Torah Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

In this episode of The Original Torah PearlsKi Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8), after revealing the identity of the “wandering Aramean,” we discuss the name commanded to be spoken seven times during the first fruits offering. A vivid picture is painted of the tribes standing on Mounts Ebal and Gerizim declaring the blessings and the curses across the bowl-shaped valley. But why are the curses so complicated and the blessings so simple?  Gordon lets us in on marginal notes that direct how some of the more graphic phrases in the Torah are to be read in public. He also proposes an explanation for the statistically insignificant Jew becoming a byword among the nations. Could the exile and its miseries be as much of a sign as the miraculous ingathering? And while our heavenly Father many times commands the whole hearts and souls of his people, to what one cause does he pledge his?

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Torah Pearls #50 – Ki Tavo (Deuteronomy 26:1-29:8)

You are listening to The Original Torah Pearls with Nehemia Gordon, Keith Johnson, and Jono Vandor. Thank you for supporting Nehemia Gordon's Makor Hebrew Foundation. Learn more at

Jono: G’day to Anthony in Colorado, Rebecca from California, who made me two beautiful hand-painted bookmarks with the name of our God, Yehovah, on them. They’re absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much, Rebecca.

Nehemia: I’m jealous. Where’s my bookmark?

Jono: Oh, my goodness. You guys. They’re beautiful. She gave me two of them and I’m using them right now. They’re just beautiful. They’re really, really nice. Very, very talented. Rebecca from California, also Gail from Oklahoma, who commented saying, “I didn’t think it could get any better than last week’s teaching. This one might’ve. Thank you so much.” And thank you, Gail. Also, Sharon and Britt from San Antonio, Texas. “Dear Jono,” they write, “my husband and I so enjoy Torah Pearls each Shabbat. You, Keith and Nehemia are quite the trio. Each of you brings so much to the discussion of the Torah portion. I love to hear your reading of the Scripture and the enthusiasm and highlights and laughter you all bring. Continued blessing to you.” Thank you so much, Sharon and Britt.

Joseph wrote, saying “Beautiful teachings. I love the passage about the gentiles Leviting themselves.” That’s Isaiah 56.

Nehemia: Come on with that!

Jono: Amen. “Yehovah bless you guys. Keep it up. Thank you so much for this. This is one of the few programs keeping me sane over here in San Diego. Have a great Shabbat,” He writes. Thank you, Joseph. Guy… Guy writes, “What a wonderful blessing. This is a wealth of knowledge that you guys are unraveling that is unrivaled. There is no doubt in my mind that Yehovah has bonded you men together. Yehovah continue to bless Keith, Nehemia and Jono. You and your loved ones are in my daily prayers and much, much more success to all of you. The world needs to hear these messages. You are the best, shalom.” Thank you, Guy.

And Ed: “I enjoy listening to Pearls from the Torah Portion and look forward to it each week. You three are a joy to listen to and the Pearls are a great treasure indeed. Keep up the great job. Don’t change a thing. Blessings to you and shalom.” Cheryl - Cheryl wrote, “Great as always. Thank you so much for doing these anointed sessions.” And now how would I pronounce this? F-r-o-e-s-e? Froeeze? Froze?

Nehemia: Not a Hebrew word.

Jono: Yeah, I’m sorry. Whoever this is. I can’t. I don’t know how to pronounce it, but they wrote, “Nehemia and Keith, I like this giant study from three people and three understandings. Nehemia, I like that you are opening our eyes to your understanding of the Torah. Can you stop interrupting each other? Please.” Probably not. “May Yehovah continue to bless you.” Keith?

Keith: Yes. Can we find out how to pronounce that guy’s name? Because every time it happens, I’m going to say his name.

Nehemia: I think it’s Italian.

Jono: Froese? And obviously, it is time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. Gentlemen, welcome back. So today we are in Ki Tavo. Ki Tavo, right? Deuteronomy 26:1 to 29:8. And it begins like this, ready? “And it shall be, when you come into the land which Yehovah your God is giving you as an inheritance, and you possess it and dwell in it, that you shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground, which you shall bring from your land that Yehovah your God is giving you, and put it in a basket and go to the place where Yehovah your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall go to one of the priests in those days, and say to him, ‘I declare today to Yehovah your God that I have come to the country which Yehovah swore to our fathers to give us.’ Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand, set it down before the altar of Yehovah your God, and you shall answer and say, ‘Before,’” now this is what I’ve got, “before Yehovah your God, My father was a Syrian… ” That’s what’s in the New King James. I’m confused.

Nehemia: Woah, seriously. You’re not pulling my leg?

Keith: What are you talking about? That’s it. They’re off the program.

Jono: No, I’m telling you. I’m telling you. In the New King James, it says “my father was a Syrian.”

Nehemia: You’re joking.

Jono: No, it says it. “My father was a Syrian, about to perish, and he went down to Egypt and dwelt there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and...”

Keith: I’d like to say something.

Jono: Yeah?

Keith: It’s now clear that Moses didn’t originally share this New King James version language. Up until now, it was a possibility.

Nehemia: Now what do you have in yours Keith? What do you have in yours?

Keith: Well, mine just says, “He was a wandering Aramean.”

Nehemia: A wandering Aramean. I think that’s the more normal translation. Certainly, the common... so why do they say Syrian? Because there were several Aramean or Aramaic speaking kingdoms in ancient times. One of them was called Aram Damesek, or the Arameans of Damascus, and that today is called Syria. Another one was called Aram Tzova, which is today northern Syria, Aleppo. And then, of course, we have Aram Naharaim, which today is Iraq; Aram between the two rivers. So really, they should have said, ‘my father was a wandering Iraqi,’ if they want it to be accurate. But is that really what it means? That’s the question. Can we talk about that? Or do you want to keep reading a little bit?

Keith: We must talk about this.

Nehemia: So, we’ve got to talk about this. This is a source of a lot of confusion and I’ll admit, I sometimes get confused with it. So, without checking in your bibles, Keith and Jono, where was Abraham from? Where was he originally?

Jono: Ur.

Nehemia: Okay. Is that the full name of the town, Ur?

Keith: Ur of the Chaldeans.

Nehemia: In Hebrew, that’s Ur Kasdim. So, Abraham is from Ur Kasdim. But then we have this other place, which is called Aram Naharaim, Aram between the two rivers, or Aramea. That’s where they get Aramean. Aramea between the two rivers. Now, who was from Aram Naharaim? Aram Naharaim is a region; the city in Aram Naharaim is called Padan Aram, or Padan of Aramea. And sometimes it’s called Haran.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: And it’s not exactly clear why it’s sometimes called Haran and sometimes called Padan Aram.

Keith: Right, that’s Abraham.

Nehemia: Well, yeah, Abraham’s father went there; Ur Kasdim.

Keith: He went there.

Nehemia: And he left Abraham’s uncle there. Now Terach, Abraham’s father, had three sons: Abram, Haran, and Nachor. Okay, now Haran is the father of Lot.

Keith: And he died.

Nehemia: He died. Nachor was the father of Rebecca and Laban. What that actually means is that Rebecca, Isaac and Lot, they were all first cousins. I think that’s a source of confusion. We’ve got, you know, these… Haran and you’ve got Nachor and they’re brothers of Abraham and they have these kids who show up, Rebecca and Lot. So, they’re from Padan Aram, which is also called Haran, which is in the region of Aram Naharaim, which today we call Iraq, or southern Iraq.

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: What happened is they left Ur Kasdim and they came to this Aramaic, Aramean speaking place. So, the question then becomes, who is the Aramean in verse 5 of Deuteronomy 26? Now in Jewish sources this is interpreted in two different ways. The first way is what Keith read. “My father was a wandering Aramean and he went down to Egypt and he lived there, and he became… few with number and when he was there, he became a great nation, mighty and many.” So that’s kind of strange because it doesn’t... if Abraham is the Aramean, well, Abraham only went down to Egypt for a very short time, and that’s not where he became great in number. You know, he got lots of animals and property.

Jono: That’s got to be in reference to Jacob, right?

Nehemia: So, wouldn’t that be Jacob? The other way this is interpreted in Jewish sources… and what’s really interesting is the second way I’m about to explain is indicated by the Hebrew accent marks in the text of Scripture. In the Hebrew manuscripts there are what are called accent marks. The accent marks - you know there are four things on every page of Hebrew scripture; we’ve got the consonants, the vowels, the accent marks, and the Masoretic notes. So, the consonants and the vowels tell you how to pronounce the word. The accent marks serve three functions. They tell you what to emphasize in the word. Okay? So, the Hebrew name for Abraham is “Avraham.” So, was it, Avraham or Avraham? Is it syllable or syllable? Well, in English, you just have to know that. In the Hebrew, the accent marks actually tell you that, what to emphasize. So, they tell you what to emphasize.

The second function they serve is they actually break up the sentence into small units. They’re kind of like a series of commas, but they’re much more precise than commas. And the third function they serve is that they tell you how to read; how to chant the verse in the synagogue… how to publicly chant it.

Well, that second function, breaking it up into small units basically has… you call that syntax. Meaning, it’s basically like a series of commas. They tell us to read it “Arami Oved Avi” which would translate to “an Aramaean tried to destroy my father”. That’s how it’s understood in many of the Jewish sources and how it’s indicated in the accent marks. “An Aramean tried to destroy my father.” Now that Aramean isn’t Jacob. That Aramean is Laban. And that actually makes sense because the father there isn’t Abraham, it’s Jacob. “An Aramean (Laban) tried to destroy my father (Jacob). And he went down to Egypt and he dwelt there with few numbers. And while he was there, he became a great nation. Mighty and many.” Well, all of that applies to Jacob, right?

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: It has to be Jacob, which is why the accent marks actually make more sense than, you know, saying my father was a wandering Aramean. Abraham wasn’t an Aramean. He stopped off in Aram Naharaim, in Aram between the two rivers. He stopped off there for a few years, but he wasn’t the Aramean. He was a Hebrew that came from Ur Kasdim. We don’t have any indication whatsoever that in Ur Kasdim he spoke Aramaic. His nephew, Laban, he spoke Aramaic because he grew up in Aram Naharaim, in Aram between the two rivers, because he wasn’t from Ur Kasdim. But Abraham himself, he was not an Aramean. The Aramaeans, the Aramaic people, they’re the ones who tried to destroy our father.

Jono: That makes a whole lot more sense.

Keith: That makes a lot of sense. I was thinking about it, but rather, here’s what the accents say and what the syntax would actually point towards. That’s pretty… that’s very powerful, very powerful.

Jono: Brilliant.

Nehemia: And by the way, this isn’t just some peripheral idea. This actually appears in the traditional… and this is tradition, but it actually appears in the traditional Jewish Passover Seder. They recite this verse in the Passover Seder, and the interpretation in the Passover Seder is this is talking about Laban trying to kill Jacob. Remember when he chased Jacob and tried to overtake him and wanted to kill him? So, this isn’t just some, you know, some rabbi somewhere says; this has actually become an important part of Jewish ritual.

Jono: That’s incredible. So, I’m writing in the little side column there - I’m writing Laban. There it is. Okay, thank you, my friend.

Keith: Wait a minute. You’re telling me you’re adding commentary to the New King James?

Jono: Oh, my goodness. I’m writing all through this thing. You know, I used to treat this book, you know, like it was some sacred thing and I would never, ever write in it. But now, since I’ve been doing Torah Pearls, it’s absolutely covered in scribble.

Keith: Something that’s funny… here’s what’s going to be funny. You know, like 13 generations from now the Great Jono, who will have been a great scribe - they’ll find this manuscript and then they’ll say, “Here it should have said Laban. It’s written right here by the great scribe Jono.” And then this thing will be corrected, because then someone will say, “We’ve got the Jono Codex.” And they’ll add Laban in there, and then they’ll have a Torah. Like we’ll have this digital Torah Pearls where they’ll talk about this and they’ll say, “You should know this. The Great Jono, the scribe Jono, actually knew this was Laban.” And they’ll never mention it was Nehemia who gave us the explanation.

Nehemia: Wait, why isn’t Nehemia mentioned?

Keith: In Australia, it’ll be Jono, it won’t be Nehemia.

Jono: May the kingdom be restored way before then.

Nehemia: Amen. But there’s going to be a whole faction, a whole denomination that says, “There was no J and H and Hebrew, and so it was actually Yono. And then some will say no, it wasn’t Yono it was Yono.

And can we talk about verse 3? Because we skipped over verse 3 and I think it’s a really important verse for a number of reasons.

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: So, first of all, I love this passage that we’re reading because we have here what a lot of Jewish sources refer to as ‘the confession’ - the “Vidui”. This is actually… and I could be wrong, but off the top of my head, I can’t remember any other passage in the Torah where we’re told, “Say these words”. Can you guys think of another passage in the Torah where we’re told, “Say these words”?

Keith: Well, for example, when you do this vow say these words. And she shall say these words when you bring the wife.

Nehemia: Okay. So that’s a special scenario that doesn’t apply to everybody. Whereas this applies...

Jono: Well, there are a couple of special scenarios. Yeah, but this one I guess… because the other one that I thought of is obviously when someone has been murdered and the elders take the...

