Chukat: Red Cow, Amorites Conquered
Contents in Alphabetical Order
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To Hear a Talk based on the Text below:
Wikipedia tells us:
##The Temple Institute, a controversial organization dedicated to preparing the reconstruction of a Third Temple in Jerusalem, has been attempting to identify Red Heifer candidates consistent with the requirements of Numbers 19:1-22 and Mishnah Tractate Parah. In recent years, the Institute identified two candidates, one in 1997 and another in 2002. The Temple Institute had initially declared both kosher, but later found each to be unsuitable.
##Some fundamentalist Christians believe that the Second Coming ...cannot occur until the Third Temple is constructed in Jerusalem, which requires the appearance of red heifer born in Israel. Clyde Lott, a cattle breeder in O'Neill, Nebraska, United States, is attempting to systematically breed red heifers and export them to Israel to establish a breeding line of red heifers in Israel in the hope that this will bring about the construction of the Third Temple...
In point of fact in recent
years a number of red heifers have appeared that were "kosher" for a while but
developed some imperfection later. With genetic engineering, effort, money, and
ingenuity the impression is that a red heifer could be "produced" if we really
[Numbers 19:3] AND YE SHALL GIVE HER UNTO ELEAZAR THE PRIEST, THAT HE MAY BRING HER FORTH WITHOUT THE CAMP, AND ONE SHALL SLAY HER BEFORE HIS FACE:
Eleazar was the son of Aaron. The sons of Aaron that remained alive were Eleazar and Itamar. From them descend all the Priests i.e. Cohens who were to serve in the Tabernacle and after that in the Temple.
[Numbers 19:4] AND ELEAZAR THE PRIEST SHALL TAKE OF HER BLOOD WITH HIS FINGER, AND SPRINKLE OF HER BLOOD DIRECTLY BEFORE THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION SEVEN TIMES:
[Numbers 19:5] AND ONE SHALL BURN THE HEIFER IN HIS SIGHT; HER SKIN, AND HER FLESH, AND HER BLOOD, WITH HER DUNG, SHALL HE BURN:
[Numbers 19:6] AND THE PRIEST SHALL TAKE CEDAR WOOD, AND HYSSOP, AND SCARLET, AND CAST IT INTO THE MIDST OF THE BURNING OF THE HEIFER.
[Numbers 19:7] THEN THE PRIEST SHALL WASH HIS CLOTHES, AND HE SHALL BATHE HIS FLESH IN WATER, AND AFTERWARD HE SHALL COME INTO THE CAMP, AND THE PRIEST SHALL BE UNCLEAN UNTIL THE EVEN.
[Numbers 19:8] AND HE THAT BURNETH HER SHALL WASH HIS CLOTHES IN WATER, AND BATHE HIS FLESH IN WATER, AND SHALL BE UNCLEAN UNTIL THE EVEN.
[Numbers 19:9] AND A MAN THAT IS CLEAN SHALL GATHER UP THE ASHES OF THE HEIFER, AND LAY THEM UP WITHOUT THE CAMP IN A CLEAN PLACE, AND IT SHALL BE KEPT FOR THE CONGREGATION OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL FOR A WATER OF SEPARATION: IT IS A PURIFICATION FOR SIN.
[Numbers 19:10] AND HE THAT GATHERETH THE ASHES OF THE HEIFER SHALL WASH HIS CLOTHES, AND BE UNCLEAN UNTIL THE EVEN: AND IT SHALL BE UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, AND UNTO THE STRANGER THAT SOJOURNETH AMONG THEM, FOR A STATUTE FOR EVER.
##UNTO THE STRANGER## The same rights and obligations were to apply to the native?born Israelite and the Stranger (i.e. foreigner) who attached themselves to Israel. This principle is emphasized in Scripture over and over again.
[Numbers 19:11] HE THAT TOUCHETH THE DEAD BODY OF ANY MAN SHALL BE UNCLEAN SEVEN DAYS.
[Numbers 19:12] HE SHALL PURIFY HIMSELF WITH IT ON THE THIRD DAY, AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY HE SHALL BE CLEAN: BUT IF HE PURIFY NOT HIMSELF THE THIRD DAY, THEN THE SEVENTH DAY HE SHALL NOT BE CLEAN.
