“Treat Your servant according to Your kindness, and teach me Your statutes (Torah)! I am Your servant, grant me understanding, so that I may know Your testimonies (Torah)!” Psalm 119:124-125
In a society in which everyone is clamoring about doing what they want to do in their pursuit of entertainment, wealth, fame, success, etc, the concept of submission is increasingly lost and becoming a foreign concept. When rebellion, debauchery and immorality are embraced in the name of tolerance and compassion, what ends up happening to that society? It ends up lost and falling into bondage and will in its fullness end up destroying itself; cause and effect, no two ways around it, just the way HaShem set things up. Then we wonder why American society is collapsing into bondage more everyday?
This weeks Torah portion, Mishpatim (Shemot 21:1-24:18), is a very long portion as HaShem begins to lay out the terms of the Marriage Contract. What is interesting is He begins with discussing the topic of a Bondservant. This is very important and something not to gloss over because once more we will see HaShem is teaching us something very applicable to each of us today, but also a prophetic picture as well!
We know HaShem is unchanging and reveals the end from the beginning but He also reveals Himself in His established patterns. For example, in the Temple of HaShem, the number 13 is the number associated with His Temple! There were 13 chests to collect the Shekalim each year, 13 tables to complete the preparations for the korbonot, 13 prostrations during the Temple Services and 13 veils in the Temple with four in the Sanctuary alone with two that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. Is it then a coincidence that the adversary has corrupted this number and made it associated with evil, horror, wickedness, etc i.e. Friday the 13th? Why did he chose Friday? Shabbat begins at sundown on a sixth day of the week i.e. Friday! Keep this concept in mind because we will discuss more later.
I will warn you up front, this Op could very likely end up being the longest one yet, simply because there is SO much to discuss! But before we jump into this, never forget the following unchanging, eternal characteristics of HaShem:
- HaShem never changes per Num 23:19/Mal 3:6/Hebrews 13:8/James 1:17
- His Word is firmly established per Psalm 119:89
- He reveals the end out of the beginning per Is 46:10
- He does nothing without first revealing it to His prophets per Amos 3:7
- He says there is nothing new under the sun per Ecclesiastes 1:9
- He says His Torah is the ONLY truth there is per Psalms 119:142
- He says His Torah is a tree of life and eternal per Proverbs 3:18-19 and Psalm 119:160
- He says His Torah is perfect and restores the soul per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah makes the simple one wise per Psalm 19:7
- He says His Torah Is freedom and liberty per Psalm 119:45 and James 1:25
- He says His Torah is the only good doctrine there is Proverbs 4:2
- He says His Torah will add length of days and years of life and peace per Proverbs 3:2
- He says all of the ways of His Torah are ways of pleasantness and peace per Proverbs 3:17
- He says His Torah is for our good and well-being per Deuteronomy 6:24
- He says His Torah is health for our lives per Proverbs 3:8
- He says His Torah is life to our soul and a graceful ornament for our neck per Prov 3:22
- He says His Torah is better than pearls and all desires cannot compare to it per Prov 8:11
- He says those who walk with His Torah are praiseworthy per Psalms 119:1
- He says observing His Torah is how we purify our path per Psalms 119:9
- He says His Torah is better than thousands in gold and silver per Psalms 119:72
- He says His Torah brings abundant peace to those who love Him and His Torah per Psalms 119:165
- He says there is one Torah for all per Exodus 12:49/Leviticus 24:22
- He says those who hate His Torah love death per Proverbs 8:36
- He says His Torah is the way of faith per Psalms 119:29-30
- He says His Torah makes us wiser than our enemies per Psalms 119:98
- He says His Torah is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path per Psalms 119:105
- He says one who finds His Torah has found life per Proverbs 8:35
- He says one who finds His Torah has found favor from HaShem per Proverbs 8:35
HaShem likens each of us as ‘Lost sheep’ who go astray. David describes it very well when he says the following in Psalms 119:176 says “I have strayed like a lost sheep, seek out Your servant, for I have not forgotten Your commandments.” The commentary on this verse states: “If a sheep is lost for a long time the chances of finding it are very slim, because the shepherd gives up hope and the sheep has FORGOTTEN THE VOICE AND DISTINCTIVE CALLS OF ITS MASTER. Moreover, once the sheep has grown accustomed to its freedom, it shuns human authority. However, in the case of a recently lost sheep, the odds are good that it will be found. The shepherd still has hope of finding it and presses his search, and the sheep still yearns for the security of its master and protection, whose voice and calls it still recognizes. Similarly, David said: ‘HaShem, even if I have gone astray, I am like a lost sheep only recently lost. I have NOT forgotten Your voice nor Your commandments. I yearn to have You as my Master and Protector. Therefore, do not give up on me! Seek me out!” This is interesting because Yeshua Himself says He came ONLY for the lost sheep of the House of Israel per Matthew 15:24! How do we not become a lost sheep? We strive to always recognize and listen to the voice and distinctive calls of our Master, HaShem, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Israel!
