Torah Pearls #41 – Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

Torah Pearls PinchasIn this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1), we discuss what is the qualification of the first born? Who inherits the land if a father has no sons but only daughters? Did Pinchas impale a princess of Midian? Double portion or two thirds – what did it mean for Moses to impart some of his glory to Joshua, or Elijah’s spirit to Elisha?

I look forward to reading your comments!

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Torah Pearls #41 – Pinchas (Numbers 25:10-30:1)

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 Carrie from Montana, Joe from South Carolina, Rick from LA, Denny from Israel, Yvonne from Queensland, Australia, and Christina from Arizona, Marion from New York, Karen from Texas; Tara, who commented on the site, “Thank you for wonderful insights,” she says, “I love your Torah Pearls. Be blessed.” Thank you, Tara. Rick said, “Thanks, guys, another thought-provoking discussion on this week’s parsha.” And Garry said, from Pulaski, Tennessee, I think that is, “Love you guys. I think of you as The Three Stooges when you’re on, no disrespect intended, but I laugh at how you carry on. Blessings to you all.” Now, here’s one from Shelley. Now, Shelley is in China. Now, guys listen to this, she is in China, she wants to know, how can she get hold off the book A Prayer to Our Father, in Chinese? Where can she get that from?

Keith: You tell her this…

Nehemia: That’s a good question.

Keith: No, listen, I’m going to give the answer. You tell her right now to send us her address to Truth2U, and we will have it sent to her personally as a Torah Pearls listener. We will have it sent to her no charge; I will pay for the postage. We’re going to send it to her because of that.

Nehemia: Keith is paying, for the record.

Keith: Absolutely, Keith is paying to send it to her because you know what? That’s a great witness. So, you have her send the address and we’ll send it to her directly, okay?

Jono: I’ll do that. She’s a teacher just outside of Hong Kong.

Keith: Excellent.

Jono: And she wants to catch up with you guys, and she says...

Nehemia: (Speaking Chinese)

Jono: There you go. You know a little bit of Chinese. And g’day to everyone listening in China and g’day to Shelley. And she says she’s coming out of Constantinianism and into the Torah perspective.

Nehemia: Whoo! Come on, Shelley.

Jono: More of that, and she said she’s so grateful for you guys, what you’re doing is historically important, she says.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: So that’s great. So, thank you, Shelley, we’ll definitely get a book out to you somehow.

Nehemia: You can actually buy the book, it’s available from Christian Alliance Press based out of Hong Kong, if I’m not mistaken.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: Christian Alliance Press.

Jono: Excellent. Alright, and maybe Keith has some contacts there that she might be able to... let’s see what we can do. Katherine said, “thank you so much for your insight and for broadcasting this to us.” She has a question. Now, we don’t usually do this. We do get a lot of questions, and we don’t have time to go back-and-forth with the questions, and we do hope that listeners who interact on the comments page will also interact with other people’s questions and answer them and things like that. By all means, listeners, get involved in the comments. Now, I just want to throw this one out there before we begin, because this one I’ve always wondered about, too, and I often get confused with this. Katherine asks, “is the first born always a male or are females counted as first-born, too?”

Nehemia: That’s a great question.

Jono: It is.

Nehemia: Especially it’s a great question because, if you look at the number of first-borns over in, like, Numbers, chapter 3, in an earlier portion, one of the things we see there… and this is actually appropriate for this week’s portion because we’ve got the second census that takes place here. The first census, we had 603,550 men between the ages of 20 and 50. The second census, which is 40 years later, and then it specifically says, not a one was counted in this census that was in that census, except for two - Joshua and Caleb; 601,730.

So, the population has actually gone down by almost 2,000. But really over 40 years, you’d expect a bigger change, but I guess not. The reason is that... and this is borne out from what we see from the first-borns, there was something like... I don’t remember the number. I think it was 22,000 first-borns, or somewhere in that neighborhood.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: And those were only males. The Hebrew word is “bechor,” and a female would be “bechora”; so, it’s actually gender specific. Not only is it “bechor,” but it’s “peter kol rechem,” which is ‘the opening of every womb’. So, if for example, there’s a stillborn child, then that mother doesn’t have a “bechor,” she doesn’t have a first-born. Or, if she has a girl, then she doesn’t have a “bechor,” she has a “bechora,” but the “bechora” wasn’t counted in that context. That actually makes sense because, if there are 600,000 males, how is it that there are only 22,000 first born?

Jono: Right.

Nehemia: Let’s do a little bit of math here, right? Does that mean… I mean, math isn’t my forte; I readily admit this. But that would mean, roughly, that there are 30 children in each family, if really there’s one first-born from every family. That doesn’t really make a lot of sense, that there are 30 children from each family. But it does make a lot of sense if we take into account all the stillborn children, possibly even miscarriages, and then certainly all the females.

Jono: And the females.

Nehemia: So that may have been only one-third of the actual first-born, because that’s the male... you know, firstborns who were born alive and made it past 30 days.

Jono: Right.

Nehemia: Whereas, a lot of them didn’t. So that actually says there was a significant infant mortality rate, which makes sense. If you look at the trend of the world population, going back thousands of years, you find out that around the year 1800, and these numbers are a little bit approximate, but if I’m not mistaken, around the year 1800 there was something like a billion people in the world, or maybe 1900. Now, we’ve got seven billion. So, the world population is just really inching up very, very, slowly for thousands of years. The reason is that every time there were too many people, there would be a plague and people would die.

If we’re talking statistics, I prepared here a little bit of a... I did some Jewish accounting here and prepared a statistics table. I’ve got all these charts and diagrams. We’ve got 603,550 when they come out of Egypt in Numbers, Chapter 1 and 3. Actually that doesn’t include 22,300 Levites, so add that. 601,730 in Numbers 26, that we’re getting to today. Judges, Chapter 20, has a counting, and in all of Israel, there are 426,700 males eligible for military service. So, the population has actually gone down about three or four hundred years later. Or actually, that may have been at the beginning of the period of Judges, so maybe it was 100 years later; we don’t know the exact chronology, but the population’s gone down.

Then in 1 Samuel, Chapter 11, verse 8, there are 300,000 who show up for battle under King Saul. Now there may have been more people who just didn’t come to battle, but it gives you an indication. In 1 Samuel, Chapter 15:4, four chapters later, there are 200,000 that show up for battle. Then there are two censuses that are mentioned from the time of King David - one of them is in 2 Samuel 24:9 that puts the population at 800,000. Again, these are males who are eligible for war. 2 Chronicles 21:5 puts the population at 1.1 million. So, you know... and that’s like 400 years after the exodus from Egypt, the population has barely inched up 33 percent or something like that. Which shows you that populations were relatively stable throughout history. That’s the short answer to the lady’s question.

Jono: Did you see that, Keith? I asked a simple question and I get an incredible amount of statistics, Keith.

Nehemia: Is Keith still there?

Jono: Keith?

Nehemia: Keith must have gone off to get a drink of water or something, but you know it’s funny...

Keith: I’m here.

Jono: Keith, stop playing with the buttons on your computer screen. It’s the mute button - leave the mute button alone!

Keith: I didn’t know it went to mute. I’m listening to everything that’s going on. You know, I figure I could actually go to the store and come back between a question and an answer.

Nehemia: Well, look, Jono wanted to do five episodes of Q&As, and I’m like, “well, you know, that’ll take forever,” you know, one on each book. One of the interesting things is there’s actually a song by one of my favorite Israeli bands called Hadag Nahash, which means ‘the fish snake’, and it’s called Shirat Hamisparim, The Song of the Numbers. The song goes, “ani asuk bemisparim kol hayom kemo kol hayehudim,” I’m engaged with numbers all day like all the Jews. And then he spews out like all these different numbers, the whole song is just as a series of statistics; very good song, Hadag Nahash.

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: And it comes from Scripture.

Jono: Hey, now, listen, by the way, Keith, did you know it’s time for Torah Pearls?

Keith: Pearls from the Torah. I’ve got a shout-out.

Jono: Pearls from the Torah portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon.

Keith: Hey, listen, I didn’t shout-out.

Nehemia: I didn’t do my shout-out; I want to do a shout-out to Russell…

Jono: Oh, you can do it now.

Keith: Let me do mine.

Nehemia: …over in Antarctica who listens.

Jono: I know, Russell in, get this, Keith, Russell in Antarctica, right at the bottom of the world, there he is.

Nehemia: Isn’t he at the top of the world?

Jono: Where are you?

Nehemia: Why is Antarctica at the bottom of the world? Wouldn’t that make the top…? You’re so northern-centric. I mean, come on.

Jono: Now I’m really confused.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Who’s to say Antarctica is the bottom of the world; maybe it’s the top of the world. Just turn the globe upside down.

Jono: There it is. It could be.

Nehemia: I’m surprised for somebody from Australia to say it’s the bottom of the world, but I guess you’re from the land down under.

Jono: Here I am, hanging on for dear life upside-down all my life, and now, you want to mess with my head. Keith, what’s going on?

Keith: So, I’d like to give a shout-out to Miriam and her husband who are down in Florida. I’m in North Carolina. What I love about Miriam is, she and her husband were about to listen to Torah Pearls. She’s been awesome because right before I went to Israel for about a month or so, she would call, and she would speak to me in Hebrew and that really was a blessing for me. I want to appreciate my pseudo-Hebrew teacher Miriam. I need to get back on that again.

Jono: Okay, now. Today we are in Pinchas, Numbers 25:10 to 30, verse 1. And it begins like this. Now, Keith, I’m a little bit upset with the people who divided up the Torah portions. I mean, if I was doing it…

Keith: Really?

Jono: Well, honestly, I think I would have started it in Chapter 25 from the beginning. It kind of feels like we’re coming in halfway through, so I’m just going to go back and fill everybody in. Is it okay if I do that?

Keith: I think it’s a good idea.

Nehemia: It’s a cliffhanger, it’s really a cliffhanger is what they did.

Jono: Yeah!

Nehemia: They learned this from American television, the people who broke up the chapters. It’s like when Fonzie jumps over that massive thing on his motorbike, and then, boom, the episode is over. For like a whole week, you’re sitting there… is Fonzie going to land or get killed or is he going to make it?

Keith: Yeah, exactly.

Nehemia: That’s what this Torah portion is.