Nehemia: Essentially every farmer in Israel has to say these words. You know, you’re right. There are situations where there’s a formula we’re told. But this is the confession for all of Israel. Every individual farmer brings his first fruits, and later on we talk about the tithes. So, we’ve got two confessions here, and these are the words they proclaim. I think that’s pretty cool.

Jono: Well, let me read it again because it says... this is what I’ve got in English. “I declare today to Yehovah your God that I have come to the country which Yehovah swore to our fathers to give us.”

Nehemia: So, isn’t that weird? He says “your God” to the priest.

Jono: Yeah, I know. That’s what I thought!

Nehemia: That’s strange but, okay. That’s what he says.

Jono: Well, he’s saying to the priest “Yehovah your God.”

Nehemia: But why wouldn’t you say, “our God”? He says, “our fathers.” He doesn’t say that Yehovah gave to “your fathers.”

Jono: Yeah, I did notice that, but I can’t... I don’t know why.

Nehemia: Me neither. Alright. But anyway, what I think is even more interesting is that they’re specifically commanded to say these words in verse 3. We didn’t read them all, obviously, but verse 5… and then it goes on all the way through verse 10 - basically verses 5 through 10 is the second speech, and then the third speech is in... and I’m looking for it... it ends in verse 15 and it starts in... verses 13 to 15.

So, we’ve got three speeches that they’re actually commanded speak, which I think is pretty cool. And here’s the really interesting thing about them. One of the things that you’re going to hear from some people, that they’ll teach this as a secret teaching, is that God’s holy name is a secret. Only the high priest spoke it in the holy of holies on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The rest of the Jews, they never knew it. It was secret. Keith actually has a very interesting thing in his book, His Hallowed Name Revealed Again, where he quotes Rashi, who’s a 12th Century Rabbinical Bible commentator, and Rashi says that when God said, “This is My name forever”, he actually meant “This is My name to be concealed, to be hidden.” Rashi believed that, from the very beginning, when God revealed His name to Moses, it was a secret. Now… and well, how does he do that? He actually changes the vowels in the word ‘forever’ and he makes it… and he reads it as “to be concealed”. Which isn’t what it says, but you know, the fact that he has to change the vowels tells you that it wasn’t a secret. But, whatever.

Here’s the interesting thing - God tells us to speak these exact words, and this is pretty much unprecedented, for all of Israel to have to speak. What does He tell us to speak? The third word, in Hebrew, is Yehovah. And then again, a second time in the first speech, Yehovah. The people are being told to say this, not the high priest. The priest is standing there listening. And in the second speech, again in verse 7, Yehovah, Yehovah. Verse 8, Yehovah. Verse 10, Yehovah.

Now Keith might shout when I share this next point. I actually sat down… and there are three speeches, remember? Right? So just to review, we’ve got the first speech, which is very short, in verse 3, the second speech is verses 5 through 10, and the third speech is verse 13 to 15. If you look at the three speeches they’re commanded to recite, the name Yehovah appears in these speeches 7 times. Come on, 7 times; the number of completion! He wanted us to speak the name. He wanted us to speak the name according to this amazing number, the number of completion. So that doesn’t that blow your mind? It blows my mind.

Keith: Amazing. That’s why this is so powerful. And I want to say something, Jono, about this book that’s now out that Nehemia has written. It’s a really amazing thing. And I know he knows this and I think most people probably sort of casually know this, but I want to say how significant it is that, okay, it’s one thing for the Methodist to learn the information and go through the process and share this information with people. But to have Nehemia, who traditionally comes from a tradition where they would never speak the name. And here this guy comes along and has a chance to interact with these manuscripts, see the name, and then to be able to apply it, in the Priestly Benediction. I just think this book is going to be... it’s groundbreaking. It’s glass shattering. It’s powerful.

Jono: It’s powerful, it’s an awesome book. Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed. And available from Give us the website again?

Nehemia: N-e-h-e-m-i-a, no h at the end, s, wall dot com.

Jono: There it is. Get it there.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Okay. And it goes on to say, “But the Egyptians mistreated us, afflicted us, and laid harsh bondage on us. Then we cried out to Yehovah the God of our fathers, and Yehovah heard our voice and looked on our affliction and our labor and our oppression. And so Yehovah brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror and signs and wonders. And He brought us to this place, which He has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And now...”

Nehemia: Okay, can I stop you there? I love this. This is the classic pattern of a Hebrew speech, or a Hebrew prayer as well. You start off with the historical background - He took us out of Egypt, our father was attacked by the Aramean, by the Aramaic people, and we had to go down to Egypt, and in Egypt we became great. Then the Egyptians oppressed us and... it’s the historical background.

And then you know, the transition between the historical background… what I’m really trying to say is, “and now.” Check it out. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, when people pray, they’ll give this whole long background and introduction. Then when they actually get to what they’re asking for “and now” “ve’ata”, and what’s interesting is you actually find this in ancient Hebrew inscriptions that they’ve uncovered in archeological excavations. You’ll see the same exact thing. They’ll be writing a letter to a governor and they’ll give a whole background and then they’ll say “ve’ata”, and now, here’s what I really want... here’s the bottom line of what this is about. Everything up till now was the introduction, was the historical background. And now…

Keith: And this is why we know Nehemia is a legitimate Israelite - because he’ll give you the entire background and then he’ll say, “and now...”

Nehemia: And now, in two words.

Keith: It might be 30 minutes later, ladies and gentlemen, but you’ve got the background. This is what we love about Torah Pearls.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: “And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land which you, Yehovah, have given me. Then you shall set it before Yehovah your God, and worship there before Yehovah your God. So you shall rejoice in every good thing which Yehovah your God has given to you and your house, and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. And when you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year—the year of tithing—and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before Yehovah your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, I have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, the widow, according to Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor have I used any of it for the dead.’” It says…

Nehemia: Wow.

Jono: “I have obeyed the voice of Yehovah my God, and I have done according to all that You have commanded me. Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless the people Israel and the land which you have given us, just as you swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Nehemia: Could we talk about verse 14? Because that’s really interesting. “I haven’t eaten it in mourning, and I haven’t removed any of it ve’tameh,” which literally means “in uncleanness”. “And I haven’t given any of it to the dead.” So why is he claiming... like, this is a confession. Why is he confessing these things before God?

Jono: I don’t know. When I read that, Keith, the first things that I thought of were verses like Leviticus 19:27, mourning rituals of the Pagans, and I thought maybe there’s just something that they know of that they would do...

Nehemia: Clearly. Right. In other words, this is what we’re being taught to confess here, I think - the things that this was their tradition to do. This is what they would do. They would, you know, take the tithe and say, “Okay, my loved one died. Now I’m going to eat the tithe.” Because that’s what you do with the tithe; you eat it when a loved one died, or you eat it when you’re, you know... something to do with uncleanness. Or you use it for an unclean thing, or you give it to the dead. And think about how, like in some countries to this day they’ll bring, I don’t know, a bowl of rice and put it on the grave of their loved one. You know, this is what they do. They give offerings to the dead, and you must proclaim before Yehovah, “I haven’t done these things”. So instead, what have you done? “I’ve obeyed the voice of Yehovah my God, I did according to all that You commanded me.”

Jono: Okay. So, is there… Keith…

Keith: Let me say, please... can I say something? This verse was actually important for me in this process of understanding tithing because these two words in English are pretty powerful. I’d like for Nehemia to read them also in Hebrew. It says here in verse 12, “You should give it to the Levite, the alien, the fatherless, the widow, so that they may dah, dah, dah, dah.” Hold on one second. You guys, I’ve got to tell you something. My eyes are getting... I don’t know if it’s Torah Pearls or what it is, but I can hardly see.

Nehemia: It’s the New York air!

Keith: Okay. So, it says… I want you to read this.

Nehemia: This is time for us to pray. We must pray at this point; it’s talking about how Keith has scales on his eyes and can’t see. Now is the time...

Keith: Okay, go ahead.

Nehemia: Now you, Keith, must lead some prayers that God opens your eyes.

Keith: Okay? Yes. May Yehovah open my eyes that I can see the Bible and the wonderful hidden things in the Torah. We do thank you Yehovah, that You are good, and You do help us to see. And this is such powerful and important information. We want to see it to be able to clearly understand it and share it with your people. In Your name, Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: So, can you read verse 12 again?

Jono: Verse 12. It says, “When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless and the widow so that they may eat within your gates and be filled...”

Keith: Go ahead.

Jono: Keep going? “...then you shall say before Yehovah your God, ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house...’”

Keith: Stop there. So, here’s what I want Nehemia to read, because this is important, another in NKJV NIV verse. You said, “I have removed the holy tithe.” Is that right?

Jono: That’s what I said.

Keith: So, mine says, “I have removed from my house the sacred portion.” Nehemia, could you read the Hebrew version?

Nehemia: So, it says, “I have removed the holy thing from the house.”

Keith: The holy thing?

Nehemia: The holy thing.

Keith: So, let me tell you guys, this is really interesting. Now I come from a tradition where you don’t mess... like I said, I’ve said this a thousand times, you know, the Old Testament is of no effect except for tithing. We had to keep that one because, without that one, we’ve got no new churches, we’ve got no, no... who knows? And so, this issue of tithing is a very, very serious, very, very important issue in the Torah. And one of the things about this verse that hit me when I read it anew was the idea that this tithe, it’s holy. This Holy portion, this sacred portion, this holy aspect, this part of what I have been given that, if I set this aside, this becomes a holy thing. It’s sacred.

Nehemia: That’s all the more reason to give it to the church. It’s holy and you shouldn’t have it in your bank account it.

Keith: And let me finish. Let me finish. So, when I learned about this, I thought, “So let me get some understanding of what it means for this thing to be holy.” Well, Jono, everything changes when you look at the tithe from that perspective, and what was actually done with the tithe and what the tithe was for. And I just thought to myself, “Well, wait a minute, so then what qualifies me - if, in fact, this is a person’s legitimate tithe - what qualifies me to be the one that would then take the holy tithe?” Well then there are different things that you do, and so people either have to claim Levitical connection, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But the list goes pretty far. But in the end, let’s just all agree that this aspect of giving was considered holy, and it wasn’t something that was just a casual thing. It’s something that was holy.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Can we actually look at something here? Leviticus Chapter 22, verse 3, and it’s speaking to the priests, “Say to them to their generations, any man who approaches from your seed to the holy things which the children of Israel will sanctify to Yehovah and his uncleanness is upon him, that soul shall be cut off from before me. I am Yehovah.” You know, all those rules and regulations about the, you know, the woman sat in this chair and the man, you know, had to take a shower after... all these things, what they really had to do with were preserving the holiness of the Temple and the holy things.

One of the main holy things that an ancient Israelite would have interacted with was the tithe. From the moment he separates out that 10 percent… remember, it wasn’t a cash society. When they talked about tithing, and it says... you know, you translated it as “increase”. I thought that was a cute little slight of hand in verse 12, “The tithe of your increase.” What it actually says in Hebrew is “the tithe of your produce, of your agricultural produce.” What it’s talking about is that you bring in the wheat from the field and then you set aside 10 percent. Once you do that, once you set aside the 10 percent, that 10 percent becomes sanctified. You’re now actually... it can’t be eaten in a state of ritual impurity. And if we want to be more technical, actually, until water comes upon it, it can’t become ritually unclean. But once water touches it… in other words, you turn it into flour and then you mix that flour with water, no one is allowed to touch that unless they are ritually clean. And if they do - he read it just now in Leviticus 22:3 - that soul is cut off from Israel. That soul is cut off by God. So, it’s a pretty big deal. This is an important thing.

This is what he means, I think, in verse 14. He says, “I did not remove it, impurity,” “ve’tameh”, meaning he didn’t let it come into contact with the ritual impurity from the moment he sanctified it and set it aside. Now what the priest did with it, that’s up to the priest. But he had to maintain this state of ritual purity. Once it’s set aside and then they come into contact with water, that’s something we read about in Leviticus. So, this is actually one of the things that we have to be careful about.

That is, I think, the significance of saying it’s holy. You know, saying it’s holy is not some abstract concept. It’s something that attaches to it all these rules and regulations that we read about in Leviticus and Numbers about ritual purity. And like we said, you know, the chair the woman sits in and all that -that’s what this all has to do with. It has to do with the holy things and the tithe. That’s a holy thing.

Now ask yourself this question. I don’t want you to answer it, but I want the people to think about this. When my rabbi or my priest, my pastor, tells me I’ve got to pay the tithe to the church if I want to be right with God, and if not I’m stealing from the church, does he put that aside and treat that as a holy thing? And does it even make sense? Are those holy dollars now? I mean obviously not, because when we’re talking about tithe and scripture, that’s agricultural produce or it’s animals as we also read about Leviticus, I think it was 27, you know, the newborn animals, 10 percent. But what we’re talking about, the main tithe that we’re dealing with is the agricultural produce. Well, we’re talking about 10 percent of your money. We’re talking about 10 percent of the crop that you brought in from your field.

Jono: And it belongs to God.

Nehemia: It belongs to God; you’ve got to give it to the Levite, to the poor and the widow. Then some of it you can bring and take and eat it at the chosen place at Jerusalem on the feast. So, there are different things you can do with it, but it belongs to God, and how you consume it is something you have to be careful about.

