Parashah 44 – Devarim (Words)
1 These are the words Moshe spoke to all Isra’el on the far side of the Yarden River, in the desert, in the ‘Aravah, across from Suf, between Pa’ran and Tofel, Lavan, Hatzerot and Di-Zahav. 2 It is eleven days’ journey from Horev to Kadesh-Barnea by way of Mount Se‘ir.
3 On the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, Moshe spoke to the people of Isra’el, reviewing everything Yehovah had ordered him to tell them. 4 This was after he had defeated Sichon, king of the Emori, who lived in Heshbon, and ‘Og, king of Bashan, who lived in ‘Ashtarot, at Edre‘i. 5 There, beyond the Yarden, in the land of Mo’av, Moshe took it upon himself to expound this Torah and said:
6 “Yehovah spoke to us in Horev. He said, ‘You have lived long enough by this mountain. 7 Turn, get moving and go to the hill-country of the Emori and all the places near there in the ‘Aravah, the hill-country, the Sh’felah, the Negev and by the seashore — the land of the Kena‘ani, and the L’vanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates River. 8 I have set the land before you! Go in, and take possession of the land Yehovah swore to give to your ancestors Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya‘akov, and their descendants after them.’
9 “At that time I told you, ‘You are too heavy a burden for me to carry alone. 10 Yehovah your God has multiplied your numbers, so that there are as many of you today as there are stars in the sky. 11 May Yehovah, the God of your ancestors, increase you yet a thousandfold and bless you, as he has promised you! (ii) 12 But you are burdensome, bothersome and quarrelsome! How can I bear it by myself alone? 13 Pick for yourselves from each of your tribes men who are wise, understanding and knowledgeable; and I will make them heads over you.’
14 “You answered me, ‘What you have said would be a good thing for us to do.’ 15 So I took the heads of your tribes, men wise and knowledgable, and made them heads over you — leaders in charge of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties and of tens, and officers, tribe by tribe. 16 At that time I commissioned your judges, ‘Hear the cases that arise between your brothers; and judge fairly between a man and his brother, and the foreigner who is with him. 17 You are not to show favoritism when judging, but give equal attention to the small and to the great. No matter how a person presents himself, don’t be afraid of him; because the decision is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me and I will hear it.’ 18 I also gave you orders at that time concerning all the things you were to do.
19 “So we left Horev and went through all that vast and fearsome desert which you saw on the way to the hill-country of the Emori, as Yehovah our God ordered us; and we arrived at Kadesh-Barnea. 20 There I said to you, ‘You have come to the hill-country of the Emori, which Yehovah our God is giving to us. 21 Look! Yehovah your God has placed the land before you. Go up, take possession, as Yehovah, the God of your ancestors, has told you. Don’t be afraid, don’t be dismayed.’
(iii) 22 “You approached me, every one of you, and said, ‘Let’s send men ahead of us to explore the country for us and bring back word concerning what route we should use in going up and what the cities we will encounter are like.’ 23 The idea seemed good to me, so I took twelve of your men, one from each tribe; 24 and they set out, went up into the hills, came to the Eshkol Valley and reconnoitered it. 25 They took some of the produce of the land and brought it down to us; they also brought back word to us — ‘The land Yehovah our God is giving to us is good.’
26 “But you would not go up. Instead you rebelled against the order of Yehovah your God; 27 and in your tents you complained, ‘It’s because Yehovah hated us that he has brought us out of the land of Egypt, only to hand us over to the Emori to destroy us. 28 What sort of place is it that we’re heading for? Our brothers made our courage fail when they said, “The people are bigger and taller than we are; the cities are great and fortified up to the sky; and finally, we have seen ‘Anakim there.”’
29 “I answered you, ‘Don’t be fearful, don’t be afraid of them. 30 Yehovah your God, who is going ahead of you, will fight on your behalf, just as he accomplished all those things for you in Egypt before your eyes, 31 and likewise in the desert, where you saw how Yehovah your God carried you, like a man carries his child, along the entire way you traveled until you arrived at this place. 32 Yet in this matter you don’t trust Yehovah your God, 33 even though he went ahead of you, seeking out places for you to pitch your tents and showing you which way to go, by fire at night and by a cloud during the day.’
