((Here are pages 124-161; and further corrections. mjm.))
(From Synopsis of the Bible Old Testament by J. N. Darby. French & English. 1857-1862.1882.)
Genesis: Introduction: Genesis has a character of its own; and, as the beginning of the Holy Book, presents to us all the great elementary principles which find their development in the history of the relationships of God with man, which is recorded in the following books. The germ of each of these principles will be found here, unless we except the law. There was however a law given to Adam in his innocence; and Hagar, we know, prefigures at least Sinai. There is scarce anything afterwards accomplished of which the expression is not found in this book in one form or another. There is found also in it, though the sad history of man’s fall be there, a freshness in the relationship of men with God, which is scarce met with afterwards in men accustomed to abuse it and to live in a society full of itself. But whether it be the creation, man and his fall, sin, the power of Satan, the promises, the call of God, His judgment of the world, redemption, the covenants, the separation of the people of God, their condition of strangers on the earth, the resurrection, the establishment of Israel in the land of Canaan, the blessing of the nations, the seed of promise, the exaltation of a rejected Lord to the throne of the world, all are found here in fact or in figure —in figure, now that we have the key, even the church itself.
Chapter 1: Creation with man as head: God’s work and God’s rest. God’s revelation given as to man’s relationship with Him. God as Creator of the material universe. Out of chaos and darkness the earth prepared and furnished. Light and order out of darkness and confusion. The prepared creation, proof of God’s life-giving power. Man formed a living soul in immediate connection with God. Man’s creation distinct from all else. God’s rest.
Chapter 2: Man’s relationship with God: the special manner of his creation. In chapter 2 we have man’s relationship with God, and his own portion as such. Hence the LORD * God is introduced: not merely God as a creator, but God in relationship with those He has created. Hence we have the special manner of man’s creation. * That is Jehovah Elohim, a personal name as well as Godhead. It was important too that Israel should know that their God was the original Creator of all. Still it is only used when special ways and connection with man are introduced. The distinction of Jehovistic and Elohistic documents is the merest child’s play, and flows from entire ignorance of the ways and mind of God. There is always a reason for one or the other. Elohim is simply God; Jehovah is the acting governing person in time though self-existing, who abides ever the same and having to do with others, who is, and was, and is to come. The Garden of Eden. The two trees: man’s responsibility in obedience and a sovereign source of life. Man in contrast with every other creature. Man by his derivation of life in immediate relationship with God. Adam’s relationship with God, his wife, and the inferior creation. Adam’s blessing secured by dependence on and intercourse with God. The position of the first and innocent Adam.
Chapter 3-4: Man’s fall: disobedience and failure. * He made fig leaves to cover his nakedness as to human shame, but when God came in he was as naked as ever. ‘I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, and went and hid myself, for I was naked.’ The fig leaves were man’s covering. God clothed them with skins which were had through death. Man trusts Satan rather than God. Contrasts between the first Adam and the Second. Death, and life through an accomplished work. The way of the tree of life was henceforth inaccessible to man *, according to nature, as the creature of God. There is no return to the paradise of man in innocence. Adam, already in sin and far from God, is the parent of a race in the same condition as himself **. *The cherubim I believe always to represent judicial government and power. ** Whatever Eve’s own condition as believing promise, what she says at the birth of Cain was the expression of the thought that the fulfilment of promise was in nature, which could not be. Sin was there and death, and the judgment of the hope of promise connected with nature come in. “I have gotten a man from Jehovah” was faith in promise, but expectation of the accomplishment of promise in nature. And Cain had to go out from the presence of Jehovah.
Chapter 4: The separation of the families of God and of the enemy: Cain and Abel. Sin and its present consequences. Cain is cursed from the earth in this very position, and a fugitive and a vagabond; but he will be as happy there as he can, and frustrate God’s judgment as far as he can, and settle himself in comfort in the earth as his, where God had made him a vagabond *; and that is the world. Here it is first pictured in its true character. * Nod is “vagabond.” God had made him Nod; and he settles himself, calls “the land after his own name,” or at least his son’s name, as an inheritance, and embellishes his city with arts and the delights of music —a remarkable picture.
Man’s state and sin apart from God. Lamech. Summary of chapters 2, 3, 4: Seth, the heir of God’s counsel. We have also the man of grace (Abel, type of Christ and of them that are His) rejected, and left without heritage here below; man, his enemy, judged and abandoned to himself; and another (Seth) the object of the counsels of God, who becomes heir of the world on the part of God. We must remember however that they are only figures of these things, and that in the antitype the Man who is heir of all is the same as He who has been put to death.
Chapter 5-50: The family of God on the earth: Enoch and Noah. The result of apostasy: man’s ruin ending in judgment; The way of salvation through the judgment. The History of the New Earth; Government in the hand of man; A beginning on new principles. The history of the world after the Deluge; The history of our present world in its great principles, and original sources; The world set out by families; Japheth; Ham; Shem; Man seeking a centre for himself; God’s history beginning in Shem; Universal idolatry; A new system: Abraham called and chosen by grace; Abraham the father of the faithful, the head of the accepted race of God on the earth; God introduces us into His own thoughts. A new order of events; The call to separate; The world and its prince, and Abram the root of the tree of promise; A new principle to rule; Abram called out by the manifestation of the glory of God; A second revelation of the Lord for communion and worship; Abram’s lack of faith. Abram and Lot; Abram’s own proper portion and the result of Lot’s choice; The manifestation of Melchisedec; The final triumph of the Lord and the family of faith over the world; The victory of faith. Detailed instruction as to the earthly seed and the land given; Earthly hopes and God’s purposes: unconditional promise as to Israel and the land; The inheritance assured to Abraham’s seed by unconditional covenant; Summary of man’s state and God’s ways with him in it. The covenant of the law in Hagar; Order of chapters 12 to 16; Sarah’s fleshly attempt to secure the promise, and its failure. God’s new revelation of Himself by name; unfolding of God’s purposes with the world; Circumcision, expressive of death, and free sovereign promise of the Seed; God gives names to Abram, Sarai and Isaac. The Seed of promise, the Heir of the world, and the present object of hope; Abraham’s visitors; the rebuke of unbelief; Communion and intercession; the patience and perfectness of judgment with God. Judgment; Lot delivered by providential power, but passes through the tribulation. Chapters 20 and 21; Unbelief working: God’s preservation of Sarah; The heir of promise born and the heir of the bondwoman cast out; Abraham’s title in the world. Chapters 22 to 24 (The heir of the promise is sacrificed and raised again in figure, and the promise is confirmed to the seed*. * This distinct confirmation to (not in) the seed, is what the apostle refers to as the one seed, that is Christ. The general promises as to Israel were of a seed as the stars of heaven for number. This is the confirmation to the one seed, when risen, of the promise given in chapter 12.). The election of God sets apart His earthly people, shown in Jacob; Summary of chapters 22-25: The sacrifice and resurrection of Christ shown in Isaac; The promise of the blessing of the families of the earth confined to one Seed, Isaac; Sarah disappears to make way for Rebecca, the church in figure; The work of the Holy Ghost; Abraham’s finished course; Isaac heir of all; Esau and Jacob: their character and spring of conduct. God’s new revelation to Isaac; Issac’s personal walk as to faith; Esau’s ways and thoughts governed by present enjoyment. Jacob as heir of the promises he values, but uses evil means to secure (Jacob’s history now begins*. * In general, Abraham is the root of all promise and the picture of the life of faith: Isaac, of the heavenly man, who receives the church; and Jacob, of Israel, heir of the promises according to the flesh.). Jacob’s wanderings, a picture of Israel watched over but an outcast. Jacob’s two wives —the Gentiles (Rachel) and Israel (Leah); The deceiver deceived, but preserved according to God’s promise; The dealings of God with a soul who does not walk with Him. The apostate world in power; the heirs of promise as pilgrims on the earth (The apostate world establishes itself in power, while the heirs of promise are still poor pilgrims up on the earth. This last is a distinct point of revelation.). Repentance and humiliation bring blessing through the once-rejected One; Joseph revealed to his brethren in glory and grace; God’s children and the world; Israel blessed in grace in connection with a risen Saviour (One cannot fail to see in the history of Joseph one of the most remarkable types of the Lord Jesus, and that, in many details of the ways of God in regard to the Jews and Gentiles. * This is the subject of Romans 11: 28-33. In verse 31 read “even so have these not now believed in your mercy that they also might be objects of mercy.” They had forfeited the promises, and take them now on no higher ground than a Gentile; that is, pure mercy.). Joseph as heir in Canaan; The pledge of Israel’s re-establishment in the land; God’s patience with evil; The difference between the prophetic blessings of Jacob and Moses; The moral character and failure of Israel, and the purposes of God; Salvation will come with the true Joseph; Deliverance and blessing through Christ as once separated and now the heavenly glorified Man (….but salvation from Jehovah Elohim. Thereon deliverance and blessing for Israel; and finally (what we have already seen as the double character of Christ —separated from His brethren*, and then glorified) Joseph and Benjamin present Him to us as the heavenly glorified Man to whom all is entrusted, and the all-conquering Lord on the earth. * Joseph is so characterized in Deuteronomy also.); Israel’s past and future history in Jacob’s prophetic blessing; The fear of God shown in Joseph the true basis of power and blessing.
(We will return to Darby’s Synopsis from time to time in our reflections.)
(From the earlier Bible Reflections. I was tempted to add additional examples from the ANE Texts but decided against it. What is here given adequately gives us details enough of the age of the patriarchs and the life and times of the Bible characters from Noah to Abraham to Moses. mjm.)
(I will depend on the Ancient Near East, edited by J.B. Prichard; vol. 1, an Anthology of Texts and Pictures, relating to the Old Testament, © 1950, 1953 and 1954 by Princeton University Press in two volumes; abridged in 1958, and 6th reprint in 1973, which I am consulting. I also compare with Rogers’ works on Babylonia and Clay’s books on Babel as they relate to the Old Testament Pentateuch; and of course the others as Jastrow, Sayce, Delitzsch, Budge, Lutz, Smith, and many others, as well as the newer works and institutions and societies.)
The age from Noah to Abraham, as we reflected on in Genesis, developed in the nations along with many other things, ways of managing people in various social context in various cultural idiosyncrasies, one after this or that manner. Certain nations developed into kingdoms and empires, and certain customs and traditions became more universal in the progression of civilization; these were considered in Genesis in the dispensation of the Sons of Noah concerning the Gentiles or the Nations. In the time of Abraham the spread of the Mesopotamian power and culture spread to Canaan, reaching the Egyptian Empire, reemerging again, spreading north into Canaan between the Great Sea and Jordan River, as it had southward following the Nile River into Africa or the Land of Cush. Compared to much later times, thousands of years later, these kingdoms and empires were simple and primitive. Abraham encountered local or regional pharaohs and kings, from Ur of the Chaldees or Babylonians, to Hebron of the Canaanites to Egypt. We read of his encounter with Amraphel King of Shinar, of King Arioch of Ellasar, King Chedorlaomer of Elam, and King Tidal of Goiim or Nations; these were confederated in alliance against the kingdoms of Canaan and south Dead Sea, after these Canaan kingdoms rebelled and refused their rule or subjugation as tributary to the Mesopotamians. We see by this the interactions and national progress of this period and locale of the ancient world concerning which the Bible takes notice. Therefore it is fitting to cite or garnish from some of the remains that are now in our possessions which compares and relates with the Sacred Text; since it was only several hundred years ago, from the Renaissance and Reformation to the Modern Age of Reason and Criticism, that these Biblical generations and stories were denied and treated as fiction.
Pre-Hammurabic Codes and Laws: The Sumerian and Accadian literature in the translated cuneiform texts have given us a long lists of legal codes indicative of human behavior and interactions. The religious associations in polytheism and idolatry permeated all the ancient laws from Noah to Abraham but was slowly disconnecting from a theistic or polytheistic moral basis, and gradually moving towards a philosophical morals and ethics of human living. The legal precepts came about as man had need or desire to govern or be governed by known and established authoritative laws and rules. So the words of the gods and idols gave way to that of the kings and lords of the nations.
Such we find in abundance of texts. But we may give an example of laws and legal codes and rules in Mesopotamia in the Laws of Eshnunna translated by Goetze in Pritchard’s work, vol. 1, the Legal Texts; excavated near Baghdad, Iraq, and found in the Pre-Hammurabi layers: it lists standards for crop prices; rate of monetary exchanges; wages for hired help or vehicles and vessels; of wagons and boats; fines for loss of properties; penalty for commercial crimes; relations between employers and employees; relations and rules for slaves and masters; marriages and dowries or bridal-fees or deposits or pledges; loans and credits, payments and interests; debts and compensations; female slaves and woman’s status; homes and lands; rape and fornication; adultery and death-penalty; contracts and deeds; captivity and freedom; children and family; thefts and restitution; crime and punishment; injuries or wrongs and retaliation and vengeance; poverty and wealth; receiving and keeping of stolen goods; Eshnunna’s rights and authority; temple-slaves and prostitutes; deaths by river and water and impalement; of oxen and donkeys and dogs; of polygamy and spousal neglect; and other such things. In all the Laws of Eshnunna come to some 100, about a third of the Laws of Hammurabi, and about 1/6th of Moses.))
((From: Light on the Old Testament from Babel; by Albert Tobias Clay, Ph.D., 1866-1925. Philadelphia, Sunday School Times Company; (Assistant Professor of Semitic Philology and Archaeology; and Assistant Curator of the Babylonian Section, Department of Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania.)
Why is there such an intelligent interest displayed in these days in Oriental excavations? Why are such immense funds expended, and such sacrificing efforts put forth, in digging up the ruin-hills of the past to find perchance the remains of a wall, an inscribed object, or a potsherd? Why does archaeology, or the study of the material remains of ancient times, possess a charm for so many? And why do people delight in having opened up vistas of the past through the discoveries of what is left of bygone civilizations?
A desire to have more knowledge concerning biblical matters has been responsible, in most instances, for the work of opening up the mounds which cover the remains of ancient activities. It was felt that the Babylonians, Assyrians, Egyptians, and other nations, having thrived in the days of Israel, and having come into close relation with the Hebrews, should have left that which would throw light upon the Old Testament. Broader questions, such as the interdependence of national ideas and customs, were scarcely thought of. The question uppermost in importance was whether points of contact could be found, and the Bible verified; and every scholar who has worked upon material from which there was a possibility that such revelations might come forth, has longingly searched for the desired data. And when we glance over the trophies gained by sacrifice, industry, patience, and skill, we must exclaim: What a change has been wrought within a few decades by the explorer, the excavator, the archeologist, and the philologist!
Not many years ago little was known of extra-biblical history of the age prior to the days of Greece and Rome. The conception of these times was largely based upon the Old Testament and the uncertain myths and legends which have been preserved by the Greeks and Romans. These furnished all the knowledge which we possessed of the early history of man. But now we have original sources. The resurrection of ancient cities, and the decipherment and interpretation of that which has been unearthed, has enabled us not only to reconstruct ancient history, as well as the background for the Old Testament, but to illustrate, elucidate, substantiate, and corroborate many of the narratives of the early Scriptures. This, in truth, is one of the greatest achievements of the last century.
The right interpretation of the Old Testament, of course, is the greatest service rendered by the monuments, but the average Bible student has regarded the confirmation of the Scriptures as being, perhaps, of greater importance. Corroborative evidence of a contemporaneous character has been in the highest degree welcome, especially because of the declarations made by the skeptic or by the destructive critic. Immense results in this line have been achieved. Episodes which have been affirmed to belong wholly to the realm of fiction, or which have been regarded as mythical or legendary in character, are now proved to be historical, beyond doubt. Many theories, even those put forth by careful and conservative students have been modified, and many supposed inconsistencies have been satisfactorily explained. Some theories growing out of alleged results achieved by certain scholars, being no longer tenable because of their ephemeral character, have completely disappeared. In short, while some scholars have endeavored to show portions of the Old Testament wholly fictitious, many of their theories, by the help of archeology and philology, can now be shown to be wholly fallacious. On the other hand, there has been much grasping after verifications by some which, in many cases, have turned out to be illusory; and as a result, their supposed confirmations, having been popularized and widely circulated, have done more harm than good.
There is scarcely a period of Old Testament history that has not received some light through these researches. It is as though additional chronicles of the kings of Israel and Judah have been found. The bare outlines of ancient history preserved in the Old Testament are clothed in such a way as to offer pictures realistic in the extreme. Episodes, passages, words, receive new meanings. Acquaintance with the religious institutions of the nations with whom Israel came in contact has offered a better understanding of Israel’s religion; and incidentally many questions, as, for example, their besetting sin—proneness to idolatry—receive new light. In short, the study of the life and customs of these foreign peoples shows certain influences that were felt in Israel; and with this increased knowledge we naturally gain a more intelligent understanding of the Old Testament.
While these researches have caused many difficulties to vanish, the fact must not be lost sight of that they have given rise to new problems. While, also, much contemporary evidence has been produced which corroborates the historical character of portions of the Old Testament, certain discoveries have given a totally different conception of other portions, forcing us to lay aside a number of antiquated views, and to reconstruct our ideas on many important questions. Old interpretations which have been copied or revised by a succession of commentators, and have been handed down from century to century, disappear; and that which approaches nearer to the truth becomes known. This increased light is, of course, heartily welcomed by the biblical student, and is regarded as being of inestimable value, as it makes possible a better understanding of the Scriptures.