Jono: So, it really seems this message is echoed also in Malachi 3, right? Can I read this? This is from 8 to 10. “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me. But you say, ‘in what way have we robbed you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me. Even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be food in My house and now try Me in this, says Yehovah of hosts, if I will not open to you the windows of heaven, and pour out for you such a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.”

Nehemia: Can we talk about something in verse 12, which I think probably most people would not even have an issue with? So, it talks here about when you remove the tithe of your produce, or really of your crops in the third year, the year of the tithe. Well, what’s that about? Third year, the year of the tithe? Well, remember we read earlier in Deuteronomy that in the third year, instead of using it to go on the pilgrimage, the third year you actually give it to the poor and to the Levite. You have, essentially, some people would say it’s the third and sixth year of the sabbatical cycle and the seventh year it doesn’t really count in that. And then after the sabbatical cycle, the sabbatical year, the “shmita”, then you start counting another three years.

But anyway, the third year... what’s interesting is that… you know, there’s a lot of people who will point to the Septuagint. The Septuagint is the ancient Greek translation of the Torah. Now according to tradition, the Septuagint was translated around 250 BC, so some people point to it and say, “Hey look, this is the oldest version of the Bible that we have - 250 BC.”

They’re missing two points though. One is that it’s a translation; it’s not the original. And number two is that we don’t have a copy from 250 BC. We have a copy, we have a number of copies, from around 300 AD or 300 CE, which is 550 years after it was translated, and a lot of things changed over that 550 years.

One of the major things that changed... we can see this from the Dead Sea scrolls, is that one of the major things that changed is the name of God was taken out of it. The original Septuagint had Yud-Hey-Vav-Hey written in Paleo Hebrew letters in the Greek text. But that’s a different discussion. One of the interesting things you can see in the Septuagint is it clearly has undergone some kind of a revision at the hands of Pharisees; of Rabbinical Jews. One of the places you see this clearest is in Deuteronomy 26:12. It’s also an example of how the people who translated it, or in this case maybe revised it, didn’t even read Hebrew well. They didn’t really understand what they were reading.

So here, let me read, literally translate what it says in the beginning of the verse. Here it says, “When you finish to tithe all the tithe of your produce,” that is to set off 10 percent, “in the third year, the year of the tithe.” Now, do you guys have something fundamentally different than that? Is there something... maybe you have the word ‘increase’ instead of... that’s basically what it says in translation.

Okay. So, in the Septuagint, instead of the “year of the tithe”, it translates it as “the second tithe”. Now, where did they get that? Where they got that was Pharisee law, from rabbinical law, that said there are two tithes. Every year 10 percent goes to the Levite, the second 10 percent, from 11 to 20 percent, that goes in years one and two for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year. Then the third year, the second tithe goes to the poor and the widow and the Levite, who now is getting 20 percent for some reason. But this is what the rabbis say. The Septuagint actually translated it that way- it said in the third year, the “second tithe” instead of the “year of the tithe”.

Now how did they do that? Where did they get that? They misunderstood what it said in Hebrew. They were obviously reading a text that didn’t have vowels in it, and in their text it said, the word for ‘year of’ is “shnat”. They read that word as “shaynit”“shaynit ha’maahser”, the second of the tithe. Which isn’t even real Hebrew. I mean, that’s like bad Hebrew. But whatever. They obviously misread it as the “second tithe” to fit their preconceived notions of what it was supposed to mean. So, here’s an example of an outright mistranslation in the Septuagint.

The Septuagint is a very interesting source; it’s ancient, it goes back to 300 CE. By the way, the only copies that we have that are complete are from Christian hands, and they actually... you will generally only find it together with the New Testament, and it’s obviously undergone some significant revisions. Here is actually something that goes back to an earlier phase before the Christian period, when we’re obviously dealing with Pharisees, who believe in the first tithe and the second tithe. They’re actually inserting that into the text by misreading the word in Hebrew.

Jono: Can I ask you guys a personal question? Feel free, we don’t have to discuss this. But I mean, when it comes to tithing, it can be a confusing topic. In layman’s terms, in a nutshell, can I ask you guys, what do you do? What do you do with your tithes? What do you do?

Keith: Well, let me say this for myself, I’ve learned that actually, it’s all His. It’s impossible for me, at least at this point I don’t have the ability to actually tithe according to the Tanach standard of tithing. I do have a chance, however, to give and to contribute and share the resources that I’ve been given. Because I say it’s all His. But do I give? Absolutely. Do I share? Absolutely. I just don’t… I tend not to take the 10 percent route.

Nehemia: You know, I like to look to Jacob earlier in the Torah. He actually says to God, “I’m going to give you 10 percent of everything I have.” Now, that wasn’t a commandment. That was something that he took upon himself. And if you think about it, there’s this concept in Judaism - and I was actually talking about this with someone recently - that the greater the temptation and the challenge, the greater the reward.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: If there’s no temptation then big deal, no reward. And we actually talk about angels. This is obviously not exactly biblical. But in Judaism, we talk about how the angels have no temptation and so there’s no reward for angels. But humans - we’re tempted, and so God rewards us for that temptation. And that’s how I kind of look at the whole issue of giving. If I have no choice to give, big deal that you give. Whereas if you’ve got to decide for yourself what to give, then I think there’s more reward involved, and I do think that the tithe is a great model if you want to follow that.

Like I said, Jacob did that before the Torah was commanded. He decided out of his own volition he was going to give 10 percent to God. So, you know, somebody who says, “Well, you can’t give a tithe because we don’t have a temple,” you might not be giving the temple tithe, but you can give 20 percent if you want. You know, you can give it. It’s up to you.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: I think a really powerful couple of verses in Proverbs Chapter 21 verses 13 to 14… now, this is mistranslated. Let me read you the King James version. The first verse isn’t really a problem with the translation but the second is. It says, “Who so stoppeth his ear at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself but shall not be heard.” That’s pretty self-explanatory, and that’s a powerful thing. Think about that. If you hear someone crying out... let me read you the JPS; “Who stops his ear at the cry of the wretched, he too will call and not be answered.” That’s actually the biblical concept of “midah ke’negged midah” or the reciprocal justice. If you ignore your fellow human being when he calls out to you for help, how can you expect God to answer you? God’s going to treat you the way you treat others. And then it says in verse 14… let me read you the New King James. Well, you read us the New King James, verse 14.

Jono: “A gift in secret pacifies anger and a bribe behind the back strong wrath.”

Nehemia: So that’s a bad thing, isn’t it? That’s not a good thing. We’re talking about bribes, right? But then let me read you the Jewish translation, the JPS. It says, “A gift in secret subdues anger, a present in private fierce rage.” Now we just talked about how, if somebody calls out to you and you don’t help them out, God’s going to ignore you when you call, call on him. And in that context, the Jewish understanding here is a gift in secret subdues anger, meaning that person who calls out to you, you’re not saying, “Hey, I gave the poor guy money! Look how wonderful I am!” No, you give it in secret and that may subdue Yehovah’s anger.

You know, if you give in public and you say, “Look, I’m very righteous, I’ve given my tithe. Look how holy I am,” then you’ve gotten your reward. People have looked at you and admired you, but if you give in secret and nobody even knows that you’ve given, that has the potential for Yehovah to look at that and say, “Okay, I’ve been angry at him because he has sinned, but now he’s done something worthy.” So, you asked, what do I give, Jono, and I’m going to try to follow this verse. Whatever I give, that’s between me and my Creator. If I brag about it then I’ve already received my reward.

Keith: Right.

Jono: Fair enough.

Keith: I could swear Nehemia’s reading the New Testament, again. I’m telling you...

Nehemia: What are you talking about?! I’m reading from the Proverbs…

Keith: I think you’re going to be reading in the New Testament and he’s looking at the application.

Nehemia: Maybe your guy in the New Testament read the same verse in Proverbs as I just did. Is that possible?

Keith: Okay. It’s possible.

Jono: That’s possible. That’s certainly possible.

Nehemia: Except he wasn’t reading the New King James version. This is what we know. He was reading the Hebrew.

Jono: Chapter 26 verse 15, “Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as You swore to our fathers, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Keith: You know, I want to say this. This is the thing I get. When I see verses like this… okay, I’m going to bring up my little shtick again about Moses. You know he’s preaching. And you talk about preaching when he does something like this. Whenever you preach and you can give a word picture, it’s very, very powerful. And this word picture is the holy habitation. Look down from the holy habitation. In other words, whatever you want to say regarding your view of what God looks like, does not have form, whatever image you have in your mind, and people have different images. But what’s so powerful about it is this idea of Moses saying that he looks down and he looks down from someplace. Where is this place? The holy habitation.

Excuse me, I don’t drink coffee, but I’m drinking my green drink. Let me give you a quick commercial for my green drink. You know, every morning I try, almost every morning, especially before Torah Pearls, I use my Vitamix and I mix it up with some spinach and some great protein and stuff like that. So, I had a little bit of a green drink burp. But anyway, back to what I was saying.

Jono: Wait a minute, you can’t just do the green drink thing and then keep going. What exactly is in the green drink, Keith? C’mon.

Keith: It’s got spinach in it and protein and fruit. And it’s the most energizing thing for me in the morning. Before I do Torah Pearls, I drink spinach drink.

Jono: There it is. You know what? That’s funny Keith, because it’s morning there for you and you’re having your spinach drink for breakfast. Over here, it’s late in the evening. And for dinner, you know what I had? I had spinach soup.

Keith: There it is. Popeye, the sailor man! So, we have our spinach and Nehemia has...

Nehemia: Coffee.

Keith: So, let’s just use the image for a second. Let’s just think of the image for a minute that the Creator of the universe has got a holy habitation, and from that holy habitation, every once in awhile He takes a peek. In other words, He looks over and says, “Okay, oh there’s My people down there. Oh, they’re doing what? I think I’ll bless them.” Up, down low, whether he’s down lower than Australia or higher than North America or whatever dimension, this holy habitation, and just the thought that He would look upon us, and we see this many times in scripture, but this picture here - I mean Moses is really... the beads of sweat are definitely fallen off of his forehead when he’s preaching this. Because he’s giving a powerful word picture of the Creator of the universe actually looking in on human affairs. I just, I don’t know. It’s awesome.

Jono: Amen. Most certainly.

Nehemia: If we’re going to talk about the word picture, can I get all philosophical on this?

Keith: That would be awesome.

Nehemia: So, does God literally live up in heaven and sit on a chair and look down? Like, is He up there in the sky? Like...

Keith: Ladies and Gentlemen, this is why Moses, if he’s preaching this right now, Nehemia’s saying “Wait, Moses! Hold it just a second!”

Nehemia: Are we supposed to take this literally?

Keith: Are we supposed to take this literally?

Nehemia: This is the question; are we supposed to take this literally?

Jono: Well, it depends on what you mean... are we talking about the atmosphere or are we talking about the grander heavens and the stars and so on and so forth? Are we talking beyond that? Because we don’t know what’s beyond that. How can we say?

Keith: I have an idea. I have an idea. Let’s do something. Nehemia, let’s do something right now. Moses, stop the sermon for a second! Jono, read it in the New King James version. Give the people the verse. The actual verse about the holy habitation. Read the verse, what the verse number is.

Jono: 26:15

Keith: 26:15, now read it in the New King James version, that verse.

Jono: There it is. It says, “Look down from your holy habitation from heaven and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us.”

Keith: Okay, hold on...

Nehemia: Is that what you’ve got Keith?

Keith: Let me read that. I’m conducting this one now. This is the NIV now. “Look down from heaven, Your holy dwelling place, and bless your people Israel and the land You’ve given to us as Your promised oath to our forefathers.” Now Nehemia gets to read. Now he stopped the sermon for a second, ladies and gentlemen, but Moses is getting ready to do his thing. He’s about to give his application. Nehemia says, “Excuse me, Moses. Can I read from the Hebrew?” Read from the Hebrew, Nehemia, that verse!

Nehemia: “Hashkipha memeon kodshecha min hashamayim u’varech et amecha et-yisrael ve’et ha’adama sheh’natata lanu, ka’asher nishvaata la’avoteinu, eretz zavat chalav o’dvash.” Interestingly enough, it doesn’t have the word “down.” I might be splitting hairs here, but it doesn’t have the word down. In Hebrew, it just says, “Look from your holy habitation from the heavens and bless Your people, Israel and the land which You gave us.”

Keith: Here’s my point; throughout Scripture...

Wait, before you give your point. Nehemia, before you give your point. I’m sorry. You’re going to get your point across. That’s cool. Let’s just agree on one thing, though. Moses himself is talking about... the picture is of a place, and the fact that Yehovah is looking. So now you can go ahead and do your philosophical things.

Nehemia: Absolutely. So, the point I want to get to is that, throughout Scripture, it uses what are called anthropomorphisms. Which is, that it describes the Creator of the universe as one of His creations. And why does it do that? Because we can’t comprehend something that’s beyond creation. We literally can’t comprehend it. I mean, think about the idea of… when did God come into being? When did Yehovah come into being?

Jono: Yeah, you’re right. The concept of never having a beginning is beyond our comprehension. That’s exactly right.

