Studies in Torah

Parashat Matot (מטות): Numbers 30–32

“As God is my witness, I will do that.” Such words can roll off our tongues easily, but we can forget that One is witnessing such a vow and watching to see whether we respect the Creator enough to follow through. That’s why Moshe (Moses), Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ) and His apostle Ya’akob (James) warned us against dragging the LORD in to co-sign on our promises.

Yisrael’s promise to remain faithful to the One Who delivered the people out of bondage in Mitsraim (Egypt) eroded under the temptation of a flesh-friendly religion. So a former ally of 40 years ago became an existential enemy and had to be defeated. The wisdom of being very careful in making promises and seeking the strength to keep them is the subtext of the Torah reading מטות Matot (“tribes”), covering Numbers 30–32.

The traditional companion passage (haftarah) for Matot is Jer. 1:1–2:3.

The following are Bible study recordings and notes from Hallel Fellowship teacher Richard.

Parashah: Numbers 30–32

Numbers 30: Daughter of Zion and the Father’s prerogative

Asking for a father’s permission to marry his daughter is viewed as comically anachronistic today. Likewise, these instructions for a father’s ability to annul a daughter’s vow seem a relic of yesteryear. Yet God teaches through object lessons, and what’s being communicated here is far more important than a surface impression.

Numbers 31: Israel battles Midian after prurient sneak attack

The call for Israel to attack Midian, located on the southwestern coast of modern-day Saudi Arabia, comes after Midian’s plot to send in women to lure Israel away from the LORD. That, in turn, came because the LORD wouldn’t allow Bilam (Balaam) to curse Israel.

Numbers 32–33: Reuben and Gad linger east of Jordan; remembering the Exodus

We may be tempted to give up when the end of our jobs, our relationships or lives are looming. Yet Moshe embodies apostle Paul’s encouragement to “fight the good fight” and “run the race” with all we have until we reach our goal or it’s time to pass the baton to the next person. Moshe encouraged the tribes of Reuben and Gad to pitch in to the hard settlement of Canaan, even when their new home was secured.


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