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Parashat Shelach; Numbers 15

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Introduction

If you’re reading this Torah portion you’re probably looking forward to the vastly interesting story of the 12 spies (and how they could fail so badly!). But alas no, sometimes it’s good to focus on those bits that might otherwise slip us by. So we’re going to focus on Number 15, we’re going to suss it out, learn a thing or two about Messiah and basically see what this part of the Bible has to say for itself. The topics for include;
Additional laws for grain and drink offerings
Additional laws for unintentional and presumptuous sin
Penalty for violating the Sabbath
The tassles (tzit tzit on garments)
To be honest, I don’t have much to offer you with regard to the first couple of topics. What I will say though is that these laws are mainly laid out for us in the book of Leviticus. Here, God teaches us that certain offering require some additional aspects ‘when you enter the land’. Meaning, for example, if you wanted to offer a ‘burnt offering’ in Israel during a festival, then you had to do so with an accompanying grain offering and libation offering. Out of the land these extras weren’t necessary. Inside the land, and for some of the sacrifices, these extras are part of the deal.
What I will say though is that these laws are mainly laid out for us
Much can be said about the grain and libation offerings but I think what needs saying can be said elsewhere, like when we’re studying Leviticus. What I will point out though is that these things form part of the inspiration and foundation for Shabbat meals and other Hebrew customs that exist today. Things like the wine and breaking of bread together with a meal mirror the sacrifice, grain and libation offering of the Temple. Within Jewish thought much of the process they follow serves to remind us of Jerusalem and the Temple. Some people don’t like that, I think it’s pretty nifty.
We can see some of this play out in the language and custom of the New Testament. Yeshua alludes to the libation offering (which was poured out over the alter) when he says;
Mark 14:24 NKJV
And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.
Shed for many?
Let’s try again. ‘Ekchuno’ (no idea how you would pronounce that…) can be translated as meaning ‘to pour forth’, ‘to spill’ or something that is ‘gushed out’.
So, ‘this is My blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many’. It’s not just a somewhat violent allusion to the spilling of Messiah’s blood, it’s an allusion to the Temple libation offering which ultimately speaks of Messiah who was ‘poured out’ for humanity.
Interesting that these additional laws stress that they are for the native born and the stranger. Perhaps this alludes that Messiah is for all people who choose Him. Though his blood must be spilled ‘when you are in the land’ (i.e. Israel), it’s implications go far beyond its borders.
There are other allusions to this in the NT;
When writing to the Philippians, Paul compared his ministry as a drink offering,
When writing to the Philippians, Paul compared his ministry as a drink offering,
Philippians 2:17–18 NKJV
Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Interesting how the offering is synonymous with the ‘service of your faith’ (the true sacrifice) and how it’s synonymous with being ‘glad’ and ‘rejoicing’.
So ultimately Messiah is our joy, so be glad. His is the true service of faith poured out for many.
Later, when anticipating his death in Rome Paul wrote;
2 Timothy 4:6 NKJV
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand.

‘When you have come into the land’

When we drink the cup we would do well to remember this. Also, that the true offering is the ‘service of our faith’. Messiah is our joy so be glad; His is the true service of faith poured out for many.
Violation of the Sabbath.