[Numbers 19:13] WHOSOEVER TOUCHETH THE DEAD BODY OF ANY MAN THAT IS DEAD, AND PURIFIETH NOT HIMSELF, DEFILETH THE TABERNACLE OF THE LORD; AND THAT SOUL SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM ISRAEL: BECAUSE THE WATER OF SEPARATION WAS NOT SPRINKLED UPON HIM, HE SHALL BE UNCLEAN; HIS UNCLEANNESS IS YET UPON HIM.
[Numbers 19:14] THIS IS THE LAW, WHEN A MAN DIETH IN A TENT: ALL THAT COME INTO THE TENT, AND ALL THAT IS IN THE TENT, SHALL BE UNCLEAN SEVEN DAYS.
[Numbers 19:15] AND EVERY OPEN VESSEL, WHICH HATH NO COVERING BOUND UPON IT, IS UNCLEAN.
[Numbers 19:16] AND WHOSOEVER TOUCHETH ONE THAT IS SLAIN WITH A SWORD IN THE OPEN FIELDS, OR A DEAD BODY, OR A BONE OF A MAN, OR A GRAVE, SHALL BE UNCLEAN SEVEN DAYS.
[Numbers 19:17] AND FOR AN UNCLEAN PERSON THEY SHALL TAKE OF THE ASHES OF THE BURNT HEIFER OF PURIFICATION FOR SIN, AND RUNNING WATER SHALL BE PUT THERETO IN A VESSEL:
[Numbers 19:18] AND A CLEAN PERSON SHALL TAKE HYSSOP, AND DIP IT IN THE WATER, AND SPRINKLE IT UPON THE TENT, AND UPON ALL THE VESSELS, AND UPON THE PERSONS THAT WERE THERE, AND UPON HIM THAT TOUCHED A BONE, OR ONE SLAIN, OR ONE DEAD, OR A GRAVE:
The ingredients needed to purify an unclean person consisted of a cedar branch, hyssop branches, water and the ashes of the red cow. It seems that cedar wood, Hyssop, and scarlet (wool dyed with a special red dye) was burned together with the cow and the ashes mixed together (19:6).
Hyssop is a kind of aromatic weed with purple flowers.
The water that the hyssop was dipped in was the water that had been mixed with the ashes of the red heifer.
[Numbers 19:19] AND THE CLEAN PERSON SHALL SPRINKLE UPON THE UNCLEAN ON THE THIRD DAY, AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY: AND ON THE SEVENTH DAY HE SHALL PURIFY HIMSELF, AND WASH HIS CLOTHES, AND BATHE HIMSELF IN WATER, AND SHALL BE CLEAN AT EVEN.
[Numbers 19:20] BUT THE MAN THAT SHALL BE UNCLEAN, AND SHALL NOT PURIFY HIMSELF, THAT SOUL SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM AMONG THE CONGREGATION, BECAUSE HE HATH DEFILED THE SANCTUARY OF THE LORD: THE WATER OF SEPARATION HATH NOT BEEN SPRINKLED UPON HIM; HE IS UNCLEAN.
[Numbers 19:21] AND IT SHALL BE A PERPETUAL STATUTE UNTO THEM, THAT HE THAT SPRINKLETH THE WATER OF SEPARATION SHALL WASH HIS CLOTHES; AND HE THAT TOUCHETH THE WATER OF SEPARATION SHALL BE UNCLEAN UNTIL EVEN.
[Numbers 19:22] AND WHATSOEVER THE UNCLEAN PERSON TOUCHETH SHALL BE UNCLEAN; AND THE SOUL THAT TOUCHETH IT SHALL BE UNCLEAN UNTIL EVEN.
[Numbers 20:1] THEN CAME THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, EVEN THE WHOLE CONGREGATION, INTO THE DESERT OF ZIN IN THE FIRST MONTH: AND THE PEOPLE ABODE IN KADESH; AND MIRIAM DIED THERE, AND WAS BURIED THERE.
Miriam died at Kadesh in the Wilderness and was buried there. The name Miriam in English is pronounced as Marion, Marian, or Mary. Miriam was the sister of Moses and Aaron. According to tradition Miriam had several other names one of which was Ephrath who is recorded (1-Chronicles 2:18) as the wife of Caleb ben Yefuneh and the mother of Hur.
[Numbers 20:2] AND THERE WAS NO WATER FOR THE CONGREGATION: AND THEY GATHERED THEMSELVES TOGETHER AGAINST MOSES AND AGAINST AARON.
[Numbers 20:3] AND THE PEOPLE CHODE WITH MOSES, AND SPAKE, SAYING, WOULD GOD THAT WE HAD DIED WHEN OUR BRETHREN DIED BEFORE THE LORD!
