Parashah 39 – Hukkat

Parsha 39 – Chukat (Regulation)

Numbers 19:1–22:1

[In regular years read with Parashah 40, in leap years read separately]

19 Yehovah said to Moshe and Aharon, “This is the regulation from the Torah which Yehovah has commanded. Tell the people of Isra’el to bring you a young red female cow without fault or defect and which has never borne a yoke. You are to give it to El‘azar the cohen; it is to be brought outside the camp and slaughtered in front of him. El‘azar the cohen is to take some of its blood with his finger and sprinkle this blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. The heifer is to be burned to ashes before his eyes — its skin, meat, blood and dung is to be burned to ashes. The cohen is to take cedar-wood, hyssop and scarlet yarn and throw them onto the heifer as it is burning up. Then the cohen is to wash his clothes and himself in water, after which he may re-enter the camp; but the cohen will remain unclean until evening. The person who burned up the heifer is to wash his clothes and himself in water, but he will remain unclean until evening. A man who is clean is to collect the ashes of the heifer and store them outside the camp in a clean place. They are to be kept for the community of the people of Isra’el to prepare water for purification from sin. 10 The one who collected the ashes of the heifer is to wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. For the people of Isra’el and for the foreigner staying with them this will be a permanent regulation.

11 “Anyone who touches a corpse, no matter whose dead body it is, will be unclean for seven days. 12 He must purify himself with [these ashes] on the third and seventh days; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself the third and seventh days, he will not be clean. 13 Anyone who touches a corpse, no matter whose dead body it is, and does not purify himself has defiled the tabernacle of Yehovah. That person will be cut off from Isra’el, because the water for purification was not sprinkled on him. He will be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.

14 “This is the law: when a person dies in a tent, everyone who enters the tent and everything in the tent will be unclean for seven days. 15 Every open container without a cover closely attached is unclean. 16 Also whoever is in an open field and touches a corpse, whether of someone killed by a weapon or of someone who died naturally, or the bone of a person, or a grave, will be unclean for seven days.

17 “For the unclean person they are to take some of the ashes of the animal burned up as a purification from sin and add them to fresh water in a container. (LY: ii) 18 A clean person is to take a bunch of hyssop leaves, dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the containers, on the people who were there, and on the person who touched the bone or the person killed or the one who died naturally or the grave. 19 The clean person will sprinkle the unclean person on the third and seventh days. On the seventh day he will purify him; then he will wash his clothes and himself in water; and he will be clean at evening. 20 The person who remains unclean and does not purify himself will be cut off from the community because he has defiled the sanctuary of Yehovah. The water for purification has not been sprinkled on him; he is unclean. 21 This is to be a permanent regulation for them. The person who sprinkles the water for purification is to wash his clothes. Whoever touches the water for purification will be unclean until evening. 22 Anything the unclean person touches will be unclean, and anyone who touches him will be unclean until evening.”

20 The people of Isra’el, the whole community, entered the Tzin Desert in the first month, and they stayed in Kadesh. There Miryam died, and there she was buried.

Because the community had no water, they assembled themselves against Moshe and Aharon. The people quarreled with Moshe and said, “We wish we had died when our brothers died before Yehovah. Why did you bring Yehovah’s community into this desert? To die there, we and our livestock? Why did you make us leave Egypt? To bring us to this terrible place without seed, figs, grapevines, pomegranates or even water to drink?” Moshe and Aharon left the assembly, went to the entrance of the tent of meeting and fell on their faces; and the glory of Yehovah appeared to them.

(RY: ii, LY: iii) Yehovah said to Moshe, “Take the staff, assemble the community, you and Aharon your brother; and before their eyes, tell the rock to produce its water. You will bring them water out of the rock and thus enable the community and their livestock to drink.” Moshe took the staff from the presence of Yehovah, as he had ordered him. 10 But after Moshe and Aharon had assembled the community in front of the rock, he said to them, “Listen here, you rebels! Are we supposed to bring you water from this rock?” 11 Then Moshe raised his hand and hit the rock twice with his staff. Water flowed out in abundance, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But Yehovah said to Moshe and Aharon, “Because you did not trust in me, so as to cause me to be regarded as holy by the people of Isra’el, you will not bring this community into the land I have given them.” 13 This is M’rivah Spring [Disputation Spring], where the people of Isra’el disputed with Yehovah, and he was caused to be regarded as holy by them.

