This week Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson discuss the Prophets portion for Mishpatim covering Jeremiah 34:8-22; 33:25-26. Ever obedient servants of context, Gordon and Johnson begin at the beginning—with two verses moved to the end of this Portion by the Rabbis. In these two verses in which the unfailing laws of nature are equated with God’s promises to Israel, Gordon makes a connection between the theories of physicists and the views of pundits regarding the land of Israel. Gordon and Johnson further explore why these two verses (and eight others) are missing from the Septuagint and why the spelling of Isaac differs here from elsewhere in the Tanakh.
Gordon gives Torah definitions for slavery and indentured servitude and compares current U.S. penal policies to the slavery of which Jeremiah spoke. We learn the concrete and abstract meanings of the word-of-the-week, “liberty-deror” (dalet-reish-vav-reish) and through a classic example of Hebrew word play we learn the consequences of denying “deror” to others. In closing, Johnson prays that love of neighbor will grow from hearts that receive the ancient and relevant words of the prophet.
"...As surely as I have established My covenant with day and night... so I will never reject the offspring of Jacob and My servant David..." Jeremiah 33:25-26
The Original Torah Pearls - Mishpatim (Exodus 21:1-24:18)
The original artwork at the top of this page was made specially for this week's episode of Prophet Pearls by Katie Swamp of Huntsville, Alabama. Here is her explanation:
"How wonderful our Heavenly Father is, that He would compare the covenant He has made with Israel (the offspring of Jacob and David) to the unbreakable laws of day and night, of heaven and of earth. As shown by the heart around Israel in the artwork, God’s love for His chosen people is steadfast and will never come to an end. A 12-pointed crown symbolizing the 12 tribes of Israel is placed upon this special nation to represent the covenant God has made with them to take rulers from their offspring. The heavenly bodies look down upon this coronation, and they are ever a reminder to Israel of the promise in Lamentations 3:22-23, “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, His mercies never come to an end;...great is Your faithfulness.” "