Mishpatim: Be A Slave.
Updated: Apr 10, 2022
(Mt Sinai - Egypt)
The title of our Torah Portion, is the word ‘mishpatim’ which we see translated in our Bible’s as ‘right rulings’ or ‘judgments’. Some dictionaries will render the word ‘mishpatim’, or at least ‘mishpat’, the singular form of ‘mishpatim’, as law, or better yet, as justice. Therefore, God here is instructing Moses to set before the people of Israel the ‘laws’ and it is so here within the portion ‘mishpatim’ that we really start to sink our teeth into the specific legal code of the Torah.
In light of this, it is filled with some of the deepest wisdom that the world has and will ever know, though ironically, within Christianity, it is also the most criticized and unfortunately ignored part of Biblical literature. These chapters of the Bible, which are ‘law’ in the stricter sense tend to be considered the most harsh, the most cruel, the most boring; and yet they remain the foundation of our very own legal systems and they remain one of the greatest ways to study and understand the identify of God himself. These laws within the Torah affirm our human dignity, God’s great wisdom and they are the path in which we walk upon as we strive to understand who He is.
For these reasons the sages declared of ‘mishpatim’;
Midrash Rabbah (Shemot p.351)
Observe how excellent is this portion!
Let us then begin to ‘observe’ how excellent this portion of the scripture is. Let’s start with the very word mishpatim because the word itself begins to overturn many the worlds’ commonly held misconceptions about this portion of scripture. We know how the world feels about the mishpatim, but let’s see what the Bible has to say.
Mishpatim plays a prominent part of the Psalms;
Psalm 119:137 (NKJV)
137 Righteous are You, O Lord,
And upright are Your judgments (Mishpatim).
Psalm 106:3 (NKJV)
3 Blessed are those who keep justice (mishpatim),
And he who does righteousness at all times!
King David himself declares;
Psalm 119:20 (NKJV)
20 My soul breaks with longing
For Your judgments (mishpatim) at all times.
Psalm 119:62 (The Scriptures)
62 At midnight I rise to give thanks to You,
For Your righteous right-rulings (mishpatim).
Notice how the mishpatim are repeatedly paired with the concept of righteousness. What therefore man has called cruel and archaic, the Bible says is good and that the children of God, the blessed ones, walk in the mishpatim of God.
Tongue in cheek, I sometimes think that one of the many litmus tests that believers should have when it comes to doctrine, is to see how Kind David would feel about your belief system. As the verses above show us, King David would not welcome your view if you thought that these words were in any way ‘done away with’ as so many like to think.
Additionally, when it comes to mishpatim and challenging the normative views in which they are seen, it’s vitally important to not just look back and see the worth in these commandments as they are in history, but to look up.
That is; to look to the heavens and understand that the very throne and Kingdom of God is founded on God’s ‘mishpatim’, his laws and right rulings (as was Kind David’s).
Psalm 97:2b (The Scriptures)
2 …Righteousness and right-ruling (mishpatim) are the foundation of His throne.
It is also important then to look forward in history to understand when the Kingdom of God is here that it will be on the foundation of God’s Torah and these words will then be the law of the land.
As it says in the Proverbs;
Proverbs 29:4 (The Scriptures)
4 A King establishes a land by right-ruling (mishpatim); (or some translations state ‘through justice’)
Understand then that these mishpatim will be established by King Messiah when He comes again;
Jeremiah 33:15 (The Scriptures)
15 ‘In those days and at that time I cause a Branch of righteousness to spring forth for Dawiḏ. And He shall do right-ruling (mishpatim) and righteousness in the earth.
He will ‘not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth’ (Isaiah 11:3 – 4). ‘There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore (Isaiah 9:7).
Therefore these commandments were of the highest relevance in the time of the Bible, they are of the highest importance for you and I today, and they will be the law in which we live when our King returns.
Take heed then of what the Master Himself says;
Isaiah 56:1 (The Scriptures)
Thus said יהוה, “Guard justice (mishpat), and do righteousness, for near is My deliverance to come, and My righteousness to be revealed.