(LY: iv) 14 Moshe sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: “This is what your brother Isra’el says: you know all the troubles we have gone through — 15 that our ancestors went down into Egypt, we lived in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our ancestors badly. 16 But when we cried out to Yehovah, he heard us, sent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. Now here we are in Kadesh, a city at the edge of your territory. 17 Please let us pass through your land. We will not go through fields or vineyards, and we won’t drink any water from the wells. We will go along the King’s Highway, not turning aside either to the right or to the left until we have left your territory.”

18 But Edom answered, “You are not to pass through my land; if you do, I will come out against you with the sword.” 19 The people of Isra’el replied, “We will keep to the highway; if we do drink the water, either we or our livestock, we will pay for it. Just let us pass through on foot — it’s nothing.” 20 But he said, “You are not to pass through”; and Edom came out against them with many people and much force. 21 Thus Edom refused to allow Isra’el passage through its territory, so Isra’el turned away.

(RY: iii, LY: v) 22 They traveled on from Kadesh; and the people of Isra’el, the whole community, arrived at Mount Hor. 23 At Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom, Yehovah said to Moshe and Aharon, 24 “Aharon is about to be gathered to his people, because he is not to enter the land I have given to the people of Isra’el, inasmuch as you rebelled against what I said at the M’rivah Spring. 25 Take Aharon and El‘azar his son, bring them up to Mount Hor, 26 remove the garments from Aharon and put them on El‘azar his son. Aharon will be gathered to his people — he will die there.”

27 Moshe did as Yehovah had ordered. They went up onto Mount Hor before the eyes of the whole community. 28 Moshe removed the garments from Aharon, and put them on El‘azar his son, and Aharon died there on the top of the mountain. Then Moshe and El‘azar came down the mountain. 29 When the entire community saw that Aharon was dead, they mourned Aharon thirty days, the whole house of Isra’el.

21 Then the king of ‘Arad, a Kena‘ani who lived in the Negev, heard that Isra’el was approaching by way of Atarim, so he attacked Isra’el and took some of them captive. Isra’el made a vow to Yehovah, “If you will hand this people over to me, I will completely destroy their cities.” Yehovah listened to what Isra’el said and handed over the Kena‘anim, so they completely destroyed them and their cities and named the place Hormah [complete destruction].

Then they traveled from Mount Hor on the road toward the Sea of Suf in order to go around the land of Edom; but the people’s tempers grew short because of the detour. The people spoke against God and against Moshe: “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt? To die in the desert? There’s no real food, there’s no water, and we’re sick of this miserable stuff we’re eating!”

(LY: vi) In response, Yehovah sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit the people, and many of Isra’el’s people died. The people came to Moshe and said, “We sinned by speaking against Yehovah and against you. Pray to Yehovah that he rid us of these snakes.” Moshe prayed for the people, and Yehovah answered Moshe: “Make a poisonous snake and put it on a pole. When anyone who has been bitten sees it, he will live.” Moshe made a bronze snake and put it on the pole; if a snake had bitten someone, then, when he looked toward the bronze snake, he stayed alive.

10 The people of Isra’el traveled on and camped at Ovot. 11 From Ovot they traveled and camped at ‘Iyei-Ha‘avarim, in the desert fronting Mo’av on the east. 12 From there they traveled and camped in Vadi Zered. 13 From there they traveled and camped on the other side of the Arnon, in the desert; this river comes out of the territory of the Emori; for the Arnon is the boundary between Mo’av and the Emori. 14 This is why it says, in the Book of the Wars of Yehovah, “. . . Vahev at Sufah, the vadis of Arnon, 15 and the slope of the vadis extending as far as the site of ‘Ar, which lie next to the territory of Mo’av.”

16 From there they went on to Be’er [well]; that is the well about which Yehovah said to Moshe, “Assemble the people, and I will give them water.” 17 Then Isra’el sang this song:

“Spring up, oh well!
Sing to the well
18 sunk by the princes,
dug by the people’s leaders
with the scepter,
with their staffs!”