34 “Yehovah heard what you were saying, became angry and swore, 35 ‘Not a single one of these people, this whole evil generation, will see the good land I swore to give to your ancestors, 36 except Kalev the son of Y’funeh — he will see it; I will give him and his descendants the land he walked on, because he has fully followed Yehovah.’
37 “Also, because of you Yehovah was angry with me and said, ‘You too will not go in there. 38 Y’hoshua the son of Nun, your assistant — he will go in there. So encourage him, because he will enable Isra’el to take possession of it. (iv) 39 Moreover, your little ones, who you said would be taken as booty, and your children who don’t yet know good from bad — they will go in there; I will give it to them, and they will have possession of it. 40 But as for yourselves, turn around and head into the desert by the road to the Sea of Suf.’
41 “Then you answered me, ‘We have sinned against Yehovah. Now we will go up and fight, in accordance with everything Yehovah our God ordered us.’ And every man among you put on his arms, considering it an easy matter to go up into the hill-country. 42 But Yehovah said to me, ‘Tell them, “Don’t go up, and don’t fight, because I am not there with you; if you do, your enemies will defeat you.”’ 43 So I told you, but you wouldn’t listen. Instead, you rebelled against Yehovah’s order, took matters into your own hands and went up into the hill-country; 44 where the Emori living in that hill-country came out against you like bees, defeated you in Se‘ir and chased you back all the way to Hormah. 45 You returned and cried before Yehovah, but Yehovah neither listened to what you said nor paid you any attention. 46 This is why you had to stay in Kadesh as long as you did.
2 “Then we turned and began traveling into the desert along the road to the Sea of Suf, as Yehovah had said to me; and we skirted Mount Se‘ir for a long time. (v) 2 Finally Yehovah said to me, 3 ‘You have been going around this mountain long enough! Head north, 4 and give this order to the people: “You are to pass through the territory of your kinsmen the descendants of ‘Esav who live in Se‘ir. They will be afraid of you, so be very cautious, 5 and don’t get into disputes with them; for I am not going to give you any of their land, no, not even enough for one foot to stand on; inasmuch as I have given Mount Se‘ir to ‘Esav as his possession. 6 Pay them money for the food you eat, and pay them money for the water you drink. 7 For Yehovah your God has blessed you in everything your hands have produced. He knows that you have been traveling through this vast desert; these forty years Yehovah your God has been with you; and you have lacked nothing.’
8 “So we went on past our kinsmen the descendants of ‘Esav living in Se‘ir, left the road through the ‘Aravah from Eilat and ‘Etzyon-Gever, and turned to pass along the road through the desert of Mo’av. 9 Yehovah said to me, ‘Don’t be hostile toward Mo’av or fight with them, because I will not give you any of their land to possess, since I have already given ‘Ar to the descendants of Lot as their territory.’” 10 (The Emim used to live there, a great and numerous people as tall as the ‘Anakim. 11 They are also considered Refa’im, as are the ‘Anakim, but the Mo’avim call them Emim. 12 In Se‘ir the Horim used to live, but the descendants of ‘Esav dispossessed and destroyed them, settling in their place. Isra’el did similarly in the land it came to possess, which Yehovah gave to them.) 13 “‘Now get going, and cross Vadi Zered!’
“So we crossed Vadi Zered. 14 The time between our leaving Kadesh-Barnea and our crossing Vadi Zered was thirty-eight years — until the whole generation of men capable of bearing arms had been eliminated from the camp, as Yehovah had sworn they would be. 15 Moreover, Yehovah’s hand was against them to root them out of the camp until the last of them was gone. 16 When all the men who were able to bear arms had died and were no longer part of the people, 17 Yehovah said to me, 18 ‘Today you are to cross the border of Mo’av at ‘Ar. 19 When you approach the descendants of ‘Amon, don’t bother them or fight with them, for I will not give you any of the territory of the people of ‘Amon to possess, since I have given it to the descendants of Lot as their territory.’”
20 (This too is considered a land of the Refa’im: Refa’im, whom the Emori call Zamzumim, used to live there. 21 They were a large, numerous people, as tall as the ‘Anakim; but Yehovah destroyed them as the people of ‘Amon advanced and settled in their place — 22 just as he destroyed the Horim as descendants of ‘Esav advanced into Se‘ir and settled in their place, where they live to this day. 23 It was the same with the ‘Avim, who lived in villages as far away as ‘Azah — the Kaftorim, coming from Kaftor, destroyed them and settled in their place.)