Studying mishpatim then, is the study of the Kingdom of God, it is also the study, as I pointed out before, of God Himself because the mishpatim reveals a little bit more about who He is.
When it comes then to debates as to whether or not these things are ‘done away with’, or ‘abolished’, we need to understand the gravity of what we’re saying. Rejecting these words is tantamount to rejecting parts of the character of God. The Torah, here especially in mishpatim, is God’s own self disclosure to humanity declaring how He wants us to live and who He is. To declare the mishpatim as abolished denies the eternal and unchanging nature of God.
Grace Vs Law
As a brief aside people tend to create fanciful doctrines in order to excuse themselves from having to obey God, even if they can see the worth in these commandments. One such doctrine is the idea of God’s Grace abolishing God’s law. This idea largely derives from the writings of Paul and is really worthy a standalone study. Quickly put, people often use verses such as these two to justify this position;
Galatians 3:23 (The Scriptures)
23 But before belief came, we were being guarded under Torah, having been shut up for the belief being about to be revealed.
Galatians 5:18 (The Scriptures)
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Torah.
Understandably, people misunderstand these words as a means to say that they do not need to keep God’s rules. Knowing though that people would misunderstand his teaching Paul cautioned us not to use God’s grace as a free license to sin against God;
Romans 6:1–2 (The Scriptures)
What, then, shall we say? Shall we continue in sin, to let favour increase?
2 Let it not be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?
Romans 3:31 (The Scriptures)
31 Do we then nullify the Torah through the belief? Let it not be! On the contrary, we establish the Torah.
The issue at hand with Paul is a matter of context, and to often his writings are taken with no consideration for the context of his time. The issue Paul was addressing was the idea that in order for people to have salvation, that they must undergo a full conversion and become Jewish. What Paul is arguing against, typically in his misunderstood verses, is that idea. Paul defended salvation through faith, not salvation through works. Having been saved though, we must walk in the instructions that God has given us. The religious leaders at the time of Paul taught that people must undergo certain physical acts like baptism and circumcision in order to receive salvation. Officially, coming into the Jewish fold at the time required steps like these to be obeyed, and it meant that salvation was achieved essentially by been accepted by the Jewish leadership at the time of Messiah. I know people have a very harsh view of this, it’s understandable, personally, I lament for the Jews of the day because they were living under the oppression of Rome and rightfully so, having been murdered by outsiders for so long, were suspicious of anyone wishing to join the fold of Israel. That said, salvation was never given by our actions, nor was it ever given by man’s authority. Paul understood this, and despite being a strong advocate for salvation by faith, as is the case, never intended on anyone abolishing the Torah.
Moving further into the portion itself the commandments start by addressing the issue of slavery. Herein lies much of the controversy regarding the Torah and as I’m sure you’ve all heard, many people criticize the Torah because they feel that it is unjust in that it legislates and appears to support forms of slavery.
Now as we move forward I want to look at these verses with the lens that we’ve provided above, that these words are revelation of God himself, that they are the foundation of His kingdom, and that they are righteous.
Having done so I want to give you the lens in which most of the world views these verses on slavery. In doing so, I want to read to you from the autobiography of a former slave called Frederick Douglas. He lived in the 19th century and was a famous abolitionist and African American. Of his slave master he wrote;
He was a cruel man, hardened by a long life of slave holding. He would at times seem to take great pleasure in whipping a slave. I have often been awakened at the dawn of day by the most heart rending shrieks of an own aunt of mine, who he used to tie to a joist and whip upon her naked back till she was covered with blood…he would whip her to make her scream, whip her to make her hush, and not until overcome by fatigue would he cease to swing…I never shall forget it whilst I remember anything. It was the first of a long series of such outrages, of which I was doomed to be a witness. It struck me with awful force. It was the blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass. It was a most terrible spectacle. I wish I could commit to paper the feelings with which I beheld it.
Unfortunately, when people read of slavery or servitude in the Bible, they do so with the above description in mind, they do so with slavery in antebellum America in mind.