The Sacrificial Stuff

I do want to move forward to the Sabbath breaker but I think this is a neat little tid bit.
opens with;
Numbers 15:2 NKJV
“Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving to you,
I don’t really have much to say about this.
It’s fascinating because the previous time we heard from God part of what He said included this;
Numbers 14:28–29 NKJV
Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord, ‘just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will do to you: The carcasses of you who have complained against Me shall fall in this wilderness, all of you who were numbered, according to your entire number, from twenty years old and above.
He condemns the generation older than 20 to death.
What I find fascinating with this is that this ‘death sentence’ included Moses himself. I know, I know, later in the Torah Moses hits the rock twice and God says Moses won’t enter then. But the only exceptions to God’s sentencing here is Caleb and Joshua (and their families by the way). Moses is not included in the ‘exceptions’, he’s also older than 20, therefore, call me a genius, Moses is included in the death penalty here. Later in the Torah we will explore this properly. But I will just quickly say that this is very much connected to the suffering servant who on a rather esoteric level refers to Moses himself. He, like Messiah, was sentenced to death for sins he did not commit.
At any rate, I want to stress that Moses’ death penalty occurs in which is why it’s startling for me to find that God’s next words; to Moses no less, are;
‘when you enter...’.
Except for the ‘WHEN YOU ENTER THE LAND.’
You could say ‘clearly, Jason, God is referring to the next generation who would be doing the entering’. That would be correct in the plain historical meaning but God doesn’t specify that. He says, tell the ‘children of Israel’, which continued to be a designation for all of Israel (including the condemned ones), ‘when you enter the land...’
So drop down a level with me and smell the roses.
All of Israel will enter the land. Either in this life or in the resurrection. ‘When you enter the land’ is not a historical statement said to ‘those Jews’ back then, but to all of us, the children of Israel.
So it’s not when you enter the land, but when YOU enter the land.
Ezekiel 37:21–23 NKJV
“Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.
Isaiah 56:6–8 NKJV
“Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, And to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants— Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, And holds fast My covenant— Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him Others besides those who are gathered to him.”
The wine libation is akin to the blood of Messiah being poured out.
Numbers 15:15–19 NKJV
One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.’ ” Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land to which I bring you, then it will be, when you eat of the bread of the land, that you shall offer up a heave offering to the Lord.
Numbers 15:15–16 NKJV
One ordinance shall be for you of the assembly and for the stranger who dwells with you, an ordinance forever throughout your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One law and one custom shall be for you and for the stranger who dwells with you.’ ”
It is a sacrifice that all are welcome to participate in.
Ezer and Ger explained.
This is the weight of the opening to Numbers 15;
Numbers 15:1–2 NKJV
And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you have come into the land you are to inhabit, which I am giving to you,

Violation of the Sabbath.