Perhaps the most fascinating feature of the results gained through these studies is the retrospective glances afforded into the early doings of man. While we are disappointed in not being able to reach still nearer the primitive beginnings, our knowledge of the history of man has been projected backward several thousand years and is attended by many surprises. We find that cultured peoples antedated Israel by millenniums; and that instead of Abraham’s descendants belonging to the dawn of history, they lived in the late pre-Christian period. Instead of Israel being an all-powerful nation of antiquity, we find that, with the exception of the time in the days of David and Solomon when the borders of the nation were temporarily extended, it scarcely can be classed with such world-conquering powers as Babylonia, Assyria, Egypt, Persia, and other nations. Yet, while Israel politically is not to be compared with some of her illustrious neighbors, intellectually and spiritually the nation is found to stand in a unique position.
Another important result is the new historical geography which has been reconstructed, with its thousands of additional data. Hundreds of important points have been located definitely, whose provenience previously could only be surmised, or for which no reasonable position could be assigned. As a result, the number of places and rivers in the Old Testament concerning which nothing is known at the present time is comparatively small. By our knowledge of the nations surrounding Israel, its historical setting is worked out in a remarkable way. The improved perspective for many of the episodes gives them a totally different aspect. Peoples of whom we have had little or no knowledge are again introduced into the galaxy of nations. We become familiar with their language, their religious institutions, their local habitations, their conquests, and even their every-day life. Personalities loom up among their leaders which appear to be equal in greatness with those familiar to us in modern history.
One of the most important results obtained is the knowledge that Israel enjoyed—in common with other peoples—certain social, political, and religious institutions, as well as rites and customs. This knowledge, at first thought, is disturbing to some, especially when told that that which has been regarded as peculiarly Hebraic in character had its origin in antiquity. To cite a single example, circumcision was practiced long before the patriarchs. Professor W. Max Muller has recently ascertained that the Egyptians circumcised at least 2500 B. C
After some reflection, this truth, instead of causing apprehension, enables us to understand how it was possible for the leaders of Israel to influence the people. It is impossible to imagine how unheard-of rites and ceremonies could have been introduced in Israel, even though one divinely sent advocated their practice. With some, also, it cannot be inferred that the leaders directly borrowed these rites and customs from their contemporaries, especially in view of the injunction they received: “After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do; neither shall ye walk in their statutes” (Lev. 18:3). The people were required to shun the practices of these peoples; but what shall be said concerning such customs, manners, and traditions that for centuries during the patriarchal period had gradually crept into the Hebrew life and remained with it? By making use of customs with which they were acquainted, and giving them a significance that conveyed the truth which the leaders desired Israel to have, the success attending their practice is comprehensible. This becomes clearer when we take into consideration the intellectual status of the people, and the fact that, as far as we know, there were no efforts put forth to elevate them prior to the leadership of Moses.
Chapters: The Great Antiquity Of Man; The Babylonian Creation Story; The Babylonian Deluge Story; The Tower Of Babel and The Babylonian Temple; The Fourteenth Chapter of Genesis; Babylonian Life in The Days Of Abraham; Code Of Hammurabi; Moses and Hammurabi; The Name Jahweh In Cuneiform Literature; The Amarna Letters; Babylonian Temple Records of The Second Millennium Before Christ; The Assyrian Historical Inscriptions; The Neo-Babylonian Historical Inscriptions; Babylonian Life in The Days Of Ezra and Nehemiah; With a List of (many) Illustrations.).
((Clay concludes Chapter VII as follows, and then writes Chapters 8 and 9 of which we are concerned.))
From Ur, Abram with his father proceeded to Harran, which was about 560 miles to the northwest of the city. It is situated along the banks of the Belias, a tributary of the Euphrates. The name Harran means “road” (hharranu) in Assyrian, doubtless having derived its name from being on the high-road between Syria and the Mesopotamia valley. Harran was affiliated with Ur, in so far that the tutelary deities of both cities were the same. If Terah, whom we imagine was a devotee of the god Sin, from the passage in Joshua (24:2), and because his house had been in Ur, it is not at all improbable that, feeling at home in Harran after leaving Ur, he refused to proceed further. This suggestion has been offered as a reason why Abram tarried with Terah in that city before he completed his journey to Canaan. In the past it has been customary to draw freely from what is known as the contract literature to portray the every-day life that pulsated in the streets of ancient Babylonian cities. The discovery of the Code of Hammurabi, however, gives us in a systematic form much important information concerning the family, state, and other subjects that enables us to get even a clearer idea than heretofore of life in the age of Abraham.
Chapter VIII: Code of Hammurabi (Hhammurapi):
At the close of the year 1901 and the beginning of 1902, M. de Morgan, the French archeologist, who had been excavating for the past years, for his government, at the acropolis of Susa, (or “Shushan the palace,” as it is referred to in the book of Esther), discovered the now famous Code of Hammurabi. It is the longest cuneiform inscription known, and perhaps the most important monument of antiquity thus far discovered in the history of excavations. It was found in three large fragments, which were readily joined together. It is cut out of a block of diorite, and stands seven feet, four inches high. At the base it is about twenty-two inches wide, and at the top just above the bas-relief it is about sixteen inches. On the uppermost part of this enormous block of stone, Hammurabi had himself depicted in bas-relief, standing before the sun-god, Shamash, who is seated on a throne. The god wears a swathed head-gear, which is adorned with horns and a flounced garment. In his hand are a staff or scepter and a ring, emblematic perhaps of authority and eternity. Rays emanate from behind his shoulder. In reverent obedience, Hammurabi stands before the god with his right hand near his face, perhaps to emphasize the fact that he is listening. His left hand is resting against his body at the waist, an attitude quite similar to his position in a relief upon a brick in the British Museum. He wears upon his head a cap with fillet, well known from the early Sumerian heads of statues found at Telloh and Nippur (see page …). He is clothed in a long tunic, which lies in folds; it is hemmed in at the waist. Like the gods, he wears what we know as the artificially-plaited Assyrian beard. Beneath the bas-relief are sixteen parallel columns running belt-wise, beneath which five additional lines had been erased, and the stone polished. On the reverse there are twenty-eight parallel columns, containing in all about four thousand lines of a closely-written cuneiform inscription. It is possible that some king may have desired to alter certain laws; but more probable that the invader, who had carried away the stele, desired to inscribe upon it an account of its recovery from the Babylonians. It is quite probable that the stone discovered is one of many copies set up in different centers of Hammurabi’s great empire. A fragment of another stele, containing a portion of the epilogue, was also found by de Morgan at Susa. The closing lines of the complete stele seem to show that it had been set up in Ebarra, the temple of Shamash, in Sippara. Another expression in the inscription seems to indicate that a similar stele stood near the statue of the god Marduk in his temple Esagila in Babylon. This, doubtless, was the original, as Babylon was the capital, and the others which were deposited in the different cities were copies.
Several fragments of tablets, now in the British Museum, which had been written for Ashurbanipal (668-626 B.C.), and which were called “The judgment of the righteousness which Hammurabi the great king set up,” indicate that his scribes had copied somewhere these laws. In Babylonia also a series was known by: Ninu-ilum-sirum, “when the lofty Anu, ” which are the opening words of the code. Fragments of these having been published by Professor Peiser before the discovery of the stele, Professor Delitzsch inferred the existence of the code, and even styled it the “Code of Hammurabi.” By the assistance of these copies, attempts have been made to restore some of the erased portions of the code. This stele was carried to Elam by some conqueror of Babylonia. In the vicinity of the place of discovery another stele, which recorded a victory by Naram-Sin, was found. A part of its inscription was also erased, and recut by Sutruk-Nankhundi (about 1200 B.C), who says that he secured this stele at Sippara, and dedicated it to his god Shushinak at Susa. De Morgan also found a large number of Babylonian boundary-stones belonging to the Cassite period. These facts point to an invasion by the Elamites at the close of the Cassite dynasty, and make it probable that Sutruk-Nankhundi had also carried away the stele of Hammurabi. The inscription is divided into a prologue, code, and an epilogue. In the prologue, Hammurabi gives his titles, mentions the gods he worshiped, enumerates the cities over which he ruled, and in general magnifies himself by referring to the beneficent deeds which he conferred upon his people and country. Including the number of laws erased, which are estimated at about thirty-five, the code has about two hundred and eighty-two paragraphs of laws.
Contrary to the conclusions arrived at by other scholars; Professor Lyon of Harvard has shown that Hammurabi has arranged his laws in a definite and logical system. He says: “In the skillful arrangement of its material, the code has never been excelled, and it has probably never been approached.” (“The Structure of the Hammurabi Code, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. XXV, p. 254.”) On some subjects but one law is given, while upon others as many as thirty. The following brief outline will afford an idea of the subject-matter treated: Witchcraft, witnesses, judges; concerning offenses involving the purity of justice, as tampering with witnesses, jury, or judge; crimes of various sorts, as theft, receiving stolen goods, kidnapping, fugitive slaves, burglary; duties of public officers in their administration; laws relating to landlords, tenants, creditors, debtors; canal and water rights, licenses, messengers, herdsmen, gardeners, slander, family relationship, marriage, divorce, desertion, breach of promise, adultery, unchastity, concubinage; rights of women, purchase money of brides, inheritance, adoption, responsibility for all kinds of assaults; fees of surgeons, branding of slaves, fees and responsibilities of builders and boatmen, hiring of boats; agricultural life, the purchase and punishment of slaves who repudiate their master, etc.
In the epilogue, Hammurabi recounts his noble deeds, and credits himself with faithfulness in administration and loyalty to the interest of the people. He charges that every ruler shall observe the laws and commandments after him. He pronounces a blessing upon those who will faithfully administer the laws; and in long-drawn-out curses, he calls upon the gods of Babylonia to destroy those who neglect and annul them, or who alter the inscription.
There is no definite information as regards the origin of the code, but many things point to the fact that earlier collections of laws were utilized by the codifier. The legal phraseology employed, the existence of the early Sumerian family laws, the fact that some of the same laws were quoted in the contract tablets of an earlier period, all point to the existence of a code or codes prior to Hammurabi. The fact should be taken into consideration that the greatest confusion must have existed in Babylonia prior to the conquest of Hammurabi because of the many petty independent states. Also Elam, having dominated a portion of the land for a long period with Rim-Sin (Arioch), the king’s son, stationed at Larsa, must have influenced greatly the courts of justice and their decisions in that section of the country. The codification of laws under such conditions, or the promulgation of old but accepted judicial decisions, —sentences of judgment, as Hammurabi himself regarded them, —was surely a task of no mean proportions. The study of the code reveals the same peculiar mixtures of laws suitable for different states of society as is found in the Old Testament. In short, the code doubtless amalgamated the diverse elements of the small states, which had been handed down by the former inhabitants of the valley, the Sumerian as well as the Semitic. In the establishment of his mighty empire, which held together for centuries, this unification of laws, dispensed in regular courts of justice, doubtless was one of the most important factors in overcoming the great confusion that must have existed.
The code recognizes three grades in society: First, the amelu, ((Here I must add a note from T.J. Meek in Pritchard’s Texts of the ANE, on this often used word, which appears to be used as in the Scripture’s use of adam or man: “awelum seems to be used in at least [three] senses: (1) sometimes to indicate a man of the highest class, a noble; (2) sometimes a free man of any class, high or low; and (3) occasionally a man of any class, from king to slave. I follow the ambiguity of the original and use the rather general “seignior” as employed in Italian and Spanish, to indicate any free man of standing.” [I add that in reading and understanding the word identifies and defines a man in general, apart from the social relations or rank or class; our sir or mister, as the Seignor or senor, senior, only waters down the idea of a class once called lord and master.]) And which included the aristocrat, the gentleman, the free citizen, the professional man, the officer, (and) the tradesman. Secondly, the mushkenu, who was, as the term implies, the poor man, or pleb, the man of a lower rank; the freedman who had been a slave was also included. His temple offerings could be less. His fines were lower, but at the same time, in case of injury, the damages he received were also less than those of the gentry. Thirdly, the ardu, or the slave. There seem to have been a great many slaves in Babylonia at that time. Besides recognizing these three grades, the code legislated also for certain classes of men and women, professions, trades, and occupations.
It has been the custom with most peoples in a large part of the ancient as well as the modern Orient, including the Hebrews, to base a betrothal upon an agreement of the man or his parents to pay a sum of money to the father of the girl. In Babylonia this was called terfaatu, “bride money.” This, together with the gift of the husband and her dowry, formed the marriage-portion which was given to the bride. It would hardly be right to call the money which was paid the price of the bride, as the transaction was primarily for prudential purposes. It gave her protection against ill treatment and infidelity on the part of her husband, as well as divorce. She perhaps could not get this protection in a better way. For while her husband may have made use of her money: if she returned to her father’s house, she took it with her, unless she was the offending party. This made the position of woman higher than it would have been otherwise. If she died childless, her dowry was returned to her family. If she had children, the marriage portion was divided among them. In case the father of the girl rejected her suitor, double the amount of his terfaatu was returned. If the suitor broke his engagement, the girl’s father retained the terfaatu. If he had been slandered by a rival, the latter could not marry the woman. It seems that the betrothal took place when the parties were young; and the engagements were usually made by the parents. If the father died before all the sons were married, prior to the distribution of the estate, the terfaatu for those not having wives was first deducted.
In the marriage contracts, which were necessary to make the marriage legal, it is not unusual to find conditions,—such as the bride being required to wait upon her mother-in-law, or even upon another wife; or certain conditions relative to the disposition of property given by her father; or in case the man broke his agreement and took a second wife, that she could secure a divorce.
Concubinage was indulged in, especially where the first wife was childless, and she had not given her husband a slave-maid, in order that he might have children. The concubine could not place herself on equality with the wife, although she was a free woman, and lived in the same house. If she became insolent she could be reduced to slavery, but could not be sold if she had borne children. After the man’s death, she had the usufruct [legal-usage] of house and garden to raise her children. When they came into possession of their inheritance, she received a child’s portion, after which she could again marry. If the man recognized the concubine’s children as his own, at his death his estate was equally shared by the children of both, with preference, however, of choice to the wife’s children. If he had not recognized them as his own, they received nothing, but gained their freedom.
The wife received, at her husband’s death, her marriage portion and anything deeded to her by her husband during life. If he had not made her a gift, she received a son’s share. At her death, what she possessed was divided among her children. After her husband’s death, the children could not force her to leave her home; but, if she desired to marry again, she could take along her marriage portion. At her death, this was shared by the children from both marriages. A widow with young children could only marry with the consent of the judge. An inventory was made of the former husband’s property, which was then entrusted to the couple for the children. Not a utensil could be sold. The buyer of an article lost it, and the price paid for it.
According to the Sumerian laws, which are frequently found quoted in the contracts of this age, a man could divorce his wife by paying her one half-mina. These laws doubtless belonged to an earlier age. The code provided that if a man divorced a wife, whether a concubine or votary, if she had borne him children, her marriage-portion was to be given to her, besides the necessaries of life, to bring up her children. After they were grown up, they were compelled to give the mother a son’s share. She was then free to marry again. In case she had not borne children, she received back her dowry including the bride-price. In case there was no bride-price, she received one mina of silver if the man belonged to the gentry; but if a commoner, one-third of a mina. A woman who had lived properly could divorce her husband who had been faithless, in which case she returned to her father’s house with her dowry. In the case of a worthless woman, the code provides for her divorce without any provision. The husband could marry again, and degrade her as a slave. If she had been unfaithful, she could be drowned. Disease offered no grounds for divorce. The man, however, could marry a second wife, but was compelled to maintain, in his home, his invalid wife as long as she lived. If she preferred to return to her father’s house, her dowry was returned to her.
The code legislated concerning desertion. If a man was taken captive in war, having provided for his wife’s maintenance during his absence, and she entered another man’s house, she was condemned to death as an adulteress. If he had not provided for her, and she had borne the other man children, on the return of her husband she was compelled to return to him, but the children remained with their father. If the desertion was voluntary, and he had not provided for his wife, on his return he could not reclaim her.
The father, while he had no control over the life and death of his child, could treat him as a chattel, and pledge for a debt. In four years the child became free. For disobedience, in the old Sumerian law, a father could brand a son and sell him as a slave; or, according to the code, his hands could be cut off. If the father desired to favor one of his children, this could only be done while he was living, and by contract. After the father’s death, the law of inheritance fixed the child’s share. To cut off a child from sonship, it was necessary to make charges of wrong-doing before a judge. Only after the second offense, and for a serious misdemeanor, could he be disinherited. If an adopted child of a votary or palace favorite repudiated his foster parents, his tongue should be cut out; and if he ran away, his eyes were to be put out, for his ingratitude.
A number of the laws refer to the adoption of children. A great many adoption contracts belonging to this time are known. If a child that had been adopted discovered its parents, and desired to return to them, this could be done, provided a handicraft had not been taught, nor he had been considered a son, or had not been adopted by one belonging to the court. If a man desired to disinherit a foster-child, he could do so by paying it one third of a child’s share. A great many contracts show that children were adopted by aged people that they might care for them in their old age.
