Prophet Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei (Isaiah 54:1-54:10)

In this episode of Prophet Pearls, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Ki Teitzei covering Isaiah 54:1-54:10. Gordon and Johnson revel in the glorious promises to Israel, explore the various ways the Tanakh allegorizes her, and stand firmly on common ground concerning the messianic promise as Yehovah connects his eternal covenant with Israel to the seed of David.

This week's Prophet Pearls, is a rebroadcast of Prophet Pearls Noach (Isaiah 54:1-55:5), which is more or less the same prophet portion.

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Transcript

Prophet Pearls #49 - Ki Teitzei (Isaiah 54:1-54:10)

You are listening to Prophet Pearls with Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at NehemiasWall.com.

Keith: Welcome back to Prophet Pearls. This is your host, Keith Johnson. Along with chaver sheli, my friend, Nehemia Gordon. Chaver, what does that mean?

Nehemia: Chaver is friend. But it’s actually more than that. It comes from the word lachaber, which is to connect. So chaver is someone who is bonded to you, connected to you.

Keith: Let’s jump right in. Nehemia, we’re in Isaiah chapter 54 verse 1. The NIV, “Sing, oh barren woman, you who never bore a child, burst into song, shout for joy. You who were never in labor because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband, says...” of course in the NIV, it says, “says the LORD.”

We were actually in Denver and we were with our friends, Sven and Tina. Sven showed me something really interesting, which in the Hebrew comes right out, and that is what I call the preaching of Isaiah. It’s like these sections. And in there it says, “Sayeth the LORD,” you know, “sayeth Yehovah.” Then it goes section by section. So first section - let’s talk about this real quick. First section; just verse 1. So that’s where we have the first part where he’s actually making a declaration.

Nehemia: I love reading Isaiah especially, because you just get this image - I get the image - he’s standing in the public square and there are people walking back and forth, and all of a sudden he shouts at the top of his lungs, “Rani akara lo yalada, pitzchi rina ve’tzahali lo-chala ki rabim bnei-shomemma mibnei be’ulah.” And in case you thought this was Isaiah just making stuff up, he says, “amar Yehovah,” “sayeth Yehovah,” and then everybody stops in their tracks. “But wait, what did you say?” He’s using here this image, this metaphor, this maybe even allegory of the barren woman, and there are all these orphans who are the sons of the barren woman, or the abandoned woman. Who is the abandoned woman in this passage? Who is that? Keith?

Keith: Well, here’s what I like to say. This is what I said before, I’ll say it again: What I love about Isaiah and what I love about reading the passages is the old thing I used to say before, “Keep reading.” I like to get the context here. I could look at one verse and I could guess, or I could keep reading and I could find out with you.

Nehemia: Okay. Absolutely, yeah, but having read the context, if I will, here’s one of the things. So here in this passage, and again like you said, you have to read the whole context, but it’s referring to Israel, to God’s people, as the barren woman. Now, why is Israel the barren woman, God’s people? Because they’ve sinned, they’ve been punished, and now he’s telling them, you’ve been scattered off into the diaspora. You are suffering under this punishment, but there will be hope for you.

Keith: Yeah, absolutely.

Nehemia: That’s in the next verse. He’s talking about how… we’ll get to that. You’re going to expand even though you’re this abandoned woman…

Keith: Well, let me read that.

Nehemia: Wait, wait, can I just bring this? Because this is really cool. Some people listening to this, and I’ve had this conversation with people, they say, “Well, wait a minute. Israel can’t be the abandoned woman because, in other places, Israel is the beloved wife, and in other places there are these various images of Israel,” and I think that’s a really important point - that there are these metaphors, these allegories that are used to describe Israel, and other things of course, and they aren’t consistent because they’re allegories. They’re not to be taken literally. Meaning, Israel’s not literally a woman who is barren, obviously.

For example, Exodus 4:22 to 23, Israel is God’s firstborn son. So, he says to Pharaoh, “You know, you have enslaved My firstborn son, so I’m going to kill your firstborn son.” We have there the image of father and son for God’s chosen people. Then in Hosea chapter 2 verse 16-18 in the Hebrew, we have God as the husband, Israel the wife. Now Psalm 23:2 is really interesting. This morning I was looking at it again just to make sure, “Wait, is that really what it says?” But there it’s Israel as the maidservant, not to her husband or her master, but “to her mistress”, is what it says in the Hebrew. It says there, “Our eyes are like the maidservant to her mistress,” mistress meaning the master of the house, not mistress in the other sense.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: So Yehovah there is the boss. Do you know where the word boss comes from, Keith? Boss comes from the Yiddish phrase “balabus”, which is the Hebrew “ba’alat habayit;” the female head of the house is called “baalat habayit.” So boss actually comes from the Yiddish pronunciation “balabus.” In English, it comes from the Yiddish word.

So God is the boss. He’s the female master of the house. And that’s shocking because, wait a minute, no, no, no, you’ve got to have God as the man. He’s the father. He’s the husband. No, it’s an allegory. It’s not to be taken literally. I mean, in Isaiah 1:3 Israel is the animal to her owner. And a number of places in the Bible… the most common one, actually, is Isaiah 41:8, which appears, especially in Isaiah, but in a bunch of places, where Israel is the “eved,” the slave. You know, we like to say “servant” because that’s politically correct, but Israel is the slave to his master and God is the master, and some people will say, “Well no, no, wait a minute, Jesus is the eved,” Yeshua is the servant. We could have that conversation about other passages. But Isaiah 41:8 says Israel by name, “you are my servant.”

Keith: Sure.

Nehemia: So we have these images, and I once had this conversation with someone who had developed a whole theology behind the idea of God as the husband and Israel as the wife, and there’s a divorce. He engineered this whole thing for a remarriage. I said, “But this is just a metaphor. It’s not meant to be taken literally.” He said, “Well, if it’s a metaphor, it’s a literal metaphor.” Now, I don’t know what literal metaphor is.

Here’s where we get in trouble, where we push these things beyond what they were intended to as allegories and metaphors. An example I’d love to bring is where his word says, “Judah is a lion”. And Judah has some of the aspects of lion - he’s mighty, he’s fierce, people are afraid when he’s doing right and Yehovah is behind him, but Judah doesn’t do the other things lions do. He doesn’t walk around in the street, you know, pooping like lions do and live in the Savannah. So when we push these metaphors beyond what they were intended, it gets really convoluted.

Keith: Well, it’s interesting, when you’re talking about reading Scripture and knowing - and this is what I think is so important - about language, history, and context. Knowing when we’re dealing with context in the context, are we dealing with an allegory, or what kind of picture we’re looking at? What I enjoy about Scripture is where God knows how our minds work and says, “Sometimes I can explain it, but maybe I need to illustrate it...”

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: “…and maybe I need to applicate,” illustrate it in applications. So what I think when I’m reading this, I’m thinking, “Okay, why do we want to keep reading? Because if we keep reading, we get the picture that’s being painted.” And Isaiah is a great preacher. He’s preaching, God’s giving him the word, and he’s preaching in pictures, which I think is really helpful.