[Numbers 20:4] AND WHY HAVE YE BROUGHT UP THE CONGREGATION OF THE LORD INTO THIS WILDERNESS, THAT WE AND OUR CATTLE SHOULD DIE THERE?
[Numbers 20:5] AND WHEREFORE HAVE YE MADE US TO COME UP OUT OF EGYPT, TO BRING US IN UNTO THIS EVIL PLACE? IT IS NO PLACE OF SEED, OR OF FIGS, OR OF VINES, OR OF POMEGRANATES; NEITHER IS THERE ANY WATER TO DRINK.
[Numbers 20:6] AND MOSES AND AARON WENT FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE ASSEMBLY UNTO THE DOOR OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION, AND THEY FELL UPON THEIR FACES: AND THE GLORY OF THE LORD APPEARED UNTO THEM.
[Numbers 20:7] AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES, SAYING,
[Numbers 20:8] TAKE THE ROD, AND GATHER THOU THE ASSEMBLY TOGETHER, THOU, AND AARON THY BROTHER, AND SPEAK YE UNTO THE ROCK BEFORE THEIR EYES; AND IT SHALL GIVE FORTH HIS WATER, AND THOU SHALT BRING FORTH TO THEM WATER OUT OF THE ROCK: SO THOU SHALT GIVE THE CONGREGATION AND THEIR BEASTS DRINK.
Moses was commanded to speak to the rock and it would give forth water.
[Numbers 20:9] AND MOSES TOOK THE ROD FROM BEFORE THE LORD, AS HE COMMANDED HIM.
[Numbers 20:10] AND MOSES AND AARON GATHERED THE CONGREGATION TOGETHER BEFORE THE ROCK, AND HE SAID UNTO THEM, HEAR NOW, YE REBELS; MUST WE FETCH YOU WATER OUT OF THIS ROCK?
[Numbers 20:11] AND MOSES LIFTED UP HIS HAND, AND WITH HIS ROD HE SMOTE THE ROCK TWICE: AND THE WATER CAME OUT ABUNDANTLY, AND THE CONGREGATION DRANK, AND THEIR BEASTS ALSO.
Moses did not speak to the rock. He struck it and water came forth.
[Numbers 20:12] AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES AND AARON, BECAUSE YE BELIEVED ME NOT, TO SANCTIFY ME IN THE EYES OF THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, THEREFORE YE SHALL NOT BRING THIS CONGREGATION INTO THE LAND WHICH I HAVE GIVEN THEM.
Moses was to be punished for striking the rock and not speaking to it.
What difference did it make?
It could be that by striking the rock the miracle could have been imputed to natural causes. In the Sinai Desert, Saudia, and the Negev, etc, there exist different layers of underground rocks and also subterranean reservoirs of water, in some cases of great extent. It happens that water pressures can build up in different layers of rock. Some layers are more pervious than others, i.e. certain strands contain a lot of water while the layers above and beneath them do not. According to reports the different pressures can cause rocks to suddenly break apart and water come rushing out.
Why then did Moses not do as he was commanded?
[Numbers 20:13] THIS IS THE WATER OF MERIBAH; BECAUSE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL STROVE WITH THE LORD, AND HE WAS SANCTIFIED IN THEM.
[Numbers 20:14] AND MOSES SENT MESSENGERS FROM KADESH UNTO THE KING OF EDOM, THUS SAITH THY BROTHER ISRAEL, THOU KNOWEST ALL THE TRAVAIL THAT HATH BEFALLEN US:
[Numbers 20:15] HOW OUR FATHERS WENT DOWN INTO EGYPT, AND WE HAVE DWELT IN EGYPT A LONG TIME; AND THE EGYPTIANS VEXED US, AND OUR FATHERS:
##AND THE EGYPTIANS VEXED US## Hebrew "veyarayu lonu" i.e. did evil unto us.
This is what Moses said to the Edomites.
