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Posts tagged ‘The Exodus’

Israel on alert as locusts hit neighboring Egypt.


JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel is on a locust alert as swarms of the destructive bugs descend on neighboring Egypt ahead of the Passover holiday.

Israel’s Agriculture Ministry set up an emergency hotline Monday and is asking Israelis to be vigilant in reporting locust sightings to prevent an outbreak.

Locusts have a devastating effect on agriculture by quickly stripping crops.

Swarms of locusts have descended on Egypt, raising fears they could spread to Israel.

The locust alert comes ahead of the Passover festival, which recounts the biblical story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt. According to the Bible, a plague of locusts was one of 10 plagues God imposed on Egyptians for enslaving and abusing ancient Hebrews.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By IAN DEITCH | Associated Press

Use Your Stick.


And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord. —Leviticus 27:32

Exodus 14 tells the story of how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.

They came to the Red Sea, the mountains were on either side and the Egyptians were pursuing. Moses cried out to God, “What are we going to do?”

God said, “What have I put in your hand?” When Moses replied, “Just a stick,” God responded by saying, “Use it!”

It was no ordinary stick that God had put in Moses’ hand.

It was anointed.

Anything anointed of God has miracle-working power.

Many of you are hemmed in with credit cards on one side, car payments on the other and the bank pursuing—but you have a stick.

God says, “Use your stick.

Sow the ten dollars of the one hundred dollars you made this week that I have sanctified for your deliverance from financial bondage.”

Use what you have for the Lord.

It may not be much, but it will be enough.

Little is much in His hands.

Whatever the Lord has put into your hand, use it for Him.

Lord, I commit myself to using whatever
You give me for Your purposes and glory
in Jesus’ name. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

Are You Taking God For Granted?.


 “Then the Lord’s anger was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him dead because of this. So Uzzah died right there beside the Ark of God.” 2 Samuel 6:7

My wife and I have been married for sixteen years. But, to my own embarrassment, there have been times when I have taken her for granted.

There have been times when I have become so familiar with her that I have been insensitive to her needs and wants.

Just as it is not healthy to take our spouses for granted, David would say, it is not healthy to take God for granted.
In 2 Samuel 6:1-15 David desired to unite the nation spiritually, so he went to retrieve the ark of God from Kiriath Jearim, where it had been for over twenty-five years.

They transported the ark on a new cart. It was classy and convenient.

As they transported the ark, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah, reached out, with good intentions, to stabilize the ark.

When he touched it, God’s judgment broke out against him and he died. So, David became angry at and afraid of God, and he decided to abandon the mission.

Could it be that God responded with such drastic measures because David took Him for granted by either ignoring God’s standards or failing to inquire of God as to how he should transport the ark (Exodus 25:14).

He assumed he knew and that God would approve. With this failure, David had begun to trifle with God’s holiness.

This dramatic episode reminds us of several truths.

1) We must do God’s work God’s way to secure God’s blessings. This narrative reveals how God feels about us placing our preferences ahead of his purposes.

2) Obedience to God’s specific will is more important than good intentions. Coming close to doing God’s will is not enough.

Let’s pay close attention to our relationship with God, lest privilege become presumption. May we approach him with awe and according to his revealed will!

Read Isaiah 6:1-8; Exodus 3:1-6 and meditate and answer the following questions.

1. In what ways have you trifled with God’s holiness?
2. What do you need to change in order to approach God with a greater sense of awe and reverence?
3. How have you seen your obedience lead to blessings and freedom?

Scripture Of The Day: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” – Isaiah 6:3 (NIV)

By Pastor Marvin Williams.

The Daughters’ Inheritance


little girlGod gives His girls equality—and has commissioned them to take territory for His kingdom.

Most Israelites who traveled through the Sinai desert with Moses probably knew about the daughters of Zelophehad. While other women hid inside tents and covered themselves head to foot with heavy veils, these girls—Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah—defied the patriarchal system of their day and earned a special place in biblical history.

We rarely hear sermons about Zelophehad’s daughters today, even though they are mentioned in the Bible five times (see Num. 26:33; 27:1-7; 36:1-12; 1 Chr. 7:15; Josh. 17:1-6). Maybe this is because many church leaders simply don’t want to empower women or are afraid to. But it is time we unlocked these women’s secret for a new generation.

God’s daughters must understand who they are, how their heavenly Father views them, and what He has commissioned them to do in His kingdom. The daughters’ portion must be claimed.

You may have been told that women have only second-class status in the church, or that your role is limited because of your gender. You may have even been told that women are less valuable to God, or less useful. But the Bible contradicts this view.

In fact, the Old Testament contains several accounts of daughters who were empowered and given their full inheritance—in an age when boys were preferred over girls, and women had no civil rights. The stories of these daughters are recorded in Scripture so that you, too, will muster the courage to claim your inheritance.

FIVE PIONEER WOMEN

At a time when most women in Israel lived like prisoners in polygamous households, the daughters of Zelophehad must have spent lots of time outside their tent. They were curious. They had a zest for life. And they refused to be confined by the limitations of their culture.