Nehemia: So, it describes for us in terms that we can understand, and I think that’s the significance of it talking about God being up in the sky. Well, obviously He’s not up in the sky. We’ve sent ships to the moon… allegedly… and we’ve sent ships to the moon...

Keith: You’re kidding me.

Jono: You’re joking right?

Nehemia: No, no, I am joking, but I have some very close friends who I dearly love who will tell you - they’ll swear on a stack of bibles - that it was a grand conspiracy. Actually… look, let me tell a really cute little side story. So Keith and I mention in our book A Prayer to Our Father: The Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer, we actually talk about… Keith came up with this, I gotta give him credit, it was pretty cool - how the first man ever to speak the name Yah, which is the poetic form of Yehovah, the first one ever to speak in outer space was, at least that’s recorded, that we know of, was a man on the 1969 mission to the moon. His two friends went down to the moon and he got left behind. So, no one has ever even heard of him. His name is… I don’t even remember his name.

Keith: Michael Collins.

Nehemia: Michael Collins is the first man in history ever to speak the name of the Creator in space that we know of. So, he should be more famous than Neil Armstrong, who was the first one to step on the moon. Big deal, you stepped on the moon. Michael Collins is the one who proclaimed the name in outer space. He said, “Halleluyah. Praise Yah,” he said, and it’s recorded. So I remember we wrote about this in the book A Prayer to Our Father, and I asked this very famous Hebrew roots teacher if he would read the book and give the feedback before we published it, and he said to me, he turned to me, I remember this. He said, “Nehemia, you can’t write this about Michael Collins. You’ll look so naive.” I’m like, “What do you mean?” And he’s telling me how, like, the moon landing didn’t happen; it was done in a studio.

But leaving that aside, what I think we all agree, even the conspiracy theorists among us… and look, there are legitimate conspiracies out there, such as Shattering the Conspiracy of Silence: The Hebrew Power of the Priestly Blessing Unleashed. I actually have documentation for that conspiracy; it’s in the Talmud. Anyway, but leaving that aside, everyone agrees… I hope they all agree, that we have at least gone into space. We’ve got the international space station and all that stuff going on. And nobody up there in the International Space Station that I know of came across this old man with a white beard sitting on a throne when they were up there in heaven, as far as we know...

Keith: He’s got a beard like Jono, what are you talking about?

Nehemia: It’s the greatest conspiracy of all time because maybe they actually did meet him up there and they’re not telling us. But assuming that’s not the case, I think what we have to accept is that there are these anthropomorphisms that are, essentially, word pictures. Exactly what Keith said, describing Yehovah the way we would describe a human king as sitting on the throne and surrounded by the courtiers. I don’t think we have to say that literally is the case, and I think another concept to look at, and this is way back in the first Torah Pearls we ever did, Genesis chapter 1… I don’t remember if we talked about this, how we have the heavens being created in verse 1 of chapter 1 of Genesis. Genesis 1:1 in the beginning, “Elohim created,” God created, “the shamayim” the heavens and the earth.

Again, if we keep following the story, we see in verses 7 and 8 God creates on the second day; he creates the heavens again. So, what is that? What’s going on there? The answer is that there’s the physical heavens and there is the spiritual realm that we also call the heavens. And why is the spiritual realm also called ‘the heavens’? Because we really can’t comprehend what it really is, and so He’s explaining to us in human terms. Does that make any sense? Like when it talks about the hand of God; it’s not that God literally has a hand that He raises up. But that’s a metaphor. It’s a symbol. It’s a word picture.

Keith: Let’s do this Jono – let me let the folks know this. Hey folks, we’ve had a technical issue here. I’m just going to let the people know about the mastery...

Nehemia: No, it’s a secret!

Keith: No, it’s not a secret.

Nehemia: You’re violating the terms of the conspiracy of silence!

Keith: I’ve got to let the people know, we were doing Torah Pearls, and halfway through everything was going great. So we thought. Except that the Australian internet was not working that well, and so we weren’t coming across so well. Though Nehemia and I could hear each other…

Nehemia: I actually have a newsflash that I think even Jono doesn’t know. I just read about this on a news website. It said they discovered that there’s one cable that brings all the internet into Australia, and they found that a kangaroo was chewing on it and that’s why we stopped recording yesterday’s Torah Pearls and resumed it today.

Jono: That’s the problem.

Nehemia: It was the kangaroo chewing on the cable.

Keith: So anyway, we’ve had a break, and anytime we have a break, and we do this often, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll have a break for Nehemia to go to the bathroom, to get coffee, to check the neighbors… but usually it gives me a chance to think about things a little bit more. So overnight, I was thinking about our Torah Pearls that we’re doing, and this morning, you know, as we’re thinking about this... I’m in such a slap-happy mood. I’d like to leave the farm for a second on this issue of the Creator of the universe, because I think Moses might’ve studied word pictures in the Hebrew language. I’m convinced of it, you know, the Aleph, the Bet, the Gimel, the Tav, and so when Nehemia brought up Genesis chapter 1 verse 6, and I’m really going to leave the farm on this...

Nehemia: You’re not going to bring up the Alef and the Tav thing, are you?

Keith: No, I’m going to bring up something better than that.

Nehemia: You agreed you wouldn’t talk about that.

Keith: No, no, this one’s better than that. So, what’s this idea of heaven? So, if we look at the idea of heaven, there’s the word shamayim. Can you say shamayim?

Jono: Shamayim.

Nehemia: Shamayim.

Keith: Okay, so mayim means what, basically, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Water.

Keith: Water. And the Shin represents in word pictures what, Nehemia? What I’m going to make you play.

Nehemia: Tooth.

Keith: Tooth. So, here’s what happened, Jono. The tooth destroyed the waters in Genesis chapter 1 verse 6, and it says, “He separated the water under the expanse from the water above it.” So, we’ve separated the water from the water. The destruction of the water, the tooth destroying the water made the heavens. So, we’ve got the Creator of the universe somewhere in an expanse beyond anything that we can see in a different dimension up in heaven looking down at the people. And this is what Moses was thinking when he was saying this. Whatever the dimension is, it’s something that was created a long, long time ago, but he’s definitely got a house. Amen? And that’s as far as I’m going to go.

Nehemia: I’m so confused.

Keith: The people who understand word pictures know what I’m talking about.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: Whatever.

Keith: Let’s get back to the sermon.

Jono: G’day to everyone who understands word pictures.

Keith: Okay, let’s go.

Jono: There’s no end to that. Okay, now we’re moving on. We’re in verse 16. “This day, Yehovah your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments. Therefore, you shall be careful to observe them with all of your heart and all of soul. Today you have proclaimed Yehovah to be your God and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes and His commandments and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also, today Yehovah has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all of His commandments and that He will set you high above all nations, which He has made in praise, in name, in...”

How’s this? Hang on, let me read that again. “He will set you high above all the nations which He has made in praise, in name and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to Yehovah your God just as he has spoken.”

Keith: Wait so…oh boy. Oh boy. Doggone it. We’re going to have to do another little battle here, a translation battle. So, one more time, if you can say verse 19. It says, “He has declared that He will set you in praise,” and what did you say?

Jono: In name, in “shem” I suppose that is. Is that right?

Nehemia: What verse are you in?

Jono: This is 19, verse 19. This is the last verse of Chapter 26.

Keith: This is huge. He’s on a roll right now.

Jono: “In praise, in name, and in honor, then you may be a holy people to Yehovah your God just as He has spoken.”

Keith: Well, the NIV didn’t feel so comfortable with that.

Jono: What did the NIV say?

Keith: The NIV didn’t feel so comfortable, because this is actually really kind of a cool thing here. It says, “He has declared that He will set you in praise, fame, and honor”. And so, you’re supposed to get the idea that name and fame are connected. If you have a great name, you have great fame.

Nehemia: They rhyme.

Keith: No, no. It’s not just rhyme. It’s the idea is, you know, what makes a person...

Nehemia: Well, no. So look, there’s no question that a person’s name, even in English, also means their reputation.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: The literal concept is there. Why? Why? What does it mean, the reputation? Well, I associate with that name that this is, I don’t know, this is a tough guy, or this is a nice guy. You know, whenever I hear people talk about Keith, I hear them say this is a man who is filled with the spirit. So, Keith’s reputation is a man who is filled with the spirit, and so it obviously literally has to do with name, but also, it’s more than just name. I think that’s the case here too - that the name of Israel is more than just the name of Israel. It’s the reputation of Israel. Even when we talk about the name of Yehovah, many times when it talks about that, it also means His reputation, what He’s known for. But how can you have His reputation if you don’t even speak His name, you know? How could we talk about the reputation of Israel if we’re forbidden from saying the name Israel? Shh, must not speak that name.

Keith: So, I gotta bring a little history here. And not little history, this issue still is something that’s so amazing. You guys, I’m still in New York and by the time you guys hear this, I will not be in New York. By then, who knows where I’ll be, but while we’re working on this, I’m in New York. And so, one of the things that I’ve been really excited about is to see the way that the work that’s been done over these last 10 years, at least since I’ve known Nehemia, and its progression Jono, is really, really, really quite powerful. There’s no way that Nehemia or I would have known 10 years ago, four years ago, three years ago, two years ago, or even now, the many connections in ways that the power of Yehovah’s name is making such inroads to places that we would have not thought 10 years ago. Certainly, when I came to Israel. And I’m here in New York and I’m just seeing the significance of this and why all of this is coming together, and I think the more that we continue to do what we’re doing by sharing this information regarding His name and people getting a hold of it, they’re just going to be able to walk in a new dimension. If I can use this word of both authority and of blessing, as they understand the power of the fame of His name.

Jono: Let me just confirm once again, what is the word that’s used for name there?

Nehemia: Shem.

Jono: It is shem, okay.

Nehemia: Just like, just like the name of Noah’s son, Shem, Cham and Japheth. So, Shem - his name actually meant name. That’s actually where we get the word Semitic. You know, we’re talking about an anti-Semite. So, the word Semitic is somebody... they were looking at the lists of genealogies in Genesis 10 and 11, and they saw that the Israelites descend from a man named Shem, from the son of Noah. So, they refer to the Jews euphemistically as Semites, or more specifically than that.

But in fact, the term anti-Semite actually started out as a clean word. That was a nice way of saying Jew hater. You know, it wasn’t nice to be a Jew hater in Germany in the 19th Century, but to be an anti-Semite, that was a respectable thing in Germany in the 19th century. And we see where that led to.

Hey, can we talk about this phrase that we keep seeing over and over and we didn’t talk about it? It’s verse 16. It says, “And you shall diligently do them with all your heart and all your soul,” and we haven’t really talked about that and it’s a pretty cool phrase. We saw it in the Shema, where he talks about keeping the commandments with all your heart and all your soul and then all of your maod, and Keith has a whole teaching on that.

But that’s something I do want to bring up here, which is that it talks about us serving Yehovah with all our heart, all our soul. I don’t know the exact number of times, but it’s got to be at least a dozen. Numerous times it talks about it. I’ll just throw out some verses just show off my little computer search program. Deuteronomy 4:29, Deuteronomy 6:5, Deuteronomy 10:12, Deuteronomy 11:13. Let’s get past Deuteronomy because there are other places. Joshua 22:5, Joshua 23:14, One Kings Chapter 2 verse 4, One Kings 8:48. I mean there are numerous times it talks about serving Yehovah with all your heart and all your soul. What’s interesting is there’s only one place in the entire Bible where it talks about Yehovah doing something with all of His heart and His soul.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: The one time it ever talks about Yehovah doing something with all of His heart and His soul is Jeremiah 32:41. It talks about Yehovah bringing the scattered tribes of Israel back to the land. He says, “And I will delight in treating them graciously and I will plant them in this land faithfully with all My heart and all My soul,” is what it says in the Hebrew. It’s the only thing Yehovah ever says that He will do with all His heart and all His soul, is to bring Israel back to the land and plant them with all of His heart and all of His soul. He actually did that to me - not in some theoretical fuzzy way - He did that. He planted me in this land with all of His heart and all of His soul, and I feel that every day that I get to live here, that I’m blessed with that, but the reason I want to talk about today is I’m sitting here in Jerusalem. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to get on a plane and I’m going to fly to the United States, going back into the exile. But I will be back here just as General MacArthur said, “I’ll be back.” Oh wait, maybe that was the Governor of California. I don’t know, somebody said, “I’ll be back”. Whatever. Anyway, I’ll be back. I will be back here because this is the place Yehovah wants me to be as the place He planted me with all His heart and his soul, and I shall return.

Jono: Nehemia, you brought the verse, and I’ve just got to elaborate on that if I may. From verse, I have to read it, verse Jeremiah 32:37 and on. “Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and great wrath; I will bring them back to this place. I will cause them to dwell safely. They shall be My people and I will be their God. Then I will give them one heart and one way that they may fear Me forever. For the good of them and their children after them. And I will make an everlasting covenant with them that I may not turn away from doing them good, but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Yes, I will rejoice over them to do good and I will assuredly plant them in this land with all My heart and My soul.” There it is.