Shemot (Exodus) 21:2 says “If you buy a Hebrew servant (Bondservant), he shall work for six years; and in the seventh year he shall go free.” This verse seems very harsh, is HaShem actually endorsing slavery and oppression? There are two reasons for a person to become a Bondservant per the Torah as listed in the Book of the Mitzavot #42 which says “A Jewish man could become an ‘Eved Ivri’ (Hebrew Bondservant) in one of two situations:
- If one stole and did not have enough money to pay back what he stole, he could, in certain circumstances be sold by the Beit Din (Sanhedrin/Court) as a bondservant, with the proceeds of the sale being used to repay his theft.
- If one’s financial situation was so desperate that he did not have enough money to buy food and had nothing left to sell, he could sell himself as a bondservant.”
Can you see the connection with this concept and our state with our sin? We are in debt because of our sin and are in a position completely unable to pay for our debt i.e. our sin in our own strength and resources. Keep this in mind as we progress!
Consider also the prophetic connection in this verse in Shemot which says “He (the bondservant) shall work for six years and in the seventh year he shall go free!” Is there another pattern here HaShem is revealing? Work six days and on the seventh day rest on the Shabbat? How about humanity works for 6,000 years and on the last thousand years i.e. the seventh day, we rest in Him on His Shabbat? Remember, He says a thousand years is as one day! Further, the Torah commentary strongly cites the bondservant works for six years but at the BEGINNING of the seventh year he is to be set free! Very important prophetically, in my opinion! Again, keep this in mind!
What is the underlying purpose of this Mitzvah? “Among the underlying purpose of this mitzvah is that HaShem desired that His nation, Israel, Whom He chose from among the other peoples of the world, should be a holy nation, replete and crowned with all good and exalted qualities, as the Heavenly blessing will rest upon them. Kindness and mercy are among the finest qualities that a person can attain in the world; therefore He enjoined us through this mitzvah to have mercy upon one who is under our authority, such as the Hebrew bondservant, and to bestow upon him kindness in accordance with the laws written in this Torah passage regarding the servant.” So, in reality the concept of a bondservant is based in compassion, kindness and mercy!
From the Book of the Mitzvot it further states the following “Ramban, in his commentary to the Torah, introduces additional concepts relating to the specific details of this mitzvah, which constitute basic principles of our faith. He explains that showing mercy to a servant and releasing them from bondage serves as a reminder of our enslavement in Egypt and subsequent redemption by HaShem. Additionally, discharging a slave at the beginning of the seventh year, after six years of service, parallels the Shabbat, where we rest on the seventh day after working the previous six. Like the mitzvah of resting on the Shabbat, this mitzvah serves as a testimony that HaShem created the world in six days and rested on the seventh.”
This again reinforces the significance of HaShem’s weekly Shabbat!! Further, it reinforces that the Jesus of Replacement Theology Christendom could not have done away with nor changed Shabbat to Sunday or any ole day of the week that works out of convenience! It is an utter impossibility! I digress!