Nehemia: So you’re saying Isaiah was like a Methodist pastor in 700 BC?

Keith: Absolutely. So here’s what it says, verse 2, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back, lengthen your cords.” Let me just tell everyone why I’m reading, by the way, in the NIV. What I love about the NIV simply is this - one thing I love about it is that in the language that I speak now, in modern English, they’ve done their best to do that. What I don’t like about it is that many times we have to have the accountability of the language, and so why is it important for me to read it the way I’m reading it? I’m reading it so you understand first of all, what’s being said in the English language.

What I love about what we’re trying to do is, we have the source right here with us, so when we see conflict between what is being read in the quote-unquote modern English language, and we open up the Hebrew and see it, it’s the best of both worlds for me. I want to communicate to people... If I stand up and start speaking the verse like you did in Hebrew, they’re going to say, “What… are… you… talking… about?” But if I tell them, “Here’s how it’s translated...” Now, again about translation, I like to always have at least two translations, and again, we’ve got the source plus two translations.

Nehemia: What you’re saying is, you’re speaking today to people who are English speakers, but, you know, there’s this great verse, I’ll just reference it. There’s this passage in Jeremiah where God says to Jeremiah, “Go speak to the nations,” and all of a sudden in the middle of Jeremiah, it’s unique. He breaks out speaking in Aramaic, because that was the international language of the time. It was the language of diplomacy. And he has this one verse in Jeremiah, I believe it’s chapter 10, the only verse in the entire book of Jeremiah, the only book in what we call in Hebrew, the Prophets - which doesn’t include Daniel - the only verse in the entire Prophets that’s in Aramaic, and it’s because Jeremiah’s speaking to the people in their language. I think that’s a precedent that, if there’s a message, there’s nothing wrong with it being translated. In that case, the original was Aramaic. There’s nothing wrong with it being translated as long as we recognize in our modern context that translations are limited.

People ask me all the time, “What is the best translation to use?” There’s no simple answer to that because the real answer is there’s no perfect translation, and if you’re comparing several translations you’re probably in a good place to see what the differences are, and then when there are differences, you say, “Okay, there I need to look a little deeper.” Even when there are no differences, you should know that that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what it says in Hebrew.

Keith: Can I confess something? Let me confess this. I’ve been going around talking about, “I’m reading the Bible that Yeshua reads.” So, I’ll hold it up, I’ll say, “This is the Bible Yeshua reads, and of course he didn’t read it in this form, he read the scrolls.” And so I’m reading it, and people will call Karen - Karen at the BFA. “Karen, we want that Bible. We want the Bible that Yeshua…” so she says, “Okay, but you know...” “No, I want the Bible that Keith says that Yeshua...” So they’ll get the Bible, she’ll tell them which one it is. They’ll get it, they’ll open it up and they’re like, “Karen, there’s no English.” So maybe I should do a better job of that in the future.

But let me continue. Verse 2. In the middle it says, “Lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes for you will spread out to the right and to the left, your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.” Now let me tell everyone we are on what we call the 45 minutes to the hour plan, so we’ll find the pearls as we’re going through. Would you agree, Nehemia? Let me continue.

Nehemia: Yeah, yeah. And we’ve had people complain, “But you didn’t talk about this verse or that verse.”

Keith: Oh my goodness, yes.

Nehemia: Look, we’re trying to limit this to 45 minutes. If we go to an hour, it’s not the end of the world, but we’ve got to go for it.

Keith: “Do not be afraid. You will not suffer shame. Do not fear disgrace. You will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.” And then verse 5, “For your Maker is your husband.” And what does it say in Hebrew? The next phrase? In my Bible, it says, “the LORD Almighty is His name.” Again.

Nehemia: In Hebrew, it says “Yehovah...” It says “almighty” in your transition?

Keith: Absolutely. Yes, yes, yes.

Nehemia: What? It says “Yehovah tzeva’ot shemo.” “Yehovah of hosts is His name.”

Keith: I’m going to make this the word of the week. When I hear Yehovah tzeva’ot, I’m always reminded, I don’t know… there’s another word in this passage we’re going to talk about. But if someone wanted to look up that word, and one of our listeners from last week said, “Could you please tell us what the actual letters of the Word of the Week are?”

Nehemia: Okay, yeah.

Keith: So can we give them the letters first and then it’s construction? How the word actually comes out.

Nehemia: So here we have the word “tzeva’ot,” and the root is important for the Hebrew Word of the Week. Every word in Hebrew has a three-letter root. Always ask, what are the three letters of the Hebrew? It’s the letters Tzadik Bet Aleph, those are the three letters. It has the suffix -ot, which is the feminine plural. So tzeva’ot is that we translate it in English as “hosts”, you know, Yehovah of hosts or LORD of hosts. But tzava is literally in a very literal sense, a mass of something, a mass number of something. It’s applied, just off the top of my head, to three things. Armies. Now, why is it an army? Because think about the ancient armies. They were these large formations of people. Hosts, it refers to the stars of Heaven.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: For example, Genesis chapter 2 verse 1, “Vayechulu hashamayim ve ha’aretz vechol tzva’am.” “And they were complete the heavens and the earth and all their hosts.” So there it’s the stars, and actually everything on the earth, the multitudes of animals and fish and all of that is the tzava and the hosts. Then also the angels are referred to as hosts. So we’ve got the stars, the angels, the armies, and really everything in the earth is tzeva’ot the whole universe.

So “Yehovah tzeva’ot” we could translate roughly... Well, it’s interesting. Which one does it refer to there? So we have this word referring in the desert to the Israelites. This word tzava. So is Yehovah of Hosts, Yehovah, the God of Israel? Is that what it means? Meaning that the masters of Israel? For example, Exodus 12:41 says, “At the end of 430 years, and that very day, ‘yatzu kol tzivot Yehovah.’” All the hosts of Yehovah went out from the land of Egypt.” So maybe that’s the meaning of tzeva’ot, and it’s not entirely clear.

Keith: What do you mean “maybe”?

Nehemia: What do you mean? It’s all of them.

Keith: No, it’s not. I’m going to go out on a limb on this. I’ll tell you exactly what it is. Are you ready?

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: Are you ready?

Nehemia: Yeah. Preach it.

Keith: Keep reading. What it says in the next thing, “Yehovah tzeva’ot” and then what’s the next verse? It says, and it’s a continuation, “the holy One of Israel.”

Nehemia: Okay, well that doesn’t tell us what “tzeva’ot” refers to.

Keith: Listen, what I’m saying is when I’m reading through that and I see “Yehovah tzeva’ot”, and the next one does two things for me. One, I feel like it’s a continuation. He is the one who is Yehovah of the host. But not only that, when people ask about, “Well, who is this God and how is it connected, and why...?” In fact, we had someone just a week ago who got up to argue that this whole thing about Israel, you can’t really find it that often. It’s beyond Israel, and that’s one of the things that my tradition does, it tends to push Israel under the rug. And here what we see in this verse is that He’s the Holy One of Israel.