Jono: That’s what it is. So, what happens at the beginning of Chapter 25 is that the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. “They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So, Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of Yehovah was aroused against Israel.”

Keith: There it is.

Jono: “And Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Take the leaders from the people, hang the offenders before Yehovah, out in the sun.’” It was a terrible thing. Anyway, Verse 7, “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw this going on. There was a particular Israelite who was flaunting this, saying, ‘here she is, I’ve got a Midianite woman coming into the tent right now with her.’ Well, he picked up a spear, went into the tent and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her body. So, the plague was stopped among the children of Israel. And twenty-four thousand died in the plague,” my goodness. There it is.

And now, we find ourselves at verse 10 where this Torah portion begins. “Then Yehovah spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, has turned back My wrath from the children of Israel, because he was zealous with My zeal among them, so that I did not consume the children of Israel in My zeal. Therefore say, Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace; and it shall be to him and his descendants after him a covenant of an everlasting priesthood.’” Keith, an everlasting priesthood.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Amen. “Because he was...”

Keith: Listen.

Jono: “…because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the children of Israel.’”

Keith: I’ll tell you something; this particular paragraph catches my attention from this perspective - that here’s a man on the earth that’s willing to do something that he knows that he knows that what’s happening in front of his eyes is wrong. And it took zeal to do that, it says, “he was zealous,” in my wonderful little translation here, “zealous as I am for my honor among them, so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.” And as a result of the zeal of his response, then the Father looks down and says, “Hey, you’ve caught my attention.” And I’m telling you, man, I just think about that, for us here that are talking, for Nehemia, for you, Jono, and for myself, and for those that are listening, what does it look like when we catch His attention to be zealous for his will? It’s to do the things that He calls us to do. In all the things that Yehovah does in the earth - He keeps things going, He’s busy with the earth, making sure that it doesn’t get too close to the sun. And He’s got the stars and galaxies that don’t collide. And He’s willing to look down and see a man who’s willing to be that zealous, and it catches His attention. That’s a big deal to me.

Jono: Huge.

Keith: That’s amazing.

Jono: Huge deal. And seeing that’s what happens.

Nehemia: But you know what? I’ve got to interject here.

Jono: Nehemia?

Nehemia: The way this story is usually interpreted, the way I’ve always heard it interpreted, is that we have here an act of vigilante justice. Pinchas sees this thing going on and he takes the spear… I think we kind of alluded to this last week a little bit, he takes the spear and he just goes all - what’s that guy’s name? Bernard Goetz on him, and just starts killing the people. That’s really not what happened if you read it in context.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: If you read it in context, in verse 5 it says very specifically, “And Moses said to all the judges of Israel, ‘each one, kill his men who are clinging to Baal Peor.’” “Kill his men,” means, again, like we said last week - you’ve got the judge of the hundred and of the thousands. So, he’s got a thousand people under him and he’s got to look at which of these thousand people have worshipped at Baal Peor. Him I’ve got to spear through, I have to impale. And that’s exactly what Pinchas did.

What he did is actually a great example not showing partiality in judgment. That’s one of the commandants – it says, “don’t be a respecter of persons in judgment.” He could have said, “Well, I’m not going to judge that guy, I mean he’s the leader of the people. He’s the tribe of Simeon, he’s the nasi, and he’s the big kahuna. I can’t stand up to him.” A lot of judges would slink away and hide and say, Okay, I’m not going to stand up to this person. I’m just going to obey what the authorities tell me. As a judge, he did the right thing; he stood up to the authority and carried out the judgment.

That’s what his zealousness, I think, is the expression of - that he had this duty and he carried out his duty. But this is not a situation of a vigilante who took the law into his own hands.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: He was the law and he had to carry that out.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: A lot of people, you look around the world today - there are countries where the judges will look to the leader of the country and say, “Guilty or innocent?” It doesn’t matter about the facts, it doesn’t matter about what the testimony is, they take their orders from the political establishment. And here, Pinchas said, “the political establishment is the one who’s committing a crime. I’m going to carry out a judgment against him.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Right. Keith?

Keith: Let me tell you this, you guys, what I love about it, and I know you didn’t read this verse yet; Nehemia is alluding to it. But what I love about the verse in 14 and 15, if I can take your job just for one second, Jono - “The name of the Israelite who was killed with the Midianite woman was Zimri,” and this talks about him being a leader of the Simeonite family. And this is really interesting because when we’re reading through Scripture, I think a lot of the ladies that are listening, have to think to themselves, “Why is it sometimes that the name of the woman isn’t mentioned?” For example, what’s Noah’s wife’s name?

Jono: Nobody knows.

Keith: Nobody knows what Noah’s wife’s name is, she’s just Noah’s wife. We don’t know her name. This sometimes happens. But in this situation, we find out the actual name of a Midianite woman whose name is says was Cozbi, but I think what’s interesting about it is, she’s the daughter of Zur, a tribal chief. So, what’s so powerful about this? Like Nehemia is saying, there’s no respecter of person, but I think this issue of zeal - and again, he’s not out of control, he’s not nutso saying, “I’m going to spray whatever and do whatever.” This is like the difference between a 12-gauge shotgun and a sharpshooter. The 12-gauge shotgun, you shoot that and it sprays, and you get some innocent bystanders. But with a sharpshooter, you’re specifically going in and doing… it’s like a laser gun, you know - I’m going to go do this thing.

And what’s so amazing to me is the picture of what happened before he did it. Moses and the people are weeping in front of the tent. Weeping in front of the tent. And these two leaders, and I’m going to use her as a leader only in that her father was the leader of the Midianite clan, so she’s got privilege, she’s thinking, “Hey, my daddy is chief of a Midianite family. And this guy who’s getting me, he’s one of the chiefs of the Simeon family, one of the leaders of the Simeon family. We’re of the political elite. We can do what we want. We don’t care that you’re weeping. We’re on our way to go do our business.” Phineas is able to focus in on that, like this sharpshooter sort of mentality and takes him out. And I’m saying, that’s the thing that caught my attention. I think that’s the thing that caught Yehovah’s attention. There’s no respecter of person. He’s very specific, and he’s zealous to do God’s will.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: That’s the thing that just, man, that’s amazing.

Jono: Now, Keith, in my tradition, where I’ve come from, and I don’t know if it’s maybe the same with you, whenever this passage came up, it was always connected, or often connected with Matthew, Chapter 5, verse 9, which says: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Do you see a connection there?

Keith: I’ve never heard that, tell me about that.

Jono: Well, the connection is where Yehovah says, “Behold, I give to him My covenant of peace.”

Keith: Ah, I see. So, from zealousness and from where he takes these two out, he gives them peace. That’s amazing.

Nehemia: Wait, hold on.

Keith: What are you telling me?

Nehemia: Did you guys just slip some New Testament in here without me noticing?

Jono: No, Nehemia, what I said was, “Blessed are the cheesemakers.”

Nehemia: What?

Jono: So, this is what it says in Chapter 26. It says…

Nehemia: So, if we’re going to talk about that, can we just quickly, just very briefly, look at Psalm 34, verse 14, in the English, verse 15 in the Hebrew. It says, “Shun evil and do good.” And then it says in Hebrew, literally, it says, “Seek peace and pursue it,” the idea of being a pursuer of peace. Where did your rabbi get that from, Keith Johnson? It’s right there in the Book of Psalms.

Keith: Oh, boy. Right there from the Book of Psalms.

Nehemia: Can I get an Amen?

Keith: That’s where my rabbi got it from.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And I’m holding to it. I’m sticking to it.

Jono: Amen. Excellent. Chapter…

Keith: For those who don’t know who my rabbi is, listen, he’s the greatest teacher who has ever walked the earth, as far as my exposure, Yeshua, the one called Jesus. As a teacher, I just think it is amazing what he does in terms of connecting the Tanakh with the situation that he was at in the first century. And unfortunately, and I’ve been preaching this and getting in a lot of trouble, there’s been such a disconnect of his teaching, and a morphed, what I call… it’s morphed him into something else, which is really unfortunate. So anyway, that’s why I call him my rabbi, though. Can I get an Amen, those that are listening to us?

Jono: Amen. He certainly has been seriously misrepresented over the...

Keith: Definitely misrepresented…

Jono: …thousands of years. And here we are in chapter 26, Nehemia, as you were talking about it, they’d take another census. Now, again, there are a lot of numbers here. Are we going to touch on anything specific? Is there anything you want to bring out of this?

Nehemia: Well, yeah, alright. So, 26. So first of all verse 3…

Jono: No, come back, what do you want to do?

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: I’ve got to say something Jono before he brings out his sheets of paper. Listen, those that don’t know, I’ve known Nehemia for ten years, and he’s got this thing about lists and sheets of paper. We go on tour, he’s got an Excel spreadsheet for which planes we’re going to take, which cabs we’re going to take, I mean the guy is amazing when it comes to these lists.

Nehemia: I have one for the census.

Keith: He’s got one for the census.

Jono: Here we go.

Nehemia: It’s in an Excel spreadsheet.

Keith: Before he addresses that, one of the things that we talked about, and I know we’ve talked about this before, I just want to bring it up - the issue of age. And the issue of age for the Levites, the issue of age for those that are fighting, and this issue of age as it pertains to the census. And I think this is kind of cool because it says here in verse 2, “Take a census of the whole Israelite community by families,” and then, it says, “all those twenty years old or more who are able to serve in the army.” And so – oh, my gosh, he just sent me the list, you guys, this is impressive.

Jono: You actually got it?

Keith: I got the list. This is amazing.

Nehemia: You’ve got to see the list, the spreadsheet.

Keith: Twenty years and older, and one of the things that I just want to bring this up, and I don’t know what it’s like down there in Australia. Nehemia, I’m not quite sure exactly what goes on in Israel. But I happen to have three sons. And this is a really huge mile marker for me, just in the last couple of months when my third son turned 21. Well, in our tradition, in our understanding over here in the United States, there are sort of like two phases to adulthood, there’s 18 and there’s 21. Now, at 18, that means, okay, you’re 18, you can vote. At 21, you can drink. Now, why is that an issue? This determination of when the ages are the ages. And I just think it’s kind of interesting here. Please, everyone that’s listening, I’m not promoting drinking, I’m not saying that’s what should happen, I’m just talking about how it happens in the United States. There are two phases. Hey, I’ve turned 18, I can vote for the president. But at 21, I can drink myself because of who I voted for. So I want to just bring this up in terms of age - why we think it’s 20, and what the situation is in Australia regarding adulthood and what it is in Israel.