Jumping ahead we learn a vital lesson with regard to keeping the Sabbath.
The lesson is this;
The lesson is this;
Don’t do it man (it’s not worth it!). God doesn’t like it when you break the Sabbath. He dislikes it so much that the Sabbath violator here was stoned to death. They even asked Him what should happen. God thought about it, and the guy was still stoned. It was hardly an emotional reaction. People might not be getting stoned these days but read the vibe, keep the Sabbath, and it will go well for you.
On a serious note though this episode is quite confronting. It’s not blatant idolatry, the bloke wasn’t sacrificing children or fornicating with Moabites; the violation was for gathering wood. It bears some study and I will do what I can.
Firstly, let’s look at the incident itself.
Numbers 15:32 NKJV
Now while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
What was he doing? ‘Gathering sticks’.
The Hebrew is ‘meqqoses’; its probably related to ‘qas’ which means ‘straw’ and means ‘to gather’ or to ‘bundle’ (i.e. like to gather straw or similar into a bundle).
When they found him, they put him under guard.
When they found him, they put him under guard.
This can only be paralleled by the incident with the blasphemer in . He too was caught, apprehended and then stoned. This is interesting because apprehension (i.e. prison) was not part of the ancient world’s legal system. It only ever occurred during sentencing. You were simply awaiting your outcome in ancient prisons during this period as prisons tended to not be the punishment. It certainly isn’t in Biblical law.
Whilst apprehended the verse says;
Numbers 15:34 NKJV
They put him under guard, because it had not been explained what should be done to him.
But how can this be?
The sages and scholars surmise that Moses may have 1) questioned whether or not this was a sabbath violation or 2) just didn’t know the penalty for the violation.
With regard to point 1 it would appear that Moses would be clear that this was indeed a Sabbath violation. From my JPS it says this;
If the priestly law forbids the gathering of food on the Sabbath even though its consumption is, of course, permitted, how much more so would it forbid the gathering of wood, whose purpose would be for kindling—an explicit sin ()? Hence, the law concerning the gathering of wood would have been amply clear to Moses on the analogy of the gathering of manna: It was a willful desecration of the Sabbath.
JPS to Numbers
Basically, via the laws prohibiting the collection of mana on the Sabbath and the prohibition to kindle a fire it was a clear Sabbath violation.
To point 2 then. But how could Moses not know the penalty when the Torah earlier states;
So, point 2 then?
But how could Moses not know the penalty when the Torah earlier states;
Exodus 31:14 NKJV
You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.
This is actually said on two earlier occasions in the Torah. The suggestion put forth by Jewish and Christian commentators is that the death penalty prior to this was written in contexts when the Tabernacle was being constructed. They say that this may have been the case to simply stress that continuing to work on the Tabernacle was forbidden on the Sabbath. I think that’s part of it but I still think the earlier commandments make it clear that in general, working on the Sabbath is forbidden. Either way, the method of death was not stipulated. It only says the person is to be put to death and perhaps it is for this reason that Moses consulted with God. It would also have to do with the fact that these sins were ultimately ‘divine’ and an affront to God Himself who deemed it necessary to render the judgement.
Still seems harsh though doesn’t it?
Part of the solution in accepting this is found in understanding the literary structure to the text.
Please note what I’m about to say as it’s a big part of understanding this scenario.
These words are written as part of the earlier laws which include intentional and unintentional sin.
Why is that important?
Because, for unintentional sin;
Numbers 15:27–28 NKJV
‘And if a person sins unintentionally, then he shall bring a female goat in its first year as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally, when he sins unintentionally before the Lord, to make atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him.
Based on that you can instantly rule this episode out as some kind of accident. The man wasn’t misunderstanding the law or forgetful of it. If he was, then YHWH made allowances for that person to be forgiven.
For intentional sin;
Numbers 15:30–31 NKJV
‘But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the Lord, and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt shall be upon him.’ ”
Thus, we can understand that the Sabbath violator falls into this category. It was not unintentional and this episode is our legal precedent for what happens with the Sabbath and with the man who ‘despises the word of the LORD’. This is not a simple case of some poor bloke who was done for picking up some sticks.
So serious is the violation of the Sabbath that we can contrast this to Day of Atonement.
Targum Neofiti says this;