Nehemia: Let’s deal with that separately. So just to finish up on Yehovah of hosts, “Yehovah tzeva’ot”, what’s really interesting to me is that there are these ancient Greek documents and they actually have that phrase in Greek as “saba’ot.” They read it, you know the equivalent of S-A-B-A-O-T, saba’ot, because the Greeks couldn’t pronounce “tza” or “suh”. But in Hebrew, it appears 14 times, this exact phrase, almost this exact phrase. So we have 12 times where it literally to the word says “Yehovah tzeva’ot shemo”, “Yehovah of hosts is His name”. And I’ll really quickly read you off, Isaiah 47:4 48:2, 51:50 and 54:5. So it’s four times in Isaiah. Then in Jeremiah - 10:16, 31:35, 32:18, 46:18, 48:15, 50:34, 51:19, 51:57, I hope somebody goes and looks those up.

Keith: Nobody is going to know…

Nehemia: No, you must look those up.

Keith: I love that you’re putting them up but if you’re going to do it tell them 31 verse 32,30...

Nehemia: They know what that means. And then finally in Amos... So think about that. It’s four times in Isaiah, eight times in Jeremiah and then twice in Amos, but in Amos it’s a variation. There it’s “Yehovah elohei tzeva’ot shemo” “Yehovah the God of tzeva’ot is His name.” So as that word, and that’s probably the full phrase when it says “Yehovah of hosts,” it’s “Yehovah the God of hosts.”

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: So that’s Amos 4:13 and 5:27 - so 14 times it has an exact phrase or a variation of the exact phrase, “Yehovah tzeva’ot is His name”, and “Yehovah tzeva’ot” appears 259 times in the Tanakh. In the other places, it doesn’t say “is His name”, that’s the difference. But that’s really kind of an important concept. And again, where we have there is “tzeva’ot” can mean the hosts of Israel, the hosts of Heaven, I mean the angels or the hosts of Heaven, meaning the stars, and He’s all those things. Hallelujah!

Keith: Then in the next phrase, it says in verse 5, “After you say ‘Maker is your husband, the LORD Almighty is his name, the holy One of Israel is your redeemer.’” And then it says, “He is called the God of all the earth.”

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So that just puts the cherry on top. So let’s continue. It says here, “The LORD will call you back,” Yehovah will call you back, “as if you were a wife, deserted and distressed in spirit. A wife who married young only to be rejected, says your God, for a brief moment.” And before we get to 7, I want to stop at 6.

As my friends Kevin and Whitney brought up, they wanted to bring up the issue of, “Well, doesn’t that mean that God has divorced himself from Israel, and maybe since he’s divorced, he can’t take her back? Reading the Torah and what the rules and regulations of the Torah, how can God do this? Is this what we’re talking about? What’s the picture?”

Nehemia: So first of all, yes, like we said, this is an allegory. It’s a metaphor. It’s an image to help us understand what’s going on, and like I said, from my perspective, that’s where we get kind of in a dangerous situation where we start to push these things and take them too literally. We say, “Well, wait a minute.” In Deuteronomy 24, it says, if a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries a second man, then he can’t take her back when she divorces that second man, the first husband. And we definitely in Ezekiel l have a much more developed allegory referring to Israel as this adulterous woman who has gone astray and then God takes her back. And people have said, “Well, wait a minute, God’s violating His own commandment.” Well, that’s just an allegory, it’s not to be taken literally.

Keith: You understand why that would be an issue. I mean, if you’re reading, you’re saying, “Okay, how is this connected?” So again, bringing the fact, “but it is an allegory” is what’s important. But there’s a picture that’s being painted. Just imagine that picture - you’re married, you’ve been sent away, and then he says after it’s all said and done, “Come back to me.” And how does he say, “come back”? Actually, it gets pretty interesting here.

Nehemia: Well, just real quick, this whole issue of the metaphor and allegory, just in case people aren’t aware of these terms, what we really mean is symbolism. In other words, Israel’s not literally a woman. Israel is a nation of millions of people. And the symbolism, what he’s trying to do is, you said paint a word picture, paint a picture that we can see in our minds. “Oh, okay. Israel sinning against God. Well, what can we compare that to in our daily lives? And we’ve seen, women who have been rejected by their husbands for whatever reason.” Then he has this image here and it’s so powerful in the Hebrew, in verse 8. What do you have there at the beginning of your verse in 8? Oh, you want to do 7.

Keith: Just for a second. Can you hold off? I want to do one thing. What I love about the Hebrew language - the modern language - but can I just say something that’s really powerful? What I love about the Hebrew language, if you take the present modern-day Hebrew language, much of it - and I don’t know what the percentages are - actually comes directly from Scripture. Now, there’s no word for airplane.

Nehemia: Nope.

Keith: Okay. But there may be words that are connected with how the modern word for airplane is somehow connected in Scripture. Am I right?

Nehemia: I don’t know if that example is true, but yeah.

Keith: I’m just saying, I’ll give you an example, some root words that are used in present day. So here’s this phrase, it says in English, it says here in verse 7, “for a brief moment”, but when I open the Hebrew Bible, it says “bregah katon” and so in Israel, they’ll say, “Regah, regah, regah, regah.” Okay.

Nehemia: It’s like, “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Regah, regah.”

Keith: But then it says “katon.” A small - help me with this - a small moment, a brief moment. It makes sense, but when I read that and I hear that phrase, it says, and again it says, “for a brief moment I abandoned you.” What is a brief moment? How long is that in comparison to all of history, right? He could say, “For a season.” How many years Nehemia? Ten years? Seven years? 30 years?

Nehemia: Doesn’t say. From His perspective it’s a brief moment. To me, it feels like it’s forever.

Keith: Exactly. I want to bring this. Are there times in your life where you just say, “It feels like this has been forever”?

Nehemia: Oh yeah.

Keith: I’ve got to tell you - it really is a brief moment in comparison to the big history of God - sometimes our momentary troubles are just that, they’re momentary.

Nehemia: Yes.

Keith: In the big picture, it’s like the... in the New Testament talks about a mist. Your life is a mist that appears but for a little while. In comparison to the big picture, it’s just like that. What He’s saying here is just like that for a brief moment. “Regah katon.” For a small second. This is what I did. But when I read that it actually encourages me, because sometimes it feels like you’re stuck in a time zone, just don’t break out of it.

Nehemia: Well, one of the concepts that came across is that there’s this concept that they talk about, which they call “infant time”. There’s a distinction between infant time and adult time. Now, I don’t remember being an infant, but the idea is that an infant experiences time different than an adult.

Keith: Come on with that.

