and the condemnation / judgment of His betrayer: “For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend; we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng. Let death come deceitfully upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol, for evil is in their dwelling, in their midst. As for me, I shall call upon God, and Yahweh will save me.”

 

Colossians 2:16-17 does not say that we should “let no man decide for us which days to set aside for worship,” thereby making Sunday acceptable. It does not say – except as inserted in certain versions – that we should “let no man condemn us for not keeping the Sabbath Holy.” It does say, “Let no man condemn you . . . for keeping Sabbaths,” etcetera, and both Jews and gentiles like to condemn us for just that reason, often misusing this very verse to do so. And the next verse says that the reason for observing these things is because they are prophetic shadow-pictures of Messiah Himself.

 

Judge righteous judgment, because God is going to judge in defense of those who walk with Him, and in condemnation of the world.

 

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 1 Amen. 1 "Now these are the judgments which you are to set before them: 2 "If you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve for six years; but on the seventh he shall go out as a free man without payment. 3 "If he comes alone, he shall go out alone; if he is the husband of a wife, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 "If his master gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall belong to her master, and he shall go out alone. 5 "But if the slave plainly says, 'I love my master, my wife and my children; I will not go out as a free man,' 6 then his master shall bring him to God, then he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him permanently. 7 "If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. 8 "If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her. 9 "If he designates her for his son, he shall deal with her according to the custom of daughters. 10 "If he takes to himself another woman, he may not reduce her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. 11 "If he will not do these three things for her, then she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money.

Reader 2 Amen. 12 "He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death. 13 "But if he did not lie in wait for him, but God let him fall into his hand, then I will appoint you a place to which he may flee. 14 "If, however, a man acts presumptuously toward his neighbor, so as to kill him craftily, you are to take him even from My altar, that he may die. 15 "He who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. 16 "He who kidnaps a man, whether he sells him or he is found in his possession, shall surely be put to death. 17 "He who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

Reader 3 Amen. 18 "If men have a quarrel and one strikes the other with a stone or with his fist, and he does not die but remains in bed, 19 if he gets up and walks around outside on his staff, then he who struck him shall go unpunished; he shall only pay for his loss of time, and shall take care of him until he is completely healed. 20 "If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. 21 "If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property. 22 "If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. 23 "But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise. 26 "If a man strikes the eye of his male or female slave, and destroys it, he shall let him go free on account of his eye. 27 "And if he knocks out a tooth of his male or female slave, he shall let him go free on account of his tooth.

Reader 4 Amen. 28 "If an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall surely be stoned and its flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall go unpunished. 29 "If, however, an ox was previously in the habit of goring and its owner has been warned, yet he does not confine it and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. 30 "If a ransom is demanded of him, then he shall give for the redemption of his life whatever is demanded of him. 31 "Whether it gores a son or a daughter, it shall be done to him according to the same rule. 32 "If the ox gores a male or female slave, the owner shall give his or her master thirty shekels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned. 33 "If a man opens a pit, or digs a pit and does not cover it over, and an ox or a donkey falls into it, 34 the owner of the pit shall make restitution; he shall give money to its owner, and the dead animal shall become his. 35 "If one man's ox hurts another's so that it dies, then they shall sell the live ox and divide its price equally; and also they shall divide the dead ox. 36 "Or if it is known that the ox was previously in the habit of goring, yet its owner has not confined it, he shall surely pay ox for ox, and the dead animal shall become his.

Reader 5 Amen. 22:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox andfour sheep for the sheep. 2 "If the thief is caught while breaking in and is struck so that he dies, there will be no bloodguiltiness on his account. 3 "But if the sun has risen on him, there will be bloodguiltiness on his account. He shall surely make restitution; if he owns nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft. 4 "If what he stole is actually found alive in his possession, whether an ox or a donkey or a sheep, he shall pay double. 5 "If a man lets a field or vineyard be grazed bare and lets his animal loose so that it grazes in another man's field, he shall make restitution from the best of his own field and the best of his own vineyard. 6 "If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution. 7 "If a man gives his neighbor money or goods to keep for him and it is stolen from the man's house, if the thief is caught, he shall pay double. 8 "If the thief is not caught, then the owner of the house shall appear before the judges, to determine whether he laid his hands on his neighbor's property. 9 "For every breach of trust, whether it is for ox, for donkey, for sheep, for clothing, or for any lost thing about which one says, 'This is it,' the case of both parties shall come before the judges; he whom the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.