A great many laws in the code bear upon slavery; considered in connection with the many contracts and documents dealing with slaves, these give very satisfactory knowledge concerning this class of social beings. The slave was treated like a piece of property. He could be sold or pledged. If he received injury at the hands of another, compensation for the same was paid to the owner. For insolence he could be branded, or tattooed; but his master could not put him to death. If agreeable to his master, he could engage in business and acquire wealth. With this he could buy his freedom. He could marry, and live in a house of his own, by his master’s consent. If he married a slave girl, the law permitted the owner to regard his children and property as his own. If he married a free woman, the master had no claim upon the children or property. At the slave’s death, the property was divided between the wife and himself. Her children were free. A slave could become a concubine. At the death of her master, she gained her freedom. The law of adoption enabled him to adopt their children, when they could become his heirs. In case he had no other children, these would have first choice in the distribution of his property. As Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, the Babylonian wife could give a slave girl to her husband for wife. The woman, however, retained the right to punish her in case of insolence. If she had not borne children, she could sell her as a slave. If she had borne children, the wife could not send her away, but could put a slave mark upon her, and reckon her with the slaves. The story of Hagar was in strict accord with Babylonian custom, except the sending of her away.
Provision was made also with reference to disease when a slave was sold. In case the buyer detected any weakness or disease within a month after the purchase, the owner could be compelled to redeem the slave. In the case of a runaway slave, the captor was compelled to return him to his master, when he received two shekels. The death penalty was the punishment for the captor who retained or harbored the slave. A great many of the slaves were the captives of military expeditions, and, for a certain period, certain obligations were due the state on the part of those who received them. Freemen could also be enslaved to settle unsatisfied obligations.
The code makes us familiar with a class of votaries. They were, however, altogether different from the prostitutes dedicated to the goddess Ishtar at Erech. Some seem to have been women of means, and were highly respected. Their vow included virginity. They lived in a convent, or bride-chamber. On taking the vow, they usually received a dowry, as the bride of the god. It was possible for them to leave the convent and marry, but they must remain virgins. If her husband insisted upon having children, she was required to give him a maid, in which case he could not take a concubine. If she refused, he could take one; but she could not rank on the same equality with the votary. In case the concubine bore children, and placed herself on equality with the votary, the latter could brand her, and reckon her as a slave. If she had not borne children, she could be sold for insolence. If the votary broke her vow, and bore children, she had no legal right to their possession. They could be adopted by others.
Votaries seemed to have engaged in business relations with others. They were, however, not permitted, on pain of death by burning, to keep a beer shop or even enter one. At a father’s death, the votary was entitled to one-third of a son’s share. Her estate could be managed by her brothers, but in case dissatisfaction arose she could appoint a steward to look after her affairs. In the event of her death, her property reverted to her brothers. If the father had made a deed of gift, she could dispose of it as she desired. There was a class of votaries dedicated to the god Marduk, at Babylon, who enjoyed the privilege of disposing of their property at death as they saw fit. It seems the wine shops were usually kept by women, for whom the code had especial legislation. The measure for drink was to be the same as for corn. In case she overcharged her customers, they could throw her into the water. If she did not inform the authorities in case she overheard treasonable conspiracy in her shop, the penalty was death.
For surgery and the practice of medicine, there was special legislation. If the physician cured a broken limb, or healed a diseased bowel, his fee from the gentry was fixed at five shekels; from the commoner, three; and from the master of the slave treated, two. As in later periods, magic and medicine were doubtless intimately connected with each other. Decoctions of various kinds were employed in connection with the repertory of incantations and exorcism. Whether the aid of one who possessed priestly functions to conduct this part was necessary, is not known. In order to discourage the surgeon from making rash operations, and overcharging his patients, severe penalties were fixed in case of unsuccessful operations; and for successful ones the fees were regulated. For an operation upon the upper class, the surgeon received ten shekels; the lower class, five; and a slave, two. If the patient died, the surgeon’s hands were cut off. In the case of a slave, he had to replace him with one of equal value. If the eye of a slave was lost, the owner received half the price of the slave. The veterinary surgeon was already recognized as being in a distinct class. If his operations were successful, his fee was one-sixth of a shekel. If the animal died, he was compelled to pay one-sixth of the value.
Similar legislation was enacted for builders. For a completed house, he was paid at the rate of two shekels per sar of house. The punishment for his bad workmanship, in case the house fell down, was the death penalty if the owner was killed. If a son of the owner was killed, one of his own sons was put to death. A slave had to be replaced by another and the loss of goods he had to make good. Further, he was compelled to rebuild the house at his own expense. The boat-builder was paid at the rate of two shekels, per gur in the boat. His work was guaranteed for one year. In case it did not prove trustworthy, and the boat suffered injury, he was compelled to repair it, or replace it. If a man hired a boat, and it was lost or injured, he had to make good the loss. If the owner hired a boatman, his wages were fixed at six gur per year. If the boat suffered injury through his carelessness, he made good the loss. If the ship grounded, and he refloated it, he had to pay the owner one-half its price. If a boat was sunk at anchor by another, the owner made an affidavit regarding his loss, which was refunded by the one who had done the damage.
The office of judge seems to have occupied a position relatively the same as in these days. His pronounced decision, however, was to be irrevocable. In case he altered it, he was to pay twelvefold the penalty of the judgment, and be publicly expelled from his seat. Thereafter he could not even sit with the judges at a trial. A defendant in a serious case was granted six months if necessary to produce his witnesses. Tampering with witnesses was penalized heavily. If the witnesses testified falsely, and the judgment involved the death penalty, he was killed. The oath figured prominently in the code, and in the contracts that have been deciphered. Considerable importance in this age was attached to it in the purgation of charges, and claims for injury. It seems to have been administered at particular places, e.g., at the Shasharti of Shamash in Sippara, or before the sculptured dragon on the door of the temple of Marduk at Babylon. The gods invoked in the oath were the patron deities of the city; at Sippara, for example, Shamash, Ai, and Marduk were invoked; at Nippur, Bel, Ninib, and Nusku. In many of the documents, the name of the king was invoked with the gods. It usually follows the names of the gods. The decision was generally drawn up by the scribe, who gave the names of the witnesses and the judge. These documents usually contain the seal impressions of some of the witnesses and the judge. If the decision in a criminal case was unfavorable to the prosecutor, and it involved the death penalty, he himself was killed. For a false accusation of slander, he was branded, and generally he was required to pay the penalty that would have been exacted from the accused if he had been successful in gaining the suit.
The death penalty seems to have been inflicted for a great many offenses; at least the code requires it as the punishment. But whether the judges generally inflicted the extreme penalty, cannot be ascertained. Considering that the judges had legislative power, the code could not be regarded as much more severe than some codes of the Christian era. It was inflicted for witchcraft, bearing false witness in a capital trial, housebreaking, highway robbery, adultery, neglect of duties on the part of certain officers, criminal negligence on the part of a builder, permitting conspiracy in a beer shop, for theft at a fire, for desertion on the part of a woman, for kidnapping a child, and harboring a runaway slave. In many cases the kind of death is not stated; but in others it is. Drowning is mentioned for a woman caught in adultery, unless her husband appeals to the king in her behalf; impalement for a woman who had her husband killed for the sake of another; burning for incest with his mother or stepmother after the father’s death.
Corporal mutilation or punishment was freely indulged in. The lex talionis, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, the cutting off the hand for striking a father, or for unlawful surgery; the branding of the slave on the forehead of an individual for slandering a votary, are mentioned in the code. On the death of a child, the wet-nurse’s breasts were cut off if it was learned that she had suckled another child at the same time. For grossly assaulting a superior, scourging was the penalty. Sixty lashes with an ox-hide whip were publicly administered. If the offender was a slave, he had his ear cut off. For an assault upon an equal the penalty was one mina of silver; if upon a plebeian, one half-mina. If a man struck a free woman who was pregnant, resulting in a miscarriage, he was compelled to pay ten shekels; if he assaulted a daughter of a plebeian, five shekels; and if a man’s maid, two. If the woman died, and she was a free woman, his own daughter was killed; but if a plebeian, one half-mina of silver; and if a maid, one-third. If the slave brander removed the marks of a slave without the owner’s consent, his hands were cut off. If a man had deceived the brander concerning the slave, he was put to death; the brander, on swearing that he did not do it knowingly, was permitted to go free.
A man could give his wife, son, daughter, or slave to work off a debt; but in the fourth year, he or she could gain freedom. A creditor could sell a slave he held as a pledge, providing, if it was a female, that she had not borne children for her master; in which case it devolved upon him to redeem her. If while in service a free-born hostage died from ill treatment, the creditor’s son was put to death. If a man contracted a debt before marriage, the creditor could not take his wife for it. The same applied to the woman’s debts before marriage. After their marriage, together they were responsible for debts contracted.
In the code the duties of those having the use of government lands is clearly defined. There are a great many laws relating to farming, the hire of laborers, oxen, cows, wagons, and the regulation of hire and wages, the grazing of flocks, the renting and cultivation of fields, and of damages through carelessness.
The every-day life of the Babylonian in Abraham’s day can be understood in no better way at the present time, than by a careful study of the Hammurabi Code as well as the legal documents of that period. (For the text, transliteration, translation in English, glossary and sign list of the Hammurabi Code, see Professor R. F. Harper’s excellent publication, The Code of Hammurabi.) To the biblical student the study of the code is especially interesting as it throws light upon customs among the patriarchs, for example on Abraham seeking a wife for his son (Gen. 24:4), the possession of Machpelah Cave being placed on a legal basis (Gen. 23:14-20), or Rachel giving her handmaid Bilhah to Jacob for wife (Gen. 30:1-4) as well as the story of Hagar (Gen. 16:1, 2).
‘In his “Babylonian and Assyrian Laws, Contracts and Letters,” the Rev. C. H. W. John of Cambridge discusses at length the contracts and letters of this period which have been published by Strassmaier, Meissner, Pinches, King and others, as well as give a complete translation of the Code of Hammurabi. Recently two volumes by Drs. Frederick and Ranke on the Contract literature of this age appeared. The latter is in the series, Babylonian Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania, Vol. VI., and Part 1. It will be followed by Part 2, by Dr. Arno Poeble. An immense literature on the code has sprung into existence since its discovery. It was first translated and published by Father Scheil. Translations by Doctors Winckler, Johns, Pinches, and R. F. Harper followed. As there remains much that is obscure in the code, for years to come it will form the basis of studies on the part of scholars.
Chapter IX: Moses and Hammurabi
Some scholars have indulged in extravagant statements with reference to the possibility of a code of laws having been promulgated as early as Moses. Such questions will no longer be raised, but another, now uppermost in the minds of some scholars, is, whether the Mosaic code is dependent upon the Hammurabi. It seems reasonable to assume that the Israelitish Code is based on precedent, the same as the Babylonian, but exactly what indebtedness there is due to the Babylonian, if any, or to general Semitic law, will be a question long debated by investigators. Inasmuch, however, as Abraham’s ancestral home was in Babylonia, and as Hammurabi was suzerain over Amurru (which included Palestine), it would be quite natural to suppose that the latter established his laws in that land as well as in Babylonia; in which case, later Palestinian laws would probably show such influence. But nothing is known at the present which proves that this was done.
Laws in the two codes have been pointed out as being strictly parallel. Others treat of the same subjects, having penalties which are quite similar. Besides, the study of one code throws light upon the other. In consideration of these facts it is natural and reasonable to suppose that Israel’s code owes some indebtedness to the Babylonian. If such should eventually be proved to be true it would in no wise detract from the Israelitish code. But contrary to what has been declared, this does not seem to be the case. The spirit underlying the Oriental lex talionis, which has existed in that region for millenniums, and prevails even at the present day, is in both codes. Also certain laws arising from common customs, peculiar to that entire district, might be pointed out. But beyond these the similarities can reasonably be explained as coincidences which are due to the existence of similar conditions. For the sake of comparison, some of those which are strikingly similar or are parallel in the Hammurabi and Mosaic laws follow: [7, 8, 14, 21, 57, 117, 125, 127, 155, 157, 195-200, 206, 209, 245, 250, and 251.]
There are other laws among the two hundred and eighty-two (282) of the Babylonian code which are paralleled by laws of the Mosaic period, but these appear to be the most striking and noteworthy. [Exod. 22:1; Exod. 21:16; Exodus 22:2-4; Exod. 22:5; Exod. 21:7; Exod. 22:12; Lev. 20:10; Leviticus 20:12; Lev. 20:11; Exodus 21:15; Exodus 21:24, 25; Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:21; Matthew 5:38, etc.; Exod. 21: 26, 27; Exodus 21:18; Exodus 21:12, 13; Exodus 21:22-25; Exodus 21: 28; Exodus 21:29; Exodus 21:32;etc. I may here express that Clay’s summary and synopsis of the Hammurabic Code leaves little to be desired by my hand; I have carefully compared his treatment of the Stone Monument as fair and clear. It may be added these words however: The Hammurabic code is more advance and developed from earlier codes though it covers most of the older rules and precepts. In Pritchard’s Texts the Laws reflect or compares with those in Moses’ Books: In Deuteronomy chapters 5, 19, 22, 24, 21, 15, 27. Exodus chapters: 23, 20, 22, 21. Leviticus chapters: 19, 18, 20, 24. Numbers chapters: 5. References could be given in Genesis and in Ruth, as well as in other passages.]
Not a few scholars, in discussing the question of the dependence of the Israelitic (Mosaic) code upon the Babylonian, seem to think that the Hebrew code is indebted to the older. Some see similarity in the phraseology, besides in the thought embodied in the code. Others maintain that the origin of both is to be found in Arabia, either because they hold that the original home of the Semites is to be found in that land, or because of the influence of Jethro the Kenite father-in-law of Moses (see Exodus 18:14-27); and the fact that it is probable that the kings of the Hammurabi dynasty were Arabian.
If the laws which have been pointed out as being similar are carefully considered from a commonsense point of view in connection with the entire code, the only conclusion that can be reached is that the similarity of those laws must be ascribed to similar conditions which would give rise to them no matter how far the one people was removed from the influence of the other, except as indicated before, those laws which were influenced by the barbarous law of retaliation or Oriental law in general. To give a single illustration: when an African or a North American Indian owns a vicious animal and knows its habits, and does not restrain it from doing violence, the only penalty thought of is that he shall be accounted responsible for any damages done. Where slavery exists, or where one may become enslaved for a debt, similar laws may be expected. The same is true of the laws of chastity and of the family, or the relations of one member of a family to another. Such to a great extent are not confined to civilized peoples. Moreover, similar customs will give rise to similar laws, as human nature is the same everywhere. The phraseological and philological arguments that have been advanced seem to have less in them. Also, we have no evidence from the Old Testament that Jethro taught Moses a single precept. His advice as regards the administering of law cannot be construed as such. That Arabia is the original seat of the Semites, or that it is the home of the kings of the first dynasty of Babylon, are theories held by some, for which there is no proof. In short, dependence upon the Babylonian code, or even a common origin for both, cannot be proved at the present, and from the light at hand it does not seem plausible.
Between the Mosaic and the Hammurabi codes there is an exceedingly wide gulf. If for no other reason, the responsibility of the individual for his own deeds, whereby the son is not punished for his father’s deeds, or the father for those of the son’s, gives superiority to the Hebrew code. There are some humanitarian considerations in the Babylonian, as for instance the provisions for an invalid wife, or an enraged father who wishes to disinherit a son; but if the codes, even from this point of view, were compared, it will be found that the Mosaic is not wanting. The Hebrew also in almost every respect religiously and ethically is far superior to the Babylonian. The gods are prominently mentioned in the prologue and epilogue of the latter but play no role in the code itself. Pure and simple external conformity to the law is all that is required. Inasmuch as Hammurabi is known to have been religiously inclined, it may be unfair to judge the code from this point of view; as it deals with civil law, and he may have intentionally omitted the religious element. There is not, however, even a semblance of a law in the Babylonian against covetousness and selfishness.
The fundamental principle of the Israelitish command: “Be ye holy, for I am holy,” on the other hand has an inward emphasis which makes its impress upon all actions. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” as well as purification and devotion to God, is the keynote of the Mosaic law. It was God’s commandment that the Israelite was required to obey. Cursed was he that fulfilled not the words of the law to do them. This especially was the spirit of the prophets. This is totally foreign to the Babylonian code.))
(From Bible Reflections. mjm.)