Now when it comes to these verses we have to realize that slavery was an accepted and widespread institution in the ancient world. God had to legislate for it so the very fact that slavery appears in the Bible is just a matter of fact if we understand context. Further, Israel had just been released from slavery and it makes no sense that God would command Israel to in turn treat people the way they were treated in Egypt, or the way slaves were treated like Frederick Douglas.
Rather, slavery in the Bible acknowledges its existence, but strives for its abolishment. Slavery in the Bible protects slaves, recognizes their humanity, and guarantees their restoration and freedom.
We have large volumes of ancient near eastern law with which we can compare the Bible. To make a comparison with slavery in the Bible, there were in the ancient near east 3 common factors.
1. The slave was property
2. The master’s rights over the slaves were absolute and total
3. Slaves were completely stripped of their identity
In contrast, Hebrew slaves were,
1. Called ‘brothers’ (Lev 25: 39)
2. Could not be kidnapped (Ex 21:16)
3. Had the right to rest on Shabbat and on festivals (Ex 20:10-11)
4. Could participate in the Passover offering (Exodus 12:44)
5. Is to be avenged if killed in a beating (Ex 21:20)
6. Had to be released if they were injured (Ex 21:26-27)
7. Fugitive slaves were not be returned to their harsh masters (Deut 23:16-17)
8. Fugitive slaves were able to dwell where they chose (Deut 23:16-17)
9. When released they were to be given gifts (Deut 15:13-14)
10. They could be released and have their debts forgiven in the shemitah every 7 years (Exodus 21:2; Deut 15:1)
11. Were protected from oppression (Multiple references exist e.g. Leviticus 25:17)
Slavery in the Bible was ironically a means to help the poor. It was actually an attractive option for many as slavery, or servanthood as it also translated, was induced by poverty and in Israel entering into a contractual agreement like this was a means to pay off debts, but also a means to avoid starvation. Israelites were not allowed to take or kidnap people for slaves and were not allowed to oppress people and force them into slavery. Slavery was a voluntary institution not much different to our modern concept for employment.
The Torah, though it legislated with regards to slavery, prevented this from becoming an oppressive institution and its laws strive to live in a society that was slave and poverty free. Deuteronomy 15 sets this out and the Bible even goes to great lengths to prevent the need for people to enter into servitude.
Deuteronomy 15:7 (The Scriptures)
7 “When there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, within any of the gates in your land which יהוה your Elohim is giving you, do not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother,
It goes on;
Deuteronomy 15:11–15 (The Scriptures)
11 “Because the poor one does not cease from the land. Therefore I am commanding you, saying, ‘You shall certainly open your hand to your brother, to your poor and to your needy one, in your land.’
12 “When your brother is sold to you, a Heḇrew man or a Heḇrew woman, and shall serve you six years, then let him go free from you in the seventh year.
13 “And when you send him away free from you, let him not go away empty-handed.
14 “You shall richly supply him from your flock, and from your threshing-floor, and from your winepress. With that which יהוה has blessed you with, give to him.
15 “And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Mitsrayim, and יהוה your Elohim redeemed you. Therefore I am commanding you this word today.
In our portion it says;
Exodus 22:21–23 (The Scriptures)
21 “Do not tread down a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Mitsrayim.
22 “Do not afflict any widow or fatherless child.
23 “If you do afflict them at all—if they cry out to Me at all, I shall certainly hear their cry,
God did not want poverty to be in the land of Israel, God even explicitly stats in Deuteronomy 15:4 that ‘There should be no poor among you’. Israelites were to live a life of high integrity in a society where we look out for one another.
With slavery and poverty laws all taken into consideration, the Bible boldly declares that though there will be poor and therefore slaves among us; that we should never cease to strive to live in a poverty free society. What a drastic improvement on culture today. Further, the Torah commandments make our struggle communal, for we are all commanded to help each other, to not be harsh to one another, to not profit from another’s misfortunes, and to strive in this life together, and to strive for a society where there is no poor.