Nehemia: They give the example of - this is from the books I’ve read and psychology and stuff like that - they talk about the mother goes to get milk from the refrigerator or wherever she goes, and the baby is crying, wanting to do what the baby wants to do, and the baby doesn’t know if the mother is ever going to come back. Now we hear that and we’re like, “What do you mean? Of course, she’s going to come back. You know, she came back last time, didn’t she?” But the baby doesn’t know that, and from the baby’s perspective, this is forever. It feels like an eternity. And this is why the baby is crying and whining and wailing, because as far as the baby’s knows, this is an eternity. These three and a half minutes where the mother is going and getting a drink or getting something to eat, is to the baby an eternity and the baby really doesn’t know any different, the infant. So where things get complicated for adults is we actually experience infant time, and we generally will experience that when we’re going through certain things.

Keith: Difficulty, struggle.

Nehemia: Difficulties. Well, and I’ll give you the example from my books, that didn’t really apply to me, but it was a great illustration. So they were saying like, for example, an alcoholic, when he goes cold turkey and stops drinking. You know, usually, they’ll say, “Okay, so now you’re stopping, you have to go through the period of withdrawal, and you intellectually understand that, and you hear about that. And look, I’ve never had a problem with alcohol, but he hears about it intellectually, and until he experiences it it means nothing. Because when he’s experiencing this withdrawal, that is infant time. And it’s different for each person. The withdrawal might be a week, it might be two months, it might be a year. Whatever that withdrawal is, he’ll look back years later and say, “You know what? Those 42 days I went through, I just went through 42 days and I blinked and they went by. But the 42 days I was going through withdrawal was the longest 42 days of my life.”

Keith: And so here’s this verse. Now Nehemia, this is what’s so beautiful…

Nehemia: And so look, for me as Israel, we’re an infant time right now waiting for the Father to take us back, waiting for a husband to re-husband us. We’ve been scattered throughout the diaspora and it’s a blink of an eye in the perspective of history, but for us right now we’re on infant time, and I can’t wait to get to that adult time.

Keith: Come on with that. He says, “For a brief moment I abandoned you” and I have to stop again. He says, “for a brief moment”, for a “regah katon”, but then it says in English, He says, “that’s what I did for a brief moment, but with deep compassion.” So listen, could we do me a favor? One of my most favorite verses in the Bible actually brings out the word of what the word in the NIV says is compassion. And I think you know which one that is. You do?

Nehemia: I don’t know what your favorite verse is…

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: Exodus 34:6-7? Yes that’s my favorite verse.

Keith: No, that’s my favorite verse! Do our listeners a favor. First, I want you to read the verse in Isaiah, and I want you to read the verse as Isaiah is preaching it. For a moment, what does he say?

Nehemia: “I abandoned you.”

Keith: And then what does it say at the end of the verse?

Nehemia: “Akabtzech.” “I will gather you in.”

Keith: No, before that. The two words before we get to that one - that’s my second favorite.

Nehemia: “U’verachamim g’dolim akabtzech.”

Keith: Now and read the entire phrase, verse 7, for our listeners.

Nehemia: “Beregah katon azavtich.”

Keith: Stop. “For a moment small,” I did what?

Nehemia: I abandoned. I left you, literally. Now, but that again is the woman. She walks away from the baby, it’s just a second.

Keith: Just needed to get some water, get some water. Okay. And then come on.

Nehemia: “Uverachamim g’dolim akavtzech.”

Keith: Ah, “rachamim.” I hear that word, I’m immediately reminded of Exodus. Would you go to Exodus, please, and share with the folks why this is so?

Nehemia: So Exodus 34:6 to 7, I’ve said it a million times, is probably one of the most important passages in the Bible, and that’s because Moses says, “I want to know You, God. I want to understand You. Reveal Yourself to me.” And how does He reveal himself? He describes what are known as the attributes. He describes God’s characteristics. It says, “veyavo Yehovah al panav,” and “Yehovah passed over his face,” “Vayikra,” “and He called out.” So Yehovah was passing before Moses, and Yehovah calls out describing himself.

“Yehovah, Yehovah, el rachum ve’chanoon erech apayim ve’rav chesed veemet. Notzer chesed le’alaphim, noseh avon vapheshah ve’chata’ah, venake lo yenake pok’ed avon avot al banim ve’al benei banim, al shelishim ve’al reva’im.” So here we have God describing His characteristics. He first calls out His name twice. “Yehovah, Yehovah.” And some people have, actually, I’m going to save that for… ah, I’ll tell you; some people have interpreted that to mean Yehovah is Yehovah, because that’s what we call a nominative sentence in Hebrew - that’s a different discussion - “El rachum ve’chanoon,” “A God” or “a mighty One” who is “rachum and chanoon,” who is merciful and gracious.

Kevin: Tell us about the three-letter root of the word “raham” and tell us to the best of our ability what that word means in its original.

Nehemia: What it originally means is clear. It’s obvious. I mean, we have examples of this in English. So think about in English, we have the word month. And the word month, to anybody who thinks about it, comes from the word moon. You know, obviously. So we have this word “rachamim”, mercy, and it comes from the word “rechem”, and “rechem” is simply the Hebrew word for womb.

Keith: The Hebrew word womb, a woman’s womb. Now here’s the moment. Here’s the Pearl. Come on now, get with me. Here’s the Pearl. He’s talking here. He starts out, “Sing, o barren woman.” He’s talking about the woman who has no child, and He moves on. He says, “Get ready, get ready. I’m about to do this.” And He says, “For a second, for a moment, I went away. But guess what? With great, with great compassion,” and again, the English word, compassion - what is it about the womb? What is it about the description, that He would say, “This is who I am. These are My attributes. I am one who takes you in and nurtures you and grows you and nurtures...” I mean, wow. I mean, that’s the word.

Nehemia: Really, I think the meaning of this word “rachamim”, mercy, or compassion, comes from the literal womb, and then by extension, the feeling of a woman towards that which comes out of her womb.

Keith: Now you’re talking.

Nehemia: That’s what “rachamim” is. That’s what mercy, that’s what God’s compassion is. He has that feeling towards us just as the woman innately, inherently, naturally has this feeling for the child that comes out of her womb. And that’s what mercy is, that God has the attribute of the womb.

Keith: So what we have at the end of verse 8, Nehemia, it says, “But with everlasting kindness, I shall have compassion on you,” and in Hebrew, it now gives a different description. Still using Yehovah, but he’s talking about your Redeemer. Why I want to bring this up is, this is the second time, the second of these sections, where we have “thus sayeth” or “says,” and so now it’s the end of another section. Do you want to say anything about the word Redeemer before we move to the next...?

Nehemia: Just going back to earlier… can you talk about 7, “akabtzech”? We’ve got to talk about that.

Keith: This is one of these words, Nehemia, that I think is one of the funniest ones. It’s funny to me...

Nehemia: At the end of verse 7 he says, “With great rachamim,” with great compassion, attribute of the womb, “akabtzech”, “I will gather you in.” The word there in the 1800s, there are these people who came to Israel and said, “We are the ingathering.” And they established little farms and they called those farms “kibbutz”.