Jono: Well, it’s a little bit different because, at 18, you can vote, but at 18, you can drink.

Keith: Really? How about in Israel, Nehemia?

Nehemia: Yeah, in Israel, both the drinking and the voting age is 18.

Keith: You’re kidding me? The United States is conservative on this matter.

Jono: No, the Australian beer and the Israeli beer is just better, and they know that, and you have to wait until you’re 21 before you can deal with it.

Keith: And that’s why I think it’s so amazing when I’m driving down the street and it says, “Please, drink responsibly.” They’ve got some Mad Dog 20/20 or Jim Beam Whiskey, and it says: Please, drink responsibly. I’m thinking, how do you do that when you’re 18? Anyway…

Nehemia: Well, I’m told that in Italy, that if you stop at a gas station, there’s a bar there and you can buy a drink. Whose idea was that?

Keith: Yeah.

Jono: Is that right?

Nehemia: Hey, I’ve got to point out two things in chapter 25 before we go to 26.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: The first one is the name of this princess. She’s a princess of Midian, she’s the daughter of the nasi, of the leader of Midian, of one of the clans of Midian. And her name is Kozbi, and you know, Keith pronounces it Cosby.

Keith: That’s because of Bill.

Jono: Bill Cosby.

Nehemia: But it’s actually Kozbi. Kozbi, her name means liar, from the word “kazav,” liar.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: I think that’s really interesting, yeah. She’s using deception to draw the Israelites into their idolatry. This method where you go out and a woman will use her sexuality to draw someone into a false religion - there’s actually a term for that from the 60s, and they called that “flirty fishing.” That’s exactly what the women of Baal Peor did. They went out and they were flirty fishing, they were drawing the men in, as fishers of men, so to speak, with flirtation, and that’s how they drew them into their idolatry. We find out later that was actually something that Bilaam, or Balaam, told them to do. We find that out later in the book. It’s not mentioned here; it was mentioned later on. But that was his advice. He’s like, “Okay, I know how you could defeat Israel. You got to draw them away from their God because, as long as their God is protecting them, you’ve got no chance. So how do you draw them away from their God? Draw them to another god. And you can use your ladies to do that.”

The second point I want to make is that verse 19 is a really interesting... and maybe this is different in the English. I’ve got to check now because I don’t know. So, verse 19, the last verse… and Keith, do you have the Hebrew there that you can pull out, Keith, and open up to, and tell us?

Keith: Absolutely.

Nehemia: So, can you read us verse 19, in Hebrew, of Numbers 25?

Keith: One second, I’ve got to open up my… you know, it’s so rare that I get a chance to open up my Hebrew Bible.

Nehemia: You can be my witness.

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: Hold on, just a second. So, we’re in chapter 25, verse 19.

Nehemia: Verse 19.

Keith: What’s interesting is that we don’t have, if I’m looking right here, and you check with yourself, Jono, we’ve got 17 and 18, and we don’t have 19 in English.

Nehemia: Oh, so you actually don’t have a 19, that’s interesting. So, this is pretty cool. Chapter 26, verse 1, in English, is actually two verses in Hebrew; chapter 25, verse 19, and chapter 26, verse 1. Now, the English has kind of got it right, in a sense, because these two verses are really a single verse. I think that’s what got the whole King James people confused. Why do I say they’re a single verse? Every single verse in the Bible ends with an accent mark called “sof pasuk,” it’s also called “siluk.” And “sof pasuk” means, “end of verse.” The only exception…and it’s not the only exception, but here is an exception; Numbers 25:19 is not the end of a verse.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: Numbers 25:19 ends with what accent mark, Keith?

Keith: “Etnachta”.

Nehemia: “Etnachta”, which is always marking the middle of a verse. Then 26 doesn’t have “etnachta”.

Keith: That’s the middle of a verse, ladies and gentlemen, yes.

Nehemia: So, the chapter ends, in the Hebrew text, in the middle of a verse. Then in the middle of a verse, you have a space, and that’s called “piska be’emtza pasuk,” a paragraph in the middle of a verse. And that happens... that’s not the only place it happens. It happens in other places, too. Essentially, it marks a transition into a new section. But essentially, 25:19 has to be read connected to 26:1 because it says, “And it came to pass after the plague.” End of chapter in the Hebrew. “And Yehovah spoke to Moses and Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, saying.” So I guess that point is lost on the English readers because… if you look at the JPS, for example, you will see it’s at Numbers 25:19. But in most of your English Bibles, you just have 26:1, and you miss out on all of that subtlety and nuance.

Jono: So, I freaked out before because, Keith, I thought for a second there, I thought Nehemia was quoting the New Testament. I was sure.

Nehemia: Numbers 25:19? After the point was over?

Jono: No, you said that later on in the book, it tells us that Balaam thought that the children of Israel…

Keith: Where did he get that?

Nehemia: No, no.

Jono: It was crazy. I thought, well, I went to Revelation 2, verse 14, and it says: “But I have a few things against you…”

Nehemia: What does Revelation 2:14 say?

Jono: It says, “Because you have there, those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel…”

Keith: Oh, my goodness. You’re kidding me.

Jono: “… things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.”

Keith: Jono, what are you doing reading in the New Testament?

Jono: And I thought, my goodness, Nehemia is quoting from the New Testament, I can’t believe it!

Keith: That’s amazing.

Nehemia: Well, first of all, there’s nothing wrong with quoting from the New Testament, but that’s actually not where I’m quoting from. I’m actually quoting from… there’s a number of places that refer to this.

Jono: Numbers 31, verse 16.

Nehemia: Yes. So, can you read that?

Keith: That’s impressive.

Jono: Now, I found it because I was really freaked out. Okay, so it says, I’m going to go from 15, “And Moses said to them, ‘Have you kept all the women alive? Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to transgress…’”

Nehemia: Come on.

Jono: “‘…against Yehovah in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of Yehovah.’” There we go. There it is.

Nehemia: So, this is when they have the war against Midian. Are you telling me that the book of Revelation didn’t just make this up, that it actually is based on something in the Old Testament, in the Tanakh?

Jono: It’s based on something in the Tanakh. For a second there, Nehemia, I thought worlds were colliding, but everything’s okay now, and there’s balance in the force once again.

Keith: There it is. And this is what’s great with Jono, everybody.

Nehemia: Sorry, guys, I read ahead.

Keith: Let me just say, everyone needs to understand something - it doesn’t take Jono long. Once he learned how to use this search deal, I mean you can just about say half a word and he’ll find verses in the Old and the New Testament; in the Tanakh and the New Testament, I’ll use that word.

Jono: There it is.

Keith: So, it’s impressive, Jono. You’re really doing a good job.

Jono: So here we are, flicking the pages. Oh, by the way, in verse 11, of course, now, you highlighted this already, that “the children of Korah did not die.” There’s that reference there in 26:11 when the earth swallowed up Korah and that rebellion. What else are we highlighting in chapter 26?

Nehemia: Well, verse 3, I think, is a big deal because all of a sudden, we’re finding out... I mean we heard about this before, but this is the key. We’re now in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, next to Jericho. So, this is now… we’ve gone… they’re no longer wandering through the desert. We’re already now, and we saw this a couple of portions ago, but we’re being reminded. The first census, that was out in the desert 38 years ago. Now we’re at the end of this period of the 40 years, really after 38 or so years from when the spies were sent, because they’d already been in the desert for a bit when that happens. Now, at the end of the 40 years, we’re in the plains of Moab, and here’s the census. Here we’re going to find out how many people are left. We’ve got all the statistics that you got there, in the Excel file that I sent you, that hopefully you’ll post on your website.

Jono: I’ve got it. I’m looking at it.

Nehemia: People can share it. Okay. And we’ve got the little chart of how some of them went up and some of them went down. But basically, the population was pretty stable, right? You’ve got, Reuben went down, and Simeon went down like big time.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: But then, for example, Zebulun went up, and Issachar went up, and Judah went up. But it’s more or less stable, the population, roughly speaking, which is borne out by the final numbers, 603,000 - 601,000 males, in that mid-range. But I think what’s important is verse 64. Maybe we could skip ahead to that?

Jono: Let’s go there…

Keith: Can I just, before we do that…

Jono: Yes?

Keith: …I do want to say, for those of us that... again, when you look at this Torah and we’re reading through this Torah, the reason this is important is that this idea of the Torah being given to God’s people, and this Torah having everything in it, including this kind of information. Well, the thing that Nehemia just said that I think kind of slips it in, I think it’s really significant what he said, is that when you’re reading, and especially when you get into books like the book of Numbers - for me, when I’ve read that, at times, I’ll get reading and maybe get my mind fading off here and there. And just in this one little verse is a really important thing.

Now, I’m going to say it again because I think it’s that important. That when we’re about to take the second census, why are they taking the second census now? It says they’re at the plains of Moab, they’re by the Jordan across from Jericho. Well, where it would have caught more of our attention is if they would have said, “So on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan, across from Jericho,” that’s what it says, but if it would have said, “So on the plains of Moab, just at the spot where they can look right across the river and see the promised land.” And I know we talk about that later, we’re going to get to that, when Moses does what he does, but this is slipped in Numbers, in the census section.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: So, for me, that gets me very excited.

Jono: That’s a good point

Keith: It gets me very excited. So, he’s like, “we’re about to go over here, and before we do that, let’s count the people?”

Jono: Let’s count the people.

Keith: Okay, now, I want to count the people.

Nehemia: Right. Also, they’re counting them because there was just a plague.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: It’s like okay, it’s been 40 years and we just had a plague, how many people are left? And actually, that’s not so bad. They had roughly the same population as they had 40 years earlier, despite this plague, and a whole series of plagues, actually. So, they’re actually doing pretty well, population-wise.

Jono: Now, let me get this right if I can. Just before we get to 63-64. In verse 52, it talks about dividing the land according to the size of the tribes. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought it was divided by lot. How are we to understand how this worked out?

Nehemia: So, what the lot determined was which tribe got which section. But then, for example, if you had, I don’t know, 40,000 people, you’d get twice as much. It wouldn’t necessarily be twice as much acreage because if it’s desert, well, you know, desert isn’t worth as much as...

Jono: What are you going to do with that?

