Studies in Torah

Parashat Shoftim (שפטים): Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9

Shadows of the prophet status and crucifixion of the Messiah appear in the Torah passage שֹׁפְטִים Shoftim (“judges,” Deut. 16:18–21:9). In a section of the Bible focused on codes of justice still used in modern society, there also is hope for the greatest mercy the world has ever seen, in Yeshua haMashiakh (Jesus the Christ).

The traditional complementary reading for Shoftim is Isa. 51:12–53:12.

Companion readings for Shoftim from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from (also has through-the-Bible readings for prophets and B’rit Chadashah) and First Fruits of Zion:

  • Mt. 26:47-27:10 (First Fruits of Zion)
  • Mt. 5:38-42, 18:15-20; Ac. 3:13-26; 7:35-53; 1Co. 5:9-13; 1Ti. 5:17-22; He. 10:28-31 (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
  • Mt. 3:1-17 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation)
  • Jn. 20:19-29 (Chayyei Yeshua Three-Year Besora Reading Cycle by Mark Kinze)

The following are recorded studies and notes on passages from Shoftim by Hallel Fellowship teachers Richard and Jeff:

Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9: Learn to judge life & death righteously & mercifully


Deuteronomy 16:18–21:9: Shadows of ‘the Prophet’ and death of the Messiah


Deuteronomy 15–16: God teaches complete freedom via cycles of seven

Seven shows up repeatedly in Scripture. It appears first with the seventh day of creation, threads through God’s cycles of appointments with mankind, and foreshadows the timing of Messiah Yeshua’s arrival as the Word become flesh and culminates with many of the symbols of the Day of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 17–18: A Prophet greater than Moses to come; ‘abomination’ defined; punishment for following other gods and a warning against doing that; choosing a king; Levite inheritance

Deuteronomy 17 covers the type of animals to be given for sacrifice, what to do with a person who is worshiping another god and when and how they will chose a king. Deuteronomy 18 explores Levites and their inheritance, a reminder to the children of Israel that they are not allowed to “learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations” and a foretelling of a Prophet will come who is even more powerful than Moses.

Deuteronomy 18 — Revealing the Creator via a prophet like Moshe

Richard Agee discusses one of the most precious promises of the Torah, found in Deuteronomy 18. A prophet like Moses — Messiah — would come and reveal God in a more intimate way. However, we must not seek divine knowledge by other means — divination.

Deuteronomy 19–20 — foundations of modern jurisprudence & lessons on the military draft

Richard Agee explores the foundations for modern criminal law, which is found in the Torah: malice aforethought, compensatory damages, perjury, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Also, the army of ancient Israel was not to be manned by a draft.

Deuteronomy 19–20: Cities of refuge; malicious witnesses; how to clean up the Land; genocide of the original inhabitants?

Laws on the cities of refuge discouraged vigilantism and encouraged respect for the legal system to decide guilt or innocence. There was a serious penalty against “malicious witnesses” in criminal cases. God gave rules for the war to clean the Land, including discharge from service for the distracted and annihilation of certain existing peoples.

Deuteronomy 21: Cursed is He hung on a tree; blessed are we for mercy long foreseen

Richard Agee explores the connection between Messiah Yeshua’s (Jesus) being hung on a tree, the cross, and the command here to hang cursed, executed criminals on a tree and execution of a rebellious son. Also discussed is God’s handling of “cold” murder cases.

Deuteronomy 21: Shadows of Messiah in the laws for unsolved murder, firstborn of ‘unloved’ wives, punishment for ‘rebellious’ sons

Many believers in Yeshua dismiss this chapter and similar ones as “just a list of rules” and assume they have no relevance to the modern times. Yet there is foreshadowing of the Messiah in the laws for cities to atone for the “stain” of unsolved murder, inheritance for the firstborn of “unloved” wives and capital punishment for “rebellious” sons.



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