Later when Moses tells the Israelites how they shall relate what happened to them (in bringing their first fruits) they were to say,
AND THE EGYPTIANS EVIL ENTREATED US [Deuteronomy 26:6] in Hebrew "yarayu autonu"
i.e. made us out to be evil and after that AFFLICTED US [ibid]. The Commenary "Baruch She-Omar" (Haggadah shel Pesach) by Rabbi Baruch HaLevi Epstein (1860-1941 Lithuania) explains the difference between the two cases. Those who hate the Jewish people usually seek some kind of ideological justification for their hatred. They tell lies or gross exaggerations about the Jews. The Egyptians did the same. They described the Israelites as evil people. This is what it means where it says The Egyptians made us out as [i.e. to be] evil. The Israelites were commanded to remember not only how the Egyptians had afflicted us but also how they had sad bad things about us [Deuteronomy 26:6]. This remembrance however applied when the Israelites were amongst themselves in the temple bringing their first fruits, as one Hebrew to another.
On the other hand when as in our cases Moses is telling the Edomites what the Egyptians had done to us he left out the part where they had told lies about us. The reason for this was that when one is dealing with a potentially antagonistic party such as the Edomites were it is best not to tell them the wrong things others said about you one should be careful. Those who do not like you or are somewhat hostile to you will tend to give credence to bad things sad about you even when they are palpably false.
[Numbers 20:16] AND WHEN WE CRIED UNTO THE LORD, HE HEARD OUR VOICE, AND SENT AN ANGEL, AND HATH BROUGHT US FORTH OUT OF EGYPT: AND, BEHOLD, WE ARE IN KADESH, A CITY IN THE UTTERMOST OF THY BORDER:
[Numbers 20:17] LET US PASS, I PRAY THEE, THROUGH THY COUNTRY: WE WILL NOT PASS THROUGH THE FIELDS, OR THROUGH THE VINEYARDS, NEITHER WILL WE DRINK OF THE WATER OF THE WELLS: WE WILL GO BY THE KING'S HIGH WAY, WE WILL NOT TURN TO THE RIGHT HAND NOR TO THE LEFT, UNTIL WE HAVE PASSED THY BORDERS.
[Numbers 20:18] AND EDOM SAID UNTO HIM, THOU SHALT NOT PASS BY ME, LEST I COME OUT AGAINST THEE WITH THE SWORD.
The Edomites were descended from Esau who was the twin brother of Jacob who had been renamed Israel and from whom descend the 12 tribes of Israel. The Edomites were located to the east of the Land of Canaan and it was this area the Israelites wished to traverse but Edom would not let them. There were also other areas in the north where Edomites had settled. There were twelve different Edomite nations (parallel to the Twelve Tribes of Israel) and the kingdom of Edom referred to here represented only one of them.
[Numbers 20:19] AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL SAID UNTO HIM, WE WILL GO BY THE HIGH WAY: AND IF I AND MY CATTLE DRINK OF THY WATER, THEN I WILL PAY FOR IT: I WILL ONLY, WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING ELSE, GO THROUGH ON MY FEET.
[Numbers 20:20] AND HE SAID, THOU SHALT NOT GO THROUGH. AND EDOM CAME OUT AGAINST HIM WITH MUCH PEOPLE, AND WITH A STRONG HAND.
[Numbers 20:21] THUS EDOM REFUSED TO GIVE ISRAEL PASSAGE THROUGH HIS BORDER: WHEREFORE ISRAEL TURNED AWAY FROM HIM.
[Numbers 20:22] AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, EVEN THE WHOLE CONGREGATION, JOURNEYED FROM KADESH, AND CAME UNTO MOUNT HOR.
[Numbers 20:23] AND THE LORD SPAKE UNTO MOSES AND AARON IN MOUNT HOR, BY THE COAST OF THE LAND OF EDOM, SAYING,
[Numbers 20:24] AARON SHALL BE GATHERED UNTO HIS PEOPLE: FOR HE SHALL NOT ENTER INTO THE LAND WHICH I HAVE GIVEN UNTO THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL, BECAUSE YE REBELLED AGAINST MY WORD AT THE WATER OF MERIBAH.
Aaron was to die in this region which was east of the Jordan.
[Numbers 20:25] TAKE AARON AND ELEAZAR HIS SON, AND BRING THEM UP UNTO MOUNT HOR:
[Numbers 20:26] AND STRIP AARON OF HIS GARMENTS, AND PUT THEM UPON ELEAZAR HIS SON: AND AARON SHALL BE GATHERED UNTO HIS PEOPLE, AND SHALL DIE THERE.
[Numbers 20:27] AND MOSES DID AS THE LORD COMMANDED: AND THEY WENT UP INTO MOUNT HOR IN THE SIGHT OF ALL THE CONGREGATION.