Why did they think differently from other women of that era? My theory is that their parents offered these girls overwhelming validation and encouragement. Zelophehad, who had no sons, must have decided after his first daughter was born that he was content to raise a houseful of women. He recognized their value. He was generous with his affection and instilled in his daughters a powerful sense of personal destiny.

Zelophehad probably showered his daughters with gifts, held them in his lap after dinner and told them stories about the exodus from Egypt while he tucked them into bed. They knew their daddy loved them, and his affirmation nurtured a sense of empowerment.

I can imagine these playful girls dancing and singing next to their father’s goat pens as they did their chores. Their ankle bracelets jingling as they skipped past the tents in Manasseh’s encampment.

Neighbors might have even complained about all the giggling that came from Zelophehad’s household. They may have shouted to Zelophehad’s wife, “Tell those girls to be quiet!”

But these girls were not easily silenced. They were God-ordained troublemakers. They would soon make history.

As the girls blossomed into women, their confidence grew. They must have started talking among themselves about the problems with patriarchy, finally asking the most forbidden questions: “Why don’t the women have any privileges around here? Why can’t women own land? Why can’t we get an inheritance when we cross the Jordan?”

The Bible tells us that after Zelophehad’s death, his daughters went to Moses and made a daring proposal: “‘Why should the name of our father be withdrawn from among his family because he had no son? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers'” (Num. 27:4, NASB).

We can’t even begin to imagine how bold and audacious this request was. Women in Israel did not ask for rights. Yet the daughters of Zelophehad risked their reputations by approaching the leader of their nation and asking for something revolutionary.

What is most remarkable is that Moses took their request seriously and sought God about it. Most church leaders who restrict women’s involvement in ministry don’t pray about this issue at all. They simply consult their denominational policies and traditions and decree, “No women in the pulpit. Women can’t teach men. Women can’t lead anything.” Then they reinstate man-made rules that quench the Holy Spirit.

But Moses asked God, and God had a surprising reply: “‘The daughters of Zelophehad are right in their statements. You shall surely give them a hereditary possession among their father’s brothers, and you shall transfer the inheritance of their father to them'” (Num. 27:7).

In that moment, God contradicted centuries of prejudice and wrong-headed tradition. He made it clear that in His kingdom, women are not afterthoughts or appendages. They have equal value with men and full rights to His benefits.

A DAUGHTER’S DOUBLE PORTION

Hidden in another Old Testament book is the story of Achsah, the daughter of Caleb (see Josh. 15:16-19). Like Zelophehad’s daughters, this daring young woman also claimed territory in the land of Canaan.

Can you imagine what it would have been like to grow up in the household of Caleb, one of Israel’s champions of faith? The giants who ruled Canaan did not intimidate this man—and I suspect he imparted that same fearlessness to this young girl.

The Bible tells us that when Caleb inherited his territory in the land of Judah, his daughter approached him with a bold proposal: She asked him for land in a day when women were not considered worthy of owning anything.

But the story does not stop there. Achsah said to her father: “‘Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water'” (v. 19). Caleb, not one to deny his little girl anything, gave her “the upper and the lower springs.”

Achsah had spunk. She wasn’t satisfied with the status quo. Not only did she ask for land, she asked for more! She pressed forward until she got the water necessary to turn the dry desert into a garden.

Why is this obscure passage included in the Scriptures? I believe the Holy Spirit has woven a subtle theme throughout the Bible, pointing to the fact that redeemed women who have been set free from the curse of sin will inherit the kingdom. They will not live on the sidelines while men partake of heaven’s blessings. They will not be penalized from full participation in the church simply because of gender.

Today, God is calling women of faith to arise and claim land for Him. He is looking for women who have a giant-killing mentality. Dare I say it? He is looking for women with an apostolic spirit—women whose burden for souls weighs so heavy that they cannot rest until the whole earth has been filled with His glory.

God wants women who are not content to simply work in the nursery and lead women’s luncheons. (Nothing against the nursery, but the church has lost so much of its power by limiting women’s gifts to domestic functions.) It is time for women to shake loose from the trappings of religious culture and step into their full potential.

Women can still work in the nursery or the kitchen (as can men, since all of us are called to be servants). But they can also plant churches, disciple new believers, counsel the addicted, heal the sick, perform miracles, cast out devils, own and run successful businesses, feed the poor, hold political office and transform nations for Christ. There is so much territory to be claimed.

Perhaps you did not know you could ask for nations. Perhaps you did not realize that God has a role for you to play in the evangelization of the world. As you get to know the Father more intimately, you will come to understand that He is eager to give you more when you are willing to ask for it.

A Beautiful Company of Women There is yet a third Old Testament reference to daughters who claimed their inheritance. They are the daughters of Job—Jemimah, Keziah and Keren-happuch—who are described as the most beautiful women in the land (see Job 42:12-15).