Keith: Kibbutz! Kibbutz!

Nehemia: Kibbutz literally means ingathering.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: You could semi-translate it and say, “With great compassion of the womb, I will kibbutz you.” Meaning I will gather you in back to your land. So I love that, and this is a term that appears throughout the Tanakh, and it’s almost become this technical term, that this refers to God gathering in the exiles. “I will gather you in.”

Of course, in the context of a divorced woman or of an abandoned woman, he kicked her out of the house, kicked her to the curb, and she’s sitting there all alone, for what? You know, what seems like an eternity for her even though it’s a small moment. And then, “I will gather you back into the house. I’ll bring you back into your land.”

Keith: Amen. Amen. And so we see these when you go to a place and they’ll say, “Well, I grew up at such and such or I live at such and such “kibbutz.” That’s an example where a modern word is being used. I had no idea that word was here until we studied this passage.

Nehemia: One of the main streets in Tel Aviv was called “Kibbutz Galuiot”, which means “the ingathering of the exiles”, meaning it’s preserved its original meaning in Hebrew. Everybody knows what it means in Hebrew.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: So the first two words of verse 8, “beshetzef ketzef.” What do you have there in your English?

Keith: In verse 8, “In a surge of anger.”

Nehemia: In a surge of anger. So first of all, “ketzef” is anger, but it also can have this meaning of foam. So in this rushing foaming, it’s the image of a river, or in Israel, more likely, you know, you have these flash floods, and in the flash flood, you see this foam coming up when the stream comes to a slight bend; it’s this intensity, it has to do with water. And that becomes important. In the next verses, we’ll see that the image of water… but you could have completely missed that. There’s an image here of water, which is, you know, this great wrath or literally this foaming flow. “In this foaming flow I hid My face from you, I hid My face in a moment from you.” And there… I go into my book Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence about this whole image of God hiding His face and how the priestly blessing, where it talks about God lifting His face and shining His face, and that’s referring back to this concept of God hiding His face. And we probably don’t have time, but people should read my book, Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence.

Keith: You must read the book. Let’s stop and do the Ministry Minute. Go ahead.

Nehemia: So you know, each of us has different ministries, and my ministry is called Makor Hebrew Foundation, M-A-K-O-R, Makor, and the idea of Makor Hebrew Foundation, makor is the ancient Hebrew word for “the source”. I got it from Jeremiah where it says, “They left Yehovah, the source of living water, and hewed for themselves the broken cisterns,” and some other things. Makor Hebrew Foundation, that’s my ministry, and some of the things I’m doing on my website, NehemiasWall.com, one of the main activities is I’ve got this thing called the Support Team Studies I’m putting out, and there’s a really exciting one about sharing my experiences in Nepal, and how I had this amazing revelation about the Torah. I call it Torah Trekking in Nepal. So that’s NehemiasWall.com, Makor Hebrew foundation.

Keith: Awesome. It’s an amazing ministry. For years, you’ve been putting out information that’s changing people’s lives, and I like the fact that the website is really up and going - NehemiasWall.com, make sure you visit every week. We’re going to take a minute, at least, to give a Ministry Minute, and that’s our way of letting people know what we’re doing while we’re teaching the word of God. And hey, you know what, we need people’s support. And so that’s the ministry minute.

So let’s get back and continue to keep reading. Can we keep reading?

Nehemia: Sure.

Keith: Let’s keep reading because you just came up with something really important. You said that that was talking about water, and now verse 9 - why was this selected as the Torah portion, for it says here, “To me, this is like the days of Noah. When I swore that the waters,” there’s the word, “waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again.” Come on. I mean when they’re looking through what’s going to be the section that we can talk about for the section that would be the Torah portion, so this is what we’re doing on our site, is that when we have this Prophet Pearls, there’ll be a link for them to listen to the original Torah Pearls, isn’t that amazing?

Nehemia: The tradition, and again this is a tradition, but it’s a really ancient tradition, it goes back at least to the first century, probably to the second or third century BC. The idea was that they would read a portion from the Torah… the Greeks came along during the time of what became Hanukkah and forbade them from reading the Torah in public, so instead they read a section from the Prophets that reminded them of the Torah portion they weren’t allowed to read. When the Greeks were defeated, they continued this practice. You know, if you’re looking for a Prophets portion that parallels the Torah portion, this is an obvious one, because the Torah portion is about Noah and the flood, and here it mentions Noah by name. And of course, the question I want to ask in verse 9 is, it brings the metaphor of Noah, it brings this image of Noah. What is the significance of that in this context?

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: So it’s saying, “This is like me, the waters of Noah. Just as I swore the waters of Noah would never pass over the earth again, so I swear that I will never have wrath against you and rebuke you.” That’s literal from the Hebrew. And what that means is there’s going to be this time, in the end, there’s going to be this final redemption. When the final redemption takes place, there won’t be anything after that. There won’t be any more Israel being punished and rejected by God, but God will gather us back like the abandoned woman, take us back into our home with our husband, and then we will have this period of eternal peace and justice. God is never going to bring another flood on the earth. You will never bring another exile.

Keith: May it come quickly. Amen.

Nehemia: May it be this afternoon.

Keith: Yes. So now it says, “I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke again, though the mountains be shaken, the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken.” Folks ought to take a look at that “‘unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ sayeth Yehovah who has compassion on you.” By the way, that’s another example. Thank you, Sven, where we could see section ending, one section ending. He says it again, another section where he says it here.

Nehemia: And I think it’s interesting. In the earlier ones, if we look at the progression, he started off and he says, “amar Yehovah”, “says Yehovah”, and I may not be getting all of them. He says, “amar eloha’ich”, in verse 6, “says your God.” And then in verse 8 we had “amar go’alech Yisrael,” in verse 8 “says your Redeemer, Israel.” And then here in verse 10, we have “amar me’rachamech Yehovah”, “says the one who has mercy upon you, Yehovah. The one who treats you like the mother who treats the child from the womb.” It’s the same word there, the word womb-compassion.

And I just want to say one thing about this phrase, “brit shlomim”, “My covenant of Peace”, which also appears in Ezekiel 37. This covenant of peace that God will have with Israel. And I love this, it’s just so clear that we have this eternal covenant. That God has this eternal covenant. It can never be abrogated. It can never be ended. If you believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, that God is and does not change, then that eternal covenant always stands unless you say God’s a liar; that is a covenant for all time.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Can I just say one more thing? I want to really, really encourage the people - after you’ve heard this and you said, “Wow, I really found this to be valuable,” then go to your Facebook page and share this, or go to your Google Plus page and share this, because that could be your ministry to get this message to other people.

Keith. Amen. That’s good, that’s good.

Nehemia: You know, we could have a certain number of people, but if you go and you share that, you could have all of your people who follow you, who are friends with you, it can be exposed to a much wider audience. That’s really what we want to do - we want to get this message out.