[Numbers 20:28] AND MOSES STRIPPED AARON OF HIS GARMENTS, AND PUT THEM UPON ELEAZAR HIS SON; AND AARON DIED THERE IN THE TOP OF THE MOUNT: AND MOSES AND ELEAZAR CAME DOWN FROM THE MOUNT.
[Numbers 20:29] AND WHEN ALL THE CONGREGATION SAW THAT AARON WAS DEAD, THEY MOURNED FOR AARON THIRTY DAYS, EVEN ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL.
[Numbers 21:1] AND WHEN KING ARAD THE CANAANITE, WHICH DWELT IN THE SOUTH, HEARD TELL THAT ISRAEL CAME BY THE WAY OF THE SPIES; THEN HE FOUGHT AGAINST ISRAEL, AND TOOK SOME OF THEM PRISONERS.
[Numbers 21:2] AND ISRAEL VOWED A VOW UNTO THE LORD, AND SAID, IF THOU WILT INDEED DELIVER THIS PEOPLE INTO MY HAND, THEN I WILL UTTERLY DESTROY THEIR CITIES.
[Numbers 21:3] AND THE LORD HEARKENED TO THE VOICE OF ISRAEL, AND DELIVERED UP THE CANAANITES; AND THEY UTTERLY DESTROYED THEM AND THEIR CITIES: AND HE CALLED THE NAME OF THE PLACE HORMAH.
The Canaanite King of Arad attacked the Israelites and was defeated and all his country destroyed.
[Numbers 21:4] AND THEY JOURNEYED FROM MOUNT HOR BY THE WAY OF THE RED SEA, TO COMPASS THE LAND OF EDOM: AND THE SOUL OF THE PEOPLE WAS MUCH DISCOURAGED BECAUSE OF THE WAY.
[Numbers 21:5] AND THE PEOPLE SPAKE AGAINST GOD, AND AGAINST MOSES, WHEREFORE HAVE YE BROUGHT US UP OUT OF EGYPT TO DIE IN THE WILDERNESS? FOR THERE IS NO BREAD, NEITHER IS THERE ANY WATER; AND OUR SOUL LOATHETH THIS LIGHT BREAD.
[Numbers 21:6] AND THE LORD SENT FIERY SERPENTS AMONG THE PEOPLE, AND THEY BIT THE PEOPLE; AND MUCH PEOPLE OF ISRAEL DIED.
[Numbers 21:7] THEREFORE THE PEOPLE CAME TO MOSES, AND SAID, WE HAVE SINNED, FOR WE HAVE SPOKEN AGAINST THE LORD, AND AGAINST THEE; PRAY UNTO THE LORD, THAT HE TAKE AWAY THE SERPENTS FROM US. AND MOSES PRAYED FOR THE PEOPLE.
[Numbers 21:8] AND THE LORD SAID UNTO MOSES, MAKE THEE A FIERY SERPENT, AND SET IT UPON A POLE: AND IT SHALL COME TO PASS, THAT EVERY ONE THAT IS BITTEN, WHEN HE LOOKETH UPON IT, SHALL LIVE.
[Numbers 21:9] AND MOSES MADE A SERPENT OF BRASS, AND PUT IT UPON A POLE, AND IT CAME TO PASS, THAT IF A SERPENT HAD BITTEN ANY MAN, WHEN HE BEHELD THE SERPENT OF BRASS, HE LIVED.
They looked upon the bronze statue of the serpent.
Later the Greeks (who took many of their legends and concepts from the Phoenician Canaanites and Hebrews) borrowed this imagery, adapted it to their own legends and made it a symbol of healing.
See this extract from an Ohr Sameach article:
The snake and staff symbol traditionally associated with the healing arts is often attributed to Greek mythology either as the single-snake emblem of Asklepios, or as the double-snake emblem representing the caduceus (magic wand) of Hermes (Mercury).
The Asklepion emblem of a single snake coiled around a staff has been associated with curing since the 5th century BCE, when Asklepios became accepted by the Greeks as the god of healing. Whether he was also an historical figure as healer in earlier ages is not certain.
The caduceus of Hermes, portrayed by two snakes intertwined around a staff topped by wings, is related to the mythological messenger of the gods who guided souls to the underworld, and was seen as protector of travelers, shepherds, merchants and thieves. During the Middle Ages the caduceus became a symbol of pharmacy and alchemy, and eventually, although "mythologically" incorrect, came to be associated with medicine.