Nehemia: Right, exactly. Desert isn’t worth as much as...

Jono: Fertile plains?

Nehemia: …fertile land on the coastal plain where there’s abundant water. So, it was based on the number of people. But then, once they determined this tribe has this many people, so they need a lot of desert, or a medium amount of fertile land… and nobody really wanted the desert, even if they were getting a lot of it...

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: …and that’s what the dividing of the lots was, to decide who gets what.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: You know, who gets the more fertile land? Because Israel actually has five distinct climatic zones, and some people would even count them as more than five. That’s the reason that they did the lots.

Jono: There it is. So, let me read from verse 63, “These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plain of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. But among these, there was not a man of those who were numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. For Yehovah had said of them, ‘They shall surely die in the wilderness.’ So there was not left a man of them…”

Keith: Okay.

Jono: “… except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Yehoshua ben Nun.”

Keith: I’ve got something to say. Now, you guys, I wasn’t going to say it, but I’m going to say it, I’m going to leave the farm here for just a second. I’m looking at this first section of the plague, and you guys, this might sound really weird, but the fact that we end the chapter that way makes me almost wonder if they weren’t about 24,000 over that were left that needed to be gone before they went into the land. In other words, that the plague happens for what it happens, the plague happened when it happened, but what does it say at the end? It says, “Not one of them were left.” And what did he tell the people? “These are the ones that are going in the land,” so were these the 24,000 that were hanging on just before they went into the land?

Jono: Oh, yeah. Okay.

Nehemia: You’ve completely left the farm.

Jono: No, no, so what he’s saying is, those that died, are they the ones that…?

Keith: I’m not saying that’s the reason, but what I’m saying is...

Jono: Is it possible, though?

Keith: is it possible that some of those of the 24,000...

Nehemia: Sure, it’s possible.

Keith: …some of those of the 24,000… And, again, just this sort of arrogance that’s taking place. Here, Moses is there, he’s in front of the Tent of Meeting, he’s with the people, they’re weeping, they’re crying, they’re doing this, and there’s this arrogance, the kind of arrogance that we’ve seen in the desert. So, I’m not saying that it was that, but certainly, by the end, he makes sure to let us know there were none left, as I said there would be none left before they went into the new life.

Jono: Wow.

Keith: Anyway, let’s move on.

Jono: Okay, it’s plausible, I suppose.

Keith: It’s plausible.

Jono: Chapter 27. This is the Inheritance Laws. Now, this is, again, this is why Katherine’s question was kind of relevant, I suppose, to this Torah portion. Chapter 27, “Then came the daughters of…”. Nehemia, quick, how do we pronounce that?

Nehemia: Zelophehad.

Jono: Thank you.

Keith: Zelophehad

Jono: There are a whole lot of names here. Nehemia, do you want to read this part?

Nehemia: Can we talk about a name that we kind of skipped over, which was Pinchas? Which is a really strange name. The reason I say it’s strange is that, there’s a rule in biblical Hebrew that every word has a three-letter root. There are certain letters that you just know, grammatically, aren’t part of the root and sometimes letters are added that form different structures.

But Pinchas doesn’t have a three-letter root; it has a four-letter root. Which tells me that it probably is a foreign name. This might actually be an Egyptian name. The other possibility is that it’s sort of a compound name. But the meaning is definitely not clear of Pinchas in Hebrew.

These five girls have very interesting names. Let me read these to you. “And the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Menashe, of the family of Menashe, the son of Joseph, came close; and these are the names of his daughters: Mahlah, Noa, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.” Those are really beautiful names. We’ve got to stop for a minute and talk about those names.

Remember we had the Midianite princess whose name was Cozbi, which means liar. But then we have these five girls, and one of them is named is Milcah, which means princess. I think that’s pretty cool. So, we go from one princess to another princess. The first three names have to do with dancing. So Mahlah comes from the word “mahol,” which means to dance in a ring; that is, to dance in a circle. If you’ve ever seen how they do the Hava Nagila…

Keith: Well, there it is.

Nehemia: …that’s kind of like a throwback to the ancient Israelite dancing, where they would dance in a circle or a ring. So that’s Mahlah, the ring dancer. And we’ve got Noa, which is the name of my niece by the way. Hey, Noa!

Jono: G’day, Noa.

Nehemia: By the way, that’s distinct from Noach, which is, you know, in English, Noah, the guy who made the ark. This is Noa, which doesn’t have the “ch” at the end. So, Noa, which means to sway or to shake. Again, having to do with dancing. And then we’ve got Hoglah, which is from a root meaning to hop, to hop around. So, we’ve got dancing in a ring, swaying and shaking, and hopping. And then we’ve got Milcah, princess, and Tirzah, which means lovely.

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: So those are pretty cool names. The first three have to do with dancing, and I bet you that’s because when Zelophehad had those girls, he just started dancing. He did the happy dance. Whoo!

Jono: Dancing the happy dance!

Nehemia: Dancing, swaying and shaking and hopping around. And then he had his lovely princess.

Jono: Nice.

Nehemia: But anyway, so those are the names.

Jono: “And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders of all the congregation, by the doorway of the Tabernacle of Meeting, saying: ‘Our father died in the wilderness…’” Keith, there it is…

Keith: There it is.

Jono: ‘…He died in the wilderness, but he was not in the company of those who had gathered together against Yehovah…’

Keith: Right.

Jono: ‘…in company of Korah, but he died in his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be removed from among his family because he had no sons? Give us a possession among our father’s brothers.’” So now, Nehemia, verse 5.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: “So Moses brought their case before Yehovah.” Once again, is this not another example?

Nehemia: This is the fourth example.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: And just to remind the people, we had the man who cursed Yehovah in Leviticus 24; Numbers 9, with the second Passover. We had the man who was gathering sticks, I think that was in the last Torah portion, if I’m not mistaken. And here is the fourth time where Moshe, Moses, doesn’t know what the commandment is. Somebody approaches him with a question, he doesn’t know what to do, and he brings it before Yehovah. And the next chapter… actually, later in this chapter, we’re going to see the significance of that for later on. So, yeah, I’m going to hold off on talking about that…

Keith: Okay.

Nehemia: …because we want to talk a little bit about this whole inheritance thing. So, let’s just call a spade a spade here, okay, guys? What this means, in this system here, is that the girls, normally, under normal circumstances, didn’t inherit land. And just to give you an illustration of my family - so I’m the only boy with four sisters; two older, and two younger. If we were in biblical times, and we were farmers on the land, like all Israelites were in ancient times… 98 percent of the ancient population, really until 200 years ago were agrarian, worked as farmers. So, when my father passed away, I would have inherited all of the land, and my sisters would have gotten nothing. What they would have gotten, I suppose, is what their husband’s land… whatever their husband’s inherited. But they wouldn’t have gotten anything from our family. That was the system that was laid out; in a sense, that was the system that existed before the Torah.

So, the daughters of Zelophehad come along and say, “Okay, that’s tradition, but is that really fair under the circumstances where our father doesn’t have any children? He doesn’t have any sons, rather. He’s got five wonderful daughters. Why shouldn’t we inherit the land?” And Moses says, “Okay, I’ll go ask the big guy. I’ll ask the Creator of the universe and see what he has to say.” The answer is that yeah, they’re supposed to get land. If there are no sons, then they inherit land. And then there’s a whole chain of succession…

Jono: A whole series of it, yeah, that’s right. It says it’s a good thing, “and cause the inheritance of their father to pass to them. And you shall speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter. If he has no daughter, then you shall cause his inheritance to his brothers. If he has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to his father’s brothers. And if his father has no brothers, then you shall give his inheritance to the relative closest to him in his family, and he shall possess it.’ And it shall be to the children of Israel a statute of judgment, just as Yehovah commanded Moses.”

Nehemia: Now, there’s a follow-up to this in Numbers 36, but maybe we should hold off until we get to Numbers 36.

Jono: Okay.

Keith: Yeah.

Jono: We can do that.

Keith: Alright.

Jono: Now, this again - I guess we’ll get to this when we get to Deuteronomy 18, maybe we’ll talk about it then. But it says, “Now, Yehovah said to Moses, ‘Go up into this Mount Abarim…’”, is that right?

Nehemia: Avarim.

Jono: Avarim. “‘…and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel. And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother was gathered. For in the Wilderness of Zin, during the strife of the congregation, you rebelled against My command to hallow Me at the waters before their eyes. These are the waters of Meribah, at Kadesh in the Wilderness of Zin.’”

Keith: And there it is, Jono. It says, the reason, he says, “is because you disobeyed My command to honor Me as holy before their eyes.” And we talked about this a few weeks ago...

Jono: That’s right.

Keith: …regarding what happened. Was he confused? Did he not know? No, he disobeyed the command.

Jono: There it is.

Keith: “To honor Me as holy before their eyes.” There it is, right there.

Jono: There it is.

Nehemia: Well, it doesn’t say why he disobeyed, though. I was trying to psychoanalyze Moses…

Keith: Nehemia is going to continue to give Moses a pass. The bottom line is that Moses didn’t do what Yehovah wanted him to do.

Nehemia: Well, here’s the question. Moses is the only human being, according to Scripture, who spoke to Yehovah face to face. Everyone else, we’re told, were spoken to in a vision or in dreams, or in some kind of prophetic trance. Moses is speaking face to face with the Creator of the universe. He’s awake. And he’s the only one in all of history, according to Scripture, according to Deuteronomy 34, that we’ll get to, that that happened to. And you’re telling me that he disobeyed Him? There’s got to be a reason. I don’t like to put words in their mouth or try to figure out what’s going on, but here we’ve got to. There’s got to be some kind of psychological reason why Moses disobeyed the Creator of the universe...

Keith: The reason…

Nehemia: …who spoke to him face-to-face, and you’re just saying, “well, he did it.”

Jono: Keith?

Keith: Jono, look.

Nehemia: You’re right, he did it, but I think there’s something deep in his psychology.

Keith: It’s not psychology, the guy is...

Nehemia: In Exodus, we saw how he’s relying on the staff; he’s got the staff. And God says, “Stretch out your hand,” and he stretches out the staff. We saw that in Exodus. So, there are like seeds that are planted early on for this pivotal moment in his life. And you know, he’s a stutterer. There are all these reasons. God says to him, all of a sudden, “Speak to the rock,” and he’s like, “I’m supposed to speak to it, but I do so well with the stick.” So, I’m sticking to my story, I think it makes sense. Despite this, we know he disobeyed.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: I can’t get one word in.