Keith: Let me say this, I want to give you credit on that, Nehemia. One of the things that you challenged me on way back in 2007, and I hated it, and in 2008, and I hated it, and 2009, I hated it. You had this whole issue of how social media was going to be something that we needed to be able to use to get a message out. And there are people who struggle with us. One of the people say, “Well, you’re marketing.” And you said something on tour that I have just not gotten out of my head. You talked about...

Nehemia: I was very offended. The woman said, “You’re just trying to market to us,” because we were inviting them to sign up for… each of us has like an update that we send out, a newsletter; mine’s been going since like ‘97, ‘98. Yours is more recent. And the woman said, “You’re just trying to market to us.” I was very offended, and I thought about it for a minute. I said, “She’s right, and I accept that. We live in the marketplace of ideas, and in the marketplace of ideas we’re not the dominant product. We’re not Coca Cola, we’re like Royal Crown or something like that. What are those little like local sodas that no one even knows about? Or actually one of the things that you get at the health food store. That’s what we are.

The Coca Cola and Pepsi in the marketplace of ideas are agnosticism and atheism. And that’s who we’re competing with. And in that marketplace of ideas, you better market. You better get your message out, you better share the word of God with people. Just like Isaiah - he didn’t stand in his study room, in his inner chamber. Isaiah stood in the marketplace and he professed his word. And the very next verses... Isaiah 55 verses 1 to 2 is Isaiah marketing. Would you let me read?!

Keith: But we’re not there yet.

Nehemia: No, but can I skip ahead? Because I’ve got to. We’ll go back. He says, “Hoi kol tzameh lechu lemayim”, “all those who are thirsty come to the water.” “Ve’asher ain lo kesef”, “and those who have no money, go and buy and eat.” And he’s doing what they did in the marketplace - he’s inviting people to come. What they would do in the marketplace… go to Israel to this day and stand in the shuk, in the outdoor marketplace, and you’ll hear people will say, “chamesh ve’eser dvash dvash dvash chamesh va’eser.” They’re saying, “You can get five watermelons for 10 or like five oranges for 10, it’s like honey, it’s like honey!” And this is what he’s doing, but he’s doing it with the word of God. Isaiah is marketing the word of God and he’s saying, “The word of God is free, come and eat it and it’s going to nourish you like nothing else ever nourished.”

Facebook is the modern-day marketplace. It’s Isaiah standing in the public square and saying, “Why should you weigh out silver for that which is not bread, and your toil that does not satisfy, surely listen to me and eat good,” I’m reading from Isaiah 55:2, oh and I love this, “and take pleasure in the fat of your soul.” meaning the fat of your appetite, meaning eat the fat, the healthy, saturated fats, and be nourished by the word of God.

Keith: I’m not going to go on a rabbit trail, but you know, Nehemia is on this diet, which I just don’t understand.

Nehemia: He thinks I wear a tinfoil hat. Look, I’m following the advice of the doctor. If it doesn’t work, I’ll try something else.

Keith: And someone’s going to say, “what does the diet have to do with anything?” “Come all you who are thirsty, come to the waters and have no money. Come by and eat. Come buy wine and milk.” It says, “without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor and what does not satisfy? Listen, listen, listen, listen, listen, listen to me and eat what is good. And your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear…”

Nehemia: Oh! No, no, no. That’s not what it says in your translation…

Keith: Of course it does, Nehemia.

Nehemia: In the Hebrew, it says, “And your soul delight,” or, “you will be satisfied. You’ll be happy. You will delight your soul in the fat,” is what it literally says.

Keith: I knew that it said the fat! Okay, it says it. So anyway, Nehemia, what’s exciting about doing this is we’re actually sitting together, and this is always the thing that I appreciated about our relationship. There’s some people that get uncomfortable about us ministering together, different thoughts, whatever. But what I love about Prophet Pearls is that right now we’ve got our computers, we got our Scriptures open, I’ve got my NIV, I’ve got my Hebrew Tanach, and I’ve got my Bible Yeshua read. And it is just inspiring me to be doing this with you.

Nehemia: So I’ve just got to say one more thing about that. You know, we did the Torah Pearls, and the Original Torah Pearls was done in a certain spirit at a certain time, and what we’re doing here is we’re continuing that same spirit. And that same spirit is a Karaite Jew and a Methodist, a mad Methodist, and we’re coming together.

Keith: I’m not mad.

Nehemia: No, I mean in the sense that there’s a Methodist to the madness, I say, and the Methodist, who loves the Torah, and we’re coming together in the spirit of finding common ground, in the spirit of Amos 3:3 which in the English says, “How can two walk together unless they be agreed?” But in the original Hebrew it says, “Can two walk together without having met one another?” And what we’re trying to do is come together and walk on common ground. That’s what the original Torah Pearls was about, and that’s what the Prophet Pearls is about. And there may be other things done out there that are being done in different spirits, in a different spirit than what we’re doing, but that has nothing to do with us.

Keith: No, it doesn’t.

Nehemia: We are really continuing the spirit of the Original Torah Pearls, and it really is about building faith on common ground. And look, I could sit with a Karaite brother and he could be sitting next to me just like you are, and we could spend the entire time tearing each other down and looking for the differences and saying why he’s wrong and why I’m wrong. He’ll say why I’m wrong - and I’ll be right, of course. And the alternative here is we can come from these vastly different places and say, “What is the word of God saying to God’s people, all who call upon His name, all who love Him.” And you know, I just, I’m always reminded of this verse in the Psalms, I don’t remember the exact verse number. It says “Karov Yehovah lechol kor’av le’chol asher yikaru be’emet”, “Yehovah is close to all those who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” And the one thing I’ve seen from you after all these years together is whatever we disagree on, you are calling upon Yehovah in truth. Amen.

Keith: Amen. May it be. For all those who are listening, I want to challenge you all because we are getting close to the end of that time. Yeah, we’re getting very close. I want to challenge some folks to read verses 11 through 13. I’m going to read them. I’m going to read 11 to 15 then we’re going to take a little bit of time at the end for 14, okay?

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: It says, “O afflicted city lashed by storms and not comforted, I will build you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with sapphires. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels and all your walls of precious stones.” I wish I could stop there, “and all your sons will be…” I have to say this, 13, “all your sons will be taught by the LORD,” but it doesn’t say it that way. It’s like “all your sons be discipled.”

Nehemia: That’s actually what it says, discipled? I have a great story about that, probably no time to tell it. Can I just tell my story?

Keith: No, no, no! I’m reading. I’ve got three sons, I want them all to be discipled. So it’s very exciting. I want people to go back to this. It says here, “And great will be your children’s peace. In righteousness you will be established. Tyranny will be far from you.” Oh man, this is awesome. “You will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed.”