Regarding the poor, the Scripture commands;
· They were allowed to glean in the fields for food (Lev 19:9-10; Deut 24:20-21)
· We’re to leave the corners of our fields for the poor (Lev 23:22)
· We are commanded to lend to the poor (Deut 15:7-8)
· We cannot lend to the poor with interest (Exodus 22:25)
· If we have a pledge from a person and it is important for their life, we are to return it when needed (Exodus 22:26)
· Debts are cancelled in the shemitah (Exodus 21:2; Deut 15:1)
And as Hebrews, they were even allotted their own portion of land which would never cease to be theirs and in the year of jubilee even their land had to be returned if they could not buy it back (Lev 25:28).
The Bible is the first document in history that appeals for the treatment of slaves as human beings for their own sakes, and not just in the interests of their masters. The Bible is the first document that affirms that all men are made in the image of God, not just the king, like it was with Pharaoh and other ancient near east societies.
Job 31:13–23 (The Scriptures)
13 If I have refused the plea of my male servant or my female servant when they complained against me,
14 then what should I do when Ěl rises up? And when He punishes, what should I answer Him?
15 Did not He who made me in the womb make him? And did not One fashion us in the womb?
16 If I have withheld the poor from pleasure, or caused the widow’s eyes to fail,
17 or eaten my piece of bread by myself, and the fatherless did not eat of it—
18 but from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided her—
19 if I have seen anyone perish for lack of garments, or a poor one without covering;
20 if his loins have not blessed me, and he warmed himself with the fleece of my sheep;
21 if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, when I saw I had help in the gate;
22 let my arm fall from my shoulder, and my arm be broken from the bone.
23 For I am in dread of destruction from Ěl, and from His excellence I could not escape.
Servant = Property
There are many complications within the Torah regarding slavery that people debate. This is because there are verses that are very difficult to understand and that seem to contract the positive light we’ve just put on slavery and the Torah. One that we’ll briefly address is in the following passage;
Exodus 21:20–21 (The Scriptures)
20 “And when a man smites his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall certainly be punished.
21 “But if he remains alive a day or two, he is not punished; for he is his property.
The issue we’ll address is in verse 21 which appears to state that the slave is the master’s property. It is however a matter of the Hebrew which states ‘ki hu kasp’ – ‘for he is his property’. Rather, ‘hu’, which is ‘he’, can be aptly translated as ‘that’, as it is elsewhere throughout scripture. Also, ‘kasp’, ‘property’, is really the word for ‘money’. Therefore, another translation would be ‘for that is his money’. This changes the reference of the verse from the slave, to the money that belongs to the master, specifically referring to the money that the slave owes the master and is working off. This in context, given how slaves find themselves in this position in Israel, makes sense. So in this given scenario the master is judged as having not intentionally caused harm to the slave who when able to do so is to return to working off his debt, ‘for that is his (the master’s) money’. Unless of course, he is set free as per verses 26 – 27.
Let’s shift our focus to a different topic, but sadly, another that is often used to criticize the Bible. It’s the below verses;
Exodus 21:23–25 (The Scriptures)
23 “But if there is injury, then you shall give life for life,
24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,
25 burn for burn, wound for wound, lash for lash.
These verses have been coined in the latin term ‘lex talionis’ which means ‘law of retaliation’. This misunderstood translation feeds into the idea of Grace Vs Law, and the idea that Yeshua created new laws in which these are now abolished.
Firstly, Yeshua’s teachings are perfectly in line with the teachings of Torah and the verses called lex talionis do not justify vengeance or any sort of vigilante justice.
What the verses are communicating is that a person’s punishment must be equal to the crime that he committed. They are not to be same, but the punishment must fit the crime.
These verses have long been understood in the Jewish community as referring to monetary payment as is the case with so many laws. Consider, verse 22 says that the perpetrator must ‘give through the judges’ i.e. give payment for his crime rather than physical punishment. Verse 19 says that the perpetrator must look after and pay for the lost time of the other wounded party. It does not say, injure him in the same way the victim was injured. Further, verse 26 to 27, straight after lex talionis in 23 – 25, says that if a man smites the eye of his servant, he lets the servant go free, not; he himself has his eye destroyed.