24 “‘Get up, get moving, and cross the Arnon Valley! Here, I have put in your hands Sichon the Emori, king of Heshbon, and his land; commence the conquest, begin the battle! 25 Today I will start putting the fear and dread of you into all the peoples under heaven, so that the mere mention of your name will make them quake and tremble before you.’
26 “I sent envoys from the K’demot Desert to Sichon king of Heshbon with a peaceable message, 27 ‘Let me pass through your land. I will keep to the road, turning neither right nor left. 28 You will sell me food to eat for money and give me water to drink for money. I only want to pass through. 29 Do as the people of ‘Esav living in Se‘ir and the Mo’avim living in ‘Ar did with me, until I cross the Yarden into the land Yehovah our God is giving us.’
30 “But Sichon king of Heshbon would not let us pass through his territory, because Yehovah your God had hardened his spirit and made him stubborn, so that he could hand him over to you, as is the case today. (vi) 31 Yehovah said to me, ‘See, I have begun handing over Sichon and his territory before you; start taking possession of his land.’ 32 Then Sichon came out against us, he and all his people, to fight at Yahatz; 33 and Yehovah our God handed him over to us, so that we defeated him, his sons and all his people. 34 At that time we captured all his cities and completely destroyed every city — men, women, little ones — we left none of them. 35 As booty for ourselves we took only the cattle, along with the spoil from the cities we had captured. 36 From ‘Aro‘er, on the edge of the Arnon Valley, and from the city in the valley, all the way to Gil‘ad, there was not one city too well fortified for us to capture — Yehovah our God gave all of them to us. 37 The only land you didn’t approach was that of the descendants of ‘Amon — the region around the Yabok River, the cities in the hills and wherever else Yehovah our God forbade us to go.
3 “Then we turned and went up the road to Bashan, and ‘Og the king of Bashan came out against us with all his people to fight at Edre‘i. 2 Yehovah said to me, ‘Don’t be afraid of him; for I have handed him, all his people and his territory over to you; you will do to him as you did to Sichon king of the Emori, who lived at Heshbon.’ 3 So Yehovah our God also handed over to us ‘Og the king of Bashan with all his people, and we defeated him until he had no one left. 4 At that time we captured all his cities; there was not one city of theirs that we didn’t capture. There were sixty cities, all the region of Argov, the kingdom of ‘Og in Bashan; 5 all of them fortified cities with high walls, gates and bars — in addition to a great number of unwalled towns. 6 We completely destroyed them, as we did with Sichon king of Heshbon, annihilating every city —men, women and little ones. 7 But we took all the livestock, along with the spoil from the cities, as booty for ourselves.
8 “At that time we captured the territory of the two kings of the Emori east of the Yarden between the Arnon Valley and Mount Hermon,” 9 the Hermon which the Tzidonim call Siryon and the Emori call S’nir, 10 “all the cities of the plain, all Gil‘ad and all Bashan, as far as Salkhah and Edre‘i, cities of the kingdom of ‘Og in Bashan.” 11 ‘Og king of Bashan was the last survivor of the Refa’im. His bed was made of iron; it is still in Rabbah with the people of ‘Amon. It was nine cubits long and four cubits wide, using the normal cubit [thirteen-and-a-half by six feet].
12 “Of this land that we took possession of then, I assigned to the Re’uveni and the Gadi the territory extending from ‘Aro‘er along the Arnon Valley together with half the hill-country of Gil‘ad, including its cities. 13 The rest of Gil‘ad and all Bashan, the kingdom of ‘Og, I gave to the half-tribe of M’nasheh.”
The whole region of Argov together with all of Bashan form what is called the land of Refa’im. 14 Ya’ir the son of M’nasheh took all the region of Argov, as far as the border with the G’shuri and the Ma‘akhati; he named this whole area, including Bashan, after himself — it remains Havot-Ya’ir to this day.
(vii) 15 “I gave Gil‘ad to Machir; 16 and to the Re’uveni and the Gadi I gave the territory from Gil‘ad to the Arnon Valley, with the middle of the valley as the border, as far as the Yabok River, which is the border with the people of ‘Amon; 17 the ‘Aravah too, the Yarden being its border, from Kinneret to the Sea of the ‘Aravah, the Dead Sea, at the foot of the slopes of Pisgah to the east.