Job must have had special affection for these girls. After all, he had lost all 10 of his original children years earlier when a storm destroyed his house. When God restored Job’s fortunes, and gave him double for all that had been taken from him, Job had 10 more children. It is interesting to note that the Bible says Job had seven sons and three daughters—and then it provides the names of the girls only.

Then Job 42:15 says: “In all the land no women were found so fair as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers.”

Why are only the daughters’ names mentioned? Why is there a reference to the girls’ beauty? And why are we told that they were given an inheritance?

Again, the Holy Spirit is showing us God’s heart for women. Although men have abused, marginalized and oppressed women—even in the church—God will have the last word on this subject. This passage in Job, one of the oldest books of the Bible, offers a glimpse into the last days. It signifies a day when women who are empowered by the Holy Spirit will be fully restored to their place of spiritual authority.

Like Job, human beings were stripped of their dignity and spiritual power because of sin. But when Jesus Christ purchased redemption at Calvary, His blood not only paid the full price for our transgressions, it also broke the power of shame, guilt and oppression off of women. It made them beautiful again, and restored to them the right to their spiritual inheritance.

Do you know that the Lord sees you as beautiful? Perhaps your self-image has been marred by life’s disappointments and tragedies.

Many women struggle to find their identity in Christ because of sexual molestation, domestic abuse or the shame of abortion or fornication. Don’t let the mistakes of the past or the wounds inflicted by people stop you from gaining your inheritance. God calls you beautiful. He can take your filthy rags and give you a new wardrobe—one of righteousness and purity. Regardless of the pain of your past, He has a glorious future planned for you.

CLAIM YOUR PORTION

God has placed a passion in my heart to see women take their full place in the church and society. Perhaps that’s because I have four daughters of my own.

As soon as my first daughter, Margaret, was born 25 years ago, I realized that girls are special. So my wife and I kept having more. Meredith was born in 1987. Gloria arrived two years later. Charlotte came along in 1992. Four girls in seven years!

I tell people that I have been drowning in a sea of estrogen since the day we brought that first baby girl into our home. But I have no regrets. I know that the Father does not look at girls as inferior.

He did not make them to serve as appendages to men. He created women with unique callings that must be released in full potential.

Most of my income today is being spent on my daughters’ college education, and more probably will be spent on their weddings. I could never deny my daughters any good gift. How much more is the Father willing to lavish His blessings, spiritual gifts and empowering grace on His girls?

Although you may have experienced gender prejudice, this tragic attitude does not reflect the Father’s heart for you. He longs to give you the kingdom.

By J. Lee Grady.

Passover: A Time for Spiritual Cleansings.


During the last several weeks, the regular weekly reading of the Torah was accompanied by a series of special readings, starting with Parshat Shekalim that announces the annual obligation to pay the ritual half shekel tax for the maintenance of the Temple.
In so doing, these readings proclaim that this year’s holy season of Passover has begun.

In practical terms, in every Jewish home, this is the time to clean house. Chametz, or leavening, permitted throughout the year, suddenly becomes a thing of dread-forbidden in any quantity.

At an increasing pace, culminating on the night before Passover, Jewish households search out even the smallest speck of Chametz and cast it out.

This week, a neighbor removed the seats and mats from his car, practically to the rocker panels, thoroughly cleaning all traces of cookies, chips, and cake left by his children to and from school.

Most of us, however, wait until after Purim. Purim provides an opportunity to get rid of lots of Chametz-cakes, cookies, pasta, cereal, whiskey-anything with aleavening agent has got to go.

We even give it away to our neighbors as “gifts of food”. This is a perfect time for a celebration because, at least in my house, after Purim it all gets tossed.

The dietary restriction on eating leavened products extends beyond “bread” per se, and attaches to the active ingredient, the leavening agent referred to as Chametz.

Often defined as a souring or fermenting ingredient in food, Chametz is permitted throughout the year in everything. From noon on the day before Passover begins, continuing for the next seven days, Chametz becomes forbidden.

Moreover, the prohibition of Chametz is not just with respect to food items but with anything with which Chametz has come in contact.

Pots, pans, utensils, shelves, storage bins, computer keyboards, clothing, and any location where family members are likely to take food made with leavening requires thorough cleaning.

Spiritual Cleansing

From a spiritual perspective, this period of time before the Holy Festival of Passover, a time of preparation, is itself sacred .

Holy times demand some sort of spiritual separation from everyday work and play. To demarcate the approach of sacred space and time, it is necessary to prepare our households as well as our selves.

Perhaps this is the reason that Chametz is invested with so much meaning and interpretation. More than simply a thing, Chametz is a process. At the surface level, Chametz is the process of fermentation when moisture comes in contact with grain and grain products.

It is a souring agent that has many wonderful properties: one causes bread to rise and another improves the flavor of that combination of flour, water, oil, and salt.

Yet, Chametz is also associated with craving and excess. During sacred time and space, the goal is to pull back from personal desires and drives and focus on the spiritual side of existence.

While fermentation creates wine, too much produces vinegar-in Hebrew, the lengthening of the vowel “a” transforms Chametz to Chometz-vinegar.

