Torah Pearls #47 – Re’eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

In this episode of The Original Torah Pearls, Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17), we focus on Moses’ command to “see”—to clearly understand that life gives us only two choices—to create a god from our own hearts or to obey and worship the true God—His place, His time, His way.  The trio explores the following questions: Where did God choose to place his name and can a GPS get you there? What’s the biblical way to dispose of an idol? What does it mean to be without the yoke of the Torah and does the New Testament refer to this malady? What’s an “evil eye”? Why were Jews in the Middle Ages forced to choose between begging and banking?  Who are the sons of Yehovah? Do some translations attempt to make bacon kosher? What’s at the heart of the issue of boiling a kid in its mother’s milk? What’s so dangerous about high mountains and green trees? Ten times three equals thirty... right? Is night time the right time for a Passover sacrifice? In addition to many other insights into the original Hebrew language and context, Gordon provides an example of the meticulousness of the scribes who preserved for us an imaginary bird that we couldn't eat even if we tried. Can one worship the true God without adhering to His commandments? What of the altars other than the altar? Who exactly were the corrupt men of “beliya’al”? Where is the son of God mentioned in the Old Testament? What kind of birds are the Ra’ah & the Da’ah? How can we possibly understand the deep & complex riddle, “Do not boil a kid in it’s mother’s milk”? Are there three tithes or only one? When did the Israelites leave Egypt, by day or by night?

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Torah Pearls #47 - Re'eh (Deuteronomy 11:26-16:17)

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 Sharon from Texas, Rosita from Victoria and Craig from Idaho, Chrissie from Texas. It is time for Pearls from the Torah Portion with Keith Johnson and Nehemia Gordon. G’day, gentlemen.

Nehemia: G’day, Jono. This is Nehemia over in the hottest place on planet earth, the Katamonim next to Jerusalem. And I want to do a shout-out to the ladies over in Pineland, Texas. Shalom, Shira, Ziva, and Chanah, thank you for listening and for everything else that you do.

Jono: Excellent.

Keith: And I want to give a shout-out to Nehemia who just turned his fan off, just so he could be on Torah Pearls, Pearls from the Torah, rather. And the fan was going, and he shut it off because he's so committed, and I can't believe he's over there. Nehemia, tell us what the temperature is?

Jono: Keith, Nehemia is sweating Torah Pearls right now. He's sweating them.

Nehemia: I'm sweating Torah buckets right now.

Keith: Yeah. This is awesome.

Jono: Oh, my goodness, my friend. Yes, you are in the hottest place on earth. You're sweating it away just so that we can have a fan-free clear recording.

Comments, we have some comments. Let me quickly read through these comments because this is a huge Torah portion; we better jump into it. But here are some comments, and I love these ones. Sandy in Florida, Sandy says, “I LOVE THIS SHOW… Most days I have you guys on all day. The Torah Pearls are awesome!”

Keith: Oh, boy.

Jono: “I love the laughter and the camaraderie...” What?

Nehemia: The camaraderie.

Keith: Camaraderie, yeah.

Jono: Why do people use words that are... I mean, come on.

Nehemia: It’s an American word.

Jono: Fair enough.

Keith: It’s not an Australian word.

Jono: Okay. “…you three have. Even though I’ve been studying the Parashas for 6-7 years, there is soooo much to learn. You guys make it fun, too!” So, thank you, Sandy for commenting. Joseph said, “Beautiful program! Listen every week.” Thank you, Joseph. Bonnie. Bonnie said, “Just wanted say I love you guys! Y’all’s Torah Pearls have been so helpful in understanding the commonly confusing portions of the Torah. Praise Yehovah in all His goodness! I appreciate y’all very much, thank you so much for shining and sharing His light! P.S. I really love the fact that y’all share the fun playful stuff as well…like the crunchy, unripe peach...”

Nehemia: Come on with that. Whoo!

Jono: “…and Nehemia speaking in Chinese! It makes me feel like part of the family!”

Nehemia: (Speaking Chinese)

Jono: Yep. Give us a bit more Chinese, come on.

Nehemia: No, that's all I remembered. (Speaking Chinese)

Jono: That's all you remember?

Nehemia: Yeah, that's all I've got. I’ve got to practice.

Jono. Christa. Christa also said, “Thank you so much! Every week it is a joy to listen to you on Friday afternoon at work and get all pumped up for Shabbat!” Now, Darren, Darren Chan, I've quoted his comments a number of times. G’day to Darren. He said, “Nehemia speaks awesome Chinese.” How do you like that?

Nehemia Come on with that, Darren.

Jono: There it is. Darren Chan said you speak awesome Chinese, and he said, “he nailed the accent!” He said, “I’m Chinese and I only know a few words, like won ton soup and chow mein,” Darren says, “I no longer eat those foods, so I’ve pretty much lost all my Chinese speaking ability.” He said, “Fascinating how the Chinese people are responding so well to Nehemia and Keith’s information, a future of kosher Chinese food for everyone!” That sounds good.

Nehemia Come on.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Can I comment on what Darren said?

Jono: Please.

Nehemia: So, I think it's really funny that Darren, who doesn't know Chinese, by his own admission, says, “Nehemia's Chinese is perfect.” Which reminds me of when I went to Mexico and I had a translator who translated everything I said, and at the end of the whole event, the translator said to me, “How did I do?” And I said, “I don't know, I don't speak Spanish.” And he said, “That's the right answer.”

Jono: Excellent. He goes on to say, “Jono, in all seriousness, your program is very effectively helping to spread the light of the Torah throughout the nations. As more people take hold of Yehovah’s Torah I envision a life of only clean foods and peaceful Shabbats. No more struggles to enjoy clean meals and the Shabbats with family and friends around us. Today, living in the States, I guess I would have to return to the Land to live in a beautiful world like that.” We're going to be talking about that in this Torah Pearls, aren’t we?

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Indeed. Tzofiya, she writes, “Thank you Jono and gentlemen for all your hard work. I enjoy that Jono reads a lot of Torah, because we have a grandchild who is four, he doesn’t read yet. He listens with us when he visits. Not everyone has a Torah/Bible, believe it or not, so there are folks that are more mature in age who do not see as well,” like, Keith, “as they used too, but they hear wonderfully still… and they get to be included….” Don’t you Keith? Hey, little, Keithy.

Keith: That's right.

Jono: Yeah, “…in the Torah lessons.” And so, she said, she makes a note of saying in ancient Israel, that’s what they used to do, they’d go and hear the Torah read.

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Yeah. And so, the people learned by listening. “So,” she goes, “I really appreciate you Jono, being so thorough, and going over so many beautiful pearls. Shalom to you and yours.” And that’s Tzofiya. Thank you for that. And finally, Peggy. G’day, Peggy. Peggy's a faithful listener, and she says, “It is invaluable to me to hear the correct meaning of some of these verses as opposed to the incorrect translations in some versions. The only problem is that no one version seems to be consistently correct, other than the original Hebrew, and I don’t know if I’ll ever master the language adequately enough to read it on my own. So, thanks to Nehemia for being our translator, and to Jono and Keith for making such a wonderful show possible.” Thank you, Peggy, very much for that comment.

Today, we are in Re'eh, Deuteronomy 11:26 to 16:17, and it begins like this: “Behold, I set before you today a blessing and a curse: The blessing, if you obey the commandments of Yehovah your God which I command you today; and the curse, if you do not obey the commandments of Yehovah your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known. Now it shall be, when Yehovah your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put a blessing on Mount Gerizim and a curse on Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other sides of the Jordan, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the plain opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh?”

Now, that reminds me because, well, Nehemia, you were there recently, right? You and Yoel?

Nehemia: I was there at Mount Ebal, yeah.

Jono: Tell us about it, just fill us in. I mean, there's a program people can find if you type in. What was it, Mount Ebal? If you type that in, you'll find it there. And maybe I'll put a link to it.

Nehemia: It's pretty cool because this is one of the few... there are like, I don’t know, hundreds of maybe biblical cities that are mentioned and that we can identify today. We can say where Jericho is and where Shechem is and where Hebron is. But there are probably only a handful, or less than ten places, where it's not just the city, it's the exact spot mentioned in the Bible that we can point to. And I mean, more specifically, what we're talking about… not just a geographical place, but a structure, a building, something that was built that we can point to that exact thing that was built.

And here, this altar that they describe that God commands them to build, that later is actually built in the book of Joshua chapter 8, that altar was discovered in 1987 by Adam Zertal, an Israeli archaeologist. It was really off-limits for pretty much the last decade, after a terrorist attack that took place against people visiting there. Recently, Yoel ben Shlomo and I were able to go there along with a group of other Israelis, and we were able to visit it. It was very moving for me because I'd studied about this for years and always wanted to go there. It was one of the places I knew that was just absolutely off limits because terrorists opened fire on the Jewish pilgrims who had been coming to visit it.

So, it was very moving, and the people should listen to the recording. It actually solves a problem in this passage that you kind of just glossed over, which is, you read this verse 30 and probably people outside of Israel don't think much of it. But somebody in Israel hears this, and they're like, what on earth is he saying? It says in verse 30, “Are they not across the Jordan?” And by the way, that's really interesting because we saw the phrase “across the Jordan” earlier in Deuteronomy, and we said it actually meant east of the Jordan. Here, “across the Jordan” obviously means west of the Jordan. Meaning, this is from the perspective of somebody who is in, what we call Transjordan or the kingdom of Jordan, and he's looking over to the western side, and he has to explain that as well. He says, “Are they not across the Jordan after the way of the setting of the sun,” that's what it literally says, “in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in Arava?” And “Arava” is essentially the Syro-African Rift Valley. In this context, it’s actually referring to what we call today the Jordan Valley, “opposite of Gilgal against Elon Moreh.” I hear that and I'm like, wait a minute, no, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim are not; they actually are not, you know, it says, “Are they not?” And the answer is no, they're not in the Arava, opposite of Gilgal. They are next to Elon Moreh though.

This is where the confusion sets in, because Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim are actually up in the mountain. You can see the Jordan Valley from there, and so maybe I'm splitting hairs, but you can see the plain from there, but there are probably about, I don't know, maybe 10 miles from there. This has actually led to a lot of confusion. The confusion is that in Christian tradition, they identify Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim as these two mountains right next to Jericho, as opposed to the place where everyone else identifies Mount Ebal specifically, and that the archeological discovery by Adam Zertal in 1987, this altar at Mount Ebal, proves definitively that the traditional Jewish side of Mount Ebal is correct, and that the Christian tradition, in this case, is actually off.

Keith: No.

Nehemia: Well, hold on. To be fair...

Keith: What are you talking about?

Nehemia: It's one of several Christian traditions, I should say. Other Christians identify it as the same place as the Jews. In this case, those Christians and all the Jews are right about where Mount Ebal is.

Jono: There you go.

Nehemia: They found the actual altar, which is pretty cool.

Jono: Excellent.

Keith: I will say one of the things, Jono, that is so cool about this passage is just this idea. And I love the first word when he says, I think yours says, “Behold,” and the Hebrew, I think it's the word “see.”

Nehemia: Yes. “Re’eh.”

Keith: Yeah, “see.” So, it's the imperative. And it's literally like he's saying, have you ever told someone, like, “look, see this,” it's like he's calling their attention, and he's about to put this out in front of them. And the image that he puts out in front of them isn't some sort of... like Nehemia says, it's not like a picture of something that isn't, it's actually concrete. And it was really moving for me when I heard about Nehemia and Yoel going to this place, and then the news station actually went along and was there just to film Yoel and Nehemia, was really, you know, these guys are superstars.

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: You can actually see me for like half a second in the news film.

Keith: Yoel shows up three or four times, it’s impressive.

Nehemia: He was looking for the camera.

Keith: Yeah. So cool, Jono, is just this idea that you're looking at Biblical history; you're not looking at a maybe. We do this thing in A Prayer to Our Father where we go and we do research on where the place of the prayer was taken, and we went to these six different places and we're trying to figure it out. And you take this verse and you take this verse and you connect it and say, “we think this is it.” Well, in this situation you don't need all that. You actually go there and see it. And I mean, that is just amazing. What was that?

Jono: What was that?

Keith: Ladies and gentlemen, he just hit the fan.

Jono: Are you all right?

Nehemia: I'm just wiping the sweat off of my face.

Jono: It sounded like your head exploded.

Nehemia: I must have hit the mic.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, repeat what you just said Keith.

Keith: Yeah, no, we're good.

Jono: All right, keep going from chapter 12.

Nehemia: Whoa, chapter 12, hold on a second. We've got chapter 11, the end here is extremely important.

Jono: Oh, okay.

Nehemia: Because we've got a really interesting contrast here. We've got the blessing and the curse, and there are terms for the blessing and there are terms for the curse. And to me, it jumps off the page.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, the blessing, it says, “if you listen, or obey, the commandments of Yehovah, your God, which I am commanding you today.” And the curse, “if you do not obey the commandments of Yehovah your God and you turn from the way which I am commanding you today to go after other gods which you did not know.”

And it's interesting, so those are the two possibilities: you obey the commandments, or you don't obey the commandments and go after other gods. So, I've got a question. What if you don't obey the commandments, but you worship the true God? You say, “I worship the God of Moses, but I don't keep Moses's commandments.”

Jono: How can you worship God if you don't keep his commandments? I don't understand how those two things are reconciled.

Nehemia: Exactly. And these are the only two choices that Moses presents. He says, “look,” and he presents two pictures. That's the opening word, it’s “see,” “look.” And then there are two pictures. There's the picture of obedience to Yehovah or there’s worshiping another god. I think what he's saying here is, if you don't obey the commandments of the Creator of the universe, then you're worshiping some other god. You're worshiping the god who didn't give those commandments, who doesn't care about those commandments. Even if you call them Yehovah, even if you call him Yahweh, even if you call him by his true name, whatever that is, and you say, I worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but I'm disregarding His commandments, then you've created a god out of your own heart; it's no longer the God of Scripture.

That reminds me of this verse, and I think we've quoted it before; it's in 2 Chronicles 15:3. It’s a prophecy of Azariah, son of Oded, and I won't spend too much time on it, but it says, “And many days for Israel without the true God, without the teaching priest, and without the Torah.” I think the lesson here is that you might call this god “the God of Israel, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of Scripture,” but if you're not following the Torah then it's not the true God.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And Jono, I do want to refer back because... and again, what's so lovely, and I use the word carefully, lovely, about being in Deuteronomy, is that we have this whole foundation behind this. You know, I have to tell everyone that it's overwhelming to me. I was just explaining to my sons this morning as they were saying, “oh, you're about to do your radio program.” So, they ask about it, and one of the things that I said to them that I love about this is that this isn't something we're just doing for the now, but it's something that will extend. Meaning that people next year, if they wanted to, they could go to Deuteronomy chapter 5 and listen to it, or two years, if the redemption doesn't come, they could go to Exodus chapter 20.

But what's so powerful about the foundation that we've laid regarding going through these Torah portions is that when I hear this verse in Deuteronomy, and I'm imagining being there on the plains, and I'm there and I'm listening to Moses, the first thing that comes to my mind is the First Command. You know, whether you want to say it's the first or the Second Command, there's arguments about that “anochi Yehovah Elohe’cha,” “I am the LORD your God brought you out the land of Egypt, you shall have no other gods before Me.” And that being the first thing that He tells the people. This is no small thing. This is, if I can say it, if the recording would have ended after he introduced who He was, “and you shall have no other gods before Me,” if that was the only thing we had, that would be very significant. And I'm not saying it's the only thing we have, but it's a core issue that's throughout the Tanakh.

And then as we read Scripture later, as you and Yoel are doing, and other people have done and gone through these other sections, what becomes the big issue? People begin to ask themselves, “how can we go after another god?” That even happens at the base of the mountain. And so, when we get to this in Deuteronomy and he says, “okay, here are the two options,” I'm thinking immediately of the First Command, the Second Command, again, depending on your point of reference, but that that would be the thing that he would say, “Now, look, no other gods.” And it's not like he's saying, you know... he knows that this is going to be the case. No other gods now. What becomes the issue? It's the other god.

Jono: It's the other gods.

Keith: Yeah, so.