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith. “It will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing. Whoever attacks you, will surrender to you.” Now we’ve got to get to the fun part. Okay. “See it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges weapons fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc.” When you read that, does that not shake you up just a little bit? When I read that I’m thinking, “Wait, is that verse supposed to be in there? What do you mean?” He is the one who says, He says, “It is I who have created,” and of course in English it says, “the destroyer to work havoc.” It’s almost as if God is like in control of everything.

Nehemia: Almost as if? He is!

Keith: God is really bigger than circumstance.

Nehemia: He’s the creator of everything.

Keith: I mean it’s almost like there’s no competition with Him. It’s not like He’s up there cowering while havoc and confusion... And that’s why I love this verse. He’s the all God, nothing is outside of His ability. His arm isn’t too short. Sometimes things happen in our lives as He says, “I’m the one that brought it to you for a reason. I’m trying to mold you and shape you.” And so that’s as much as I’ll say about that.

But now here comes my favorite verse from when I was a pastor. As I used to say, whenever people attack me, I’d always come with this verse. “No weapon forged against you will prevail and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.” Ah, what do you think of that?

Nehemia: I think that’s powerful. And again, this is in the context of there’s going to be this period of eternal peace once we’re taken back by Yehovah, after this period of exile, and the physical and the spiritual exile ends, we’re going to be in the situation where we’re protected by Yehovah and we’re invincible. I know this is kind of a mixing of metaphors, but I get the image of this husband who is protecting his wife and nothing can harm her.

Keith: Amen. Amen. Well, “‘This is what the heritage of the servants of Yehovah is, and this their vindication for me,’ declares Yehovah.”

Nehemia: May we inherit it soon.

Keith: That’s another section. So how many sections did we have of these statements, “thus sayeth”? I think five, aren’t there five in that chapter? I might be right, I might be wrong there. You guys check for yourself. But again, what’s beautiful about it is you have Isaiah there, and he’s hearing from Yehovah, Yehovah is speaking through his mouth. We already did 55 but again, I do have to say…

Nehemia: Oh, we can’t end without going to...

Keith: No, we have to.

Nehemia: …passage in 55.

Keith: Yeah, we have to. We’re going to, but again, my favorite word in the Bible. “Hoi!” That’s what it says in the Hebrew. And that’s the calling of attention. And it’s saying, “Hoi, come on now, I’m about to do something.” And again, when you took me to the shuk the first time, I didn’t want to leave. Why? Because I love how they call out…

Nehemia: The outdoor market in Jerusalem is the same as the ancient markets, and you find them all over the Middle East, and they’re the same today. So we just have to do verses 3, 4 and 5, and we’ll do them real quick. So can you read 3, 4 and 5 in English?

Keith: Yes. “Give ear and come to Me, hear Me that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. My faithful love promised to David.”

Nehemia: Amen. So this is really unique in the Tanakh, and it’s in a sentence, in that here there’s this promise being expressed to all of Israel, and that’s a promise that goes back to Moses in the desert, or in Egypt even, and all the way back to Abraham. But here, maybe for the first time, and maybe it’s not for the first time, but definitely this is the one that stands out and it’s the clearest, where God is connecting His eternal covenant with Israel to that which He promised David.

Keith: Oh boy, I love this.

Nehemia: And David, of course, in this context, I think - well, I mean from the next verse is obvious.

Keith: It’s Messianic, Nehemia.

Nehemia: It’s definitely Messianic. From the next verse, it’s Messianic.

Keith: Okay, go ahead.

Nehemia: So from my perspective, and again, some people will disagree with me, that’s fine. But the way I see it is when speaking here of David, it’s saying the promise to David, the line of David, just as God was going to have… before He said Noah, right, just as He has the covenant with Noah, He’s going to have the covenant with Israel, and here, based on the promises to David, He will have this eternal covenant with Israel. And so verse 4 in the Hebrew says, “hed ed le’umim natativ”, “Behold I will give him as a testimony, a witness to nations,” “nagid u’metzaveh l’umim”, “a ruler and a commander of nations.”

Keith: You better preach that.

Nehemia: So this is talking about the future Messiah who will be the physical flesh and blood king of the earth. Of course, Jews say it’s going to be when the Messiah comes, and Christians say when he comes back. But we all agree, and here again, this is common ground…

Keith: This is amazing.

Nehemia: …this is referring to the Messiah who will be the ruler of the world.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And then it says, “hein goi lo tedah tikrah,” “behold a nation you did not know, you will call.” “ve’goi le yeda ucha elecha yarutzu,” “and a nation you did not know, they will run to you.” So here we’ve got Israel set up as this woman that’s been taken back and is now in the state of eternal peace with the Messiah as her ruler, and all the nations will run to her and you will call them and they all come back. They’ll all be together under the rulership of this King Messiah. May it be soon.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: “Lema’an Yehovah elohecha,” “for the sake of Yehovah your God”, “veleKadosh Yisrael ki phe’arach”, “and for the holy One of Israel for He has glorified you.” And I love that word “glorified you” because you don’t know this in the English, but in the Hebrew, it’s “phe’arach”, it’s speaking to a woman. We’re back to using the metaphor of Israel as the woman. “He’s going to glorify you, O woman, O wife, and this is for the sake of Yehovah. He will give you your Messiah and all the nations will come together under His rulership and you will have an eternal covenant of peace.”

Keith: I want to say something, Nehemia, what I appreciate about this passage - we don’t have to run around it. We don’t have to skip around it. We don’t have to run from it. Sometimes I notice that there’s this fear that we can’t find the common ground, especially around the seed of David, around the Messiah, and in fact, that’s exactly what we find here. This is not one where we’re making it up or trying to fit it in, taking the past and pushing it into the verse. It clearly says it. I don’t care if you’re looking at the English. I don’t care if you’re looking at the Aramaic. I don’t care if you’re looking at the Hebrew. You can be looking at the...

Nehemia: Chinese.

Keith: You can look at the Chinese, which is another conversation we’ll talk about next week. But what’s amazing about it is there’s the promise right there. He’s speaking to the love promised to David. “I have made him a witness to the peoples.”

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So whatever place you’re coming from, is it not exciting that we don’t have to run from that? We can lean right in. We’re speaking about Messiah right in that verse. So I would love it, Nehemia, if we could end with a prayer and if you’d be willing to do that.

Nehemia: Okay. Yehovah Eloheinu ve’elohei avoteinu, Elohei Avraham, Elohei Yitzchak Ve’Elohei Yaakov. Yehovah, our God, the God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Avinu she’ba’shamayim, our Father in heaven, let us all very soon be running towards one another and embracing one another as chaverim, as friends, as bonded under the rulership of this witness that You’ve promised to us. Let us all look upon this witness and be under His rulership and His command. Yehovah, please soon bring this kingdom here on earth, the kingdom where they take the swords and they beat them into plowshares and they take the thermonuclear weapons and they beat them into nuclear power plants to give us electricity. Yehovah, we ask that all those who are making weapons against us to cut off our heads and blow up our people that You take us back soon so that those weapons that they make against us shall no longer prosper. Yehovah, I ask that the covenant of David, that in Your faithfulness and loyalty of that covenant of David, that You establish that now, and may it be today, that the seed of David appears to all mankind and we embrace his rulership into our heart and give us a new heart. Take the heart of stone, as Ezekiel said, and You give us a new spirit, as Ezekiel said, and together we all praise Your name and glorify You, Yehovah. Amen.