The verses therefore, are not justification for personal vengeance and any such punishment was to be monetary and instituted by the court system, not by personal judgment.
That is the most ignored fact when it comes to Torah. These laws require judges, they require us to be living in Israel under a God given judicial system, and they do not give us license to implement the judgment and penalties ourselves.
With this in mind we can understand;
Matthew 5:38–39 (The Scriptures)
38 “You heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth,’
39 but I say to you, do not resist the wicked. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.
Ironically then, the Messiah is teaching against our false understanding of lex talionis because we are not allowed to take personal vengeance.
Context is also key as Yeshua is speaking to individual disciples and not to the courts of law. Yeshua’s words are wisdom and they are clearly great instructions. He is not however telling the courts to ‘turn the other cheek’. Consider if a court said to a man who having stolen thousands of dollars from someone and assaulted them, that they had simply turned the other cheek and that the perpetrator could go free. Clearly, we would not call that justice. That would leave the victim uncompensated and would not provide correction to the perpetrator.
Yeshua’s advice then can be understood as a means to ‘settle outside of court’, and as a means for us to live healthy lives and to be forgiving people. Forgiveness however, like grace, does not excuse us from doing the right thing, and it does not forgo the administration of justice.
Yeshua also said;
Matthew 5:25–26 (The Scriptures)
25 “Be well-minded with your opponent, promptly, while you are on the way with him, lest your opponent deliver you to the judge, and the judge to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.
26 “Truly, I say to you, you shall by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
Note the words ‘you shall by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny’. The courts will uphold justice if needed, best then to be well minded with each other so as to avoid the need to enter the court setting.
Yehua’s teachings, when we understand Torah in its correct light, do align with the teachings of Torah.
Our master taught us to look after the stranger;
Matthew 25:35–36 (The Scriptures)
35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in,
36 was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Mishpatim says of the stranger;
Exodus 23:9 (The Scriptures)
9 “And do not oppress a sojourner, as you yourselves know the heart of a sojourner, because you were sojourners in the land of Mitsrayim.
Matthew 5:42 (The Scriptures)
42 “Give to him who asks of you, and from him who wishes to borrow from you, do not turn away.
Luke 3:11 (The Scriptures)
11 …, “Let him who has two undergarments share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise.”
Exodus 22:25 (The Scriptures)
25 “If you do lend silver to any of My people, the poor among you, you are not to be like one that lends on interest to him. Do not lay interest on him.
Rather, the sages translate ‘If’, as ‘when’ you lend silver stating that we are compelled to give to the poor.
The Torah further states;
Leviticus 25:35–36 (The Scriptures)
35 ‘And when your brother becomes poor, and his hand has failed with you, then you shall sustain him, and he shall live with you, like a stranger or a sojourner.
36 ‘Take no interest from him, or profit, but you shall fear your Elohim, and your brother shall live with you.
Leviticus aptly goes on and reiterates the lessons in ‘mishpatim’ by saying;
Leviticus 25:39–43 (The Scriptures)
39 ‘And when your brother who dwells by you becomes poor, and sells himself to you, do not make him serve as a slave.
40 ‘But as a hired servant, as a settler he is with you, and serves you until the Year of Jubilee.
41 ‘And then he shall leave you, he and his children with him, and shall return to his own clan, even return to the possession of his fathers.
42 ‘For they are My servants, whom I brought out of the land of Mitsrayim, they are not sold as slaves.
43 ‘Do not rule over him with harshness, but you shall fear your Elohim.
Oxen and Donkeys
We might be excused into thinking that at least some these laws do not apply to us based on the very ancient language of the Torah i.e. the constant examples given with the use of things like oxen and donkeys etc.
This however, is no excuse, for the laws and principals are eternal and they teach us how to act lawfully with one another, and as mentioned before, they teach us how to look out for each-other.
