SHOFTIM (Judges)
30 AUG 2014

Deut 16:18-21:9

Isaiah 51:12-52:12

John 1:19-27

A Government of the People: This section defines the status of judges, the king, the priests and prophets. All of them are officers in the Jewish commonwealth.

(Deut 16:18-20) Judges and Justice-Judges are selected for each tribe. There will be no respecting of people, no perverse judgment. Justice shall you follow, that you may live and inherit the land which the Lord gives to you. Justice equals righteousness. There shall be no bribes. No partiality shall be shown. Just as GOD, who is not a respecter of persons, justice is to respect the rights of all people. Injustice is the most flagrant manifestation of disrespect for the rights of all people. (Isaiah 5:16) GOD, who is holy, is sanctified by justice. Where there is no justice, there are no rights.

We, as a society, lose our appreciation and understanding of what it is to be sons and daughters of the Most High GOD, therefore negating the Bible and its teachings. Even our own constitution states that we all have inalienable rights given from our Creator. He is declared to be the Supreme Ruler when we are obedient in all of His laws, starting with justice for all.

(Chapter 17) Offer unto the Lord what is pure and without blemish. GOD declares that all evil is to be removed. This includes serving other gods and worshiping the creation rather than the creator. Guilt will be declared only from the mouth of two or three witnesses, and then punishment will be given. If a matter is too difficult, then a higher authority is consulted-such as the priests, Levites in Jerusalem, Sanhedrin. Then, whatever decision is made, it is to be followed strictly, otherwise the judge has the ability to put all parties to death for being disrespectful. The death sentence is not because of disrespect towards the judge, but disrespect towards GOD, Himself. It is GOD who made our laws and set judges and priests over us.

(17:14) Moses is given a prophetic word in which GOD states that the people will reject Him and His anointed prophets and judges. They will choose to have a king, just like the rest of the nations. GOD states that when they do choose a king, it will be one of their own, and not a foreigner. It will be the one that GOD chooses for them. The king that GOD chooses shall not multiply his horses or his wealth. He shall not multiply to himself many wives.

The king that GOD chooses is to make two copies of the Torah, one to keep in the treasury and one on his person at all times. He is to read and study it all the days of his life so that he may fear the Lord, his GOD. He is to keep all of the commandments of GOD. If he obeys all of the commands of GOD, his kingdom will be prolonged.

(Chapter 18) Priests and Levites, having no portion or inheritance of the land, shall be given food, drink and shelter by the community. The community is to provide for the physical needs of the priests and Levites, and the priests and Levites are to provide for the spiritual needs of the community. This is GOD’s decision. He chooses those to minister to Him and His people, Israel. This choosing is certain and forever. GOD, also, shall choose the individual who shall be a prophet, like unto Moses (18:18). The people were to heed to words the prophet pronounces in the name of the Lord.

(Chapter 19) GOD commends the establishment of Cities of Refuge. The commandment of having two or three witnesses to convict of a crime is reviewed. No mercy will be given to a murderer. He shall pay back an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

(Chapter 20) GOD’s people are told how to conduct a war, how to deal with their enemies and how to treat their own soldiers and the needy among their population.

(Chapter 21) If a dead body is found and the guilty person (murderer) is unknown, then the entire town or community is responsible. The command is too offer a heifer from their herd to be the expiation of atonement for the murder.

The month of Elul is upon us and the Shofar is sounded as a signal to ‘wake up'. Ephesians 5:14 says, “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Messiah will shine on you.”

In Corinthians 15:34 we are encouraged to awaken to righteousness and do not sin. The message during this time is to prepare us for spiritual renewal, and to make GOD our King, and to recognize our need to submit to His authority.

Shavua Tov

Rabbi  Z.

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