My wife’s view is that adding Chametz to bread causes it to swell symbolic of pride, an ingredient in daily life that a little goes a long way. In small doses, pride manifests as self esteem; too much pride becomes arrogance-a souring agent in any social setting.

During Passover, however, through eating the Bread of Affliction, we learn from the poor, who are without pride, in order to acquire a taste for humility.

Separation from Idol Worship

Underlying all of the explanations for the Passover process there remains one central question: Why do we celebrate the Passover? Rabbi Yeshayahu Horowitz, the author of the book The Two Tablets of the Covenant, directs our attention to Exodus 34: 17-18.

You shall make for yourself no molten gods. The Feast of Unleavened Bread shall you keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the time of the month Aviv; for in the month Aviv you came out from Egypt.

That pretty much covers it. Keep the Feast of Unleavened bread for seven days in the spring to remember the Exodus because I, God, told you to do so. Clear? But, why is the prohibition of molten idols included with the observance of Passover? What is the association between idol worship and Chametz?

Return to God

At the core of Jewish life is the centrality of God. It is the first of the Ten Sayings.

I am the Lord your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of servitude. You shall have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20: 2-3]

Anything that stands between God and each of us represents a barrier to our relationship with God. The very act of creating or molding things, actions, ideas, even our emotions into focal points that absorb our attention away from the Divine Presence is idol worship pure and simple.

Among the reasons for the Exodus was, and still remains, our separation from idols and false gods.

When the quest for the material things in life, such as position, tenure, or fame, absorbs us so completely that we no longer see our way to God’s gift of life, then we have created an idol as vile as the Golden Calf.

It is that taste, not of the forbidden, but of excess, that is the message of this season. Just as we can make things holy, like Shabbat, we make things horrific.

The choice is ours. Turn away or return to God’s way. How do we do this? Well, we can start by casting out Chametz and watching with what we seek to fill our mouths.

By Rabbi Daniel Jackson.

Here Am I:


We must shut ourselves off from the world and give Him our full attention.

And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses.

And he said, Here am I. Exodus 3:4

When Moses came alone to the mountain of God and encountered a bush that burned but was not consumed, he did not leave to research burning bushes nor did he try to locate someone to question who had experienced the same phenomenon.

He did not ask other people what they thought God wanted to tell him.

Moses turned his focus toward the bush.

Because Moses had his eyes fixed on God and his ears open to God’s voice, God called out to him.

God is continually calling us to turn aside and listen to His voice.

He is never silent, but we cannot hear Him over the television, the tape player, or our own voices.

We must shut ourselves off from the world and give Him our full attention.

James 4:8 says, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.

” Take time for God.

Seek Him in His Word.

Like Moses, fix your eyes on God, open your ears to His voice and say, “Here am I.”

Jesus, I long to say to You, “Here am I.”
Visit me with Your presence.

Rapture my soul with joy.

Be my most intimate friend. Amen.

By ROD PARSLEY.

Book of Exodus.


Introduction to the Book of Exodus

Book of Exodus:

The book of Exodus details God‘s call to the people of Israel to get up and leave their position of slavery in Egypt. Exodus records more miracles of God than any other book in the Old Testament. God rescues and delivers his people as he guides them into the unfamiliar desert. There God institutes his system of laws, gives instruction in worship and establishes his people as the nation of Israel. Exodus is a book of tremendous spiritual significance.

Author of the Book of Exodus:

Moses.

Date Written:

1450-1410 B.C.

Written To:

The people of Israel and the people of God for all generations to come.

Landscape of the Book of Exodus:

Exodus begins in Egypt where the people of God have been living in slavery to Pharaoh. As God delivers the Israelites, they move into the desert by way of the Red Sea and eventually come to Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula

Themes in the Book of Exodus:

There are several significant themes in the book of Exodus. Israel’s slavery is a picture of man’s slavery to sin. Ultimately only through God’s divine guidance and leadership can we escape our slavery to sin. However, God also directed the people through the godly leadership of Moses. Typically God also leads us into freedom through wise leadership and through his word.The people of Israel had been crying out to God for deliverance. He was concerned about their suffering and he rescued them. Yet Moses and the people had to exercise courage to obey and follow God.

Once free and living in the desert, the people complained and began to yearn for the familiar days of Egypt. Often the unfamiliar freedom that comes when we follow and obey God, feels uncomfortable and even painful at first. If we trust God he will lead us into our promised land.

The institution of the law and the Ten Commandments in Exodus reveals the emphasis and importance of choice and responsibility in God’s kingdom. God blesses obedience and punishes disobedience.

Key Characters in the Book of Exodus:

Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Pharaoh, Pharaoh’s daughter, Jethro, Joshua.