Nehemia: But I want to know why he disobeyed.

Keith: Here’s what I’d like, to get one word in edge-wise. I want to use the very thing that Nehemia said - he’s the only man in the earth that spoke face to face.

Nehemia: Come on with that.

Keith: Now, in speaking face-to-face with the Creator of the universe, do you think that when he walked away, he was confused? Did God really mean this, or did he mean that? I think it’s exactly why…

Nehemia: No, I think he understood, but in the moment, in that moment when he had to actually carry out the commandment... here’s the thing, and this is something that my father once said. I think he was quoting some ancient Rabbi, I’m not sure what his name was. My father once said, “The spirit is willing, and the flesh is weak.” What he meant by that was, look, there are people who dedicate their entire lives to sin, who have chosen a lifestyle of sin. That can’t be compared to somebody, who in a moment of weakness slips up and sins, because everybody sins. And that doesn’t excuse their sin.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Moses’s sin is not excused here.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: But he didn’t dedicate his life to sinfulness.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: But he’s held… as we’ve spoken to before, he’s held to a much higher standard.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Oh, absolutely. He’s held to a very high standard. But the point is, I don’t believe, and this is where we may depart, Keith, on the way we see this. I can’t believe that Moses…

Keith: As long as we depart in peace.

Nehemia: … that Moses stood there, and he lifted his hand up in the air, and said, “God, you told me to talk to the rock. I’m going to do what I want. Forget You. I’m going to hit the rock.” I don’t believe that’s what happened. I think Moses, somehow, in a moment of weakness from all kinds of different pressures that were on him, must have just been weak, and although his spirit was willing, his flesh was weak.

Jono: No, I reckon in a moment of frustration, Keith, I reckon he improvised.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: And that’s why he got in trouble.

Keith: I’m going to call Nehemia, Dr. Gordon, he’s gotten into the psychology of Moses. And he is now going to give a new syndrome called the Moses Syndrome. Then I’m going to say, “okay, so be it.” But let me just say this. I think what’s really amazing about this, as we’re about to go to the next part that I’m really excited about, is that He reminds Moses again. And I think this is something that I’ve had to do with my owns sons. You know, there’ll be a situation that will come up, that there was a certain consequence. They understood the consequence, and I understood the consequence. We even ahead of time knew what the consequence was. And then some months later, something comes up that they want to do, and this is probably in their earlier years. They’d say, “Remember when I want to do this.” I’d say, “But remember, here’s why we’re not doing that anymore.” Then we go back to the situation that happened. So I’m not sure about all of that, I just know what I think is kind of interesting is that He makes sure that He reminds Moses, “Do you remember what it was that took place and why is it you’re not going into the land?” And then He goes onto explain what’s happening next.

Jono: That’s right.

Keith: I think there’s something to that. But let’s move on.

Jono: Sure. So, verse 15, “Then Moses spoke to Yehovah, saying, ‘Let Yehovah, the God of the spirits of all flesh…

Keith: Yes.

Jono: …set a man over the congregation, who may go out before them and go in before them, who may lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of Yehovah may not be like sheep which have no shepherd.’ And Yehovah said to Moses: ‘Take Joshua, Yehoshua ben Nun with you, a man in whom is the Spirit,’” there it is, “‘a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hands on him; set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation, and inaugurate him in their sight. And you shall give some of your authority to him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. He shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire before Yehovah for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word, they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation.’ So, Moses did as Yehovah commanded him. He took Joshua and set him before Eleazar the priest and before all the congregation. And he laid his hands on him and inaugurated him, just as Yehovah commanded by the hand of Moses.’”

Keith: Powerful.

Nehemia: Wow. There’s a lot to talk about in this section, oh, boy.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: We’ve already talked about this in previous portions, but I just want to reiterate that what we have here is essentially a picture of the position of the judge, which later becomes the king. When the first king is chosen over Israel, one of his roles is to judge. If you think about it, that’s why when we hear about Solomon, one of the things we hear about is he’s sitting in judgment. He’s got the story of the two women who both claim this baby is theirs, and he says, “Cut it in half.”

Now, why is he sitting in judgment? Because that’s one of the functions of the king; he essentially takes on the role of the high judge. Moses had that role of the high judge. We saw this in the story of Jethro. Jethro comes to him and he says, “Look, you’re judging the entire nation, three million people, from morning until evening. You’ve got to have somebody help you.” So, he sets up this whole hierarchical system; judges of 50s, and 100s, and 1000s. But Moses is at the top, and when he doesn’t know what to do, we saw what he does. When he doesn’t know what to do, he goes, and he asks Yehovah.

That is a system that is now being extended beyond the life of Moses. Now the authority is being handed over to Joshua, and Joshua, well, what is he supposed to do? He doesn’t speak to Yehovah face-to-face, so what he gets to do is ask the judgment of the Urim, and that’s the key here. In verse 21, “ask the judgment of the Urim.” Now, what are the Urim? We talked about them very briefly. I think we mentioned this back in Exodus 28, verse 30, when the breastplate of judgment was being made, and there it says, “You shall place on the ‘hoshen’ of ‘mishpat’, the breastplate of judgment, the Urim and the Thummim. They shall be upon the heart of Aaron when he comes before Yehovah. And Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before Yehovah continually.”

Now, Aaron, when he dies, is replaced by his son as high priest, who is Eleazar. That’s exactly what it says here in verse 19: “And you shall stand before Eleazar the priest, before the entire congregation,” etc., in verse 21, “And before Eleazar the priest, he shall stand, and he shall ask the judgment of the Urim before Yehovah.” So Joshua, although he’s a prophet, although he was given authority by Moses and placed in charge, he still has to ask of the Urim and the Thummim when he doesn’t know what to do in matters of the interpretation of Scripture. And that’s something that we see again in the Deuteronomy 17, and I know we’re going to get back to that. So, Deuteronomy 17, I think, is one of the key passages in the Bible. It says, “When a matter is too difficult to you for judgment,” etc., it talks about going to the Levitical priest and the judge who will be in those days, and those essentially are the two roles. The high judge… but the high judge himself has to go and ask the Levitical priest through the Urim and the Thummim. This is essentially the system that’s been set up in the Torah.

Now, what’s happened is the Rabbis came along about 1,500 years later and they say, “well, we don’t have a high priest with the Urim and the Thummim, so we take that authority for ourselves, and whatever we say goes; you’re required to obey us.” And they’ve actually applied Deuteronomy 17 to them. If you read in rabbinical writings, they quote those verses as the source of their authority. But if you look in Ezra chapter 2… this is one of my favorite passages, Ezra chapter 2, it’s a very obscure verse.

It talks about these Kohanim, these priests. They can’t show their lineage; they can’t prove that they’re priests. They talk about what they should do. And it says in verse 62 of Ezra 2, “And these sought their writing of their genealogy, and they were not found, and they were banished from the priesthood. The governor said to them that they must not eat of the most holy things until a priest would stand with the Urim and Thummim.”

This is the key point; there was no priest with the Urim and Thummim in Second Temple times. So, they said, “Okay, we’re going to have to wait for that priest. We’re without that teacher who can tell us what to do when we don’t know what to do.” And I quoted this prophecy, I’m sure before, in 2 Chronicles, chapter 15, and it says there, this is a prophecy of Azariah, the son of Oded. It says, “For many days Israel will be without the true God, without the teaching priest, and without the Torah.”

I believe we’re in that period, where we don’t have anyone who really has the authority of Deuteronomy 17. We’ve had people who have usurped that authority, who claimed that authority, but we don’t have a high priest with the Urim and Thummim, and someone who is the high judge. We will have that figure; that will be the Messiah when he comes and reigns as king over Israel. Read Isaiah 11; it talks about him judging. That’s one of the key functions of what he does, judging the people as the high judge.

Keith: Jono?

Jono: Keith?

Keith: I’d like to leave the farm again.

Jono: Go ahead.

Keith: So, when I read this passage, there’s something that’s kind of a thread that jumps off the page for me. The thread has to do with something that you and I talked about a little bit before the program started. It’s regarding some of the descriptions and some of the names of Yehovah that we find in Scripture. And so in 16, we have “Yehovah Elohei haruchot l'chol basar,” Yehovah, God of the spirits of all flesh, of the “ru’ach,” you know, the “ruchot,” the spirits to all flesh. And then in verse 18, it says, “And Yehovah spoke unto Moses, and He says to him, ‘Take this one, who we call Joshua, a man in whom is the ru’ach, is the spirit.’” And I understand this whole issue of the high priest that will come and that will judge based on having the breastplate and being able to do these things. But there’s a Joshua here, before there are any hands that are laid on him, who has the spirit.

Nehemia: Come on with that.

Keith: And then it says that here, so Joshua is not... in other words, this guy is not some guy on the side of the road who’s just a good worker. He’s not just a good worker that was around Moses. He actually has the ru’ach, he has the spirit. It says, “Yehovah Elohei haruchot l'chol basar,” he is Yehovah who is the spirits of all flesh.

And then here’s this connection - there’s this Joshua with the spirit, and then he says this really radical thing, he says to him, and I love what the Hebrew says. Nehemia, I want you to share this with the people, it says in verse 20… so here’s the story, here’s Yehovah, who is the God of the spirits of all mankind, appoint a man over this community. This is Moses saying it to Yehovah, “listen, you’re the God of all spirits; appoint a man.” And then it says, “Yehovah said to Moses, ‘okay, take Joshua, he’s got the spirit.’” Then it says, “Have him stand before Eleazar the priest and the entire assembly and commission him… Give him some of Your authority,” is what it says in the NIV.

Now, Nehemia, would you read that verse? And then we’re going to pray because this is a really important thing. Verse 20, the first section of verse 20, and then I want us to stop and say a prayer. What does it say in Hebrew?

Nehemia: Well, it says, “ve-natata me’hodcha alav,” give him some of your “hod,” and “hod” is glory, splendor.

Keith: Ah-ha.

Nehemia: Give him some of Your glory. Yeah, that’s pretty cool.

Jono: If I understand what you’re saying... I mean, when you say something like that, now, I’m thinking of how…

Keith: Are you awake now, Jono? This is big.