From the desert they went to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nachali’el, from Nachali’el to Bamot, 20 and from Bamot to the valley by the plain of Mo’av at the start of the Pisgah range, where it overlooks the desert.

(RY: iv, LY: vii) 21 Isra’el sent messengers to Sichon, king of the Emori, with this message: 22 “Let me pass through your land. We won’t turn aside into fields or vineyards, and we won’t drink any water from the wells. We will go along the King’s Highway until we have left your territory.” 23 But Sichon would not allow Isra’el to pass through his territory. Instead, Sichon mustered all his people and went out into the desert to fight Isra’el. On reaching Yachatz, he fought Isra’el. 24 Isra’el defeated him by force of arms and took control of his land from the Arnon to the Yabok River, but only as far as the people of ‘Amon, because the territory of the people of ‘Amon was well defended. 25 Isra’el took all these cities — Isra’el lived in all the cities of the Emori, in Heshbon and all its surrounding towns. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sichon, the king of the Emori, who had fought against the former king of Mo’av and conquered all his land up to the Arnon. 27 This is why the storytellers say,

“Come to Heshbon! Let it be rebuilt!
Let Sichon’s city be restored!

28 “For fire burst out of Heshbon,
a flame from the city of Sichon.
It consumed ‘Ar of Mo’av,
the lords of Arnon’s high places.

29 “Woe to you, Mo’av!
You are destroyed, people of K’mosh!
He let his sons be fugitives and his daughters captives
of Sichon, king of the Emori.

30 “We shot them down; Heshbon is destroyed,
all the way to Divon.
We even laid waste to Nofach,
which extends as far as Meidva.”

31 Thus Isra’el lived in the land of the Emori.

32 Moshe sent men to reconnoiter Ya‘zer; they captured its towns and drove out the Emori who were there.

33 Then they turned and went up along the road to Bashan; and ‘Og, the king of Bashan, marched out against them, he with all his people, to fight at Edre‘i. (LY: Maftir) 34 Yehovah said to Moshe, “Don’t be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with all his people and his land. You will treat him just as you did Sichon, king of the Emori, who lived at Heshbon.” 35 So they struck him down, with his sons and all his people, until there was no one left alive; and then they took control of his land.

22 Then the people of Isra’el traveled on and camped in the plains of Mo’av beyond the Yarden River, opposite Yericho.

Judges 11:1-33

11 Now Yiftach, a brave soldier from Gil‘ad, was the son of a prostitute. His father, Gil‘ad, had other sons by his wife; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Yiftach away and told him, “You will not inherit from our father, because you are another woman’s son.” Then Yiftach fled from his brothers and lived in the territory of Tov, where he enlisted a gang of rowdies who would go out raiding with him.

After a while the people of ‘Amon made war against Isra’el. When the army of ‘Amon attacked Isra’el, the leaders of Gil‘ad went to fetch Yiftach from the territory of Tov and said to him, “Come and be our chief, so that we can fight the army of ‘Amon.” Yiftach answered the leaders of Gil‘ad, “Didn’t you hate me so much that you forced me out of my father’s house? Why are you coming to me now, when you’re in trouble?” The leaders of Gil‘ad replied, “Here is why we’ve come back to you now: if you lead us in war with the people of ‘Amon, you will be head over everyone living in Gil‘ad.” Yiftach answered them, “If you bring me back home to fight the army of ‘Amon, and Yehovah defeats them for me, I will be your head.” 10 The leaders of Gil‘ad said to Yiftach, “Yehovah is witness that we promise to do what you have said.” 11 Then Yiftach went with the leaders of Gil‘ad, and the people made him head and chief over them. Yiftach repeated all these conditions at Mitzpah in the presence of Yehovah.