18 “At that time I gave you this order: ‘Yehovah your God has given you this land to possess. But all of you who are fit to fight must cross over, armed, ahead of your brothers the people of Isra’el. 19 Your wives, your little ones and your livestock — I know you have much livestock — will stay in your cities which I have given you, (Maftir) 20 until Yehovah allows your brothers to rest, as he has allowed you; and they too take possession of the land Yehovah your God is giving them on the west side of the Yarden. At that point you will return, each man to his own possession which I have given you.’
21 “Also at that time I gave this order to Y’hoshua: ‘Your eyes have seen everything that Yehovah your God has done to these two kings. Yehovah will do the same to all the kingdoms you encounter when you cross over. 22 Don’t be afraid of them, because Yehovah your God will fight on your behalf.’
1 This is the vision of Yesha‘yahu the son of Amotz, which he saw concerning Y’hudah and Yerushalayim during the days of ‘Uziyahu, Yotam, Achaz and Y’chizkiyahu, kings of Y’hudah:
2 “Hear, heaven! Listen, earth!
For Yehovah is speaking.
“I raised and brought up children,
but they rebelled against me.
3 An ox knows its owner
and a donkey its master’s stall,
but Isra’el does not know,
my people do not reflect.
4 “Oh, sinful nation,
a people weighed down by iniquity,
descendants of evildoers,
They have abandoned Yehovah,
spurned the Holy One of Isra’el,
turned their backs on him!
5 “Where should I strike you next,
as you persist in rebelling?
The whole head is sick,
the whole heart diseased.
6 From the sole of the foot to the head
there is nothing healthy,
only wounds, bruises and festering sores
that haven’t been dressed or bandaged
or softened up with oil.
7 “Your land is desolate,
your cities are burned to the ground;
foreigners devour your land in your presence;
it’s as desolate as if overwhelmed by floods.
8 The daughter of Tziyon is left
like a shack in a vineyard,
like a shed in a cucumber field,
like a city under siege.”
9 If Yehovah-Tzva’ot had not left us
a tiny, tiny remnant,
we would have become like S’dom,
we would have resembled ‘Amora.
10 Hear what Yehovah says,
you rulers of S’dom!
Listen to God’s Torah,
you people of ‘Amora!
11 “Why are all those sacrifices
offered to me?” asks Yehovah.
“I’m fed up with burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of fattened animals!
I get no pleasure from the blood
of bulls, lambs and goats!
12 Yes, you come to appear in my presence;
but who asked you to do this,
to trample through my courtyards?
13 Stop bringing worthless grain offerings!
They are like disgusting incense to me!
Rosh-Hodesh, Shabbat, calling convocations —
I can’t stand evil together with your assemblies!
14 Everything in me hates your Rosh-Hodesh
and your festivals;
they are a burden to me —
I’m tired of putting up with them!
15 “When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
no matter how much you pray,
I won’t be listening;
because your hands are covered with blood.
16 “Wash yourselves clean!
Get your evil deeds out of my sight!
Stop doing evil, 17 learn to do good!
Seek justice, relieve the oppressed,
defend orphans, plead for the widow.
18 “Come now,” says Yehovah,
“let’s talk this over together.
Even if your sins are like scarlet,
they will be white as snow;
even if they are red as crimson,
they will be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you will be eaten by the sword”;
for the mouth of Yehovah has spoken.
21 How the faithful city has become a whore!
Once she was filled with justice,
righteousness lodged in her;
but now murderers!
22 Your silver is no longer pure,
your wine is watered down.
23 Your leaders are rebels, friends of thieves.
They all love bribes and run after gifts.
They give no justice to orphans,
the widow’s complaint doesn’t catch their attention.
24 “Therefore,” says the Lord, Yehovah–Tzva’ot,
the Mighty One of Isra’el,
“I will free myself of my adversaries,
I will take vengeance on my enemies.
25 But I will also turn my hand against you!
I will cleanse your impurities as with lye
and remove all your alloyed base metal.
26 I will restore your judges as at first
and your advisers as at the beginning.
After that, you will be called
the City of Righteousness, Faithful City.
27 Tziyon will be redeemed by justice;
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
15 “I am the real vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. 3 Right now, because of the word which I have spoken to you, you are pruned. 4 Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.
5 “I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing. 6 Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up.
7 “If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you. 8 This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my talmidim.
9 “Just as my Father has loved me, I too have loved you; so stay in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love — just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in his love. 11 I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.