Jono: And chapter 12 really is a verse that really stresses the point. It says, “These are the statutes and judgments which you shall be careful to observe in the land which Yehovah your God of your fathers is giving you to possess all the days that you live on the earth. You shall utterly destroy the places where the nations which you shall dispossess served their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree. And you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, burn their wooden images with fire; you shall cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place. You shall not worship Yehovah your God with such things. But you shall seek the place where Yehovah your God chooses, out of all your tribes, to put His name for His dwelling place; and there you shall go. There you shall take your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your heave offerings from your hand, vowed offerings and freewill offerings, the firstborn of your herds and flocks. And you shall eat before Yehovah your God, and you shall rejoice in all to which you have put your hand, and your households, in which Yehovah your God has blessed you.”

“You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes—for as yet you have not come to the rest and the inheritance which Yehovah your God is giving you. But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which Yehovah your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around about, so that you dwell safely, then there will be a place where Yehovah your God chooses to make His name abide, and you shall bring all that I command you: the burnt offerings, the sacrifices, the tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and the choice offerings which you vow to Yehovah. And you shall rejoice before Yehovah your God, you and your sons and your daughters and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion nor inheritance with you. Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; but in the place which Yehovah chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command.”

Nehemia: So, first of all, you’ve got in verse 2, we've got this statement about the high hills, the high mountains on the hills...

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: …and under every leafy tree, every green tree, and this becomes a theme that repeats itself throughout the Bible, especially in the latter prophets, where this becomes the perennial sin of Israel, that they do exactly this. What they do is they take the Canaanite places of worship, which will become known as the high place on every top of every hill and under every leafy tree, and they say, “okay, we're going to worship our god here,” and this becomes the focus of what I call spiritual mixing of seed. They're worshiping the true God, but they're worshiping him according to the manner that the Canaanites worshiped their gods, rather than the way that he commanded. This is exactly what He commands them not to do. In verse 4, He says, “You shall not do thus to Yehovah your God,” or for Yehovah, your God, “in the way that they worship their gods,” don't worship Me that way. And then He reiterates this at the end of the chapter, which maybe we really quickly can jump ahead to?

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: Then we’ll use the middle of the chapter for a separate discussion. So, verses 30 to 31, can you read that Jono? Which reiterates this point…

Jono: Yeah. Well, let me go from 29, it says, “When Yehovah your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land, take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them after they are destroyed from before you, that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods? I will do likewise.’ You shall not worship Yehovah your God in that way; for every abomination which He hates they have done to their gods; for they even burn their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods. Whatever I command you, you be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”

Nehemia: Okay, so what He's saying here is, “don't worship Me the way that they worship their gods; don't think that's doing honor to Me. I told you what I want, I gave you commandments, and don't add to those and don’t take away from those. Just do what I told you to do.” I think that's very important because a lot of people will look at literally the way Pagans worship their gods. This is actually one of the most common things that you see in the history of religions - that one religion comes along, and they'll adopt a lot of the holy sites and religious practices of the previous religion.

Anybody who studies any history of religions will see this. You see this with the Romans adopting the gods of the Greeks. Unfortunately, you see this with Israel adopting the gods of the Canaanites, and many of the Canaanite ways of worship. The prophets speak about this almost endlessly. So, this is something that we have to be very careful about - not to worship Yehovah according to the ways of the Pagans; to worship Him according to what He commanded, according to His ways. Another thing to look at here is in verse 5. Or do you guys have anything you want to add to that?

Keith: Well, I was just going to say that one of the things that I love about the Hebrew language is this idea of the picture that it gives you when you're reading. In English, certainly we do a fair job of being able to give images, but this idea of what He wants them to do in verse 3 when He says, “Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones.” And this was something that some years ago that I really had quite, what I'd call a picture of.

I don't know if I remember, I think I might've shared this with you guys at one point that when I worked for the Vikings there was a man who sent to the players, each of them, an elephant. And he sent this to the players and he said, and this was like a lot of money, I mean, this was really nice. And you've got to remember, there's 60 some players plus others, so there's 80 some people. So, he creates these “beautiful elephants,” and he sends a little letter and it says, “And this is what you're to do with this elephant, it will bring good luck,” and blah, blah, blah... And so, he sends it to them and they each get one.

And so, one guy comes to me and he says, “Keith, here's this elephant. Can you tell me what I should do with this elephant?” Well, one of the things that's beautiful about the Bible is, when you look, and you find, and you find out, okay, the word that's being used here when he says ‘to smash’ is the same word that's being used ‘to break’. But that the idea, I think if I'm looking right, I think it's in the piel, yes, so it's like it's an intensification of breaking, to smash it. So, one of the things I did, Jono and Nehemia, is I brought this elephant before the team at a chapel service, and I brought out a hammer, and I…

Nehemia: You put the hammer on the table, huh?

Keith: No, I didn't put the hammer on the table. I put the little elephant in the bag… now, ahead of time, I've got to tell you this story. Ahead of time I got a phone call because the owner of the team approved for each player to get this elephant. True story. I get to the hotel and I get a phone call from the owner, and he says, “Hey, Keith, my family are in town. We're going to come to chapel service. Just wanted to let you know. We're coming to the chapel service today.” Now, I had already determined what I was going to do to the elephants that the owner had said he wanted the players to have.

Jono: Oh, okay.

Keith: And so, everyone said, well, are you still going to go through what you're going to go through with? Well, you all, I just felt strongly, I was supposed to give them the picture of what it meant to not just break something, but to smash it. And this referred to this sort of false god Pagan-based worship that had been given. And so sure enough, the owner and his wife and the kids came. I took out this golden, this glass elephant, I put it in a bag, and I said, this is what the Bible says you're supposed to do when you see these kinds of things. And I took the hammer and I smashed the elephant in front of the owner and the team.

Jono: Wow.

Keith: No, listen, it's one of the few times where actually we went to this game, and this was a game where we were losing immensely at halftime, excuse my little blurry stories, at halftime, and I actually went into the locker room, and I said, “Father, if you could just somehow some way help us pull this out because if we don't, if we lose this one, it's going to be on me that I broke the good luck image.”

Well, it's one of the craziest games we've ever had. It's in Denver and we won the game. Now, I don't think it had anything to do with the answered prayer, but boy, it sure took the pressure off me for smashing their golden… but again, the Hebrew language is really clear, it isn't just to simply break it, it's to smash it.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And that's what Moses is saying. That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Another word that he uses, which is really significant, in verse 3, and we're not going to get out of chapter 12, I'm pretty sure, is the word, “to cut down their images,” and the word is a word that really means to chop down, like to chop down a tree...

Jono: A tree.

Nehemia: …which is kind of an interesting word. The reason it’s interesting is that word, “tegadeun,” is from the same root as the name Gideon. You could translate this “to Gideon a tree.” Why was Gideon called that? Well, later in his life he actually chopped down the Asherah. You know, Asherah is the mother of Baal. So, you've got the statue here, which represents Baal, and you've got Asherah… and is that how they translate it, Asherah, in verse 3? Or do you have ‘groves’ or something like that? Some translations have groves.

Jono: What have you got, Keith?

Nehemia: What do you got in verse 3?

Keith: Ashrim, and then the NHS has Asherim.

Jono: Interesting. So, I don’t' have that. In verse 3, I've got, “destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, burn their wooden images with fire; cut down the carved images of their gods and destroy their names from that place.”

Nehemia: Okay. So, I think it's translating there as... I didn't follow which one it was.

Jono: Maybe, the wooden images, I think.

Nehemia: The wooden images. But it's actually, specifically Asherah, which is a goddess, and it's the statue that represents the goddess, and that's the mother of Baal. So, Baal is the son, in the Pagan belief, he was the son of the most high god, creator of heaven and earth, who retired from his job as creator and left the universe to his son to rule, actually, to several of his sons, and they fought it out and Baal won. His mother, Asherah, was an important focus of worship, and so, they would have the altar and they would have a “matzevah,” which is a stone image. And next to the stone image, and sometimes they didn't have a tree, they just had the trunk of a tree or a pole, because trees aren't very easy to get a hold of in Israel. So, they would have some kind of pole representing a tree, and that represented Asherah. Gideon actually chopped down Asherah, and I actually want to look at that story if we can.

Jono: Yeah. Let’s go there.

Nehemia: Before we get to Gideon's story… so, I want to look in verse 5. It says, “But only to the place where Yehovah your God chooses out of all your tribes to put His name there, to cause it to dwell, you will seek, and you will come there.” So, we’ve got three important concepts here. We've got the place Yehovah chooses, we've got the place He puts His name, and the place He causes it to dwell. Those are essentially in one verse; we've got the three concepts that appear throughout the Tanakh. And really, they're essentially the same thing.

So, the place He chooses is mentioned 25 times in the Tanakh, 23 times it’s actually mentioned in the future as the place He will choose, and twice it's mentioned in the past tense as the place He did choose, which eventually became Jerusalem. And when He talks about placing His name, that appears 11 times in the Tanakh, and we'll look at one of those in a second. Then, “to cause His name to dwell,” that appears 10 times in the Tanakh. So, this is something that appears repeatedly and is really a key concept.

Can we read a few verses here that reference this? The reason I bring it up is that it first appears here in Deuteronomy 12:5. And then actually throughout this Torah portion it appears numerous times. So, can we read, let’s see, it says here Chronicles 7:12, but I'm going to guess that's either 1 Chronicles or 2 Chronicles. So, who's going to read that for me? Sorry, 2 Chronicles 7:12.

Keith: Okay, hold on. And it says, let’s see, “Yehovah appeared unto him at night and said, ‘I have heard your prayer and have I chosen this place for Myself as a temple for sacrifices.’”

Nehemia: Okay. So, we've got the chosen place. That's 2 Chronicles 7:12. And the next one I want to look at is… the next one is the book that I wrote, the book of Nehemiah.

Jono: Hey, nice.

Nehemia: My namesake, Nehemiah, chapter 1 verse 9. Can someone read that?

Jono: It says, “’But if you return to Me, and keep My commandments and do them, though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens,” goodness me, “yet I will gather them from there and bring them to the place which I have chosen as a dwelling for My name.’” Alright, hang on. Wait, I'm confused, “cast out to the farthest part of the heavens”?

Nehemia: That's actually a paraphrase of something in Deuteronomy. There are similar things in Deuteronomy 4, and I believe 30. What that means is… presumably it's not meant literally, and it means just the farthest part of the earth. You know, because if you look over at the horizon, what do you see? You see the earth disappearing and the heavens continue. So symbolically, when you're saying the farthest part of the heavens, you mean the ends of the earth.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: Or maybe they mean some deep space colony 100 years from now, I don't know, but assuming they don't mean that...

Jono: A space station.

Nehemia: …assuming it's not, like, a science fiction aspect to this. So presumably, it means the farthest parts of the earth, “and from there I will gather them,” and this is, like I said, a paraphrase of a couple of verses of Deuteronomy, but here it's the past tense, “which I have chosen, to cause,” literally, “to cause My name to dwell there,” and the place is Jerusalem.

Now, when he talks about in Deuteronomy, the place that He will choose, it doesn't necessarily mean one place for all time; what it means is wherever He chooses. When the cloud rises up and then goes to another place, and lands the next day, then that's the place that Yehovah chooses to place His name.

But then in the time of Solomon, he chooses for all time, Jerusalem. We can read this in a couple of places. 2 Kings 21:7 talks about king Menashe, and he was the most evil king of Judah. It says, “he even set up a carved image of Asherah,” that's our girl here, the mother of Baal in chapter 12 of Deuteronomy. “He even set up a carved image of Asherah that he had made in the house which Yehovah had said to David and to Solomon, his son, ‘in this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever.’” Say forever.

Jono: Forever.

Keith: Forever.

Nehemia: Forever, not just a short period of time, but forever. So, I believe Yehovah's name is there still. Once He chose that in the time of David and Solomon, that became the place of his name forever. Ezekiel 43:7 is talking about the end times; it says, “And he said to me, ‘Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet. I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever.” Forever. I just sneezed, hold on. I'm sitting surrounded by cat smells, which I'm allergic to. I'm going to die. Alright. What I do for Torah Pearls. “Where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel forever,” not for a short period of time, not for 500 years or 2000 years. But forever. From the time that He chose Jerusalem, and the temple in Jerusalem, even though that temple is destroyed, He still causes His holy name to dwell there, and that is a holy place to this day. Even though it's been defiled by people, it's still holy…

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: …and needs to be treated as a holy place. So, this is actually not like some little trivial concept. It's a key concept, and it becomes key throughout this chapter, where we have this distinction between sacrificing in your gates, which means in one of your cities; that's an expression throughout Deuteronomy. “In one of your gates,” means “in one of your cities,” and that's the opposite of the chosen place. I mean really, so that's the way Deuteronomy describes it. There's ‘the chosen place’ and there's ‘within one of your gates’, which is anywhere away from the chosen place. And so that's key throughout this passage.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: So, Judges chapter 6 verse 25, “Now it came to pass that same night that Yehovah said to him, ‘Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden images beside it; and build an altar to Yehovah your God on top of this rock in the proper arrangement, and take the second bull and offer it a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the image which you shall cut down.’ So Gideon took ten men from among his servants and did as Yehovah had said to him. But because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city too much to do it by day, he did it by night. And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, there were the altars of Baal, torn down; and the wooden images that were beside it cut down, and the second bull was being offered on the altar which had been built. So they said to one another, ‘Who has done this thing?’ And when they had inquired and asked, they said, ‘Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.’” Good on him.

Nehemia: So, Gideon came like a thief in the night.

Jono: He did.

Nehemia: How do you like that? And can you keep reading through verse 30?

Jono: “And the men of the city said to Joash, ‘Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has torn down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the wooden images that were beside it.’ But Joash said to all who stood against him, ‘Would you plead for Baal? Would you save him? Let the one who would plead for him be put to death by morning! If he is god, let him plead for himself, because his altar has been torn down!’” Excellent. “Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, ‘Let Baal plead against him, because he has torn down his altar.’”

Nehemia: Right. And your Baal, or Jerubbaal in English, means… you know, it’s from the Hebrew, “yariv bo haBaal,” let Baal plead with them. Or actually, I would translate it as ‘to strive with him’, meaning to enter with him into an argument in court to bring charges against him. Let Baal bring charges against him. You don't have to do that; Baal can take care of himself.

So, he's got two names that refer to this. One is his original name, which is Gideon, which means chopper. He chopped down the tree, and that's actually what his name alludes to. And then they give him this name, Jerubbaal, let Baal strive with him. There are a couple of interesting things in this passage because, on the one hand, he's commanded to destroy the high place of Baal, but then Yehovah tells him to build an altar in its place, to take the wood from the Asherah tree and use it to burn the sacrifice. It kind of reminds me of what they did in Egypt where they took the lamb that people worshipped; they slaughtered the lamb in front of the eyes of the Egyptians and said, “you worship this lamb? We're going to show you our God's more powerful than lambs.”

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: So here they took the Asherah tree and used her wood to burn the sacrifice. But then it also… to me, it's curious that God commanded him to build the altar. That’s because in verse 13, it says, of Deuteronomy 12, it says, “be careful for you,” literally, “or guard yourself, lest you offer a burnt offering in any place where you see, but only the place for Yehovah chooses out of one of your tribe, there you will offer your burnt offerings and there you will do all that I command you.” So, in the case of Gideon, I think we can legitimately say that God obviously chose this place because He told Gideon to do that.

Jono: Fair enough.

Nehemia: But this is actually a question that Jewish commentators have struggled with. Before the temple was built, people seemed to be offering at these high places. Maybe we could pop over to Ezekiel chapter 20, and we won't read the whole thing, but maybe Keith can read verses 29, 32 and 39, and then, invite the people to read the rest of it themselves? Ezekiel 20:29, 32, and 39.

Keith: Okay. So, 29. “Then I said to them, ‘What is this high place you go to?’ It is called Bamah to this day.” The Bamah. And then what else?

Nehemia: It’s a Bamah; Bamah means high place. It’s talking about when Israel first came into the land, they built these high places, and like I said, maybe we should go back to verse 28. It says, “And I brought them to the land which I lifted my hand to give to them,” meaning I swore I would give to them, “and they saw every high hill and every thick-leaved tree and they sacrificed there their offerings, and they gave there the anger of their sacrifices,” meaning something that didn't please Yehovah, it angered Him, “and they placed there their sweet smells, or their pleasant smells, and they poured out their libations. And I said to them, ‘What is this high place which you are coming there?’” That's what it literally says. “And their name was called Bamah until this very day.” So Bamah is the Hebrew word for high place. It's interesting because in every synagogue in the world, there’s a raised platform where they do certain rituals on it, especially they read the Torah from, and that's called a Bimah, from the same root word as Bamah. It makes you wonder, why is it a raised platform? Why is it a high place? I don't know, just some food for thought.