Chapter 27, however, in Deuteronomy, is where we’re up to. That’s where we are. We’re actually at the Torah portion and it says, “Moses with the elders of Israel commanded the people saying, ‘Keep all the commandments which I command you today and it shall be on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which Yehovah your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones and whitewash them with lime. You should write on them all the words of this law when you have crossed over that you may enter the land, which Yehovah your God is giving you, a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Keith: Jono are you serious? This has got to be a word picture, right? Like, he can’t be for real about this.

Jono: This actually happened, right?

Nehemia: Mhm, we found the altar.

Jono: We found the altar, but did we find the stones that were whitewashed?

Nehemia: We didn’t find the stones, and that’s a really interesting point. I believe they’re there somewhere, but no one’s actually looked for them.

Jono: You know, Yoel and I were talking about this because, you know, they’re set up. And at the time it says, ‘and they’re still there today’. And so on, and so forth. I said, “Do we know where they are?” He said, “No, we really don’t.” And of course, they’re by the river as far as we understand. In fact, I believe the stones came out of...

Nehemia: They’re next to the altar. The stones by the river is a different story. This is the one where these are set up next to the altar, on Mount Eval.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: Yeah, verse 4. I jumped ahead, but verse 4 says, “It shall come to pass when you cross the Jordan you shall set up these stones, which I command you today in Mount Eval. And you shall plaster them with plaster,” or however you translated that. So, these plaster-covered stones with writing on them, these have got to be somewhere on Mount Eval. The problem is, no one has actually done a systematic excavation of Mount Eval. What they did was an archeological survey. A survey is when you walk across the ground and just look for things that are on the surface. Then if you find an interesting feature, then you might go and excavate it, and so that’s how they ended up finding the altar at Mount Eval. They found this really big pile of stones and they excavated the pile of stones and found the altar underneath, but most of Mount Eval has not been excavated. It’s just been surveyed.

Jono: Besides that, they’d been whitewashed, and I assume after they are whitewashed, they are written upon, right? Or how?

Nehemia: Right, that’s what it says.

Jono: How was it written? What is the process by which it would be written?

Nehemia: Oh, and they’ve actually found inscriptions like this from this period, just not this inscription. And they found writings from around this period where people wrote... they’d take plaster - whitewash, but really its plaster – they’d take plaster, plaster over the stone to make a smooth surface, because stones aren’t smooth, and then while the plaster is still wet they write with ink on the plaster and it really... the plaster absorbs the ink.

Jono: So, in a sense, they tattoo the plaster, and yeah, it absorbs the ink. So...

Nehemia: It’s basically like a permanent writing; inscriptions from this period, like the inscription about Balaam, was written in this exact way. It was found actually in Transjordan, written in Aramaic, but it was from roughly this period, the inscription about Balaam, and it survived. It didn’t survive completely intact, but a lot of it survived. If we found these, maybe they would be damaged, but there has to be something remaining unless somebody systematically went to destroy it. But I find that hard to believe. I bet it’s there somewhere underneath a pile of rocks or something.

Jono: Are you suggesting... I’m just trying to picture this... that a rock that’s been plastered and ink has been applied to it… I mean, after thousands of years, wouldn’t the plaster eventually wear in the weather and all of that be gone?

Nehemia: Sure. So, it’s not going to be... it may not be completely intact, but there’s got to be something there. The reason this is important is this is a copy of the Torah written by Joshua. There really is no document unless we found the one written by... now the one written by Moshe was written on, you know, Moses, was written on parchment, presumably, or papyrus. So that definitely hasn’t survived. I mean, there’s no way something could survive from that long ago in Israel. In Egypt it might, but not in Israel. But something written on plaster? Something of it should have survived. It might not be completely intact, but there’s got to be remnants of it somewhere on Mount Eval.

The problem is quite literally nobody has actually gone out and looked for that. The reason is that most Bible scholars and archeologists look at this and they say, “Oh, this is a fairytale. We don’t take this seriously,” and so they don’t have to look for it. In fact, when they found the altar on Mount Eval, there were some archeologists who said, “Well, wait a minute, that fits the Bible. That can’t be true. We know that can’t be true because we don’t believe the Bible. No, it’s a bunch of fairy tales. Like King Arthur.” This is what many of the archeologists and Bible scholars in the university say, and so there are some to this day who hear about the Mount Eval altar and they’re like, well, we can’t pay any attention to that. That can’t be real. And they come up with all kinds of excuses of why they want to ignore it when it’s pretty strong evidence. So, nobody’s actually looked for this as far as I know. Even if they look for it, it was only in the form of like a survey, meaning they’ve walked across the ground and if they found something they said, “Okay, let’s look at that closer.” But this might be under a pile of rock somewhere. It could be in a cave somewhere. Who knows where it is?

Jono: “And there you shall build an altar to Yehovah your God, an altar of stones” where Nehemia and Yoel went and Nehemia proclaimed the name of Joshua’s altar, “and you shall not use an iron tool on them. You shall build with whole stones the altar of Yehovah your God and offer burnt offerings on it to Yehovah your God. You shall offer peace offerings and you shall eat there and rejoice before Yehovah your God. And you shall write very plainly on the stones all the words of this law. Then Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke toward Israel saying, ‘Take heed and listen, O Israel, this day you have become the people of Yehovah your God. Therefore, you shall obey His voice, the voice of Yehovah your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes, which I command you today.’”

Now here we go. This is where the curses are pronounced. “Moses commanded the people on that same day saying, ‘These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless all the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin. And all these shall stand on Mount Eval to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naftali. And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all the men of Israel...” And here it is...

Keith: Hold on. Before you do this... so if we were to ask this question, is there any rhyme or reason for why the tribes that were selected were selected? Is there anything that happened in the history that would make them... not even that it matters. One standing on one mountain, one is standing on another mountain, but I could see this would be one of these great situations that if I had the time, I would sit here and go through and say, “Okay, well here’s why Reuben was selected to be on Mount Eval and here’s why Judah was selected to be on Mount...”

I’m sorry. You know, it’s really weird. I’m sitting here reading this... yeah, Mount Gerizim... and as I was thinking about this, not just so much the selection of the tribes, but just the physical geography of this. And then Nehemia, you were there at Mount Eval, and I’ve got to say this again, this is another plug, Jono. This is really powerful. One of the things that’s so powerful about being in the land is you open up a part of the Scripture, you read it, and then you actually physically get to see how it worked itself out. And for me, the biggest way that this happened, it was obvious when we wrote the book A Prayer to Our Father: The Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer, because we were there looking for these six different places and possibilities of where Yeshua would have taught. And I’ve always got to do my section where I talk Yeshua. Where Yeshua would have taught the Sermon on the Mount, but what was so powerful, and I just have to say this, what was so powerful was to actually look at what the geography itself... how the geography lent towards the ability for him to speak. So, I want to do something just for a second. Nehemia, since you’re our eyes and our ears there, unless it was not really eyes and ears, but you’re our eyes and our ears over there.

Nehemia: Metaphorically speaking.

Keith: So, do us a favor, Nehemia. Just lay it out for the people a little bit, what the geography, topography... how does the land… how would this even work in terms of Mount Eval?

Nehemia: Okay, so there’s this sloping mountain, and when we talk about mountains in Israel, it’s not like the Rocky Mountains - if you’re from Colorado, you’re going to call this a hill. But in Israel, we call this a mountain. So, there’s a mountain called Mount Eval, and it’s just north of Schem, or Nablus. And then to the east of it is another mountain called Mount Gerizim, or Gerazim. Now there’s sort of like a bowl-shaped valley in between. And you can imagine if you have thousands, tens of thousands of people who are shouting, “Cursed is the man who makes an idol, an image,” you know, you’re going to hear it. You’re going to hear it from the other side.

You know, a lot of times they’ll refer to Mount Gerizim as the Mount of Blessing and Mount Eval as the Mount of Curse. But I argue that actually, Mount Gerizim is the Mount of Curse, because they were standing on Eval and speaking the curse onto Mount Gerizim, and vice versa. They were standing on Gerizim speaking the blessing onto Mount Eval, and that’s why the altar was built on Mount Eval -because the blessing was being placed upon Mount Eval from Mount Gerizim. So, it’s actually a misnomer to refer to Gerizim as the Mount of Blessing; that’s where the curse was placed. And you can imagine hundreds of thousands of people on either side of the valley and there’s a little bowl valley and they’re proclaiming this blessing and this curse. It would’ve been a very dramatic experience.

Jono: Powerful.

Keith: That’s amazing. Thanks for doing that. Yeah.

Jono: And this is what they said, “Cursed is the one who makes a carved, molded image, an abomination to Yehovah, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret. And all the people shall answer and say...”

Nehemia: “Amen!”

Jono: Keith, work with me here.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: “Cursed is the one who treats his father, his mother with contempt, and all the people shall say...”

Nehemia: Amen!

Keith: I told the people you came from the charismatic movement.

Jono: Work with me, Keith! Come on! “Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark. And all the people shall say...”

Keith and Nehemia: Amen!

Jono: “Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road. And all the people shall say...”

Keith and Nehemia: Amen!

Jono: “Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless and widow. And all the people shall say...”

Keith and Nehemia: Amen!

Jono: And “Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed. And all the people shall say...”

Keith and Nehemia: Amen!

Jono: “Cursed is the one who lies,” Wow, Nehemia is sounding like a...

Nehemia: I don’t think we should read this next one Jono, because... look, we’ve got two consenting adults, an adult human, and an adult cow. And we don’t want to read this to insult people.

Keith: I’m asking you to edit this one out.

Jono: Because you know there’s some people who were born that way, right? And what are they going to...

Nehemia: Look, they’re born that way, they love each other! Just leave them alone.

Jono: That’s right. I mean, as long as they are consenting. That’s the main thing.

Keith: Wait, we’re talking about an animal here, what are you...?

Nehemia: It’s a consenting animal.

Jono: What’s wrong Keith? It’s natural. Don’t you keep up with the latest... I think we just crossed the boundary.

Nehemia: There are some people who enjoy that. They’re born that way.

Jono: If we haven’t already crossed the boundary we have by now.

Keith: If I listen to this and this is not edited, there will never be another Torah Pearl. Let’s move on. Now, Number 21. I’ll take over from here. “Cursed is the man who has sexual relations with any animal and all the people say...”

Jono and Nehemia: Amen!

Keith: “Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father and the daughter of his mother. And then all the people shall say...”

Jono: Amen.

Keith: “Cursed is the man who sleeps with his mother-in-law, and all the people shall say...”

Jono and Nehemia: Amen!

Keith: “Cursed is the man who kills his neighbor secretly. Then all the people shall say...”

Jono and Nehemia: Amen.

Keith: “Cursed is the man who accepts a bribe to kill an innocent person. Then all the people shall say...”

Jono: Amen. Amen.

Keith: And then finally it says, “Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this Torah by carrying them out. Then all the people shall say...”

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And what I wanted to say about this is that it’s interesting, because when you’re going through this list, you know, you could go through the list and this might sound a little ridiculous, but you’re going through this list saying, “Well they didn’t bring this up, he didn’t bring this up.” But then the last one says, “Cursed is the one who does not uphold the words of this Torah by carrying it out.” So, does that not encompass everything that you would do that would cause to be cursed within that one line?

Jono: You know what I’m even going to... I’m going to leave the farm again. I’m going to go to Galatians. Let me go to Galatians because I love the way, believe it or not, I love the way that Paul says this. It’s Galatians Chapter 3, verse 10. Is that okay if I do that Keith?

Keith: Sure, absolutely.

Nehemia: Why ask him and not me?

Jono: Is that okay Nehemia?

Nehemia: You already did it. Go ahead.

Jono: This is what it says. Galatians 3, verse 10. I think you’d like this too, Nehemia, for it says, when he quotes and he says, “For as many as are of the works of the law are under a curse: for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.’” You know, there’s a lot of people who are, let’s say, continuing in tradition, who are continuing in law that’s not necessarily written. That’s fair to say, right? And I think this is something that perhaps this is what Paul is emphasizing.

Nehemia: So, let’s analyze Paul, since you brought Paul up. Okay. So, his quote isn’t an exact quote. Are we all in agreement?

Jono: It’s not.

Nehemia: So, he’s interpreting the curse as only applying to those who don’t keep the written Torah. And of course, those who have seen my video, The Hebrew Yeshua Versus the Greek Jesus, or read the book... and those who have read the book know that in Judaism of Paul’s time there was both the written Torah and an oral Torah. So why did Paul think... what about the verse - this isn’t a trick question - what about the verse made him think that it was only the written Torah that Deuteronomy 27:26 was talking about?

Jono: “Cursed is the one who does not conform to all the words of this law by obeying them.” And what he’s quoted, I’ve got as, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

Nehemia: So, the point is… look, it’s a slight paraphrase, but he added the word “written” to exclude the oral law obviously. So why did he do that? In other words, what in this verse told Paul this only applies to the written Torah, not the oral Torah?

And I think the answer is the word “this”. He literally says, “Cursed is the man who does not uphold the words of this Torah to do them.” So, if it had just said the words of Torah, you could say, well that’s the written and the oral Torah, right? But it’s the words of this Torah that is in this book. So, I think he’s essentially elaborating on that by adding the word “written”.

Jono: I think that’s pretty fair because, as I was saying, I mean, when he had it, of course, it wasn’t divided into verses and chapters and so on and so forth.