A: The rod of Asclepius (also known as the rod of Asklepios, rod of Aesculapius or asklepian)...
is an ancient Greek symbol associated with astrology and with healing the sick through medicine. It consists of a serpent entwined around a staff. Asclepius, the son of Apollo, was practitioner of medicine in ancient Greek mythology.
The Prophet Amos described the Amorites as very tall people.[Numbers 21:33] AND THEY TURNED AND WENT UP BY THE WAY OF BASHAN: AND OG THE KING OF BASHAN WENT OUT AGAINST THEM, HE, AND ALL HIS PEOPLE, TO THE BATTLE AT EDREI.
YET DESTROYED I THE AMORITE BEFORE THEM, WHOSE HEIGHT WAS LIKE THE HEIGHT OF THE CEDARS, AND HE WAS STRONG AS THE OAKS; YET I DESTROYED HIS FRUIT FROM ABOVE, AND HIS ROOTS FROM BENEATH [Amos 2:9].
ALSO I BROUGHT YOU UP FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT, AND LED YOU FORTY YEARS THROUGH THE WILDERNESS, TO POSSESS THE LAND OF THE AMORITE [Amos 2:11].
The Haftorah is from the Book of Judges chapter 11.
[Judges 11:1] NOW JEPHTHAH THE GILEADITE WAS A MIGHTY MAN OF VALOUR, AND HE WAS THE SON OF AN HARLOT: AND GILEAD BEGAT JEPHTHAH.
##JEPHTHAH## Hebrew "Yiftach" with the final "ch" being pronounced something like "h". The name appears to mean "He who will open".
GILEADITE: He belonged to the section of Gilead in Manassseh and in addition his father was also named Gilead.
##HARLOT: ## In Hebrew "Zonah". The word "zonah" is derived from the root "zoneh" meaning turn away from or "sin". The English word "sin" is derived from this root. At one stage the Northern peoples lost the use of the sound "z" and replaced it with "z". That is how the Sebulingoi derived their name from "Zebulon-goi" or "Zebulon-people". They were located in the region of Denmark and Frissia and from there moved southward into the Netherlands.
"Zonah" is the usual Hebrew word for "harlot" or prostitute BUT it can also have other connotations and possibilities and simply mean a woman who departs from the straight path.
One explanation (Targum Yehonatan, Rabbeinu Bachai) that is a little difficult but may have something in it is that the mother of JEPHTHAH was the prospective inheritress of her ancestors' Tribal portion but she married someone from another tribe and so lost her right.
[Judges 11:2] AND GILEAD'S WIFE BARE HIM SONS; AND HIS WIFE'S SONS GREW UP, AND THEY THRUST OUT JEPHTHAH, AND SAID UNTO HIM, THOU SHALT NOT INHERIT IN OUR FATHER'S HOUSE; FOR THOU ART THE SON OF A STRANGE WOMAN.
It may be that the mother of Yiftach was a loose woman who had given birth to him prior to the birth of heirs from the legitimate wife similar to the case of Ishmael and Hagar.
Alternately the mother of Yiftach may have been a second wife who was sent away because of her sons but Yiftach was kept on though in an inferior position. It would seem that there was something legal about his dispossession whether justified or not.
[Judges 11:3] THEN JEPHTHAH FLED FROM HIS BRETHREN, AND DWELT IN THE LAND OF TOB: AND THERE WERE GATHERED VAIN MEN TO JEPHTHAH, AND WENT OUT WITH HIM..
##TOB## also pronounced "Tov" and in Hebrew the word can mean "Good". The land of TOB was north of Gilead somewhere in the north of Syria. This was land that had been promised to Israel and in which Israelites settled though they had to struggle for it. Ultimately the Israelites were pushed out or subordinated and the area became part of the Aramaean Kingdoms of the region. Yiftach appears to have acted in a similar way to how David did before he became king and when he was hiding from Saul. Yiftach apparently led a band of bandits who would prey on the non-Israelite heathen enemies of Israel who dwelt in the region. He gained both experience and a reputation as a warrior leader. Someone once suggested that Robin Hood was really a Jew (Reuben Hod) who led an armed band of "Merry Men" in opposition to wicked King John who oppressed the Jews alongside the rest of his English subjects.
##VAIN MEN##: In Hebrew "rakim", i.e. empty ones. This is the probable source of the English word, "rake" meaning "profligate" and often used in that very same sense in Hebrew.
[Judges 11:4] AND IT CAME TO PASS IN PROCESS OF TIME, THAT THE CHILDREN OF AMMON MADE WAR AGAINST ISRAEL.