Keith: Verse 32, “You say, ‘We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone.’ But what you have in mind will never happen.”

Nehemia: Exactly. So, here, this is actually alluding to what He commanded them not to do in Deuteronomy 12. He commanded them, “don't worship Me the way the nations worship their gods.” And what do they do? They say, “we want to be like the nations that worship wood and stone. I don't love Yehovah enough to build him a stone idol? I mean, what? The Canaanites love their gods more than I love my God? Come on, we've got to honor Him; we've got to build the statue.” This is exactly what He warned them not to do and exactly what they did. Then, in verse 39, there He brings it home. And again, I invite people to read the whole chapter. The verse 39…

Keith: “‘As for you, people of Israel, this is what the Sovereign LORD says, ‘Go and serve your idols, every one of you! But afterward, you will surely listen to me and no longer profane my holy name with your gifts and idols.’”

Nehemia: Okay. And what have you got there Jono, in verse 39?

Jono: 20:39, “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says Yehovah,” what’s this, “Adonai Yehovah,”

Nehemia: “The Lord Yehovah.”

Jono: “Go, serve every one of you his idols—and hereafter—if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols.”

Nehemia: So, what he's saying here is really, really interesting. He's saying, “go worship your idols if you want, but don't bring me sacrifices. I don't want your sacrifices that you bring unto the idol and say that it's for Me. Go worship the idols if you want but leave Me out of this. Stop desecrating My holy name, by bringing sacrifices to the statue of Yehovah.”

Jono: Keith, it sounds like He’s saying either be hot or be cold, but don't be lukewarm, right?

Keith: Uh-oh, stay out of that.

Jono: I’m saying that's what it sounds like, right?

Keith: Sounds like what He’s saying.

Jono: It's fair enough to put it that way I think.

Keith: Yeah.

Nehemia: He's pushing them off the fence because they're saying, “We want our idols, we want our statues of wood and stone.”

Jono: Yeah. There you go, “off the fence.”

Nehemia: “We want to honor Yehovah the way the nations honor their gods.” And He’s saying, “I don't want this. I told you what I want. If you're going to bring your sacrifices, knock yourselves out, but leave My holy name out of it.”

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: It’s powerful stuff.

Jono: Alright. Am I hitting on from 15?

Nehemia: Yeah. Wait, hold on one second really quick. Oh, okay. So, one other question, some food for thought here is… so we've got this concept that there's really only one chosen place and originally, that's the Tabernacle, and later, that becomes the Temple.

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: Now, remember the Tabernacle is mobile, so if God wants to say one day, “Okay, Gideon, go sacrifice… tear down that altar and sacrifice on top of this hill,” He can do that. But once He chooses Jerusalem as the place then presumably there's only one spot in the entire universe. Which raises an interesting question, and I kind of started to talk about this before... so Jewish Bible commentators struggle with this question. They seem to be sacrificing all over the place before the Temple was built. And the explanation the rabbis offer is they say, “well, the Bamot, the high places, were actually permissible before the Temple was built”; that's what the rabbis say. That's not what I'm reading in Deuteronomy 12:13. 12:13 says… can you read 12:13 again in your translation, Jono?

Jono: 12:13, says, “Take heed to yourself that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every place that you see; but the place where Yehovah chooses in your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.”

Nehemia: Oh. Actually, and this may be a Torah Pearl, it says, “but the place where Yehovah chooses in one of your tribes.”

Jono: Ah, you’re right, “in one of your tribes,” yeah.

Nehemia: Oh, that’s what you have too?

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Okay, so “one of your.” That's important, one chosen place. We read back in Leviticus 17 that, if you bring a sacrifice and it's not to the place of the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, it’s as if you shed blood. And He explained, they were bringing sacrifices on the fields, and He’s saying, “no, you've got to bring it to the actual entrance of the Tent of Meeting, not just wherever you want.”

And so, this rabbinical interpretation kind of doesn't seem consistent with what we're reading here, and I understand where they're coming from. They're trying to explain why is it that Gideon did it on top of that hill, and Samuel seems to be sacrificing at all these different places.

And my explanation is that, well, the Tabernacle was mobile and maybe the structure didn't necessarily move each time, but God could choose different places for sacrifice. Where it gets really hairy, and no one really has a satisfactory answer... and, look, I've said before, sometimes the answers are more important than the questions, and that's when it comes to Elijah. So, God tells Elijah to go up to Mount Carmel…

Jono: Oh, yeah, that’s right.

Nehemia: …and offer his sacrifices there, and that's when there's a temple in Jerusalem. That's after the time of David and Solomon when Yehovah chose Jerusalem.

Keith: Look, I don't understand the confusion. Yehovah can do what He wants when He wants.

Nehemia: Right. But I believe He’s not… I mean, I don't disagree with you, but He does say that He chooses a place forever and He talks about a place out of all the tribes of Israel. And now, well, there’s one on Mount Carmel, and there’s one on Mount Zion? I don't know. I mean, look…

Jono: It's certainly thought provoking. There's no doubt about it. And it's obviously a topic that has caused many to be deep in consideration regarding these passages. Okay.

Nehemia: I think what is obvious is that Elijah was doing this because he was challenging the prophets of Baal, and they weren't going to come to the temple in Jerusalem. I mean, that was in a different country.

Jono: True. Sure.

Nehemia: They were in the Kingdom of Israel and Jerusalem was in the Kingdom of Judah. So, he had to meet them on their territory and challenge them in their territory. He had to meet them where they were.

Jono: And again, specifically with this particular example, of course, as Keith pointed out, Yehovah said, “Hey, go and do it like this, do this, this is how we're going to do it, and you watch how I respond.” My goodness, it's going to happen.

Nehemia: Right.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: And the fact that Yehovah sent the fire down, that obviously confirms that he was doing the right thing. But it does raise the question, you know; how is it that he explains?

Jono: And how is it to be understood, yeah, absolutely.

Nehemia: Exactly.

Jono: So, no sacrifice outside of the place where He puts his name. “However,” in verse 15, “you may slaughter and eat meat.” It's not as if you're not allowed to slaughter an animal and eat meat. It's just if you're sacrificing to me, there’s a place to do it, right? “If you slaughter and eat meat within all your gates, whatever your heart desires, according to the blessing of Yehovah your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, the gazelle and the deer alike. Only you shall not eat the blood; you shall pour it on the earth like water. You may not eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or the oil, the firstborn of your herd or your flock, of any of your offerings which you vow of your freewill offerings, or of the heave offering of your hand. But you must eat them before Yehovah your God in the place which Yehovah your God chooses, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before Yehovah your God in all to which you put your hands. Take heed to yourself that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land. When Yehovah your God enlarges your borders as He has promised you, and you say, ‘Let me eat meat,’ because you long to eat meat,” and boy, don’t I, “you may eat as much meat as your heart desires. If the place where Yehovah your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter from the herd and from the flock which Yehovah has given you, just as I have commanded you, and you may eat within your gates as much as your heart desires. Just as the gazelle and the deer are eaten, so you may eat them; the unclean and the clean alike may eat them. Only be sure that you do not eat the blood, for the blood is the life; you may not eat the life with the meat. You shall not eat it; you shall pour it on the earth like water. You shall not eat it,” boy, there’s some emphasis on that, “that it may go well with you and your children after you, when you do what is right in the sight of Yehovah. Only the holy things which you have, and your vowed offerings, you shall take and go to the place which Yehovah chooses. And you shall offer your burnt offerings, and the meat and the blood, on the altar of Yehovah your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of Yehovah your God, and you shall eat the meat. Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of Yehovah your God.”

Nehemia: Alright, thanks for reading the whole chapter Jono.

Jono: Hey, not much left.

Nehemia: Cool.

Jono: Actually no, we've already done that bit.

Nehemia: We've read those other verses. So, I think we talked about this in a previous section, probably when we did Leviticus 17. I think we did this in like a separate program. Is that right, Jono? I don't know. Anyway, so what he's talking about in verses 15 to 16 of Deuteronomy 12, and then again in verses 21, 22, and 23, or even 20, is this issue that, exactly what I just mentioned about Leviticus 17. In Leviticus 17, it says, if you bring a sacrifice and you don't bring it to the tent of meeting, it's as if you spilled blood. Actually, what it says, “if you ever slaughter a goat, a sheep, or a bull, it has to be brought as a sacrifice.” In other words, all meat that they ate in the desert that was a goat, a bull, or a sheep had to be a sacrifice. If they wanted to have a burger, they had to bring it as a sacrifice. And there are consequences to that. You have to be in a state of ritual purity if you’re bringing a sacrifice. So, verses 15-16 establish, essentially, a rule which didn't apply in the desert because, in the desert, everybody was surrounding this little camp; everyone was camped around this one central location. And he's talking about when you come to the land, well, then when you want to eat meat, you can eat it in your gates, meaning, away from the chosen place. That's what the phrasing, “in all of your gates” means, meaning it's somewhere far away from the chosen place. He reiterates that in verse 20, “you can eat it in one of your gates,” and then He says, “the clean and the unclean.” That doesn't mean you're eating an unclean animal; it means the person who’s eating it is unclean. That's important because, remember, a sacrifice can only be eaten by somebody who's ritually clean. Meaning, if you touched a dead body, you can't go and eat a sacrifice. Whereas you can eat meat in one of your gates as long as it's not at the chosen place.

Then, He says, “you will eat it like the gazelle and the deer.” Why is that important? Because gazelle and deer, even in the desert, they were allowed to eat those as non-sacrifices because gazelle and deer can't be brought as sacrifices; they're not species that are valid for sacrifice. But then He says, “only don't eat the blood, pour it on the ground like water.” Why, “pour it on the ground like water”? As opposed to catching it and pouring it on the altar. And that's something that he refers to in verse 27. He says, “okay, but if you're going to bring burnt offerings and other kinds of offerings, ‘The blood of your offerings shall be poured upon the altar of Yehovah your God, and you may eat the flesh.’” So, pour the blood on the altar and eat the flesh of sacrifices. Of non-sacrifices, just pour out the blood, get rid of it, don't use it for a ritual purpose. And then you can eat the meat.

Jono: Amen. Chapter 13, Keith, give us chapter 13. Take us from verse 1.

Keith: I only want to say one thing.

Jono: Go on.

Keith: And this is really interesting, just before we get to 13, and this was something we're going to experience when we go to Israel, Jono, and for those who come also, and it's kind of an obscure thing, but it's an important thing regarding this idea of where He sets His name. In Jeremiah, chapter 7, verse 12 it says, “‘But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh,” or Shilo, “where I set My name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of My people Israel.” And there’s this really powerful picture of this idea of Him setting His name. And to go to this place, it's kind of like the situation that Nehemia mentioned with Mount Ebal where you actually can go to a place and see the ruins of a spot where the Israelites were. And, here's the spot obviously where the people at one point in the history, after they came into the land, where the people came, and they brought their sacrifices and they came three times a year. And this idea of His setting His name forever, obviously we know where that is, in Jerusalem, and I'm not trying to be overly spiritual, but this really is a powerful thing. The thought of going to a place that you can physically go to, where He decided His name would be. And I'm telling you today, Jono, we'll do a show from this spot for the world to listen to. You can sense something in this place it. I mean you literally can sense, and maybe, like I said...

Nehemia: You’re going to do a show from Shilo? I want to make it clear so I can hold you to it.

Keith: We're certainly going to try.

Jono: Oh, my goodness.

Nehemia: Okay.

Keith: We're certainly going to try, but the reason I'm bringing it up is again, the significance. And I'm glad, Nehemia, that you took the time to talk about this regarding where He places His name, and the idea of the sacrifices, and these sorts of things, because I think we have to understand the gift that we have. That even today we're able - and this really goes back to an earlier portion that we talked in, Exodus, chapter 20, verse 24, this first idea when Moses is talking to the people, and I just want to bring this verse really quick, and then we can move on to 13. But in Exodus 20:24 where it says, if I can read it, it’s talking about idols and altars, and it says, “‘Make an altar,” in verse 20:24, “‘Make an altar of earth for Me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, your sheep and goats and your cattle.” And then it's like this verse that just seems like it's not connected, but it's definitely connected. He says, “Wherever I cause My name to be honored,” in my NIV, or “mentioned,” in the Hebrew, “I will come to you and bless you.”

So, this concept of the altar and why this is so important, you guys, and those that are listening, is that, what did the people end up doing? It wasn't just that they were searching after other gods, and that certainly was major, that's a major issue. But they're basically taking this idea of Him saying, “Now, when you build the altar, I'm going to cause My name to dwell there and this is what you're supposed to do with your offerings, and this is what you're supposed to do with your sacrifices.” They set that apart; they move that aside. And they say, “now we’re going to call on another false god, and then when I’m going to go call on another false god, we're going to go to an altar and we're going to build an altar. We're going to build and we're going to do our thing.” And it's just like an affront to the Creator of the universe who says, “Here's My name. I'm going to cause My name to dwell here and I'm going to come to you and bless you.” “Ah, we won't take that blessing; we'd rather be cursed.” So, Jeremiah 7 verse 12. I hope that we go to this spot; I don't know how we're going to do it, but you mark it on your calendar. We're going to find a way to get there.

Jono: I'm going to bring my camo’s.

Keith: Yeah. Excellent.

Jono: Chapter 13. I'm looking forward to it.

Nehemia: I want to point out that in the English, what they list as 12:32 in the Hebrew is 13:1. So all the verses in Hebrew are one verse higher.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: One verse difference, right? That's important because He says, “all the matter that I command you, that I commanded, you shall diligently do, you shall not add to it and you shall not diminish from it.” And certainly, the traditional Jewish interpretation is that this is then... it’s connected to the previous section, obviously, but it's also connected to the following section, which deals with false prophets.

Jono: Excellent point.

Keith: So, I'll read this. “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods, gods you have not known, and let us worship them,’ you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. Yehovah your God is testing you.” I love that, when he says that, “to find out whether you love Him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is Yehovah your God you must follow, and Him you must revere.”

Jono: Amen.

Keith: “Keep his commands and obey Him; serve Him and hold fast to Him. That prophet or dreamer must be put to death because he preached rebellion against Yehovah your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. He has tried to turn you from the way Yehovah your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.”

Pretty amazing, that He tests them, but that He says, “if this thing or this prophet or this dreamer comes and says, ‘hi, I've got a new revelation, I've got some gold tablets that say that this is what we're supposed to do.’ Or, ‘I've got a new revelation. I found out that this is the new revelation that as I was...’”. I mean, whatever it is, if you find yourself being turned away from the Creator of the universe, then that's a test. And it doesn't just say that it happens. It says, but that's a test from Him. Our Father says I'm going to test you. And you know what? There are a lot of people, unfortunately, today, Jono, and Nehemia, who have failed this test because they have gone after other gods.

Nehemia: I think this is pretty radical, that we've got a standard here that Moses is giving us. Because look, Moses, he's unquestionable. You know, three million Israelites, 600,000 men, and the rest of the Israelites all heard God speaking out of the fire, and that confirmed that Moses was a true prophet. Because after that they said, “okay, well, you just go, and you talk to him for us because we can't do this directly.” So, there’s no question about Moses. And he's telling us, “here's the standard from henceforth: Don't add and don't take away, and if somebody tells you to worship another God…” remember, we saw before that one of the standards, or the two choices, are the blessing and the curse. The blessing is worship Yehovah and keep His commandments. And the curse is, if you don't follow the commandments, then you're worshiping a different God. Here he’s saying, if you get a prophet who comes and tells you to worship a different God, and adds or takes away from the commandments, because if he adds or takes away from the commandments that's a different God, then don't listen to him because that's Yehovah testing you. I think that’s profound.

Jono: Even if, “he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass.”