Rabbi Weinreb wrote of his education in Torah and spoke of this saying;
…today…many criticize the curriculum of the type of education I experienced (Torah and Talmud). They point to the many verses in our parasha (mishpatim) that speak of one ox goring another and question the contemporary relevance of such arcane legalities. But when I studied about my responsibility for my oxen – and the consequences that applied if my ox gored you, or your slave, or your ox…I do not recall being troubled by that…Rather…we got the message, each of us is responsible for the well being of the other, be he a free man or the slave of old. We are not only to take care that we avoid harming another, but we are to take care that our possessions, be they farm animals, pets, or mislaid baseball bats, do not endanger those around us…we learned to borrow responsibly…we learned that if those objects were damaged…we had to compensate the owner…we also learned the importance of lending our possessions to others, especially others less fortunate than ourselves…we learned that we were responsible to help others…indeed; it extended all the more the strangers…How valuable our Torah is as a guide to a truly ethical life and how fortunate are those of us who learned these lessons early…
We might not have servants today, or an ox or a donkey, yet there is relevance in these words for every single person alive. There are things that may be difficult to understand, there are things that we may not be able to do given our current exile, but the words of mishpatim are the words of God and they are good.
As you read the parasha, even the rest of Torah, remember that these are things which are the foundation of His kingdom, that these which we might call archaic the Bible say are ‘perfect’ (Ps 19:7). Knowing this then is the key to searching deeper and the lens which we must use when studying the Kingdom and identity of God.
The Hebrew Slave
We have largely stayed in the p’shat of the text today i.e. the historical and plain meaning of the text. To conclude, let’s allow ourselves to delve a little deeper so as to further understand and know more of our God and Messiah.
Let’s take another look at the Hebrew slave.
Exodus 21:2–6 (The Scriptures)
2 “When you buy a Heḇrew servant, he serves six years, and in the seventh he goes out free, for naught.
3 “If he comes in by himself, he goes out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 “If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children are her master’s, and he goes out by himself.
5 “And if the servant truly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children, let me not go out free,’
6 then his master shall bring him before Elohim, and shall bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl. And he shall serve him forever.
It’s a peculiar ceremony, and an indication that slavery or servanthood in Israel was not such a bad concept if people were willing to remain forever in that role.
But the servant that wishes to permanently stay with his master undergoes a process whereby he is taken to the doorway, or threshold, which in the ancient world served as a sacrificial altar and was the place where covenants were made, and there he had his ear pierced with an awl.
To understand deeper we must look at what this text is connected to and hinting to, because there is a few remezin here, that is, hints to other deeper things.
The first is in the word ‘doorpost’ which is the Hebrew word for ‘mezuzah’. It can also be translated as ‘threshold’ as it is Zechariah 12:2, our first ‘connection’.
2 “See, I am making Jerusalem a threshold (mezuzah) of reeling to all the people all around…
Our second remez is in the process where a leper, or someone who is unclean, is made clean. The unclean person would be presented to the priest who would undergo a ritual including offering sacrifice to God for the unclean person. The ritual however takes place in the doorway to the tabernacle and the leper has blood applied to their right ear, right thumb, and right toe in the process of being made clean (Lev 14: 11 – 14). Notably, the priest takes on the uncleanness of the leper.
Our third remez is found in the ordination of the priests in Leviticus 8. When the priests were ordained they underwent a similar process to the one who needed to be cleansed above. Sacrifices were offered, and in the doorway, the mezuzah, they had blood applied to their right ear, right thumb and right toe.
These verses are indeed connected to Exodus 21, basically put, because of the connection of the ceremonies that occurred in the doorway (mezuzah) and the blood that was applied to the ear.
From the first remez, you can guess that there is a connection then, to Jerusalem, which is the doorway between heaven and earth.
Our next and fourth remez is through the very word for servant, in that it this same thing, i.e. a Hebrew Servant, that makes an appearance in Isaiah 53.