Let me deviate here for a little bit as this next part is relevant to this Op. There is a Psalm which is recited/sung for each day of the week when the Temple was standing in Jerusalem. They are the following per Tractate Tamid 7.4 from the Mishnah:
- Sunday = Ps 24 – This Psalm corresponds to the First Millennium of creation, before the Flood
- Monday = Ps 48 – This Psalm corresponds to the Second Millennium when HaShem chose Mount Moriah, the place of His Temple in Jerusalem to be His Footstool on earth
- Tuesday = Ps 82 – This Psalm corresponds to the Third Millennium when HaShem revealed Himself to Israel and gave them His Torah
- Wednesday = Ps 94 – This Psalm corresponds to the Fourth Millennium when both Temples stood and were destroyed and will elicit HaShem’s vengeance
- Thursday = Ps 81 – This Psalm corresponds to the Fifth Millennium when there was no sacrificial service, because the Temples were destroyed, but we continued to serve HaShem by singing aloud
- Friday = Ps 93 – This Psalm corresponds to the Sixth Millennium in which HaShem will re-establish His rule on earth with the coming of His Messiah
- Shabbat = Ps 92 – This Psalm corresponds to the Seventh Millennium, the future to come, there will be life in the world with the resurrection of the dead!
Consider Psalm 92, the Shabbat Day Psalm, which is sung each Shabbat in the Temple by the Kohanim, which says “A song with musical accompaniment for the Shabbat day. It is good to give thanks to HaShem, and to sing to Your Name, O Most High. To declare in the morning Your kindness and Your faith at night. Upon a ten stringed harp and upon a psaltery, with speech upon a harp. For Your have made me happy, O Master, with Your work; with the work of Your hands I shall exult. How great are Your works, O Master! Your thoughts are very deep. A boorish man does not know; neither does a fool understand this. When the wicked flourish like grass, and all workers of violence blossom, only to be be destroyed to eternity. But You remain on high forever, O Master. For behold Your enemies, O Master, for behold Your enemies will perish; all workers of violence will scatter. But You have raised my horn like that of a wild ox; to soak me with fresh oil. My eye has gazed upon those who stare at me with envy; when evildoers rise up against me, my ears hears them. The righteous one flourishes like the palm; as a cedar in Lebanon he grows. Planted in the House of the Master (His Temple), in the courtyards of our Elohim they will flourish. They will yet grow in old age; fat and fresh will they be. To declare that the Master is upright, my Rock in Whom there is no injustice.” Baruch HaShem! What is very important to remember is Psalm 92 is recited each Shabbat because it deals with the World to Come, which will be entirely Shabbat from that point forward! May it be very soon in our days!
How does this tie into the concept of a Bondservant you ask? There is great hope in being a bondservant of HaShem! He is a good, kind, compassionate Master to work for! He is our Shield, our Protector, our Hightower, our Provider and ultimately He is our Redeemer for He is the One Who sent His Agent i.e. Yeshua to redeem Israel i.e. the Lost Sheep and as such, when we accept His Marriage Proposal and choose to enter the covenant willingly, we in effect, sell ourselves and become His Bondservants!
It is very interesting in that in Shemot 21:5 when discussing what to do if a Bondservant refuses to go into his freedom at the beginning of the seventh year “But if the servant shall say, ‘I love my master; my wife and my children, I shall NOT go free!'” So, we have a bondservant who loves his master because his master has treated him well, who wishes to continue serving his master, how is this handled in the Torah? HaShem says in verse 6 “Then his master shall bring him to the Sanhedrin and shall bring to the door or to the doorpost, and his master shall bore through his ear with the awl, and he (the bondservant) shall serve his master forever.”
Why does the master bring the bondservant to the Sanhedrin and bore an awl through his ear to the doorpost? The commentary on this verse says “It is because his ear heard HaShem say at Sinai, ‘For unto Me the Children of Israel are bondservants (Vayikra – Leviticus 25:55)’. This means that Bnei Yisrarel are supposed to be servants of HaShem ONLY, not servants of other servants. When this person decided to continue working as a bondservant, his ear is pierced because he did not observe what his ear heard at Sinai.” The point being made is, we are to be enslaved to HaShem ONLY, no one else! This is not what HaShem desires for His people i.e. enslavement to other men. We are to be bondservants to HaShem only and then we will have true freedom!
Vayikra (Leviticus) 25:55 says “For the Children of Israel are servants (Bondservants) to Me, they are My servants, whom I have taken out of the land of Egypt, I am HaShem, your Elohim!” HaShem is reinforcing, we as His people are NOT to be slaves to any other human, because every human, whether they know it or not, are servants of HaShem and as an Israelite we are to recognize we are enslaved, per se, to HaShem alone!