Jono: Well, he’s got, I mean, at one stage at least, I don’t know if he still does, but he had the veil over his face because he had horns coming out of his head.

Keith: Come on.

Jono: He was shining, wasn’t he? He was shining.

Nehemia: Yes. Well, what this reminds me of, if I can go a little bit off the Torah portion, is 2 Kings, chapter 2. It’s one of my favorite stories. Verses 9 through about 13. Can one of you guys open that up and quickly read that?

Jono: 2nd Kings, chapter 2.

Nehemia: I think this is important because this is the story where Elijah is about to be taken up to heaven...

Keith: Now, you got us.

Nehemia: …and he’s handing some of his glory to Elisha. And guess what? It takes place in the same place.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: That took place in the plains of Moab, opposite Jericho.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: This story in 2 Kings, chapter 2, takes place in the plains of Moab, opposite Jericho. The story opens up in the earlier verses with them crossing over the Jordan from Jericho.

Keith: Exactly.

Jono: How about that?

Keith: And again, the reason that I wanted to bring this up is that this is what we like to call in my tradition: foreshadowing. You know, here you’ve got Moses who’s going to give something to Joshua, but this is not, like I said, just a guy walking the streets. This guy has the “ish,” you know, the ru’ach, he’s got the spirit. And he is going to give him some of this, which Yehovah has given to Moses.

Nehemia: Alright.

Jono: Do you want me to read this?

Nehemia: Yeah, can you read verses like 9 through 13 or so?

Jono: Yes. “And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’ And Elisha said, ‘Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’ And so he said, ‘You have asked a hard thing.’”

Nehemia: Okay. I’ve got to stop you there because, Keith, is that what you have, “a double portion”?

Keith: That’s what it says in the NIV.

Nehemia: 2 Kings. It’s got the double portion. So, this is a great example of a mistranslation that, I think… pretty much all the translations have this mistranslation. And it’s something that archaeology sheds light on.

So, the Hebrew word for portion here is “pi,” and it says, “pi shnayim,” which they’re saying, “okay, they’re saying two portions, two ‘pi’s.’” Except “pi”, in earlier Hebrew, doesn’t mean a portion; “pi,” actually... they found this out when they uncovered these ancient weights in archaeological excavations. They found a weight that said on it, “pi.” It turns out that a “pi” is a third of a shekel. And so “pi shnayim” means, two-thirds. Elisha said, “Let two-thirds of your spirit be to me.” He’s not asking for a double portion. I mean, that would have been kind of a chutzpah, you know; “I want to be greater than you.” He’s asking for two-thirds of his spirit. He’s like, you’re amazing, I just want two-thirds of what you’ve got.

Keith: Exactly.

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: Yes, pretty cool.

Jono: My goodness. I’ve never heard that before.

Nehemia: It is kind of a foreshadowing of what happened with Moses, because you know what? Joshua wasn’t Moses…

Keith: That’s right.

Nehemia: …he didn’t speak to Yehovah face-to-face, but he was pretty close.

Keith: Right.

Nehemia: He still was an important prophet.

Jono: Yes, sure.

Keith: And that’s why what I wanted to say, Jono, was when he stopped here, and he says, “Now, give him…” and of course it says in English, and this is what caught my attention, “…give him some of your authority. Some of your glory.” In other words, the foreshadowing is…

Jono: Yes, just let some rub off, right?

Keith: Give him a piece; just give him a piece.

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: That’s before we’re ever talking about the whole idea of the priest who will obtain decisions for him. So, the decisions will be what they are, but do you know what’s amazing? You can have those decisions made, but if you ain’t got any ru’ach, it ain’t going to help.

Jono: Ain’t going to help. So, Keith, this is blowing my mind. Let me just read this again, “And so it was, when they had crossed over, that Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask! What may I do for you, before I am taken away from you?’ Elisha said, ‘Please let two-thirds of your spirit be upon me.’” That’s what you’re saying it says, right?

Keith: Come on.

Nehemia: There it is.

Jono: Okay. That’s 2nd Kings, chapter 2, verses 9 and 10. That blows my mind because, verse 9… I mean, Keith, how many ministries are there out there called Double Portion something or other.

Keith: Exactly.

Jono: But anyway.

Keith: Let’s move on. Come on, can we get back to the Torah portion?

Nehemia: Well, wait a second, because there really is such thing as a double portion. I think maybe they’re confused.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Double portion is just a translation of the Hebrew…

Jono: Of the inheritance.

Nehemia: …of inheritance. That’s what the first-born gets, is the “bechora.” The first-born gets a double portion. What that means is… just so people understand what we’re talking about… I gave this scenario where I’ve got four sisters and they get nothing because I’m the only boy.

Well, what if I have four brothers, and I’m the first-born? Which I’m not, but let’s say I were the firstborn. Then you divide up the land into six portions. We’ve got five children, one of them is the firstborn, you break it up into six sections, and the firstborn gets two of those portions and the others each get one-sixth.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: That’s what the double portion means.

Jono: There it is. Excellent. Thank you for that. Now, Keith, here we are in chapter 28, okay? We’re talking about the daily offering, the Shabbat offerings, monthly offerings.

Keith: You know what I’m going to say, right?

Jonoo: Offerings at Passover, offerings at the Feast of Weeks, offerings at the Feast of Trumpets, offerings of the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, offerings of the Feast of Tabernacles. There they all are. And you released a video. Now, you’ve been abroad and you’ve been having some adventures out and about in the Land, also in Rome and a few other places. And you’ve let us have a little snippet that you had spoken about before, about you actually proclaiming the name on the Temple Mount. Oh, my goodness, I can’t believe it.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: And it’s all about... just tell everybody what it’s about.

Keith: You know, I’m going to tell you what I’ve determined… I don’t just read this stuff and say, “Oh, that’s great.” I really believe this. I mean, I really believe the things that we’re talking about in these Torah Portions. We talk about all of this idea that Yehovah has goals and plans and ideas for His people and how He wants His people to live. And in this story we just read, we were talking about this before the show - here you’ve got this man who’s the grandson of Aaron, who had great zeal, who wasn’t afraid to do what he had to do, that he had felt that he was called to do it.

So Nehemia and I had this great discussion back-and-forth, and I wish people could have been there, because we were discussing the Proclaim the Name Campaign, where we’ve gone different places and done this and sometimes blown the shofar and proclaim the name. And one of the big issues was, that the Temple Mount, which is presently under the “authority of the Islam,” you know, it’s a place that they say, now, you can’t read, you can’t pray. If you go up there, you’ve got two hours on certain days that you can go. And the line itself to get to the Temple Mount, and I’m not kidding about this, if you stand in line normally to wait to get to the Temple Mount, you will stand in line sometimes for more time that they actually have available to get up there, so if you don’t get there in time, you stand in line just for them to say you can’t go.

Jono: Wow.

Keith: What I did is I actually had a Muslim man who got me to the front of the line, and I said, I’ve got to do something really radical. I’ve got to go to the top of the Temple Mount and proclaim that the earth is Yehovah’s and the fullness thereof. This is the place he caused His name to dwell forever, and I want to know why I can’t go up there and make this proclamation. And I’ve had some people that really gave me some very stern warnings. My friend, Nehemia, did say to me, “You need to be very careful how you actually do what it is that you’re going to do and good luck, you’ll have to go without me.”

Nehemia: I don’t know this guy. I don’t even know who he is.

Keith: “I don’t know who he is.” So the point was, Jono - and I appreciate you giving me the opportunity - the point was that I just felt like going there, understanding the politics, you know, the military is up there, you’ve got the people at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, you’ve got all sorts of activity going on. I thought, “now, wait a minute, but where is it that I’m standing, and what does this place represent, and whose name should be here?”

And I believe that the name Yehovah, as we know it, as of today, and there may be something that comes out later, I’m not so much dealing with pronunciation, I’m dealing with proclamation. Proclaiming His name on that place was my way of saying, you know what? I’m going to trust the fact that it is His name, and I’m going to go and run into His name and let it be the place of protection for me.

So I took my video camera and set up my tripod and the military was looking at me, and some Muslim folks were looking at me, and even the guy that was with me, I had him hold my bag, a Muslim man. And I stood up and I proclaimed the name. I want people to get a chance to see that. Hopefully, we will have a number of the episodes that took place that I did do on the Time Will Tell project. But one of them was to go with Muslim people to get their perspective on God’s clock. So that’s what I was doing, and I thought, well, since I’m on the Temple Mount, I might as well proclaim the name. And I did it. So I hope that you’ll post it somewhere. Post it on Facebook, we’ll post it on And let people see, it’s 36 seconds. It’s a proclamation that hopefully will encourage people.

Jono: Time Will Tell. That’s what it’s called, right? Time Will Tell?

Keith: Time Will Tell is going to be the project. By the way, this is connected to our spying out trip to Israel, because we want people to go to places that the spiritual border patrol and the religious police don’t like us to go. But Jono, you’ve agreed to go with me, so sometimes we’ll get shot in the butt, but it’s okay because we’re going to be in places…

Nehemia: Hey, if you go on the Temple Mount it might not be proverbially, you might literally get shot in the butt - so be careful there.

Jono: Excellent.

Keith: Anyway, it’s available on And you know what? I think people should be encouraged because in the bottom line is this - His name is going to be proclaimed in that spot. I’d like to reserve my spot there.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: Time Will Tell.

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Are we done with the Urim and Thummim? Can we talk about that a little bit more? I just think that’s so big.

Jono: Yes, you’ve got something else there? Go for it.

Nehemia: Yeah, okay. I mean, we talked about this in a previous portion about what the Urim and Thummim are. One belief is that it was the lights that would light up. But if you actually look at some of the earlier Jewish sources, what they explain is that what caused the lights to light up were two parchments called the Urim and the Thummim. On those little parchments, it had the name of the God on it, the actual name of the Creator, yud hei vav hei, on those pieces of parchment. When they were inserted into the breastplate of judgment, that it then gave this… I don’t want to call it power, but essentially, it turned it into a prophetic device.

Later on, in Jewish tradition… now, that’s history and that’s essentially people trying to explain what’s in the Scripture from ancient Jewish sources. We don’t really know what the Urim and Thummim were. They were something in the breastplate of judgment. So later on, in Jewish sources, they took this idea of writing the name of Yehovah, the one that Keith proclaimed on the Temple Mount, about writing that name on pieces of parchment.