12 Yiftach sent messengers to the king of the people of ‘Amon to say, “What’s your problem with us? Why are you invading our territory?” 13 The king of ‘Amon answered the messengers of Yiftach, “Because Isra’el took away my territory when they came up from Egypt. They took everything from the Arnon to the Yabok and the Yarden. Now, restore it peacefully.” 14 Yiftach sent messengers again to the king of the people of ‘Amon 15 with this response, “Here is what Yiftach has to say: ‘Isra’el captured neither the territory of Mo’av nor the territory of the people of ‘Amon. 16 But when Isra’el came up from Egypt, walked through the desert to the Red Sea and arrived at Kadesh, 17 then Isra’el sent messengers to the king of Edom, to say, “Please let us pass through your land.” But the king of Edom wouldn’t let them. He sent a similar message to the king of Mo’av, but neither would he, so Isra’el stayed at Kadesh. 18 Then they walked through the desert, around the territory of Edom and the territory of Mo’av, past the east border of the territory of Mo’av, and pitched camp on the other side of the Arnon; but they did not cross the border into Mo’av, for the Arnon was the border of Mo’av. 19 Isra’el sent messengers to Sichon king of the Emori and king of Heshbon with this message, “Please let us pass through your land to our own place.” 20 But Sichon did not trust that Isra’el would only pass through his land, so he gathered all his people together, pitched camp in Yahatz and fought against Isra’el. 21 Yehovah the God of Isra’el handed Sichon and all his people over to Isra’el, and they killed them. Thus Isra’el possessed all the territory of the Emori who lived there. 22 They took possession of all the territory of the Emori from the Arnon to the Yabok and from the desert to the Yarden. 23 So now that Yehovah the God of Isra’el has expelled the Emori before his people Isra’el, do you think that you will expel us? 24 You should just keep the territory your god K’mosh has given you; while we, for our part, will hold onto whatever Yehovah our God has given us of the lands that belonged to others before us. 25 Really, are you better than Balak the son of Tzippor, king of Mo’av? Did he ever pick a quarrel with Isra’el or fight with us? 26 Isra’el lived in Heshbon and its villages, in ‘Aro‘er and its villages and in all the cities on the banks of the Arnon for three hundred years. Why didn’t you take them back during that time? 27 No, I have done you no wrong. But you are doing me wrong to war against me. May Yehovah the Judge be judge today between the people of Isra’el and the people of ‘Amon.’” 28 But the king of the people of ‘Amon paid no attention to the message Yiftach sent him.

29 Then the spirit of Yehovah came upon Yiftach; and he passed through Gil‘ad and M’nasheh, on through Mitzpeh of Gil‘ad, and from there over to the people of ‘Amon. 30 Yiftach made a vow to Yehovah: “If you will hand the people of ‘Amon over to me, 31 then whatever comes out the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the people of ‘Amon will belong to Yehovah; I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.” 32 So Yiftach crossed over to fight the people of ‘Amon, and Yehovah handed them over to him. 33 He killed them from ‘Aro‘er until you reach Minnit, twenty cities, all the way to Avel-K’ramim; it was a massacre. So the people of ‘Amon were defeated before the people of Isra’el.

John 3:9-21

9 Nakdimon replied, “How can this happen?” 10 Yeshua answered him, “You hold the office of teacher in Isra’el, and you don’t know this? 11 Yes, indeed! I tell you that what we speak about, we know; and what we give evidence of, we have seen; but you people don’t accept our evidence! 12 If you people don’t believe me when I tell you about the things of the world, how will you believe me when I tell you about the things of heaven? 13 No one has gone up into heaven; there is only the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moshe lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life.16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved. 18 Those who trust in him are not judged; those who do not trust have been judged already, in that they have not trusted in the one who is God’s only and unique Son.

19 “Now this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but people loved the darkness rather than the light. Why? Because their actions were wicked. 20 For everyone who does evil things hates the light and avoids it, so that his actions won’t be exposed. 21 But everyone who does what is true comes to the light, so that all may see that his actions are accomplished through God.”

John 4:3-30

Yeshua left Y’hudah and set out again for the Galil. This meant that he had to pass through Shomron.

He came to a town in Shomron called Sh’khem, near the field Ya‘akov had given to his son Yosef. Ya‘akov’s Well was there; so Yeshua, exhausted from his travel, sat down by the well; it was about noon. A woman from Shomron came to draw some water; and Yeshua said to her, “Give me a drink of water.” (His talmidim had gone into town to buy food.) The woman from Shomron said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for water from me, a woman of Shomron?” (For Jews don’t associate with people from Shomron.) 10 Yeshua answered her, “If you knew God’s gift, that is, who it is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink of water,’ then you would have asked him; and he would have given you living water.”