[Judges 11:5] AND IT WAS SO, THAT WHEN THE CHILDREN OF AMMON MADE WAR AGAINST ISRAEL, THE ELDERS OF GILEAD WENT TO FETCH JEPHTHAH OUT OF THE LAND OF TOB:
[Judges 11:6] AND THEY SAID UNTO JEPHTHAH, COME, AND BE OUR CAPTAIN, THAT WE MAY FIGHT WITH THE CHILDREN OF AMMON.
[Judges 11:7] AND JEPHTHAH SAID UNTO THE ELDERS OF GILEAD, DID NOT YE HATE ME, AND EXPEL ME OUT OF MY FATHER'S HOUSE? AND WHY ARE YE COME UNTO ME NOW WHEN YE ARE IN DISTRESS?
[Judges 11:8] AND THE ELDERS OF GILEAD SAID UNTO JEPHTHAH, THEREFORE WE TURN AGAIN TO THEE NOW THAT THOU MAYEST GO WITH US, AND FIGHT AGAINST THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, AND BE OUR HEAD OVER ALL THE INHABITANTS OF GILEAD.
[Judges 11:9] AND JEPHTHAH SAID UNTO THE ELDERS OF GILEAD, IF YE BRING ME HOME AGAIN TO FIGHT AGAINST THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, AND THE LORD DELIVER THEM BEFORE ME, SHALL I BE YOUR HEAD?
[Judges 11:10] AND THE ELDERS OF GILEAD SAID UNTO JEPHTHAH, THE LORD BE WITNESS BETWEEN US, IF WE DO NOT SO ACCORDING TO THY WORDS.
[Judges 11:11] THEN JEPHTHAH WENT WITH THE ELDERS OF GILEAD, AND THE PEOPLE MADE HIM HEAD AND CAPTAIN OVER THEM: AND JEPHTHAH UTTERED ALL HIS WORDS BEFORE THE LORD IN MIZPEH.
[Judges 11:12] AND JEPHTHAH SENT MESSENGERS UNTO THE KING OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, SAYING, WHAT HAST THOU TO DO WITH ME, THAT THOU ART COME AGAINST ME TO FIGHT IN MY LAND?
[Judges 11:13] AND THE KING OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON ANSWERED UNTO THE MESSENGERS OF JEPHTHAH, BECAUSE ISRAEL TOOK AWAY MY LAND, WHEN THEY CAME UP OUT OF EGYPT, FROM ARNON EVEN UNTO JABBOK, AND UNTO JORDAN: NOW THEREFORE RESTORE THOSE LANDS AGAIN PEACEABLY.
Israel had conquered these lands from Sihon King of the Amorites but previously the Amorites had conquered them from Moab and Ammon, mostly from Moab. The Ammonites were now trying to claim that Israel had taken them directly from Ammon and that they had all belonged to Ammon.
[Judges 11:14] AND JEPHTHAH SENT MESSENGERS AGAIN UNTO THE KING OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON:
[Judges 11:15] AND SAID UNTO HIM, THUS SAITH JEPHTHAH, ISRAEL TOOK NOT AWAY THE LAND OF MOAB, NOR THE LAND OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON:
[Judges 11:16] BUT WHEN ISRAEL CAME UP FROM EGYPT, AND WALKED THROUGH THE WILDERNESS UNTO THE RED SEA, AND CAME TO KADESH;
[Judges 11:17] THEN ISRAEL SENT MESSENGERS UNTO THE KING OF EDOM, SAYING, LET ME, I PRAY THEE, PASS THROUGH THY LAND: BUT THE KING OF EDOM WOULD NOT HEARKEN THERETO. AND IN LIKE MANNER THEY SENT UNTO THE KING OF MOAB: BUT HE WOULD NOT CONSENT: AND ISRAEL ABODE IN KADESH.
[Judges 11:18] THEN THEY WENT ALONG THROUGH THE WILDERNESS, AND COMPASSED THE LAND OF EDOM, AND THE LAND OF MOAB, AND CAME BY THE EAST SIDE OF THE LAND OF MOAB, AND PITCHED ON THE OTHER SIDE OF ARNON, BUT CAME NOT WITHIN THE BORDER OF MOAB: FOR ARNON WAS THE BORDER OF MOAB.
[Judges 11:19] AND ISRAEL SENT MESSENGERS UNTO SIHON KING OF THE AMORITES, THE KING OF HESHBON; AND ISRAEL SAID UNTO HIM, LET US PASS, WE PRAY THEE, THROUGH THY LAND INTO MY PLACE.