This is one of the four legal cases that came up before Moses our master. In two of them Moses was quick (to act) and in two of them Moses was tardy. And in each case Moses said: I have not heard (the like). (He was quick to act) in the case of the unclean persons who could not keep the passover at its appointed time () and in the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (27:1–11; 36:1–12) because civil cases were involved. But in the case of the wood gatherer who profaned the Sabbath willfully and in the case of the blasphemer who pronounced the holy Name blasphemously (), Moses was tardy because these were capital cases. This was in order to teach the judges who would succeed Moses that they should be quick in civil cases and tardy in capital cases, so that they would not be in a hurry to put to death even one condemned to death; so that they would not be ashamed to say: We have not heard (a similar case), since Moses our master has also said: I have not heard.
This is one of the four legal cases that came up before Moses our master. In two of them Moses was quick (to act) and in two of them Moses was tardy. And in each case Moses said: I have not heard (the like). (He was quick to act) in the case of the unclean persons who could not keep the passover at its appointed time () and in the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (27:1–11; 36:1–12) because civil cases were involved. But in the case of the wood gatherer who profaned the Sabbath willfully and in the case of the blasphemer who pronounced the holy Name blasphemously (), Moses was tardy because these were capital cases. This was in order to teach the judges who would succeed Moses that they should be quick in civil cases and tardy in capital cases, so that they would not be in a hurry to put to death even one condemned to death; so that they would not be ashamed to say: We have not heard (a similar case), since Moses our master has also said: I have not heard.
This is one of the four legal cases that came up before Moses our master. In two of them Moses was quick (to act) and in two of them Moses was tardy. And in each case Moses said: I have not heard (the like). (He was quick to act) in the case of the unclean persons who could not keep the passover at its appointed time () and in the case of the daughters of Zelophehad (27:1–11; 36:1–12) because civil cases were involved. But in the case of the wood gatherer who profaned the Sabbath willfully and in the case of the blasphemer who pronounced the holy Name blasphemously (), Moses was tardy because these were capital cases. This was in order to teach the judges who would succeed Moses that they should be quick in civil cases and tardy in capital cases, so that they would not be in a hurry to put to death even one condemned to death; so that they would not be ashamed to say: We have not heard (a similar case), since Moses our master has also said: I have not heard.
One of the things alluded to in the Targum here is the fact that this crime, like that of the blasphemer we read of earlier in our Torah Portion (), was a ‘capital crime’ and was a sin against God. Just like here, with the Sabbath ‘violator’, he was apprehended so that God could render the judgement which in both cases was death.
When reading about this, one of the many disputes about the incident is why the apprehension?
One of the things alluded to in the Targum here is the fact that this crime, like that of the blasphemer we read of earlier in our Torah Portion (), was a ‘capital crime’ and was a sin against God. Just like here, with the Sabbath ‘violator’, he was apprehended so that God could render the judgement which in both cases was death.
When reading about this, one of the many disputes about the incident is why the apprehension?
Don’t do it. It’s bad.
So serious is the violation of the Sabbath that we can contrast this to Day of Atonement.
Unlike other Sabbaths these two, the weekly Sabbath and Atonement, are described in the same terms. JPS explains the contrast well;
On these days alone is there a total cessation of labor, kol melaʾakhah, “all work” (; ), whereas on all other holidays only meleʾkhetʿavodah, “laborious work,” is prohibited (cf. , , ; , , ).1 Yet the violation of the Day of Atonement, also a capital crime, is punishable solely by karet and not by judicial execution ().
Gathering = like a bale of wood etc.
Put him under guard; they must have known he had to death penality but were unsure on the method of killing? (The TARGUM QUOTE HERE PLEASE JASON)
JPS to Numbers
Can contrast to gathering MANNA; surely Moses knew if that was breaking the sabbath that gathering the wood would be too?
Punishment unsure; Exodus when it says death penalty it was given in context of builging the tabernacle
The JPS points out that only the weekly Sabbath, of all the Sabbaths, attracts both the death penalty and the divine punishment of being cut off (which was divine exile). The only other sin in the Bible which attracts being cut off and the death penalty is Molech worship (). Such is the weight that YHWH places upon the weekly Sabbath.
The double penalty is unusual; karet and death penalty; only other was worship of molech
I wasn’t kidding before, don’t break the Sabbath. If you don’t know better then God is merciful, if you know better and break it, then let be a warning to you.
Sins against God tend to be punished byGod
Placed here to juxtapose on the ‘defiant’ breaking of Gods law as stipulated before
Given that the law of inadvertend sin was just given, we can deduce that the wood gatherer was NOT sinning inadvertently.
This case is given as case law like a precedent.
In summary, don’t break the sabbath, it will end poorly for you.