Key Verses:

    Exodus 3:7-10
    The LORD said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey … And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.” (NIV)
    Exodus 3:14-15
    God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ “God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God ofAbraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. (NIV)
    Exodus 4:10-11
    Moses said to the LORD, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.”The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD ? (NIV)

Outline of the Book of Exodus:

  • Israel Enslaved in Egypt – Exodus 1:1-22
  • God Chooses Moses – Exodus 2:1-4:31
  • God Sends Moses to Pharaoh – Exodus 5:1-7:13
  • The Plagues – Exodus 7:14-11:10
  • The Passover – Exodus 12:1-30
  • The Exodus from Egypt – Exodus 12:31-13:16
  • Crossing the Red Sea – Exodus 13:17-15:21
  • Complaining in the Desert – Exodus 15:22-18:27
  • The Ten Commandments and the Giving of the Law – Exodus 19:1-24:18
  • The Tabernacle Instructions – Exodus 25:1-31:18
  • Breaking the Law – Exodus 32:1-34:35
  • Tabernacle Construction – Exodus 35:1-40:38

THE DAUGHTERS OF ZELOPHEHAD.


But there was another purpose beside that of establishing Israel’s family purity in taking the census at Arbot-Moab.

For when God at the exodus from Egypt put his people into Moses‘ hands, He entrusted them to him after having counted them, and not when Moses was about to depart from this world, he wanted to return the flock that God had entrusted to him, truly numbered, into God’s hand.

After the number of the nation had been determined, God ordered Moses to divide the promised land among them according to their numbers. Jacob had indeed upon his death-bed determined what parts of the land were to fall to the lot of each tribe, but in order that the tribes might not quarrel among themselves, God decreed that the assignments be made by lot.

After the conquest of the land Joshua and Eleazar saw to the drawing of lots. On this occasion the miracle came to pass that whenever Eleazar drew a lot from the urn, the lot itself announced the words, “I am the lot of Thus-and-So.” In this way was avoided the possibility of having the malcontents declare that Eleazar had, at the drawing of lots, been partial to his friends and had assigned to them the lots they wished for.

When Zelophehad’s daughters, that had lived piously and wisely like their father and their ancestors, heard that the land was being divided among the male members of the tribe, but not among the female, they took counsel together, discussing what they could do, so that they might not find themselves come out empty-handed.

They said: “God’s love is not like the love of a mortal father; the latter prefers his sons to his daughters, but He that created the world extends His love to women as well as to men, ‘His tender mercies are over all His works.

‘” They now hoped that God would take pity on them and give them their share of the promised land, which they loved with as great devotion as their grandsire Joseph, who had upon his death-bed exhorted his children to transfer his body to the Holy Land.

Being wise and learned, they waited for a propitious time to lay their case before Moses, and opportunity which they found when Moses in house of teaching recited the law concerning the levirate marriage. They now advanced and said: “If we are as good as our brothers, then do we lay claim to our father’s inheritance, and to his share of the land; but if we are not to be considered as sons, then should our mother have to marry her brother-in-law, as our father has left no issue, since we do not count.

” They furthermore pointed out that their father had been neither one of the spies nor one of Korah’s followers, who had, owing to their sins, lost claim to their share of the land, but that he had found his death when a number of men, in spite of Moses’ warnings, had presumed to storm the mountain occupied by the Amalekites and the Canaanites.

“Had our father,” continued they, “left behind him a son, and the latter were now also dead, then should we lay no claim to inheritance if this son had left a living child, were it even a daughter; but as we are our father’s only descendants, give us, we pray, ‘a possession among the brethren of our father.'”

The fervent longing of these women to have a share in the Holy Land shows how much better and more pious were the women of this generation than the men. The latter said, “Let us make a captain, and let us return to Egypt,” whereas the women said, “Give us a possession among the brethren of our father.

” But not only during the rebellion that was kindled by the spies did the women remain true to Moses and to their God, but on other occasions also it was they who tried to build up what the men had torn down. at the worship of the Golden Calf, too, they tried to restrain the men from sin, hence it was the men only that had to die in the desert because they had been tempted to rebellion by the spies, whereas the women entered into the promised land.

Among them also there was even to be found a woman as old as Jochebed-the daughter of Levi by his union with Otah-who survived her sons Moses and Aaron, as well as her daughter Miriam, and who was permitted to enter the promised land at the age of two hundred and fifty years.

The daughters of Zelophehad did not bring their request directly to Moses, but at first urged their plea before the lowest officers, the captains of tens. These, however, said: “This is an important matter since it touches upon laws of inheritance, hence it does not become us to decide this matter; greater men than we must settle it.

” Hence they sent them to the captains of fifties. When these saw that out of consideration for them the captains of tens would not pass judgement, they sent the daughters of Zelophehad on to the captains of hundreds, that were their superiors.

But these too, out of consideration for the higher judges, would not settle this matter, and so the daughters of Zelophehad came to the captains of thousands, who sent them to the princes of the tribes, until they came at last to the highest authority, to Moses. Now Moses might well have decided this case without further ado, but in his meekness he thought, “There is still a higher authority than I, to wit, God,” and he bade them await God’s judgement.