11 She said to him, “Sir, you don’t have a bucket, and the well is deep; so where do you get this ‘living water’? 12 You aren’t greater than our father Ya‘akov, are you? He gave us this well and drank from it, and so did his sons and his cattle.” 13 Yeshua answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will get thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I will give him will never be thirsty again! On the contrary, the water I give him will become a spring of water inside him, welling up into eternal life!”

15 “Sir, give me this water,” the woman said to him, “so that I won’t have to be thirsty and keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” 17 She answered, “I don’t have a husband.” Yeshua said to her, “You’re right, you don’t have a husband! 18 You’ve had five husbands in the past, and you’re not married to the man you’re living with now! You’ve spoken the truth!”

19 “Sir, I can see that you are a prophet,” the woman replied. 20 “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that the place where one has to worship is in Yerushalayim.” 21 Yeshua said, “Lady, believe me, the time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Yerushalayim. 22 You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews. 23 But the time is coming — indeed, it’s here now — when the true worshippers will worship the Father spiritually and truly, for these are the kind of people the Father wants worshipping him. 24 God is spirit; and worshippers must worship him spiritually and truly.”

25 The woman replied, “I know that Mashiach is coming” (that is, “the one who has been anointed”). “When he comes, he will tell us everything.” 26 Yeshua said to her, “I, the person speaking to you, am he.”

27 Just then, his talmidim arrived. They were amazed that he was talking with a woman; but none of them said, “What do you want?” or, “Why are you talking with her?” 28 So the woman left her water-jar, went back to the town and said to the people there, 29 “Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done. Could it be that this is the Messiah?” 30 They left the town and began coming toward him.

John 12:27-50

27 “Now I am in turmoil. What can I say — ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason that I have come to this hour. I will say this: 28 ‘Father, glorify your name!’” At this a bat-kol came out of heaven, “I have glorified it before, and I will glorify it again!” 29 The crowd standing there and hearing it said that it had thundered; others said, “An angel spoke to him.” 30 Yeshua answered, “This bat-kol did not come for my sake but for yours. 31 Now is the time for this world to be judged, now the ruler of this world will be expelled. 32 As for me, when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself.” 33 He said this to indicate what kind of death he would die.

34 The crowd answered, “We have learned from the Torah that the Messiah remains forever. How is it that you say the Son of Man has to be ‘lifted up’? Who is this ‘Son of Man’?” 35 Yeshua said to them, “The light will be with you only a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, or the dark will overtake you; he who walks in the dark doesn’t know where he’s going. 36 While you have the light, put your trust in the light, so that you may become people of light.” Yeshua said these things, then went off and kept himself hidden from them.

37 Even though he had performed so many miracles in their presence, they still did not put their trust in him, 38 in order that what Yesha‘yahu the prophet had said might be fulfilled,

Who believes our report?
To whom is the arm of Yehovah revealed?
[Isaiah 53:1]

39 The reason they could not believe was — as Yesha‘yahu said elsewhere —

40 Make the heart of this people fat,
stop up their ears, and shut their eyes.
Otherwise, seeing with their eyes,
and hearing with their ears,
then understanding with their hearts,
they might repent and be healed!
[Isaiah 6:10]

41 (Yesha‘yahu said these things because he saw the Sh’khinah of Yeshua and spoke about him.) 42 Nevertheless, many of the leaders did trust in him; but because of the P’rushim they did not say so openly, out of fear of being banned from the synagogue; 43 for they loved praise from other people more than praise from God.

44 Yeshua declared publicly, “Those who put their trust in me are trusting not merely in me, but in the One who sent me. 45 Also those who see me see the One who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, so that everyone who trusts in me might not remain in the dark. 47 If anyone hears what I am saying and does not observe it, I don’t judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 Those who reject me and don’t accept what I say have a judge — the word which I have spoken will judge them on the Last Day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has given me a command, namely, what to say and how to say it. 50 And I know that his command is eternal life. So what I say is simply what the Father has told me to say.”

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