Tag Archives: Numbers 30

Numbers 30-36: We want Messiah to give us rest from our dumb oaths and vows

“’Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, or by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, or by Jerusalem, for it is THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING. Nor shall you make an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.” (Matthew 5:33–37 NASB)

Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) emphasized that vows and oaths are not to be taken lightly. Why then did the Holy One of Israel give instructions about vows and oaths? Part of it is our distance from the original language and meanings of these words. Another part is we aren’t seeing the lessons from Heaven in these instructions, namely, that just as the LORD promises to give a land of rest to Israel, so too, should those who make promises be as faithful to them.

The dual Torah reading מטות Matot (“tribes,” Numbers 30–32) and  מסעי Massei/Mase’y (“journeys of,” Numbers 33–36) take us to the end of the 40 years of wandering judgment against the rebellious first generation post-Mitzraim (Egypt).

Continue reading Numbers 30-36: We want Messiah to give us rest from our dumb oaths and vows

Parashot Matot/Massei (מטות/מסעי): Numbers 30–36

“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.

Continue reading Parashot Matot/Massei (מטות/מסעי): Numbers 30–36

Numbers 30–36: ‘Be angry, and yet do not sin’

“And Moses said to them, ‘Have you spared all the women? Behold, these caused the sons of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the LORD in the matter of Peor, so the plague was among the congregation of the LORD. Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man intimately.’” (Numbers 31:15–17 NASB)

God killed 24,000 Israelite men for their debauchery with these women. These women were willing tools in Midian and Moab’s efforts to seduce the people of Israel into idolatry. This is why they were killed.

The men of Midian used their wives to seduce the Israelites. In the dual Torah readings מטות Matot and מסעי Massei, we learn that Midian did this under the belief that they had to conquer Israel for their own long-term survival, for the sake of their sons. Hence when God tells Israel to wipe out the men, wives and young boys, he is telling them to wipe out the people complicit in Israel’s idolatry and also the reason for which they excused their idolatry.

Continue reading Numbers 30–36: ‘Be angry, and yet do not sin’

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.

Continue reading Parashat Matot (מטות): 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.

Parallel passages: Deut. 23:21-23; Eccl. 5:1-7

Thought questions

  • How do these instruction on vows relate to the fact Adam sinned and Eve was deceived?
  • How do these instructions relate to our lives today?
  • Who are these vows to?
  • Does a widow or divorced person need permission from her father to remarry (see Num. 30:9)?
  • Is marriage different than a vow?
  • How is the relation between a man and wife as well as between a father and daughter?
  • Is Israel “married” to Messiah?
    • If so, how does that relationship work?
  • Why is Jerusalem called the “daughter of Zion”?
    • Who set up Zion?
  • Is the assembly of Israel to respond emotionally and rashly?
  • How should we approach our prayer life if we are like a bride or a daughter to God?
  • Do these instructions on vows relate to obedience of a wife or daughter or to blessings?
  • What lessons in mercy and commitment are there for husbands and fathers?

כל עולה kol ’olah (whole burnt) offerings and life today

  • What are the requirements for an עולה ’olah (burnt) offering?
    • no disfigurement
    • entirely burnt up
  • How does that relate to apostle Paul’s instruction to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1)?
  • What happens if you have sinned and are no longer “spotless” how can you present yourself as a “living sacrifice”? (Read 1st John 1:9.)
  • When we present ourselves, shouldn’t we ask whether our thoughts and words and actions are pure and true?