We have completed the Book of Genesis that Great Thump of the Divine Hand of the Old Testament revelation. Before we rethink and reconsider the whole book, we may notice some more points on the Patriarchal Age, and especially of Jacob-Israel. The customs of the nations continued to develop and to change during that age and more so among the civilized or more advanced peoples. From Mesopotamia to Canaan to Egypt and Arabia the Bible pictures glimpses and windows into the life and times of patriarchs as God moved with them. The ancient ways of those nations show the ways and practices that evolved into more fixed customs and the culture encompassing them. God shows Himself as El Shaddai though it is Jehovah and Elohim ever with His people in all their travels as pilgrims. The promises begun in Abraham and enlarged in Isaac become magnified in Israel. God both as Ellah and Allah forms His people into great companies and nations, and He led them about as a Stranger with them in the creation of His own hands. He appears to them at different times in person but more often in dreams or visions as He deemed best. Man is always on His heart and our condition ever before His eyes among all peoples. Ishmael of Abraham and Esau of Isaac would form another branch of the Semitic Hebrews, and the mixture of Canaan and Egypt permeated to various degrees. The root of the divine tree in human history was spreading deep and far, always manifesting God’s wondrous hidden mystery of creation and His judgment and salvation. The glory of His Person, filled with grace and truth, righteousness and mercy, and peace and holiness, being infinite and ever present, unfolding His ways and thoughts as He watches and relates in countless ways. In this age He is indeed the God of the Gentiles, and He is known everywhere in different degrees of truth and virtue. He keeps covenant and His steadfast word never fails but will always against all odds be made true to the nursing and deliverance of His children. Nor is the Serpent ignored as a harmless creature, but his ways of evil and wickedness exposed at every turn and in every generation.
It may be further observed concerning the human history from Jacob to Joseph the development of several details. As we have seen that Genesis begins with Mesopotamia, first the south in Eden near and east of the Garden, then moves north in Padan-aram on too Syria then moves south again to Canaan and Egypt and Arabia. Egypt had become a world power and one of the greatest nations, so that an empire was formed with various dynasties and domains. God moves with history for it is also His-story in many ways. We see Joseph posed as a crucial influence of the Egyptian custom and economy. We have a great treasury of ancient Egypt, before and after Abraham, and we understand a great deal of their culture and civilization in all the departments of living. There is great enmity between Egyptians and Hebrews, as well as Canaanites and other nations, Egypt was proud of its place and privileges over others. They have a advanced priestly system intertwined with the government. Slavery was essential to the monarchy of its king and all his subordinates. God takes little effort to dwell on the ancient cultures saves as they were connected to the patriarchs. But He does give us in Job what the ways and thoughts of the ancient Hebrews and Arabs, and by careful attention to its words both by Job and his three friends, and Elihu, and by the Lord Himself, we are instructed on human experiences and culture and ideas about mankind, and human nature, about the world, and many things concerning God. Political ideas grew out of the religious beliefs based down from generation to generation, laws developed like those of Hammurabi, divine worship was a mysterious form of idolatry, and sexual vices abounded. The doctrines of death and the after-life took great root in the Egyptians and their neighbors. These then will further develop and undergo more changes and enlarge through the human race, and God will in turn have plenty to say.
(I may now add to the above remarks these reflections on Genesis:
1.-Though Moses is not mentioned in Genesis we have discovered references to a later period of Genesis events and details that moves us forward to the Moses and the Exodus; expressions such as ‘unto this day’. We see that the story and history end in Egypt with Israel awaiting deliverance, and Exodus opens with Israel’s salvation by the leadership of Moses by the hand of God. The connection is clear and certain, Genesis is Moses I, and Exodus is Moses II.
2.-Genesis is the Book of Beginnings or Origins: of Creation, Generations, Sin, Death, Nations, Sacrifice, Covenants, Dispensations, Slavery, Marriage, Murder, Family, Revelation, Mystery, Antiquity, Kingdoms, Religion, Cities, Civilization, Prophecy, Birthrights, Theophany, Spiritual World, Natural World, Judgment, Salvation, Sex, Concubines, Prostitution, Incest, Vices, Homosexuality, Violence, Rape, Wars, Circumcision, Hospitality, Foot-washing, Veils, Clothes, Kidnapping, Altars, Offerings, Oblations, Worship, Songs, Music, Industry, Weapons, Arts, Crafts, Births, Funerals, Arranged Marriages, Dowry, Barter, Commerce, Treaties, Contracts, Sales, Trade, Shepherds, Farmers, Hunters, Angels, Messengers, Visitors, Giants, Heroes,00[= Patriarchs, Matriarchs, Tithes, Love, Hate, Alcohol, Drunks, Lies, Cheats, Thefts, Robbery, Ownership, Property Rights, Grace, Mercy, Charity, History, Writing, Speaking, Types, Figures, Signs, Symbols, Competing, Jealousy, Envy, Conspiracy, Priesthood, Policy, Hierarchy, Rules, Customs, Laws, Retaliation, Confederation, Alliance, Dreams, Interpretation, Deception, Pride, Arrogance, Poverty, Famine, Surplus, Futures, Investment, Deals, Bargains, Discounts, Wages, Heir, Negotiations, Crimes, Punishments, Torture, Offences, Defense, Adoption, Inheritance, Primogeniture, Criminals, Prisons, Prisoners, Faith, Hope, Promises, Trust, Travel, Blessing, Cursing, Embalming, Coffins, and thousands more.
3.-Genesis contains in its pages many seeds which will germinate and sprout as we have repeatedly pointed out in the reflections. Its seeds will grow into plants and trees, and as with this analogy and the application we give it, so too, hermeneutically the animal and human seeds, as sperms or semen (Latin-Greek for seed), conceived in the womb, the egg fertilized, the fetus forms and grows, an animal or a human is born. The Genesis Bible Seeds will likewise reach their end as designed or intended, and they will be distinct and recognized accordingly. When we reach the prophetic books of the Old Testament and then the New Testament these prophetic seeds will be plants and trees and animals and beasts. Genesis teaches in the usage of words and expressions a spiritual language, and with this comes spiritual understanding of divine mysteries to each as each has the capacity and the calling. The names of God, man, animals, places, and things, are important insight to spiritual and psychological things, and psychology is a matter of the spirit, and not just of the soul. So in Genesis we have ‘figures of speech’ by which the style and structure of Scripture may be interpreted and understood. We have encountered many types, symbols, signs, and pictures which may not have been understood at first, but as we see in later chapters and books things become clear. Genesis chapter 1 compared with chapter 2 is a case in point; or the Fall of Man and Human Depravity as another example. Bible Grammar, Scripture Syntax, Biblical things, and Scriptural principles, and all such things will surface in each and in all as nature teaches, for even idiots make noises (as it has been said). As we learn in time that names, sayings, and terms will change as man changes. We will encounter words used as figuratively or literally, general or specific, universal or local, rhyme or reason, repeated or omitted, allegory or metaphor, substitution or illustration, proverb or parable, prophecy or history, inferences or references, types or antitypes, thesis or antithesis, correspondence or completion, fermentation or maturation, irony or sarcasm, interrogation or exclamation, quotes or declarations, idioms or peculiarities, personifications or virtualities (visions), dreams or facts, and so many other names too many to list.
EXODUS: Chapters 1-40: Moses II:
We leave Genesis and we come to the 2nd Book of Moses, Moses Two, called Exodus from the great event of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. The Hebrews were in the habit of naming a book or scroll by its first words as we saw in Genesis= Bereshith= In the Beginning. Here we read “Now these are the names of the Sons of Israel, who came into Egypt”, and the Hebrew (w’eleh sh’moth) became the name of this book, and shortened to Shemoth or Names, the Sepher Shemoth. By the time the Greek LXX translation was made it was common to refer to its theme of Exodus to identify the Second Book of Moses. As with Genesis the human author is not presented upfront, but the Book begins as a continuation of Genesis. It is a mistake to think that the 430 years of the Hebrews slavery, or Israel’s bondage, occurs between Joseph and Moses. In Genesis 15 we read that the Lord foretold the seed of Abraham (Hebrews) would be pilgrims, aliens, enslaved and afflicted, and that in the 4th generation God would deliver them. The 4th generation is Moses, the 3rd is Joseph, and the 2nd is Jacob, and the 1st is Isaac, thus from Isaac to Moses. Those who have seen this have avoided the chronological error that many fell into. The generations of pilgrimage are in two parts of 215 years each, from Abram to Jacob-Israel, and from Entrance to Egypt to Israel’s Exodus another 215. God is dealing with a people as one man, and the Hebrews are henceforth the Israelites. We have 40 chapters with two major divisions chapters 1-19 and 20-40; the first half before the law and the second part after the law. God continues to create and judge and save to make a land and a people and the book.
The Sons of Israel migrated to Egypt being 70 souls in 12 tribes while Joseph was then Lord of all Egypt during the years of famine. Pharaoh received them on account of God’s favor towards Joseph and to Egypt. The Hebrews grew and multiplied into a mighty slave nation to the benefit of Egypt. The old enmity of the serpent’s seed against the seed of the woman was ever at work, and soon the favored became despised and subjugated. The many years of slavery created in the King of Egypt fear and concern against Egypt’s national interest. Egypt’s pharaohs had built an empire as a mighty aggressive and expansive power so that many smaller nations and peoples hated and envied them. The powers to the east and those in the north were already encroaching on Egypt. Canaan became the bridge and doorway to Pharaoh’s kingdom. The southern nations and tribes of Africa were like the Hebrews in bondage to Egypt and supplied his many needs and desires. The great river Nile was the vehicle in which Pharaoh’s power was carried up and down the land. His power was always liable to insurrection and betrayal from within, and from without the emergent super-powers threatened with invasion and attacks. Human traffic and technology were being integrated in the civilizations being formed in the world. The truth of God and divine knowledge was in Egypt as elsewhere corrupted into the grossest idolatries. The world was filled with war increasing in numbers and violence in every new generation. As often happened in history the subservient population of slaves or servants, or foreigners and lower-classes, had to be watched by the ruling nation against their revolt or escape. Israel had become Egypt’s slaves and lower class and posed a threat to national security, especially if they allied themselves to invaders seeking to overthrow Pharaoh’s dynasty. God’s interest for His people had become forgotten and distorted in the interest of Pharaoh and his administration. The stricter enslavement solution became policy to weaken the resolve and ability of the Hebrews against foreign alliance. The periodic change of weather and climate as in the great famines and droughts had to be offset by supply houses as in Joseph’s day. Pharaoh’s ambition and self-glory of immortalizing his name and fame on the backs and lives of the Hebrews, and other slaves, was seen in his building constructions like the Pyramids, and in his throne or resort cities like Ramesses. Many other measures were conceived to continue the subjugated race or class in various degrees. Here Pharaoh resorts to population reduction by selective genocide by the murder of the newborn males as a form of national abortions in the interest of Egypt. The use of Egyptian midwives as an advanced developed civilized medical assistance in birthing, in order to lessen the many risks and dangers of childbearing, had become the common practice even for the Hebrews. Not only was midwifery a help to save life, but was an easy way to keep a census of the working class or potential warriors. And as it became the practice to murder the primogeniture of nobility, or contending ruling families, so now it could be used to control the increasing population of the working slave class. But as it is in every such evil the good and righteous will show defiance to such grotesque wickedness against life and nature, and they will align themselves to truth and love as they submit to God’s will over human law and power, no matter how dressed or idolized. God notices this good thing in man or woman, He always in His own hidden ways will reward and bless them among every nation, people, family, and tribe in all places of the earth and through all generations. The Great River of the life and might of Egypt from which all Egypt and Pharaoh depended and worshipped was at last to be used to commit murder and genocide, and thus will become a main focus of God’s judgment of a sinful wicked nation and its head.
In the midst of the darkest evil God comes in to save His people, and at a great distance His Holy Spirit must create the way and the preparation of a savior and deliverer. From the house and tribe of Levi a goodly child is born and spared from Pharaoh’s abortion law, and by love and faith they hid him, nested in a little ark of reeds and placed him afloat by the River’s bank, being watched by his little older sister. As Noah in the ark in the great Deluge, so too here a Hebrew Babe floats in the Nile. God always takes pleasure in the impossible things to show His providence and faithfulness. Pharaoh’s daughter, against the abortion law of murder, finds compassion for the crying Hebrew baby. The baby’s sister is sent for a Hebrew nurse and Pharaoh’s daughter hires unknowingly the child’s own mother to nurse and nurture him for her for a time. The Hebrew child returns to Pharaoh’s daughter and becomes her son Moses, the Rescued One, the saved and delivered. And thus, Moses as Noah, was saved by water of judgment.
Moses was raised up in Pharaoh’s palace and as one of his grandsons, schooled and disciplined as an Egyptian as was Joseph a century before. As a grown prince (now 40), he took notice of the Hebrew slaves as his kin and seeking to help them he stopped an Egyptian from beating a Hebrew by killing him, followed by mediating between two quarreling Hebrews who rejected him as a murderer and self-made prince and judge. When Pharaoh heard he sought Moses death, so in fear he escaped from Egypt to land of Midian some 200 miles east, beyond the Sinai Peninsula, near the Gulf of Aqaba. He rested by a well where the daughters of the Priest of Midian watered their flocks and he helped them. Reuel their father welcomed Moses the Egyptian prince and gave in marriage his daughter Zipporah, who birth his firstborn son Gershom (pilgrim and sojourner, foreigner and alien), and he became a shepherd of Midian. About 40 years passed (Hebrew idiom was “after many days”, where days means years as we saw in many places in Genesis), a new Pharaoh on the throne, and Israel’s bondage more severe. God heard and saw His people’s affliction and He remembered the Patriarchal Covenant, and the prophetic promised day of deliverance after 400 years past, and He prepared to save His people from their bondage. While Moses was shepherding Jethro’s flocks in the desert near Horeb, God’s Mountain, the Lord’s Angel appears as God in the flame of fire in the burning bush, which did not consume the bush to Moses surprise; as Moses approached the Burning Bush God stops him and orders him to take off his sandals for the ground here is holy. The God of the Hebrew Fathers, as Jehovah (YHWH), has come to deliver His people from Egypt, and save them from sorrows, and to lead them to the Promised Land (Canaan). Egypt’s oppression of the children of Israel will now come to an end by means of a deliverer of God. Moses is reluctant to accept the Divine Call, so God promises to be with him, and assures him the sign or proof of His Providence is that Israel shall worship God at Mount Horeb in Midia. Moses inquires of God’s Name (Shem) for Israel’s ears, to which the God of the Hebrews tells him to tell them that EHYEH (I Am Who I Am, that is, the Eternal) has sent him to them, Jehovah their God is His Eternal Name and Memorial, their God and Savior, the Covenant and Promise Keeper, to bring them to Canaan. God calls Israel and the Elders to come forth to the desert of God to sacrifice to Him, and though Pharaoh will refuse to release them God will by force free them. God will display signs and wonders, might and miracles, in judgment on Egypt. He will cause the Egyptians to treat Israel with favor and supply all their needs for the Exodus, thus to despoil the Egyptians.
Moses is sent with his rod, his shepherd’s staff, which the Lord will display signs and tokens of miracles of a Serpent and Leprosy, by a mighty hand. Their refusal will be met with the water of the Nile becoming blood. Moses is reassured by the Lord’s anger to have his brother Aaron as his orator and spokesman, his prophetic mouth, along with the Rod. Jethro blesses Moses return to Egypt and his people. The Lord visits Moses in Midian and bids him to return to Egypt and reminds him to perform the signs and wonders by his hand as he was instructed, although Pharaoh’s heart will harden in stubborn refusal. Pharaoh is to be told that he must release Israel as God’s Firstborn or the Lord will kill Pharaoh’s firstborn son. Now while he was returning the Lord attempted to kill Moses because of his uncircumcised son, so Zipporah in anger circumcised his foreskin and denounced her bloody husband. The Lord bids Aaron to visit and reunite with Moses in Midia, at the Mount of God (Horeb). Moses and Aaron speak to the Elders of Israel and perform the signs in Israel’s sight. The people believed and worshipped the Lord, and then Moses and Aaron request Pharaoh in the name of Israel’s God to free them to go into the desert to hold a Feast. Pharaoh rejects Jehovah and refuses to release Israel. They petition Pharaoh in God’s name to permit them to go 2 days into the desert to sacrifice to the Lord lest He in anger slay them. Pharaoh refuses and accuses them of insubordination, and so stiffens their labors with taskmasters and officers to lessen the supply of straw but demand the same quota of bricks. The people distraught and the officers whipped at the extreme demands of Pharaoh. The officers complain to Moses and Aaron that they have made Pharaoh to detest and distress them. Moses complains to the Lord of His ill-treatment and slowness. The Lord reveals that He as El Shaddai (God Almighty, God of Nurture and Provisions, the Nursing God of Sustenance) visited the Patriarchs of old but now as Jehovah (YHWH) has come to visit and deliver His people by force. And He established His covenant to give them the land of Canaan and pilgrimage. The Lord assures and comforts Israel of His deliverance by wondrous works and ponderous powers and executes judgment and effect salvation, to make them His People and Him to be their God, as He has promised and sworn. But the people were disheartened in anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. Moses responds to the Lord in reluctance, but the Lord insists Moses and Aaron proclaim to Israel and to Pharaoh freedom to leave Egypt.
The heads, sons, and families of Reuben are recorded; along with Simeonites and the Levites. The generations of Levites are named from Levi (died at 137) to his sons Gershon, Kohath (died at 133), and Merari; then his grandsons from these three. Kohath’s son Amram (died at137), Levi’s great-grandson, married his aunt Jochebed, who birthed Aaron and Moses (Levi’s great grandsons), along with other great-grandsons, like Korah. Aaron married Elisheba of Amminadab, Nahshon’s sister, who bore him Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar (these were Levi’s great-great grandsons). Korah’s 4 sons (one being Elkanah) were Levi’s great-great-great grandsons). These Levitical families in their generations, brings us chronologically from Jacob or Israel in Egypt to the Exodus, some 200 years. It is clear that there are not 400 years to be fitted in the generations between Joseph and Moses. We see God entering human affairs with conditions contingent on Israel’s relations to Egypt; God had begotten His firstborn and called him out of Egypt from the house of bondage. His purposes for all the world was being disclosed as He formed new patterns and pictures to be revealed till the appointed time. What we learn of God’s ways with man is often in increments of decades or centuries to bring about His promises, and He moves with His people to align them with His vision.