Further, why does the ear have to be bored through at the doorpost? Per Tractate Kiddushin 22b from the Talmud Bavli it states “When HaShem took Bnei Yisrael out of slavery in Egypt, He told them to place the blood of the Pesach korbonot on the lintel on the top of their doors, and on their doorposts. HaShem passed over their doors and killed only the firstborn Egyptians. The door and the doorposts were witnesses to this miracle of HaShem taking Bnei Yisrael from slavery to freedom. Therefore, this person who does not want to leave slavery has his ear pierced through at the door and doorposts.” HaShem is showing the contrast, blood on the door and doorposts in the Exodus from Egypt to freedom, or blood on the door and doorposts if one wishes to remain in slavery, something HaShem does NOT desire or wish!
HaShem desires we all will willfully come to Him and desire to serve Him out of love, devotion and loyalty, not because of some religious rote or because someone forces us too, but simply because HaShem is good, kind, compassionate and because we desire to bring honor and esteem to His Great Name for He is deserving of it!
In Shemot 24:7-8 it says “He (Moshe) took the Book of the Covenant (Torah) and read it in earshot of the people, and they said, ‘Everything that HaShem has spoken, we will do and we will hear!’ Moshe took the blood and threw (Sprinkled) it upon the people and he said, ‘Behold the blood of the covenant that HaShem sealed with you concerning all these matters.'” Point is, it is here that Israel formally accepts HaShem’s Marriage Proposal and enters willfully into the covenant with HaShem! This is the exact same covenant Yeshua renews and restores as the Agent of HaShem, when He came the first time and was was executed and was resurrected by HaShem on the third day!
Further, to reinforce the point that if we have willfully accepted the terms of the Marriage Proposal HaShem offered to Israel, i.e. the Torah, then regardless of a person’s ethnicity, makes that person a Jew. They are no longer gentiles i.e. idolaters but are Jews. Tractate Yevamot 46b from the Talmud Bavli discusses this that members of the Covenant are “Jews”. I know this could be very inflammatory. Something to ponder on anyways.
It is interesting, to further this point, Tractate Kiddushin 17b from the Talmud Bavli says “By Torah law a gentile inherits the property of his father. By contrast, by Torah law a convert does NOT inherit the property of his gentile father or any other gentile, as once he converts he is considered a new person with no ties to his previous family.” Why is this significant? Because, the definition of a gentile is an idolater, one who worships false gods. Again, if one worships HaShem, the Elohim of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Elohim of Israel and has entered into the covenant, that person is no longer a gentile but a Jew!
Now consider, as we discussed earlier the patterns HaShem establishes. In Shemot 24:15-18 says “Moshe ascended the mountain (Mount Sinai), and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of HaShem rested upon Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for a SIX DAY period. He called to Moshe on the SEVENTH DAY from the midst of the cloud. The appearance of the glory of HaShem was like a consuming fire on the mountaintop before the eyes of the Children of Israel. Moshe arrived in the midst of the cloud and ascended the mountain; and Moshe was on the mountain for forty days and forty nights.” Again we see six days period passes by and on the seventh day, HaShem appears!! Nothing new under the sun!!
Now, thus far, there are those who would declare that I am saying one has to keep the Torah in order to obtain salvation in HaShem. This would be flatly wrong! First one believes in what HaShem has promised and that He is Who He says He is, THEN that person adopts the Torah, striving, learning and applying what they are learning to their own lives as the EVIDENCE of faith in HaShem. We see this time and again in His Word, first with Abraham who first believed, it was accounted to him as righteousness and then he began to walk in the Torah of HaShem. Nothing has changed.
Paul addresses this many times, especially in his letter to the Galatians, who were being hassled by groups of folks that taught non-Jews had to first convert and be Torah observant BEFORE they could enter the covenant. In other words they were teaching people had to keep the Torah in order to merit salvation, which is something HaShem never once says.
Galatians 4:21-31 discusses this topic and Paul, was addressing this issue with the Galatians as a very well learned Pharisee. On a side note, Paul never once stopped being a Pharisee (Acts 23:6), again destroys Replacement Theology’s depiction of the man that he was anti-Torah, nothing could be further from the truth. I digress.