Keith: Amen. This is Keith Johnson and chaver sheli

Nehemia: Nehemia Gordon.

Keith: Amen.

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19 thoughts on “Prophet Pearls #49 – Ki Teitzei (Isaiah 54:1-54:10)

  1. I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I am having a problem with Nehemia’s explanation of those who were allowed those who were restricted from entering the congregation.

    1. He says the reason why Ruth was allowed to enter the congregation was that she actually, became an Israelite.

    1.1 If Ruth could take a vow, and become an Israelite immediately, why could other Ammonites and Moabites NOT become an Israelite also?

    1.2 Why would the Edomite and Egyptian need to wait until the third generation. Why could they not enter the congregation by taking a vow also?

    1.3 Saying that it had something to do with their pagan gods, would bring up the question, “Would the Edomite and Egyptian be able to enter the congregation after the third generation, even if they continued to worship their pagan gods?”

    • No, they would not be able to continue in the worship of other gods. In Deuteronomy we are told that if a servant or sojourner wishes to become A part of Israel they must make a conscious decision to follow in the ways and instructions of YHVH His Torah , YHVH has house rules and if you want to be in his home you have to live by them … this is not a part time gig , it’s a life long decision…. AKA a covenant with the most high . What makes an Israelite according to YHVH is anyone who obeys him and walks in his commandments and instructions .

      • So are you saying that the prohibition concerning the Moabite and the Amonite not entering into the congregation for 10 generations was essentially no different than the allowing of the Egyptian and the Edomite entering the congregation after only 3 generations? All they had to do was stop being idolaters?

      • Sorry, hit enter too quickly, to continue my thought, given that Ruth entered the congregation in her 1st generation it seems that this restriction of generations is a moot point, and doesn’t really apply then.

    • Nothing stops anyone at any time from asking Yahovah for forgiveness and real actual repentance with the sign of that repentance bringing forth the fruit to prove it.
      Can’t fool Dad
      When Ruth said your God shall be my God
      She became An isrealite like any other human can.

      • Seems to me that there would be a difference between forgiveness and entering into the congregation.

        If as you say forgiveness can be done at any time would and allowed them to enter the congregation at that point, then the restriction as to when they can enter the congregation is a moot point that doesn’t really apply.

        If the restrictions as to how long it took for someone to be allowed into the congregation of Israel has only to do with repentance, then were Moabites and Amonites that had NOT sought forgiveness allowed to live in Israel while plying their idolatry?

        • Great point , I actually wonder if the duration of time was in order to having created a life style living according to God’s law , a time of putting into practice and learning while sifting out what remained of the world and paganism…. rather then allow them a place immediately to ignorantly sin against YHVH leading to the possible destruction of a person. Old habits die hard I see it as great mercy. perhaps it was a time of generational purification it sounds as if the concern was what came into the temple rather then if they identified as part of Israel . In the end it’s all speculation but it would seem to be the pattern .. and it also seemed as though some tribes or peoples had shorter durations while other cultures had longer .. same thing seems to happen to the Israelites when they turn away from YHVH . A set time is given for separation. Even with the destruction of the temples it seems it was done with a purpose and a duration of time before rebuildings .

          • I’m not sure of the answer, but I have a couple of thoughts.

            1. Just because a person could not enter the congregation did not mean they were outside YHVH’s care.

            A person that had tza’arat could not enter the congregation, but that was not necessarily indicate an automatic rejection by YHVH.

            A person that had come in the contact with a dead body had to remain outside the camp, but that was not a sin, and they could enter after they had been purified with the water of purification.

            2. Though Moabites and Ammonites could not enter the congregation, it did not mean that YHVH was not working among them, Ruth being the proof of that.

    • Remember, Ruth had taken a previous vow when she married a Jew (Naomi’s son), and once she became a widow she was at a fork in the road – I would say hers was a special circumstance – she left her homeland and pagan ways, clung to Naomi and her Elohim, yet still went thru the kinsman redeemer (aka Boaz) to be accepted by the people of her new homeland.

  2. Paul of Tarsus is the one that derived the remarriage doctrine based on Deut 24:1-4 and Yeshua as the (original) husband.

    “Is the Redeemer of Israel:
    A. God (Isa 49:7)
    B. A Messenger (Gen 48:16)
    C. A Man (Gen 32:24)
    D. All of the above?”

      • Ehhh, I think us Jews did that long ago and with the reinstatement on the Sanhedrin… it looks like we are prepping to do that again, Hahahaha. I think as Jews we have added to the words of the Holy one and taken away from the words of the Holy one with mans traditions and the oral laws and in doing that, other religions have followed suit. It seems to me we reap what we sow. If we want and undefined temple then it’s time to stop defiling ourselves . Then and probably only then will we reap undifilmemt we can apply to a temple . If we do not do this, we just gonna end up with another destroyed temple . Let’s be an example and do what YHVH says and do it in the way he tells us how to do it, with the proper heart. Then it says he will keep us and return us to our land and no longer will we be plagued with evil or evil nations. In my opinion, as long as we keep seeing defilement, we are not living the way the Holy one wants. It’s on us not the gentiles, we are to be the example unto the world, when and not the example to the nations, we become made an example of by nations through the most high.

        • The doctrine being implied by Stu Lowndes is nothing more than spiritual syncretism. Modern Christianity and ancient Israel are guilty of the same abomination.

          There was a time when many of the Israelites believed that Baal and Yehovah were one in the same. The Roman Church has espoused the same doctrine by saying Yeshuah is Yehovah (the incarnation) and regrettably many Christians have blindly embraced this false doctrine thus defiling the name of Yehovah and by extension defiling the place where He causes His name to dwell forever.

          Shalom.

  3. I appreciate the idea of allegory, but why would God use an allegory that depicts Himself violating His own Torah?

  4. Would the following be a picture for the compassion our Father has for us?
    It is as though we are in His womb. He convieved us and He has carried His people through the turmoil, and upheavles of of pregnancy for thousands of years.
    The birthing (birthpains of Messiah) will happen at the begining of the Messianic Kingdom when Israel, My son, or bride as the case may be, comes forth to live in a restored Eden (original design). Or at the end of the ages when the Olam Haba arrives? Does this fit into the terminology throughout the Scriptures?
    Thanks so much for all you do.

  5. Thank you for your good work. I do hope you and Keith can someday read and give your thoughts on Hebrew Matthew.. May you always be blessed. May we all know the love and salvation of Yeshua. Halleluyah!!!

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