Nehemia: There were definitely verses, they just weren’t numbered.

Jono: Very interesting that there’s a chapter division here because the very next verse confirms what I think you’re saying Nehemia. And it says, “It shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of Yehovah, your God, to observe carefully all His commandments, which I command you today that Yehovah your God will set you high above the nations of the earth and all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you because you obey the voice of Yehovah your God.”

Keith: And I have to say, you know, it’s interesting. This is a little controversial, but one of the hard things that has continually been a struggle for me is when I’ve been in Israel, and from this 10 years ago is when it really happened, when I kind of had this sort of rose-colored glasses that, you know, everything in Israel would be according to the Torah. I mean, that’s literally what I would think, you know, when I go to Israel, everybody in Israel would understand, because this is the land that He planted them with all their hearts.

Nehemia: May it be soon.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Yeah, may it be soon. But really what we find, both from the government standpoint, practical standpoint, secular Jews, other Jews, Rabbinic, etc., is that many people that are there have actually done the exact opposite of this. That they’ve actually done the opposite of what He’s commanded even in His face. And that’s where Jono, for me, that’s where the struggle comes in because I think, “Okay, you read the Torah portion,” and many people they’ll go to the synagogue, they’ll hear the Torah portion, they can tell us about the Torah portion what it even says. But when it comes to the application and the practice of it, they’d say, “Well, it’s no longer applicable,” or “It’s been misinterpreted,” or “It’s been re-interpreted and we don’t take that as serious as we did.” And I just think, look at that statement, what it says. He says, “If you do this,” it says, “He will set you high above” some of the nations of the earth? No, “all the nations on earth.” And I just think, man, what would it be like and what will it be like when we’re under His reign and we truly are living out exactly what He’s called for us to live out and the blessings are there? There’s not going to be any question about where it comes from or where the source is and that’s why for me, I just want to say what’s happened over here in the United States is there’s been this statement of the Declaration of Independence away from God, and so we don’t need that God anymore. We’ve got another God or other gods, that definitely treat us a lot better, a lot easier, in our life. We can do what we want, when we want, how we want, with who we want. We don’t need all those rules and regulations. You can’t do them anyway. You know what I mean? I don’t know what happens in Australia, but in the United States, we’re so far away from what we said supposedly we wanted to do in the founding of this nation that it’s just... it causes me to want to vomit when I think about where we’ve come as a nation, and I see it every single day. And that’s my soapbox.

Jono: This is what it will be like when it’s restored. “Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out. And Yehovah will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before your face; and they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. And Yehovah will command the blessing on you in your storehouses and in all to which you set your hand He will bless you in the land which Yehovah your God is giving you. Yehovah will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you if you keep the commandments of Yehovah your God and walk in His ways.” If, if, if, if. “Then the people of the earth shall see,” now I love this verse Keith, “Then the people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of Yehovah and they shall be afraid of you and Yehovah will grant you plenty of goods in the fruit of your body.”

Nehemia: You gotta stop. We got to go back to that.

Jono: Okay, verse 10.

Nehemia: “All the peoples of the earth will see that the name of Yehovah is called upon you.” How can that happen? How can we be under that blessing if we have forbidden the name of Yehovah to be spoken?

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: I don’t want to sound like a broken record people, but this is where we’re doing a disservice here. We’re not honoring His name. We’re blotting out his name, which is a curse in Hebraic terms.

Keith: That’s why, again, I want to say, Nehemia, you’re not making that statement in a vacuum. Jono, when we talk about the name, we’re not making it in a vacuum. We’re not just saying you should speak the name. The information that’s out there that’s now available for people - and forget about the issue of the specific pronunciation, because that’s what everyone uses – oh, the specific pronunciation. But the information that is out there just on the importance of His name and what it means for us to walk in His name, to live by His name, to run into His name, to apply His name, to be associated with His name, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I just wish more people would interact with that information. Then all of a sudden, the issue of pronunciation falls in line. It doesn’t become the main issue, the main thing; what becomes the main thing is that He has a name and He’s made that name available to us and there’s enough for us to chew on before we even get to vowels and accents and those sorts of things that really can change people’s lives.

Jono: Amen. Amen. “And Yehovah will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of the ground in the land which Yehovah swore to your fathers to give you. Yehovah will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And Yehovah will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not beneath.”

Nehemia: Now we have to talk about that. Is that meant to be literal? That he will make us the head and not the tail?

Jono: No, I don’t think so.

Nehemia: Okay, then let’s move on.

Jono: Okay, thank you.

Keith: Oh boy.

Jono: You’re not telling me that there’s actually...? Okay, anyway. “If you heed the commandments of Yehovah your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them so you shall not turn aside from the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” Here come the curses Keith; you ready for these? You know what I noticed about this, I mean, that’s all pretty straightforward the first part of Chapter 28, but the curses kind of go on for a bit and it’s interesting that there’s a lot of emphasis there because he wants to drive the point home.

Nehemia: We don’t want to hear the curse. We only want to hear about the blessing.

Jono: It begins like this, “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of Yehovah your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you,” and it’s basically the verse, isn’t it? “Cursed you will be in the city, in the country, in your basket, in your kneading bowl, in the fruit of your body, the produce of your land, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks, cursed. Cursed shall be when you come in and when you go out and Yehovah will send on you cursing, confusion and rebuke in all that you set...” Wow. “Cursing, confusion and rebuke, in all you set your hands to do until you are destroyed, until you, until you perish quickly because of the wickedness of your doings in which you have forsaken me,” he says, “Yehovah will make the plague cling to you until He has consumed you from the land which you are going to possess. Yehovah will strike you with consumption, with fever, inflammation, severe burning, burning fever, and the sword and scorching and mildew. And they shall pursue you until you perish and your heavens, which are overhead, shall be bronze.” Nehemia, “shall be bronze?”

Nehemia: Meaning, there’s not going to be rain. It’s going to be as solid as copper, as bronze. And then as a result the rain isn’t going to come out of it.

Jono: “And as a result, the earth shall be like iron”. So, it’s just rock hard. “And Yehovah will change the rain of your land to powder and dust and from the heavens it shall come down on you until you are destroyed. And Yehovah will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way and you shall flee. And then seven ways before them and you shall become troublesome to all the kingdoms of the Earth. Your carcasses shall be food for all the birds of the air and the beasts of the field. And no one shall frighten them away. Yehovah will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors and scabs and with the itch in which you cannot be healed. Yehovah will strike you with madness and blindness and confusion of heart.”

Nehemia: Can we stop just for a second.

Jono: Yeah, sure.

Nehemia: Okay, so verse 27, the word that in your translation had as “tumors”- and this is kind of like a technical note - that word in Hebrew is the word “apholim”. Every single time this word appears in the Bible, there’s a marginal note that says, don’t read the word “apholim”, read it as “techorim” which also means tumors – “techorim”. So why did they tell us read it as “techorim” rather than “apholim”? Apparently, they were so afraid… it’s not the exact translation, it’s probably smallpox or possibly the boils or the black plague. Maybe both.

So, this was so frightening to them that they were afraid if they even spoke the word, that might bring it on them. So, every time they read this in the Bible, the marginal note of the scribe says, read it “techorim.” And there’s a second example of that. That’s called a euphemism, meaning they didn’t want people to speak this word, and so there’s a marginal... that’s part of what’s called the “Kri and Kativ”. The “Kri” is the instruction in the margin of how to read it. The “Kativ” is the actual way it’s written in Scripture; in the body of the text. Verse 30 is another example. It says, “You will betroth a woman and another man will lay with her,” is the way probably yours is translated. That’s what it says.

Jono: Another man shall lie with her, yeah.

Nehemia: So, okay, so lie with her, lay with her, lie with her, I always get that confused...lay, lie, whatever. So that phrase, “He will lie with her,” is in Hebrew one word, “yishkavena” and that’s in the margin - it says, ‘he will lie with her’. In the body of the text, it says “yishkalena” and that was a word that was so graphic that I won’t even say it now because there might be kids listening. But that’s the graphic way of saying what it’s talking about here in Scripture. Moses had no problem writing that. He was trying to put the fear of - quite literally - the fear of God in people. And they heard this, and they were shocked. But later on, the scribes said, look, if we’re reading this in synagogue, we’ve got to tone down the shock value. We’re going to read it… we’re going to say ‘lie with’ instead of what we really mean.

Jono: Oh, my goodness.

And it goes on about the livestock. And it goes on a bit. I mean, do you want me to read these? Or should we...

Keith: I think this is just my opinion. I’m just going to throw my opinion and we certainly can go through each verse if you’d like. I think one of the things I want to talk about before, if we are going to continue down that road, because we do go for quite a while where he’s talking about the different things that would happen. But I want to back up just for one second and ask you two a question. So, we were reading in chapter 27 and he said they would read these curses and the people would say “Amen” and they would read the curse and the people would say “Amen”. So, where do they shout the blessings and the people say Amen?

Jono: Yeah, that’s a really good question. Why isn’t that there?

Nehemia: I guess maybe it’s kind of assumed.

Keith: Never assume anything. So, here’s what’s interesting is this image is really powerful - Nehemia laid out for us, on one mountain and then the other mountain. But we get to go into this process and I think one of the reasons, and you can say maybe it’s assumed, but I think there is something to the fact that you know, okay, “Blessed will be when you come to the city and blessed in the country, your fruit of your womb will be blessed”. And later in chapter 28 it goes on the same thing about the curse, so there’s the parallel to that. But I think there’s got to be something to this about the fact that we really want you to understand what it means if in fact you make these choices opposite of Torah. And I mean, look, we’re talking about verse after verse, verse after verse after verse after verse after verse after verse really, really clearly now. So, imagine you’re amongst that group of people every seven years and you’re standing there in front of Ezra or whoever later ends up reading this Torah. And then you’re getting to this section.

I mean, it’s pretty well ingrained in you what it means to go opposite of Torah. Blessings are all around you. You get a chance to see those. You see those on a regular basis. Here’s what happens when you don’t do what’s in this Torah and you can’t walk away and say, “I didn’t understand. Well maybe he said this, but he maybe didn’t mean that. Well, maybe he didn’t say this, and he said that.” No, it’s pretty clear how far it goes. And it’s very graphic how far it goes.

Jono: The blessings are simple, aren’t they? Because life is simpler, and it’s a blessed life. But when it’s cursed it gets complicated. And when it’s complicated, there’s so much more to write down. And when you compare it, we’re talking half a page of blessings here in Chapter 28. But if you look at the curses that have been mentioned at the end of 27 and all through 28, we’re talking about three pages. And there really is emphasis.

Keith: My suggestion, and I know that we will break another record because today we’re doing the second half of what we did yesterday. And if you combine the two, I think we’ll be at three hours. Okay. But, one of the things I think that’s really kind of sobering, and I hope people will do this, is to actually take the time and to slow down and to read this to let it sink in because I think it’s something that was written this way for a purpose. It wasn’t just, you know, “I think you know we ran out of space for this. We’ll add some things here.” These are real things. And we see historical examples of these things happen.

Jono: It’s not necessarily ancient history, it’s modern history examples as well.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Can you read verse 37 now that we’re talking about that?

Jono: I was just going to say I’m going to read verse 37. “And you shall become an astonishment, a proverb, and a byword among all nations which Yehovah will drive you.”

Nehemia: So, wow! I mean, you know, people ask me, why do you believe the bible? Why do you believe the Torah? And I could bring you all kinds of reasons and explanations in archeology. But for me, the strongest proof is the history of my people, the history of Israel as living out the blessing and the curse that were spoken in these very chapters.

Think about this; you shall be an astonishment and a proverb and a byword, and that’s literally true. I mean, you know, we hear about - and it’s not politically correct to talk about it - but there are many countries where the word Jew is curse. Like… so for example, in Russian, they won’t say the Russian word for Jew, they’ll say Hebrew. Because the word Jew is such a dirty word in their language because of the history of Israel and the history of how the Jews had been treated, that it’s become just a dirty word. I mean, this is literally true that we have become an astonishment and a proverb and a byword. It’s almost like God’s saying, “If you won’t be a good example, I’m going to use you as a bad example of what happens when you don’t obey Me.”

You know, I mean literally, the wandering Jew is… this is what happened; for the last 2,000 years this prophecy has been carried out. I think that’s an amazing thing. It blows my mind every time I think about it, the history of the people of Israel who wandered from nation to nation. You know, to be a Jew is the most decrepit, disgusting thing in most countries because of the way the Jews were treated, and literally they became a proverb and a byword. For example, I know in Arabic, I studied a little bit of that - the worst curse you can say to somebody is, “May you become a Jew”. That’s the worst curse in traditional Arabic culture that you could say to anybody. And quite literally, that attitude that’s developed from seeing how the Jews have been treated and how they’ve been scattered throughout the world just like was prophesied in this passage, is living prophecy. It offends me to hear that, but at the same time, I realize this is a fulfillment of prophecy.

Jono: And it goes on to talk about the destruction of the fields, of the vineyards and the olive trees, and so on and so forth. 43 says, “The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail. Moreover, all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of Yehovah your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever.” Just to emphasize the point.

