Chukat חֻקַּת - Law
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33
Apostolic Writing: John 19:38-42
Reading #7 - Numbers 21:21–22:1
Today we read how the battles are continuing as the Israelites wander through the wilderness. But one thing that they know for sure is that Hashem will go with them. Verse 34 says, “Don’t fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people, and his land.” Hashem is literally telling them not to fear -- that He has delivered them and they will have victory! We must remember this as we go through “battles” in our lives. If we are living a righteous life or at least trying to, we can trust that Hashem will go before us and clear the way to victory. Amen!
Interesting in verse 21 that Moses is sending messengers to the enemy to try to work things out before attacking. Sometimes people that do not believe in Torah -- think that Hashem just ruthlessly attacks and kills people. Many times we see that is just not true. There are people that go ahead and try to establish an agreement. And the times we don’t see that, it just may not have been written down. My point is -- in our lives we must do the same. Go to the person(s) you are having a disagreement with and try to work it out, before having a battle! Go with peace and solutions. Pray ahead of time. See how many “battles” can be avoided. Do this at home too with your spouse and kids. If we start this today, we will begin to mend our broken world. It starts with us. That is today’s challenge.
Reading #7 - Numbers 21:21–22:1
21 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn away into field or vineyard. We will not drink of the water of the wells. We will go by the king’s highway, until we have passed your border.”
23 Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his border, but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness, and came to Jahaz. He fought against Israel. 24 Israel struck him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, even to the children of Ammon; for the border of the children of Ammon was fortified. 25 Israel took all these cities. Israel lived in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even to the Arnon. 27 Therefore those who speak in proverbs say,
“Come to Heshbon.
Let the city of Sihon be built and established;
28 for a fire has gone out of Heshbon,
a flame from the city of Sihon.
It has devoured Ar of Moab,
The lords of the high places of the Arnon.
29 Woe to you, Moab!
You are undone, people of Chemosh!
He has given his sons as fugitives,
and his daughters into captivity,
to Sihon king of the Amorites.
30 We have shot at them.
Heshbon has perished even to Dibon.
We have laid waste even to Nophah,
Which reaches to Medeba.”
31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 Moses sent to spy out Jazer. They took its villages, and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 They turned and went up by the way of Bashan. Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei.
34 Hashem said to Moses, “Don’t fear him, for I have delivered him into your hand, with all his people, and his land. You shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.”
35 So they struck him, with his sons and all his people, until there were no survivors; and they possessed his land.
22 The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho.
Jephthah is believing just what Moses believed centuries before. That Hashem would deliver the Ammonites into their hands. That is why Torah is so important. It lays down not only Hashem’s commandments about how to live, but gives examples of how He will defend and protect you in times of need. Jephthah recalls Hashem’s faithfulness and this instills faith in him and the people. Hashem once again delivers, just as he has before. We can depend on Hashem’s faithfulness in our lives too. But, we must know Torah and it’s messages to do this. Amen.
In verse 30 Jephthat makes a very important vow with Hashem, which later turns out to be quite challenging (the first out of his door is his daughter!). We need to take making vows with Hashem very, very seriously. I made a vow once with Hashem because I need immediate help in a situation. Hashem gave me the help and I have kept my vow for over 30 years! Recently, I had a talk with Hashem about trying to end the “deal” or vow I had made with Him. He reminded me about the seriousness of vows and I saw clearly I was to continue this vow until death. This vow was a big one -- I vowed never to drink alcohol again. There have been times it has been difficult to keep this vow. But, Hashem has miraculously provided a way. Every time I have thought of breaking this vow, I am reminded of His faithfulness to me and the importance of being faithful to Him. Review your life and the “vows” or promises you have made to Hashem. Be sure you are keeping them. Repent and go back to them if you must. This is serious to Hashem. Amen.
Haftarah: Judges 11:1-33
11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor. He was the son of a prostitute. Gilead became the father of Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons. When his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You will not inherit in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Outlaws joined up with Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4 After a while, the children of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 When the children of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob. 6 They said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the children of Ammon.”