Nehemia: Genuine signs and miracles. That's pretty impressive. I know in Jewish history we've got a number of examples of people like this. Probably the most famous one for Jews is Sabbatai Zvi, who was accepted as the Messiah by, really, the entire Jewish world. Or I should say, people throughout the Jewish world accepted him as the Messiah in, I believe, it was 1648. One of the things he taught, the dead giveaway that he wasn't the true Messiah, is that he said, “God has canceled the Commandments, we no longer have to keep them.” And that was the dead giveaway. People heard that, and they said, this guy isn't the Messiah. We can move on now.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: “If your brother or the son of your mother or the son or your daughter, the wife of your...”

Keith: Jono?

Jono: Yeah?

Keith: I'm going to ask that you not read this section.

Jono: Keith, haven’t you…

Keith: No, Jono, this is entirely too controversial for you to read this section. Can we just move to 12?

Jono: This is not one that you preach from the pulpit on a Sunday morning, is it Keith? I mean I've never heard this on a Sunday morning. I mean it’s somewhat...

Nehemia: This is not such a feel-good passage.

Jono: Well, it says, if even your relative says, “Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers, of the gods of the people which are all around you, near to you or far off from you, from one end of the earth,” and so on and so forth, blah, blah, blah. It says, Keith, this is what it says.

Nehemia: Wait; is that a “blah, blah, blah?”

Keith: Thank you for the blah, blah, blah. I appreciate that. Go ahead.

Nehemia: That’s the New King James Version, people, “blah, blah, blah.”

Jono: I'm trying to move along. Keith, it says, “your eye shall not pity him, nor shall you spare him or conceal him; but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death, and afterward the hand of all the people. And you shall stone him with stones until he dies, because he sought to entice you away from Yehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. So all Israel shall hear and fear, and not…”

Keith: This is why, Jono, I didn't want you to read this section, because if we read this section, we can ask the question… okay, so maybe we're not talking about putting someone to death in our society. Maybe we're talking about something different, but I think that the concept is clear, and the concept that is clear is that if even your closest friend secretly entices you, even if it be your daughter or your son, and this is the hard one, or your wife, and says, “Let us go and worship other gods, gods of the people around us. Let's just be like the nations around us. Come on, let's don't take this too seriously. It's no big deal. So, we want to do this.” And the issue is that this is a difficult passage because, okay, someone could say, “well, are you going to stone that person?”

But I think it'd be pretty clear that when it comes to someone saying, ‘let us go worship other gods’, that there is a real clear sense that that's not going to happen, for the person that understands who Yehovah is and who they've been called to be and what it means to worship Him. And that's why I said this is a controversy - because I think there's a lot of people who listen to this show, and I want to send a shout-out to them. I think there are a lot of people who listen to this show that have had people very close to them, very close to them, that have tried to say, “Look, you're taking this entirely too seriously, this one-God-Yehovah thing. I mean, you're taking it too seriously. You've got to open the door to the other possibilities, the other options.”

And I'm not even talking about Christianity here. I’m talking about… you can just walk down the street, and I had... well, I won't go down this road. But there are just many, many times when people will come and say, “look, you're taking entirely too seriously, one God - that limits us, there are many gods. Here's your options.” And, unfortunately, that isn't just from the outsider; sometimes it's the people that are very close to you.

Jono: Fair enough.

Nehemia: I hope nobody is listening to this and saying, “okay, I've got to now divorce my husband or my wife because I figured something out that they don’t know.” I want to make it clear that I don't know what Keith is saying, but I'm definitely not saying that. I think one thing we need to remember is, what it's talking about here is a situation where everyone is worshiping the true God, and then we've got one person who steps out of line and tries to entice somebody away. Throughout most of the period of the Bible, these commandments, like this particular commandment, was never implemented because it wasn't a matter of the one person who stepped out of line, 99 percent of the people were out of line. You've got the 1 percent of the people who are actually following the truth. They never actually had the opportunity to implement this commandment. It's more of an ideal, I think, what's being raised up here.

I think another model to look at is Abraham. Abraham is a really interesting character because… think about it; Abraham begins to follow the God of Israel. We don't know exactly how old he is, but what we do know is he comes to the land of Israel when he's 75. And when does God tell him to get circumcised? Do you remember? It's when he's 86; eleven years later.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: So, he goes eleven years before he's really ready for the full commitment. I think that's a lesson for us, that there might be people who - and I think for all of us, it's a journey - and what I want to urge people to do is to remember that very few of us were born knowing all the truth. I think for most of us, we're on a journey, and if somebody is in a different place in the journey, be like God was to Abraham; have the patience. God had the patience and said, okay, I'm going to wait 11 years until you're ready. When you're ready, then I'll give you this commandment. I'm not going to give it to you before you're ready.

Keith: And Jono, this is for you, Jono. That's Nehemia's nice guy shtick, okay? That’s his nice guy shtick. But Jono, if somebody comes and whispers in your ear and says...

Nehemia: … Keith, come on with that!

Keith: No, if they come and whisper in your ear and say, “Jono, come on let's worship false Gods.” Look, pick up one of those Australian stones and hit him in the head. Because Jono, you're a legitimate warrior. We're going to go in there and we're going to scout out the land, and if we see some altar that's to a false god, we're breaking it down.

Jono: We’re going to smash it down.

Keith: Can I get an amen?

Jono: Amen.

Keith: And we'll have Nehemia come and fix it for us.

Nehemia: I’m not bailing you out.

Jono: You’re not bailing us out now? But you know, when I read this, guys, when I read this I put myself in the position back in the day, and I thought, imagine if my brother or my sister or one of my close relatives came to me and said, “hey, you know what, over there though, the people who were here before, they used to... and we just found over there, there's one of those altars, and why don't we go and try that because, you know.” And the absolute fear of hearing something like that, you don't even want to hear it because it says, “you shall not pity him.” You won't hide him, you can't spare him, if you hear something like that from them, you've got to knock them off. Not only that, but in verse 12, Keith, it says, “If you hear someone in one of your cities, which Yehovah gives you to dwell in, saying, ‘Corrupt men have gone out from among you and enticed the inhabitants of the city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods.’”

Nehemia: Let’s stop here.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Because what’s for me verse 14, and I think for you verse 13, where it talks, “corrupt men.” What have you got there instead of “corrupt men,” Keith?

Keith: Wicked men.

Jono: Wicked men?

Nehemia: Wicked men. And what does the Hebrew say? The Hebrew says “b’nei Belial,” sons of Belial. And that's a really interesting concept. This is the first time it appears in the Tanakh, Deuteronomy chapter 13, verse 14, it’s the first time we're hearing about Belial. Belial is a word that in Hebrew they translate as “without yoke,” “Beli ol.” It's essentially a sort of compound word. So, men who are without yoke; and they’re without the yoke of the Torah. The reason that's interesting is… and I kept some kind of pitching a softball here to Keith because I've heard him preach on this, so I'm going to invite him to do that. If he remembers, he's got a whole thing about that in the New Testament.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: Yeah. 2nd Corinthians 6:15.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Keith: If you hang out with those unyoked, you know, don't hang out with those that are without yoke. And I think as I say it’s 2nd Corinthians 6:15, Paul says, “And what concord hath Christ with Belial?” is the word that he uses in the New Testament.

Jono: Wow.

Keith: And if you do a little search, what you can find is that word that's used there is actually, if you go into the Septuagint, you'll find that this is the word that's also used for the very words that Nehemia just talked about, the children, the sons of Belial.

And so who are these people? These are the people that would tell you, “let us find a way to leave the God of Israel and let us go after other gods.” And so, we did this Open Door Series, Jono, which really, this was just one of the many things that we did. The teachings that came up, and this was one, because I had received a letter that said, “Hey, what are you doing hanging out with this guy Nehemia Gordon? You guys are unequally yoked; you're not yoked together.” And that kind of led me to this digging into 2nd Corinthians 6, to see what Paul was saying. And what Paul was really saying, if I get to the actual language, history, and context, refers right back to this particular verse that we're in. So that's why I'm kind of glad that Nehemia brought that up in 12:3, because what is it that these guys are saying in Deuteronomy 12:3, Nehemia? What are they saying?

Nehemia: It says, “Let us go and let us worship other gods whom you have not known.” That's essentially the definition of b’nei Belial. They're children who are without yoke. They're saying, “okay, we're not yoked by the Torah, which tells us to worship the one true God. We're going to go worship other gods.”

I think what you're trying to say, Keith, if I'm understanding you... and by the way Belial, that's the only place in the entire New Testament that it appears, in 2 Corinthians 6:15, even though in the Hebrew Tanakh it appears 27 times, the word “Belial,” “without yoke.”

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: I think if you read… and here, this is me speaking, not as a Christian, but just as a textual scholar. I'm reading a text in context. I know how to read. If you read 2 Corinthians 6 of that section in context, he's actually talking about how they were fellowshipping with these Pagan Greeks, and he says, later on, “And what agreement has the Temple of God with idols.” He's talking about people who are supposed to be worshiping the one true God who are interacting with these Pagan Greeks. He’s saying, “Hey, these are men of Belial. These are men who are telling us to go worship other gods. We've got to worship the true God. We can’t go worship other gods.”

Keith: And Jono, it's Paul who's telling us to quit hanging out with the Pagan Greeks. It's Paul who is telling us that.

Jono: That's what he says.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: Yeah. It's Paul who also says on a number of occasions, I think...

Nehemia: You think Paul had got a bad rap, Keith? Is that what you're saying?

Keith: What I'm telling you is that if you read this situation, Paul says, “hey, don't hang out with those folks,” but that's another conversation.

Jono: And he mentions, “purge the evil from among you,” is something else that Paul also reiterates, and we read that a lot. And it says here that, “you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, and destroy all that is in it, even its livestock—with the edge of the sword. And you shall gather all its plunder into the middle of the street, and completely burn with fire the city and all its plunder, for Yehovah your God. It shall be a heap forever; it shall not be built again.”

Keith: There it is.

Jono: “So none of the accursed things shall remain in your hand, that Yehovah may turn from the fierceness of His anger and show you mercy and have compassion on you and multiply you, just as He swore to your fathers…”

Keith: There it is.

Jono: “…because you have listened to the voice of Yehovah your God, to keep all His commandments which I command you today, to do what is right in the eyes of Yehovah your God.”

Keith: Amen.

Jono: Now.

Nehemia: You know, what's interesting as far as I know, this has never actually been implemented, this commandment of wiping out a whole city. It almost was implemented once, and that was towards the end of Joshua, and I'm sure you read this with Yoel.

Jono: Yeah, with Yoel. Yeah.

Nehemia: In your series, “Light of the Prophets.” So, there's a situation there where the people in Transjordan, you've got the two and a half tribes in Transjordan, and they build themselves an altar, and the other tribes hear this and they say, “an altar? Well, we've got the Tabernacle. You can't have an altar, that must be an altar to another God.” There's almost a civil war in which they come and try to carry this out and wipe out those other tribes. Then they find out it's not actually an altar, it's more of a testimony, essentially. It's not an altar for sacrifices. It's more of a symbolic altar as a testimony that the two and a half tribes are connected with all the other tribes and that they're one people.

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: This was almost carried out in that situation, but, as far as I know, it was never actually carried out.

Jono: Yeah. They were keen, but it didn't happen. Now, chapter 14.

Nehemia: It was close.

Jono: It was close. Before we get to clean and unclean, just the first couple of verses here, “You are the children of Yehovah your God; you shall not cut yourselves.”

Nehemia: I've got to stop you.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, it doesn't say in mine “you are the children.” What have you got, Keith?

Keith: Let's see here. It says, “You are the children.”

Nehemia: Maybe I shouldn’t stop you. Well, I'm going to let you read the first two verses, and then I'm going to stop you.

Jono: “You are the children of Yehovah your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead. For you are a holy people to Yehovah your God, and Yehovah has chosen you to be a people for Him, a special treasure above all peoples who are on the face of the earth.”

Nehemia: Chosen people. So, in my Hebrew, it says, “banim atem la Yehovah Elohechem,” which I guess you could translate as, “You are children of Yehovah your God.” But literally it says, “You are sons of Yehovah your God.” And I've got to ask a question - what does that mean, “You are sons of Yehovah your God”? Imagine if somebody came down from the planet Mars or, I don’t know, out of the Outback of Australia, who didn’t know anything about…

Jono: Because those two places are kind of similar.

Nehemia: They really are. Who didn't know anything about the Judeo-Christian concepts, and this is the first verse they read in the Bible, “You are sons of Yehovah your God,” they read. And they didn't know anything. They know Yehovah is God, and they know you are sons, but what would they understand here? What do you think they'd understand? And I wonder if they wouldn't...

Jono: They were somewhat related, like physical descendants of Yehovah.

Nehemia: Right. They might actually say, literally, you are sons of Yehovah your God. And so, I ask the question, what does it really mean, “You are sons of Yehovah your God.” And look, God is the Father of all mankind. So, what does it mean that Israel is the sons of God? I think the answer is in the second verse where it says, “You are a holy nation to Yehovah your God. You Yehovah has chosen to be for Him a treasured people out of all the nations.” So, I think to be “a son of Yehovah” means to be chosen. I can actually prove that with another verse, which is 1 Chronicles, chapter 28, verse 6, where we hear about a certain individual who is the son of God. Now, did you know that the son of God is mentioned in the Old Testament, Keith?

Keith: Yes, I did.

Jono: My word, let me see.

Nehemia: He's on every page, isn't he?

Jono: “Now He said to me, ‘It is your son Solomon who shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be My son, and I will be his Father. Moreover I will establish his kingdom forever, if he is steadfast to observe My commandments and My judgments, as it is this day.’”

Nehemia: Okay, so here Yehovah is saying he chooses Solomon as his king, and in that sense, Solomon is the son of God. It says it right there, “I have chosen him to be My son...”

Jono: It does. “I have chosen him to be My son,” yeah.

Nehemia: “…and I will be his father.” I think, in a sense, that's a picture of Messiah, and I'm speaking as a Jew about this, meaning I think the future Messiah, when he comes, will be the son of God, in that Yehovah will choose him. You could say, “well, God chooses all of Israel,” and that's true, but to be a son of God means to be chosen, and the Messiah is chosen as one of the people, but he's chosen even in a more special way. So, he's the son of God in the way that maybe all of Israel is the son of God and all God's people are his children, but he's in an even more special way, he's the son of God. But I think we have both elements, both in Deuteronomy 14:1-2 and 1 Chronicles 28:6, we've got being chosen and being a son of God, those two things essentially are the same concept. To be holy, to be chosen, you know, because holy means to be set apart and above. So, in that sense, it's connected to being chosen.

Keith: So, just a second.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: So, you use the word... first you started out and you said, “Solomon, the,” you used the word “the” then you switched and said “a,” “a son of God.” Which are you saying?

Nehemia: Well, Solomon is obviously a son of God.

Keith: There it is.

Nehemia: And that makes him the son of God. The reason I said “the” is that he is a son in a more special way than all of Israel is the sons of God, right? In other words, 14:1 in Deuteronomy is saying, “you, Israel, are sons of Yehovah your God.” And 1 Chronicles 28:6 is identifying him as even more of a son.

Jono: Or this is, “You shall go to Pharaoh, thus says Yehovah: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, I indeed will kill your son, your firstborn.’”

Keith: For I have brought My son out of Egypt.

Nehemia: Right, but the point is that we have Israel as a nation being Yehovah's son. And in 1 Chronicles 28:6, we actually have an individual within Israel who is specifically the son.

Jono: Individual, yeah.

Nehemia: And what does that mean? It means he's the king, and, in that sense, the Messiah, who will be the King of Israel...

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: Come on with that.

Nehemia: …will be the son of God.

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Can I get an Amen?

Jono: Amen.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Amen. Absolutely.

Nehemia: Yehovah will choose him as His son.

Keith: Solomon and the foreshadowing.

Jono: Amen. “You shall not eat any detestable thing.”

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: Now, we did go into some considerable detail if I remember correctly.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Now, actually before we go on to that, we have to deal with the “you shall not cut yourselves or shave the front of your head for the dead.” Are we going to touch on that?

Keith: I wish people would read the context of that; three words in English, “for the dead.”

Nehemia: “For the dead.” Amen.

Jono: “For the dead.” So Leviticus 19:27, we touched on it briefly. Did you want to add anything to that?

Nehemia: Well, I refer people to my study on where I talk about the whole issue of shaving, and I referenced this, and all the other evidence, and we don't need to really re-hash that.