One of the really cool stories that I grew up hearing, and I don’t know if it’s true, I kind of have been skeptical… but there’s this story about something called the golem. The golem was… it’s actually the inspiration for the story of Frankenstein. It’s something that took place in the 16th century. At first, it actually happened in Chełm, which is a city in Poland, and later, there was a more famous incident in Prague, but the original one was in Chełm. The golem was essentially a lump of clay formed into the shape of a person, and according to the story, according to the legend, one of the rabbis took the name of God on a piece of parchment, stuck it in this clay model’s mouth, and the clay model came to life. That’s the legend.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: Now, this is, you know, a folk legend. I wasn’t there, I didn’t see it; I’m kind of skeptical if it happened. But the point is that there is this association between the name of Yehovah being written on a piece of parchment, connected to the Urim and Thummim, that then comes down through history. Of course, when Mary Shelly came along, or is that her name? The one who wrote Frankenstein, being a rationalist, she couldn’t have the name of Yehovah on a piece of parchment. So she took the science of her time, which basically thought that electricity could bring about life. In her story it’s electricity that actually makes it happen, instead of the name of Yehovah on a piece of parchment.

But this starts off as an ancient explanation of the Urim and Thummim, and then goes down through legend, and into the golem. Another place that we see the Urim and Thummim show up is actually on the emblem of Yale University, one of the most prestigious universities in the United States.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: So, on the emblem of Yale University, going back to like the 1700s or something, it says in Hebrew, “Urim ve-Thummim,” as a book.

Jono: Really?

Nehemia: And on the right side of the book, it says, “Urim,” on the left side, it says “ve-Thummim.” You know, Urim and Thummim, Urim ve-Thummim.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Above that is a translation of Urim and Thummim in Latin. Now, one translation of Urim is light, and Thummim would be perfection, but some people understood it as related to the word for ‘truth.’ And so, it’s translated in Latin as “Lux et Veritas,” which means light and truth, which is supposed to be the ideal of Yale University. But anyway, that also comes from the Urim and Thummim, from here in the Torah.

Jono: How about that?

Nehemia: Pretty cool. Amen.

Keith: There it is, ladies and gentlemen.

Jono: I didn’t know that.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: Now, listen, should we... I mean I know we’ve gone through a lot of this already in regards to the offerings and the sacrifices…

Nehemia: Now, wait a minute, I have a chart of all the sacrifices.

Jono: He’s got a chart, Keith.

Nehemia: How much oil was being sacrificed, and how much flour was… you’re not going to let me read the chart? I don’t understand.

Jono: We can’t do that. Keith, is there anything that you want to highlight in these last two chapters?

Nehemia: I spent hours on this chart!

Keith: Let me just say this, I think one of the things that’s really interesting in this, and people should really do this, this is an example of what we’ve been doing throughout the Torah portions is when you see one of these feasts, whether it be Pessach, or the Feast of Weeks, or Day of Atonement, whatever it is that they’re reading, is to go to every other section in the Torah that speaks about it, and it paints a beautiful picture.

The idea - and this is what I love about this, and I know some people say you guys got to spend more time, and then we’ve got other people saying, but you’re spending almost two hours. One of the things that I hope that we’re doing is we’re giving people and spurring people on to do their own study, that we not take that gift and that opportunity away from them. One lady sent us a note, and she’s like, “You’ve done all of this work, and I just get to get the fruit of all the work.” But what I don’t want people to do is become lazy. I want them to learn to do the work, too.

And so this is just one sample, and there might be something that you guys want to talk about, I have no problem with that, but this is one example where this particular section could be a great one, where they could pray the prayer that their eyes would be open, but they would actually do the work of seeing each of these offerings. So you’ve got the Sabbath offering, the monthly offerings, then you’ve got the Passover, the Feast of Weeks. And speaking of these, then to go to every section in Torah that talks about one of these holy days or these mo'adim. And they would really be surprised at what they will learn from that.

Jono: So we’ve given them some homework, right, Keith?

Keith: Exactly.

Jono: Before we get to the prayer, while we’re still talking about offerings, I want to... just coming back to the beginning of this Torah Peals, we did talk about China.

Nehemia: We’ve actually had “A Prayer to Our Father” translated into Chinese, and now “The Hebrew Yeshua vs. The Greek Jesus” has been translated to Chinese. Both are available from Christian Alliance Press over in China.

Keith: And let me say this, Jono, one of the things I do appreciate about the things that we have done, and why I think this is such a significant opportunity to go to China - is because the folks over there are doing their work. They kind of remind me of the lady that was in South Africa who said, “Hey, come over to South Africa.” She was a housewife, who said, “I’ve never done this,” but she put this entire tour together.

Well, what the difference is in China is we’ve got a man who contacts us and says, “I’d like to translate the book into Chinese,” which then became, “hey, if we’re going to translate the book, can you actually get copies,” which became, “hey, could you guys possibly let us give them away.” Which became, “hey, would you come here?” And so there’s a very grassroots movement over there, and they’re taking care of some major things, the actual book that was printed, the actual events that will take place.

Jono: And I think, really, I think we should wrap this up. I’m hoping, Nehemia, can we wrap it up with the prayer from Psalm 119, verse 18?

Keith: Yes.

Nehemia: Before we do that, can we do a quick run through, through two chapters, Numbers 28 and 29? I know we’re not going to go into a lot of detail.

Jono: Oh! Because you’ve got your list.

Nehemia: I’ve got my list; I’ve got my chart.

Keith: Oh, gosh.

Nehemia: I’ve got a table.

Keith: You tried, Jono.

Nehemia: I’m not going to go through all of that.

Keith: You tried.

Nehemia: I just want to do a quick overview. Numbers 28 opens up, verses 1 through 8, that is essentially almost word-for-word, the daily sacrifice, the “tamid” sacrifice; almost word-for-word of Exodus 29, verses 38 to 42. And the daily sacrifice, the “tamid” sacrifice, of course, that’s something that will show up in the book of Daniel in some kind of end-times context, having important prophetic significance.

Then we’ve got in verses 9 to 10 the Shabbat. In verses 11 to 15, we have the New Moons. From there, essentially, we open up into something quite similar to Leviticus 23, but really, it’s focusing on the sacrifices. It’s so much focusing on the sacrifices, that if you, for example, go to the section on Yom Kippur, in Numbers 29, verses 7 to 10, it actually doesn’t mention Yom Kippur, it just mentions, “And you shall afflict your souls on the tenth day of the seventh month.” It doesn’t actually mention that this is about atonement, which I think is really interesting. It’s almost like this is a technical list.

It actually does mention the sin offering of atonement, but the phrase Yom Kippur, or Yom Kippurim, Day of Atonement, doesn’t appear there. And then, if you look in verse 12 to the end of chapter 29, you’re going to see the section on Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret. There it doesn’t really say anything about Sukkot, it just describes the sacrifices each day.

So, Keith had mentioned how it’s a good idea for people to go and look at the other sections. You can look at Exodus 12, having to do with the Passover sacrifice and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Exodus 23, Exodus 34, each have sections on the three feasts. Leviticus 16 talks about the Day of Atonement. Leviticus 23 is the key section that talks about all the feasts and appointed times. Then, finally, Deuteronomy 16 is the next section that’s going to be talking about the feasts. Read this and then go look at those other sections and read them together and get the big picture. The beautiful mosaic of Scripture.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: There’s the homework for the listeners. There’s the homework. Nehemia, will you… I don’t know if we’ve ended it with a prayer before. Here we go.

Keith: I like that, though, that their eyes would be opened. I like it.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: “Yehovah, avinu shebashamayim, gal eneinu ve-nabi-tah niphlaot mi-Torahteha.” Yehovah, our Father in heaven, uncover our eyes that we may see the wonderful, hidden things of your Torah. Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Amen. Thank you, Keith Johnson, and Nehemia Gordon. Next week, we are in Matot?

Nehemia: Matot. It’s where they can also go to iTunes and subscribe.

Jono: And until then, dear listeners, be blessed and be set apart by the truth of our Father’s word. Shalom.

You have been 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

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  • BLG says:

    I’d love to get my hands on that list Nehemia put together.

  • Hsiu-o Yu says:

    “They provoked wrath at the waters of Meribah and Moses suffered on their account, because they rebelled against Him and he spoke rashly. (Psalms 106:32-33)

  • Donald Murphy says:

    no Hebrew gospels please. if anything they were of the roman empire.

  • LG says:

    I loved “Dr. Gorden’s” psychological analysis (man those are hard words to spell! 🙂 )of Moses. I wonder how many psychologists have treated cases of “Moses Syndrome?”
    Anyway, I’m bit confused over “pi” being two-thirds of Elijah’s spirit. I’ve noticed that says that “peh” can mean one-third of a shekel, but regarding the archaeological discoveries what I’ve read (along with Nehemia’s comment) below is that these weights say “pim” and that they weigh two thirds of a shekel (which is also how modern translations translate pim in 1 Sam.13:21) and not one-third of a shekel. I did notice however that in 2 Kings in the Elijah incident it’s spelled “pi” but in 1 Sam. 13:21 (along with the weights) it’s in the plural,”pim.” Does that account for why it would mean one-third in 2 Kings 2:9 (with sh’nayim making it two-thirds) and two-thirds in the other cases?

  • Jw Brakebill says:

    Jonah, I cannot believe you didn’t call Nehemia out for quoting New Testament!

    Nehemia’s father was quoting an ancient rabbi, YESHUA! Mat_26:41 “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak! author? Rabbi Yeshua! LOL

    Love listening to you guys. May Yehovah bless all of you.

  • Jw Brakebill says:

    Nehemia, although scripture states that Moshe spoke to God face to face, did not Yaakoc speak with the man whom he wrestled with in Gen 32:24-30, saying he saw god face to face, and he too spoke with the wrestler? And in Gen 18 did not Yehovah appear to Abraham and speak with him? And common sense, if Adam walked in the garden with Yehovah, and they spoke to one another, Moses seems to be not the only one in scripture to speak with Yehovah. This is not diminishing Moses’ value of service to Israel, but he doesn’t seem to be the ONLY one God carried on a conversation with But, you have proven me wrong time and time, and time again, so I’m just humbly “suggesting.” 🙂 Have a good day. Really enjoy your knowledge.