7 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Didn’t you hate me, and drive me out of my father’s house? Why have you come to me now when you are in distress?”
8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Therefore we have turned again to you now, that you may go with us and fight with the children of Ammon. You will be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight with the children of Ammon, and Hashem delivers them before me, will I be your head?”
10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “Hashem will be witness between us. Surely we will do what you say.”
11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them. Jephthah spoke all his words before Hashem in Mizpah.
12 Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, saying, “What do you have to do with me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?”
13 The king of the children of Ammon answered the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore restore that territory again peaceably.”
14 Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the children of Ammon; 15 and he said to him, “Jephthah says: Israel didn’t take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon; 16 but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh, 17 then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, ‘Please let me pass through your land;’ but the king of Edom didn’t listen. In the same way, he sent to the king of Moab, but he refused; so Israel stayed in Kadesh. 18 Then they went through the wilderness, and went around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and they encamped on the other side of the Arnon; but they didn’t come within the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to my place.’ 20 But Sihon didn’t trust Israel to pass through his border; but Sihon gathered all his people together, and encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. 21 Hashem, the Elohim of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them. So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 They possessed all the border of the Amorites, from the Arnon even to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness even to the Jordan. 23 So now Hashem, Adonai of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess them? 24 Won’t you possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whoever Hashem our Elohim has dispossessed from before us, them will we possess. 25 Now are you anything better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26 Israel lived in Heshbon and its towns, and in Aroer and its towns, and in all the cities that are along the side of the Arnon for three hundred years! Why didn’t you recover them within that time? 27 Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me. May Hashem the Judge be judge today between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.”
28 However, the king of the children of Ammon didn’t listen to the words of Jephthah which he sent him. 29 Then Hashem’s Spirit came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed over to the children of Ammon.
30 Jephthah vowed a vow to Hashem, and said, “If you will indeed deliver the children of Ammon into my hand, 31 then it shall be, that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, it shall be Hashem’s, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.”
32 So Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them; and Hashem delivered them into his hand. 33 He struck them from Aroer until you come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and to Abelcheramim, with a very great slaughter. So the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
I’m not sure why this verse was chosen with this week’s portion except you have two prominent Jews taking care of the body of Yeshua after His crucifixion. Remember this is the week of unleavened bread and Pesach (Passover). If you were to touch a dead body you would not be clean and would have to wait to celebrate this Feast in the next month (as described by Torah). The rules of clean and unclean had remained the same of course for this generation. Joseph and Nicodemus believed taking care of the body of the Mashiach was very important, and important enough to delay their honoring the Feast. Hashem knew this ahead of time and provided a way for these two men to remain faithful to Torah. So, they were not only honoring Torah, but honoring the Mashiach. A beautiful message indeed.
Doing what is right. Look over your life and see if you are choosing what is doing right in difficult situations. Remember Hashem always provides a way to do right in Torah. That is why it is so important to study Torah -- even on a daily basis as we do. My challenge is this. If you come across a situation where it is important to do the right thing, but you may be breaking a Torah commandment -- check in with Hashem. Ask Him what you should do. Pray and ask for help from Him. He will show you. He will bring verses to mind that will help you to make your decision. Yeshua always taught the “heart” of Torah. That was a special gift He provided to us. Study the four Gospels and learn greater insight into the teachings of Torah. Yeshua did not add or subtract from Torah. He taught pure Torah and showed the way to become closer to Hashem. It was always His goal -- to bring people back to Torah and to Hashem!
Apostolic Writing: John 19:38-42
19:38 After these things, Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Yeshua, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Yeshuas’ body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus, who at first came to Yeshua by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred Roman pounds. 40 So they took Yeshuas’ body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb in which no man had ever yet been laid. 42 Then because of the Jews’ Preparation Day (for the tomb was near at hand) they laid Yeshua there.