Jono: We don't have to do that again. And as for clean and unclean, we did go through that in some considerable detail in Leviticus chapter 11 in that Torah portion. Do we want to...?

Keith: And I just want to say something. One of the things that I do like, Jono, is that you give the chapter that we did go over, because I do think we can talk about this, but I do think it's really, really helpful for those that are studying this, and this is a discipline, but to basically get as much information as you can, compare all that information, and then you're able to come up with what it is that you see that the Torah is saying. So, we can talk about it now, but also to refer to that.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, I think verse 3, essentially, Deuteronomy 14:1-2 is its own section, and then verse 3 begins the section on edible and inedible things, and I think verse 3, that opening verse is so key. Can you read that for us?

Jono: “You shall not eat any detestable thing.”

Nehemia: Oh. No, no, no. What have you got Keith?

Keith: “You shall not eat any detestable thing.”

Nehemia: Come on. That's not what… that’s really what yours says?

Jono: That's what I got.

Nehemia: Can we find a translation that captures the spirit of this verse? I mean, wow. No, I think there's an agenda here. I'm telling you, there's an agenda here in this translation. The JPS, the Jewish Publication Society says, “You shall not eat any anything abhorrent.” I want to do something real quick. So, Leviticus 18:22 has the same exact word as in Deuteronomy 14:3. Leviticus 18:22, the King James version says... well, I'll just read to the end of the verse, “it is abomination.”

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Same word as in Deuteronomy 14:3, “abomination.” That's an abomination and people could read that verse themselves, Leviticus 18:22. We want this program to be able to be broadcast in Canada, where they don't have freedom of speech.

Jono: So, what's it's saying is that you shall not eat any abominable thing, right? That's what you're suggesting. Now, this is an interesting thing because that's what it says. So, in 13 verse 14, what do you have in 13:14? Is that the same word?

Nehemia: 13:14.

Jono: Deuteronomy 13:14.

Nehemia: Yep, the same word, “abomination.” What do you have there?

Jono: There it is. I've got abomination here. It's the same word, and suddenly, a few verses later, and they change the word, Keith.

Nehemia: Deuteronomy 13, and here in 14, it doesn't have that. Why is that? Because they don't want us to equate eating a pig with the thing that it describes in Leviticus 18, or worshiping idols. In the Torah terms, all three of those things are abominations.

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: I think it's interesting that you can get all kinds of people to get behind, no pun intended, the other issue, but when it comes to eating this, all of a sudden, well, no, that's been done away with; we, we don't have to worry about that. And I think that's a kind of hypocrisy.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: Yeah.

Jono: Keith, what have you got in - just curiously - what does the NIV have in 13:14? Does it use the word “abomination?” Or have you got “detestable?” Or, what have you got there?

Keith: I want to stop the show.

Jono: Wait.

Keith: And what I want to ask…

Nehemia: Why?

Keith: No, no, I want to stop the show, everyone please just bear with us for a second. So, Nehemia, so, you're the pig police?

Nehemia: I'm not the pig police. I'm just saying what God’s saying.

Keith: You’re the pig police, is what you are.

Nehemia: … because you want it, well, that's between you and God. I just want us to know that if you're going to eat the pig, know what God says about it, because the translations are trying to hide it from you. Know what God says. Eat pig until you get yourself a coronary. You know, that's between you and your Creator. Really, I could care less. My point is, know what God says about it, and then make your decision. I want to empower people with information. What they do with that information, that's up to them. They could say, “You know what, this abomination was done away with because of such-and-such theology, it no longer applies. Back then it was an abomination. Now, it's okay.”

And you know what? I have respect for the people who can say that Leviticus 18, “that's no longer an abomination, that was done away with, just like Deuteronomy 14.” I don't agree with them, but at least they're internally consistent. So, it's not that I'm the pig police. I'm saying, let's be internally consistent here. Let's not say one was done away with and the other one still applies. If you're going to say, “well, anything goes, and we can worship Vishnu, and God doesn't really care, and He still loves us; He loves everybody.” You know, fine, at least you're consistent. But if you're going to say, “ok, well, we can't worship idols and we can't do what Leviticus 18 says, but we’re allowed to eat pig.” Then, you know, I see an inconsistency there.

Jono: Speaking of consistency, I’ve just… because Keith wouldn't answer my question, so I had to grab my own NIV and open it up. 13:14 in the NIV says...

Keith: You found it.

Jono: “…then you must inquire, probe and investigate it thoroughly. And if it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done among you.” Point for the New King James once again!

Keith: I didn't want you to see that.

Nehemia: Okay. What does the NIV have in Leviticus 18?

Jono: It's consistent. It has “detestable thing” for both verses.

Nehemia: “Detestable thing,” okay.

Jono: At least the New King James is half correct. We got one verse, not the other.

Nehemia: Exactly.

Jono: Ladies and gentlemen, I just want you to know, really, Torah Pearls is all about pitting the New King James against the Methodist Bible.

Nehemia: The NIV.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: The NIV.

Keith: Well, we've been uncovered, ladies and gentlemen, so we need to move on.

Jono: That’s another point for… hey, don't think I don't have a tally going on in the studio, Keith. Believe me. Now, “You shall not eat,” now, it says, oh, okay let me go to 21. It says, “You shall not eat anything...”

Nehemia: Oh, 21?

Jono: Wait.

Nehemia: Okay. We're going to go back right?

Jono: What do you want to do?

Nehemia: We've got a lot of important things here. So, first of all, Leviticus, what was it?

Jono: 11?

Nehemia: Leviticus 11, the section that we read in… what Torah portion was that, Jono? Can you remind the people?

Jono: That was called something by the name of Shemini.

Nehemia: Shemini? Okay.

Jono: Shemini, Leviticus 9:1 to 11:47

Nehemia: So, we talked about that in Shemini, and in Leviticus 11, when it talked about these laws of what you may eat and what you may not eat, it also talked about a second subject, which is what you may touch and what you may not touch. If you touch certain things that you're allowed to touch, there still maybe consequences to those things, which is that you become ritually unclean. And then, of course, you can't interact with the Temple or with any of the Temple sacrifices.

Remember, in the desert, they couldn't have a hamburger if they were ritually unclean, unless it was from a gazelle or a deer. But they couldn't have a beef burger if they were ritually unclean. Deuteronomy 14 doesn't talk about that at all. It only talks about what you're not allowed to eat and what you're allowed to eat, with one exception, and that's in verse 8. So, I think for that reason it's worth reading verse 8.

Jono: Awesome.

Nehemia: As the pig police, I will read this verse.

Jono: Go on.

Nehemia: “And the pig, for it splits its hoof, but it does not chew its cud, it is unclean for you, their flesh you will not eat and their carcass you will not touch.” Doesn't say that for any of the other animals, except for this category of animals that has one of the signs and not one of the other. Remember, the two signs are split hoof and chew its cud.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: If they've got one, and not the other, not only are you forbidden from eating it, you're also forbidden from touching it.

Jono: Touching it.

Nehemia: And that only applies to this very limited set of things. And then, that was also something we saw in Leviticus 11, that there were all kinds of animals that if you touch them, you become unclean, but it's not forbidden to touch them, whereas, for the pig, you're actually forbidden from touching its carcass. So, score one for the pig police. And look, I really am not the pig police. I really have nothing against somebody who wants to eat pig, you know, until they have a heart attack, that's really, like I said, between them and God. And you know, I love those people. I love all people. I even love the homosexuals.

Jono: You’re a fun, loving guy.

Nehemia: And I'm saying that for the record. I really do. I just want people to be empowered with information and to know what God has to say about how they live their lives. Anyway, and that may need to be edited out for the media version.

Jono: Know what it says and abide by it.

Nehemia: Keith?

Jono: So now, it's an interesting thing. I remember discovering... I came across a list of Christian Bibles that were bound with pig leather. Blows my mind.

Nehemia: Wow.

Jono: Anyway, moving along. Alright, where are we going with this?

Nehemia: Can we talk about… does Keith have anything to add about that or…?

Jono: Keith?

Keith: No, I'm just… whatever.

Nehemia: Speechless.

Keith: Let's move on.

Nehemia: Yes, I made Keith speechless! Alright, I want to talk about Deuteronomy 14, verse 13, which I think is the most interesting verse in the entire Torah portion. It’s the most important, not just the most interesting.

Jono: Deuteronomy 14 verse…

Nehemia: Verse 13.

Jono: Verse 13. Okay. So, it says, “the red kite, the falcon, and the kite after their kinds…” what? That's it?

Nehemia: Okay. So, this is a verse, which is part of a list; it’s the same list that appears in Leviticus 11. It's the list of birds that are forbidden to eat. You know, for the land animals we've got two signs: split hoof and chew the cud. For the sea animals, we've got two signs, we've got the “snapir ve-kaskeset”, we've got the fins and scales. For the birds, we don't have signs. We've got a list of birds that are forbidden, and the list is identical between Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, except in Deuteronomy 14:13 there is a slight difference. So now I'm going to ask you to keep your finger on Deuteronomy 14:13 and look at 11:14 of Leviticus and tell me what the difference is.

Jono: 11:14 says, “the kite and the falcon after its kind,” Oh, okay, in a minute. Yeah. “The kite and the falcon after its kind.” Alright, so, it says, “the red kite, the falcon, and the kite, after their kinds.” The red kite?

Nehemia: And what’s interesting, if you read any two translations, you're going to see differences between the translations, which adds to the confusion. So, for example, the King James and Leviticus 11:14 has, “and the vulture and the kite after its kind,” or after his kind, rather. Deuteronomy 14:13 has, “and the glede, and the kite, and the vulture after his kind,” So, it adds “and the glede.” I don't know what a glede is; I don't know what a kite is, whatever. I know what they are in Hebrew, more or less, but… I mean, they’re various birds of prey.

So, anyway, Leviticus 11, verses 14:13. Let me read it to you in the Hebrew, okay? And I'm going to use English; I'm going to read it in English, but I'm going to say the names of the birds in the Hebrew. Okay? Now, this might be a little bit too advanced for some people. If this is confusing and it challenges your faith, then please just fast forward and skip ahead, and probably in about three minutes, you'll hear Keith preaching about something. Where is Keith? He snuck off to get a drink?

Anyway. Leviticus 11:14 says, “and the da’ah and the ayah after its kind.” Now da’ah and ayah are two different types of bird. Okay. Deuteronomy 14:13 says, “and the ra’ah and the ayah and the dayah after its kind.” So, what happened here? So, Leviticus 11:14 and 14:13 both have two in common, ayah, and so let's cross ayah out, and then, we've got, because it's the same in both. And they both have something called the da’ah or the dayah, which is the same thing, da’ah or the dayah. So, Deuteronomy 14:13 has an extra bird, the ra’ah. So how did it get a bird called the ra’ah? And here's a little hint. There is no such bird called the ra’ah. Uh-oh.

Jono: What is that tweeting in the background? Is that a ra’ah?

Nehemia: That's actually birds. No, I think those are like pigeons or something. I don't know what they are. There's some, like, domesticated bird.

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, we've got… those are Jerusalem birds.

Jono: Nice.

Nehemia: They apparently like the heat.

Jono: They're singing for you.

Nehemia: Yeah. So, long story short, we've got the da’ah in Leviticus, and in Deuteronomy we've got the dayah and the ra’ah. So what happened? What probably happened is that in ancient Hebrew, and then, in later Hebrew as well, the resh and the dalet, two Hebrew letters that don't sound any bit alike, are written almost identically. Okay? Are you following?

Jono: What are you suggesting?

Nehemia: What I'm suggesting that happened is that somebody was copying Deuteronomy, and he accidentally wrote “ra’ah,” instead of “da’ah” because, like I said, they're virtually identical in Hebrew.

Jono: And remind me what the da’ah is?

Nehemia: So, the da’ah is some type of bird that they translate here as “the red kite,” and in other translations... it's some kind of bird of prey.

Keith: Look, the ra’ah is the parrot. He parroted the da’ah so that we have the ra’ah. Now, let's move on.

Nehemia: No, bear with me for 30 more seconds.

Keith: I’m just kidding.

Jono: No, keep going.

Nehemia: So basically, what probably happened is somebody was copying Deuteronomy and he wrote accidentally “ra’ah” instead of “da’ah,” which is virtually identical. And think about it; in English, you've got, like, in certain fonts, you've got a capital 'I' which is identical to the 'l', you know what I'm talking about? Like, in the Arial for example…

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: …you can't actually tell the difference between a 'I' and a lower case 'l,' sorry, a capital 'I' and a lower case 'l'. So, he wrote “ra’ah” out instead of “da’ah,” and then the proofreader came along and said, “oh, no, that's a mistake,” and in the margin, he wrote, “and the dayah.” Meaning, he corrected it in the margin. Now, again, we don't have this text, but this is probably what happened. Then at a later point somebody came to copy that text and he said, okay, I've got one reading in the text and one in the margin, I'm just going to put them together because I'm not going to put it in the margin. And he ended up writing, “and the ra’ah and the ayah and the dayah after his kind.” In other words, he took the marginal reading and inserted it into the text. That's why we have 21 birds in Deuteronomy, including one bird that doesn't exist, the ra’ah, and 20 birds in Leviticus.

Jono: Wow. So, what are you telling me? Keith, if I understand this correctly, there's an imaginary bird that's been added to the text that we cannot eat even if we tried.

Nehemia: I'll tell you why this is so interesting to me. Here's an example where I can point to, and, look, you could try to come with some explanation where, yes, the ra’ah is really an otherwise unknown type of da’ah, and it's a variant. That's what they did in some of the translations; they have the red kite and the black kite. And so, we're just kind of blurring this together. There are different types of kites, and one is the resh and one is the dalet. But what probably happened is this is a mistake, and what's so beautiful to me is the mistake was corrected, and it was so carefully copied, they even copied the correction. They said, “Okay, somebody corrected it, but I'm not going to change Scripture. I'm not going to use my own opinion to change Scripture. I'm going to copy it exactly the way I received it, even with the mistake.” And that's amazing to me. That shows me how carefully they were copying Scripture. And what's interesting is that I don't know off the top of my head of any other examples like this in the Torah. Meaning, this is a very rare thing where you can point to something like this and say, “yep, we've got a mistake here.” That shows me how accurate the text of the Hebrew Bible is.

Jono: That’s a good point. That's fascinating. Keith, anything to add there?

Keith: I'm telling you what happened, guys. Can I tell you what happened?

Jono: What happened, Keith?

Keith: Moses was so angry that he couldn't go into the Promised Land because he broke the command, that he added an extra bird.

Jono: Just to really make the people...

Nehemia: No, he was writing the Torah and a bird pooped on him, and he's like, “I'm going to show that bird.”

Jono: Alright. Now, here's one that I've always wondered about, and I'm jumping ahead, I'm going to go to verse 21. Keith, this is it. If I go out in my field and I find a goat that somehow died overnight, I'm not allowed to eat that, but I can sell it to Gentile Jimmy down the road. What's with that?

Nehemia: It actually doesn’t say that.

Keith: You can sell it to a foreigner.

Jono: Yeah, I can sell it to a foreigner.

Keith: But you may sell it to your foreigner, that “you are a people holy to Yehovah your God.”

Jono: If one of my goats died, I can't have it, but I can sell it to Gentile Jimmy.

Nehemia: It actually says the sojourner can eat it as well.

Jono: How about that?

Nehemia: Which is kind of mysterious, because in other places it says there's one Torah for the native-born and the sojourner. So, this is kind of an anomaly. This is an anomaly, along with one other verse. That other verse, if we're going to already point these things out, is, I believe in Leviticus 23. Hold on. In Leviticus 23, verse 42, it says, “In sukkot, you will dwell,” meaning, “In booths, you will dwell seven days, every native-born in Israel shall dwell in booths.”

Well, what about the sojourner? Why isn't he mentioned here? Certain people have actually pointed to this verse and said, “well, there's two commandments where the sojourner is different than the native-born Israelite. One has to do with what you just read in Deuteronomy, and the other is this verse. Now, I would argue...

Jono: I would argue, I’d go to Exodus chapter 12, and doesn't it say, “that one law shall be for the native-born and for the stranger who dwells among you.” It goes… doesn't it say, somewhere, “he shall be as a native of the land.” It says in verse 48.