Yeshua Kept The Sabbath

And it was awesome
Having come this far, I couldn’t help but take the excuse to segway into the New Testament where our Messiah, who kept the Sabbath, was falsely accused of breaking it. We’ll shift gears now and hopefully we learn a little something about Yeshua.
One notable example of where Yeshua was accused of being a Sabbath breaker himself is found in .
Yeshua was accused of being a sabbath breaker. (not true)
The incident reads as;
One notable example is where he healed the bloke and told him to carry his mat.
The carrying of the mat prohibition, arguably draws on because the man was carrying wood on the Sabbath day.
Was he mocking the Jewish customs of the day?
Arguably, no. That makes no sense.
It was most likely a mercy to not send the poor man away without his only belongings.
John 5:1–16 NKJV
After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had. Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, “It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed.” He answered them, “He who made me well said to me, ‘Take up your bed and walk.’ ” Then they asked him, “Who is the Man who said to you, ‘Take up your bed and walk’?” But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. For this reason the Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath.
Notably, Yeshua told the man to ‘carry his mat’. Now when the Jews said ‘it is not lawful for you to carry your bed’ they were indirectly citing . In Judaism we know it was later ruled that to carry an object was forbidden on the sabbath and in part the informed this decision (as did ). Obviously, this Jewish instruction, existed in some form or another in the time of Messiah though perhaps it was not so complex as it is currently. The current law forbids carrying but allows one to do so within the private domain and not the public doman, there are also other rulings around carrying.
Whilst we’re on it though, why did Yeshua tell the man to carry his mat?
The easy answer is not the correct answer. Many suggest that Yeshua did so in order to demonstrate his disagreement with the Rabbinic ruling on carrying. I disagree. It is out of character for Yeshua to use someone else for such an example and in the subsequent confrontation with the Jews the matter of carrying is not addressed. Yeshua responds with;
John 5:17 NKJV
But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”
And he continues to talk about His relationship with the Father. Naturally, the people listening assume that He is claiming to be equal with God which was blasphemy.
John 5:18 NKJV
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
My point though, is that there is no subsequent argument about rabbinic rulings on carrying.
So again why tell the man to take his mat?
There are many suggestions. I will just suggest that Yeshua’s words are an act of mercy. After so many years a cripple the man’s mat was probably all he had. To leave without it probably meant the abandonment of all the man’s belongings. So Yeshua was being compassionate, He tended to provoke an argument via His actions but with this I don’t see it as an intentional affront to the Rabbinic rulings at the time. Their issues went beyond the carrying of a mat.
At any rate, the ‘Sabbath Confrontations’ (which is smarty pants phrase I just coined) continued on throughout the New Testament.
Our next notable example is in where Yeshua heals the blind man with spit and clay;
John 9:6–7 NKJV
When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.
The story continues and the blind man is questioned by the Pharisees;
John 9:14–16 NKJV
Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. Then the Pharisees also asked him again how he had received his sight. He said to them, “He put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and I see.” Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath.” Others said, “How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?” And there was a division among them.
One notable example is where he healed the bloke and told him to carry his mat.
The carrying of the mat prohibition, arguably draws on because the man was carrying wood on the Sabbath day.
What’s all this about then?
Was he mocking the Jewish customs of the day?
Well, again, the easy answer is not the right answer, or at least the ‘fully correct’ answer.
Arguably, no. That makes no sense.
It was most likely a mercy to not send the poor man away without his only belonging
The easy answer again pertains to Yeshua deliberately breaking rabbinic tradition to make a point. Now there is something to this and notably, the verse says ‘there was a division among them’.
It’s notable because the Talmud actually does address the issue of healing by applying a salve into someones eye on the Sabbath. The rules are a little bit fiddly. Basically, some sages forbid healing as a form of work altogether; other sages permit the healing, permit the application of a salve if necessary, but rule against the creation of a salve as work. As such, the division that the New Testament might have been alluding to is actually recorded for us in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 28b).
The issue also goes deeper in the pages of our rabbininic brothers. Some contended that the Sabbath, which is a picture of the millenial reign where there would be no work, should be reflected in the weekly Sabbath and all work prohibited. Other sages agreed with the concept but stated that there would be no sickness in the millenial reign and that therefore healing someone, even on the Sabbath, was in its own way a picture of the future millenial reign and it’s fulfillment.
Sometimes, when we read the New Testament, we fail to see the complexity and the arguments on Torah that Yeshua wade into. Healing on the sabbath, carrying on the sabbath, making a salve on the sabbath, whatever it is, was not Yeshua’s way of removing the Sabbath. There were sages that would have agreed with Yeshua’s healings, and those that would have agreed on the creation of a salve to heal a man’s eye. Therefore, Yeshua’s actions are to be understood as His interpretation and teaching on the Sabbath, not doing away with it.
I said the easy answer is not the right answer though. It’s not. It’s easy for people to say He made the salve to break rabbininc tradition but that’s not the point.
To understand, we need a little more context which we can get from . Yeshua says here;
John 8:16–19 NKJV
And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.” Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”
He continues to say;
John 8:34–42 NKJV
Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.
The issue I want you to see is the question of Yeshua’s paternity.
Yeshua claims to be a son of God i.e. ‘I speak what I have seen with my Father...’ and when the Pharisees allude to Yeshua’s suspicious birth He says ‘I proceeded forth and came from God...’ again, claiming to be a son of God.
So Yeshua’s ‘sonship’ as some might call it was the topic of dispute immediately before Yeshua heals the man with the spit.
Why is this important? Because ancient understanding is why.
In ancient thought and in ancient Jewish thought, the saliva of a legitimate first born son is said to have the power to heal. Sounds crazy I know, but it’s a thing. In a tractate from the Talmud the sages discuss how to identify the firstborn son in a dispute. One of the resolutions is in his spit;
I.4 A.Someone came before R. Hanina. He said to him, “I am certain that man is a firstborn.”
B.He said to him, “How do you know?”
C.“Because when people would come to his father, he would say to them, ‘Go to my son, Shikhat, for he is firstborn, and his spit heals.”
D.“But maybe he was firstborn of the mother, since the firstborn of the mother.”
E.“We have a tradition that as to the firstborn of the father, his spit heals, but the spit of the firstborn of the mother doesn’t heal.”

I.4 A. Someone came before R. Hanina. He said to him, “I am certain that man is a firstborn.”

B. He said to him, “How do you know?”

C. “Because when people would come to his father, he would say to them, ‘Go to my son, Shikhat, for he is firstborn, and his spit heals.”

D. “But maybe he was firstborn of the mother, since the firstborn of the mother.”

E. “We have a tradition that as to the firstborn of the father, his spit heals, but the spit of the firstborn of the mother doesn’t heal.”