Moses as God to Pharaoh and Aaron as his Prophet are engaged to magnify the hearts hardness against the will of God. God must increase His judgment in severity to deliver His armies the Israelites. God is known by His judgments and deliverance. Moses is 80 and Aaron 83 and Miriam 6 or more, at the command of the Lord they are to answer Pharaoh with the sign or miracle of the Rod-Serpent, to which Pharaoh countered with his magicians making their rods turn into snakes, but God called and raised the stakes by devouring the snakes. Pharaoh’s hardened heart continued as God made each hand costlier (that is, raised the stakes, not just call his bluff) . The contest continued in the water of the Nile turned to blood as the first of ten plagues. All the outlets of the Nile into rivers, pools, and the like were polluted and filled with death. The nature or the properties of the water and blood is not God’s concern, He wishes to picture the life of man as with Pharaoh and Egypt as death. The water is for life and the blood is life, but here not in creation but judgment before salvation. As with the Hands of God having Ten Fingers or Digits with the First Thumb establishing the type or picture, so the Water-Blood plague of Divine wrath explains the other digits to this. It is the waters of the Nile River as Egypt’s fountain of life and source of living. Everything connected to the water must all be contaminated with the blood of death. This sign also the magicians were able to imitate to the satisfaction of the defiant heart. Yet the waters of the wells of the earth were not judged since they were not idolized by Egypt. A week passed in judgment. We do not know the interval between the plagues, nor the conditions existing in the execution of them by the rod and hand and voice of Moses and Aaron at God’s behest. The 2nd plague of frogs swarming from the Nile and overwhelming the land people was like the 1st in that which pertains to life and death. This to the magicians by magic and enchantments replicated to the deception of stubbornness. But in time Pharaoh yielded to the Sovereign Hand and pleaded to stop the judgment; and Moses yields to his glory, and God did so. The 3rd plague of lice from the dust of the earth is like the 1st in that it pictures man’s creation and curse. The magicians failed to duplicate this sign and could not but confessed that this judgment was God’s Finger; yet Pharaoh’s heart hardened. The 4th plague of swarms of flies was like the 1st and the others concerning human life and all that it produces in corruption. Pharaoh partially relents to permit them to sacrifice to the Lord in Egypt, but Moses insists on at least 3 days journey in the desert so not offend the Egyptians; to which he yields and promises to let them go out a little way. Moses prays, and God answered, and the flies were removed, but Pharaoh reneged and refused to release the people. The 5th plague completes the Hand of God, though a small finger, effects all Egypt’s living, and as in the other plagues Israel was spared in the judgment. The plague of murrain or the disease of death which infected and killed Egypt’s livestock in the open field, was to reduce Egypt to starvation in sacrifices and meals. This too could not change the heart of Pharaoh.
The 6th plague begins the Second Hand of God and works toward the second Thumb of the most severe and final judgment. The plague of ashes of the furnace polluting the air of the heavens brought boils and blains, blister and blotches, and such that appeared as leprosy in the skin. And even the magicians were plagued; yet Pharaoh remained obstinate, because on this hand God begins to harden is heart for destruction and final deliverance. The Lord as the God of the Hebrews, declares Himself against Egypt but for His people, and will destroy Egypt with plagues and pestilence, revealing that Pharaoh was raised up to this end that God’s power and name be known in all the earth. The 7th plague was the raining of hail stones from heaven, with thunder and fire, on all the animals outdoors and in the fields, destroying plants and crops (as flax in bloom and barley in the ear (abib). But Goshen was spared; and Pharaoh confessed his sin and wickedness and the Lord’s righteous judgment, and petitions Moses to have God stop the plague. The rains and hails and thunders ceased, but Pharaoh’s heart hardened and his servants also. The Lord tells Moses He has determined to harden the hearts of Pharaoh and his servants for destruction, to display His signs and wonders to be told to the generations to come in all the earth. The 8th plague followed Pharaoh’s refusal to humble himself before the Lord and release Israel, so God sent locusts over all Egypt, to cover the earth and strip the country of vegetation of every sort. At this Pharaoh’s servants pleaded to him to release the Hebrews to stop the destruction. Moses and Aaron were told to go, but asked who will go out, and Moses all Hebrews will go and all that belongs to them to hold a feast to the Lord. Pharaoh permits the men to go out to serve the Lord, but the others must stay; and he drove them out of his presence. The locusts came, carried by an eastern wind, and covered all the earth that is all Egypt, and stripped the land bare. Pharaoh begs Moses to have the Lord remove the death of locusts. The Lord removed the locusts by a strong western wind that carried them to the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds, Yama Suph, Yam Suf, this is 1st occur.). But the Lord still hardened Pharaoh’s stubborn heart. The 9th plague of a thick darkness over Egypt for three days, yet Goshen had light. Pharaoh tells Moses to go out with men and children, but the flocks must stay; but Moses demands animals for sacrifices and offerings, so all the cattle and flocks must also go. The Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he expels Moses from his presence never to return before or he will die. Moses said amen, he will not again see Pharaoh. And so we reach the 10th plague, the last sign of judgment.
The 10th plague was the death of the firstborns, and it answers to the first sign of the water and blood. This plague will force Pharaoh to force Israel out for good. Israel is told to borrow from the Egyptians silver and gold. The people are told that the Lord will go through Egypt and kill all the firstborn of Egypt of Pharaoh to his servants and his people and their cattle; but Goshen shall be spared. And Pharaoh’s servants will beg Moses that Israel leave Egypt; and he left in anger. The Lord continues to harden Pharaoh, and revealed His intent o display His many wonders in Egypt; and it was so. The month of the Exodus is to be the 1sts of months called Abib (ears of barley or Barley Harvest, early spring March-April). The Congregation (Edad, Synagogue, Company) of Israel on the 10th of Abib was to take a male lamb, one year old and unblemished, from sheep or goats, for a household or households for all the souls to partake. It was to be kept till the 14th of Abib and killed by the assembly at eve, and the blood applied to the door-posts and window-frames of the house eating the Passover, roasted, not boiled, and with unleavened bread, and with bitter herbs. It must be roasted entirely, and any remains burnt up before morn. They must eat it in haste fully dressed and ready to depart for it is Jehovah’s Passover. The Lord will kill all Egypt’s firstborns of men and beast, and He will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt; and He will see the sign of blood marks on the houses and pas-over them, sparing them from destruction. It shall be always celebrated in Canaan with 7 days of Unleavened Bread (he who eats leaven in this week shall be cut-off), and the 1st and 7th day must be a holy convocation, a Sabbath of rest for man and beast. The feast of Unleavened Bread is a memorial of deliverance to be observed perpetually as a changing ordinance. From the 14th to 21st of Abib shall no leaven or yeast to be found in any house in Israel. Moses and the Elders of Israel killed the Passover, and with a bunch of hyssop applied the blood to the houses. And in the future generations to tell their children that the Passover Feast is a Sacrifice of Jehovah’s Passover, when He killed the Egyptians and spared Israel.
At midnight while all Israel was in their houses, the Lord killed the firstborns of Egypt of every rank, so that Pharaoh and his servants and the Egyptians awoke to death in every house. Pharaoh expelled and thrust out Israel to depart and go serve the Lord as demanded, and to leave him a blessing. The Egyptians hurried off the Hebrews assisting them in all they needed and wanted. While the dough was still unleavened they baked it, and they packed all their belongings. They despoiled the Egyptians, and they journeyed from the royal city Rameses unto Succoth, with some 600,000 (thousands is eleph (aleph) = cattle or oxen in Hebrew) men (geber) on foot, not counting children. Now Israel dwelt in Egypt for 430 years to date of the Exodus and the Passover. The feast is a perpetual ordinance for Israel and only foreigners purchased with money and circumcised may partake, not even a visitor or Gentile pilgrim may eat, unless they first are circumcised. Every male Israelite is to be sanctified as belonging to the Lord. The feasts of unleavened bread and the Passover are to be a solemn commemoration of the Exodus, as a visual sign and ever conversation of the law of the Lord. The firstborn and firstlings will always be the Lord’s in Israel, and they must be redeemed or the neck to be broken, for by might the Lord delivered them by killing all the firstborn of Egypt. This is to be a sign in the hand and frontlets between the eyes forever, since the Lord slew all the firstborn in exchange for Israel.
Israel departs Egypt and God led them by avoiding the way of the Philistines though it was nearer and a direct route lest they see war and return to Egypt, but instead they were led by the route of the wilderness near the Red Sea (Yam Suf), ready and armed. And they took the bones of Joseph with them as he made them swear. The total number of people of the Exodus is not stated, and the sense to be given to phrase the men (geber) on foot is uncertain, but on all accounts or calculations of 2-3 million souls is a safe guess; the sum of 5-6 million appear to be an exaggeration. The years of slavery by divine reparation or restitution is made at a very high cost by the severe and relentless justice of God Who does not overlook such cruel bondage. The last plague, the 10th, is connected to the Exodus and the Baptism in the Red Sea, as was the 1st plague connected to the Signs of the uplifted Serpent and the leprous hand, along with the slavery of Israel and the murder of the male children. The many rich types and figurative representations of God’s ways with the world and man are beginning to be clearer and more detail. That the types are of Messiah or Christ is hard to ignore or deny and will shortly be enlarged and made more elaborate. The Rod of Moses is made of tree or wood; thus it is the Tree of the Garden, and the serpent or snake is the Devil judged; the leprous hand is sin judged and removed. But these things will unfold in their own time and way, such as the dead bones of Joseph in a coffin to be buried in Canaan.
Israel journeyed from Succoth and camped at Etham at the edge of the desert; the Lord led them by day in a pillar of cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire, hiding His Presence among His people to judge and to save. They are to turn-back (repent) and encamp (prostrate) facing Pi-hahiroth (Pi-ha-Chiroth) between Migdol (tower, watch-tower, fortress, outpost) and the Sea facing and across Baal-zephon, so that Pharaoh will say they are trapped in the desert by the sea, and Pharaoh’s hard heart will pursue Israel and the Lord will get honor on him and his army, that the Egyptians know that He is the Lord. So, with 600 chariots and captains with horses and riders he pursued and caught up with Israel by the Sea. And Israel was terrified and complained against Moses that he brought them out to die and be buried in the desert, rather than let them remain slaves and die in Egypt. It must be admitted here that the exact locations of these places are all uncertain and filled with centuries of traditions and confusion. The Sea is either the Suez Canal or Gulf or the Gulf of Aqaba, and not some river of the Nile Delta, or any waters of Egyptian soil. The Westminster Historical Bible Atlas edited by Wright and Filson, with Albright’s introduction, suggest by mere conjecture the upper Nile Delta near Tanis or Rameses, and Goshen and the Shur Wilderness or Desert south-east of it, but I think not. Those who find the ancient remains of the Asian or Canaanite pastoral shepherds like the Hyskos settled near and about Zagazig, with San el Hagar at the north, and down to Qantir or Pi-Ramses and Avaris, are more correct or factual. We know that Israel intended to go three days journey into the desert-wilderness, and that would allow some 50 miles give or take to distance themselves from Pharaoh’s grip and presence, and sufficient lead to escape his power and pursuit. In a direct route this would allow them the time and distance to freedom. God intended something more and other for His people who must be prepared to meet great opposition and larger numbers than Pharaoh’s forces. But more than this was the spiritual warfare and universal conflict that must be fought in the desert and portrayed or illustrated for them and us, both then and thereafter. The route Israel took must also be a route that Pharaoh’s chariots could take to overtake them, thus it is clear that route was a travelled trade route to cross the desert, even as it is to this date. Three days journey would take Israel to the top of the Red Sea or Gulf of Suez some 60 miles south; from the Gulf of Suez to the top of Aqaba some 130 miles across the wilderness-desert, 7-14 days trip. Night travel would be dictated by the moonlight available for a ½ month. I point out these things as we will encounter them shortly and afterwards. Baker’s Compact Bible Atlas with gazetteer of 1979 shows a hypothetical trade route of a direct line from Goshen to the middle of Aqaba ( by Nuweiba, “Nuwayba’al Muzayyinah in Arabic which means ‘Waters of Moses Open’), some 200 miles, then crossing through the Sea, Yam Suph (reed, weed, bulrush or papyrus; also traditionally red; much is conjectural for the ancients had little knowledge of these seas, Egyptians were familiar with the Gulf of Suez while the Canaanites and Midianites with the Gulf of Aqaba; these things in the past decades have changed greatly) or the other Red Sea called the Gulf of Aqaba, then up the coasts of Aqaba some 50 miles in Midian control. The Atlas shows the proposed sights as did the Historical Atlas, but in altered locations, and with question marks indicating the uncertainty that exist of the entire Exodus Route. Again, I notice these things to bring us to current consensus that remains and evidences lead to Aqaba and not Suez as the Crossing site. Saint Catharine City and its famous Monastery in the Sinai Peninsula of ancient and modern Egypt is the traditional but conjectural site of the giving of the Ten Commandments in the desert. If we cross over the Aqaba on the eastern coasts we have Midian and other ancient non-Egyptian peoples and tribes, and a more conducive environment for several million migrants. Since the 17th – 18th centuries the traditional view has been held suspect, unsupported and creating confusion and questions rather than solutions; the past two centuries by explorations in land, sea, and sky have led away from the Sinai Peninsula (“The ancient Egyptians called it Mafkat, or “land of the green minerals (Turquoise)”.”; also of copper and gold) to the Arabian trade routes of the ancient Midianites and Ishmaelites, as well as the modern Arabs.
Moses calmed the people and comforted their fear with promise of the salvation of the Lord (eth-yeshuath Yehowah, Yeshua or Joshua, that is Jesus), on the next day He will fight for Israel. The uplifted and outstretched rod will divide the sea and Israel will walk on dry ground. Pharaoh will pursue, and the Lord will get the honor over Pharaoh and his army. The Angel of God went to guard Israel at the back against any attack. So that all that night the Lord caused a strong east wind to dry the ground between the walls of sea. At day break the Egyptians pursued after them into the sea-bed, and the Lord saw them from the pillar of fire and cloud and drowned in the Sea, dismantling their chariot wheels in the midst, and the waters buried them all, men and horses and chariots. The Lord saved Israel and they saw the dead bodies along on the sea-shore. Israel was saved by fear and faith by the Lord and Moses His servant. This great Crossing was celebrated with the Song of Moses of Jehovah’s triumph and salvation, as a Man of War He drowned Egyptian host in His wrath in the Red Sea. The miracle is poetically described in Jehovah’s praise. The Egyptians, Palestine, Edom, Moab, and all Canaan will hear and tremble in great fear. The people of the Lord, saved and purchased, will be planted in Canaan, Jehovah’s new dwelling-place and Adonai’s new Sanctuary, for His everlasting kingdom. Miriam the prophetess and the women with timbrels and dances led in celebration and with refrain or chorus: Jehovah’s victory and the horse and rider were drowned in the sea.
Moses led Israel onward from Yam Suf to the desert of Shur another three days journey or some 50 miles, and they found no water. They came to Marah (Bitter-waters) and Israel complained of thirst to the Lord against Moses. The Lord showed him a tree and he threw it into waters and it became sweet. Here the Lord made for Israel a statute and ordinance and tested them; warning them to always hear and obey the voice of God, to do right and keep His commandments, then He as the Healer will spare them from all the diseases of the Egyptians. They next came to Elim (Elimah) with 12 springs of water and 70 palm-trees and they camped by the waters. From Elim they journeyed to desert of Sin (Midbar-Sin) between Elim and Sinai; which was on the 15th of the 2nd month, Zif, exactly one month or 4 weeks or some 28 days after the Passover. By this date we see Israel traveled in the desert from Passover and Exodus to Yam Suf Crossing to mount Horeb in Sinai, God’s mountain, for one month and some 300 miles. From Goshen to the Arab’s Jebel Musa of St. Catharine city and monastery is about 150 miles. Israel complained against Moses and Aaron longing for bread and meat. The Lord sent them bread from heaven to be gathered daily for 6 days, but not on the 7th day, for the 6th day shall have twice the supply. This was to test their resolve to walk in God’s law or not, and to deal with their gripes and complaints. The Lord appeared in glory in cloud and spoke to Moses that Israel shall indeed eat flesh in the evening and bread in the morning as a proof of His sovereignty. At night the quails covered the camp, and at morning dew covered the ground. When the dew lifted small pellets as hoar-frost (silvery grey thin wafers with round pellets inside), and they said: What is it? (Manna?); this was the Lord’s bread for them. The manna was to be gathered by need, an omer per head, a quart-gallon per person. If left overnight, it bred worms and smelled foul, it melted in the sun’s heat. Twice as much was gathered to last through the Sabbath and it did not breed worms or become foul. But the Sabbath is holy, and Israel must stay in their tents and rest. Manna was white like coriander seed and tasted like honey wafers. Further a pot of a omer of it must be kept forever as a witness of the Lord’s feeding them in the desert. They were to eat manna for 40 years till they entered Canaan. An omer as a dry measure was 1/10th of an Ephah; these weights and measures are related to simple standards of the body or its parts or its extension of relations, as in the cubit, shekel, or as with us the foot or feet. I pass-over any remark as some scholars who connect the evening quails and the morning dew and manna.