Nehemia: Okay, I agree with you; but I think the explanation for Leviticus 23:42, which is much easier than Deuteronomy 14, is that the sojourner… or the concept in Hebrew of sojourner is kind of what we would call today... how do I put it? The word “ger” in Hebrew is somebody who doesn't own land. So basically, they're homeless. So, telling the homeless person to live in a booth for seven days… well, he lives in a booth every day…

Jono: Sure. Okay. Fair enough.

Nehemia: … so he doesn't need that commandment. He's living in a booth all the time. So, I think that's the answer for Leviticus 23. Whereas Deuteronomy 14… look, this is a mystery to me. In other words, how do we explain this? This seems contrary to what we read in several passages. Exodus 12, I think… didn't we see Numbers 15 as a second witness? That also there was one commandment for the sojourner and the native-born? Let me read that verse; maybe Keith can read that verse since he's kind of quiet over there, in the Hebrew, it’s 15 and 16.

Keith: “The priest is to sacrifice them, the one...”

Nehemia: No, Numbers. Didn't I say Numbers?

Jono: No, you said Leviticus.

Keith: You said Leviticus.

Jono: Are we going to Numbers?

Nehemia: Numbers. It's not what I say; it's what I mean. Numbers 15 to 16.

Keith: Okay.

Jono: Numbers 15 and 16.

Nehemia: Can't you read my mind? What’s wrong with you people?

Keith: Okay. “The community is to have the same rules for you and for the alien living among you. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. You and the aliens shall be the same before Yehovah. The same laws and regulations will apply both to you and to the alien living among you.”

Nehemia: I think it's much more powerful in Hebrew, where it says, “Torah achat,” One Torah, “u’mishpat achat,” “and one judgment shall be for you, for the sojourner who sojourns among you.”

Jono: Okay.

Nehemia: So, for you and the sojourner who sojourns among you, there's one Torah and one judgment. So how do we explain Deuteronomy 14?

Jono: How do we do that?

Nehemia: So, I'm going to defer this one to the Methodist.

Jono: Keith, come on, help us.

Keith: How I explain it is that Moses is preaching and he's saying, this is what the deal is, and this is what the deal is. This is the same Torah, and this is added to the Torah. This is not an additive outside of the Torah; this is the progression of Torah. And so, now, I'm telling you, if you find this goat, this is what you can do for the sojourner. It's still one Torah. It's from Genesis, Bereshit, all the way through to Devarim. This is still the Torah. It's not like we're reading...

Nehemia: The point is that I'm not allowed to eat that, and Jono is? I'm not allowed to eat it and you are, Keith? I mean is that…?

Keith: The goat’s carcass?

Nehemia: That's what it sounds like. I don’t know; we're missing something here.

Jono: It's a curious verse.

Keith: Moses is still angry.

Jono: Let's just leave it at that. There's another one for deep pondering, deep consideration. Keith, I want to know something. Have you ever boiled a young goat in its mother's milk?

Keith: No, but I've heard this one many times. This is very interesting. I know people enjoy it.

Nehemia: Haven't we talked about this?

Keith: Yes, we have, but I figure you’ll talk about it again.

Nehemia: Very astute. I actually want to tell a joke. So, three times in the Torah, it says word-for-word, “lo tevashel gedi bechalev immo,” “do not boil a kid in its mother's milk,” three times word-for-word. And if you ask the rabbis, they'll say, “well, if God…” this isn't the joke yet, this is actually fact, this is true. They say, “if God says something more than once, then He must mean different things each time He says it because God's perfect, and He speaks perfectly and concisely. And so, it’s as if Scripture is a divine code.” This is what the rabbis said. Therefore, if God says something more than once, He means three different things. What does he mean with the three different things? Actually, there's a debate in the Mishnah, in the writings of the early Rabbis about what He means, but basically, it means you may not boil a kid in its... you actually may not boil meat and milk together, any meat and any milk together, you may not eat meat and milk that were boiled together. And the third thing is you may not benefit from meat and milk that were boiled together. What does it mean by “benefit”? It means you can't even feed it to a dog. Sorry, Georgia of blessed memory.

So, anyway, the joke goes as follows. Now, the rabbis take this verse, “do not boil a kid in its mother's milk,” and they say it means you can't eat meat and milk together. In fact, you have to have separate dishes when you eat meat and milk. And that's actually true, meaning the rabbis say that; this isn't the joke yet. If you're an Orthodox Jew you've got two separate sets of plates in your house and two sets of forks and two sets of knives. Growing up as an Orthodox Jew in my family, we actually had a set of silverware that had a blue handle for milk, and we had a set of silverware with the red handle for meats. When I say milk, I don't just mean milk, I mean anything that's a dairy product. I mean cheese. If you had Lasagna, there couldn't be meat in the Lasagna; it had to be either a dairy Lasagna or a meat Lasagna, but it couldn't be mixed. So, if you were having a dairy Lasagna, you would use a blue fork. And if you had a meat Lasagna you would use a red fork. Now, not everybody color-codes them; that's what we did in my family.

Jono: Wow.

Nehemia: But the point is you have to have two separate sets of dishes, two separate sets of silverware; cutlery, as they say in Australia. Then the third thing is, after you eat meat you've got to wait a period of time until you're allowed to eat milk. Now, the more devout orthodox Jews actually wait for six hours; the more, I would say, liberal ones only wait for about an hour. So, in my family, we waited six hours. If we had meat, a meat meal, like if we had steak or something, or we had even chicken, believe it or not, then we had to wait for six hours before we could have ice cream.

Jono: Oh, man.

Nehemia: And we really did.

Jono: That's suffering.

Nehemia: It really is. Now, imagine if it's a hot Shabbat and you have a big meat lunch and then you want to have some ice cream in the afternoon - you're out of luck. You've got to wait until the evening pretty much.

Jono: Oh, man.

Nehemia: So anyway, now, here's the joke. All of that wasn't a joke. The joke is that Moses is up on Mount Sinai… this is a joke an Orthodox Jew told me. Moses is up on Mount Sinai and God says to him, “Moses,” that's what God sounds like, “Moses, do not boil a kid in its mother's milk.” Actually, I think my dad's voice.

Jono: Your father’s voice…

Nehemia: Right. “Moses, do not boil a kid in its mother's milk.” And Moses says, “What do You mean by that? Oh, I know what You mean. You mean don't eat meat and milk together.” “Moses, do not boil a kid in its mother's milk.” “What do You mean by that? Oh, I know what You mean. You mean to have separate dishes for meat and milk.” “Moses, do not boil a kid in its mother's milk.” “Well, what do You mean by that? Oh. You mean wait for six hours after I eat meat until I eat milk.” And then God says, “Ah, whatever you want.”

Jono: I tried three times.

Nehemia: That’s why it’s three times. Exodus 23, Exodus 34, and Deuteronomy 14. Check it out; three times, “do not boil a kid in its mother's milk.” Of course, the historical reason we know today, and actually some of the ancient authors knew this as well, medieval authors knew this; the reason is that the Pagans would boil a kid in the milk of its mother as a fertility offering to their goddess. In fact, to this day in Lebanon - and I point out Lebanon - is the one place where the Canaanites survived. They were never really conquered from Lebanon because there are mountains there. It's very difficult to conquer. So out in the mountains, a lot of ancient traditions still survive, and out there in the mountains of Lebanon, to this day, there's a delicacy - boiling a kid in the milk of its mother.

Jono: Wow.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: I didn’t know that.

Nehemia: Now, they don't offer it for a Pagan goddess anymore, but that way of eating is still remembered there. There's actually a restaurant in Tel Aviv… I'm not making this up, where they offer a kid boiled in the milk of its mother, and they do this just to piss people off.

Jono: Oh, you’re kidding me. Are you serious? In Tel Aviv?

Nehemia: No, I’m not. I'm dead serious.

Jono: That blows my mind.

Keith: Isn’t that disgusting?

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: Man, you wouldn't want to live in that neighborhood, Keith.

Keith: No.

Jono: Oh, my word. That blows my mind. And you know what, it says exactly what you just said, Nehemia, it says that in my study notes here… so even the Christian Bible that understands this is just another form of God saying, “don't be like the Pagans, don't do what the Pagans do, I'm telling you what to do.” Alright.

Nehemia: We've got to start talking fertility rites.

Jono: There it is. We've got to start hammering through these, so I’m going to...

Keith: What do you mean? This is the end. This has been two hours. Are you kidding me?

Jono: Oh, this is going to be a record, Keith.

Nehemia: I told you this was going to be the longest one.

Jono: Don't worry, Keith. Keith, I'm about to talk about tithing, okay? It's alright.

Nehemia: Oh! Hallelujah. Praise God.

Jono: “You shall…”

Nehemia: Makor Hebrew Foundation, PO box, you can find it on the website,

Jono: I think you're out of luck because I don't think you're a Levite. It says, ““You shall truly tithe…”

Nehemia: I’m a Levite.

Jono: “…all the increase of the grain that the field produces year by year. And you shall eat before Yehovah your God, in the place where He chooses to make His name abide, the tithe of your grain and the new wine and the oil and the firstborn of your herds and the flocks, that you may learn to fear Yehovah your God always. But if the journey is too long for you, so that you are not able to carry the tithe, or if the place where Yehovah your God chooses to put His name is too far for you, when Yehovah your God has blessed you, then you shall exchange it for money, take the money in your hand, and go to the place which Yehovah your God chooses. And you shall spend the money for whatever…”

Nehemia: Do you hear that people? We're not just taking produce, we're taking cash, cold hard cash.

Jono: We're taking the money to... it seems like we can spend on whatever our heart desires: on sheep or oxen or wine or… hey, there you go, wine, “or similar drink, for whatever your heart desires; you shall eat there before Yehovah your God, and you shall rejoice, you and your household. You shall not forsake the Levite who is within your gates, for he has no part nor inheritance with you. At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year that is stored up within your gates, and the Levite, because he has no portion nor inheritance with you, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are within your gates, may come and eat and be satisfied, that Yehovah your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.” Boy, there's a little bit of math in this section of chapter 14 that is a bit over my head, I reckon.

Nehemia: So, we've got three passages that talk about tithing, and there are others, but three main passages. One is over in Leviticus, where it talks about giving the tithe to the Levite. The second one is verses 22 through 27, which talks about taking the tithe up to Jerusalem. And the third one is verses 28 to 29 of this chapter in Deuteronomy 14, or in mine it's 28 or 29, which talks about at the end of every third year giving it to the poor, including the Levite, because he has no portion with you.

This has been interpreted in various ways. The rabbinical interpretation has been to say there are really two tithes. We're talking about 20 percent - 10 percent goes to the Levite, the other 10 percent goes either for the pilgrimage, which is what it's really talking about in verses 22 through 27. You have to appear three times a year for the pilgrimage, we'll talk about that in the next chapter. You bring it to Jerusalem at that time, or wherever you come on the pilgrimage, and you spend it on your pilgrimage, on pilgrimage feasts. Then in the third year you give it to the poor and the Levites.

So that's 20 percent, and the rabbis refer to that as the first tithe and the second tithe, and the second tithe essentially has a variation in the third year; it goes to an alternative purpose. There have actually been some groups who have said that no, it's 30 percent every year, 30 percent - three tithes, 30 percent. And the third-year tithes, well, you just collect it for the first two years, and then at the end of the third year you give this accumulated three years’ worth of 10 percent to the poor and the Levite.

So those are two interpretations that are out there. A third interpretation, which is one I'm going to suggest here, is that all three are talking about the same 10 percent. To me, the proof that it's all three are the same 10 percent is in verses 27 and 29, where it’s talking about the Levite, and it says, “For he has no portion and inheritance with you,” which is kind of strange because, according to the rabbinical interpretation, he sure does have a portion in inheritance; he's got 10 percent.

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: In other words, why does he need my 10 percent that I use for my pilgrimage feasts if he's got the 10 percent I gave him last week? Why does he need this part of the second 10 percent, if he's already got the first 10 percent?

Jono: Fair enough.

Nehemia: Also, in verse 29, that's even more clear, that he's along with the poor. He's got nothing, right? So, you've got to give him of that 10 percent. What I argue is that actually all three are talking about the same tithe and different things that are being done with this tithe. It's being used for the pilgrimage and then part of it is being given to the poor and part of that is being given to the Levite.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Now, I know that's controversial, and I know definitely there are some people who don't want to hear that, but as I say, as a Karaite, search well in the Scripture and do not rely on my opinion.

Keith: There it is.

Jono: So, Keith, it says in Malachi 3:8, 9, and 10, it says, ““Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into my storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says Yehovah, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’” And Keith, I know a lot of people, particularly coming from my tradition, your tradition perhaps, as well, that go, “well, I want to be blessed, I don't want to be cursed, so what do I do with my 10 percent? I don't know what to do with it.”

Keith: Right.

Jono: How are we to apply that now?

Keith: Well, folks have gone to great lengths to apply it for us, and that's what they basically say, “here's what you're supposed to do. Bring it into the storehouse, the church is now the storehouse; bring your tithe into the storehouse that there might be meat.” And I mean, the list goes on and on, and that's the whole issue - that it's all been done away with except for tithing. And then we go to verses like this and argue about what we're building; a new church, we're building a new building, and, therefore, my house is in ruins and this is now my house, it's the temple, its replacement. The list goes on and on and on.

Jono: Yeah, it does. It does. But, looking at this, we're looking at the Levite, the widow, the poor, the fatherless, and the stranger.

Keith: And that’s why I do think there's something really powerful and that is that, okay, so when we do have those that are in need that don't have the ability... when you look at the widow and the orphan, back to my favorite New Testament book of James, you know, “What is true religion? Widows and orphans in their distress.” Where did James get that? Certainly, the idea that there are people surrounded that don't have the ability to have resources so that we’re able to help them, and that's where I think it’s a concept that we need to apply, is how can we support those that do not have?

Jono: Fair enough. Okay.

Nehemia: So, if you're already in the book of James, where in the New Testament - help me out here as an ignorant Jew - but where in the New Testament is the verse that talks about tithing?

Keith: Oh, it's only when Paul says, “Set aside that at the beginning of the week as you normally do. And this is what you're to set aside so that when I come, I do not have to bother you for this matter.”

Jono: So, when I come, I can just clean up and I don't have to chase it up.

Keith: Exactly.

Nehemia: Right, but does he say “tithe” over there?

Keith: No.

Jono: No.

Nehemia: Oh.

Jono: Interesting.

Nehemia: Okay.

Jono: Moving along. So, “At the end of every seven years, you shall grant the release of debts.” Now, boy, that would solve a lot of problems, wouldn't it today? Man, oh!

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: “And this is the form of the release: Every creditor who has lent anything to his neighbor shall release it; he shall not require it of his neighbor or his brother, because it is called Yehovah’s release. Of a foreigner you may require it; but you shall give up your claim to what is owed by your brother, except when there may be no poor among you, for Yehovah will greatly bless you in the land which Yehovah your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance — only if you carefully obey the voice of the LORD your God to observe with care all these commandments which I command you today. Yehovah your God will bless you as He promised. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.” Does that mean... I mean is it against Torah to borrow?

Nehemia: No, on the contrary. So, this is a really interesting statement here. It's making a distinction between lending to someone who's one of your people and lending to foreign nations, a Pagan nation. It's actually a blessing to lend to the foreign nations, and it's a curse to be a borrower. And then also, lending is essentially a form of domination and being a borrower is a form of slavery, which is a really interesting concept.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Can I get an Amen from everybody out there who owes money?

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: Yes. Amen.

Nehemia: Let me just point out that this is where, in the Middle Ages, the church got the idea from this verse; that Jews should be moneylenders. They said, “Well, we're the new Israel, we, the church, are the new Israel, and it’s forbidden for one Israelite to lend money to another Israelite on interest, and since we want to be able to borrow money on interest, we need someone who's not an Israelite.” And so, they said, “let's make the Jews be the moneylenders.” And they actually forbade the Jews in many countries in Europe from engaging in any other kind of business. Now, remember we're talking about a period where 98 percent of human beings, in the Middle Ages, are farmers, and the Jews are forbidden from farming.

Jono: Yeah, but...