9 Meanwhile, Sha’ul, still breathing murderous threats against the Lord’s talmidim, went to the cohen hagadol 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Dammesek, authorizing him to arrest any people he might find, whether men or women, who belonged to “the Way,” and bring them back to Yerushalayim.
3 He was on the road and nearing Dammesek, when suddenly a light from heaven flashed all around him. 4 Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Sha’ul! Sha’ul! Why do you keep persecuting me?” 5 “Sir, who are you?” he asked. “I am Yeshua, and you are persecuting me. 6 But get up, and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.”
7 The men traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 They helped Sha’ul get up off the ground; but when he opened his eyes, he could see nothing. So, leading him by the hand, they brought him into Dammesek. 9 For three days he remained unable to see, and he neither ate nor drank.
10 There was a talmid in Dammesek, Hananyah by name; and in a vision the Lord said to him, “Hananyah!” He said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 The Lord said to him, “Get up and go to Straight Street, to Y’hudah’s house; and ask for a man from Tarsus named Sha’ul; for he is praying, 12 and in a vision he has seen a man named Hananyah coming in and placing his hands on him to restore his sight.” 13 But Hananyah answered, “Lord, many have told me about this man, how much harm he has done to your people in Yerushalayim; 14 and here he has a warrant from the head cohanim to arrest everyone who calls on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, because this man is my chosen instrument to carry my name to the Goyim, even to their kings, and to the sons of Isra’el as well. 16 For I myself will show him how much he will have to suffer on account of my name.”
17 So Hananyah left and went into the house. Placing his hands on him, he said, “Brother Sha’ul, the Lord — Yeshua, the one who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here — has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh.” 18 In that moment, something like scales fell away from Sha’ul’s eyes; and he could see again. He got up and was immersed; 19 then he ate some food and regained his strength.
Sha’ul spent some days with the talmidim in Dammesek, 20 and immediately he began proclaiming in the synagogues that Yeshua is the Son of God. 21 All who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Isn’t he the man who in Yerushalayim was trying to destroy the people who call on this name? In fact, isn’t that why he came here, to arrest them and bring them back to the head cohanim?”
7 Therefore, as the Ruach HaKodesh says,
“Today, if you hear God’s voice,
8 don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel
on that day in the Wilderness when you put God to the test.
9 Yes, your fathers put me to the test;
they challenged me, and they saw my work for forty years!
10 Therefore, I was disgusted with that generation —
I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
they have not understood how I do things’;
11 in my anger, I swore
that they would not enter my rest.”
12 Watch out, brothers, so that there will not be in any one of you an evil heart lacking trust, which could lead you to apostatize from the living God! 13 Instead, keep exhorting each other every day, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you will become hardened by the deceit of sin. 14 For we have become sharers in the Messiah, provided, however, that we hold firmly to the conviction we began with, right through until the goal is reached.
15 Now where it says,
“Today, if you hear God’s voice,
don’t harden your hearts, as you did in the Bitter Quarrel,”
16 who were the people who, after they heard, quarreled so bitterly? All those whom Moshe brought out of Egypt. 17 And with whom was God disgusted for forty years? Those who sinned — yes, they fell dead in the Wilderness! 18 And to whom was it that he swore that they would not enter his rest? Those who were disobedient. 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of lack of trust.
4 Therefore, let us be terrified of the possibility that, even though the promise of entering his rest remains, any one of you might be judged to have fallen short of it; 2 for Good News has also been proclaimed to us, just as it was to them. But the message they heard didn’t do them any good, because those who heard it did not combine it with trust. 3 For it is we who have trusted who enter the rest.
It is just as he said,
“And in my anger, I swore
that they would not enter my rest.”
He swore this even though his works have been in existence since the founding of the universe. 4 For there is a place where it is said, concerning the seventh day,
“And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”
5 And once more, our present text says,
“They will not enter my rest.”
6 Therefore, since it still remains for some to enter it, and those who received the Good News earlier did not enter, 7 he again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David, so long afterwards, in the text already given,
“Today, if you hear God’s voice, don’t harden your hearts.”
8 For if Y’hoshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later of another “day.”
9 So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people. 10 For the one who has entered God’s rest has also rested from his own works, as God did from his. 11 Therefore, let us do our best to enter that rest; so that no one will fall short because of the same kind of disobedience.