The answer that he received from God was as follows: “The daughters of Zelophehad have the law on their side, for what they desire is in accordance with the law that was written in heaven by Me; give them therefore their father’s inheritance, and also two parts of their grandfather Hepher’s possessions, for their father Zelophehad was his firstborn and was therefore entitled to a double share.”

The daughters of Zelophehad, who in spite of their years-the youngest of them had attained forty-had not yet been married, now entered into wedlock, and according to God’s bidding that Moses communicated to them, they married their uncle’s sons, although they were free to marry whomsoever they chose.

“God works good through the good, and evil through the evil.” The chapter of the laws of God that was published by Moses as an addition to the incident of Zelophehad’s daughters would have been given without them also, but God rewarded these women for their piety by making them the direct occasion of this chapter of the law. At the same time this case of these women was to teach several lessons to Moses.

He who, since he had been made God’s messenger to the people, had lived apart from his wife was not to grow too conceited on account of the sacrifice he had made to his sacred calling; hence in the last year of his life there appeared before him the daughters of Zelophehad, who of their own accord had not married because they had not found mates that they considered suitable.

Then, too, Moses could not answer the legal question that the daughters of Zelophehad had presented to him, and had to ask God’s counsel, which was a second lesson to Moses.

At the appointment of the elders, Moses earnestly told them, “The cause that is too hard for ye, bring to me, and I will hear it,” and in punishment of these boastful words God so brought it to pass that he could give no answer to this request of the women, whereupon God said to him, “Didst not thou say, ‘the cause that is too hard for ye, bring it to me?’ and now thou canst not properly settle this legal question of the women.”

A similar punishment for a similar offense was visited upon David who, well aware of his erudition, said, “The laws of the Torah do I grasp as easily and as quickly as songs.” God then said, “As truly as thou livest, thou shalt hereafter forget a Biblical law that even the school children know.” So, too, it came to pass that when he had the Holy Ark fetched from Gibeah to Zion, he forgot the Biblical instruction that the Ark may be carried only upon the shoulder, and had it lifted upon a wagon.

Then occurred the miracle that the Ark leaped of itself into the air, whereas the oxen that pulled the wagon fell down, whereupon Uzzah, to whom the transportation of the Ark had been entrusted, stretched out his hand to prevent the Ark from falling and himself fell dead upon the ground, for “a sin that is committed is ignorance of the law is accounted as if it had been intentional

.” Uzzah should have been mindful of the law that the Ark was not to be lifted upon a cart, hence his punishment.

God thereupon said to David, “Didst thou not say, ‘Thy statutes have been my songs?’ and thou hast not even mastered the words of the Bible, ‘Unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonged unto them; they bare it upon their shoulders.'”

By Louis Ginzberg

MOSES PLEADS IN VAIN WITH KORAH.


Moses took Korah‘s transgression much to heart, for he thought to himself that perhaps, after the many sins of Israel, he might not succeed in obtaining God‘s pardon for them.

He did not therefore have this matter decided immediately, but admonished the people to wait until the following day, having a lingering hope that Korah’s horde, given time for calm reflection, might themselves perceive their sin to which an excess of drink might have carried them away.

Hence he said to them: “I may not now appear before the Lord, for although He partakes of neither food nor drink, still He will not judge such actions of ours as we have committed after feasting and revelling. But ‘to-morrow the Lord will show who are His.

‘ Know ye now that just as God has set definite bounds in nature between day and night, between light and darkness, so also has He separated Israel from the other nations, and so also has he separated Aaron from the rest of Israel. If you can obliterate the boundary between light and darkness, then only you remove the boundary of separation between Israel and the rest, but not otherwise.

Other nations have many religions, many priests, and worship in many temples, but we have one God, one Torah, one law, one altar, and one high priest, whereas ye are two hundred fifty men, each of whom is imbued with the desire of becoming the high priest, as I too should like to be high priest, if such a thing were possible.

But to prove Aaron’s claim to his dignity, ‘this do; take you censers, Korah, and all his company; and put fire therein, and put incense upon them before the Lord to-morrow.

‘ The offering of incense is the most pleasant offering before the Lord, but for him who hath not been called this offering holds a deadly poison, for it consumed Nadab and Abihu.

But I exhort ye not to burden your souls with a deadly sin, for none but the man God will choose as high priest out of the number of you will remain alive, all others will pay with their lives at the offering of incense.

” These last words of Moses, however, far from restraining them, only strengthened Korah in his resolve to accomplish his undertaking, for he felt sure that God would choose him, and none other. He had a prophetic presentiment that he was destined to be the forefather of prophets and Temple singers, and for this reason thought he was specially favored by God.

When Moses perceived that Korah was irreclaimable, he directed the rest of his warning to those other Levites, the men of Korah’s tribe, who, he feared, would join Korah in his rebellion.

He admonished them to be satisfied with the honors God had granted them, and not to strive for priestly dignity. He concluded his speech with a last appeal to Korah to cause no schism in Israel, saying; “Had Aaron arbitrarily assumed the priestly dignity, you would do right to withstand his presumption, but it was God, whose attributes are sublimity, strength, and sovereignty, who clothed Aaron with this dignity, so that those who are against Aaron are in reality against God.