They moved from Midbar-Sin to Rephidim a dry waterless place, and the people complained against Moses for their thirst as they did for their hunger, so tempting or provoking god. Moses complains to God that Israel is ready to stone him, and the Lord tells him that He will stand before him on the Rock in Horeb, and he must strike Rock (as in a deathly blow) with the Rod and water will flow for the people, and he did so. The place of the Smitten Rock was called Massah (provoke by crying) and Meribah (Strife), a place of Israel’s strife and testing the Lord, or unbelief. Here at Rephidim Amalek attacked Israel and Joshua is sent to fight against Amalek, but Moses will stand on the hill with the Rod of God with Aaron and Hur to support his hand along with a Stone to sit on, so that Israel prevails against Amalek. Joshua killed the Amalekites with the sword; and the Lord swore to always be at war with Amalek for all generations; and He told Moses to write (katav, first occurrence) in a book (sepher, second occurrence, first in Exodus, Gen.5:1 is the first) this as a memorial for Joshua for Amalek’s destruction. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law in Midian near Rephidim and Horeb near the Mount of God, heard of God’s favor to Moses and Israel and the Exodus, and he visits Moses along with Moses wife (who he had sent back because of the circumcision) Zipporah and his two sons Gershom (Alien) and Eliezer (God-my-Helper or Deliverer). Moses welcomes Jethro and relates all the wonders of the Exodus. Jethro blessed the Lord as Israel’ Deliverer and the only true God of judgment; and he offered to God burnt offering and sacrifices. Aaron and the Elders also feasted with Jethro. Moses sat alone to judge the people from morn to eve and Jethro inquires why Moses did so, and Moses explains that the people inquire of God from him, and to judge between parties, and instruct them of God’s statutes and laws. Jethro disapproves, and advises Moses, if God agrees, to be for God in serious (superior) cases, and those requiring special divine instructions. He suggests to Moses to share the judicial burden with able and truthful men, without bribery; in ranks of 10, and 50, and 100, and thousands to judge and rule in all general judicial cases and to reserve the great matters to him; Moses did as Jethro advised; but God did not comment. Jethro returns to his own land.
Now another month passed since the Exodus, some 60 days, and they came to the desert of Sinai after Rephidim and camped before the Mount of God. Moses goes up to God and the Lord reminds Israel that He judged the Egyptians and rescued Israel on Eagle’s Wings to bring them to Himself. That if Israel obeys His voice and keeps His covenant they will be His special possessions from all peoples, for the earth is the Lord’s. Israel shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. Moses reported the words of the Lord to the elders, and they agreed to obey the Lord’s words; he related this to the Lord. The lord spoke to Moses that He will appear to Israel in a thick cloud that the people will hear the lord speaking to Moses and to believe Moses forever. In response to Moses words of the people, the Lord commands Moses to ready the people for 3 days, that they sanctify themselves and wash their clothes. That a fence be set around the mount and that no one, not even an animal, cross it or touch it, or they will be put to death, by stone or arrow. At the long sounding of the trumpet the people are to come near the mount. Moses did so, forbidding even sexual contact for the 3 days. On the morning of the 3rd day there was thunders and lightning, a thick cloud on the mount, and a very loud trumpet sound, and the people trembled. Moses then brought the people from the camp to the foot of the Mount Sinai (Horeb), and the mount smoked because the Lord descended on it in Fire, and smoke ascended as a furnace smoke, and the mount quaked greatly. Moses reminded the people not to cross the bounds but to sanctify it. When the trumpet sound got very loud Moses spoke to God and He answered him by Voice. The Lord came down on top of Mount Sinai, and He called Moses, and then told him to return and further secure the premise lest the people cross it to gaze at Jehovah and many die. And let the Priests also sanctify themselves that the Lord does not harm them. But Moses insist that he did secure the borderline of the mount as commanded, but the Lord insist that He return and secure it, then he and Aaron to come up the mountain, but no priests to be with them lest they be harmed, so Moses went and did so.
And God spoke all the words of the Ten Commandments or the 10 Words, the Decalogue, in two parts or tablets, as the Lord God Who delivered them from Egyptian bondage: 1. No gods but God. 2. No images or likeness, graven or carved of wood or stone or metals, of anything in heaven or on earth or in the depths; not to worship or serve them, for God is a Jealous God, judging wickedness for many generations on his enemies, but merciful to those who love and obey Him. 3. No profanity of God’s Name, for He will hold them guilty for using His Name in vain. 4. No work on the holy Sabbath, the 7th day, by man or beast. For God rested on the Sabbath from His creation and sanctified the Sabbath. 5. No disowner or disregard for parents that they may live long. Then the second set: 6th: No murder. The 7th: No adultery. The 8th: No stealing. The 9th: No lying or false-witness. The 10th: No Covetousness or desires or lusts or cravings or envy of what belongs to another or what does not belong to them, whether man or animal, or another thing. And the people seeing the thunders and lightening, hearing the trumpet sound, and the smoking mount they trembled and moved back, telling Moses to speak to them and they will obey. But let not God speak and we die. But Moses assures them that no need to fear since God is testing them to see if they will obey Him and sin not. Moses then drew near the thick darkness where God was, and the Lord tells him to tell Israel that they have seen and heard the Lord speaking to them from heaven; that they commit no form of idolatry of silver or gold. But they make to Him an altar of earth to sacrifice burnt-offerings of sheep and oxen in the place He records His Name to visit and bless them. The altar must be of natural stones that it may not be polluted and must not have steps to expose their nakedness.
A word must be said concerning the Ten Words and its connection to the Ten Plagues as well as to the rest of the Law. The Ten Commandments are Ten Words and Ten Laws which govern all the other 600 plus laws consisting of various types and categories of legal enactments or constitutional legislation in ancient Biblical Hebrew judiciary system. The 10 words were negative judgments against conditions and behaviors against God and man. The first table against idolatry and whatever was not love to and for God, whether direct or indirect. The second table was against whatever was not love for others as neighbors and strangers. The first and last commandments of no idolatry and no coveting governed all the laws in one form or other. This in consequence of 10 plagues of judgment against the Egyptians and leading to the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover, which was followed by Baptism of the Crossing in the sea, in order to create a new nation and people. God’s words, the debarim, were His Word, the Debar, and His Speaking and this was the Torah, the Law and Teaching to Israel. This goes back to Genesis 1:3 and continues to the New Testament in the incarnate Word and Wisdom and Truth, and all things of God.
The Lord continues from Mount Sinai to give various ordinances and judgments as Hebrew servants or slaves; and of women servants or slaves; of accidental deaths or intentional murders; of cursing of parents; of fights and beatings; of injury to pregnant women and miscarriage and death; namely eye for eye and tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot, and the like. Laws of accidents by a goring ox; of robbers; and many such laws and regulations and cases of penalty and punishment, of various kinds of sins and crimes, and many judgments related to people living together as a nation. In all these laws God reveals His thoughts and attitude towards man’s condition that had developed over the centuries since the days of Noah. These laws would contrast or compare God’s way against the ways of the Gentiles. In countless examples God shows Himself hating evil and loving good; and He judges sin but desires to save the repentant. His laws of persons and of things, of animals and properties, of places and of nations, would mold and form the nation of Israel and make the Law of Moses universal in influence as the centuries past. God gave dietary laws and those of public health, of medical conditions and contaminations, of civil and political laws, of ceremonial and religious ordinances, statutes and judgments. All these laws were to prepare them to enter Canaan, led by His Angel who will not tolerate transgression because the Lord’s name is in him. The Lord will fight for Israel if they obey by His Angel. They are not to yield to idols of Canaan but destroy them utterly. They are to serve only the Lord Who will bless them in every way. He will terrorize their enemies, and His hornet will drive out those in the land; but not all at once lest beasts outnumber them. Their border will be from Yam Suf to the Great Sea of Palestine and from the desert to the Jordan River. They must mix with or tolerate the people of Canaan lest they become idolaters. He summons Moses with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the 70 Elders of Israel to come closer but not near, only Moses to approach the Lord; so Moses related all this to the people and they assented to obey, and Moses wrote (katav, 2nd occurrence) all the words of the Lord; then he erected an altar of 12 stones or pillars, according to the 12 tribes of Israel. Moses sent young men to offer the burnt-offerings and sacrifice peace-offerings; and he took the blood in two basins, half he sprinkled the altar, and the Book of the Covenant, and read it to the people who said they would obey. And he took the blood and sprinkled the people with the blood of the covenant of the Lord concerning all these words. Moses and the others saw the God of Israel as it were paved work of sapphire stone as heaven for clearness. But he did not lay hands on the nobles, for they beheld God, and feasted. Then the Lord called Moses to come up to receive the Tables of Stone with the law and commandment written by Him for Israel. Moses and his minister Joshua went up into the Mount of God, but not the Elders nor Aaron and Hur. The cloud covered the mount, and the Lord’s glory appeared like a devouring fire in top of the mount in sight of Israel, and he was in the mount for 40 days and nights.
We note the severe judgment of God against the 7 nations of the Promised Land: Canaanites, Hivites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Jebusites, and Amalekites. God did not take personal judgment on these nations during the many centuries of their apostasy and detestable ways. We could write several volumes of citations from the heathen practices of ancient times that have come to light by explorations of the spade and pick. God will in time reveal some of their vile and unnatural ways just as He did with Sodom and Gomorrah and the Antediluvians of Noah’s days. We need not shy away from the words or pictures presented of war between God and Israel against the nations and peoples of Canaan, even to local extermination. No persecution was to be made of those outside Canaan, or of Canaanites that fled the country. God did not bring down Divine judgment arbitrarily and capriciously, but humanely and strategically to establish a people who will hear and obey Him, and to follow His words in love and faith in righteousness and truth, with holiness and humility. And if Israel stray from the right path then He in turn would severely judge them with penalty and punishment to heal and restore them to Himself, that all the world, those near and those far away may know the way and will of God who will get honor and glory on His friends and foes. Those who insult intelligence by accusing God of cruel brutality and gross vindictiveness are those who excuse or ignore the infinite misery that many nations and rulers have produced and inflicted upon mankind from the Fall to the present world. The slaughter and causalities from the wars between Israel and Gentiles indeed ran into hundreds of thousands over a century of conflict from the invasion through the period of the judges to the establishing of the kingdom. This does not compare with the thousands of millions and now billions that occurred as man spread far and wide and making conquest as they advanced their power and cultures. Frequent genocides occurred as one people annihilated another or absorbed them as slaves and servants as a people or nation. From primitive savagery of uncivilized tribes to global imperial powers war has demanded a devilish price. God desires to eradicate evil with good but the time for the highest good to be manifest was in the distant future, and the would require the ultimate sacrifice of a God Who loves the world that has rejected Him and lost in sin.
The Lord now enlists His people to prepare Him a Place to dwell among them, the materials are to be offered willingly of all that they possess and took out of Egypt. Some 16 items are listed to make and construct the Sanctuary, a Holy Sacred Place (Miqdosh), and Dwelling Place (Shakan) or Tabernacle (Mishkan) for God according to the exact pattern and model shown, as well as its furniture. 1st the form of the golden Ark (Aron, a chest) of the Testimony (Eduth) or Covenant is described, where God will meet and commune. 2nd the golden Table of Showbread or Bread of Presentation or Presence (Shulchan Lechem Panim). 3rd is the golden Seven Branch Lampstand, 6 Branches of 3 pairs on either side of the middle stand or branch or tree, Candlestick and Candelabra (Menorath, Menorah) (in God’s House 7 Lamps or Candles but in Jewish homes they have 9 for the 9 days of Chanukah, Hanukah in the Christmas season). The Tabernacle or Mishkan was a Tent of 10 curtains in two sections coupled together with 50 loops, and covered with skins; with boards, sockets, tendons, and bars; and having a veil between the two compartments, the holy place and the most holy place. Moses was shown the detail design of all the elements and the particulars of the Tabernacle, their placements and setup, their use and function, namely all things related to the Divine Sanctuary. The Tent would have a curtain or screen at the entrance, outside was a brazen Altar (Mizbeach) for sacrifices; there was a court of linen hangings around the Tabernacle; the Tent of Meeting had Aaron and sons to service it daily. The garments of Aaron were for glory and beauty, made in wisdom by skilled artisans, made with breastplate and ephod, and other garments for him and his sons. The ephod had shoulder pieces with two engraved stones of 12 names of the tribes, as a memorial before the Lord, having the Urim and Thummim (Lights and Perfections, Glory and Beauty) of judgment to be carried by Aaron for Israel. It must have a plate engraved with Holy to Jehovah (Qodesh lai-Yehowah) to be placed on the front of the mitre or hat or crown, to bear the iniquity of the holy things for Israel to the Lord. Aaron’s sons must have coats and girdles and caps for glory and beauty; and thus, were his sons dressed to serve the Lord in His Holy Place, and in the Tent of Meeting. Many other things related to the priests’ daily duties and functions are described as the sacrifices, the offerings of various types, all which were to be sanctified that the Lord their God, Who delivered them, might dwell among them.
Also, the golden Altar of Incense placed facing the Veil by the Ark of Testimony, before its Mercy-Seat where God appeared. The Altar of Incense is to be used only for holy incense, and once a year used for Atonement by Blood. Also, the people when numbered are to give a ransom for their soul to the Lord lest He plague them. The atonement ransom is to be half a sanctuary shekel, equal to 10 gerahs, by all those over 20. And the atonement money used to support the divine service. A brass Laver or Washing-Bowl for daily washings, placed between the Altar and the Tent, to be cleansed before entering the Tent, lest they die. The holy anointing oil is made of spices as a unique perfume compounded with skill, to anoint all things and persons; but if copied and used as common brings death. As with the anointing oil so with the incense, it is not to be common. The Lord equipped by inspiration and wisdom certain select craftsmen to oversee and produce all these things. Israel is reminded and warned concerning the sacred Sabbath for it is God’s covenant with them forever. And God finished communing with Moses and gave him the Two Tables of Stone written by the Finger of God.
Israel became impatient with God and Moses, so they had Aaron make gods or idols to lead them on; and they gathered the golden rings and melted them and made a molten calf and said that this was the Gods or Idols or Charms that delivered them from Egypt. Aaron built an altar to this Sacred Bull and proclaimed a feast to Jehovah. They committed idolatry and feasted in their sin. The Lord told Moses to return to his people who have corrupted themselves in idolatry; they are a stubborn people; and He said His wrath will get hot to destroy them and make Moses a great nation in their stead. But Moses pleaded with Him for Israel not to burn against His people, but to repent of His intent lest the Egyptians say that He delivered them to destroy them, and what will come of His promises to the fathers. The Lord repented of His intended evil to Israel; and Moses descended with the Two Tables of Writings and Work of God, and Joshua met him and heard the noise and thought it was war, but Moses said it was celebration; and his anger burned at the sight of the idol and dance, and he threw the Tables and broke them beneath the mount. Moses melted the molten calf, burning and pulverizing it and strewed in it on the water and made Israel drink it. He rebuked Aaron for the sin, but Aaron excused himself and blamed Israel for his part of the evil idolatry. Moses saw the free and loose people as derision to the enemies; he demanded those on the Lord’s side to step aside from those who were not, and the Levites came to him; he then ordered them to gird their swords and to kill all the idolaters, and about 3,000 died. He consecrated them, and he rebuked their sin, and tried to propitiate or cover the great gold sin of idolatry, by returning to the Lord and confessing and pleading to forgive them or blot him out of His written book. But the Lord said He would only blot out of His book those who sinned against Him. Moses must return to lead the people to the land, with His Angel ahead of them, but God will one day visit their sin on them. So, He smote the idolaters of Aaron’s calf.
Moses is told that he and his people to get out and away towards the land of promise, and the Angel shall go ahead to clear the land, but the Lord will not go with the stubborn people since He might destroy them along the way. The people mourned at this bad news without their ornaments, for He had told them to remove them from mount Horeb and onward. Moses had often set up the Tent of Meeting outside and beyond the camp, and in the morning they watched at going to the Tent till he entered it; for the Pillar of Cloud then descended and rested at the door of the Tent, and the Lord spoke with Moses there, as a man speaks face to face with a friend, while the people worshipped at their tent door, then Moses returned to the camp. But Joshua, his younger-aid, remained in or at or near the Tent. Now Moses pleaded with Lord that though he was sent to deliver the people, he was not told who will go with him, yet the Lord knew him by name with favor and grace. He prays for proof of such favor by His ways shown him, and that the people belong to the Lord. The Lord’s Presence (Face) shall lead and give rest, and he said that if His Presence lead them not then not take them hence, for how will God’s favor be known by His chosen people. The Lord agreed to this also; Moses asked the Lord to show him His glory. He said He will pass by him all His goodness and proclaim Jehovah’s name, gracious and merciful; but His Face (Presence) may not be seen by man and live. Moses was to stand close by on the Rock, and while passing by in glory He will hide him in a Cleft of the Rock, and cover him with His Hand, and he will only see His Back-Side.