Nehemia: They're even forbidden from being serfs. Like, I'm talking about essentially a form of slavery, serfdom - they are forbidden from doing that! What they're allowed to do is, they're allowed to be merchants in many countries. And in some countries, the only thing they're allowed to do is to be moneylenders. This is why you end up with, and I'm saying in all seriousness, this is why you end up with many Jews… even to this day, there are some prominent Jewish families who are bankers, who are famous banking families, because in the Middle Ages, that's what they were allowed to do. And they were forced into doing it.

Jono: They were restricted to doing.

Nehemia: They were restricted to doing, right. They could be beggars, or they could be bankers. I think most Jews would choose the latter. And that's why you have families like the Rothschilds, who are a famous banking family. Although statistically, I think you can prove that very easily, that most bankers are not Jewish, contrary to popular belief.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: But there are some prominent Jews who are bankers. It came from the Catholic Church’s interpretation of this particular passage...

Jono: Very interesting.

Nehemia: …that you can only lend to a foreigner and you can't lend to one of your people, and only foreigners can lend to you. And so, okay, the Jews aren't Israelites; we're the new Israel. I mean, isn’t that ironic? How strange.

Jono: How about that.

Keith: Amen.

Nehemia: Yeah.

Jono: So, “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which Yehovah your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs. Beware, lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to Yehovah against you, and it becomes sin among you. You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing Yehovah your God will bless you in all the works and in all to which you put your hand. For the poor will never cease.” Keith, I’ve heard that before, too, “the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in the land.’” That reminds me of where it says, “evil eye,” that's a funny sort of an expression. What is that in Hebrew?

Nehemia: It says, “ve-ra’ah eincha,” and your eye will become evil.

Jono: Your eye will become evil. I’ve got... it takes me to Proverbs 23, verse 6, “Do not eat the bread of a miser,” is what I’ve got, but I know in some translations, I think one who has an evil eye, “nor desire his delicacies; for as he thinks in his heart, so is he. ‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you…”

Nehemia: What verse is this?

Jono: This is Proverbs 23:6, 7, and 8. “‘Eat and drink!’ he says to you, but his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words.”

Nehemia: Right. So, literally, it says, “do not eat the bread of one who has an evil eye.” Basically, from Deuteronomy, in this context, they're saying that to have an evil eye, in biblical Hebrew, means to be a cheapskate, a stingy person.

Jono: Yeah, that's what it says in Proverbs 28:22. “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches and does not consider that poverty will come upon him.” Evil eye - it's an interesting phrase. You wanted to go to 16?

Nehemia: Well, so, Deuteronomy 16. Why don't we jump ahead to there? There, we've got the feasts. This is one of my favorite passages in the whole Bible, “shmor et chodesh ha’Aviv,” observe the month of the Aviv, “ve'asita Pesach la Yehovah Elohecha,” and do the Passover to Yehovah your God. Remember, in the Tanakh, in the Hebrew Bible, Passover is always a sacrifice. So, “do the Passover,” isn't the feast, it’s a sacrifice, “ki bechodesh ha'Aviv hotsi'acha Yehovah Elohecha mimitsrayim Laylah.” For in the month of the Aviv, Yehovah your God took you out of Egypt by night. This is actually a very controversial verse, believe it or not. The reason it's controversial is that Numbers 33:3, which we read in a previous portion, says, “They set out from Rameses in the first month on the fifteenth day of the month, it was on the morrow of the Passover offering that the Israelites started out defiantly in plain view of all the Egyptians.” Now, some of the translations say, “the day after the Passover”, but the Hebrew is very much more specific. It says, “the morrow of the Passover,” which in Hebrew “mimochorat,” means the morning following the Passover. So that means they left in the morning. So why does it say here in verse 1, “at night” in Deuteronomy 16:1?

Jono: Interesting.

Nehemia: Any ideas?

Keith: Because Moses is mad.

Nehemia: I think you're mad because we’ve been going for two hours.

Jono: We’ll see how...

Keith: It's very interesting. I actually love the verse in Deuteronomy, and I've looked at it a lot, especially as it pertains to God's clock. This whole idea, when I'm looking at Deuteronomy, it makes complete sense to me because I know that we're dealing with the 14th, in the middle of the month where the moon is full, and as I like to say to those children at night, who during Sukkot say, “I'm scared,” he said, “no, Yehovah left his nightlight on,” so that this idea of them coming out under a full moon.

Jono: Full moon.

Keith: But this challenge regarding the morning and the night - the question would become, what would be the definition of “morning”? Meaning, would it be after the sun has risen or would it be before?

Jono: Oh, yes.

Nehemia: That's an interesting question, but I don't know if that's the solution. In other words, morning definitely in some Hebrew contexts could be really from when you have something like the Morning Star, which today we refer to as Venus, the planet Venus. But in Jewish sources it talks about the Morning Star as really the beginning of the morning, because that's when you can first see. They really utilized every second of light that they had because they didn't have electricity. So, if you have the star up in the sky, then you can at least get to your fields. Maybe you can't do a lot of precise plowing and stuff, but you get out to the fields and walk on the paths and you take advantage of that. But I don't think the issue is the definition of “morning” here. I think the issue actually is something a little bit different. So, can I read Rashi?

Jono: Go ahead.

Nehemia: Rashi was a Jewish Bible commentator in the twelfth century, and he offers the following explanation. He says, “Did they not go out during the day as it is written, ‘on the morrow of the Passover, the children of Israel went out,’” meaning, he quotes Numbers 33:3, just as I did. I mean, I didn't make this up, “but rather because Pharaoh gave them permission at night to leave, as it is written?” Then he quotes Exodus 12:31, “And he called Moses and Aaron at night and he said, ‘Get up and go out from the midst of my people, both you and the children of Israel, and go worship Yehovah your God as you have spoken.’”

So Rashi's explanation is to say that they went out during the morning. We know that, but they were told to leave at night. So, basically from that moment that Pharaoh said, “get out,” they were legally free. And so that's his explanation.

Jono: So, I would agree with that. Can I add just my own thoughts?

Nehemia: Sure.

Jono: Which is, we're talking about two, maybe three million people, do you think?

Nehemia: Yeah, about three million probably.

Jono: That amount of people - they don't leave quickly. I mean, if that amount of people heads out onto the street, it's still going to be considerable hours before they... because it does say they leave in their ranks, right? There's an order to which they leave. And I don't think that would be over in just a matter of hours. I think that would probably be the better half of a 24-hour period. Right?

Nehemia: I don't know about that. I mean, if you're trying to get out of slavery, I think you're going to run. And they were prepared. Remember, they ate the Passover sacrifice with their belts on...

Jono: True.

Nehemia: …you know, their loins girded and their staff in their hand ready to leave at any second. So, I think the minute they got the go-ahead, they were good to go. And it still may have taken a few hours, undoubtedly. But anyway, I want to offer another explanation, which is a little bit more complicated.

Jono: Sure.

Nehemia: One of the things that you have in biblical Hebrew is these little clauses, which will kind of be stuck at the end of the verse. What I mean by that is that you could really read this verse, “observe the month of the Aviv and do the Passover to Yehovah your God at night, for in the month of the Aviv, Yehovah your God took you up out of Egypt.” In other words, that statement “by night,” or “at night,” sometimes they'll just stick that kind of clause at the end, that little part of the sentence. And really it goes to something earlier in the chapter, and there's a really funny example. So, an interesting example is Genesis 14, verse 12, and maybe you could read that in yours Jono? Genesis 14:12.

Jono: Genesis.

Nehemia: Because in English you won't see it, but when you read it in Hebrew, you see that the word order is just like in this verse, or similar.

Jono: So, “They took Lot, Abram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.”

Nehemia: Okay, so what it says in Hebrew is, “And they took Lot and his goods, the son of Abraham's brother, and they went, and they departed.” So, it switches it around.

Jono: So, they took the son of Abraham's brother. Right, right, right.

Nehemia: Well, no, they took Lot and his property, the son of Abraham's brother, the son of the brother of Abraham. No, the point is that they put the phrase, “the son of the brother Abraham,” after the statement, “and his property.” They kind of just stuck it at the end there, and that might be too complicated for some people. It's kind of a grammatical thing.

Jono: It's definitely too complicated for some.

Keith: Well, we've clearly taken away Moses's preaching of Deuteronomy. There's just no question.

Nehemia: We're trying to understand it.

Keith: No, no, I'm just telling you what's happened.

Nehemia: Long story short, my way of reading this is, “observe the month of the Aviv and do the Passover to Yehovah your God at night for the month of the Aviv, Yehovah your God took you up out of Egypt.” That’s how I read it.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: But it can be read the other way too, obviously.

Jono: Keith?

Keith: No, no, I'm saying we've taken Moses's preaching of Deuteronomy right out the door. He's not preaching anymore.

Nehemia: You've got to understand the grammar before we can understand what he's saying. You know, 3,500 years ago, they understood him without a problem. Today, we've got to work a little harder at it.

Jono: Indeed. “And no leaven shall be seen among you in all your territory seven days, nor shall any of the meat which you sacrifice in the first day at twilight remain overnight until morning. You may not sacrifice the Passover within of your gates which Yehovah your God gives you, but at the place where Yehovah your God chooses to make His name abide, there you shall sacrifice the Passover at twilight, at the going down of the sun, at the time you came out of Egypt.” There's even more clarification, that’s kind of like...

Nehemia: And that basically means I can't do it in my backyard. I've got to do it at the chosen place.

Keith: Right.

Jono: There it is. Okay. We're flying along. Now, the next is, “You shall count seven weeks for yourself to begin,” we’ve got the counting of the Omer, right? “…seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to Yehovah your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as Yehovah your God blesses you. You shall rejoice before Yehovah your God, and you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where Yehovah your God chooses to make His name abide. And you shall remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe His statutes.”

The Feast of Tabernacles! “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. And you shall rejoice in your feast, and your sons and your daughters, and your male servant and your female servants and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to Yehovah your God in the place which Yehovah chooses, because Yehovah your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so you will surely rejoice. Three times a year…”

Nehemia: Okay, let me point something out that, in Leviticus 23 and Numbers 28 and 29, we hear about how there’s an eighth day of Sukkot; it's actually not part of Sukkot. Sukkot is seven days. There's an eighth day called Shemini Atzeret, the eighth day of assembly. It's eighth from the counting of Sukkot, but it's not technically... meaning, you only dwell in the booths for seven days…

Jono: Yes.

Nehemia: …and then you've got this eighth day where you assemble, and that's actually not mentioned here.

Jono: Amen. Keith, believe it or not, Keith, we've got two more verses, and I think we've set another record. Will you please give us...?

Nehemia: Before he closes it out, can I just give a really quick synopsis of the whole…?

Jono: Yeah.

Nehemia: Anyway, so we've got three pilgrimage feasts, meaning three times a year we're committed to appear before Yehovah. That's the Feast of Unleavened Bread or “Chag HaMatzot” in Hebrew. People often will call that Passover because of the sacrifice at the beginning of it, but it's actually, technically, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, and Sukkot, the Feast of Booths. So those are the three pilgrimage feasts.

However, we have seven days of rest, or seven rest festivals. The first and seventh day of Unleavened Bread are days in which you're not allowed to work; days of rest. Shavuot is a day in which you're not allowed to work, a day of rest. Yom Teruah, or the Day of Trumpets, some people call it the Day of Shouting, rabbinical Jews refer to it as Rosh Hashanah. Yom Teruah, the Day of Shouting is a day of rest, that's the first day of the seventh month. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is the sixth day of rest, or excuse me, the fifth day of rest out of the seven. Then the first day of Sukkot and the eighth day, those are the final two days of rest. So, you see there are some biblical appointed times, specifically Yom Teruah and Yom Kippur, which are not pilgrimage feasts. So, then you have three pilgrimage feasts, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

Jono: There it is. The last two verses. Keith Johnson, take it away.

Keith: Which verses do you want me to read?

Jono: Chapter 16, from 16 to 17.

Keith: Okay. “Three times a year?” Oh, boy.

Nehemia: I've got to comment. I want to talk about the word “three.” No, I'm just kidding.

Keith: Somebody say, “the Trinity”. “Three times a year all your men must appear before Yehovah your God at the place He will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks and the Feast of Tabernacles. No man should appear before Yehovah empty-handed: each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way Yehovah your God has blessed you.” What a blessing that is.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: Amen. So, bring a token of the blessing, is that fair?

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Beautiful.

Nehemia: If He blesses you, then you need to bring a blessing to Him.

Jono: Yeah. Amen. So that is it. Now, you know what?

Keith: I'm sorry we can't end. We didn't say a prayer, and I'm going to say the prayer before we go.

Jono: Oh, man, we almost skipped the prayer. Keith, take it all the way.

Keith: No, no, we’ve got to make it all the way through here.

Nehemia: It's the scales on our eyes.

Keith: Yes.

Jono: Yeah.

Keith: Yehovah, thank you so much for this opportunity, for this very important portion, but not only the portion, but there's the idea of working through Your Word. Help us to have our eyes open that we might see these wonderful things, these blessed things, these amazing things that are hidden in Your Torah. And help us also be a people that will be thankful for what we do have and to be able to come to You with that thanksgiving and to bless others as You have blessed us. In Your name, Amen.

Jono: Amen.

Nehemia: Amen.

Jono: This has got to be a record for sure. You have been listening to the Torah Pearls. Next week we are in Shoftim, Deuteronomy 16:18 to 21 verse 9. And until then, 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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  • Doreen says:

    Shalom to you all
    Thank you so much for this, it’s the first time listening to Torah pearls and it’s just awesome. It really is so amazing how Yehovah works, I’ve had an issue concerning statues Aspecially ones with Greek gods on it, and it just did not want to stick with me that it’s OK to have these things part of your life if you want to serve Yehovah and I’ve been told it’s OK to have it as long as you don’t worship or kneel before it. Thank you again for the knowledge and truth.

    Oh and also for making me laugh, the program is just so much fun and so rewarding.

    May Yehovah continue to bless the work you all are doing.


  • Neville Newman says:

    Nehemia, I completely agree with you about the need for being consistent in our interpretation and implementation of the scripture. I also agree that the abominations (re pigs and homosexuality) are still abominations.

    But you cannot apply your charge of inconsistency consistently across all of those who believe that eating pig is now OK (i.e. that torah is no longer in force), yet believe that homosexuality is still an abomination. The reason many, if not most, of those folks take that position is that they include homosexuality under the “sexual immorality” that is forbidden of gentile believers, per Acts 15’s pronouncement of the Jerusalem council.

    They are wrong, to be sure. But they are not inconsistent.

  • Ted Craven says:

    Reading the commandment “Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.”, a follower of Yeshua would be inclined to see the kid as a reference to Yeshua, the Lamb of God. (Exodus 12:5 specified that the Passover lamb could be a sheep or goat.) The mother of the kid would be Mary and the milk might be taken to represent maternal care and affection. So could this command be intended as a warning to the church to not try to substitute the worship of Mary for the worship of Yeshua?

    The Roman church in particular has idolized Mary and has instituted a kind of Mary-worship to replace worship of Yeshua. It has made Mary into a sort of universal mother goddess. And it has tended to identify itself with Mary, likening the church’s care and affection for its members to a mother’s care and affection for her children. So by worshiping Mary, it is in effect worshiping itself and is using Mary’s maternal qualities to distract attention from Yeshua’s atoning work.

    While I can understand the reason for the literal commandment, it seems to me that there must also be a deeper reason for the commandment and why it was stated three times. I’m not sure the above interpretation is the answer, but it might be something to think about.

    • Neville Newman says:

      Ted Craven , as a follower of Yeshua , I can say I have never been inclined to interpret it that way.

  • Whoo Hoo!!! Come on Nehemia Yes Love that about being consistant!!

  • Ruth Peterson says:

    Love the Torah teachings on Shabbat and appreciate the dedication to pure scriptures breyond all the confusion of Babylonish mddling of u’re truth to rofane our LORDS truth

  • Janice says:

    I really enjoy the Artwork on the web site

  • Gnarlodious says:

    Since nobody seems to know why it is forbidden to boil the goat’s milk, I will explain. It is completely and totally unrelated to the goat animal, but rather applies to the tribe of Gad, the same word as the hebrew word for ‘goat’. To spell it out, the word גדי means Gadite, not goat. The command relates to a specific genetic mutation peculiar to the tribe of Gad that causes them to be symbiotically dependent on the enzymes in milk. Cooking (pasteurizing) the milk kills the enzymes, with the eventual result that the Gadite goes insane. This principle was not understood by later scribes, who revised the command to make sense of it as an arbitrary command from God.