Isaiah 52:13–15 (The Scriptures)
13 See, My Servant shall work wisely, He shall be exalted and lifted up and very high.
14 As many were astonished at You—so the disfigurement beyond any man’s and His form beyond the sons of men—
15 He shall likewise startle many nations. Sovereigns shut their mouths at Him, for what had not been recounted to them they shall see, and what they had not heard they shall understand.
Isaiah 53:1–5 (The Scriptures)
Who has believed our report? And to whom was the arm of יהוה revealed?
2 For He grew up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or splendour that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should desire Him—
3 despised and rejected by men, a man of pains and knowing sickness. And as one from whom the face is hidden, being despised, and we did not consider Him.
4 Truly, He has borne our sicknesses and carried our pains. Yet we reckoned Him stricken, smitten by Elohim, and afflicted.
5 But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our crookednesses. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
Perhaps then, with these remezin in mind, these ‘connections’, you can allow yourself to imagine our Master being taken to Jerusalem, that is the doorway between heaven and earth, where he was pierced. Perhaps you can visualize the blood being applied to his ear, his thumb, and his toe as he cleansed us from our sin and as he was ordained as our Great High Priest.
O, Beloved, if only our brothers in Judah knew the significance of the ceremony whereby we nail the word of God, Deuteronomy 6:4, to our doorways, that it is the Messiah, our Master Yeshua the pierced one who laid his life down for us all.
Yeshua says of the doorway;
9 “I am the door. Whoever enters through Me, he shall be saved…
6 … “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Like the Hebrew slave who went willingly without protest Yeshua declared;
John 10:18 (The Scriptures)
18 “No one takes [my life] from Me, but I lay it down of Myself….
Yeshua even declares and identifies with the Hebrew servant in Isaiah 50: 4 – 6 (which is Messiah speaking);
Isaiah 50:4–6 (The Scriptures)
4 The Master יהוה has given Me the tongue of taught ones, that I should know to help the weary with a word. He wakes Me morning by morning, he wakes My ear to hear as taught ones.
5 The Master יהוה has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, nor did I turn away.
6 I gave My back to those who struck Me, and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard, I did not hide My face from humiliation and spitting.
Yeshua further says in Psalm 40: 5 – 8; and here He again identifies as the Hebrew Servant and makes the connection, as per Isaiah 50:4-6, with His own death;
Psalm 40:5–8 (The Scriptures)
5 O יהוה my Elohim, many are the wonders
Which You have done, and Your purposes toward us;
There is no one to compare with You;
I declare and speak:
They are too many to be numbered.
6 Slaughtering and meal offering You did not desire;
You have opened my ears;
Burnt offering and sin offering You did not ask for.
7 … “See, I have come;
In the scroll of the Book it is prescribed for me.
8 I have delighted to do Your pleasure, O my Elohim,
And Your Torah is within my heart.”
Yeshua then, is the Hebrew slave who declares;
Exodus 21:5 (The Scriptures)
5 “… ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children, let me not go out free,’
But it’s not just about who He is, it’s about who He wants us to be.
Paul does not identify as a servant of God for no reason (Romans 1:1), Yeshua does not say the words ‘if anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me’ for no reason, because it’s about who we serve for we are all slaves, hopefully though, slaves to the living God.
It’s about loving our Master above all things, loving our wives and children that are given to us by Him as per the Hebrew Slave, and living a life of service for God.
As an aside, these verses support the notion that our partners and that our children are gifts given by God and that for the men, that if we are to lead our families then we are to do so humbly, as per the servant, and that we must firstly serve and prioritize our God. ‘For he who loves Father or Mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me’ (Mt 10:37).
Most importantly it’s about going willingly to the doorway, to the mezuzah, where we’re commanded to place the words of Deuteronomy 6:4 which state;
Deuteronomy 6:4–5 (The Scriptures)
4 “Hear, O Yisra’ěl: יהוה our Elohim, יהוה is one!
5 “And you shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your might.
And responding with the words;
‘I love my master, my wife, and my children, let me not go out free’.