” Korah made no answer to all these words, thinking that the best course for him to follow would be to avoid picking an argument with so great a sage as Moses, feeling sure that in such a dispute he should be worsted and, contrary to his own conviction, be forced to yield to Moses.

Moses, seeing that is was useless to reason with Korah, sent a messenger to Dathan and Abiram, summoning them to appear before his court. He did this because the law required that the accused be summoned to appear before the judge, before the judgement may be passed upon him, and Moses did not wish these men to be punished without a hearing. These, however, made answer to the messenger sent by Moses, “We will not come up!” This shameless answer held an unconscious prophecy.

They went not up, but, as their end showed, down, to hell. Not only, moreover, did they refuse to comply with Moses’ demand, they sent the following message in answer to Moses: “Why dost thou set thyself up as master over us? What benefit didst thou bring to us? Thou didst lead us out of Egypt, a land ‘like the garden of the Lord,’ but hast not brought us to Canaan, leaving us in the wilderness where we are daily visited by the plague.

Even in Egypt didst thou try to assume the leadership, just as thou doest not. Thou didst beguile the people in their exodus from Egypt, when thou didst promise to lead them to a land of milk and honey; in their delusion they followed thee and were disappointed. Now dost thou attempt to persuade us as thou didst persuade them, but thou shalt not succeed, for we will not come and obey thy summons.”

The shamelessness of these two men, who declined even to talk about their transgression with Moses, aroused his wrath to the uttermost, for a man does get a certain amount of satisfaction out of discussing the dispute with this opponents, whereas he feels badly if he cannot discuss the matter.

In his anger he said to God: “O Lord of the world! I well know that these sinners participated in the offerings of the congregation that were offered for all Israel, but as they have withdrawn themselves from the community, accept not Thou their share of the offering and let it not be consumed by the heavenly fire. It was I whom they treated so, I who took no money from the people for my labors, even when payment was my due.

It is customary for anyone who works for the sanctuary to receive pay for his work, but I traveled to Egypt on my own ass, and took none of theirs, although I undertook the journey in their interests. It is customary for those that have a dispute to go before a judge, but I did not wait for this, and went straight to them to settle their disputes, never declaring the innocent guilty, or the guilty innocent.”

When he now perceived that his words had no effect upon Korah and his horde, he concluded his words with a treat to the ring leaders: “Be thou and all thy company before the Lord, thou and they, and Aaron, to-morrow.”

Korah spent the night before the judgement in trying to win over the people to his side, and succeeded in so doing. He went to all the other tribes, saying to them: “Do not think I am seeking a position of honor for myself.

No, I wish only that this honor may fall to the lot of each in turn, whereas Moses is now king, and his brother high priest.” On the following morning, all the people, and not Korah’s original company alone, appeared before the Tabernacle and began to pick quarrels with Moses and Aaron.

Moses now feared that God would destroy all the people because they had joined Korah, hence he said to God: “O Lord of the world! If a nation rebels against a king of flesh and blood because ten or twenty men have cursed the king or his ambassadors, then he sends his hosts to massacre the inhabitants of the land, innocent as well as guilty, for he is not able with certainty to tell which among them honored the king and which among them cursed him.

But Thou knowest the thought of man, and what his heart and kidneys counsel him to do, the workings of Thy creatures’ minds lie open before Thee, so that Thou knowest who had the spirit of each one.’ Shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation?'” God hereupon said to Moses “I have heard the prayer for the congregation. Say then, to them, ‘Get you up from about the Tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.'”

Moses did not immediately carry out these instructions, for he tried once again to warn Dathan and Abiram of the punishment impending upon them, but they refused to give heed to Moses, and remained within their tents.

“Now,” said Moses, “I have done all I could, and can do nothing more.” Hence, turning to the congregation, he said: “Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked men, that even in their youth deserved death as a punishment for their actions.

In Egypt they betrayed the secret of my slaying an Egyptian: at the Red Sea it was they that angered God by their desire to return to Egypt; in Alush they broke the Sabbath, and now they trooped together to rebel against God.

They now well deserve excommunication, and the destruction of all their property. ‘Touch, therefore, nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins.'”

The community obeyed the words of Moses and drew back from the dwellings of Dathan and Abiram. These, not at all cowed, were not restrained from their wicked intention, but stood at the doors of their tents, abusing and calumniating Moses.

Moses hereupon said to God: “If these men die upon their beds like all men, after physicians have attended to them and acquaintances have visited them, then shall I publicly avow ‘that the Lord hath not sent me’ to do all these works, but that I have done them of mine own mind.

” God replied: “What wilt thou have Me do?” Moses: “If the Lord hath already provided the earth with a mouth to swallow them, it is well, if not, I pray Thee, do so now.” God said: “Thou shalt decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee.”