The Lord instructs Moses to chisel out two tables of stone as a copy of the first, and He will write the words as in the former broken tables. Moses was to present himself before the Lord in the Mount Sinai alone, and man or beast to be at a distance from the mount. Moses did so, takes the two stone tablets to the Lord, Who descended in cloud and stood with him, and He proclaimed the Lord’s name as a God of mercy and grace, patient, kind and true, faithful forever, forgiving sinners, but harsh towards those who are guilty visiting iniquity on many generations; and Moses worshipped, petitioning the Lord (Adonai) to go with them though they are stiff-necked, and to forgive, and to inherit them. The Lord covenanted with Moses for Israel, and Israel must obey and never make a covenant with the nations of Canaan to play the harlot of idolatry and to intermarry with them to lead to more harlotry of idolatry. But Israel must keep the feast of unleavened bread as commanded; redeem the firstborn and firstling and appear before the Lord with something to give. Other laws are then given as the Sabbath, the Feasts of Leaven or Yeast, and other such things. Moses wrote these words as a covenant between God and Israel; and he was with the Lord for another 40 days as before, without water, and He wrote on the tables the words of the covenant the 10 Commandments (Debbarim = Words). When Moses came down from Sinai with the Tables of Testimony his face was shining because He spoke with Him, and Israel was afraid to come near him. Moses bid them come to him and he related all; but when he finished speaking he veiled his face, then he unveiled himself to speak to the Lord; for the skin of Moses’ face shined bright.
Moses rehearsed the laws to be obeyed and then requested a free-will offering of heart and spirit, of mind and strength, to the Lord to build the Tabernacle. All the materials to be donated and all the articles to be constructed, all that must be worked and crafted as the Divine Pattern revealed. Israel freely stripped themselves of all their Egyptian ornaments and jewelry and money, along with cloth and fabrics and wood, and all that was needed. Overseen by gifted and inspired men and women, young and old, led by select master craftsmen (Bezalel and Oholiab). Israel gave so much Moses had to restrain them from further donations. The Tabernacle was made and all that pertained to it, exactly as the Divine Design shown to Moses in the mount. The sum or total of all of things for the Tabernacle of the Testimony inventoried by Moses command for the Levitical service, by the hand of Ithamar, the son of the Priest Aaron; along with those who helped according to the materials needed. All the gold used for the Sanctuary was 29 talents, and 730 sanctuary-shekels; the silver was 100 talents, and 1,775 sanctuary-shekels; for the men 20 years and older, a beka (1/2 shekel) for each, came to 603,550 sanctuary-1/2-shekels. The Sanctuary sockets came to 100 talents of silver, 1 talent per socket; the 1,775 silver shekels were used for hooks and coating the capitals, and for fillets. The brass was 70 talents, and 2,400 shekels, for the sockets, the brazen altar, its grating and vessels; sockets and pins for the court. And all the other items as fabrics and threads, and such which are not inventoried were available and used. So too the priestly garments of Aaron or the High Priest, and for the Aaronic Priests, and for the Levitical Priests, were made according to the Divine Design. Thus, was completed all the work of the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting.
Israel brought the tabernacle to Moses, the tent and all its furniture and furnishings and utensils and appliances, along with the priestly garments and attire. And Moses saw it was all made according to the pattern shown in the mount. The Lord commands them to erect the Tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting on the 1st day of the 1st month. First must be placed in order the Ark of Testimony, second the Veil to screen it, third the Table, fourth the Lampstand, fifth the golden Altar of Incense, sixth the Curtain at the Door of Tabernacle, seventh the Altar of burnt-offering, eighth the Laver, ninth the Court, and tenth Anointing Oil to anoint all things and persons. Moses did all as he was commanded to do. In the 1st month of the 2nd year on the 1st day was the Tabernacle setup with all his belongings and articles and in order and arrangement. Moses finished the work. Then the Cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the Glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle, so Moses could not enter. When the Cloud went up the sons of Israel moved onward in their journey; but when the Cloud rested they journeyed not. For Jehovah’s Cloud was over the Tabernacle by day and His Fire by night in the sight of all the House of Israel in all their journeys.
We are at the end of our reflections of Exodus, and we again encounter another 10 sequences to portray one picture, just as in the 10 Plagues and the 10 Commandments so here we conclude the Book with Ten Parts of the Tabernacle. The First and the Last are the governing items, the Ark of Testimony and the Anointing Oil. The Tabernacle was a Sanctuary or a Holy Place for God to be manifest; it was a Tabernacle or Dwelling, thus the House and Home of God. But it was also a Tent of Meeting or Living with God at home in His tent in His visitation of His people. The types and pictures are extensions and progressions of those in Genesis. The world of the Hebrews and Israelites is far more developed in many levels, both in nature and divine things. Conflicts between peoples are far more terrible as the larger powers increase and advance. God however is manifesting His presence and glory, His grace and goodness, and all things that pertain to His image and likeness. Man’s dominion of the earth and all in it was everywhere apparent, and evidence of his creativity and superiority over mere brutes everywhere found. The ways of God though very obscure was not effaced from earth or man but was becoming difficult to understand or appreciated. We will not yet resort to Job to explain these things. In Exodus God intends to form His people by His Book to be a witness to the world and draw man to Himself. We do harm to our mind and spirit by imposing too many things into Scripture, as well as not understanding the things as they unfold.
The types in the Plagues lead to the Feasts and Exodus, thus a nation is delivered out of a nation, and that new nation must be stripped of life and living, must be changed internally as well as externally. The Baptism separated them from the old and rebirth them unto the new, with many new things to be added. The Tabernacle had two compartments the Holy and the Holiest, and outside was the common place, the divine service was from man to God outside the Tent, but within it was God to man, but God was ever separate in His Holiest of All, for man could not share yet in these things. Each element and article in the smallest detail to largest magnification, speak of God dwelling and indwelling man. The Jews saw some of these things as it is seen in Israel, but those things of Messiah have been much distorted in rejection of Jesus Christ. Again, all things belong to God as is seen in the Word, and that word is in the book, and the book is Scripture; thus, all things spiritual is governed by the word, first by sacred tradition as existed in different ways with the patriarchs, but much more as it is written in scripture. Therefore, the Bible is His chosen media to educate and transform man, whether Hebrew or Heathen. The stories in Genesis and the record in Exodus all are for man’s birth and growth, although hidden and shrouded behind nature and clouds, within darkness and light. The analogy and the allegory have been passed on and down to us who believe God and follow His word unto righteousness and love and life. The Law was no exception but confirmed these things having the spiritual elements embedded in them, and each part answers to another to form a whole. It was never intended for all symbols to be understood by any generation in time past, but incrementally the grand design and intricate work would increasingly be comprehended. Therefore, in the New Testament so much of the Old Testament is explained and comprehended for it is then completed and complimented. The Symbols are very numerous, and the rules are obscure and coded so that many things will not be grasped at first sight but in life and time God’s Spirit brings us to know divine things. Man’s condition will not permit the natural man to properly grasp or partake of the heavenly things in Scripture for we have been alienated from God, and as we return to Him spiritual things come alive in the right way. Many have seen and written on the typology of the Bible and the rich pictures in Exodus, filled with innumerable examples of fine interpretations; but of course many silly and meaningless exegesis. What is good for me and for all is the basic over-ruling theme and background, the function and operation of the divine system as programmed by God and not man. As we have seen by now in these two books of Moses, the usage and grammar, the sense and symbols, first occurrences that govern the occurrences afterwards, and many such things can be easily discovered by diligent study with or without divine assistance. It is to faith and love, to obedience and righteousness, and these like things that allow the true and pure to take a hold of us as we take a hold on them. Finally we add that any things of God, of heaven, are spiritual and are all reflected by the natural, as nature, showing forth His glory; or by earth and all its animals and creatures and features in infinite variety of good and evil; and by man who is the image and likeness of God for whom God has occupied Himself these many thousands of years to birth and bring many sons to glory in a world better than this, and a time more infinite than now, beyond our comprehension and our quest, be they ever so high and deep –for God is the Beginning and End of all.
LEVITICUS: Chapters 1-27: Moses III:
We come to the 3rd Book of Moses called Leviticus after its general focus of the Levitical Priesthood. It is clear from the opening words that it is connected to and continues from the Book of Exodus. Exodus concluded with the erection of the Tabernacle and the Tent of Meeting filled with God’s Presence, and the Levitical Priests ready to serve and minister to the Lord for the people of Israel. One year had passed from the Exodus to the completion of the Tabernacle, and now in the second year the Levitical Priesthood will be ordered and the people prepared to enter Canaan. In the Law God revealed His transcendent sovereignty and absolute holiness against all ungodliness and depravity in man, and especially in His people. Sins must be covered or atoned, man’s condition exposed and mitigated by truth and righteousness without impugning God or annihilating man. He saved Israel from misery and must meet them in their weakness and frailty by the provisions substitutionary sacrifices and offerings in a national worship of God. God begins to reveal the need of the Savior and the Sacrifice, as we have already encountered several times in Genesis and in Exodus. Leviticus has 27 chapters, with two discernible parts, chapters 1-16, and chapters 17-27. Part One covers the Sacrifices for Sins and their Laws relating to the Sanctuary and Aaronic Priesthood, and concludes with the Day of Atonement. Part Two covers the Laws of Sanctification of People and Priest in relations to the House of Israel and ends in Vows.
The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting or Congregation to tell Israel that in offering Oblations or Offerings (qorban, offerings or sacrificial-gifts) and Sacrifices these rules and details must be observed: Animal Offerings of herd and sheep may be a Burnt-offering as a spotless male, offered at the entrance of the Tent of Gathering to be accepted or approved; his hands on the head of the Burnt-offering to make his atonement. The Bullock to be killed before the Lord and the Aaronic Priests shall present and apply the blood on the Altar; then the animal butchered and the pieces put on the fire and wood, first the head and fat, then inwards and legs washed and completely burnt up. This is a Offering of Fire and Sweet Savor to the Lord. And as with the Burnt-offering of Bullocks, so with the Sheep or Goats, slaughtered at the north-side of the Altar, and offered as a Burnt-offering. Likewise Burnt-offering of Birds or Fowls of Doves and Pigeons, its neck wrung off cooked or burnt on the Altar but the blood drained at the side, and its crop or throat-pouch with its filth cast away at the east side with the ashes; the wings to be torn off but the bird not divided but it is consumed by Fire. There are rules for the Meal or Grain Offerings, in kind and preparation and cooking as a memorial a Fire Offering and Sweet Aroma to the Lord. The rest of the Grain-offerings not consumed by fire belong to the Aaronic Priests as most holy. So too with the baked meal-offerings of unleavened cakes or wafers, and the like, part of it is a memorial offering and the rest belong to the Aaronic priests. But no grain-offering is to be offered with leaven or honey. There are also rules for Offerings of First-fruits, and they are not a Sweet Aroma on the Altar, but they must be always seasoned with salt. So too with the Grain-offerings of First-fruits, grain in the ear parched with fire and bruised grain of the fresh ear, with oil and incense; and part offered as memorial. The Sacrifice of Peace-offerings, though similar, has different rules and details compared to the Burnt-offerings and the Grain-offerings. The cooking of these Sacrifices is the Food of the Fire Offerings to the Lord as a sweet savor with all the fat; for the fat or blood must never be eaten.
Israel must observe these rules also: A Sin unknown or unintentional by people, or sin of the anointed priest that brings guilt on the people, a young bullock must be offered as a Sin-offering; and sacrificed according to these rules, as with the Sacrifice of Peace-offerings burnt on the Altar, so the skin, flesh, head, legs, inwards, and dung, the entire bullock to be carried outside the Camp to the clean place where the Ashes are poured out, and it shall be burnt on wood with fire. So too if the entire Congregation of Israel err, unknown to the Assembly, but are guilty of violation of the Lord’s commands, when the sin becomes known they are to offer a Sin-offering of a young bullock, and the Elders are to lay their hands on it, and it must be killed before the Lord, and the anointed priest to apply the blood 7 times before the Lord and Veil. As with the bullock of the Sin-offering, so here also, it is to make atonement for forgiveness for the Assembly. Likewise a Ruler who sins unintentionally or unknowingly, when known, he must offer for his guilt as did the assembly. Even the common people in unknown sins must offer for their sin and guilt when it becomes known. In like manner sins and trespass unintentional must offer for the sin and the trespass a Sin or Trespass Oblation. And restitution with penalty must be paid for violations against the holy things; a ram for trespass atonement.
Then follows the laws of burnt-offering, of meal-offering, of sin-offering, of trespass-offering, of consecration, and sacrifice of peace-offerings; all of which the Lord commanded Moses in Mount Sinai for Israel to offer their oblations to the Lord in the wilderness. The Burnt-offering is to lay on the hearth on the Altar all night and morn, the fire always burning; the priest clothed wearing his linen shorts, to take the ashes remaining from the consumption and put them beside the Altar; then he must change his clothes and carry the ashes outside the camp to a clean area. The fire on the altar shall be kept burning by the fat of the peace-offerings. And so other rules and regulations are prescribed concerning these laws of sacrifices. And as with the description given earlier, so too now these laws cover a wide variety of things which are related to the divine service. The symbolism is in each and every part, with different degrees of applications and types of the larger Divine Service. The substitutionary relation between the soul and sin, the animal and offering, the ransom and redemption and all the particulars are to be understood as looking back to the Fall and looking forward to Messiah. The work of the Holy Spirit is comprehensive and complex in the work of judgment and salvation. Thus the need for priesthood is manifest that could be a basis of the Law; on one hand to vindicate a holy God (Divine satisfaction and reconciliation by atonement or covering), and on the other hand meet the sinner’s need (forgiveness and restitution by payment or purchase)
The Aaronic Priests with the garments, anointing oil, bullock of the sin-offering, two rams, basket of unleavened bread, are to assemble with Moses and Israel at the door of the Tent before the Lord. Aaron and his sons are to wash, dressed with girdle, robe, and Ephod and its band; with breastplate and the Urim and Thummim, and with the mitre or holy crown with its golden plate. Moses anointed with the anointing oil the Tabernacle and all in it, and sanctified them, and he applied the oil 7 times to the altar, anointing and sanctifying it and its vessels, and the laver and its base; he did all this exactly as the Lord instructed. The Aaronic priests put their hands on the head of the bullock for sin-offering, and it was killed, and its blood applied to the horns of the altar with his finger to purify it; the blood was poured out at base of the altar to sanctify make atonement. The fat of the inwards, caul of the liver, the two kidneys and their fat, was burned or cooked on the altar. The bullock and its skin, flesh, and excrement were burnt with fire outside the camp. In like manner was offered the ram of burnt-offering, with some changes. Likewise the ram of consecration with its peculiarities, as the blood applied to the priests’ thumbs and great toes, and the unleavened cake, a cake of oiled bread, and a wafer placed on the fat and the right thigh, then all these items carried as a wave-offering waived before the Lord, then was burnt with the burnt-offering, as a consecration for a sweet smell as a fire offering to the Lord. So too was done with the breast of the ram of consecration as a waive-offering as Moses’ portion. The oil and blood sprinkled on priests and garments, and then the flesh was boiled at Tent’s door, and was eaten with the bread from the basket of consecration. Nothing was to remain, but consumed by fire. The priests are restricted for the 7 days of their consecration to stay at the Tent’s door to do service to make atonement. After the 7 days of the Priests’ Consecration, the Elders of Israel must offer a sin-offering and a burnt-offering, also sacrifice of peace-offerings and grain-offerings, on behalf of the people, at the Tent’s entrance, so that the glory of the Lord might appear. Then priests offered the offerings according to the ceremonial rules. The people saw His glory and shouted and worshipped.
Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, took their censors with fire and offered strange fire to the Lord which was not commanded, so the Lord’s fire devoured them. Moses told Aaron that this was done because the Lord must be sanctified by all those appearing before Him, and be glorified before the people. Moses had other Levites remove the bodies from the Sanctuary outside the camp; and he ordered that the Aaronic priests must not grieve for the dead rebels lest they die, but the house of Israel may mourn the burning death which the Lord kindled. The priests must stay during the week of their consecration by the oil of anointing. Aaronic priests are to abstain from all alcohol for they are holy and clean, and are to teach Israel the Lord’s statutes. Further rules are given the Aaronic priests as the eating of the grain-offerings, the waive-breast offering, and heave-thigh offering, all to be eaten in a clean place and shared by their family members. Now Aaron’s other sons, Eleazar and Ithamar, did not eat of the goat of the sin-offering, and Moses was angry at them for not bearing the iniquity of the congregation to make atonement, but Aaron replied that after offering the sin and burnt offering after the death of his sons would it please the Lord to also eat of these offerings, and Moses agreed.
Next follows the ceremonial and dietary laws concerning the clean and unclean animals that may or may not be eaten by Israel; and of fishes; and of birds; and also of insects and reptiles. The unclean animals and creatures in death contaminate or defiles and they must wash and remain unclean till evening. And whatever objects come in contact with any unclean carcass, and the article must be washed and remain unclean till eve. Earthen containers contaminated by contact with an unclean carcass must be broke; and all its contents is unclean. Exceptions are fountains and wells of flowing waters. And there are other such restrictions and applications. All these laws are given to sanctify them to be holy for the Lord their God is holy. They must not defile themselves with the unclean. This is the Law of Clean or Unclean Creatures.