[Judges 11:20] BUT SIHON TRUSTED NOT ISRAEL TO PASS THROUGH HIS COAST: BUT SIHON GATHERED ALL HIS PEOPLE TOGETHER, AND PITCHED IN JAHAZ, AND FOUGHT AGAINST ISRAEL..
[Judges 11:21] AND THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL DELIVERED SIHON AND ALL HIS PEOPLE INTO THE HAND OF ISRAEL, AND THEY SMOTE THEM: SO ISRAEL POSSESSED ALL THE LAND OF THE AMORITES, THE INHABITANTS OF THAT COUNTRY.
[Judges 11:22] AND THEY POSSESSED ALL THE COASTS OF THE AMORITES, FROM ARNON EVEN UNTO JABBOK, AND FROM THE WILDERNESS EVEN UNTO JORDAN..
[Judges 11:23] SO NOW THE LORD GOD OF ISRAEL HATH DISPOSSESSED THE AMORITES FROM BEFORE HIS PEOPLE ISRAEL, AND SHOULDEST THOU POSSESS IT?
[Judges 11:24] WILT NOT THOU POSSESS THAT WHICH CHEMOSH THY GOD GIVETH THEE TO POSSESS? SO WHOMSOEVER THE LORD OUR GOD SHALL DRIVE OUT FROM BEFORE US, THEM WILL WE POSSESS.
##CHEMOSH THY GOD GIVETH THEE TO POSSESS##: The Hebrew construction implies: "CHEMOSH THY GOD GIVETH THEE [in your mind] TO POSSESS", i.e. according to your notions, not mine [Meshek Chochmah]. In the same way one may argue with a Muslim, "Should not you act in such and such a way according to the Koran?" because he claims to believe in the Koran even though we do not believe in it.
[Judges 11:25] AND NOW ART THOU ANY THING BETTER THAN BALAK THE SON OF ZIPPOR, KING OF MOAB? DID HE EVER STRIVE AGAINST ISRAEL, OR DID HE EVER FIGHT AGAINST THEM,
[Judges 11:26] WHILE ISRAEL DWELT IN HESHBON AND HER TOWNS, AND IN AROER AND HER TOWNS, AND IN ALL THE CITIES THAT BE ALONG BY THE COASTS OF ARNON, THREE HUNDRED YEARS? WHY THEREFORE DID YE NOT RECOVER THEM WITHIN THAT TIME?
[Judges 11:27] WHEREFORE I HAVE NOT SINNED AGAINST THEE, BUT THOU DOEST ME WRONG TO WAR AGAINST ME: THE LORD BE JUDGE THIS DAY BETWEEN THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AND THE CHILDREN OF AMMON.
[Judges 11:28] HOWBEIT THE KING OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON HEARKENED NOT UNTO THE WORDS OF JEPHTHAH WHICH HE SENT HIM.
[Judges 11:29] THEN THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD CAME UPON JEPHTHAH, AND HE PASSED OVER GILEAD, AND MANASSEH, AND PASSED OVER MIZPEH OF GILEAD, AND FROM MIZPEH OF GILEAD HE PASSED OVER UNTO THE CHILDREN OF AMMON.
[Judges 11:30] AND JEPHTHAH VOWED A VOW UNTO THE LORD, AND SAID, IF THOU SHALT WITHOUT FAIL DELIVER THE CHILDREN OF AMMON INTO MINE HANDS,
[Judges 11:31] THEN IT SHALL BE, THAT WHATSOEVER COMETH FORTH OF THE DOORS OF MY HOUSE TO MEET ME, WHEN I RETURN IN PEACE FROM THE CHILDREN OF AMMON, SHALL SURELY BE THE LORD'S, AND I WILL OFFER IT UP FOR A BURNT OFFERING..
[Judges 11:32] SO JEPHTHAH PASSED OVER UNTO THE CHILDREN OF AMMON TO FIGHT AGAINST THEM; AND THE LORD DELIVERED THEM INTO HIS HANDS.
[Judges 11:33] AND HE SMOTE THEM FROM AROER, EVEN TILL THOU COME TO MINNITH, EVEN TWENTY CITIES, AND UNTO THE PLAIN OF THE VINEYARDS, WITH A VERY GREAT SLAUGHTER. THUS THE CHILDREN OF AMMON WERE SUBDUED BEFORE THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL.
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