I have a very good book by Steve Salter entitled ‘Galatians: Law and Grace Companions in Redemption. On page 99 of this book, Steve says when discussing Galatians 4:21-31 when Paul compares the two sons of Abraham, one by the bondwoman and the other by a freewoman (Ishmael and Isaac). “Paul begins this argument by stating, again, the reason for the letter, ‘Tell me, you who desire to be under the Torah, do you not hear the Torah?’ The article in the Greek is missing before the word Torah. This implies that the Galatians had not yet completely embraced the idea of observing the Torah for redemption, but were well on their way. If they desired so much to observe the Torah for their redemption, then Paul basically says, ‘here’s some food for thought concerning the Torah, from the Torah itself.'”
“This was a rabbinic tactic, and the flavor here is all rabbinics. Considering that Paul was raised under Gamaliel, and that he was son of a Pharisee, and still a practicing Pharisee himself, it should follow, and be no surprise, that he would use this type of argument to further illustrate his point. For Paul, or any of the writers of the New Testament, to use rabbinics was completely natural for them, and for us to understand what they were saying, we must understand this point and study Scriptures from this perspective or we will ultimately come to the wrong conclusion.”
“Isaac, here will be symbolic of the children of promise, whereas Ishmael, will be symbolic of those who attempt to obtain redemption by their own merit.” Steve goes on and says “All who believe are children of faith, or promise, and those who place their redemption on their performance, or works, are children of deeds, and are opposed to faith. Those who oppose faith alone for redemption always have, and always will, persecute those who believe in the promise of redemption by faith alone. This is NOT an argument for Grave vs Torah, it is an argument for faith vs works. Grace and Torah MUST coexist, they compliment one another. There is no need for grace without Torah.” What is the point Steve is reinforcing? Faith without works (Torah) is dead! Faith MUST have the Torah in order to qualify as faith in the eyes of HaShem! If a person relies on their performance of Torah to merit redemption, they will be sorely disappointed, but if one first believes in HaShem and then adopts the Torah as his statement of faith, then that person will receive the blessings of HaShem. Can we keep Torah perfectly? Sadly, no we cannot, but that does not in any means justify tossing Torah into the dust bin of history, on the contrary, we get up, dust ourselves off when we fail, and keep moving forward in faith!
David says it best in Psalms 119:44-48 “So shall I keep Your Torah continually, forever and ever. And I will walk at LIBERTY, for I seek Your precepts. I will speak of Your testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed. And I will delight myself in Your commandments, which I love. My hands also will lift up to Your commandments, which I love, and I will mediate on Your statutes.”
Now consider what James says in James 1:25 “But he who looks into the perfect Torah of LIBERTY and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the Torah, this one will be blessed in what he does.” Steve Salter says in his book on page 105 “The liberty that Paul was referring to was the same liberty David and James referred to in their writings, and this liberty can only be found in the Torah. It is the liberty to live without the yoke of sin around our necks to drag us down into the pits of hell without hope. The Torah gives liberty, liberty to live our lives with a definite set of rules that tell us what is right and what is wrong.”
This all said, do we want to be a bondservant of HaShem and walk in His Torah which is His definition of true freedom and liberty, or do we want to listen to Replacement Theology Christendom and how it defines bondage to be the very source of our liberty and freedom?
I willfully, happily, eagerly choose to be a bondservant of HaShem and willfully accept the terms of the Covenant, the Marriage Proposal, as the means to walk in service unto Him; knowing my redemption is secured by faith, not by my performance; which is exemplified by His Agent He sent, Messiah Yeshua, Who restored and renewed the broken covenant!
I firmly believe those six days of work are very rapidly coming to a close because at the BEGINNING of the seventh day is when we are to be released into freedom! May it be very soon in our days!
- Galatians: Law and Grace Companions in Redemption by Steve Salter
- Tractate Kiddusin from the Steinsaltz Talmud Bavli
- The Book of the Mitzvos by Artscroll
- Tehillim (Psalms) by Artscroll
- The Book of Psalms by Judaica Press
- Tractate Tamid from the Mishnah by Kehati
- The Milstein Edition of the Chumash by Artscroll