Moses was not the only one to insist upon exemplary punishment of the horde of Korah. Sun and Moon appeared before God, saying: “If Thou givest satisfaction to the son of Amram, we shall set out on our course around the world, but not otherwise.” God, however, hurled lightnings after them, that they might go about their duties, saying to them: “You have never championed My cause, but not you stand up for a creature of flesh and blood.” Since that time Sun and Moon have always to be driven to duty, never doing it voluntarily because they do not wish to look upon the sins of man upon earth.

By Louis Ginzberg

JETHRO.


“Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware.

” The destruction of Amalek brought Jethro to his senses.

Jethro was originally in the same plot with Amalek, both having incited Pharaoh against Israel, but when he saw that Amalek lost this world and the other, he repented of his sinful ways, saying: “There is nothing left to me but to go over to the God of Israel“; and although he dwelt in the greatest wealth and honor, he determined to set out for the desert, to Moses and his God.

Arrived at the camp of Israel, he could not enter it, for it was enveloped by a cloud that none could pierce, hence he wrote a letter to Moses and shot it off with an arrow, so that it fell into the camp.

The letter read: “I adjure thee, by thy two sons and by thy God, to come to meet me and receive me kindly. If thou wilt not do if for my sake, do it for thy wife’s sake; and if thou wilt not do it for her sake, do it for thy sons’ sake.” For Jethro brought with him his daughter Zipporah, from whom Moses had been divorced, as well as her two sons, her only children, for after her separation from Moses, she had wed no other man.

At first Moses was inclined to give no ear to this letter, but God said to him: “I, through whose word the world came into being, I bring men to Me and do not thrust them back. I permitted Jethro to approach Me, and did not push him from Me. So do thou, too, receive this man, who desires to betake himself under the wings of the Shekinah, let him approach, and do not repulse him.” God herewith taught Moses that one should repulse with the left hand, and beckon with the right.

Moses, Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, together with the seventy elders of Israel, carrying with them the sacred Ark, hastened to welcome Jethro kindly; and Moses so honored his father-in-law as to make an obeisance before him and kiss him.

Before Moses told his father-in-law of the great miracles God had wrought for Egypt, such as the exodus from Egypt, the cleaving of the sea, the rain of manna, and the rest, he offered him the greeting of peace; for great is peace, that precedes event he praise of God. After the peace-greeting, Moses, to draw his father-in-law nearer to true faith in God and His revelation, began to relate to him the miracles that God had wrought for them at the exodus from Egypt, during the passing through the Red Sea, and during the war with Amalek.

He said, moreover, “In the manna that God gives us we perceive the taste of bread, of meat, of fish, in short, of all the dishes there are. Out of the well that God gives us we draw a drink that possesses the taste of old wine as well as new, of milk and of honey, in short, of all the beverages that exist.” “We shall,” Moses continued, “receive six other gifts from God, the land of Israel, the future world, the new world, the sovereignty of David, the institution of priests, and of Levites.”

When Jethro heard all this, he determined to become a Jew and to believe in the only God, and although he felt a pang at heart upon hearing that the Egyptians had perished-for no one should scoff at a heathen before a proselyte who is not a Jew of ten generation’s standing-still he burst into a song of praise to God for the deeds He had one for His people.

In truth, it reflects shame upon Moses and the sixty myriads of Jews that they had not given thanks to God for the release from Egypt, until Jethro came and did so.

He said: “Praised be God who delivered Moses and Aaron, as well as the whole nation of Israel, from the bondage of Pharaoh, that great dragon, and of the Egyptians. Truly, great is the Lord before all gods, for whereas formerly not a single slave succeeded in escaping from Egypt, He led sixty myriads out of Egypt. There is no god whom I had not, at some time in my life, worshipped, but not I must admit that none is like the God of Israel.

This God had not been unbeknown to me heretofore, but now I know Him better, for His fame will sound throughout the world, because He visited upon the Egyptians exactly what they had planned to undertake against Israel. They wanted to destroy Israel by water, and by water were they destroyed.”

With sacrifices and a feast was the arrival of Jethro celebrated, for after he had made the burnt offering not far from the bush of thorns that had been unscathed by fire, Jethro prepared a feast of rejoicing for the whole people, at which Moses did not consider it below the dignity to wait on the guests in person. In this he followed the example of Abraham, who in person waited on the three angels, though they appeared in the guise of idolatrous Arabs.

Abraham like Moses sought to follow in the ways of the Lord, to provide each according to his wants, and to grant to everybody what he lacks, whether he be a righteous man, or an idolater, who through his sins conjures up God’s wrath.

To this feast the people sat down according to their tribes. They ate, drank and were merry, while Aaron and Jethro with their relatives sang songs of thanksgiving to God, and praised Him as the Creator and Donor of their lives and their liberty.

At the same time they gave due appreciation to Moses, through whose courage everything had happily come to pass. In his words of gratitude to Moses, Jethro also gave expression to many glorious eulogies on the people of Israel, but he especially extolled Moses, who through difficulties and dangers had shown so much courage in the salvation of his friends.

By Louis Ginzberg

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