Nehemia: Now, let’s talk about that “forever.” Does that mean that there’s no redemption here? That there’s no chance of redemption?

Jono: Well, clearly there’s a chance of redemption.

Nehemia: Clearly. Because he talks about it repeatedly. Even in Deuteronomy, He talks about how, if you repent, then He’ll gather you from the farthest ends of the heavens. So, it’s forever, as long as you continue to sin. I think that it’s interesting here. It says literally, “It shall be for you a sign and a wonder,” and those were the terms that are used to describe miracles. So, this is a miraculous punishment. If you look at the history of Israel, we see things that are miraculously wicked that have been done against the people of Israel. I mean, even just looking at something like the Holocaust. That’s not your run of the mill persecution. That’s unprecedented in history and still hasn’t been repeated, anything of that scale and the systematic nature of that type of murder. That’s a sign and a wonder, that type of thing.

Jono: It truly is.

Nehemia: So, this has been fulfilled in recent memory and continues to be fulfilled in many ways today.

Jono: Everyday there’s something in the news. Every single day, there is something.

Nehemia: I probably told this story before, but they once asked Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the prime minister once before, back in the nineties… he met with the premier of China, whose name escapes me. I don’t remember it. He asked the premier of China, “How many Jews do you think there are in the world?” And the premiere of China said, “Well, there’s got to be a billion maybe, or 100 million.” When he told them the actual number, the Chinese guy couldn’t understand it, couldn’t believe it. He said there’s actually between 14 and 20 million Jews, and that actually depends how you count them. There are about 20 million Jews in the entire world. So why is it that in Australia, a land dominated by kangaroos and swarms of mice - why is it that they’re hearing every day in the headlines about Jews? What is it about this people, about the Jews, right? I mean, there are probably ethnic minorities in China that no one in the western world has even heard of that are larger than the Jews, that are more than 20 million people who probably speak a language that are more than the Jews. There are probably Christian denominations that no one’s ever heard of with more than 20 million people. Why is it that the Jews are the ones that are in the headlines? And it’s exactly what this passage is talking about. You’re going to be an astonishment and a proverb and a byword, a sign and a wonder. I’m going to use you as a bad example if you won’t be a good example.

Jono: There it is. Keith?

Keith: No, that’s it.

Jono: 47, “Because you did not serve Yehovah your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom Yehovah will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. Yehovah will bring a nation against you from afar, from the ends of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand.”

Nehemia: We’ve got to stop there for a second because this was fulfilled. It was really fulfilled, you could say, twice. Although maybe many more times than that, but there are two clear examples of that. As a Jew, I think back… the First Temple destroyed, and the Second Temple destroyed. Who were these people, these nations that were from far off? I mean, think about this - Moses is writing this 3,500 years ago, 3,400 years ago, give or take, and you know, around 1,400-1,500 BC, Moses is writing this and the Babylonians don’t show up to destroy the Temple and fulfill this verse until… by the way, the Babylonians, of course, spoke Aramaic. Aramaic is that language that we didn’t understand, a foreign language, and throughout the bible, the Tanakh, Aramaic is the symbol of a foreign language. So, the Aramaic-speaking Babylonians show up and they destroyed the Temple. How many years is that after Moses? Well, they say that’s 586 BC. So, we’re talking like 900 years or so, 800 years after Moses. He’s predicting that this will happen. And it happens a second time in the year, 70CE, or AD, under the Romans, who speak Latin, the language that we didn’t understand. So twice this has happened; clear examples of the prophecy being fulfilled.

Jono: Yeah, it’s incredible. I don’t think I can read the next part. I would encourage everyone to read the following verses from 50 all the way down to 57. We’ve actually touched on that before, but my goodness, it is gruesome, and we don’t need to go into it. It just shows how the extremities of the curse that comes from disobedience. It really, really does. But verse 58, “If you do not carefully observe all these words of this law which are written in the book that you may fear this glorious and awesome name.” Now, Keith, I don’t know what you’ve got in the NIV, I’d like to know, but what I’ve got here is all in capitals and I don’t know if this happens anywhere else in the bible, but all in capitals. In the New King James version, it says...

Nehemia: The word A-L-L, ALL. Oh no, wait, what’s in capitals?

Jono: The phrase I’m about to read is all in capitals, this is what it says, “THE LORD YOUR GOD.” It’s all in capitals there. That’s verse 58 of Deuteronomy 28. Keith, what does it mean?

Keith: What’s interesting is this, I will tell you what the NIV does. It says, “And revere the glorious and awesome name,” and then it’s got the nice little dash there, and it says, “the LORD your God,” and there’s another little dash... so why here and why nowhere else?

Jono: That’s what I want to know.

Nehemia: That’s a very good question.

Keith: So, this is where we’re going to do…

Nehemia: Because the name is obviously Yehovah; the name isn’t “the Lord your God.”

Keith: But read it in Hebrew in verse 59.

Nehemia: 58. “Eem lo tishmor la’ahsot et kol divrei hatorah hazot haktoovim basepher hazeh: leyir’ah et hashem hanichbad ve’hanorah hazeh et yehovah eloheicha”

Keith: Okay, so you’ve got the “Et” there.

Nehemia: That’s a standalone “Et” as well.

Keith: Yeah. It’s a stand-alone “Et.” Yes. So, pointing toward Yehovah your God. So again, what are the English versions trying to do here?

Nehemia: They’re making him have a different name. His name is the Lord your God. That’s what they’re doing. They’re giving him a new name. Am I wrong?

Keith: What are you talking about?

Nehemia: The dash in yours is saying that the great and awesome name is “the Lord your God”. That’s His name. But that’s not His name obviously.

Jono: No, clearly. Keith, this is bizarre. I don’t even have like an asterisk or anything. I’ve just got all capitals.

Keith: Okay, so you’ve got all capitals, I’ve got the dash… in the Hebrew, there’s nothing that makes it different than any other time where it says Yehovah your God. Is it the standalone “Et” Nehemia? Is there anything? No, I’m serious.

Nehemia: That appears on every page, so…

Keith: Okay, so here’s my point. Here’s my point. Is there anything, is there anything in the Hebrew Bible that would make you slow down, take a second Moses look, like what we have to do in our English translations here?

Nehemia: Nope.

Keith: No, no...

Jono: Keith, it gets even stranger because when I look down in my study notes of my New King James study bible, it has something in the study notes and it doesn’t appear anywhere else in the study notes as far as I have ever noticed. And what it does, it uses bold type here and there, but here it’s used in even larger bold type and it says the phrase, and in bold capitals, very bold capitals, larger than the study type, “THE LORD YOUR GOD.” This is the phrase, “the Lord your God” in huge bold “brought together God’s awesome majesty and His personal care for His people.” What does that mean? “Brought together God’s awesome majesty and His personal care for His people?”

Keith: They just couldn’t get away. They couldn’t simply just let this lie. I mean, it’s pretty clear. Do not revere the glorious and awesome name and so now it’s glorious and it’s awesome. We’ve got to do something to show that it’s glorious and awesome, even though we’re using the exact same phrase that we’ve used throughout the English Bible: Lord your God.

Jono: Amazing.

Keith: Yeah, it is amazing.

Jono: That’s what happens. We encourage everyone to go to their own Bibles and see what you’ve got, that’s verse 58. And 59, “Then Yehovah will bring upon you and your descendants, extraordinary plagues, great and prolonged plagues, and serious and prolonged sickness, and moreover, He will...” and oh my goodness, “the diseases of Egypt” and oh, everything, everything. My goodness, I don’t know if I can read it all out.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Let’s read verses 64 and 65 if we’re going to skip ahead.

Jono: 64 and 65. “Then Yehovah will scatter you among all the peoples from one end of the earth to the other end. There you shall serve other gods which neither you nor your fathers have known, wood and stone. And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place. But the...”

Nehemia: Wandering Jew.

Jono: Wandering Jew. “But there Yehovah will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes and anguish of soul.” Shall I keep going?

Nehemia: Yeah. Can we talk about this? It’s an interesting thing here that we’ve now seen several times, which is that He’s going to send us to other nations. We are going to be scattered into the other nations. That literally happened. That was fulfilled. To this day, that’s the case – that there are Jews all over the world, scattered. That exile hasn’t ended completely yet. So that literally happened. And then it says, “And there you will worship other gods that you have not known, you and your father, of wood and stone”. So why is God sending us into exile where we’re going to worship gods of wood and stone? Like, that’s a little bit strange, like, we sinned by worshiping gods of wood and stone, and now the punishment is that we’re going to be sent to other nations where we’ll worship gods of wood and stone. That’s almost like he’s saying...

You know what it reminds me of? Like, there’s this story, and it might be from the movie Brewster’s Millions, but I don’t remember. I think it is - with John Candy, where he tells the story about how his grandfather or something caught him smoking once and so he says, “You want to smoke? No problem. Here’s a box of cigars.” Locked him in the closet said, “You don’t get out of that closet until you finish the whole box of cigars.” I feel like that’s what God is saying here. You want to worship other gods of wood and stone? I’m going to lock you in the closet, scatter you among the nations and you’re going to worship those gods of wood and stone until you come back to Me crying in repentance, “Yehovah, we have sinned.”

Keith: Let me be the Methodist here that gives the biblical examples - so you want meat? I’ll give you meat.

Jono: I was just about to say to you. You want meat? I’ll give it to you until it’s coming out of your nostrils.

Keith: But the picture really causes you to say, “Well, this is what I want.” He says, “Okay, I’m going to let you have what you want. I’m going to give it to you in abundance to the point that you realize - is that really what I wanted?”

Nehemia: This reminds me of Ecclesiastes 5, which we’ve talked about before, where it talks about… don’t be quick to utter a word before your God. Be careful what you might ask him for… because you might ask him for something and He’ll be like, “Oh, you want that? Okay. You want to win the lottery and have a million dollars?” I mean, there’s some trouble that comes with that.

Keith: Yes. Okay.

Jono: Can I jump to 68? Is that okay?

Nehemia: Sure.

Jono: I have heard some bizarre things in regard to this verse. It says, “And Yehovah will take you back to Egypt in ships by the way of which I said to you, you shall never see it again. And there you shall be offered for sale to your enemies as male and female slaves, but no one will buy you.”

Nehemia: Okay. What have you heard about this that was weird? That literally happened.

Jono: That happened, right?

Nehemia: Jews were taken, it happened during the Babylonian period, it happened during the Roman period that Jews were taken as slaves on ships and sold.

Keith: No, no, no Rabbi Ralph said that the Jews were taken in the ships when they were mated to Africans. Judah had 10 other tribes, the homies, and they were the ones that this was fulfilled, and they came across the seas in America. What are you talking about?

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: Are you joking?

Keith: I mean, that’s what he says.

Jono: I’ve heard that on a number of occasions. I’m not kidding. Have you heard that on a number of occasions, Keith?

Nehemia: Oh boy.

Keith: What are you doing? Are you taking away our Jewish heritage, Nehemia? You’re saying this verse wasn’t for the African Americans? What are you…

Nehemia: Yeah...

Jono: Okay, moving right along. “These are the words of the covenant which Yehovah commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which He made with them in Horeb. Now Moses called the people...”

Nehemia: Woah, woah, hold on, hold on. I’ve got to go back to verse 68. Keith was saying that I’m taking this verse away from the African Americans, and I know he’s saying it jokingly because you also know this is a joke.

Jono: You know, people told me this.

Nehemia: Can we go to the verse that talks about the African Americans in the Bible? Can we do that just for a minute? Can we please do it? Isaiah 56, and I know we’ve done this before. I want to do it one more time. I’m here in Jerusalem and I can close my eyes and see my brother, my… maybe even my ancestor Isaiah, the son of Amotz. He’s standing up there in the public square on top of this little box he set up there and he’s saying, “Thus says Yehovah, ‘keep judgment and do righteousness for My salvation is close to coming and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man who does it, the son of man who grabs hold of it, who keeps the Shabbat from desecrating it and keeps his hand from doing all evil.’”

Now, if Isaiah had stopped here, we wouldn’t have to deal with Keith. We’d say, “Keith, this is our Torah. Get lost. Go do your… whatever you want to do. We don’t know how to deal with the Keith because Isaiah stopped there.” But the prophet went on and he said, “Let not the son of the gentile who joins himself to Yehovah say, ‘Yehovah has surely separated me from his people.’” But think about this. The gentile is standing there in Jerusalem hearing Isaiah preach and saying, you know, that doesn’t apply to me, the Shabbat and the ships and all that. I’m not part of Yehovah’s people. I’m sure Yehovah has separated me from his people. The prophet tells the son of the gentile, “You must not say that Yehovah has surely separated you from his people,” and then he talks about the eunuch.