    The blessing of the Gadites was a shortcut to the metabolism of dietary calcium, a deletion in the section of a chromosome that encodes for the extraction of calcium from ordinary foods. This usual metabolic pathway is energy intensive, unreliable and bulky, as calcium is a difficult element to extract and make bioavailable. To offset the deletion, Gadites were given a mutation that extracts their calcium directly from milk. As a result, Gadites were unable to acquire calcium from ordinary food but were dependent on cows, as alluded to in Numbers 32:1; “Now the children of Reuben and the children of Gad had a very great multitude of cattle”. There are more allusions, the Gadites were highly effective “shock troops”, an activity requiring large amounts of available energy, quick reflexes and strong bones. You can see how the Gadites had a genetic advantage in their calcium metabolism. Since the most important role of dietary calcium is the electrical function of neurons, calcium depletion would cause the Gadite to slowly become uncoordinated and lose their mental capacity.

    Cooking was the usual way to preserve milk before refrigeration was invented, but cooking killed the enzymes in milk that are necessary for the digestion of its calcium. Thus the Gadites were especially forbidden from drinking cooked milk, while anyone else could get their calcium from ordinary food. So cooking the milk was a no-no for Gadites.

    • donald murphy says:


      • Anita Burke says:

        seems like speculation, anything regarding the 10 “lost” tribes, other than whats in scripture

    • HL says:

      Brilliant, but not mentioned in the scripture. Also, the commandment doesn’t say just for Gad, so that interpretation just doesn’t make any sense. Making up things out of scriptures we don’t understand has created the real problem. Nehemia’s explanation makes a lot more sense though.

  • Vern J Miroth says:

    Nehemia, i listened to both Torah pearls and prophet pearls today so I forget which one it was but you spoke of a man named (Shophtim?) Sneed who people thought was Mashiach can I have the correct spelling to research more about him?

  • Paul Lopez says:

    Nehemia stated that Abraham was 68 years old when He was circumcised in this portion. I know Nehemia will make mistakes like we all do so this is more to correct the record than the Wandering Jew…
    Gen 17:24 Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin. 25And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.… Blessings for the Wonderful Teaching of Torah Pearls.

    • Vern J Miroth says:

      I believe what he said was that he was 68 when YHVH called him and then he wasn’t circumcised until some years later

      • Neville Newman says:

        No, what he said was that we don’t know how old Abram was when he was originally called by God, but he was 75 when he left Haran and went to Canaan, then “86” when he was circumcised, so “he goes eleven years before he’s really ready for the full commitment”. Nehemia never said anything about “68”. It’s clear on the recording and it’s also right there in the transcript.

        So, yes, Nehemia mis-spoke and said 86 (which is when Ishmael was born) vs. 99, which was the correct age. So, I guess it took Abra[ha]m 24 years to be ready for the committment 🙂 . Maybe God had previously described the procedure and it just took 24 years to work up the courage to face the knife 🙂 .

  • Joy Mathew says:

    My journey started in 1976 from being a atheist / leftist / drugged hippie to a spiritualist / Islamist / Christian / Mammon worshipper and in 2012 I sought the Elohim of the Bible.
    Where am I spiritually ?

    1) YHWH in his mercy and compassion draws me to his Son Yahushua ha’Masiach and He leads me out of Egypt .

    2) Am in the wilderness and there is water from the Rock and there is manna from heaven for our substance

    3 ) I am the base of Mt .Horeb and a Mixed Multitude prince says do no know when the ha’Masiach will return :

    a) we cannot go back to Egypt so lets go to Tyre and Sidion ( Sunday Christians ) and so I follow them .

    b) Korah and group rises and says has not Elohim spoken to us and lead us into Babylon where others land up in the box of messianics .

    c) some of us escape from Sidion and come to Babylon and get caught up within the box of messianics

    d) a few still wait at Horeb waiting for Mosheh ( ha’Msdiach ) to appoint us elders or leaders to lead us to the promised land .

    This is my spiritual position ( sorrow , confusion and an anticipation we will be meet his bond slaves or called out saints.

    It is at this juncture Through Bro Micheal Rood I encoumtered you.

    Re’ah is the first teaching of yours from the Torah though I had listened on Youtube 6 parts of The Open door policy

    I thank YHWH for bringing me out from the muddy stream of the sages .

    Your teaching was so refreshing and enlightening .

    Am the sole seeker ,in my joint family home who are all Universalist , of YHWH , El Shaddai , the Elohim of Abraham , Yitshaq and Ya’aqob in Rabboni Yahushua . Am praying that the scales drop from our eyes and like Yahoshua I could say ” As for me and my family , we will serve , YHWH .

    Love and Regards

    Joy Mathew
    Hyderabad India
    Mobile : +91 – 730 -603 – 2138
    Email :

    PS : I know neither Hebrew nor Greek . I followed the King James Version and now the HalleluYAH Scripture . I know only English .

  • Kitty Corbett says:

    Deut. 16:1, “for it was in the month of Abib, at night, that the LORD your God freed you from Egypt.” That was the night when the tenth plague brought about Pharaoh’s change of heart, demanding that the Israelites leave. The Israelites were thus freed at night by action of the death angel, passing over the Israelites; but they didn’t leave until the morning. I believe this was the same way that Rashi interpreted Deut. 16:1.

  • Kitty Corbett says:

    About sons of God…See Jer. 31:9 “For I am ever a father to Israel, Ephraim is My first born….”

  • Sarah Yocheved says:

    In regards to the command to not even TOUCH the body of a dead pig, would this also prohibit the use of my boar-bristle hairbrush? I’m serious! For many years, I would never think of consuming pork, nor have I any need to touch a pig–dead or alive, yet it never occurred to me that my hairbrush, which I’ve used for decades, might be prohibited by Torah Law. My scalp and my hair loves this brush, but if it violates the Law of Yehovah, I would trash it in a heartbeat. Could I have clarification on this? Please.

  • In Deut 16:7, according to my understanding, Moses seems to be changing the commandment concerning preperation of the Passover meal from not boiling the lamb (Ex 12:9) to boiling it. What is your understanding? Thanks in advance – Michael

  • Vern Miroth says:

    In Deut 12:15 I am confused by the word יֹאכְלֶנּוּ.
    It looks to me like it should be translated as “he will eat/consume us” but it isnt…what is my misunderstanding?

  • George says:

    I listen every year since the Torah pearls were published and I do enjoy listening to it again and again. Thanks to you guys. May the GOD of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob bless you and keep you.

    I have a small problem with the numbers and multitude that left Egypt, especially after I visited the land and been to Jericho. It is such a tiny little city and so it seems odd to me that 600,000 men needed to spy out the place and needed reassurance before being ready to attack it.
    I reasoned that Joseph left with Israel and so did all the people who had died in Egypt. Of course, not everyone (bones) could have been taken along since many died without having a tomb as a burial place. But I like to think that nobody left behind by counting them all in when doing the census.
    I thing the same picture is shown with Gideon’s army. All came out with him but just a much smaller number did the actual fighting.
    Just my thoughts on that.


  • Kevin George says:

    Taken in the context of the two verses before it, isn’t Deut. 12: 4 a command to speak the name of Yehovah?

  • William Blank says:

    I think Nehemia is correct in his explanation of Deut. 16:1 that the phrase “by night” goes with the sacrifice of the passover, because it says in Exodus 12:22 that no one was to go out of their place until the morning.

  • Brandon says:

    Very broken up audio and hard to understand.

  • paulhackney says:

    Nehemia brings up how Yehovah told Elijah to go make sacrifices on Mount Carmel which was not the prescribed place for making sacrifices, Keith made such a great point when he said, “I don’t see the problem, Yehovah can do whatever He wants whenever He wants.” Start at 42:48 or even 40:40 on the recording to get context. Then Nehemia says “I don’t disagree with you but Yehovah did say He choses a place forever.” then goes onto explain how what was happening then was the reason Yehovah made that exception in the law. Then at 44:18 Nehemia says “but it does raise the question, how is this to be explained and Jono says “how is it to be understood”… I’m going with Yehovah is sovereign and all His ways are righteous and we don’t have to fully understand everything He does even while in our tiny little minds it looks like He is breaking His own law. I think it’s a good idea to always keep in mind who He is and who we are before we ask certain questions of Him. Let me refer you to Job 

    The next law Nehemia discusses that Yehovah makes an exception for is mentioned in the line in Deut 12:15 where Yehovah says “the unclean and the clean may eat thereof” (start at 47:00 on the recording) Nehemia is talking about the Laws in Leviticus 17 and says Deut 12:15&16 says that rule didn’t apply in the desert. Nehemia goes on to say “the clean and the unclean, now that doesn’t mean you’re eating an unclean animal, it means the person who is eating it is unclean” Nehemia is right about the interpretation of that line, it is referring to people who were ceremonially clean or unclean. Again Yehovah made an exception to a law because of the situation. The part Nehemia didn’t discuss is the line in Deut 12:15 where Yehovah said, “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after”. That is the KJV which is the best and most literal translation of the Hebrew. the Hebrew word ‘av vah is the word for lust which means; desire, lust, will (not necessarily evil). To make it clear Yehovah says this two more times, once in verse 20 and again in verse 21, “whatsoever thy soul lusteth after”. Then to clarify even further that they could eat any kind of meat they wanted to, Yehovah says in verse 22, “Even as the roebuck and the hart is eaten, so thou shalt eat them”. In the context of these verses, “them” is referring to whatever kind of animal they desired to eat, not the roebuck and the hart. Not only did Yehovah change the law to allow a ceremonially unclean person to eat, but be also changed the law to allow them to eat unclean meat while they were in the desert.

    What bothers me here is that it really looks like you did a Rabbinical Word Dance (Eisegesis) on this set of verses in order to make it say what you wanted it to. More importantly, you are teaching it as the word of Yehovah and you subtracted from His word.

    Yehovah established His first food law in Genesis 1:29. He gave them plants and fruit to eat but no animals. Hundreds of years later, after the flood, in Genesis 9:3 He gave them every moving thing to eat. It wasn’t until hundreds of years after the flood that he gave them the exact diet to follow in Leviticus 11 where He gave them specific things to eat and not eat. As you examine the situation further in Deuteronomy 12 it becomes apparent that there were not enough sacrificial animals for them to eat as frequently as they needed to. They were starving so Yehovah allowed them to eat whatever they could find.

    The verses of Deuteronomy 12:15-22 gives credence to the idea that Peter’s vision was a dual revelation from Yehovah. Simply imagine what the implications are in the situation. Yehovah was telling Peter that salvation was for the Gentiles too. They were to share the Gospel to all the world. Clean animals were not always available for food everywhere. Of course Yehovah could have miraculously supplied clean animals all over the world, but that is not how He decided to handle the situation. There are three periods where Yehovah allowed us to eat what Leviticus 11 calls unclean meat. The first time is after the flood, the second time is while they were in the desert and the third is from the time of Peter’s vision on.

    • George says:

      Paul, I disagree.
      Please allow me to refer to Gen4:4 in which Abel is offering the firstborn of his flock and their fat. It seems very much like that he ate the rest of the animal and did’t bury it. Not much benefit of having a flock and being a vegetarian. Just my humble opinion about it.

      I wouldn’t go down a road were GOD isn’t able to provide food and needs to agree on changing his rules to sustain his chosen people. He “managed” to provide water from a rock, right? He rains quails on them, right?
      You basically suggest that at other times he needed to allow unclean food within the camp while he himself was being among them?

      Peter refused it three times and not even for a split second he considered that to be food but was pondering about the meaning of that vision.
      If GOD had changed our internal organs miraculously and changed the pig too then why there are still unclean animals in Rev18? Why would Jesus cast out the workers of lawlessness, when the law is done away with? Makes no sense to me.
      Just my humble opinion about it.

      • This makes the most sense to me what George is saying. I think though the “exception” that was made for Elijah wasn’t really an exception because he wasn’t just performing a sacrifice for the purpose of a true ceremonial sacrifice. He was demonstrating the power of Elohim not trying to atone for anything. This was simply a demonstration of who’s God or god had real power.

      • donald murphy says:

        stay away from christianity. its false.

  • C Mettler says:

    Matt 23:23-24 is not extant in any pre-Constantine manuscript.
    So, it would be hard to be dogmatic with this.

  • kris says:

    The new/renewed covenant Scriptures do speak of tithing. Anyone interested can check out Matthew 23:23-24.

    • Janice says:

      While the Temple and Priest and Kohanim were officiating; tithing was done along with all other offerings, after the Temple was destroyed, people were encourage to give generously to their teachers and care for each other.

  • Kyla says:

    Shabbat-shalom, Nehemia, Keith and Jono!

    As usual I have thoroughly enjoyed this Torah-Pearl session and have gleaned more from Abba’s torah than previously known.
    Just 2 tidbits that Yahveh-Elohim’s ruach passed on to me through it:

    #1 concerning the extra bird listed here compared to Vayikra/Lev. 14:13 and the hara’ah (rendered “hawk”, “vulture”, “kite”). As I looked this up I noticed that the word “ra’ah” is from the root word “ra’ah (different Hebrew letters) that mean “to see” and that is also the first word of this Torah portion which it is named after!

    #2 concerning the seemingly anomaly between Yahveh-Elohim’s instruction in Vayik/Lev. 23:39-43 and B’mid/Num. 15:16 and Dev./Deut. 14:21 about “foreigners” and “you” . When I looked up the passage in Bmid/Num 15:16 I noticed that a different word was used in conjunction with “foreigner/ger” – the word “gur/ lodging with” while here in Dev./Deut. 14:21 the word used with “ger/foreigner” was “sha’ar/ an opening (like a door or gate). So to me there is a difference between a foreigner who is lodging/staying/living within a place compared to a foreigner who is only there for a brief time (like a tourist or even a quick stop at a place). If we look at this through Yavheh-Elohim’s eyes the foreigner that He was saying had the same torah as the natural-born Yisraelite would be a non-Jewish person who had made the decision to live with Him and His Torah within His Community.

    Shavu’ah-tov/Have a great new week!

  • LJ (Ezrachah Bat Ephrayim) says:

    Hey, I have one more comment which is on Deut. 14:21 which refers to a sojourner “who has not joined themselves” with Israel. 🙂

  • victoria loyd says:

    Deuteronomy 13:14 the men without yoke of the Torah according to the Tanach are lawless men.

  • Laurie Jo says:

    I love Torah pearls. As I listen to Nehemia explain that boiling a kid in it’s mothers’ milk is just that; as a goat shepherdess, I understand that a kid “in its mothers’ milk” is one who is not yet weaned; although I don’t dismiss Nehemia’s own research that pagan’s did boil kids in their mothers’ milk. I recall a command that IF the kid be too large for a family, then there needed to be groups of families to share the Pasach. If you knew anything about goat kids which are not weaned, they are small enough to eat by yourself. Pasach happens durring the time of, or shortly after “kidding season.” So I see a different perspective which I hope you will consider. From the perspective of a shepherdess, one who raises and cares for goats; it is those kids born the previous year, but less than a full year old, which would be considered for Pasach. Kids who still are nursing are considered off limits.
    What say you Nehemia? Keith” Jono?
    May Abba continue blessing you all and may Torah portions here last l’olam.
    LJ (Ezrachah Bat Ephrayim)

  • John Pretorius says:

    “The Scriptures” renders the word abominable in stead of detestable.
    I found with a few exceptions that The Scriptures by the Institute of Scripture Research is mostly correct

  • Leaves Heal says:

    I have a thought on the “why” of the 2 “loopholes” for the sojourners:
    We have friends who are homeless. They do carry tents with them on their bicycles, but are grateful for a house to stay in when it’s offered for a time. Fine folk in general, but they do not have a lot. They get most of their food out of dumpsters.
    Similarly to the homeless not being commanded to live in booths because they’re already living in tents as it its, perhaps (not “this is the way it is”; Just perhaps) the sojourner is given the loophole of being allowed to “eat out of the dumpster” if they’re really that hungry?

    • Shaul says:

      I agree. Would the implication that a sojourner has no home also imply they have no land to produce food, both grain/veggi or livestock? If that is the case there is a provision for grain and fruit/veggies, what about meat? Could this be the provision? Could also not “to save a life” come into play a little here?