Reader 6 Amen. 10 "If a man gives his neighbor a donkey, an ox, a sheep, or any animal to keep for him, and it dies or is hurt or is driven away while no one is looking, 11 an oath before Yahweh shall be made by the two of them that he has not laid hands on his neighbor's property; and its owner shall accept it, and he shall not make restitution. 12 "But if it is actually stolen from him, he shall make restitution to its owner. 13 "If it is all torn to pieces, let him bring it as evidence; he shall not make restitution for what has been torn to pieces. 14 "If a man borrows anything from his neighbor, and it is injured or dies while its owner is not with it, he shall make full restitution. 15 "If its owner is with it, he shall not make restitution; if it is hired, it came for its hire.

Reader 7 Amen. 16 "If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. 17 "If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he shall pay money equal to the dowry for virgins. 18 "You shall not allow a sorceress to live. 19 "Whoever lies with an animal shall surely be put to death. 20 "He who sacrifices to any god, other than to Yahweh alone, shall be utterly destroyed. 21 "You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 "You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. 23 "If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; 24 and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.

 

"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."

 

Isaiah 56:1-7

 

Reader 8 Amen. 1 Thus says Yahweh, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, for My salvation is about to come and My righteousness to be revealed. 2 "How blessed is the man who does this, and the son of man who takes hold of it; who keeps from profaning the Sabbath, and keeps his hand from doing any evil." 3 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to Yahweh say, "Yahweh will surely separate me from His people." Nor let the eunuch say, "Behold, I am a dry tree." 4 For thus says Yahweh, "To the eunuchs who keep My Sabbaths, and choose what pleases Me, and hold fast My covenant, 5 to them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off. 6 "Also the foreigners who join themselves to Yahweh, to minister to Him, and to love the name of Yahweh, to be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the Sabbath and holds fast My covenant; 7 even those I will bring to My holy mountain and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; for My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples."

 

Psalm 55    (To be sung.)    For the choir director; on stringed instruments. A Maskil of David.

1 Give ear to my prayer, O God; and do not hide Yourself from my supplication. 2 Give heed to me and answer me; I am restless in my complaint and am surely distracted, 3 because of the voice of the enemy, because of the pressure of the wicked; for they bring down trouble upon me and in anger they bear a grudge against me. 4 My heart is in anguish within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. 5 Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. 6 I said, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. 7 "Behold, I would wander far away, I would lodge in the wilderness. Selah. 8 "I would hasten to my place of refuge from the stormy wind and tempest." 9 Confuse, O Lord, divide their tongues, for I have seen violence and strife in the city. 10 Day and night they go around her upon her walls, and iniquity and mischief are in her midst. 11 Destruction is in her midst; oppression and deceit do not depart from her streets. 12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me, then I could bear it; nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me, then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend; 14 we who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng. 15 Let death come deceitfully upon them; let them go down alive to Sheol, for evil is in their dwelling, in their midst. 16 As for me, I shall call upon God, and Yahweh will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, and He will hear my voice. 18 He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me, for they are many who strive with me. 19 God will hear and answer them-- even the one who sits enthroned from of old-- Selah. With whom there is no change, and who do not fear God. 20 He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; he has violated his covenant. 21 His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. 22 Cast your burden upon Yahweh and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. 23 But You, O God, will bring them down to the pit of destruction; men of bloodshed and deceit will not live out half their days. But I will trust in You.

 

Matthew 5:38-42

Reader 9 Amen. 38 “You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' 39 But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”

 

Matthew 7:1-5

 

Reader 10 Amen. 1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.”

 

"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."

 


© 2005  Beikvot HaMashiach
(Followers of the Messiah)