Verse 6 goes on, “And the sons of the Gentiles who join themselves to Yehovah to serve him and to love the name of Yehovah, to be his servants. All those who keep the Shabbat from desecrating it and grab hold of my covenant”. It literally, in the Hebrew… the word “machzikim” in biblical Hebrew means “to grab hold”, in later Hebrew means “to hold on”. But in Biblical Hebrew it is to grab hold of, grab hold of my covenant. “I will bring them to My joy, My holy mountain. I will make them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their peace offerings will be accepted upon My altar, for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” And then I love the next verse because it ties into what we talked about Yehovah does with all His heart and with all His soul, it says, “Thus says,” or “sayeth Lord Yehovah who gathers in the dispersed of Israel, ‘I will gather others unto those who I have gathered.’” Come on.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: All right, so we don’t have to make up these scenarios about, you know, this verse in Deuteronomy that’s talking about Israel actually is referring to the Africans. We don’t have to make that stuff up. We don’t have to concoct these ridiculous theories about, you know, shaking the tree and finding some ancestry that any rational person hears that and laughs. Come on. We don’t have to make that stuff up. He’s going to gather people, He’s going to, just as He physically gathers Israel from the diaspora, He’s going to spiritually gather people into Israel in addition to those who He has gathered. So, this is a powerful thing. You don’t have to make something up. This is real.

Keith: Well, for those who don’t have the DNA of one of the tribes, when we go over to Israel, we are going to go over and pick our part of the land that we get to go to because if you’re one that’s gathered, it’s my understanding, in the Redemption you can choose which tribe you want to live with.

Nehemia: That is Ezekiel 44. Should we look at that real quick?

Keith: So actually, it gives you a better choice. We’re going to check the real estate of which section you want to be in Jono, if you don’t have any tribe.

Nehemia: Can you read that Jono? Verses 21 and 22, Ezekiel 47.

Jono: “Thus you shall divide this land among yourselves, according to the tribes of Israel,” 22, “it shall be that you will divide it by lot as an inheritance for yourselves and for the strangers who dwell among you and who bear children among you.” There you go. “They shall be to you as a native-born among the children of Israel. They shall have an inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel.”

Nehemia: One more verse.

Jono: Verse 23, “‘And it shall be that in whatever tribe the stranger dwells, there you shall give him his inheritance,’ says Adonai Yehovah.”

Nehemia: You know Keith; he’s going to try to settle in the land of the Levites.

Jono: Yeah, he wants the cities.

Keith: I’ve already found the area that I’m going to live in. Alright, here we go.

Jono: Alright, now listen, flying through, we’re almost finished. “Moses called the Israelites and he said to them: ‘You have seen all that Yehovah did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land— and great trials which your eyes have seen, the signs, and those great wonders.’” Now, this is interesting, verse 4, “Yet Yehovah has not given you a heart to perceive and eyes to see and ears to hear, to this very day.” How are we to understand that verse? I mean, that Yehovah has not given them a heart to perceive, eyes to see, ears to hear, to this very day? If He had given it to them, they would have figured it out?

Nehemia: Let’s hear the Methodist interpretation.

Keith: Well, you know, it’s interesting. When I read that, the first thing I do is I go backwards and I think about what he did with Pharaoh, where he hardened his heart and he said, “Look, I’m not even going to let you say what you’d want to say right now because I’ve got a purpose.” In the same way when He’s able to close the eyes and we haven’t said our prayer. So, this is really a good thing to stop and say... where He’s closed the eyes at times and where He has held them back at times. And again, the biggest thing that I think about, and I can even look to the New Testament on this, the different times that there are periods of time that your eyes might not see it, your heart might not be open, it might not change. Otherwise, you would repent and change. It’s like Yehovah has this clock that’s ticking, and here’s the time for this to take place, and a time for this to take place and the time for this to take place. And so maybe in the situation this is foreshadowing, or it has to do with the practical aspect where He’s saying, “Right now, I’m not going to let your eyes see, I’m not going to let your ears here. I’m not going to let your heart be softened because I’m working my purposes.”

Jono: Nehemia?

Nehemia: Yeah. I think it speaks for itself.

Jono: Okay. And it goes on, “And I have led you 40 years in the wilderness and your clothes have not worn out on you and your sandals have not worn out on your feet and you have not eaten bread, nor have you drunk wine or similar drink that you may know that I am Yehovah your God. And when you came into this place, Sihon, King of Heshbon, and Og, King of Bashan, came out against us to battle and we conquered them.” And this is the last verse of this portion, “We took their land and gave it as an inheritance, to the Reubenites and the Gadites, and to the half tribe of Manasseh.” Now that’s a really weird place to end it Nehemia.

Nehemia: Actually, there’s one more verse.

Jono: I was going to say because the next one begins with, “therefore”. Verse 9 says, “therefore,”

Nehemia: I don’t understand. You’re skipping verse 8.

Jono: I just read verse 8.

Nehemia: No, you didn’t. That’s verse 7.

Jono: Oh...this is weird.

Nehemia: I guess the verses are numbered differently.

Jono: They must be because that’s what I was thinking.

Nehemia: It says, “And you shall guard the words of this covenant,” “divrei habrit hazot”, “and you shall do them in order that you will succeed in all that you do.”

Jono: “Therefore keep the words of this covenant, and do them, that you may prosper in all that you do.” Keith, please tell me, is that verse 9 in the English in your NIV? Or is my New King James playing tricks on me, or what?

Keith: No, it is verse 9.

Nehemia: There’s obviously different verse numbers, but the Torah portion ends... see, this is the thing, you’re looking up where the Torah portion ends in... those are Hebrew numbers that you’re getting. So, the next Torah portion, which is verse 9 in the Hebrew, it begins with… is actually verse 10 in the English.

Jono: There we go.

Keith: It’s interesting, in the paragraphs of the NIV, verse 9 actually is a new paragraph.

Nehemia: Is it?

Jono: In the NIV? Is that right?

Keith: Yup. Verse 9 is a new paragraph. “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant so that you may prosper in everything that you do.” And then verse 10, “All of you are standing today,” that should be the beginning of a new paragraph.

Nehemia: Well, that’s the new Torah portion. “All of you are standing today.”

Keith: Right, right.

Jono: But they’ve separated it in the NIV. At least in the New King James they’re separate paragraphs.

Keith: No, they’ve connected it in the NIV.

Jono: Wow. Yeah in the NIV, 9 belongs to the previous paragraph, then 10 is a new paragraph. Interesting.

Keith: No, no, no, yeah, okay.

Nehemia: Is 9 part of 10 or does it go to 8 in the NIV?

Keith: In the NIV, a new paragraph starts with the English verse 9. “Carefully follow the terms of this covenant,” starts a new paragraph.

Jono: Listen, listen, what we’re gonna do now, I know because we started this, just a reminder, we actually started this Torah portion yesterday, recording this and we had some technical difficulties. We finished it today. Undoubtedly, we have broken the record. I have no doubt about that. And I do believe that yesterday we probably did do the prayer, but I would really appreciate it, Keith, if you would give us the prayer and end it this way.

Keith: Yes, I did say the prayer yesterday. I’ll say it again.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Yehovah, open our eyes that we might see the most wonderful, hidden, amazing, powerful, marvelous, magnificent things in Your Torah. May it be for all of us and those that are listening. Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: If you realize, the final four portions that we have that I’m going to be doing, I guess from Florida, those final four portions are actually very, very short. So, there’s probably no way we’re going to top this record.

Jono: So, there it is. This is it. This is the record of all records in Torah Pearls.

Keith: I’m never going to say that until we get done because I mean there have been times, ladies and gentlemen, where we’ll start and Nehemia will say, “I got nothing. I don’t know what we’re going to talk about.” And two hours later, he’s like, “I got one more story.”

Jono: Let’s not speak too soon. But it has been Pearls from the Torah Portion. And next week we are in, what is it? “Nitzavim.” Deuteronomy 29, verse 9 or 10 in English to 30 verse 20. And until then dear listeners, be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father’s word… His written word. Shalom.

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  • LG says:

    Regarding the “your God” phrase in 26:3, the LXX appears to try to fix the strange reading to “my God” and some translations like the NASB do the same, followoing the LXX.


    technically Africa, based on tectonic plates, is Egypt. All tribes were sent away from Babylon with separate languages so assuming that the Judah tribe is all of Abraham. Lets discuss Keturah, and the TRUTH that YHVH created all man. In addition, rhe Levites, the priests, aka lawyers and judges will stand in YHVHS NAME! I appreciate your work immensely but the arrogance and dismissal I hear regarding Keith is saddening and causes me indignation. Are any of us all knowing about genetic NAMES written in the blood? Final tjougjt, referring the classes of mankind as animals is repulsive in rehards to consenting adults, ritual abuse and systematuc programming in par excellence here brothers. I love you deeply, thank you for being teachers, prophets and priests to me!

  • christiangaviriaalvarez says:

    I have a question for you, according to you, which First Fruit offering is Deuteronomy 26:2 talking about? When was it offered? Is it speaking about the firstfruits offerings of barley and wheat?

  • Jan says:

    Who join themselves to Yeshovah, not allah, for these are my house of prayer for all nations, nations who joing themselves to Yeshovah and His Covenant.


    What is the name of the music played in the introduction and ending of “Torah Trekking in the Himalayas”?

  • Charles Atkinson says:

    How big would the stone altar have to be to support the writing of the full Torah on its plastered sides in ink? How much space does it take to write out the Torah? How big est. would the stone altar be if they did an archaeological dig?

  • Dagny Beck says:

    Nehemia, you say the sanctified grain becomes holy when water is added, does that have any connection to baptism? When a person makes a commitment and the action of washing in water? Maybe I am reading to much into it. I love these sessions because they make me think where when I used to read them it made no sense. Thank you all three.

  • dale says:

    26:1-11 Please explain if I’m reading this wrong but to me it reads like this is a one time deal and not yearly; something to be done whenever you have opened a new field, orchard or vineyard.

  • Gavriella Snyder (Yochanan's wife) says:

    Wow yet another incredible portion! Nehemia my husband and I have Loved you since we 1st heard of you and when we finally got to meet you we knew it was an answer to prayer. Ever since we learned the truth of One God and came out of the common idol worship of the United States we cryed out very often “so what is Your name?” YeHoVaH was soo gracious (Chen), to us to send you to our neighborhood to tell us face to face! It has been blessing after blessings ever since as we seek and listen and learn.
    My husband and I have made you, Jono and Kieth a part of our Shabbat celebration for 9 months now and can’t seem to get enough! So 1hr or 3hrs we are there:-) We give praise and much thanks to YeHoVaH for you guys and the program. However when Jono brought in Galations 3:10 in relation to Deuteronomy 28 to what sounded like praise to Paul for his writings referring to the written law(Torah), you lost us, because if one reads the whole story/chapter it appears that Paul is pointing out that no one is, as my translation puts it, justified by the written Torah by doing “them”, but “cj” save us goyim from the curse of that written law(Torah), and we Now share in the benefits from the covenant made with Avrham to receive the spirit? Come on now, Torah in this?

    • Arie Kralt says:

      Hi Nehemia, hoe do you feel about putting flowers on a graveyard, in context of deut 26 verse 16? Shalom, Arie

  • Janice says:

    At the time of a covenant renewal, adendums to the orginal agreement may be added; due to a new or different situation; as when the first of the laws were given while traveling; then when they enter the land additional laws were given for being in the land ready to live.

    • After the Torah, no commandments could be added or taken away, according to Dt 4:2 and Dt 12:32[13:1 Hebrew].

      • donald murphy says:

        with this in mind Mr. Gordon, how is it that u have all this Christian junk in your teachings?

        • Rod Koozmin says:

          Gordon or someone pointed out that the New Testament provided historical that allows Jews today to know their history. For example Jesus reading Isaiah in the Synagogue proves a reading schedule back then that exists nowhere else.

  • Janice says:

    This is a covenant renewal, and in the process, you mention some previous history that happened prior to this renewal to give continuity to the previous and current covenant. This also happened when Mirium passed, Aaron passed, Moses was to pass, he needs to name a successor; and their were new Israelites the children of the first generation who died in desert and he reiterates some of the history from past to link the covenant renewal in the current.

  • Janice says:

    Holy or Kedusha, is legal term ONLY Yehovah declare what is Holy/ that which is separated from the regular to be Yehovah’s property. This is a King’s legal ruling.

    The Temple Mount is not holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims – is Holy to HaShem!

    • Scott says:

      Please read history, it is the place I will dwell, so yes it is holy, because if you entered it, you would die, the last barrier inside the temple.

  • Jeffrey Michael says:

    When they landed on the moon, they did not have the technology to broadcast the images in the quality they desired. This was very important because they wanted the peoples support for the space program(it was necessary to drain the middle class. They needed this emotional moment. So they hired Stanley Kubrik to stage the landing so they could get the TV images they wanted. However Neil Armstrong was truley there in person. The moon landing did happen.

  • annon says:

    After laughing about a request to not interrupt each other, Keith interrupts the reading of scripture….Please!

  • Nancy Baumann says:

    New listener….all of you remind me of the scripture…Come, let us reason together!

  • Dutch Faulkner says:

    Prophet pearls and Torah pearls are both very informative and interesting. We are especially looking forward to Hebrew Matthew. Many thanks!

  • kris says:

    Deuteronomy 26:14 reminds me of the “Day of the Dead” cultural observance, which I’ve read may be comparative to Halloween and All Saints Day.

    On another note, yes, bring on the Prophet Pearls!

  • Rebecca says:

    Yes for prophet pearls!

  • Peggy Jones says:

    Oh YES! Bring it on!

  • Leaves Heal says:

    Yes– wanting Prophet Pearls!
    Have you already done it?!