  • Jw Brakebill says:

    Keith may have had a feasible point about the 24,000 that died in the plague. Consider the Corona plague of 2020. It has been said that the greatest risk was/is to the elderly population, and those with pre-existing conditions.

    Those that were left from the generation 40 years prior would have been the elderly generation, (40 years older) so it does seem quite sensible to wonder, if maybe, this plague in essence didn’t clear out the rest of the older generation that were, “still holding on.”

    After all, for Yehovah’s Word to be accurate, those still living after the 40 years in the desert HAD to die for His words to be fulilled.

  • rich14285 says:

    RE: The Way established in the wilderness begins what with the burning bush anointing wherein Moses balks at being both Seer and Prophet. So Yah says OK here comes Aaron, let him be your Prophet. This is the way going in and out of Egypt up until the new anointing at Mt Sinai wherein Aaron becomes both high priest and Seer and Moses now is his Prophet. Meaning Moses is now right where he got out of at the burning bush anointing. So we need not be surprised when Moses gets so involved with people quarreling at the waters of Meribah that he becomes too emotional to sanctify the word given unto him by Aaron. And when he gives the message that is given unto him by Aaron he adds to the message. And the word of Yah given in Deuteronomy sThuays thou shalt not add nor subtract from the word of God. In other words when Moses adds to the message he fails to sanctify the word of the Lord. The Way needs sanctification in order to protect the word of God. The Seer and the Prophet are replaced so that the Way lives on and endures even when if Seer, or Prophet or Judge fails to sanctify the word of God inherent in the Message. The Message is the most important thing. King Saul fails to sanctify the message and he is replaced by David. When David inherits Abiathar, he has to ask the same question twice only the first time. After that he needs only ask once and then he acts upon that word because the message is sacred. And the first time, David asks, his Seer Abiathar gives him the same answer. Thus David knows he can rely on the word that Abiathar gives unto him.

    Any and all feed back greatly appreciated.


    Rich Willis

  • Ted Craven says:

    If Elisha only got two thirds or Elijah’s spirit, why did he do twice as many miracles as Elijah? Most people credit Elijah with eight miracles and Elisha with sixteen for a total of twenty four miracles performed by the two of them. So Elisha performed two thirds of the twenty four miracles.

    The “spirit is willing” saying comes from Matthew 26:41: “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

    The mention of Balaam in Rev 2:14 in connection with the Church of Pergamos is very interesting. Pergamos means “bad marriage” and for this and other reasons the Church of Pergamos is often considered to be a type of the state-controlled church instituted by Constantine and his successors who basically tried to merge Christianity with paganism. The idea is that there will be a spiritual equivalent of Balaam in the end times that will try to impede the entry of Israel into the spiritual promised land but will ultimately end up helping the process. Balaam is a strange character who seems to have some connection with Yehovah, but who is ultimately driven by greed and is allied with Israel’s pagan neighbors. So he is a strange mixture of belief and paganism, something like the Church of Pergamos.

    • Ted Craven says:

      On second thought it occurs to me that Malachi 4:5 says that Elijah will be back: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” So Elijah probably isn’t done yet. If he were to do sixteen more miracles, then he would have twenty four to Elisha’s sixteen and the ratio would come out right.

  • Clyde Raabe says:

    Nehemiah, Really enjoyed listening to the Torah Pearls episode. Quite different aspects. Makes me strive for more. This was the 1ST of your studies, since, finding, finally, your website. Thank you. Our prayers go out for you all and Michael Rood……. Clyde in Green Valley, Arizona

  • Renée Strand says:

    Yes, I believe Moshe had a moment of weakness at the M’rivat-Kadesh but it was serious since he promoted himself to be the giver of water and thereby failed to honor our God Jehovah’s name.

    Maybe following the example of Zimri was the reason why the numbers of the tribe of Shim’on was so diminished in the census (compared to the first one).

    Leaders need to be real careful not to be bad examples and lead people astray.

    A question: Korach’s sons were allowed entry into the promised land. Were they born after the Exodus?

  • Gideon says:

    What tribe elijah from

  • Sharon Hogeda says:

    What eye-opening revelations between the three of y’all! I listen to these repeatedly and never stop comin’ away with new insights for action, Todah raba! The urim and thummin, which you, Nehemia, refer to as “light and truth,” is this what we read of in Psalm 43:3 “Send out Your light and your truth.” ?

  • Don says:

    In this Torah portion you discuss Phinehas killing Zimri, a Simeonite, and the massive reduction of the population of the tribe of Simeon in the wilderness, during the time between the two censuses. It has been proposed that these events are not unrelated. The Milesians, who were probably a big piece of the tribe of Simeon, shows up in Ireland about this time with their queen, Scota, waving a banner adorned with Moses’ bronze serpent. Probably not a coincidence.

    • Patricia Palinski says:

      It has also been speculated that the city-state of Sparta was founded about this time by Simeonites. A fierce bunch they were…the shoe fits there too.

  • Altair says:

    How about the broken vav?

  • Teresa Lloyd says:

    The first verse of chapter 26 says that Yehovah spoke to Mosheh and Eleazor the son of Aaron. So my question is did he actually speak to them or was it a vision?

  • Deidre says:

    Shabbat shalom from South Africa Pretoria. Coming out of a Christian church and discovering the anciant roots was such a blessing but also a devestating lonely experience. I sometimes had the Broom tree experience like Eliyahu?. Losing lots of our friends and familyConfusing with different translations…. discovering Nehiamswall and listening to the Torah and Prophet Pearls add so much joy and growth in me and my husband’s lifes. I want to thank JHUH for both you and ‘Keith for be available to help gentiles who came to love and adore YHUH and His Torah. Oh… Oh… how He bless us through you. You both are ike family to us now. Will love to meet you in the future. Love and blessings Deidré

  • Neville Newman says:

    At ~45:12 (I think), we learn that Nehemia’s father dispensed wisdom by quoting Yeshua (Matt. 26, Mark 14) ! Hilarious!

  • Nicholas Mansfield says:

    Nehemia, @ 1h1m seems to absolutely nail the double portion/Elijah matter but does he quite realise what he just said? There are two priests Elijah and Elisha, both descendants of Jacob, analogous to two brothers. The inheritance must be divided in three, then one receives a single, the other a double portion. Now this makes perfect sense, surely? Maybe Nehemia knows exactly what he said but is leaving it to us to connect.

  • Heiki Henrichsen says:

    I also believe that it was expected more from the leaders, and maybe this stirred Pinchas to action.

  • Erika says:

    Thank you so much for this postings and giving me the chance to listen via internet. May you all be blessed. I try not to miss the Torah Pearls

    kind regards all the way from South Africa

  • Rebecca says:

    Would love for you to post or email me a copy of Nehemiah’s charts on the sacrifices!

  • yzquest says:

    Amien! I so look forward to this trialog every week!Thank you for your donations to Torah pearls !!!!It is good ground to sow in!!!Thanks for sharing all your knowledge…! 🙂

  • Neville says:

    I really love listening to the Torah Pearls. Not only do I enjoy the attitude of respect and friendship exhibited between Keith, Nehemia, and Jono, and the insights brought forward on the scripture, but your good-natured banter often gives me a laugh as well.

    In the discussion of portion “Pinchas”, at one point Nehemia made reference to 2 Kings 2:9, which is usually translated with Elisha’s request to Elijah: “give me a double portion of your spirit”. Nehemia explained that the Hebrew word translated as “portion” is the work “peh” (“pi” , perhaps ??), and that an archaeological find had identified that word as a measure of “a third” (of a talent, I believe). His conclusion was that Elisha’s request was for “two thirds of your annointing/spirit”.

    I have only begun to try to study Hebrew word meanings, and largely as a result of listening to the Truth2U podcasts of Torah Pearls, so I do not claim to be any kind of expert at this. However, with the exception of references to Heinrich Ewald’s casual comments in a footnote to his “History of Israel”, I have not found any other source (besides Nehemia’s comment) indicating that “peh” means anything other than “mouth” or “mouthful” (and thus, the “double mouthful” or “double portion” translation and the generally accepted “give me your annointing as if I was inheriting it as your first-born son” interpretation.

    It seemed that Nehemia was saying that the Hebrew was considered unclear until the archaeological discovery of the measuring device, but I did not uncover any other reference to a confusion. Every reference I found to the Hebrew described “peh” as literally meaning “mouth” or “mouthful”. (such as: )

    Can you elaborate further on why you believe the 2 Kings 2:9 passage was not a request for Elijah’s annointing as a spiritual inheritance?

    Thank you in advance for your comments.

    • It’s not peh, it’s piy (pronounced pee). The weight they found is says PYM on it.

      • Neville says:

        Ah, so that would mean there is an error in Strong’s reading of the Masoretic text at that verse (2 Kings2:9) ?

        From Strongs:
        portion h6310 פֶּה peh

        QBible, among several others that I found using your spelling, shows it to be “Piy” as you explained, but still translates it as “mouth” or “portion”, in the context of:

        [ piy (Hebrew #6310) shªnayim (Hebrew #8147)]

        variously rendered as “second portion”, “a portion again”, “both portions”, and of course “double portion”.

        Interestingly, I found zero interpretations of that as “twice as much anointing as you”. Every interpretation I saw treated it as “your anointing as an inheritance, as if to your firstborn”. Sometimes referenced is Deut 21:17 , which is said to use the same Hebrew words “piy sh’nayim”, wherein “piy” is considered a form of “peh”.

        To make it worse, Brown-Driver-Briggs lists the “two-thirds of a shekel” as an alternate definition (but under “peh”), and says it only occurs once in the entire TaNaKh, at 1 Sam 13:21 . Ugh.

        All very confusing to me, but I really want to understand.

        Are “piy” and “peh” two forms from the same root?

        Do you think there is merit to “[when you die] give me your annointing as an inheritance, as if to your firstborn” ? If not, can you direct me to some online resource(s) where I can resolve the differences?

        Thanks for replying, by the way. I look forward to even more info from you on this, and I will be looking forward to more Torah Pearls.

  • Oswald Mattos says:

    Hi. I am Oswald from Goa, in India. Just recently started listening to Torah Pearls. Simply brilliant. Especially, the explanation on Urim & Thumim. Always wanted to know what they meant. YAHOVAH continue to bless the three of you and your families.

  • mike says:

    interesting about the double portion…so how many peas in a pod?