John 5:18 NKJV
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God.
Rabbi Daniel from jewisheyes.org writes;
Y’shua chose to demonstrate that His saliva contained healing properties, presenting a “catch-22” to those who were His critics. According to the Sages, anyone whose saliva could heal in this way demonstrated by a supernatural revelation of G-d that He was the legitimate first born heir of His Father.
jewisheyes.org
Thus, Yeshua, using the ancient context to his advantage, communicated His sonship in a way that was supernatural and culturally difficult for the sages to refute. Yeshua is the firstborn of God; that is the point of the salve and the spit in the man’s eye.
There are many more ‘Sabbatth Confrontation’ and typically the main issue pertains to whether or not healing is permitted on the Sabbath. Yeshua sums up his argument in which states;
Luke 14:1–6 NKJV
Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, “Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?” And they could not answer Him regarding these things.
Yeshua passed judgement on the Sabbath here and elsewhere in Scripture. He teaches not that it is permitted to break the Sabbath, not that it is done away with, but that the weightier matters of the law matter. To do good, to heal on the Sabbath is permitted.
Would Yeshua have judged the man from with mercy and allowed him to live?
Simply answer this, did Yeshua uphold the law and show the world it’s true application? If the answer is yes, Yeshua upheld the law, then you have your answer for our man in who defiantly disobeyed God.
In they question his ‘sonship’ and there’s a lot of father son stuff
In he heals with the spit and makes the salve?
WHY THE SPIT JASON?
The usual reasons; i.e. to break jewish tradition; etc. etc. etc.
There was a disagreement over healing on the sabbath with regard to the millenial reign.
It’s ok to heal and stuff. QUOTE JESUS DINING WITH THE PHARISEE
BUT REALLY.
IT ESTABLISHES HIS SONSHIP.