Women who give birth to sons are unclean for 7 days, and the child circumcised on the 8th day, then she shall continue in her blood purification for another 33 days, during which she must not the holy things, or come in the Sanctuary. If a woman bears a daughter, she is unclean for two weeks and then continues for another 66 days. After the days of her purification she must bring a lamb a year old as a burnt-offering and young pigeon and a dove as a sin-offering to the tent, and the priest offers it to make atonement for her, and she will be cleansed from the fountain of her blood. This is the Law of Child-bearing Purification.
Then follows the Law of the Plague of Leprosy in garments of wool or linen, warp or woof (twist or weave), of skin or leather, to pronounce it clean or unclean. The details and symptoms of the plague and disease of Leprosy is given at great length, the early appearance as rising, scab, bright spot then the priest must examine it carefully and determine if really is a infectious leprosy, and if so he is unclean, and if not he is clean. If it cannot be readily determined as contagion leprosy then he is to be quarantined for 7 days, then if it has not spread, another 7 days of quarantine, and then reexamined, and if it still has not spread, but diminish, then he is clean, for it is not contagion leprosy. If it later reappears and spread, he is a unclean leper. There are many kinds of leprosy, different stages of the disease, and different symptoms. The priest must examine carefully and isolate it that it does not spread. Old leprosy is declared always unclean. If the leprosy breaks out all over the body and turns white the leper is clean and not contagious; but if any raw flesh appears, he must be pronounced unclean leper, and if the raw flesh disappears again the priest must reexamine him and declare him again clean. So too are the rules for scall like leprosy; along with leprosy-like conditions or infections of the scalp or skin; or baldness appearances; or head infections. A leper’s clothes must be torn and his hair loose and he must cover his upper lip and announce ‘Unclean’! ‘Unclean’! And he must live alone outside the camp. In like manner a plague in the leper’s clothes or articles must be examined, quarantined, and declared clean or unclean. Clothes with a fretting leprosy must be destroyed by fire. So is the doctrine of leprosy in ceremonial holiness in declaring what and when it is unclean or clean.
(We are searching Scripture in our survey and reflections; we pass over many things which we encounter in these chapters and books (as the Federal Headship of Aaron for his House and for the Nation as the High Priest, just as Adam, Noah, Abraham, and Israel stood for the entire People; this hermeneutically, is a principle of the part for the whole, the one for many, and also the reverse); some things will be noticed in the last book of Moses’ Torah, and other things will occur in later books, and of course the New Testament. The Jewish Tradition as found in Mishnah and Talmud is developed from these words of laws and rules, of regulations and instructions, and of many such things stated or inferred. We will have reason to reply and respond to these traditions as we move through the Old Testament and come to the New.)
Next is the Law of Issues or Bodily Flows and of Sexual Emissions, of Female Impurity and Menstrual Contact. The male uncleanness or impurity of bodily fluids, flows, issues, discharges, and emissions are always unclean, and all contact of persons or things constitute defilement, and such must be washed and bathed or be destroyed and remain unclean till evening. One week after his cleansing, on the 8th day, he must present a sacrifice or oblation before the Lord as a sin and burnt offering for his atonement. So too is female uncleanness and impurity of flesh and menstruation, and sexual and non-sexual contacts.
The Aaronic Priests are never to approach the Holy Place beyond the Veil before the Mercy-seat on the Ark, lest they die when the Lord appears in a Cloud on the Mercy-seat. He must present for himself and his house, two sacrifices for sin and burnt offering, be clothed with breeches and girded and with the mitre; dressed in his holy garments after bathing. Then two male-goats for Israel as a sin and burnt offering; and present them before the Lord. Aaron to cast lots for the two goats, one for Jehovah and one for Az-azel (scape-goat, exiled-goat, banished-goat, that is to remove or send away); the Lord’s goat is to be offered as sin-offering, but the goat of Azazel must be alive before the Lord for his atonement, and sent-away into the desert for Azazel. The bullock of sin-offering for atonement to be killed; and a censer full of fire coals, with fine ground sweet incense, and enter through the veil, put the incense on the fire so that the cloud of incense covers the mercy-seat on the Testimony, that he may not die. The blood of the sacrifice is to be applied by his finger to the mercy-seat on the east side and sprinkled 7 times before the mercy-seat. In like manner the goat of sin-offering for the people is to be offered. Thus, atonement is made for the Holy Place for Israel’s uncleanness of transgressions and all their sins, for the Tent of Meeting which dwells amid their filth and defilements. None but the High Priest must enter within the Veil to make atonement; afterwards he must go out to the Altar before the Lord and atone for it and apply the blood of the two sacrifices on the horns of the Altar, then sprinkle the blood 7 days to cleanse and hallow. After this the live goat’s head must be covered with both hands and to confess over it all Israel’s iniquities, transgressions, and all their sins; then the goat is to be escorted out to the desert, to carry all their iniquities to a solitary place in the desert. The High Priest shall then remove the garments, and wash himself, and then offer the burnt-offering for himself and the people for atonement. The fat of the sin-offering to be burnt on the altar, the goat’s escort must wash his clothes and bathed his flesh before returning to the camp. The remnant of the sacrifices, skin, flesh and dung, burnt with fire outside the camp, and the one doing it must wash and bathe before returning. This is a perpetual statute in the 7th month, 10th day, is the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) for souls to be afflicted, rest from work for all, to atone and cleanse for Israel’s sins, to cleanse them before the Lord. This is a Sabbath of Solemn Rest, a High Sabbath forever. The anointed high priest consecrated in Aaron’s place shall be dressed in holy garments to make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary and the Tent of Meeting (Congregation, Assembly, and Gathering), and for the Altar and priests and people. This is an everlasting statute once year as the Day of Atonement or Yom Kippur.
The Lord by Moses added other rules and laws concerning killing of animals by the people for sacrifices, its blood must be presented to the Lord at the Tent, or it will be imputed as blood guilt and he must be cut off from his people. All sacrifices must be offered by the priests at the Tent as prescribed. Israel must not sacrifice to he-goats as harlots of idolatry. The life of the flesh is its blood; the blood atones for the soul because it is life, thus no blood may be eaten or consumed, but it must be poured out and covered with dirt. What dies of itself, and then eaten, makes unclean; and he must wash and bathe and remain unclean till eve, or he is guilty. Israel must not be like the Egyptians or the Canaanites to practice their statutes, but must practice the Lord’s statutes and ordinances, that a man may live in them. Abstain from uncovering the nakedness of all close relatives or next of kin, by blood or law. Abstain from marriage of both sisters while both are still living; and from sexual contact with a woman while impure by uncleanness; and from defilement of adultery; nor sacrifice a child to Molech; nor profane God’s name; nor detestable defiling bestiality of confusion. These and the like are the practices and customs of the Canaanites by which the land and the people are disgustingly defiled, for which cause the Lord visits them to drive them out and destroy them, and the land vomits them. Rather they are to be holy for the Lord is holy; and to fear and honor their parents; to keep the Sabbaths; nor turn to or make idols. They must not eat of the sacrifices on the 3rd day and so profane the holy things; it must be eaten on the day offered. Leave some of their gleanings for the poor and traveler. Such and many like laws are given to Israel to observe, such as stealing, lying, false witness, gossip, hatred by silence, vengeance, love of country and neighbor; and also breeding, sowing, mixed clothing or fabrics, fornication, slaves, and the like; as shaving, body cuttings or piercings and tattoos ; of prostitution, and Sabbaths and the Sanctuary; of witchcraft or the occult which defiles; honor the aged, love the alien; of righteousness in weights and measures, and the like. These prohibitions and injunctions are again repeated by extensions and specifications, to expose idolatry and immorality, as infanticide to Molech, fornication and adultery, witchcraft and demonic doctrines and practices. The relations of individuals and society, of kin and neighbors, of age and gender, and many things related to human living of a divine chosen nation related to the Lord their God.
` The various laws and rules are given concerning the priests as those before of the people. The priests are restricted and limited in matters of marriage, defilement of the dead, appearance, conduct, status, service, morality, and the like; and the high priests are further restricted and limited by legal rules and regulations. The Aaronic Priests are to separate themselves from the Holy Things of Israel which are sanctified to the Lord; they must not profane the Lord’s holy name. They must not approach or serve in uncleanness or they will be cut off; a leper may not partake of holy things; and like instructions as in the previous classes. Rules are given as to eating of holy things, the penalties of violations, and such matters, as the condition of the sacrifices offered, and the various classes of offerings. The set Feasts of the Lord are to be proclaimed to be Holy Convocations or Holy-Days or Sabbaths. First, the Passover on 1st month and 15th day; second, the Feast of No-Leaven or No-Yeast on 15th-21st of 1st month; third, the Feast of Harvest of First-fruits, reaping and bringing the sheaves; fourth, the Feast of the First-fruits 49 days or 7 weeks after the Feast of Harvest, celebrated with sacrifices, 7 lambs and leavened bread or yeast bread, with the one burnt-offering and meal and drink offerings, and one sin-offering, and two peace-offerings; a wave-offering, it is a special Holy Sabbath, a Holy Convocation (Miqra-Qodesh, qodesh or kodesh is holy, but miqra is a gathering or meeting or assembly, from qara to cry or call or read, whence qere Hebrew textual variants, whence also Arabic Quran.). The fifth feast is Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement in the 7th month and the 1st day to the 10th day, 1st day a Sabbath, the 9th and 10th day every soul must be afflicted and grieved, it is a Sabbath. The sixth feast is the Feast of Tabernacles or Booths (Succoth) in the 7th month from the 15th day to the 21st day, the 1st day and the 8th day a Sabbath, Israel must dwell in Booths during this week of the Feast, in memory of the Exodus. These are the Feast Days besides the weekly Sabbaths. These are the 7 holy set Feasts of Jehovah for Israel.
Then there are laws and rules for the lamps of the pure Lampstand to burn continually with pure refined olive oil; and those of the pure Table having 12 loaves or cakes of baked fine flour; and pure frankincense on the two rows of cakes or loaves. When an Israelite blasphemes the Name of the Lord God, (as in the case of the son of a Danite woman, Shelomith of Dibri), the blasphemer must be stoned to death, by those who heard him, along with all the assembly, outside the camp. Also, laws of murder, and of killing animals, are based on life for life, equal retaliation or retribution, and just compensation. There must also be a Sabbath for the Land, after 6 years of sowing and pruning and harvesting then the 7th year must be a holy Sabbath for the land to remain unploughed and unreaped; but all may partake of what grows of itself without human labor or cultivation. Also 7 Sabbaths of years must be counted, that is 7 times 7 or 49 years, then in the 7th month on the 10th day, even the Day of Atonement, it must be proclaimed with trumpets throughout the land of Israel, to hallow the 50th Year of Liberty for all, the Year of Jubilee, and all must return to their native tribe and family, and celebrate the Jubilee as a special Holy Sabbath, partaking of the natural production and increase of the land. All sales of persons and properties must be returned to its original owners at the fair price based on the Year of Jubilee. If Israel observe and obey all the words of the Lord in His statutes and ordinances they will be blest and dwell in safety, even the 6th and the 8th year will yield more. Redemption and restoration of persons and possessions must be allowed according to value and laws, but no Israelite must be kept in slavery beyond 6 years or when the Jubilee occurs. The Levites must be allowed to redeem all their possessions at any time they desire; but the field of their suburbs must not ever be sold. Also a poor brother of Israel must be treated kindly, even as the stranger and sojourner, fearing God, to allow the poor brother to live and improve; he is not to be charged with interest, or increased price, or such things, but to remember that they were delivered out of Egypt and given Canaan; he must not become a slave but only a hired-servant; and then he and his family must be released in the Year of Jubilee, for they are the Lord’s servants. No mistreatment to the poor brother by enslaving him; but the non-Israelite may be bought or sold as slaves, and a poor Israelite that is enslaved by a foreigner must be redeemed by his brethren or near kin or by himself, and must be freed by redemption in the Jubilee; his service is as a hired-servant not as a slave; the children of Israel are the Lord’s delivered servants.
Israel must have no idols of any sort, and must keep the Sabbaths, and reverence the Sanctuary; must obey the Lord and He will bless with rain and increase the crops and make Israel to prosper; He will give peace and security; the beasts will cease as well as the sword. Israel will be stronger than their more numerous enemies. The Lord will be favorable to Israel and establish His covenant and make their food supply plenty. He will set up His Tabernacle and dwell as God with His people; who He saved and made upright to serve Him. But if Israel becomes rebellious and break His covenant then the Lord will turn against Israel as an enemy to vex and destroy them, to plague and enslave them; and if they repent not He will punish them 7 times more for their sins. He will break the pride of their power and harden the heavens; and with many such evils will visit them; He will reduce them to poverty and misery, to starvation and terror, to wars and captivity, to destroy all their idolatry and their cities, and scatter them to all the Gentiles, even to utter desolation. Even the surviving remnant will despair in dismay at their enemies for all Israel’s sins and trespass against the Lord. And if they turn and confess for their trespass against Him and are humbled and accept the punishment for their wickedness, then the Lord will remember His covenant with the Patriarchs and the land, and will not reject or abhor them utterly, for He is their God. These are the statutes and ordinances and laws of His covenant with Israel at Sinai. When a vow is accomplished, the estimation must be made from those 20-60 years of age according to the sanctuary-shekel, 50 shekels for males, 30 shekels for females; and vows for children from 5-20 shall be estimated at 20 for boys, and 10 for girls. Vows for infants from one month to 5 years of age are estimated or valued at boys at 5 shekels, and for girls 3 shekels. Vows for those above 60 must be valued at 15 shekels for men, and 10 shekels for women. Those too poor to pay the standard price, must be revalued by the priest according to their ability to pay. Vows for animals, clean or unclean, good or bad, a clean sacrifice must be offered according to the vow, but an unclean animal must be valued by the priest and his estimation must stand. An animal sacrifice may be redeemed if 1/5th the value (20%) is added to the estimation. When an Israelite sanctify or consecrate his house by a vow, good or bad, the priest must value it and if redeemed its price valued with additional 20% added to it. In like manner vows of sanctification of fields and crops; but unredeemed fields of a vow must not be freed in jubilee but will be devoted as holy to the Lord and belong to the priest; but an exception is made for purchased fields for another’s ownership, it shall return to the seller in the Jubilee. No firstling of clean animals shall ever be sanctified by a vow for it belongs to the Lord; but unclean firstlings may be ransomed according to estimation of the priest, and 20% added to the price. No devoted or banned (cherem= to ban, devote to destruction, to cut off, as in contraband) thing by vow, of man or beast or his own inherited field shall ever be sold or redeemed for they are most holy to the Lord; no man devoted or banned shall be ransomed but must be put to death. The Tithe (1/10) of the land and its produce is holy to the Lord, and if redeemed must pay 20% more; so too of animals and must not be redeemed.
The Book of Leviticus as Moses III, like the Book of Exodus, is filled with countless types and shadows, looking back to Genesis and looking forward to the rest of Scripture, and most significantly to the New Testament and Messiah. Its Divine Theme as before and ever after in the Word is Judgment and Salvation, the Fall of Man in Adam met with in many ways and words, laws and rules, statutes and ordinances, but established by blood of sacrifices and oblations offered to Divine instructions and commands, and all which is related to the Sanctuary as God’s Tabernacle and its Service or Ministry of the Priesthood. The lessons are valid realities but of temporary significance as will unfold in the progression of God moving in the world among His people. All the Sacrifices and Offerings though many are all one and the same, the body and blood one, the soul and life one, and thus portray One Sacrifice and the One Offering in the Divine Service. Many of these matters are therefore treated in the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament. The animals of herds and flocks, of fowls, of grain and crops are all for one thing a temporary reconciliation or atonement for sin and sinner to live in the presence of a holy and righteous God, that His virtues of grace and mercy, goodness and kindness, His forgiveness and friendship, peace and fellowship, and so much more as required in different relations and conditions or cases, flow freely and properly from the Creator to the Creature, from the Lord to Israel, and from God to the World.
We have already remarked before and above that there are many ongoing developments of significance and applications to spiritual things reflected by natural things, in different forms and degrees. The Offerings in whatever form and for whatever reason all lead to the same thing, namely back to God. The offerings as wholly burnt, sin, trespass, peace, grain, wave, heave, and all such, are for the same things; and the condition of man or woman, the old and the young, known and unknown, of Israel or Gentile, are also the same, whether sins or uncleanness, or impurities and diseases, all are one in nature and truth in regards to God. We are past the middle of the Torah with the 4th Book of Moses to complete the 1st divine finger of the Bible hands, and to advance to the 2nd. We have a picture of the daily ceremonial routine based on the people’s living and giving in the wilderness, anticipating the settlement in the good land. But God must test and train them regarding warfare with the enemies of God, and to grow within them all that is of Him and for Him. As with Genesis and Exodus there are thousands of other details that we could consider but have no need in these reflections, to venture out, in seeking the Word as the Mirror to show God as He wishes to be seen and to show us as we are.