Healing In The Wings

Whilst we’re on healing, and discussing some of the odder ways in which Yeshua healed, we’d be remiss to skip the lady with the flow of blood.
We read here;
Luke 8:43–44 NKJV
Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.
Mark 5:25–29 NKJV
Now a certain woman had a flow of blood for twelve years, and had suffered many things from many physicians. She had spent all that she had and was no better, but rather grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came behind Him in the crowd and touched His garment. For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.
This incident occurs in Capernaum and Yeshua, surrounded by the crowd, has His garment touched by a woman who is healed by this action.
This incident occurs in Capernaum and Yeshua, surrounded by the crowd, has His garment touched by a woman who is healed by this action.
What did she touch exactly? It says the ‘border’ of His garment. The border in greek is the word ‘kraspedon’.
It’s a fun word because coincidentally it’s the same word used for tzit tzit (I may have planned this) . You might have realised that kraspedon is a greek word. True, but it’s the Greek word used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew ‘tzit tzit’. Therefor, kraspedon equals tzit tzit.
In the Greek it says
We read about the tzit tzit here;
Numbers 15:38–40 NKJV
“Speak to the children of Israel: Tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue thread in the tassels of the corners. And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God.
The purpose given for the tzit tzit is clearly stipulated. To remember the commandments and to be holy. That Yeshua wore these says much about His commitment to Torah.
Noble Techelet
The colour of tzit tzit is ‘tekhelet’ from the Hebrew (the blue cord). Rather than a generic ‘blue’ however tekhelet is a reference to a specific form of dye. It might sound ridiculous, but tekhelet was sourced from a sort of sea snail and it required a large amount of snails in order to produce the dye.
This isn’t some obscure fact from history or Jewish tradition. The snail was well known in the ancient world and my Anchor Yale commentary sums some of the history up like this;
A great deal of information is available from Roman authors concerning the manufacture of this dye, and there is archaeological evidence at Ugarit, where the dye was extracted extensively in the Late Bronze Age (M. Eilat 1982; Burshtin 1988; Milgrom 1990: 410–414, 516). Tekēlet was exceedingly costly because it required enormous quantities of snails to produce even a gram of pure pigment. For this reason, tekēlet was reserved for royalty and for cultic vestments.
The snail was found along the Mediterranean coast and there are sites known for its production. As the Anchor Yale says, large quantities were required in order to produce a small amount of the dye. As such, and due to its cost, the colour blue was reserved for royalty.
That this is true is attested to in ancient literature and in ancient art. Take note, the fashion of the tzit tzit was not unique to Israel but it was wide spread in other cultures. That it was associated with royalty carried with it some implications. The hem of someone’s garment indicated someone’s status. The more important the person, the more elaborate the hem. Such was it’s importance that the hem itself was some form of extension of a person’s status and authority. In some cultures, if a man wanted to divorce his wife he would cut off her hem and other texts speak of priests casting spells over a hem in order to heal the person. In Mesopotamian contexts the hem served as a sort of signature where it looks like the hem would be touched to a document by the owner as a sign of consent.
These things greatly inform the incident with David and Saul in where David cuts the tzit tzit off of Saul’s garment. That didn’t just communicate how close Saul came to death, it demonstrated the pending change in authority and kinship over Israel.
Priestly Techelet
You may have noticed before in our quote from the Anchor Yale that it suggested the colour blue was also for ‘cultic vestments’. This just means that not only was blue (and the hem) associated with royalty but also by priests in the ancient world.
To stress again… and again…techelet and tzit tzit were worn by;
Royalty
Priests
Notably, they were not worn by anyone else. Therefore, the commandment to wear tzit tzit per se is not unique, but it is unique in that ALL of Israel was commanded to wear it. Yes, as the Torah says its a visual reminder to keep the commandments, but it’s a great honour and reflects the worth that YHWH places on every Israelite. Not only did He set us free, He set you free to be a nation of ‘kings and priests’ which is encapsulated in the tzit tzit commandment.
The High Priest
Speaking of the great worth God invested in us there’s another little tid bit with this I think you’ll like.
Now in the Ancient World, your average Jo wore a garment of linen. Linen could not be dyed whereas wool could be dyed a different colour. This fact was verified because we found tzit tzit in the Dead Sea caves and the blue cord which was dyed was made of wool. (They tested the blue by the way and confirmed that the dye came from the sea snail ‘murex trunculus’). The rest of the tzit tzit, which was white,was linen. So, we know that tzit tzit were made of a mixture of linen and wool.
If you’re unfamiliar with why that’s important, it’s because Israelites are forbidden from mixing linen and wool in their garments;
Deuteronomy 22:11 NKJV
“You shall not wear a garment of different sorts, such as wool and linen mixed together.
What’s fascinating, is not just the mixture in the tzit tzit, but that the High Priest’s garments, when you look at it closely, contained mixtures of linen and wool. So the prohibition of not mixing fabrics was for the Israelites whereas the High Priest was commanded to wear the sacred mixture. The prohibition then is regarding the distinction between laity and High Priest.
This contributes to the weight of the tzit tzit commandment. By using the combination of wool and linen in the tzit tzit, the ordinary Israelite, albeit in a small way, was wearing a priestly garment.
The tassle served as a reminder to each person of their royal and sacred status and it clearly communicated to the Ancient World the freedom and worth that the God of Israel placed in His people. They would have literally seen a nation of Kings and Priests walking about in the wilderness.
The tzit tzit then, was a manifestation of God’s words when He said;
Exodus 19:6 NKJV
And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
The Wing
The Wing
As such, it was quite expensive.
HE IS THE ONE WITH HEALING IN HIS WINGS.
Bayoom.
Arguably, no. That makes no sense.
It was most likely a mercy to not send the poor man away without his only belongings.
Take hold of Him. You will have true healing and true rest.
Yeshua stressed the need to be righteous on the sabbath. There are weightier matters.
Another example of Yeshua breaking the Sabbath
We will end with this.
The tassle was commanded to be worn on the ‘kafnei’ of the garment. It’s translated as corners but literally it says ‘wings’ of the garment. Scholars contend that wings is the more appropriate rendering as garments back in these days had scalloped hems and men often wore closed robs which lacked the clear 4 corners. It’s nice knowing that because many contend that you must wear a clear rectangle four cornered garment in order to fulfill the commandment. Rather, the 4 corners of your garment, whatever the shape, is fine to put your tzit tzit on. The practice of wearing a rectangle shawl is great however it did not exist in the time of Moses nor did it exist in the time of Yeshua. Depictions of Jewish Jesus are nice, but if you see Jesus wearing a prayer shawl then it is anachronistic. That practice developed later in history.
But the phrase for wings alludes to something much deeper.
But the phrase for wings alludes to something much deeper.
It’s used again by Malachi in a fascinating way;
Malachi 4:2 NKJV
But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves.
The word there for ‘wings’ is the same word for the ‘corners’ of your garment. Only here, the verse is a clear prophecy which speaks of Messiah and was understood in this way by the Jewish people. The ‘Sun of Righteousness’ was taken as a Messianic title.
So why did the woman with the flow of blood grab the wings of our Messiah? Because, ‘the Sun of Righteosness shall arise with healing in His wings’.
Hope you learnt something!
Jason HRM
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